• Disney To Sell Branded Cell Phones At A Hefty Price
    The Walt Disney Company is aggressively moving into the mobile phone industry, attempting to lure niche audiences away from traditional cell carriers like Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile by selling their news and entertainment directly to consumers. A new wireless phone service, Mobile ESPN, will offer sports fans news, scores, and highlights on their phones. A second service, Disney Mobile, attempts to capitalize on Disney's entertainment properties. These services join the ranks of a new breed of cell provider: mobile virtual network operators, which license cell network space from carriers (such as Sprint Nextel in the case of Disney) and then ...
  • EBay Off To Supreme Court
    Apparently, eBay's "Buy it Now" feature, which lets users override the bidding process by agreeing to pay a fee set up by the seller, may belong to someone else. MercExchange, a patent holding company, recently won an injunction in a lower court that would bar the ecommerce giant from using its patented technology. EBay's appeal has reached the Supreme Court, which agreed Monday to hear the case. Meanwhile the online auctioneer will continue to use the "Buy it Now" fixed-price feature, which generates nearly a third of eBay's revenue--$3.4 billion in the third quarter. According to a Red Herring report, ...
  • Google, Yahoo! In Talks With European Soccer Power
    The names of the world's most recognizable Internet brands could soon be seen on the world's most recognizable football jersey--European football, that is. According to a report in the London newspaper The Observer, Google and Yahoo! are among those vying for the sponsorship of British Premier League soccer club Manchester United. Current sponsor Vodafone, a European cellular service provider, is said to be terminating its sponsorship of the club in May, at the end of the current season. The club's new owners, the U.S.-based Glazer family, which controversially took over the club this summer, reportedly wants a globally recognizable brand ...
  • News. Corp's Internet Shopping List
    A News Corp. observer says an Internet company shopping list is sitting on Rupert Murdoch's desk simply awaiting approval, according to the Business 2 .0 Blog. The unnamed source cites three acquisition targets: SIPphone, parent to Gizmo project, a Voice over Internet Protocol service; an unnamed search engine, possibly Snap.com, Lycos, or video search provider Blinkx; and an undisclosed third. It was later speculated that one of these could be Clusty, a search engine that allows consumers to customize results into subcategories with folders.
  • Phone Sex For The 21st Century
    Wired has an interesting reporter's notebook about cell phone culture in Italy. Worldwide, Italy is second only to Hong Kong in its percentage of cell phone users, and has now become a leader in 3G (third generation network) users, which means that many of their cell phones, including the reporter's, are capable of enhanced multimedia functions like video. These phones are also available in the U.S., but are nowhere near mainstream. The author talks about how the video phone is transforming culture, about the aggressive flirting that goes on between men and women who can see but not touch each ...
  • Radio Company Embraces Podcasts, Announces Video Deal
    They were a little slow to react, but media buyers are starting to buy air time on podcasts for their clients, Mediaweek reports. Or rather, it was the radio companies themselves who were slow to react. Nevertheless, Clear Channel subsidiary Premier Radio Networks was an early adopter, making a neat six-figure side business out of offering podcast subscriptions of Rush Limbaugh, Jim Rome and other talk celebrities for $60-70 per year. Now, Mediaweek says the same company has just cut a six-figure deal with Starburst for a three-minute spot on a customized podcast of Ryan Seacrest's "American Top 40." Premier's ...
  • Disney to Promote Video Content on Portable Devices
    In a similar podcasting announcement, The Walt Disney Company is now making promotional video content downloadable on portable devices like Apple's iPod. Following the announcement that made hit shows from its ABC subsidiary available for download on portable devices, Disney will now advertise movies and other content, beginning with the trailer, interviews, and other clips from its upcoming fantasy film "The Chronicles of Narnia." These items will be available for download at the film's official Web site.
  • Can Online Growth Offset Print Newspaper Declines?
    After recording the largest collective six-month drop in circulation in nearly 15 years, newspapers are now forced to turn to their online properties to make up for defecting readers and advertisers. An article in theSan Diego Union-Tribune asks whether or not online growth, which is steady, can make up for shrinking print readership and revenues. This is the fundamental question facing the industry right now, and newspaper analysts say the answer is probably not, at least not nearly fast enough. As the Newspaper Association of America recently noted in its analysis of the third quarter, expenditures for newspaper ads totaled ...
  • Google Worth More Than Time Warner, Cisco
    Fifteen months ago, Google asked for $85 per share in its bizarre Dutch-style initial public offering. Most people thought this asking price, lowered from what was once between $108 and $135 per share, was already sky high and could possibly end in embarrassment for the search company. Those people would be very, very wrong. On Monday, Google's stock price finished the day at $423.48 per share, Cnet reports, making it more valuable than Time Warner, Cisco Systems and eBay and Amazon.com combined. At $125 billion, Google is now in the sites of mammoth companies like Intel ($162 billion) and Microsoft ...
  • Play-by-Play Of The Google Threat Book
    Wired analyzes the threat Google's rapid growth poses to established companies in different sectors, describing each threat, identifying the threatened companies, highlighting signs of panic and then adding a reality check. The article contends that broadband video companies and those looking to enter broadband video should fear the search giant, but even Google will not be able to acquire the content necessary to meet its ambitions, meaning it will likely look to make an acquisition. Classifieds and auction companies like Craigslist and eBay should be very worried about Google's plans for Google Base, its free classifieds listings site, which caused ...
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