Video Sharer Revver Winding down?

revver doneYouTube long ago won the popularity contest for user generated video.  Other startups, even some of the same founding generation, have been battling for second place or to just survive.  Some like Grouper, reinvented themselves.   Now, Los Angeles based Revver, one of the earlier competitors, appears poised to bow out of the race entirely.

Citing “sources familiar” CNET’s is reporting that the company is in dire need of cash and may be sold for as little as $300 to $500k plus the assumption of an estimated million dollar debt. A price in that range would represent pennies on the dollar relative to total investment in the company.

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The Disney Difference: Diversify and Cross Promote

dis earnFor the second time in as many days, a major global media company released results which suggested little adverse, or material, impact from either the writers’ strike or a feared slow down in advertising spending related to the economy.

As was the case with News Corp, Disney’s CFO Tom Staggs reported a “really strong ad market.” during Disney’s earnings call Tuesday.   Revenue at the Media Networks Division which houses ABC, ESPN and the other cable networks was $4.17b versus $3.79b for the same period a year ago.    Operating profit at ABC climbed to $322m, a 30% gain.  The rest of the cable networks had operating profits of $586m (up 27%).

Contrary to fears, the writers’ strike hasn’t had much teeth (so far).  Just the opposite, in the short term it may even be helping financially.  Click to Read More

Amazon Sells European DVD service to LoveFilms

lovefilm amazonAs sure handed as Amazon’s digital strategy seems to be, adjustments in forward planning are always necessary.  On Monday, Amazon made such an adjustment with the rare move to exit a market they were already targeting.

According to the announcement, Amazon Europe will sell their online video rental service in the UK and Germany to LoveFilm International Ltd in exchange for an equity stake.  Amazon will also invest cash.  The move will allow Amazon to focus on its core retail business and digital strategies but still allow them to retain a beneficial interest in their prior DVD rental investment.

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Murdoch Speaks: The State of News Corp

news corp q2After the close of markets Monday, News Corp released their second quarter earnings.  The numbers, which are reported below, were very good on an operating level despite slightly missing profit expectations. Also, in a true rarity for this earnings season, the company raised its guidance for fiscal 2008 operating income. 

More insightful than the numbers was the analysts call and Q&A. Rupert Murdoch’s participation is a little like a light version of Warren Buffet’s famous annual meeting speeches.  Mr. Murdoch is at times frank, occasionally reserved but always on point and extremely well informed.  At one point, he even corrected one of his colleagues on the numbers. What follows are some of Murdoch’s comments on the News Corp empire, broken out by theme:

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Real Artists Ship, eventually: Apple TV upgrade slightly delayed

apple tvWant to rent a movie through Apple TV? Not so fast.  Steve Jobs promised the Macworld faithful the necessary software update enabling the functionality would be ready by the end January.  Turns out, however, January is over and “it’s not quite ready.”

For the few million Apple TV owners, the rental functionality and other software adjustments should be available within a week or two.   Apple didn’t provide a reason when announcing the delay.

It’s not the first time Apple TV has had a go-to-market hiccup.   The initial launch was also delayed.  It comes down to philosophy.  Despite the urban legend that Steve Jobs pushes immovable deadlines and plays task master to engineers with the mantra “real artists ship,”  Click to Read More

Sony Gaming Back in Black, Future Earnings Hazy

sony earnsThanks to time zone differences, Sony was one of the first companies to report earnings on what is an extremely busy earnings calendar (Electronic Arts, New York Times Co.  Google, and Getty Images all report today as well).   As has been the case with many technology and consumer facing companies already to report, their results for the past quarter were moderate to positive but the gray cloud of overall economic conditions led to a cautious and hazy future forecast for the coming months (and year).

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Current to go Public

current tv ipoAl Gore may not have created the Internet but he is Chairman and one of the co-founders of Current Media, parent company of Current TV. Now, he and his colleagues are getting ready to take it public.

Current TV was founded in 2002 and launched in 2005 as a 24/7 cable and satellite TV network focused on news and information. The channel and its affiliated website differ from traditional programming in that they rely heavily on user/audience participation.  Relying on what they’ve named “Viewer Created Content” (VC2), approximately a third of Current TV’s on air broadcasts comes from non-fiction submissions.  It’s news from pop culture to politics from young adults, in their own perspective.

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