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Feb 27 2006
Monday News Roundup
A lot is happening today. Here is a quick sampling (with additional analysis to follow).

� Quarterly revenue increases for Internet search companies are outlined here.

� Homestore.com has announced the acquisition of Moving.com, which it will consolidate with Homestore, HomeBuilder and Rentnet under the new name Move.com. It will launch in the next few months as a "full service search and moving solution to consumers." More here.

SEW reports that MSN adCenter will increase ad impressions served on MSN search results by 70 percent.

� Search Engine Journal reports that new site Digglicious combines social search driven news aggregator Digg with Yahoo!'s social bookmarking engine del.icio.us. It looks like an interesting model that combines the social search aspects of bookmarking and news content. We'll report more on this in an upcoming White Paper on social search.

� Search Engine Journal also speculates on flash-based animated ads in Google's AdSense publisher network and the effect it could have on conversions. Elsewhere, Google is adding payments and selling tools to Google Base.

� Om Malik reports on the launch of Edgeio, which uses tagging to aggregate classified ads that are published by individuals throughout the Web on their own blogs or sites. We wrote about the company earlier this month here, and more on the launch can be found in ZDNet's coverage here.

� Om also reports on the possible upcoming launch of Google Calendars here.

� Lastly, digital product placement on television is an interesting concept that will have some possible targeting opportunities on IPTV. It has already been used on some sitcoms, and related technologies are under development, according to the Lost Remote blog.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  17:50 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 24 2006
Why Do We Care So Much About IPTV? II
Here is another good introductory article (with quite a headline). This one is about some of the killer apps we can expect out of IPTV. It's an interesting (albeit long) read, with a fun list of possibilities.

Elsewere, Comcast reported that video-on-demand orders increased 71 percent in 2005 � showing that demand for VOD is on the rise. The implications for IPTV are clear, as it will be based on the concept of VOD.

VOD in fact seems to be getting a lot of attention. Most recently DirecTV announced the launch of a broadband-based VOD service this week.

A roundup of broadband TV news is here
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  15:00 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 24 2006
More on MySpace
In an attempt to drive more traffic, bring in more value added content, and further distinguish itself, MySpace is launching a film section of its site in partnership with Sundance.

It will host independent filmmakers' profiles and short films and serve as distribution point. This is hoped to drive traffic and distinguish MySpace with a new demographic, the same way its music channel tapped into the world of independent and underground bands with much success.

We'll see if it works the same for the underground film world.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  14:35 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 23 2006
Why Do We Care So Much About IPTV?
Here is a great introductory article on the nuts and bolts of IPTV technology. Why is this important or relevant to local? The architecture of IPTV systems will allow for a two way street of communication between users and servers � much like the IP architecture of the web � which makes it much more interactive than television today as we know it. And that interactivity or �pull� of information and content will enable the geographic and contextually relevant advertising opportunities that we�ve seen flourish on the web.

From the article;

This speaks to the basic difference between IPTV and the QAM system that has dominated cable and satellite TV to date. With QAM, all channels are sent into the home, where the set-top box or boxes decide which channel to watch.

�If 250 channels are being broadcast into your home,� Graczyk said, "the set-top ignores the 249 you're not watching and displays the one you are. But those extra 249 take up a huge amount of bandwidth."

With IPTV, each set-top box in the home sends a request to a server located at the service provider, and the server sends back just the channel requested. Regardless of the number of channels available, even if many are HD, the amount of capacity into the home need only be enough to handle one channel per set-top box plus enough for data and voice.


One channel being called up at a time - instead of 250 channels always available to channel surf - is technically much like the way we web surf. Each time a channel is chosen, the server knows it. How service providers of IPTV systems (mostly telcos) use this valuable information to serve up contextually relevant ads (or partner with those who can) is the question. How the fragmented universe of local and small businesses will be addressed by a sales channel is also an important question. As we�ve said in the past, telco-owned directory businesses could utilize existing feet on the street to do the heavy lifting, and offer IPTV to SMEs as part of a cross platform sales strategy. The ability or willingness of SME's to create video ads (creative, rather than directional) will also be an important area to address, which is why Spot Runner is so intriguing.

I recently attended VenturWire's Network Ventures conference in San Jose where there was a great session entitled Tune into the Network � Getting Ready for IPTV. Shawn Carolan, Managing Director of Menlo Ventures had some interesting things to say;

What will make IPTV take off are services that are compelling. VOD is pretty compelling, but one that is very interesting that still isn�t ready from a software infrastructure standpoint, is really targeted advertising. It has some privacy concerns, but look at what Google has done on the web. If you search for keyword you�ll get organic search results surrounded by sponsored results. Well it turns out that people click more on the sponsored results than the organic results by 25 percent. Why is that? The reason is because it is very well selected and targeted ads, and I think well targeted ads become content to the user.

From a user standpoint, IPTV is also starting to get a great deal of attention with recent studies done on user awareness and interest by Jupiter Research, Points North Group, and Harris Interactive.

The San Francisco Chronicle also came out with a good introductory piece this week on IPTV business models, and the service rollouts underway by telecoms. And the Rocky Mountain News has a piece on the legal battle around franchise laws and content regulation of IPTV (does it fall under the guidelines of the Web, or that of cable television).

That�s enough to keep you busy for now. But in addition to continuing editorial coverage, we�ll be talking about IPTV (upcoming shameless plug warning) at our upcoming Drilling Down on Local conference during the following panel. Hope to see you there.

1,000,001 Channels: But Is Anybody Watching?
TV used to be simple for everyone. But the newly fragmenting world of video search, mobile TV, on-demand cable and IPTV makes the range of potential consumer choices staggering. What are the new technologies that are rapidly turning TV from a mass medium to one that is highly personalized? What is the new consumer �video consumption� model, and what are the implications for networks, content producers and advertisers? Will a million �Wayne�s Worlds� and the potential �Tower of Babel� effect destroy the medium for advertisers or open it up to a range of exciting new possibilities, including some for SMEs?
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  12:47 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 22 2006
LiveDeal Launches Free Rental Listings
Online classifieds site LiveDeal.com launched a free rental listings service today. Read about it here and here.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  22:38 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 22 2006
PreFound Joins 'Social Web'
Red Herring reports on a social search engine that has launched called PreFound. Like others in this growing space � led most notably by Yahoo! (Flickr, MyWeb, del.icio.us etc.) � its success will depend on gaining a critical mass of users to do all the tagging and indexing on which a social search model is based.

The challenge is that such users are currently made up of a small early adopter crowd, and there are only so many of them to go around among the growing numbers of start-ups in the space. Competition from a Web giant such as Yahoo! exacerbates this challenge.

From the article:

In an interview last week, PreFound�s CEO Steve Mansfield said the site was looking for experts to become featured finders on the site. To do this, these experts must upload groups of links on a topic that they�ve tagged and organized on the web.

It sounds like this means it will rely less on the "masses" of users than on a smaller segment of experts on certain topics (sounds a lot like About.com, which isn't necessarily social search). This means it could be less under the pressure of gaining the critical mass of content contributors mentioned above because it will be more of a niche offering of knowledge and info in certain categories.

Unlike some of Yahoo!'s efforts in the social search space that will rely on users' intrinsic desire to share and tag content, PreFound will incentivize contributions by sharing AdSense-generated revenues. So it will come down to a question of whether or not the company is effective at attracting these contributors and if it's a compelling enough experience for users of the site.

We'll take a closer look at PreFound and the social search space in an upcoming White Paper.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  13:17 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 22 2006
Search Portal Rankings Rundown
A study by research firm Compete (found via Search Engine Watch) found Google has the most loyalty among its users. Here is how the rest of the search engines stacked up:

* Google: 71.0%
* Yahoo!: 48.1%
* MSN: 27.8%
* Excite: 23.4%
* AOL: 23.2%
* Ask: 21.6%
* AltaVista: 16.6%
* Clusty: 10.3%
* A9: 6.4%
* Lycos: 5.8%

Meanwhile, a separate study by BIGresearch reports that Yahoo! leads in overall purchase influence. The study broke down purchasing decisions by category, including electronics, apparel and automotive. Google came out on top in electronics, while Yahoo! led most other categories. Read the release and breakdown of scoring here.

And finally, the top Web sites for overall traffic in January were reported by Nielsen/NetRatings. Yahoo! came out on top, and four of the top five sites were portals. Google came in fourth.

These studies aren't directly related, but they all involve search engines and portals and continue to paint a picture of the battle for usage and market share. Local is a large and very important piece of that market share, although it was not specifically broken out in any of these studies.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  12:42 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 22 2006
Online Auto Ads On the Rise
eMarketer predicts an uptick in online auto ads this year. Auto advertisers will spend 1.9 billion in online advertising in 2006 and almost $2.7 in 2007 � up from 1.4 billion last year, according to the research firm.

Other notable facts cited by eMarketer:

* 70 percent of auto buyers use the Web at some point in the buying cycle.

* Despite online growth, overall ad budgets will remain flat this year (GM has cut $200 million out of its $1.5 billion budget).

* Through November 2005 online auto ad spending increased 12.1 percent, while traditional media spends went down 2.5 percent.

Though we're talking about national ad campaigns, the numbers are rooted largely in local buying activity and online usage growth among all consumers. Read more here.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  12:16 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]





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