Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yahoo! Video Hearts YouTube... Enough to Rip Them Off, That Is

Modifications to Yahoo! Video will be unveiled tomorrow, writes AP business writer, Michael Liedtke. Taking a cue from YouTube, Yahoo! will not only begin hosting videos, but will introduce system that allows viewers to rate content.

"Videos will be separated into different categories, including a section devoted to the most-watched selections," says Liedtke. "Like YouTube, Yahoo will depend on its own users and copyright holders to flag rule-breaking videos so they can be removed from the site. "

YouTube, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, drew 12.5 million US visitors who viewed more than 40 million streams per day last month. Yahoo! Video, by comparison, lured a mere 2.6 million.

In celebration, no doubt, Ethan Fassett and the Yahoo! Video team have also launched a blog.

Disney Studio Enters Download-to-Own Market

The Walt Disney Company's Buena Vista Home Entertainment unit has signed a deal with digital studio CinemaNow that will soon make many of their best-loved titles available for online purchase.

Downloaded movies can be transferred to up to three devices for a cost comparable to that of a DVD according to CinemaNow president, Bruce Eisen.

As per their agreement, new releases would be offered on the same day they're released on DVD.

Hat-tip: Reuters.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Is Social Media the New "Big Bad Wolf"?

A new study from Forrester Research has found that despite all of the hullabaloo, marketers are still cautious when it comes to tapping into bold new frontiers like advergaming and social media.

A Forrester analyst claims that this is because most are "struggling to manage existing efforts" - sounds like a pretty thin excuse to me.

Hat-tip: Adweek.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Judicial Ruling Defends Rights of Bloggers and Online Journalists

In a case filed by Apple Computer Inc. over leaked product details, Justice Conrad Rushing of the 6th District Court of Appeal in California has ruled that bloggers and online journalists are entitled to the same "protections provided under California's shield law as well as the privacy protections for e-mails allowed under federal law."

"In no relevant respect do they appear to differ from a reporter or editor for a traditional business-oriented periodical who solicits or otherwise comes into possession of confidential internal information about a company," said Rushing, who also declined the "implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes legitimate journalism."


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Internet a "New Frontier in the Struggle for Human Rights," Says Amnesty International

"Chat rooms monitored. Blogs deleted. Web sites blocked. Search engines restricted. People imprisoned for simply posting and sharing information."

As a follow-up to their OpenNet Initiative, Amnesty International and The Observer have again joined forces in an attack against Internet censorship, this time pointing fingers of shame at Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google for "complying with repressive regimes" in China, Syria, Iran and Vietnam.

Their campaign hub includes excerpts of materials deemed "inappropriate" - visitors are encouraged to sign a pledge for online freedom that the partners plan to present to the UN when sessions on the future of the Internet begin in November.

Hat-tip: AFP via Yahoo!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Microsoft Program Manager Launches Windows Mobile Blog

Mel Sampat, Program Manager in the Mobile & Embedded Devices division at Microsoft, has launched a blog that he hopes will become a "resource that developers can turn to for improving the overall quality of their Windows Mobile applications."

Among the issues MelSam plans to address are compatibility and usability, best practices for ensuring that applications run on future versions of Windows Mobile, documenting APIs for use in accomplishing common and uncommon tasks and more.

"To keep things interesting," says Sampat in his second post, he plans to introduce a weekly 'Spot the Bug' contest that involves posting a short snippet of code (or a downloadable app) that will intentionally include a bug. "Readers will have three days to submit what they think the problem is," he writes. Sampat will post the solution and the names of the top three winners on the fourth day.

Catch Mel at Microsoft's Mobile & Embedded DevCon 2006 on June 27th in Kuala Lumpur.

Disclosure: Microsoft's Mobile & Embedded Devices unit is a Weber Shandwick client.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The British Are Coming, the British Are Coming!

Last month, the BBC introduced news junkies to BBC World, a commercially funded, 'round-the-clock global news network available to Cablevision subscribers in the New York/Tri-State area (disclosure: they're a client).

Now on June 6th, UK daily The Times will begin printing a US edition following growing interest in the paper's online version among American audiences, writes Joe Lepper of Brand Republic.

According to editor Robert Thomson, "The Times has one of the largest international networks of any newspaper in the world and US readers want and need sophisticated global political and economic coverage."

The decision, he adds, represents a "key moment in the development of The Times as an international media brand.

Any thoughts on who might be next?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

New Study Examines the Impact of Emerging Trends on the Lives of Gen X/Gen Y

@trendcentral has been offering sneak peeks at The Intelligence Group's latest edition of The Cassandra Report, an in-depth study that explores emerging trends in technology, entertainment, fashion, spending, marketing, attitudes and consumer products and the impact they're having on the lives of Gen Xers and Ys.

According to the May 2006 study, 47% of the 14 to 34-year olds surveyed have purchased or downloaded some form of entertainment content in the past 30 days. Not surprisingly, music led the popularity pack that also included ringtones, games, movies, videos, TV shows and podcasts.

Click here for yesterday's preview.

Hat-tip: Melissa Lavigne.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ten Ways Blogging Is Better Than Sex

While I'm not a fan of the old cut n' paste, here's a list of 10 Ways Blogging Is Better Than Sex, respectfully lifted from David Armano's Blogger Anonymous:

  1. You feel agitated if you don't do it MORE THAN once a day.
  2. In fact, multiple posts in the same day are no problem – EVER.
  3. You can manage two blogs at once (or more)!
  4. You always keep the lights on and the shades up – not just for fun once in a while.
  5. You think to yourself, "Man I bet she'd look hot in a Tequila template."
  6. You consider leaving comments on someone's blog that you are attracted to as "having a quickie" with them.
  7. You can do it alone.
  8. You only have to master one good "position."
  9. You can jump from blog to blog at will, and your own blog never makes you feel guilty.
  10. There’s no sugar-coating. When you suck, you’ll hear the truth.

You are not alone. Millions of people struggle with blogging. For some it's cost them their health - for others, their families. Bloggers Anonymous is here to help people like you - who want to stop but can't. We can help.

Thx for the chuckle, B.L.!

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

AP Signs Deals with Technorati and Topix

As part of an agreement with the Associated Press, Technorati's homepage will soon feature callouts to the "Top Five Most Blogged About" stories.

"Links to those postings," says tech writer Peter Svensson, "will be available along with the original AP stories on 440 member Web sites served by AP Hosted News."

In addition, the news organization has also signed a 15-month content licensing deal with up-and-comer, Topix, in, as Svensson writes, "an attempt to address a common complaint among newspapers when AP stories are based on material from their stories."

Monday, May 22, 2006

Hollywood Heavies Buy Into aSmallWorld

Exclusive social network has garnered the attention of ex-Miramax co-CEOs Bob and Harvey Weinstein. The pair join one-time AOL COO Bob Pittman and a team of investors reported to have granted the invitation-only online community an undisclosed sum.

"The investment by the Weinstein Company is the first that it has made in an online company. Last month, the company worked with online video site YouTube, to feature the first eight minutes of its thriller 'Lucky Number Slevin' to help promote the film."

Hat-tip: Reuters.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Glimpse Into the Future of Mobile Content

These days, writes Lorne Manly of The New York Times, "companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to adapt their current brands in television, movies, games and news and information to the tiny screens of mobile phones, and creating new programming."

With over 1 billion capable devices across the globe, it's no wonder marketers are competing so agressively for our attention. But are we willing to pay a premium for what they've got to offer?

Researcher Linda Barrabee of Boston's Yankee Group doesn't think anyone's "really looking at their phone as more than a way to communicate." Execs who hold the reins to programming, however, have thoughts of their own.

Will they succeed by repurposing existing content? Like Digital Chocolate's Trip Hawkins, I have my doubts. Quoted in this AM's piece, I believe he hit the nail on the head when he said mobile's killer app would come in the form of something entirely new.

Content, he says, is a means to an end: "social connection trumps all."