MySpace Cuts Staff to Regain Agility

In his biography or Rupert Murdoch, “the Man Who Owns the News,” Michael Wolff spoke indirectly of News Corps culture saying “every second working for [Rupert] Murdoch is a second spent thinking about what Murdoch wants.” Outside the realm of News Corps more core news-driven media properties, MySpace seemed to escape some of that oversight these past few years. The company was coasting on a straightening trajectory as an almost unaffiliated entity.

With new handpicked leadership in place, that’s changing.  Looking to refocus on the customer experience and regain a nimble edge without excess financial weight, MySpace said it will lay off about 30% of its staff.

Click to Read More

Paying for Content? USA Today to Try Email Delivery?

paid news content metueFrom publisher to mogul, the frequent mantra from up high lately has been that the future for news media online will increasingly require payment for content.   Big papers simply can’t afford to keep shelling out the money to pay the high price of reporting while competitors “borrow” the costly facts for free and customers bounce from site to site with little loyalty to anything other than the fastest copy editor and the first to report.  The big question, though, is: who will pay?  And what will they pay for.. or how much?

According to Barry Diller, IAC’s chairman and CEO, “anything of value is going to be paid for” online.  People have paid for content before and they’ll continue to.  That’s what he said in a keynote at the Advertising 2.0 conference in New York, Wednesday.

Not all would agree, however.  Or they’ll hone in on the definition of one key word: “value,” and make that the battleground.

While it’s true advertising can’t, and won’t be a cure-all that pays for all costs and provides all revenue, it’s not clear what value propositions are necessary to lure a customer used to getting an overload of free information into opening their wallet and paying for the privilege. 

Click to Read More

Apple Reveals iPhone 3G S

3G S iPhoneTrue to expectation, Apple launched its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco Monday with bang, or at least, plenty of news.  Two days after Palm rolled out the Pre, a solid Smartphone in its own right, Apple rolled out the latest incarnation of its own category killer, the iPhone 3G S.

Like the second incarnation that came before (iPhone 3G), the news of the phone was anticipated, and largely as forecast:

Behind a lead-in of teasing sales numbers touting 40m iPhone and iPod Touch Units sold, and the 50k applications available in the App Store (compared to less than 5,000 at the closest competitor: Android), the Keynote Speech showcased the phone and the official installment of the 3.0 software package for the platform.

Leading the improvement list, Click to Read More

E3 2009: Controller-Free Gaming? Microsoft Motion Control: Project Natal

3d gesturesIt’s hard to call the Beatles an opening act.  But if the Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr assisted demonstration of the Beatles Rock Band game was the warm up, than Microsoft’s demonstration of new motion control technology was the headlining main event at the company’s E3 Press Briefing. 

Monday morning, Microsoft showcased what it’s calling Project Natal.  The subject of years of rumors, and longstanding speculation, it’s a technology that takes the unfulfilled dream of Sony’s Eye Toy and makes it real.   It’s cameras and computer interaction in ways we’ve only seen in movies.  It’s nothing short (in potential) of spectacular.  (see video embedded below for demonstration)

To quote Steven Spielberg who was on hand to help with the reveal, “This is a pivotal moment that will carry with it a wave of change, the ripples of which will reach far beyond video games”  

To put it to imagery, picture the gaming interface of Nintendo’s Wii, without the need of a controller.  Picture a user interface that recognizes and responds to a person’s movement and environment.  It’s a computer with sight (and ears).

Want to fight Sugar Ray Leonard or Muhammed Ali in a boxing game? Test your mettle against an Ultimate Fighter without the bruising and bone breaks? Make a fist and swing your hands through the air. Click to Read More

Hulu Offers Application Alternative

hulu labsGo back a few years ago and companies pushing net video streams out to proprietary applications were all the rage.  IP TV had the hype of a key convergence technology.  It was the next new thing. With companies like Joost there was massive venture funding, and talk about how their plans would change the face of TV distribution.

That didn’t happen. The buzz faded, staff left  and many of the companies that were yesterday’s darlings have faded from tech culture stardom (at least for now) like the backup singer to a one hit wonder.  Two notes hummed and forgotten.

The problem may have been timing, or programming, but it was also in no small part because the offerings required a change in consumer behavior.  They required applications downloaded to a desktop when consumers were used to (and comfortable) working within their web browser. 

It’s ironic given that, that today’s web video stars, companies like Hulu that have gained audience traction with browser-based video distribution are exploring stand alone players. Click to Read More

Venture Roundup: Facebook and OpenX Return to the Well

Confirming rumors that first began to circulate late last week, Facebook announced this morning that it secured a substantial new private equity investment from Russian based investor, Digital Sky Technologies (DST). (release)

DST, whose portfolio companies are estimated to account for more than 70% of all Russian language page views on the Internet, will buy preferred stock equal to a 1.96% stake in the company for $200m.   No details have been disclosed regarding the rights associated with the preferred class. 

The transaction sets Facebook’s valuation at about $10b.

In a teleconference, Facebook characterized the incoming capital as a cushion and not a necessity.  The new money, Facebook suggested, will offer added flexibility. Whether true, or a bit of spin, it is certain Click to Read More

By the Numbers: Stats Survey Snapshots

numbers reportThey can be true or corrupted.  You can churn them, burn them or turn them.  You can manipulate them up or down.  Numbers can be twisted to tell any story or support most any bias.   As an old saying goes, “facts are stubborn but statistics are pliable.”  But even that considered, some of the many data points cranked out by research firms can still give an interesting glimpse into the state of things.  

For this edition of the occasional Metue: By the Numbers Report,  we’ve gathered data from across a handful of recent surveys to shed light on media, entertainment and technology.  By the numbers: Click to Read More

Page 5 of 55« First...34567102030...Last »