CBS will develop a community-generated content initiative for local sites
CBS’s owned-and-operated stations are partnering with Microsoft and its new cross-browser video technology Silverlight to power user-created content on the sites. So users may view, upload, share, rate, comment, sort and search video, images, audio and text submissions.
A key component of the application is its full integration into the existing content publishing workflow of the CBS Television Stations’ digital media groups.
Microsoft Silverlight technology is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for media experiences and applications on the Web. (See screen grabs here.)
YouTube will roll out video ads with natural interruption points
YouTube is testing video ads with pre-rolls, post-rolls and video ads, and this summer will begin rolling them out. The question has always been people’s reaction.
Brightcove’s Jeremy Allaire suggests a new model that involves a 3-second pre-roll and a 10-second mid-roll ad. YouTube’s desire to make money is understandable, but slapping on ads that users can’t avoid doesn’t like a good move. The key is that users control whether or not to view the ad.
AOL and ABCNews launch new advanced sites
AOL.com has rolled out its new redesigned Website; it is clean and easy to navigate. Problem is that looks mighty similar to Yahoo, which has its look since last summer. AOL agrees that there are similarities. “I think in this industry there are a lot of elements of portals that are just going to be similar because people have developed them to a point that they are standards.
The functionality is where the difference lies,” one of its senior vice president says. See the tour they have arranged to explain the launching.
Also, with its 10th anniversary coming this May, ABCNews.com has launched with a new, simple, tabbed design and a clean home page. The new site features an embedded video player above the fold, but the biggest innovation here is the user feedback control built into every story: users can leave comments, contribute facts to the story, submit suggested polls and upload video.
Firefox torrent plug-in lets you watch while you download
It has been released FoxTorrent, a downloader plug-in for the Firefox browser that lets you watch or listen to the torrent file as it downloads. Torrent files are divided unevenly and are different than streaming files.
The company behind the initiative is Red Swoosh, recently purchased by Akamai.
YouTube starts paying a few contributors
YouTube has started to erase the stigma around the unpaid user-generated content. Between 20 and 40 independent video producers on YouTube will began receiving a slice of revenue associated with display ads that surround their video clips.
These producers are considered media entities in their own right. Take for example Lonelygirl15, Smosh and LisaNova. YouTube continues to work on a wider-reaching revenue share program.
Joost.com, the Internet TV platform started by the creators of Skype, has received this week $45 million in financing from five venture capitalists and content partners: Index Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Li Ka Shing Foundation, CBS and Viacom. They plan to use the money to expand its advertising, programming and marketing operations. This is the company’s first institutional round of financing.
Joost has signed up 500,000 users in its test phase. Joost service is supported through advertising; the commercials consume about three minutes of each hour of programming, versus 15 minutes on standard TV. The peer-to-peer video site distributes shows in traditional television format, unlike YouTube and other video sites that mostly display user-submitted clips.
Right now Joost has 36 advertisers, including Nike, Coca-Cola and Intel, along with 100 content partners, including CBS, Viacom, Turner Broadcasting and Warner.
Outsourcing local news coverage to India
Why not hiring journalists in India to cover your local news? That is what the editor of California’s PasadenaNow.com site did. He hired two journalists in India. He is spending $20,800 for both of the reporters for the year, with a target of 15 articles each week.
Since the city council meetings are streamed over the internet, the journalists can pick up the phone or e-mail to interview people, and cover Pasadena’s city government and political scene.
Outsourcing comes the next frontier: local journalism. And the idea makes business sense because of India’s lower labor costs. This is not the first time media jobs have been shipped to India. Reuters runs an operation in Bangalore that chums out Wall Street stories based on news releases.
There is no doubt broadcaster will start coming around to the idea. Liz Foreman columnist wrote a list of jobs that will be sent overseas. Take a look.
Free classifieds ads for 22 million users; another blow for newspapers
Yet another blow for many newspapers. Facebook, the sixth most-visited Web site in the US, has added free classifieds ads for its 22 million active users. Between Craigslist and Facebook young people are being conditioned to never pay a penny for classifieds ad.
Facebook’s Marketplace service allows members to create classified listings in four categories: housing, jobs, for sale, and other. Also, they can choose to make their listings available to their friends, their network or to the site as whole.
CitySearch will start posting video causing concern for local TV
CitySearch.com, the leading local search and directory company that provides up-to-date information on businesses, will start posting video of local restaurants, spas, boutiques and other local businesses. It should be of grave concern for local TV stations.
¨Video on Citysearch will leverage our trusted content, providing consumers with the best local experience on the web,¨ said the President of Citysearch. Video on Citysearch gives user the opportunity to experience the ambiance and meet the owners of business before visiting.
Citysearch tapped Internet video company, TurnHere to create the video.
Newvine unveils a new design with smart functionalities
See the redesigned citizen journalism and social news site Newsvine.com with cutting-edge functionalities. The main page combines the drag-and-drop feature of many news aggregators, so you can import your own RSS feeds and position everything exactly how you want it.
Everything is totally customizable except the ads and a couple modules like the top story. In a world where the user is in control, it makes sense open it up for all kinds of content.
Broadband industry are seeing an exciting potential in P2P to enhance users’ video experiences. P2P’s big advantage is that it allows users themselves to become servers of content to other users, once they have installed client software on their computers. In doing so, these clients may send files to users requesting contents that they have already stored. Then the load for delivering content is shifted from central servers to the nodes or users on the P2P network. Files can be delivered for either download or streaming.
And with Joost’s launch upon us, BitTorrent going mainstream, Akamai buying Red Swoosh and other initiatives underway, many players see it as an important, if not essential, way to deliver large quantities of video, especially live streams, in an economic manner.
Potential is big, but two important obstacles lie ahead: consumers’ willingness to become P2P nodes (especially in this era of spyware, malware, viruses) and ISPs restrain in blocking P2P traffic.
To date, broadband ISPs have used traffic shaping technology to identify and limit traffic. Virtually all ISPs offer asymmetric Internet access, meaning that the amount of bandwidth offered in the upstream path is only a fraction of that provisioned for the downstream path. However, limiting users’ access to services like Joost and BitTorrent could fuel protests. Let’s see what happens.
CNN frees up Pipeline
CNN is dropping the subscription model from its Pipeline service ($25 annual fee). Giving Pipeline for free (beginning July1), CNN acknowledges that it’s too tough to get users for news online, and starts to pursue the ad market. Pipeline features as many as four live streams of news as well as archived video.
Its CPM is in the $25-40 range, according to some insiders. Only 3 cable TV networks of 75 are using a subscription. Those three are Golf Channel, CourtTV, Weather Channel.
New York Times seeking $30M in annual revenue from video
One of the main samples of newspapers morphing themselves from print-only outlets to multi-platform contents providers is the New York Times. Martin Niesenholtz, the longtime SVP Digital Operations for the New York Times Company disclosed at the Streaming Media East conference (celebrated in New York this month, in where IBLNEWS was present) some key stats.
The NYT has 20 people dedicated to video who create around 100 new video pieces per month. The newspaper serves 5M streams/month, up 3x from a year ago. The executive shared that the Times needs to provide 60M stream per month, or 12X today’s rate, to generate $30M in annual revenue from video.
He assumed $60 CPMs, which is too high. Importantly, he’s targeting to generate 5X the viewership of Times video via 3rd party distributors (so pretty strong endorsement of the syndication model).
Another video blog sold to a big fish
Wallstrip.com, a successful comedy video blog about the stock market, with over 10,000 viewers, has been bought by CBS for undisclosed sum. Wallstrip will retain a separate identity, and CBS Interactive unit will join them to develop Internet programs and information that can be sent to mobile phones and other devices.
Wallstrip.com’s content is distributed through channels like YouTube, Google Finance and Apple’s iTunes store. Its three-minute show features Lindsay Campbell, a fetching 29-year-old actor, as host.
The creator of WallStrip is Howard Lindzon, a small-time hedge fund manager, who enlisted a group of 10 financial and venture-capital bloggers to contribute to the site, and raised more than $500,000 in angel funding to create a slate of shows.
Many predict that 2007 will be the year money starts flowing to top indie video creators. This trend was pioneered by Rocketboom and Ask a Ninja, which draw hundreds of thousands of viewers.
American spend half of its spare time online
U.S. broadband users spend an hour and 40 minutes (48% of their spare time) online in a typical weekday, and more than a half of that is spent accessing activities related to entertainment and communication, according to a Media Screen study.
The manager director of the study says: \"Currently, the proportion of advertising resources devoted to the Internet (about seven percent according to ZenithOptimedia) is nominal relative to the value it generates... among fans... consumers, on a typical weekday, spend more than 40% of their time consuming media online...\"
ABC.com will be the first in the industry to stream HD video available on the web, providing its users a new online viewing experience. According to the president of Disney-ABC Television Group, it will be “true high definition resolution video”, 1280 X 720 resolution.
The stream will start as a beta test this Julie from series as Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty. Also coming this fall, the ABC.com player will include national news as well as local content that’s geo-targeted to participating markets.
ABC.com’s broadband player currently offers full-length episodes in high quality standard resolution of over a dozen series. In addition it is being offered as small mini screen that users can position wherever they choose on their desktops.
CBS revises its broadband strategy
CBS’s Innertube broadband channel is not working. CBS admitted that Innertube, launched a year ago, it is not drawing an audience. And the company plans to pursue a “drastically revised strategy” that involves syndicating its video all over the place instead of trying to draw people into its own site.
“We can’t expect consumers to come to us,” says the president of CBS Interactive. “It’s is arrogant for any media company to assume that.” Most of the networks are betting that they can build their own Internet video portals, underestimating the power of syndication.
Roo will expand its resources after getting $25 million
Roo Group, a leading video solutions company, has completed $25 million private equity financing, in a common stock transaction. The participants are institutional investors, the majority of which are existing investors. Roo.com will use the money to fund ongoing operations, pursue acquisitions, develop its video platform and expand the company’s sales and marketing resources.
The market cap of the company is right now $70 million. The company is also planning to enter into Hispanic market, Jared Pick, Director of Distribution Sales, said to IBLNEWS.
Trying to chase Google, Microsoft makes a $6 billion ad buyout
In its largest acquisition ever, Microsoft acquired Seattle-based online ad company aQuantive for $6 billion, an 85 percent premium over yesterday’s closing price. Microsoft had lost out in the bidding on a number of online ad companies over the last several months, most notably Google’s $3.1 billion purchase of DoubleClick.
The buyout clearly demonstrates Microsoft’s long-term commitment to digital advertising. The company is trying to chase Google in the race to see who can do the most to nurture the nascent online advertising space in years to come.
The new ad frontier is aimed at demographically targeted multimedia ads that his consumers as they use their cell phones, listen to podcast, play video games and watch Internet-enabled TV programming.
Research firm eMarketer expects annual online ad spending to climb 122 % to $36.5 billion by 2011.
Reuters, sold for $17.2 billion to Canadian Thomson
Canadian publisher Thomson Corp. agreed to buy Reuters for $17.2 billion, creating the world’s leading provider of news and data for professional markets. The buyout still needs antitrust clearance from Brussels and Washington, and shareholder approval to complete merger.
Thomson will control about 70 percent of the new company, and Reuters chief executive Tom Glocer will be CEO.
With 34 percent of the financial information market, the new Thomson-Reuters will overtake privately-owned Bloomberg on 33 percent.
Two equity firms buy Clear Channel for $19.5 billion
Clear Channel Communications, the largest U.S. radio broadcaster, accepted an offer to be purchased for $19.5 billion from to two equity firms, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital, both of Boston.
The Mays family, founders of Clear Channel, and the company’s top shareholders had been feuding over the future of the company since last year.