Monday, September 19, 2011
Gavin O'Malley, September 19, 2011, 2:51 PM
Facebook Debuts Entertainment HubThe New York Times

At long last, Facebook this week is expected to debut a spanning media platform, which will let users share music, TV shows and movies.

The move -- "effectively making the basic profile page a primary entertainment hub" -- is likely to come at Facebook's F8 developers' conference on Thursday, The New York Times writes, citing sources.

As CNet notes, The NYT report comes just days after "Dutch entrepreneur and developer Yvo Schaap spied a clue in the HTML for the Web sites of Spotify, Rhapsody, and several other major music services that pointed to some type of custom Facebook format."

Critically, as has previously been reported, Facebook isn't likely executing the hub alone, but rather with the help of content carriers like Spotify and Rhapsody.

"Last week, we heard the social networking giant will have at least seven launch partners (Spotify, MOG, Rhapsody, Soundcloud, Rdio, Deezer (France), and VEVO) for a service that could end up being called Facebook Music," ZDNet reports. "Another rumor says Hulu and Netflix may also be joining."

Yet, whether working with Facebook is ultimately to the advantage of these partners remains to be seen. 

"For cloud-based digital music services like Spotify and Rhapsody ... being friended by Facebook could prove to be a mixed blessing," NYT suggests. The added exposure will probably be a good thing. The problem? "The new plan will ratchet up the competitive pressure on these fledgling services, forcing them to offer more free music as enticements to new users," according to NYT.

Sources say Facebook has made agreements with a number of media companies to develop a way for a user's profile page to display whatever entertainment he is consuming on those outside services. While Facebook has yet to reveal any related initiatives, CEO Mark Zuckerberg did hint at its broader sharing strategy at a conference this week.

Read the whole story...
  • Gavin O'Malley, September 19, 2011, 2:51 PM
  • The Facebook "app economy" has added at least 182,000 new jobs and contributed more than $12.19 billion in wages and benefits to the U.S. economy this year. That's according to new research from University of Maryland, which using more aggressive estimates, suggests that Facebook's app economy created a total of 235,644 jobs, adding a value of $15.71 billion to the U.S. economy in 2011. The study, as TechCrunch notes, evaluated jobs created in the app industry -- direct employment -- jobs created in other sectors of the economy from Facebook's ecosystem -- indirect employment -- and the economic value of those jobs, including salary and benefits.

    "As we've written in the past, 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook, and Facebook users install 20 million apps every day," TechCrunch writes. "Every month, more than 250 million people engage with Facebook on external Web sites. Especially with the viral growth of gaming apps, as well as the use of the 'Like' button used by brands, more and more developers are building off the Facebook platform to tap into the network's 700 million-plus userbase." Read the whole story...
  • According to new data from deal aggregator Yipit, nearly one-third of all U.S. daily-deal sites (170 out of 530) have shut down or been sold so far this year. The exception to the trend, One Kings Lane on Monday said it raised $40 million in a Series C round of funding led by new investor Tiger Global Management, along with Institutional Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Greylock Partners.

    One Kings Lane -- "One of my favorite home décor flash sale sites, writes Vator News' Faith Merino -- already raised a $23 million Series B round earlier this year. "With more than two million members, One Kings Lane is now exceeding $100 million in yearly revenues after experiencing an 'explosive 2010' in which annual sales jumped more than 500%, with 75% of those sales coming from repeat customers," according to Merino.

    With success, however, comes more competition. This past March, Gilt Groupe acquired luxury home décor site Decorati, and soon after debuted Gilt Home -- a home goods branch offering steep discounts on everything from rugs and pillows to cookware and appliances. Read the whole story...
  • On rumors that Google is ready to release its Wallet service, analysts are asking what it means for the search giant, other mobile payment services, and the future of local commerce in general. Not much, suggests Search Engine Land's Greg Sterling -- at least initially. That's because, for now, only a small group of consumers will have access to Google Wallet. "There are only a handful of merchant and retail partners and only one handset currently [near field communication]-enabled,'' Sterling notes.

    Still, the debut has weighty symbolic implications, according to Sterling. "Because of Google's brand clout and visibility mobile payments are now on the radar," he writes. "And intensifying competition guarantees innovation will continue to happen." What are Google Wallet's chances for success?

    Well, along with first-movers advantage, other players in the space -- Visa, Amex, Intuit, PayPal, and Square -- don't rely on NFC technology like Google Wallet does. "Changing consumer behavior could prove challenging in the near term," Sterling adds. Read the whole story...
  • Brace yourself for a boozier Facebook. The social network and Diageo have entered into a "multimillion-dollar" advertising partnership, the Financial Times reports, calling it, "the latest move by the social networking website to form closer ties with marketers." Per the deal, Diageo is expected to work closely with Facebook on ways to better market such beverage brands as Smirnoff and Guinness to customers.

    "Diageo is particularly keen to tap Facebook's large audience in emerging markets such as Brazil, where the two companies occupy the same office building in Sao Paolo," FT.com points out. For more than a year, Diageo has been using Facebook for advertising and promotions, and has reportedly found through Nielsen basket-scanning research that certain campaigns for brands including Smirnoff and Baileys boosted offline purchases by as much as 20% domestically.

    "We've now said, how can we ramp this up and make it something completely innovative that sets us apart from our competitors," Kathy Parker, Diageo's SVP of global marketing and innovation, tells FT.com. Read the whole story...