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Feb 9 2006
MyWeb 2.0.2
John Battelle reported today that Yahoo! has upgraded MyWeb 2.0. Users can now search "everybody's tabs," which basically expands the social search aspect of the service. MyWeb along with Yahoo!-owned del.icio.us could be central elements to Yahoo!'s overall "folksonomy" strategy that relies on the power of people to tag content (rather than the more Google-esque approach of using lots of computing power to index the Web).

BUT, there are still very few users of MyWeb, and Yahoo! hasn't done much to market it (the company doesn't disclose how many users it has, but there are 709,927 saved pages as of today � I alone account for 350 of those). This could change soon, as enhancements to the service are a good sign that it's getting closer to prime time (remember, it's still in beta), and a possible marketing push.

The point is that social search can only be as good as the amount of people using it, and there's definitely a critical mass to make it work on a large scale. We'll explore MyWeb and the dynamics of social search in an upcoming White Paper.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  15:38 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 9 2006
Bright Spots for The New York Times Co.
In the current issue of Local Media Journal, we break down the Q4 earnings announcements of major U.S. newspaper publishers. You probably know the story; circulation and revenues are in decline, while online assets continue to show growth.

To add to this, yesterday The New York Times Co. announced some numbers for January that showed a 3.4 percent ad revenue increase for About.com (which it purchased last year) while the company's overall revenues slipped 3.2 percent.

From Paid Content:

--"Outstanding growth" in cost-per-click advertising drove About.com's growth to $7.1 million in ad revenues; the unit's ad revenues increased 124 percent compared to january '05, when it was still owned by Primedia. (This January included four more reporting days than the previous year.) About.com also reported display growth.

� Online ad revenue was up 22 percent across the News Media Groups with "strong growth" in display and classified advertising.

� Despite the strength of Craigslist and other classified competitors, real-estate classified rose 15.3 percent.

� TimesSelect: The Times' groundbreaking premium service continues to grow. As of Jan. 31, TimesSelect had approximately 410,000 subscribers � about 62 percent get the service as part of their print subscription and about 38 percent are online only.


The New York Times also just struck a deal with fast moving Internet video start-up Brightcove (the company offers large and small video producers a platform to distribute their content and generate ad or sales revenues). Under the multiyear arrangement, Brightcove will distribute and syndicate broadband video across NYtimes properties. This gives Brightcove more ad inventory (and valuable inventory it seems) in its network, and it gives the Times a branded platform for distributing video on its sites � something that is becoming very high in demand in online news and that The Times certainly couldn't have done on its own.

We expect to see more deals between advertiser and publisher facing video networks, and traditional media companies that wish to differentiate themselves (or stay competitive) with video capability.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  12:20 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 9 2006
Murdoch Stresses Targeting
News Corp. announced fourth-quarter earnings yesterday. During the earnings call Rupert Murdoch stressed the value of its Internet properties, which has yet to be shown in reported financials. To read into this, the value of MySpace's 50 million dedicated users hasn't been monetized anywhere near its potential.

Our mandate now is clear: to monetize this vast audience with targeted advertising made possible by the wealth of information we have from our engaged, passionate users. The revenue and profit potential from monetizing this audience, even a fraction of it, is significant, he said.

A few questions arise from this: what is the best way to integrate advertising into a user experience that a dedicated, yet possibly fickle (teenage) demographic has gotten very accustomed to? There is a dangerous risk in inferiorating (made-up word) the user experience, while infuriating the user base.

MySpace has proved to be extremely sticky and the barriers to compete are high (users have established networks of friends and sunken investments in their time to create their content-rich MySpace home pages). But anything can happen with a demographic for which viral marketing resonates so well. And new challengers continue to enter the social networking space to share the wealth. It's MySpace's game to lose.

It has been proved by some (Google, Topix) that targeted ads, if targeted enough, aren't seen as intrusive but rather part of the content of a given page. So it will be interesting to see how and if MySpace pulls this off. The degree that local ads play a part in this strategy and what channels FIM will use to bring it all together are also important questions. The company is vague about its plans in this respect but it is interesting to extrapolate its strategy, given the sheer volume of the MySpace user base. We'll be watching this closely.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  11:32 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 7 2006
Video Game Ad Placement Takes a Step Forward II
Advertising in video games has been on our long-term radar screen. It will take a while before it has relevance to local, but it's an interesting area where a lot of development is happening, and where an ad revenue stream could offset faltering revenue growth in the video game industry.

The latest news from the field is that in-game ad placement firm IGA has raised $12 million in Series A funding. The company places ads in computer and video games using its own ad network. A great deal will be told from the successes and failures of such early entrants in this space, in terms of market dynamics and sustainable business models. We'll continue to watch them closely for any signs of local ad models.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  12:56 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 3 2006
NBC Reaches Locally for Online Content
Yesterday we wrote about network-affiliated local television stations using their Web sites as distribution points for network content. NBC Universal has announced it will redesign all of its local station Web sites to handle multimedia content such as video and podcasts.

Each new site will feature a predominantly placed video player for news clips, as well as daily webcasts by station anchors. Each station will also create original health, entertainment, sports and consumer news content, and share it across the network.

They will also have access to NBC�s programming, weather forecasts from NBC�s digital weather service and downloadable coupons from Coupons Inc. Other local advertising will likely play a part, although little has been revealed.

The move gives NBC Universal better local penetration online, and each local station benefits from additional content and branding. We�ll see how it works.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  16:44 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [1]



Feb 3 2006
Online News Gets Some Respect
With online newspaper revenues and traffic on the rise, newspapers are increasingly putting more emphasis on their online news production. More specifically we're seeing an overhaul of many newspaper operations to change the mind-set that online is an afterthought. Its importance is gaining steam among users, and newspapers are trying to reflect that importance internally, starting with the news production.

Editor & Publisher takes a look at The Sacramento Bee's "continuous news desk," which was recently created to update its Web site 24 hours a day. The change showed immediate improvements in content and a mind-set change across the organization about how to cover and publish breaking news. An interesting read.

This is similar to changes we're seeing across the industry, such as The New York Times' and USA Today's (among other papers) moves to merge their online and print newsrooms. We expect to see more of this in the future.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  16:12 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 2 2006
The MyWeb 2.0 of Video
Social search is something that has gained a lot of attention and business activity in the past year, especially from Yahoo! (Flickr, MyWeb, 360). The next logical place for social search is video, and it already has been applied to some degree by sites such as YouTube.

Om Malik reports on a site called Dabble that is taking this concept to the next level. Like Yahoo!�s MyWeb 2.0, and del.icio.us, the service lets users tag and bookmark video clips that will be displayed on personalized pages. From there users can do things such as create video playlists and share with friends.

The benefits of social search include the cost savings and effectiveness of having users do the �heavy lifting� of indexing content. This could apply especially well to video because there will be lots of it (user-generated and long-tail content on which sites like YouTube thrive � kind of like Flickr), and because video content has proved difficult to tag and index using software. Advertiser benefits are also present, as more human participation enables better behavioral targeting.

We�ll further explore social search and its place within the emerging online video space in an upcoming White Paper.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  17:07 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 2 2006
Super Bowl Ads Aplenty
With all the media coverage and business activity surrounding online video, and with the Super Bowl coming up, one would expect the annually hyped set of ads to get some broadband play.

PaidContent has a roundup of where you can see the ads on-demand. Now you can actually get up to get a snack during commercial breaks without missing out.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  15:56 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]





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