jump to navigation

Oh, Good Grief December 19, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
comments closed
    “Like all shareholders, I am not opposed to Time Warner entering into an AOL transaction that creates long-term value,” the corporate-raider-turned-shareholder-activist (and historical greenmailer, oops, did I say that?)wrote in an open letter to Time Warner’s board. “However, I am deeply concerned that the Time Warner Board may be on the verge of making a disastrous decision concerning an agreement with Google if this agreement would make it more difficult in any way or effectively preclude a merger or other type of transaction with companies such as IAC/InterActive, eBay, Yahoo, or Microsoft etc., etc. …”

    Mr. Icahn, who is representing a group of dissident investors with a less than 3% stake in Time Warner, pointed to a recent report from Goldman Sachs to illustrate that a deal with Google might not be the best option for Time Warner. The report said a deal with eBay Inc. or IAC/InterActive Corp. would be more advantageous to AOL than a deal with Google or Microsoft Corp.’s MSN.

Fer shure, and a deal between Google and Microsoft would rawk!

Advertisements

Told Ya So December 16, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
comments closed

If this holds up, status quo maintained. Microsoft misses out on a chance to jump-start paid search and AdCenter, but nothing now is any different than it was yesterday.

Commodify Your Dissent, Again December 16, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
comments closed

Oh come on, Gary. Paying Mel Karmizan to listen to Howard Stern is “revolutionary”? As in “rebellious”? Yeah, it’ll revolutionize Clear Channel or Infinity, er, CBS Radio, maybe. Gary, Gary, Gary, weren’t you the one who told me to read The Conquest of Cool? (I’d already read Commodify Your Dissent.) And after establishing your cred with a reference to The Doctor…

Psst, Don’t Tell Anyone, But the Internet Is Over December 16, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
comments closed

Well, not really. But the reach of core Internet functions is down. People seem to be settling on what they use the Internet for, and doing fewer things overall. Time spent online isnít shrinking, nor, in most cases, is the absolute number of users of any given function going down. Itís just that the breadth of activities any one user engages in is shrinking.

For example, the percentage of the online population that says they regularly use IM has shrunk nine or ten points over the last five years. IM reach among teens or young adults (18-24) shows the same patterns. About 11% of teens say theyíre using IM less because they have a mobile phone. E-mailís down seven points or so, across the board. Search is essentially flat, and some applications that werenít viable a few years ago, like online banking, are up strongly.

Our analysis is survey-based because the traffic analysis firms canít do long-term trending. But we examined the survey data closely. These patterns are consistent across demographics (age, gender, income) and online tenure, and it doesnít look like cohorts are having an effect (e.g., the group that came online pre- versus post-bubble). What does this mean for online media? Itís more critical than ever to know your audience. Deeply. Plan your programming and marketing accordingly.

Iím out for the rest of December, so clients or reporters should look to talk to Andrew Peach or Corina Matiesanu about these findings.

Odd That Few Made the Amp’d-URGE Connection December 16, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
comments closed

Maybe this is URGE’s device strategy.

    MTV Networks and Amp’d Mobile, the first mobile entertainment company created specifically to bring next-generation broadband wireless services and applications to young adults, today announced a strategic alliance that will combine Amp’d’s innovative mobile platform with extensive content and marketing expertise from MTV Networks’ world-renowned brands, including COMEDY CENTRAL, MTV, VH1, CMT, MTV2, mtvU, TV Land, Spike TV, Logo and iFILM.

    The two companies will develop joint marketing and promotions across MTV Networks’ brands and screens. Additionally, MTV Networks will make an investment in Amp’d and appoint Jason Hirschhorn, MTV Networks’ Chief Digital Officer, to the Amp’d Board of Directors.

Amp’d is a youth-targeted MVNO using Verizon’s advanced network. Wire reports say it was a $50 million investment. Still, a mobile phone isn’t an iPod.

Avoiding Lame Puns on “Urge” December 15, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
comments closed

Yeah, I got “briefed” by Microsoft and MTV about the upcoming MTV Networks music service, URGE. Accent on “brief.” Other than confirming that it was doing something, and it would be subscriptions as well as downloads and radio, MTV said little. At least, I think they confirmed that. All details (product look and feel, pricing, device support, etc.) to come at CES next month. Hey guys, CES is a gadget show, not a music event. I say that because there’s been entirely too much focus on music gadgets in this conversation.

Real Rhapsody claims 1.3 million subscribers and Napster 450,000 (I estimate AOL and Yahoo are in the 350-450K range), despite the fact that Windows Media DRM devices don’t really work. There’s a real, live, fast-growing $250 million subscription music business in the US, not to mention 7 million satellite radio subscribers. Yes, it would be a good thing for music services to have some kind of answer to the iPod. It sure would be a good thing for Microsoft’s Windows Media platform efforts. Notice Redmond did the press release, not Viacom.

Anyway, here’s what I like about the potential for an MTV service:

– MTV is a programmer. The coolest thing about an online music service is the ability to blend the discovery, listening, and retail experiences. Of course, MTV is a video programmer — and much of its creativity has had nothing to do with music over the past few years.

– Viacom has audiences already. A big part of making this business profitable is cuttng customer acquisition costs. Music subscribers are more likely to be VH1 fans than MTV fans right now. Our survey says 60% of paying subscribers are between 25 and 44. These days, MTV’s a youth brand, not really a music brand, hence “Urge.”

MTV said all the right things about integrating on- and off-line programming, and about music community. Regular readers know I think MTV’s online Overdrive video is best-of-breed. So let’s see what its vision of an online music service looks like. Colleague Joe Wilcox offers his take.

Are You Kidding? I Like iVillage December 14, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
comments closed

I don’t normally do this, because I was a reporter once, and I get the last word here. But regular readers know I’m a pretty big fan of iVillage. It owns its audience — AOL and the other portals have tried unsuccessfully to go after the online “women’s mag” role played by Hearst (iVillage’s partner) and Meredith off-line for years. Non-media companies like P&G are bigger competitors than the brands you’d think would be. I said as much to Crain’s, but hey, it must have been a slow news day. Is iVillage an acquisition target? I dunno, but there are precious few standalone Internet properties with big, desirable, targetable audiences. CNET, iVillage, and PlanetOut come to mind. Oh yeah, and Google and Yahoo.

Collapsing Release Windows: Hardly Cuban’s Idea December 12, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
comments closed

Mark Cuban’s a smart guy, and I link to him regularly. But he’s hardly the first person to suggest collapsing movie release windows. Just because it hasn’t worked so far, is no reason for him to claim he invented it. Am I missing something, or is Cuban just learning how to be a media mogul who claims credit for everything? And 85+% of those Times “ideas” were just lame…way too lame to link to.

It’s Just Us Plebes in Line Here December 12, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
comments closed

I’m a little behind on my New Yorker reading, so I just stumbled across this bit. It is too, too perfect that Steven Brill is the head of Verified Identity Pass, a service designed to let folks with inflated senses of their own importance cut in line at airport security checks. While Brill mentions his 9-11 book and Court TV in his company bio, he leaves out “Brill’s Content” and Inside.com, two, er, less successful ventures.

Back in the Inside-Powerful Media days, I can remember moderating a Jupiter conference panel with Brill on it. As I recall, he made us send a car to pick him up. Funny, neither Barry Diller nor Bob Wright ever made us do that, although Alanis Morrisette did. But she was a lot nicer.

Steve Case Says Break Time Warner Up December 12, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
comments closed

He argues in the Washington Post that AOL would be better off on its own, and that he’s thought, since 2004, that Time Warner should be broken in four (AOL, cable, Time Inc., and Entertainment). He says that AOL on its own could strive for leadership in:

– VOIP
– social networking
– vertical portals

I still think a general-purpose portal is powerful (Case agrees, but thinks that might have peaked), and that every media conglomerate should have one. Case thinks the integration opportunities never happened, and now the parts would be stronger than the whole. He knows better than I do whether anybody at Time Warner can work together to actually achieve synergies…