Corbis Migrating Microstock Photos from Snap Village to Veer

cash photos sale smallIn the past few years, the advent, and rapid growth, of low cost royalty-free photo licensing services like iStockphoto (dubbed “microstock” agencies) gave amateur photographers an entrance into the previously exclusive world of image sales and caused a sea change in how some large licensing businesses operate.  Undercutting pricing and pinching sales, the upstarts arguably even forced the privatization of image licensing giant, Getty Images.

Bill Gates owned Corbis came late to the game but planned to capitalize with the launch of its own microstock service, Snap Village. A beta opened to the public in June of 2007 and the site launched commercially a year later.  The idea at the start was to differentiate by offering image owners the luxury of setting their own pricing schedules (in set stops between $1 to $50).  Two years later, Snap Village has found chasing down the market leader with this approach was harder than anticipated.  

Rather than revise, Corbis will of start over – sort of.  Click to Read More

Earnings: News Corp Comes In Low, Takes Huge Charge

earnings wrap metueAnalysts expected 19 cents per share in earnings.  They got 12 cents, and that’s not taking into account an $8.4b writedown.   So much for expectations.

Like other major media companies (Time Warner (PDF), and Disney (article) to name a pair), it’s currently a struggle to balance ad inventory against reduced spending.  In the face of this, News Corporation reported weak earnings Thursday.

In a statement Rupert Murdoch explained saying the “downturn is more severe and likely longer lasting than previously thought.”

Revenue for the company’s fiscal second quarter came in at $7.87b, down 8.4% and below Wall Street’s expected draw of $8.35 to $8.38b.  Factoring in the pre-tax onetime charge related to goodwill and intangible assets, the net loss was $6.4b, or $2.45 a share compared to net income of $832m (27 cents a share) for the same period last year.

The result was News Corps. First loss in more than three years.

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Tribune Centralizing Online Entertainment Coverage

inside papers. metueOperational efficiency is important for any well run business.  It’s essential for those trying to work from struggle to success. The Tribune Co, still under the protective umbrella of bankruptcy, will try and get leaner by sharing resources across its properties.  The first focus: entertainment.

A joint online entertainment news bureau, apparently to be called “the syndicate” is being created from assets at the LA Times and Zap2it.

According to the company, this new bureau will focus on expanded coverage of movies and TV.  “It will leverage writers and reporters from across [Tribune] properties to bring readers constantly updated blogs and other multimedia news on more than 60 top TV shows,” Click to Read More

Gone Hollywood. Microsoft Making Original Video Shorts for Zune

zune videosMuch as it seems a wild tangent from core focus, especially given recent financial performance, the news from Redmond today is Microsoft has set up a unit to create original short form video content for the Zune.  Microsoft’s gone Hollywood.

“Cinemash,” the first planned release will launch on the Zune marketplace as an eight episode series in May. Crafted in partnership with MEAN Magazine, the program will feature TV and Film actors re-imagining classic Hollywood roles in three to five minute segments.   All of the episodes will be free but ad-supported.

Microsoft says they will develop additional pilots over the next twelve months that range in focus from live action to urban and music programming. 

Offering platform exclusive content is a strategy that works for selling video game consoles.  Microsoft’s relied on it with the Xbox platform (the Halo series has driven sales), and even explored creating exclusive non-game video content for the Xbox Live environment. 

Will using the approach here help stimulate demand for a portable media player?   There’s no doubt assistance would be appreciated.  Click to Read More

Amazon Gets its Game On, Launches Download Portal

amazon-games.jpgAmazon was a pioneer in e-commerce. Moving well beyond the books it started with, the company built a strong business around the efficient sale and delivery of most any kind of packaged goods.  For its second act, the company now seems intent on achieving nothing less than similar success with the sale of digitally delivered merchandise. 

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Earnings: EA Stumbles in Q3, Plans to Walk in Next Fiscal Year

earningsThe game industry as a sector has been riding out the recession with reasonable success but the performance of individual companies within the industry has been less consistent.  Some companies are faring well while others are announcing subpar sales.  Electronic Arts announced its Q3 Fiscal 2009 results today and fell in to the category of the latter.  EA’s performance was dismal.

Based on GAAP standards, the net loss reported for the quarter was $641m, or $2.00 a share, in the red.  That compares to a loss of $33m, or 10 cents a share, for the same period a year ago. Sales, including deferred revenue, would have totaled $1.74b.

Excluding the onetime charges, EA said they would have earned $179m , or 56 cents a share.  Analysts had projected 88 cents on revenue of $1.9b; both targets EA failed to hit.

The news wasn’t entirely a surprise.  EA reset expectations in early December after Thanksgiving period sales turned out worse than expected.  Even so, the shortfall was worse than many anticipated.

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EA Snaps Up License for Ludlum Library

ludlum eaThey say one person’s trash is another’s treasure.  Case in point: Robert Ludlum licensing rights.  Not that it is fitting to call the gaming rights for the book catalog of a bestselling author trash, far from it, but when Activision Blizzard decided to cast the rights off, rival Electronic Arts was all too happy to pick them up instead.

EA announced today that they’ve reached a multi-year exclusive license for all of Ludlum’s written works, including the Jason Bourne series.

Vivendi Games previously held the rights.  Activision Blizzard, the company that resulted from the merger of Vivendi Games and Activision, decided to orphan its license in July.

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