Amazon Unbox and AOL Video Link Up

amazon aolScratch pay per view video from AOL’s list of services. After a year of effort, AOL confirmed Friday they were scrapping their in-house service and instead opting for a partnership with Amazon and their Unbox video download store.

AOL’s Senior VP of Video explained to the A.P. that they are shifting their focus" toward an advertising business." Pay per view video didn’t fit in to that model so they decided to cut it loose.

Instead, AOL will integrate links to Amazon and also may house some Amazon content on AOL Video. The two companies will share revenue from the venture (Details or terms of the cash split weren’t disclosed.)

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Networks take $120m from Internet Video ads?

vid adsSome estimates suggest the market for global online video advertising will reach $1.3b this year.   The 4 major U.S. television networks (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) have been coy about their share of that booty.   It’s no wonder.  With writers striking, one of the core negotiating points is digital revenue.  The writers want a piece and the networks don’t want to lock in a rate for a market too premature to estimate accurately.

Thursday, the Financial Times put a number on the present stakes.  Citing a senior vice president at Starcom, a media buying agency that spends with all 4, FT estimated a combined annual take of greater than $120m.

That’s not bad, but it’s peanuts compared to the market opportunity.  Click to Read More

Tivo Q3 Earnings

tivo calcPositive earnings remain elusive for TiVo (Nasdaq:TIVO) but despite turbulent markets, the "time shift" pioneer may be getting ever so slightly closer. After the close or markets Wednesday, Tivo released Q3 earnings. The numbers were somewhere between flat and positive.

For the quarter ended October 31st, Tivo posted a net loss of $8.24m (8c a share), substantially better than a loss of $11.1m (12c a share) for the same period last year. The return was also far better than last quarter which suffered due to inventory write downs. The consensus analyst expectations were for a loss of 13c a share. Tivo beat the street by a penny.

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Disney Holiday Shopping? Increased focus on Acquisitions

disney M&AWhile consumers are thinking about gifts to buy for the holidays, Walt Disney Company is getting their shopping lists in order too. Looking to potentially heat things up in the acquisition market, Disney has organized several executives into a specialized Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) division.

The group, division, or whatever loose title its given, is not necessarily a formal restructuring. Disney’s looking to consolidate management tasks and improve strategic communication in anticipation’s of increased spending. It’s about efficiency. Day to day responsibilities for those involved may go largely unchanged.

First reported by Tech Crunch, and later confirmed by other sources, the group will be run by Kevin Mayer, Disney’s executive vice president of Corporate Development. It’s unclear if he’ll take a new title or adjust his current operational responsibilities.

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Kangaroo Project: BBC and Rivals Unite to Build Internet Video Site

project kangarooLike much of the media industry, the U.K.’s  BBC is struggling to adapt the changing ways consumers are quenching their information thirsts.  At times, it seems like they’re trying everything, like anything goes; especially over the past few months.

In July, BBC released a second Beta test for peer to peer media player software dubbed iPlayer.  In October, the Financial Times and other publications reported  that as much as 12% of BBC staff would be layed off.  Now, November, add joint venture to the mix.

Tuesday, several UK top broadcasters including the BBC (BBC Worldwide),  ITV and Channel 4, announced they will jointly launch an on-demand Internet video joint venture in 2008. The partnership, which is codenamed “Project Kangaroo,” sounds a lot like NBC Universal and News Corps recently launched (beta) Hulu platform.

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Slacker Portable: Debut set for December

slacker playerSlacker’s a relatively old word.  It’s been around since at least the 1890’s and had a variety of meanings, most negative in tone.  San Diego based Slacker, a technology company of the same name, is focused on music distribution and hoping to give the word new life and new meaning; something traversing from lazy and laissez faire to easy to use and can’t live without.  Their biggest test is almost here. 

Though recent fanfare and marketing has been limited, on December 13, barely in time for the holidays, Slacker will ship their portable music player. 

The device is modern and slick in appearance.  With a four inch diagonal screen, on-board WiFi and a ten hour battery life, it might be mistaken as another iPod competitor.  It’s not, at least directly.  Slacker’s aiming for something altogether different.   Instead of targeting Apple head on, they’re competing for the same purchasing dollars but going after the radio market, trying to be Radio 2.0. 

The brainchild of three former music company executives, Slacker, the company, launched commercially last March with high hopes for changing music distribution.   Their concept was built around integrating three music delivery channels into a single interconnected product line.

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Soundoff: Executive Soundbytes on “Content”

mikeSongs capture a moment in time. They play in background as soundtracks to our lives. Games become pastimes. TV episodes, appointments. Movies remain our escapes and fantasies. At water coolers and barstools, we critique and borrow their dialog : “Here’s looking at you, kid.” “Phone home.” Don’t believe it? Fine, “No soup for you.”

From blogs to movies, webisodes and clips to comics and film, from ha-ha funny, to tear-jerker sad, we live in a world hungry for media. We feed that hunger with mass media and the alternative; with songs and sound bytes, in features and micro-chunks. We engage with it on computers, at home, at work, in the car, on the go. We consume it. On a phone. On a TV. Via consoles and portables, real-time and “time shifted” too.

“Content is King” or at least, esteemed royalty. Today, in acknowledgment of how the media world continues to evolve Metue presents a third brief collection of recent notable quotations, this time on “Content,” the manna that fuels our entertainment appetites:

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