CIQ Headlines for March 22

CIQ Headlines

NBC and News Corp. Announce Plans to Tackle YouTube–(NYT) The two media giants announced a joint venture that as yet has no name but may go live as early as this summer. The online video site would be both ad-supported and allow users to pay for content. CIQ: AOL, Yahoo, MSN and MySpace are distribution partners, so this startup is in a good position to compete with YouTube’s audience.

CD Sales Down 20% in Q1–(WSJ) It’s a huge plunge. The worse news, online downloads do not make up for the drop in CD sales. Why? Because of piracy. 800 music retails stores have closed. According to one executive, “Sales are so down and so off that, as a manager, I look at a CD as part of the marketing of an artist, more than as an income stream.” CIQ: The producers of video content (see news item above) are making attempts to coopt the digital download trend. And success for them is by no means guaranteed. One wonders if it is simply too late for the music industry. An aggressive ad-supported push is necessary.

Condensing Takes Place at Readers Digest–(NY Post) Three top execs are fired, including publisher, associate publisher and group publisher. CIQ: The Post article quotes people calling Mary Berner’s house cleaning as the “Conde Nastie” way. And yet, here is another print publication in danger of becoming irrelevant in the digital age. With the right strategy, a strong brand like RD could compete online with iVillage.