WB TV Reborn Online?

wb onlineThe WB Network catered to youth audiences from 1995 to 2006.  The upstart TV Network then joined with UPN to form the CW.  Now, according to aMediaweek report that cites “unidentified sources” the old WB may be on its way back again, only with an exception: it will be online.

Though there is no official report, the former home of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville and the Gillmore Girls may be reborn as an online video portal targeting women between the ages of 12 and 34. 

So far, few facts have surfaced.  Click to Read More

$100m KPCB iPhone iFund: Shocking or Marketing?

kpcb ifundOne hundred million dollars buys a lot of iPhones, probably about two hundred and fifty thousand or so.  A hundred million also buy a lot of iPhone software development.  Just how much will be up to Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB).  As part of Apple’s iPhone Road Map Day on Thursday the Sand Hill Road venture capital firm took the stage to announce the organization of a $100m investment initiative earmarked for developing applications and services for use with the phone.

$100m is a lot of money.  Pledging it all to software and services built around a single product sounds significant.  But while there is no question it is a strong endorsement of the iPhone’s potential, beneath the headlines the allocation may be less significant than it seems.  It comes down how venture funds work and a distinction in phrasing between a fund and a focus area.  

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Blockbuster Earnings Finally Picking Up

bbi earningsJim Keyes cut his teeth squeezing profits out of quickie marts and low cost snacks.  After about eight months trying to get Blockbuster back on track, the former 7-11 chief  and his management tactics may finally be working.

Thursday Blockbuster (BBI) reported earnings of $38.1m, or 18 cents a share on revenue of $1.57b.  Less severance related charges and other onetime costs, earnings came in at $54.9m (26 cents a share).  The numbers are a drastic improvement over the $8.3m (4 cents a share) earned during the same period last year.  The results also outpaced consensus analyst estimates of about 19 cents a share.

Much of the near term improvement is the result of cost cutting measures including scaling back advertising expenses (decreased about 26%) and closing down about 750 stores.

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Ships Passing: iPhone and Blackberry Battle for Mobile Markets

iphone sdkCell phones are getting more and more sophisticated and along with the changing technologies, mobile usage patterns are starting to shift.  According to a just released report from Pew Internet about 75% of American adults own a cell phone.  58% have used their device for non-voice applications (email, texting, and Internet) and 41% have logged into a mobile Internet connection.

Apple and Research in Motion are among the phone makers leading the push to the future but like giant ships passing in the night, they have so far approached the markets from opposite shores; one focused on consumers, the other the needs of corporate business users.  Now that is changing.  In an increasingly spirited competition both companies are expanding their ambition.  Instead of targeting just a segment (corporate/consumer) now they’re both aiming for the entire smart phone market. It’s shaping up to be an interesting battle.

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TiVo Q4 Earnings: Still Losing But Beating the Street

tivo earnsAfter another quarter, profitability still remains elusive for TiVo but extending a trend the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) pioneer inched ever so slightly closer to the black.  Wednesday the Alviso based company reported a net loss better than expectations.

For the 4th quarter ended January 31st, TiVo reported a loss of $6.34m, or 6 cents a share.  The result generously beat consensus analyst expectations (via Thomson Financial) of a loss of 11cents a share.  The loss was a significant improvement over a loss of $19.5m, or 20cents a share for the same period last year.  The result was also an improvement over the company’s own November guidance (which called for a net loss of $9m to $12m). Adjusted EBITDA was $1.0 million, compared to an Adjusted EBITDA loss of ($15.0) million in the year-ago period.

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Ziff Davis Media Files Bankruptcy

ziff-davis.jpgThings have gone from bad to worse for publishing house Ziff Davis Media and its Private Equity owner Willis Stein.  Bankruptcy is now official.

Under mounting debt, things have been bad for some time.  Last year the troubled company sold off their enterprise division ($160m in June).  In August, they announced they’d be unable to make interest payments on their mounting debt.  Today’s news that the company will seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to try and sort out the mess was a foregone conclusion.

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7Digital Gets Warner Music DRM Free

7digital warnerWarner Music Group has made some recent staff changes at the roles marching them into the digital age.  They’re also expanding their list of distribution partners with a deal struck between UK digital media shop 7Digital and Warner’s International division.

Effective starting today the entire Warner Music Catalog including music from Jackson Browne to James Blunt to the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be available without Digital Rights Management encryption in the UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Germany.

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