Will aQuantive Help MS Catch Google?–(Forbes.com) According to this article, “Not a chance. In the most recent quarter, which ended March 31, Microsoft’s online services business lost $200 million on $623 million in sales, and aQuantive brought in $14.2 million in net income on $142.6 million in revenues. In contrast, Google sucked in a cool $1 billion in net income on $3.7 billion in revenues for the quarter ending March 31, 2007. CIQ: These big and (in our opinion) overvalued deals remind us spookily of 2000.
Niche Websites Get Venture Backing–(NYT) Above, we have the scary reminder of 2000. Here we have the good reminder. Boot-strapped niche sites that use content, community and commerce and that advertisers love. “Take NaturallyCurly.com for instance. The site, founded in 1998 , has grown its readership to about 180,000 monthly readers, without marketing. More impressively, it has built a stable of hair care advertisers, like Aveda, Paul Mitchell and Redken, among others, and generated annual revenue in excess of $1 million. CIQ: We like a vision of the web built on singles and doubles, not huge $6 billion homers.
Print Bright Spot: Times Travel Mag Pages Up 6%–(DM News) In an industry that is declining, this is a big gain. CIQ: It proves that travel is hot. We hear that on the web, travel advertisers are insatiable
Buying off Bloggers—(WSJ) “Who says you can’t buy love? Trying to tap into the burgeoning power of blogs as promotional tools and fed up with the jaded attitudes of professional critics and TV feature writers, studios and networks are flooding bloggers with free stuff in hopes the flattered recipients will reward them with positive coverage. Flowing into the trough is everything from fancy gym bags and toasters to video iPods and free trips.” CIQ: We haven’t received any free stuff. And we feel very slighted.
Networks Struggle for Relevancy in Upfront—(NYT) In this week’s upfront, the big networks are trying to deal with the fact that commercials are being zapped and, let’s face it, TV viewership is wooed by online, ipods, games, anything but TV. ABC is presenting TV as just one medium where its content can be viewed. All the networks are proposing more innovative commercials containing original content to hold the attention of viewers. CIQ: We think the answer lies in serving viewers commercials they are interested in for products that match their interests. In other words, the technology is going to have to get a lot smarter in terms of “permission” to engage people in commercials. In addition, content producers need to make a better value exchange with the viewer.
Copyright & the Web—(Wired) The imposition of royalty fees on web radio broadcasters will drive most out of business. “But But all is not lost. Webcasting may spiral into its own dark ages, but the resulting debate over royalties could drive Congress into overhauling copyright law and finally forcing the music industry, kicking and screaming, into the future (or at least the present).” CIQ: This article lays out a comprehensive view of copyright law as it exists now and the hurdles it erects for new-style broadcasters.
DJ Value Is in Online Potential—(Bloomberg) The price Murdoch is offering for Dow Jones surpasses even Google’s valuation as a relative measure of projected earnings. According to this article, making the deal highly likely to go through. It’s a simple equation of content and distribution channel. “Content is king sounds logical, but if you can’t distribute it, it’s worthless. The Wall Street Journal has the ability to produce content, but they don’t have anywhere near the global distribution that Rupert Murdoch has.” CIQ: We have only one quibble. Content is actually queen.
Holding Companies Buy into Digital—(Ad Age) Some of the big advertising holding companies are aggressively buying up digital assets (Publicis’ acquisition of Digitas for $1.3 billion) and others are like WPP are “meaningful but not significant.” But with Google aggressively moving into advertising, the laggards may have to catch up quickly. CIQ: We feel that traditional agencies like traditional print companies really struggle to understand and master the online medium.
Web 2.0 Efforts Compromise Good Design—(BBC News) Usability Guru Jakob Nielsen says in the rush to capitalize on Web 2.0 buzz, marketers are making “glossy but useless” sites dotted with personalization tools but ignoring best practices on the web. CIQ: We agree. It seems like a perennial problem on the web. Marketers want to cash in on the latest hype and agencies dutifully serve it up to them.
Trouble in VC Paradise–(NYT) Allthose yachts and McMansions and third homes may only be for partners investing in the top tier VC firms. The others, according to this NYT article, are not making meaningful payouts to their limited partners. CIQ: This reminds us of 2000 when there was a lot of buzz about a very few who made money.
Joost Gets $45 Million–(Media Post) The investors may not have read the story above. But perhaps, with Kazaa founder at the helm, the bet is that this will be a top tier investment. The internet television start-up is positioned to take on You Tube.
Internet Strategy to Find Lost Print Audience–(Mediaweek) The study was conducted by media agency conglomerate Group M, which says, “Our advice is to panic a little.” Advertisers, the study advises, must move more quickly and agressively online to capture the audience it is losing in print. CIQ: Our advice: Panic a lot.
Brand Evangelism – (Washington Post) This article outlines the various methods brands are using to get consumers to create community, become involved in the brand, and evangelize for them. M&Ms lets people create branded Avatars. Kraft is launching a supermarket in Second Life and Cadillac wants people to upload their brand stories. CIQ: We are very curious how brands will measure the effectiveness of these efforts.
Thomsom Makes Reuters Bid—(CNN) If it goes through, the new financial empire would be bigger than Bloomberg. CIQ: We wonder if this will influence Dow Jones to sell to Murdoch.
Niche Sites Outpace Big Media Online—(Adage) Smaller online pureplays such as The Weather Channel and About.com trump the kings of offline media such as NBC and The New York Times. One expert comments, “It’s a totally different medium, and the web-based companies have designed and built content for this medium.” CIQ: We agree. We feel traditional media people have a very hard time figuring out what people want online.