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Jan 25 2006
Bad Signal for Yell on Rate Cap
This article appeared today in the Guardian Newspaper in the U.K., regarding the ongoing review of the rate cap imposed on Yell in the United Kingdom. The Competition Commission has issued a report indicating it may extend or expand the rate cap. We will follow up with our analysis of this development in the coming days.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  19:57 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Jan 25 2006
Shareholders OK RHD-Dex
It�s official. The RHD-Dex Media merger has been approved by shareholders. Here is the release. The deal, which combines two of the top five U.S. incumbent publishers, is expected to formally close at the end of this month.

Here is a summary of the deal from our Local Media Journal, published shortly after the deal was announced last October:

The acquisition will form the third-largest U.S. directory publisher, with estimated combined adjusted revenues of US$2.69 billion and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of roughly US$1.48 billion. The new company will have more than 600 titles, 1,800 sales representatives and distribution of about 73 million directories.

The acquisition will have a significant impact on the U.S. directory industry, even if it does not transform the competitive landscape. Acquiring Dex will offer RHD some additional bargaining power with search engines as it looks for ways to drive more traffic to its online customers. The deal also extends RHD�s geographic coverage to 28 states, with incumbent status in 8 of the top 40 U.S. metropolitan markets. Key markets include Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix and Seattle.


Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  19:47 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Jan 25 2006
Classifieds TV: Interesting but Flawed
Late to the party on this one . . . but here�s a MediaPost story (reg. req�d) from Monday about the SF Chronicle (owned by Hearst) launching a cable TV show devoted to classifieds advertising, which will also be streamed on the SF Gate site.

Classifieds on �Chronicle Jobs TV� will be up to 30 seconds in length and will be divided into six categories: general, sales and marketing, professional, health care, skills and trades, and technology. In addition to appearing three consecutive days on the TV show, the ads will also be streaming at www.SFGate.com for a one-week period.

The show is being created by Digital Media Classifieds, a Denver-based company that makes customized TV programs as well as Internet videos for online and print publishers. Company founder Evan Neubeiser said at least 100 newspapers nationwide have similar TV shows, and that many of them go beyond recruitment advertising to include categories like automotive, real estate, and rentals. Among his larger newspaper clients, he said, are the Houston Chronicle, the Arizona Republic, and the Dallas Morning News.


In the broadest sense, this is in the same category as Spot Runner, bringing video distribution to local businesses. I like it as a unique offering but I think the cable TV piece is not what�s interesting and/or valuable about it. Rather the Web streaming is going to be far more potentially effective. The online distribution preserves the powerful �directional� aspect of classified advertising, whereas the cable TV version will dilute it somewhat.

If you can make the economics work then it makes sense to throw in the cable TV as well. But I don�t know who�s going to be watching those shows on conventional TV�it�s a lot less efficient for users than the Internet.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Greg Sterling at  18:00 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Jan 25 2006
March Madness: the Next Live 8?
PaidContent reports today that CBS Digital president Larry Kramer announced the network will offer all of its NCAA March Madness coverage online for free. The coverage will be ad supported, and Kramer likened it to AOLs Live 8 coverage which put its broadband video delivery on the map.

Online would seem to be a great venue for the NCAA tournament because like Live 8, there will be simultaneous events (games) happening. CBS has traditionally dealt with this issue by showing different games in different regions -- using a combination of formulas and judgment, that never fails to irk a certain segment of transplanted basketball fans that want to see their alma-mater or favorite team from a different region. This is especially true during the first round of the tournament which has 64 teams playing in about 48 hours.

CBS is hoping that online coverage of such a high profile event will incite the same PR storm that AOL received post Live 8, in staking its claim as a new source of digital and interactive media.

There is a big difference here however. Live 8's smashing success was partially because there was a dependent variable with which to compare it; MTV�s lackluster coverage of the event. But in the case of March Madness, the comparison is CBS�s own television coverage. So the online coverage, if successful (as successful as Live 8), could in fact make its television coverage look bad.

Every year, there are qualms about CBS�s March Madness coverage � some involving the game choices as mentioned above; and others such as inane commentary during and between play, and the over dramatized segments about �cinderella" teams or other inspiring stories surrounding the tournament. These are usually met with a fair share of grumblings from fans, but then are mostly forgotten until the next year. But with an online alternative that delivers just the good stuff (all games) without the fluff, CBS could be setting itself up for quite a conflict.

Indeed it was similarly overdone commentary, and choices of events to cover (i.e. cutting away from Pink Floyd mid-set) that were at the top of the long list of grievances of MTV live 8 viewers.

It will be interesting to see how CBS handles this, and what the media world can learn from broadband content delivery, and its effect on affiliated offline channels. We can only wait and see.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  15:58 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Jan 25 2006
PEW: Internet Strengthening Social Nets
A new report from the good folks at the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that the Internet (and e-mail) are increasingly relied up to manage �offlline� social relations/networks and that, in addition, more and more people are relying on the Internet to help them in making major life (cycle) decisions:

45% of internet users � about 60 million Americans � say the internet has played an important or crucial role in helping them deal with at least one major life decision in the previous two years.

This sounds a lot like Yellow Pages historical behavior and confirms earlier findings by comScore about the connection between �life events� and online consumer patterns. Here�s an earlier post about the same phenomenon. And here�s a MediaPost article (reg. req�d) specifically about the now year-old comScore findings.

There�s probably lots of juicy stuff in the Pew report that I haven�t yet had time to digest. But the full report is available for download here.

Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Greg Sterling at  15:35 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Jan 25 2006
NY Times Revenues/Subscribers Growing
The Internet Stock Blog has a summary of the NY Times earnings call (revenues up 30 percent in Q4)�there are lots of datapoints about traffic/users, etc. And the ranks/rolls of TimesSelect paying subscribers (I�m one) continues to grow. I was really skeptical at launch, but there seems to be some momentum (now 156K online only subs in 4 mos, 390K total)

The apparent success The Times is having in getting online only subscriptions is probably more a function of its brand strength and perceived unique content than a validation of the notion that online newspapers can charge for content. The Times is becoming much more than a �newspaper site� and doing lots of interesting things (especially with video).

Here�s the full earnings release .
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Greg Sterling at  09:55 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Jan 25 2006
Craigslist Adds Another Paying Vertical
This is really old news, but Craigslist confirmed that it will be charging for apartment rentals in New York. This adds a second category, the other being jobs, to its source of revenues. I believe that Peter Zollman�s Classified Intelligence has estimated annual Craigslist revenues at $10 million (that�s my memory).

A long time ago now (about a year and a half ago), I was on a panel with Craig Newmark at Real Estate Connect, a vertical trade show produced by Brad Inman (founder of HomeGain and now TurnHere.com). I think he alluded then to considering the move, as much to deter spam and other unethical practices as to make money.

The remarkable thing about Craigslist (among many things) is its �restraint.� As I�ve said to many people ... If Craigslist had VC money when it started it would not exist today. Slow and steady wins the race.

Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Greg Sterling at  09:46 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Jan 25 2006
eBay Building Pan-Media Platform?
It would appear so, according to this article in MediaPost (reg. req�d):

On Tuesday, some of the nation�s biggest advertisers got a pitch from a surprise media buying �solutions provider:� online auction service eBay. Details of the presentation, and the reaction of the ad executives�members of the Association of National Advertisers influential Television Advertising Committee�could not be discerned at press time, but executives privy to the meeting told MediaDailyNews that eBay was invited by the committee to present ideas for building an electronic trading system for buying and selling media.

Recently Google purchased dMarc and Spot Runner launched. dMarc extends Google�s platform to a traditional, offline medium and may be the first move as part of a larger, consolidated media-buying platform the search engine is developing. And Spot Runner brings the efficiencies of the Internet to local cable TV ad buying.

Clearly we�re starting to see the future of all ad buying�the Internet (or at least electronic platforms). Is eBay trying to get a jump on Google here? Perhaps. Regardless, this is extremely interesting and would now seem to be part of an emerging larger trend.

We�re going to speculate about the future of media buying�and integrated online and offline buying in particular�in our final panel at this year�s Drilling Down event:

The Future of Local Media Buying: The Integrated Online-Offline Platform
Until recently, online marketing was regarded with skepticism and ambivalence. In 2005, led by paid search, online marketing in general came to be seen as a credible medium. While newspapers and Internet Yellow Pages have long been selling online advertising on their sites (and more recently into broader networks), the Google acquisition of dMarc suggests a potentially new, more integrated online-offline media future. It also directly brings the harsh light of performance-based marketing and Web analytics to a traditional advertising medium. The panelists will discuss these and other recent developments and what the near and long term will hold for online marketing and interactive local media.

Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Greg Sterling at  08:45 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]





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