Kraft Launches Second Life Venture—(Chicago Tribune) By creating a supermarket in Second Life Kraft will become the first food marketer with virtual products consumable by avatars. CIQ: We think marketers get more buzz around the press releases for this kind of thing than actual brand benefit from being in Second Life.
NBC Limits Pre-Roll –(Media Post) NBC announced that it will limit pre-roll on its video clips to 15 seconds. CIQ: We think advertisers would be better off with shorter interruptions mid-way into content. We also like the idea of a branded wrapper around video clips.
Online Newspaper Audience Outpaces Overall Web Growth — (Media Post) The growth of the audience to online newspapers is growing at 5.3% compared to 2.7% for the internet at large. However, “newspaper companies are having a hard time monetizing those audiences at levels high enough to offset losses from print advertising declines.” CIQ: We believe the answer is in the ad product itself. Also, if print continues to decline, CPMs will rise online.
Questioning the Ad-Supported Model— (Seattle Post Intelligencer) At the WSA investment forum, questions about whether there are enough ad dollars to go around to support the array of startups touting an “ad-supported model.” CIQ: We think startups “get” the idea of content better than established companies, even MSN, Yahoo and AOL. YouTube and MySpace are examples. Therefore, we think investing in these companies makes sense only if they can be seen as valuable to the large interactive empires that will ultimately be ad-supported.
YouTube Launches Show — (Red Herring) Ten episodes of Afterworld, an animated sci-fi series about a cell-phone salesman in a post-apocalyptic world, will be broadcast on YouTube. The idea will be to test drive this format and channel, supported by advertising. CIQ: We think advertising must be wrapped and inserted in such a way that works both for the advertiser and the viewer. Pre-roll is a bad idea. That said, we like the perspective of the CEO of Electric Farm, the production company that made Afterworld. He believes that internet viewers will be ok with advetising especially if the content is high quality.
Microsoft Eyes Yahoo –(New York Post) With the Google/DoubleClick merger, observers say Microsoft is on the ropes and in the hunt for something big. CIQ: We believe both these parties, MS and Yahoo, are looking a little tired and dull compared with the agressively innovative Google.
What a Murdoch-Owned Future Might Look Like for DJ –(Business Week) Among other things, Dow Jones owns two sites, Barrons & WSJ.com, that have made the pay-to-read model work. This article takes a good look at the financial online powerhouse that Murdoch might soon own. CIQ: Both Murdoch and DJ get the new media landscape. Says DJ CEO, “The aim of our transformation plan is to transform Dow Jones from a company heavily dependent on print revenue to a more diversified content-driven consumer and enterprise media company.” Do they need Murdoch to help them do it?
In Web Uprising Antipiracy Code Published –(NYT) A few days ago, Digg.com received cease & desist letters because some members had published the 32-digit code necessary to hack into movies. Rather than eliminating the threat to digital piracy, the attempt to put the lid on had the opposite affect, with the technorati proliferating its distribution. CIQ: Whatever your personal opinion might be on digital rights, copyrights, etc., the practical reality is that locking down content has become harder and harder to do. You can fight the good fight, or figure out another way to make money on the web.
Email is the Star at AOL— (Washington Post) AOL’s ad revenue was up 35%, despite the fact that revenues declined from $2 billion to $1.5 billion. An interesting not is that 40% of the AOL ad revenue came from ads on the now-free email service. CIQ: We contintue to think email is the killer app.
Murdoch Bids $5 Billion for Dow Jones–(NYT) “Mr. Murdoch’s offer comes as the newspaper industry is under financial pressure and many newspaper stocks, including Dow Jones’s, have been in a prolonged slump. The Journal, while prestigious, is only marginally profitable.” Murdoch would move aggressively, insiders say, to move the Journal into a more aggressive online strategy, making it the financial backbone of the Newscorp empire. CIQ: It’s sad to see venerable old publishing families like the Bancrofts under such pressure. Most old-time publishers have not moved aggressively enough into electronic media to support their futures.
Book Reviews Endangered Species— (NYT) Some papers are firing their book editors and cancelling book-review sections? The reason: Falling readership of print news combined with an upsurge in book-review blogs. Many authors, agents, and publishers are disspointed their books won’t be appearing in a venerable book review, but rather in curledup.com. CIQ: It’s odd to us that many focus on the “death” of old media without realizing how much greater potential there is online.
Comcast-Yahoo, the Deal that No One Noticed –(Blogmaverick) Yesterday, Comcast and Yahoo announced the following deal: Yahoo will be serving ads into Comcast websites, including Comcast.net. This article is a little technical, but describes how this might be the deal of the year. Why? Because Comcast is a private network. So advertisers don’t have to deal with the vagaries of delivering over the internet. The video-ad stream can be matched to the user’s bit-rate. In addition, the ads are being served to Comcast subscribers– people for whom there is customer data. CIQ: We believe that participation of cable companies is crucial for an ad-supported internet model.