Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Google CFO Warns of Slowing Growth; Sparks Sell-Off

Mountain View, Calif. - Shares of Google closed down more than 7% on Tuesday after the Internet search giant's CFO warned an investor conference that the company's growth is slowing. George Reyes said that Google will need to begin finding new ways to boost its revenue, triggering a sharp sell-off of the stock, which at one point was down 10%. "Growth is slowing and now largely organic. The search monetization gains have now largely been realized," Reyes told attendees of a Merrill Lynch conference in New York. "I'm not turning bearish at all. I think we've got a lot of growth a head of us," he said. "It's a question of what rate."
http://us.ft.com/ftsuperpage/superpage.php?news_id=fto0228 
http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/060228/google.html?.v=7

Cisco Completes $6.9 Billion Deal for Set-top Box Firm Scientific-Atlanta

San Jose, Calif. - Cisco Systems, the network equipment giant, said on Monday that it has completed its $6.9 billion acquisition of Scientific-Atlanta, a Georgia-based provider of digital video delivery equipment. Cisco said that the deal, first announced in November, will give it a stronger presence in the home entertainment market. Earlier this month, Cisco announced plans raise $5.5 billion in a new debt offering, with plans to use a portion of the proceeds to fund the acquisition.
http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2006/hd_022706.html?CMP=ILC-001
http://www.scientificatlanta.com

Price Could Drive IPTV

New research from JupiterResearch shows that 52% of video subscribers would switch to IPTV service if they could get the same channel selection for a better price.

Some 46% of respondents expressed interest if a la carte programming would be available. But there was little enthusiasm for HDTV or video-on-demand, with only 6% and 3%, respectively, interested in those services.

“While IPTV proponents get caught up in the futuristic possibilities of the technology, consumers remain much more levelheaded about what they look for in a TV service,” JupiterResearch research director Joseph Laszlo said.

“Competitors looking to deploy IPTV should avoid overwhelming the consumer with Jetsons-like ‘TV of the future’ and focus instead on delivering real value in terms of TV of the present,” he added.

[back to top]

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Could Apple Buy Disney?

By Greg Morcroft, MarketWatch
Last Update: 12:07 PM ET Feb 25, 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Google connects consumers and merchants by telephone

Google Tests Feature
That Connects Consumers
And Merchants by Telephone
By RIVA RICHMOND
February 21, 2006; Page B3

Consumers trawling Google Inc.'s search engine may have noticed a new icon appearing beside some advertisements on the Google Web site: a little telephone handset.

The handset image is part of a "click to call" test that Google has been running since late last year. Web surfers wanting to talk with a participating advertiser can type their phone numbers in a designated space and have Google connect them on a free call. Google gets the consumer and the merchant talking by causing both their phones to ring at the same time.

Tobaccowala Endorses Broadband TV Advertising - From The Wall Street Journal

WSJ: If I were a marketer and only had enough of a budget to invest in one new ad platform, which one would you recommend?

Mr. Tobaccowala: If you were a marketer that has used lots of TV advertising, I would recommend broadband [high-speed] Internet-TV. Advertisers have long thought the Internet was about key words, buttons and banners because there weren't enough households that had broadband pipe. Now that has changed with broadband penetration. But the moment you get broadband the way you utilize the Internet completely changes. You use it more and use it for entertainment. It's the spine that makes the Internet more than just information and communication . But now it's also an entertainment medium. The next addictive medium after TV is the Internet.

http://www.emailthis.clickability.com/et/emailThis?clickMap=viewThis&etMailToID=1640332526

Dallas Morning News to Distribute Interactive Magazine Via CD-ROM Inserts

The Dallas Morning News, aiming to appeal to younger audiences, will become the first newspaper to distribute Hollywood Previews Entertainment iMagazine, a monthly CD-ROM insert. Says its syndicator: "Newspapers can now play a role that Google and Yahoo have played in the past."

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002035602

Bruce's opinion: This is goofy. Why not just send them a a link and stream the video & music content? Regular mail? CD ROMs? Very mid-90s. Comments?

BUY IT FROM RADIO ADS AT THE PUSH OF A BUTTON

Article from Ad Age Daily

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Push the button, buy the product direct from the ad. That’s always been the holy grail for TV advertising and now it’s coming -- to radio.

Samsung's Helix and Pioneer's Inno XM-enabled portable MP3 players.

In two weeks, XM Satellite Radio will begin shipping to retailers a pair of new XM-enabled portable MP3 players. In addition to recording and time-shifting capabilities, the devices -- the Helix from Samsung and Inno from Pioneer -- will feature a button users can push to “bookmark” songs they like when they hear them on the radio. Later, when users dock the player to an Internet-connected port, the marked songs will be bought and automatically downloaded from Napster, thanks to a relationship XM has with the music service.

It’s not a stretch to see the same push-and-purchase function made available for advertisers. While neither XM nor Sirius are anxious to disclose their plans for forthcoming hardware and technology, there are hints that interactivity will be a major component -- and one that benefits both consumers and advertisers.

“Our next generation of products coming out in the next two weeks will be an XM-enabled MP3 player with, in the simplest terms, that ‘buy’ button,” D. Scott Karnedy, senior VP-ad sales for XM Satellite Radio, said at a radio panel last week. “The next generation [after that] will be that if you want to hit that button for more information about that product you just heard described.”

Two-way interaction
Interactivity -- the ability to buy Teri Hatcher’s sweater by pushing the red button on a remote control -- has been a TV buzzword since the mid-1990s. But only recently have cable and satellite TV operators and technology companies like TiVo become viable grounds for experimenting with ad campaigns that ask consumers to opt-in for more information or, potentially, allow them to purchase a product directly from the TV.

“Whether it’s ultimately of use to consumers depends on ease of application,” said Matt Feinberg, senior VP-radio, at media-buying agency Zenith. He believes the terrestrial-radio companies could successfully use the digital technology they’ve started rolling out in a similar manner. One of the features of digital radio is a two-way interaction, which, like in digital cable, means consumers can request more information.

XM’s hardware is at least one generation away and the only comment Sirius will make is “for the future, we are working on products with multiple features and functions.” But that doesn’t stop marketers from pondering the possibilities.

Time-shifting ads in radio
“Typically you don’t think of radio as being the best direct-response medium,” said Jim O’Rourke, group media director at Dallas-based Richards Group, an agency that uses lots of radio -- it created the award-winning “Motel 6” ads -- and has experimented with TiVo’s interactive-ad functions. Whether he’d use it depends on how it would be priced, “but there is an appeal, even to just being able to time-shift an ad in radio,” he said. “It gives radio an element that TV could say it has, and print has and the Internet has.”

Linking traditional media with an online component is a kissing cousin of interactivity -- and one that is already entirely viable. San Francisco-based Delivery Agent, for example, has created an e-commerce business selling the products featured in TV shows. Weinstein Co., which produces Bravo’s “Project Runway,” contracted with Delivery Agent to sell the clothing designed on the reality competition show. A recent challenge asked fashion designers to create an outfit for My Scene Barbie; the site later sold out of the 3,300 dolls wearing the winning designer’s creation. Delivery Agent also has inked deals with NBC and ABC.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Weak Sales of Sony PSP Movies Prompt Distribution Slowdown

Los Angeles - Sales of movies on Sony's UMD format for its PSP handheld video game have been weaker than expected, according to a report in Variety, causing studios including Paramount, Warner and Sony itself to cut back on future movie releases. The report said successful releases have sold upwards of 100,000 units, but average UMD titles topped off around 50,000 units; top-selling UMD titles included "Napoleon Dynamite," "Chappelle's Show" and "Beavis & Butthead." "We are re-evaluating our position on any future releases at this time," Jeff Baker, senior vice president and general manager of Warner Bros. theatrical catalog, told Variety. "We're looking at this on a case-by-case basis. We're disappointed with consumer demand at this time." Warner Bros. said it has cancelled releases for six planned UMD titles. In a bid to help increase sluggish sales, Sony has plans to release an adapter that would enable the PSP to connect to a TV to play UMD movies.
http://www.variety.com
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=14792

Viewers prefer free videos with ads to pay

IQ NEWS DAILY BRIEFING: January 11, 2006
Users Prefer Ads to Fees for VOD
NEW YORK A new study found most consumers would prefer ads in on-demand
programming, rather than the fees charged in current models by Apple, Google
and others.

Points North Group, a researcher, and Horowitz Associates, a market research
consultancy, both in Larchmont, N.Y., found 62 percent of respondents said
they would rather watch a TV program later with ads. Seventeen percent said
they preferred to pay $1.99, 21 percent were undecided.

The survey found younger consumers were at least more decided on the issue:
68 percent favored ad-supported on-demand content; 26 percent preferred pay;
and just 5 percent were undecided. Read whole article by Brian Morrissey:

http://www.elabs2.com/functions/message_view.html?mid=21002&mlid=73&siteid=15988&uid=3ef89e5a10

Perhaps the best play for great brands like the NY Times is to syndicate to everyone, but keep the page views...

Yahoo News offers little original content, but is a leader in online page views, no doubt adding to the dread of old-media rivals, writes Jon Friedman. Says Yahoo News general manager Neil Budde: "Our users [prefer] a variety of sources," not a single brand.

http://www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/Story.aspx?guid=%7B0A4BE6B4%2D51B3%2D4FFB%2DB5BF%2D842BB005F3C1%7D&siteid=mktw

Murdoch Eying MySpace As Entertainment Portal -- Smart Move!

Will Murdoch Out-Fox Competitors Online?

Fox is yet to offer hit shows like "American Idol" through online video services. Some analysts think News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch would rather build his own online video service through MySpace.com instead of partnering with Apple's iTunes or Google Video.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/16/news/companies/fox_online/index.htm

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Report: Nearly 18 Billion Videos Streamed Online in 2005

From Digital Media Wire: Monterey, Calif. - The number of Internet video streams served in 2005 was up 50% over 2004, to 17.95 billion, with 85% of these streamed at broadband rates, according to a report from market research firm AccuStream Research. Surfers also tuned into more streaming Web radio stations, as aggregate tuning hours for 2005 were 43% higher than the previous year. Music was the top video category online again in 2005, accounting for 45% of all video streams served. In addition to traffic generated by new independent streaming video sites, like Break.com, StupidVideos.com, Roo and VideoDetective, the largest streaming video networks remained part of large portals like AOL, Yahoo and RealNetworks, AccuStream said. "Syndication agreements between large content brands such as FoxSports and MSN Video, CBS and ABC with AOL, along with ESPN and high-speed network providers suggests streaming media is following a maturation path carved out by major broadcast, cable and satellite distribution platforms," said AccuStream research director Paul A. Palumbo.
http://tinyurl.com/9ojdu
http://www.accustreamresearch.com

Bill Gates: Newspapers and broadcasters no longer chokepoints of information

 
Microsoft chief Bill Gates. "It is not possible to block information, it is just not." He adds: Newspaper publishers and television owners are no longer "chokepoints that control the distribution of information."

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/3855568e-9ddc-11da-b1c6-0000779e2340.html

Report: Nearly 18 Billion Videos Streamed Online in 2005


From Digital Media Wire:

Monterey, Calif. - The number of Internet video streams served in 2005 was up 50% over 2004, to 17.95 billion, with 85% of these streamed at broadband rates, according to a report from market research firm AccuStream Research. Surfers also tuned into more streaming Web radio stations, as aggregate tuning hours for 2005 were 43% higher than the previous year. Music was the top video category online again in 2005, accounting for 45% of all video streams served. In addition to traffic generated by new independent streaming video sites, like Break.com, StupidVideos.com, Roo and VideoDetective, the largest streaming video networks remained part of large portals like AOL, Yahoo and RealNetworks, AccuStream said. "Syndication agreements between large content brands such as FoxSports and MSN Video, CBS and ABC with AOL, along with ESPN and high-speed network providers suggests streaming media is following a maturation path carved out by major broadcast, cable and satellite distribution platforms," said AccuStream research director Paul A. Palumbo.
http://tinyurl.com/9ojdu
http://www.accustreamresearch.com