Monday, October 30, 2006
  • Ross Fadner, October 30, 2006, 11:45 AM
  • Forbes: Google Still A Hot Buy In a recent Forbes column, venture capitalist Martin Sosnoff, who has invested in Google, Microsoft, Comcast, Akamai and IBM, says "anyone who sells his Google stock now and pays capital gains taxes is feckless." The search giant, currently trading at a near-record high of around $475, is still a buy, as its "numbers are dancing far above what even the most bullish analysts had construed for its September quarter." He adds that its acquisition of YouTube for $1.65 billion "is a petty cash transfer."

    But it's also a potential headache. Following the decision of Viacom to force Google to remove its content from YouTube, other media companies may follow suit. If they do, YouTube could start losing audience. Others may choose to sue. It remains to be seen how much lawsuits like these would cost Google.

    Still, the risk reward is potentially huge, says Sosnoff--"maybe 100 million 20somethings' eyeballs. Advertisers must be licking their chops." Many are waiting to see what YouTube will be able to safely offer besides a banner ad. Read the whole story...
  • EVB Creates Mash-Ups For Adidas-Sponsored MLS Playoffs Interactive agency EVB has developed an integrated ad campaign for Major League Soccer sponsor Adidas in partnership with creative teams C-TRL and Eclectic Method. In it, MLS teams that reach the playoffs have been paired in a video mash-up with a song and video from a local artist. Creative Director Jason Zada said the idea was to bring American soccer to light during the most crucial part of the MLS season, by pairing the teams with underground bands from each of the cities represented.

    The end product is actually seven total mash-ups appearing on a special MLS Mash Ups Web page. To drive traffic to the site, Adidas bought ads on popular soccer Web sites like ESPN Soccernet, and Fox Sports. The apparel maker also allows fans to upload the mash-ups to their MySpace pages.

    New videos are being edited and uploaded to the site within about 24 hours of the results of each team's progression down the playoff ladder. The final is Nov. 12. The New England Revolution has been paired with the band Mates of State; The Chicago Fire is paired with Academy Is; FC Dallas wit Polyphonic Spree; The Colorado Rapids with Vaux; The Houston Dynamo and Solange Knowles; Chivas USA and Ozomatli; D.C. United with Spank Rock, and the New York Red Bulls with Lordz. Read the whole story...
  • Viacom Orders Comedy Central Content Off YouTube Here's an example of how Google's acquisition of YouTube is changing things for the viral video site's users: Thousands of clips from Comedy Central shows like "The Daily Show," "The Colbert Report" and "South Park" were taken down over the weekend. Instead, users were greeted with the following message: "This video has been removed due to terms of use violation." Users who uploaded the Comedy Central content were also informed that if they attempted to upload video from the Viacom unit again, it would result in the immediate deletion of their accounts.

    Apparently, Google CEO Eric Schmidt and co. were unable to convince Viacom that an ad rev-share agreement would be worthwhile. This is the largest purge of American content to date from YouTube, and other media outfits may follow Viacom in their forceful request to have their valuable content removed.

    It's also a rather abrupt change of heart from Comedy Central, whose executives used to see YouTube as a great promotional vehicle for its shows. "Getting it off the Internet is no different than getting it off TV," Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show," told an interviewer recently. But TV shows are losing more audience and ad revenue to the Internet, and now that YouTube is owned by Google, Viacom seems to have changed its tune. Read the whole story...
  • BBC Mutiny Over Web Ads The British Broadcasting Corporation, Britain's largest media outlet, has come under fire from its own employees for plans to sell ads on its Web site. Employees circulated a 10-page document condemning the proposal, which they say could lead to "less serious journalism" and might damage the BBC's reputation. More than 170 BBC Web site employees signed a petition protesting the idea.

    Say what you will about the quality of American journalism relative to the BBC, but if American news media outlets operated that way, they would all be virtually bankrupt. Remember, the BBC is one of the world's largest publicly funded media outlets, financed mainly by television licensing fees by British TV owners, as well as by grants from the government. It does not carry ads on its TV programming--although it does sell them on BBC World, its international broadcasting arm, as well as in its magazines.

    Like the BBC World arrangement, the new Web proposal calls for ads to be sold only in front of non-UK readers. So what's all the uproar about? BBC journalists are worried that the quality of the content may suffer from increased commercialization. "There has to be a chance that advertisers wouldn't care about us doing stories on poverty and African politics, they'd want us to do more stories on Madonna and Kylie," one dissident said. Read the whole story...
  • Google: We Won't Tolerate Copyright Violations Late last week, Google preceded its decision to remove Viacom's material from new acquisition YouTube with tough talk over its policy for copyrights. Nikesh Arora, vice president of Google Europe, told reporters the search giant would not tolerate copyright violations.

    Of course, the video-sharing site owes much of its rapid growth to the existence of thousands of clips uploaded from old TV shows by its users. However, most believe YouTube was able to escape copyright lawsuits because it is a new business with little cash. Little cash--but a lot of potential, and Google's task is now to convince copyright owners that it's in their best interest to partner with the viral video site. YouTube's massive, loyal user base is a major reason--although some content owners, perhaps Viacom, may decide to go it alone.

    To deal with the copyright problem, YouTube is devising technology that will allow it to block copyrighted videos from being uploaded. Its policy to date is to take down copyrighted material as it is flagged by the owners, but YouTube has been criticized for not being diligent enough. Read the whole story...