Daily Marauder


THIS WEEK: TUPAC BECOMES THE WALKING DEAD by Marauder

THIS WEEK: TUPAC BECOMES THE WALKING DEAD

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Photo Credit: Daily Marauder

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This past year, I joined the Academy of TV Arts & Sciences (The Emmys), at the urging of my former colleague Lori Schwartz, Chief Technology Catalyst at McCann. I had worked on the live show last year, helping to craft the social media story from the red carpet and backstage. It seemed a natural extension at that point.

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Its Emmy season and a cavalcade of TV series have been arriving at my doorstep. From watching a mountain of DVDs to going to the Academy Theater itself to watch a panel of producers and cast of The Walking Dead & Boardwalk Empire, I feel fully immersed in the script to screen process.

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In watching the somewhat awkward exchange between my digital/tech co-horts and my entertainment friends, I’m continuously reminded of what causes the disconnect. I’ve been somewhere between both worlds for the last 6 years, first working at HBO and then for Lionsgate in digital marketing & R&D. It appears to me that Silicon Valley/Alley doesn’t seem to fully understand the massive undertaking involved in creating quality content. Their arrogance in thinking that they can either cut costs seamlessly and/or create better content, is simply ridiculous.

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By that same token, many in entertainment diminish the power of those in the digital and technology sphere, simply because, in many respects, some may not understand the technology or may believe the young and sometimes green chiefs of these companies don’t understand their business. Therein lies the rub of many misunderstandings. The truth of the matter is this; entertainment needs technology as much as technology needs entertainment. One without the other is irrelevant and the man that mastered this relationship is unfortunately gone, replaced by Ashton Kutcher in an upcoming biopic. So perhaps, the best method to move forward, is a reaching across the aisle for all of us.

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Photo Credit: High Snobiety

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In other news, Coachella brings Tupac back from the dead in Hologram form, the Prometheus team brings forth another viral campaign, and many weigh in on the Facebook/Instagram deal.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

The Body. Transformed Through Technology. Beautiful.

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Amazon.com is unveiling a program that pays bloggers for Kindle e-reader subscriptions to their posts. Amazon will pay registered bloggers 30% of its subscription fee. At a $2 per month price point, a blogger could make $50,000 per year with just 7,000 annual subscribers. (Iwantmedia 5/14,http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/05/14/amazon-to-pay-bloggers-for-subscriptions 5/14)

Very nice.  Thank you Amazon.  Just published Daily Marauder.  The format is a bit wonky but what the hell, still cool none the less.  Love that Amazon even generates a Kindle preview so that you can see what your blog looks like on the device.  FYI, Newspaper companies, speak to Kindle.  They have it.

Kindle blogs

Actor Ashton Kutcher, in a quest to fulfill his promise to “ding-dong-ditch” Ted Turner‘s house after winning a race to attract 1 million followers on Twitter, unfurled a giant banner with his microblogging account’s name over the CNN logo on the Time Warner network’s building in Atlanta. (Iwantmedia 5/14,http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/05/14/cnn.kutcher.prank/index.html 5/14)

CNN kutcher

Google’s new search products demonstrate the company’s continued ability to innovate, says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. The Internet giant will maintain its search leadership “for the foreseeable future.” Google’s position is “essentially insurmountable.” (Iwantmedia 5/14,http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/05/13/is-google-insurmountable 5/13)

Just weeks after a Swedish court found the four men behind the Pirate Bay Web site guilty of promoting copyright infringement, illegal file-sharing of music is as rampant as ever, says the U.K.’s PRS for Music. “The Pirate Bay trial has done nothing to discourage file sharing.” (Iwantmedia 5/14,http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f6fe991c-3fd0-11de-9ced-00144feabdc0.html 5/14)

U.S. social network advertising spending will fall 3% to $1.14 billion in 2009, from $1.18 billion in 2008, according to a forecast by eMarketer. MySpace is described as “the major problem.” While it has been cash cow for News Corp., “the brand has lost its shine.” (Iwantmedia 5/14,http://www.adotas.com/2009/05/myspace-drags-down-social-network-ad-spend 5/14)

Myspace

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Boston police say they have captured a suspect they believe to be the so-called “Craigslist killer,” a case that has attracted national attention. Philip Markoff, 22, of Quincy, Mass., is accused of preying on several women who advertised erotic services on Craigslist. (Iwantmedia 4/21, http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1166939 4/21)

craigslist-killer

With all of the online video services now offering much of the same content, the new differentiating factor seems to be high definition quality. Microsoft has been there for a while (with videos over Xbox Live), as has Apple (over the Apple TV), and now Amazon is joining the gang. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/21/amazon-jumps-into-the-hd-stream-as-well-doesnt-really-make-a-splash/ 4/21)

hd-amazon

Janet Robinson, CEO of the New York Times Co., says the struggling publisher is exploring alternative, online business models for newspapers, such as subscriptions. The company is reporting a first-quarter net loss of more than $74 million, with advertising revenue down 27%. (Iwantmedia 4/21, http://www.smartmoney.com/news/ON/?story=ON-20090421-000444-1154 4/21)

“Punked” is one of those words that started out as a slang term, but was taken to a whole new level by a pop culture moment — in this case, the MTV show Punk’d. But as quickly as it heated up in 2003, it quickly burned out, lasting just 4 years. But the company behind it, Ashton Kutcher’s Katalyst Media, may have found a way to revive the formula — take it live and online.  Katalyst is teaming up with Ustream, the online streaming video service, to bring “Punk’d-style experiences” to the platform. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/20/katalyst-media-taking-punkd-live-with-ustream/ 4/20)

punkd

Google is unveiling software tools that let people search the Internet using pictures or chronologically organize results of queries for news. The new News Timeline amasses stories from newspapers, magazines and blogs and presents search results in chronological graphs. (Iwantmedia 4/21, http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/20090421/tc_afp/usitinternetmediagoogle 4/20)

Social-news site Digg is ending its advertising partnership with Microsoft more than a year before their contract is due to expire. Instead of relying on Microsoft as its exclusive ad partner, Digg will now primarily use the internal sales force it recently began building. (Iwantmedia 4/21, http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10223354-36.html 4/20)

digg

Years after Yahoo and Google integrated web IM features into their free webmail services (Yahoo Messenger in Yahoo Mail and Gtalk in Gmail, respectively), Redmond is finally enabling users to log into their Hotmail accounts and converse with their contacts over instant messaging directly without the need to log on to Windows Live Messenger separately, or to even have the program installed altogether. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/21/ages-after-yahoo-and-google-microsoft-finally-enables-web-based-im-in-hotmail/ 4/21)

im-hotmail

Time Inc. is trying to build its online advertising business with an ad network of its own that will, among other things, allow advertisers to make targeted buys across its properties. One of the biggest sites on the network is People.com, which attracted 13 million people in March. (Iwantmedia 4/21, http://adage.com/mediaworks/article?article_id=136123 4/20)

More Americans are said to be making their income from blogging than from working as computer programmers, firefighters or bartenders. More than 20 million Americans are now blogging, with 452,000 of those using blogging “as their main source of income.” (Iwantmedia 4/21, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124026415808636575.html 4/21)

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is said to have rejected a fresh round of funding that would have valued the company at $4 billion. Another source says that one potential investor submitted a term sheet for a valuation of around $2 billion. Facebook is declining to comment. (Iwantmedia 4/17, http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10220845-36.html 4/16)

facebook1

Time Warner’s bondholders have agreed to change the terms of their debt contracts, removing restrictions on a sale or spin-off of its beleaguered Internet unit AOL. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has said he is examining options for the future structure of AOL. (Iwantmedia 4/17, http://www.reuters.com/article/industryNews/idUSTRE53F73S20090416 4/16)

While eBay prepares to unload Skype via a sale or IPO next year, it is busy looking for new ways to make money off its 405 million global users. They already account for an estimated 8 percent class=”snap_preview_icon”> of international calls, and many of them are increasingly paying for SkypeOut calls to regular phones. Its revenues last year were $551 million, but it wants to get to $1 billion by 2011. To get there, it might have to start thinking local. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/17/a-new-business-model-for-skype-turning-phone-numbers-on-the-web-into-paid-ads/ 4/17)

skype2

Ashton Kutcher has surpassed CNN to become the first person with a million followers on Twitter. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/16/kutcher-plays-his-pied-piper-flute-and-gets-a-million-twitter-followers/ 4/16)


ashton

Not sure who else to add to that group email? Gmail Labs now has a useful “suggest more recipients” <!—->class=”snap_preview_icon”> feature that suggests contacts that you might want to include in a group email based on the people you’ve grouped together as email recipients in the past. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/17/gmail-now-suggests-extra-recipients-for-group-emails/ 4/17)

SUPER helpful.  Maybe now I won’t get yelled at for accidentally not inviting that person for cocktails.

gmail-auto-suggest

Police are working with Craigslist to help track down the killer of masseuse Julissa Brisman, who was shot to death Tuesday in the Marriott Copley Place in Boston. Police believe that a gunman may be targeting escorts and masseuses who advertise on the classifieds site. (http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1165974 4/16)

Despite some early fumbling by the prosecution, a judge in Sweden handed down a guilty verdict class=”snap_preview_icon”> today in the case against The Pirate Bay class=”snap_preview_icon”>, the popular BitTorrent search site. The four founders, who still seem to think this is a big joke, each face one year of jail time and a $3.6 million fine. The site will continue to function for now as they appeal the decision. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/17/as-court-prepares-shackles-for-the-pirate-bay-other-torrent-sites-are-ready-to-replace-it/ 4/17)

pirate-bay

The latest layer to be turned on in Google Maps is one for webcams. Just click on the “More” button on the top right of each map right next to the “Traffic” button. When you do that, it shows you thumbnails from different public Webcams around the world as tracked by Webcams.travel. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/16/google-maps-now-shows-views-from-webcams 4/16)

What if there was a Billboard Charts for the music people really listened to and talked about on the Web. We Are Hunted wants to be that definitive online music chart. The service monitors the most popular songs on iLike, BitTorrent, Last.fm, MySpace Music, and other Web music services, as well as discussions on Twitter, blogs, and press sites. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/16/forget-billboard-we-are-hunted-charts-the-music-people-are-listening-to-on-the-web/ 4/16)

the-hunted

About 34% of U.S. e-commerce can be attributed to Amazon, an analyst says. The value of all e-commerce activity on its platform is about $12.5 billion in the U.S., or a little more than a third of the $37 billion the Commerce Department reported in the last quarter of 2008. StorefrontBacktalk (4/16)

ESPN is set to kick off ESPNDB.com (the DB stands for database), a site it hopes will serve as a sports encyclopedia-archive-statistical compendium. Like Wikipedia, ESPNDB will feature some user-generated aspects. The site will be free and supported by advertising. (Iwantmedia 4/17, http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=104294 4/17)

NBC.com reached a milestone – its NBC Rewind streaming video player has delivered over one billion full episode streams, just 18 months since the launch of the player in October 2006. NBC also says its mobile website served 2.4 million video streams in Q1 2000 – more than the total number of streams served in all of 2008. (Cynopsis 4/17)

Continuing with its price cutting maneuvers, Yahoo announced it is shuttering video sharing service Jumpcut as of June 15, a company it acquired back in 2006 for its best-in-class photo editing tools. The company is also gearing up for another round of job cuts, according to a report in the NYTimes. Yahoo shed some 2,400 employees last year, beginning 2009 with some 13,600 staffers. (Cynopsis 4/17)

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

If it seems like Twitter is growing faster and faster each day, that is because it is. ComScore has released its March numbers for the U.S., and it estimates that unique visitors to Twitter.com grew 131 percent between February and March to 9.3 million visitors. No wonder Twitter is more popular than Britney. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/15/boom-twitter-more-than-doubles-unique-visitors-to-93-million-in-march 4/15)

twitter-traffic

After shopping the fast growing unit, eBay announced Tuesday it would spin off its Skype internet-based calling service via an initial public offering during the first half of next year. eBay purchased Skype back in 2005 for $2.6 billion, but never delivered on its promise to integrate the calling software with its international auction sites. Yet the calling service has continued to grow in leaps and bounds in terms of its user base, with over 400 million registered users to date. Skype added nearly a half a million new users since launching its controversial iPhone app, downloaded by 2 million users in its first week of release. (Cynopsis 4/15)

skype1

http://www.insidemacradio.com/specialreports/showstoppers

The days of offering free live video coverage of major sporting events to everyone online may be coming to end. NBC will offer cable MSOs, telcos and satellite providers exclusive access to live streaming of the 2010 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver, reports Sports Business Journal. The broadcaster plans to introduce an authentication system to limit live broadband viewing of the games only to paying subscribers of the providers who agree to license the service. (Cynopsis 4/15)

Microsoft says that Live Search Products and Live Search Cashback have now been unified into a single experience. You can now access Cashback on Live Search Products page, which is Microsoft’s comparison shopping vertical site. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/15/microsoft-tries-to-re-energize-cashback-by-plugging-it-into-its-products-engine 4/15)

mlive

Earlier today The Business Insider reported that CNN may have acquired the massively popular CNNbrk Twitter account, which is currently in a heated race with Ashton Kutcher to attain 1 million followers. Thing is, up until recently CNN didn’t actually own that account, which made the story’s coverage on the cable network over the last few days all the more bizarre. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/15/confirmed-cnn-acquires-cnnbrk-twitter-account 4/15)

cnnbrk

The 13th Annual Webby Award nominees were announced yesterday across a range of categories with familiar names such as the NYTimes.com (13 nominations), NBC.com (12), The Onion (8) Guardian.co.uk (6), PBS (5), NPR (5), The Sundance Channel (5) garnering multiple nominations. (Cynopsis 4/15)

Officials from 38 states have sent a letter to the Obama administration saying, in effect, that they want to be in the driver’s seat when it comes time to allot more than $7 billion in funding from the economic-stimulus package that has been set aside for broadband expansion. But that isn’t sitting so well with some national consumer groups, which are fretting that an unfair share of the money could go to firms with strong ties to local officials. The Wall Street Journal (4/14)

Kosmix, the universal search engine that dynamically generates guides to search queries using dozens of different content sources, is quickly gaining momentum. According to today’s latest comScore numbers, the site has jumped up to 3.2 million monthly uniques in March – a 419% growth since February. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/15/universal-search-takes-off-kosmix-posts-419-growth-in-march 4/15)

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Boosted by a wealth of new interactive features and video content, Disney-managed Oscar.com saw major year-to-year increases on Oscar Sunday, with unique visitors and page views up 57% and 87%, respectively. Users spent an average of 11.63 minutes on the site per visit, a 15% bump from last year. (Cynopsis 2/24)

oscars2

Not surprisingly Twitter traffic spiked dramatically during the Oscar telecast as users chimed with their two cents about who won or wore what. Stars like Ashton Kutcher kept their fans abreast of the party scene with comments and photos using the TwitPic mobile photo app that allows users to post pics directly from their phones. (Cynopsis 2/24)

twitpic

(Below) Now here is a company thinking out of the box.  This should be a lesson to us all.  Stop complaining.  Start reinventing and monetizing.

Glam is seeking to make money by editing streams from Twitter. The women’s online publisher launched a widget that lets users tweet their thoughts about this year’s Academy Awards. Glam’s editors edit the stream to make advertisers more comfortable with the tweets. (Iwantmedia 2/24, http://venturebeat.com/2009/02/22/glam-edits-oscars-twitter-feed-and-makes-money 2/22)

Following the success of CNN’s immensely popular Facebook integration during the Inauguration, ABCNews.com is teaming with Twitter and multiplatform news network ABC News Now on a new interactive web venture dubbed “Nightline Now” tonight during President Obama’s State of the Union address. Users will be able to post “tweets” on Twitter as they watch live streaming of the address then see their comments show up simultaneously on ABCNews.com and ABC News Now. (Cynopsis 2/24)

nightline-twitter


Netscape founder Marc Andreessen announced on Charlie Rose last week that he is creating a VC fund with partner Ben Horowitz to help seed technology companies. Check out the interview to hear Marc’s thinking on the future of the newspaper business (shut down the print editions tomorrow), the patience of Facebook’s monetization strategy and the wonders of devices like the iPhone that get the user interface right. (Cynopsis 2/24)

Rapper star Eminem is suing Universal Music over how much he is entitled to when the world’s largest music company sells his work to third-party distributors, including Apple’s iTunes. At stake is potentially hundreds of millions of dollars from digital downloads. (Iwantmedia 2/24, http://www.thewrap.com/article/1549 2/23)

eminem


Welcome to the future, Safari fans, because the Safari 4 beta just hit the download shelves and it’s ready to tear some things up in Tiger and Leopard and even Windows. The download requires the latest security patch (2009-01) but other than that you’re ready to ride. (http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/02/24/safari-4-finally-a-reason-to-come-back 2/24)

safari1

Comcast will launch by the end of this year a video-on-demand service that will play out on the Internet. The service reportedly will be called On Demand Online, and Comcast rival Time Warner Cable is mulling a similar new product offering. Reuters (2/23) , Home Media Magazine (2/23)

AOL is launching AOL Classifieds, a site that enables consumers to search through millions of local classifieds listings for every ZIP code in the United States, as well as to post their own ads for free. The site is developed in partnership with classifieds service Oodle. (Iwantmedia 2/24, http://blog.clickz.com/090223-173154.html 2/23)

Yahoo is unveiling several tools to help marketers better target their online ads, as the Internet company tries to win back business during the recession. The services include targeting graphical ads to users who have searched for particular terms in Yahoo’s search engine. (Iwantmedia 2/24, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123543765554954735.html 2/24)

President Obama has chosen former MPAA lobbyist and current FTC member Jon Leibowitz to serve as the next Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, reports Bloomberg. The body that reviews mergers and enforces consumer protection laws, the FTC has already warned that it may take a closer look at behavioral targeting practices if the online advertising industry doesn’t successfully establish and adhere to self-regulatory guidelines. Leibowitz himself has been a critic of the industry’s lack of transparency and Byzantine opt-out solutions and has pushed the government to take a stronger tack toward privacy policies. (Cynopsis 2/24)

L.A.-based gossip blog Defamer has been folded into Gawker Media’s N.Y.-based flagship blog Gawker.com as the site’s entertainment column. (Cynopsis 2/24)

In a bid to increase engagement on its website History.com launched its first original web series regaling viewers with “great and telling tales” of unusual tidbits of arcane knowledge from historian Timothy Dickinson. The show, available in snackable ad-supported clips, features crude animation in the Monty Python tradition and is available as an exclusive to the AETN Digital site. (Cynopsis 2/24)

At its annual leadership meeting The IAB announced the release of its final Audience Reach Measurement Guidelines to once and for all to define key industry metrics and foster greater accuracy and reliability of all forms of online audience measurement. The guidelines call for full disclosure of methodology, suggest that audience measurement should be spearheaded by clients not sellers, and call for internal numbers tracked by systems such as Omniture to be excluded from ad contracts. (Cynopsis 2/24)

Microsoft is creating a council of Web companies to help it develop a new advertising platform for publishers. The council will include IAC/InterActiveCorp, Dow Jones Online, New York Times Co., Time Inc. and Viacom. Goals include enhanced targeting and measurement. (Iwantmedia 2/24, http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Microsoft-partners-with-Web-apf-14441309.html 2/23)

The explosion of video on multiple platforms is still a tide in which all boats are rising as video consumption grew during Q4 across all three major platforms – TV, internet and mobile, according to Nielsen‘s just released A2/M2 Three Screen Report. Viewing on television reached a record 151 hours/month. Those who watch video on the internet consumed another 3 hours of online video per month. Mobile video viewers watched nearly 4 hours per month on mobile phones and other devices. (Cynopsis 2/24)

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Video viewing on mobile devices and DVRs jumped by the largest margin during the quarter (each about 9% vs. Q3) as 11 million reported viewing video on phones or PDAs and 74 million watched DVR programming
  • And while audiences of all ages are watching online video, the trend for younger 18-24 year old viewers – broken out by Nielsen for the first time – suggest a dramatically increased reliance on the internet for video viewing. The demo spent nearly the same amount of time (about 5 hours a month) watching video online as they did watching DVR programming
  • Even younger viewers (aged 12-17) watched less video on TV, DVRs and the internet than last quarter but spent almost 6.5 hours a month watching mobile video
  • When broken down by gender, females 2+ watched more TV and more online video than by almost 8% points but men consumed almost twice as much video on mobile phones


Overall Usage Number of Users 2+ (in 000’s) – Monthly Reach
4Q08      3Q08        4Q07     % Diff Y/Y
Watching TV in the home         285,313   282,289   281,376     1.4%
Watching Timeshifted TV°          73,934    67,656     53,914   37.1%
Using the internet                   161,525   160,070   156,323    3.3%
Watching Video on internet      123,195   120,362      n/a         n/a
Using a Mobile Phone              228,920    224,495      n/a         n/a
Mobile Subscribers Watching
Video on a Mobile Phone           11,198      10,260     n/a          n/a
Source: The Nielsen Company

Monthly Time Spent in Hours: Minutes Per User 2+
4Q08   3Q08    4Q07 % Diff Yr to Yr     Absolute Diff Yr to Yr
(4Q08 to 4Q07) (4Q08 to 4Q07)
Watching TV in the home          151:03   140:48   145:49         3.6%             5:13
Watching Timeshifted TV              7:11      6:27      5:24       33.0%             1:47
Using the internet                      27:04    27:18     26:08        3.6%             0:56
Watching Video on internet           2:53      2:31      n/a          n/a                 n/a
Mobile Subscribers Watching
Video on a Mobile Phone               3:42      3:37      n/a          n/a                 n/a
Source: The Nielsen Company

Video Audience Composition – Age  4Q 2008
K2-11 T12-17 A18-24 A25-34 A35-44 A45-54 A55-64 A65+
On TV                           10%    6%      8%       13%     14%    17%    15%   18%
On the Internet                7%    8%      8%       16%     19%    20%    15%    7%
On Mobile Phones            n/a    19%     11%      34%     20%    11%      5%    1%
Source: The Nielsen Company

Video Audience Composition – Gender 4Q 2008
F2+     M2+
On TV                       53%    47%
On the Internet          54%    46%
On Mobile Phones       37%    63%
Source: The Nielsen Company

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BROADCAST/CABLE by Marauder

BROADCAST/CABLE

“Indecision 2008: America’s Choice,” Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s cluster coverage of the presidential election, attracted 3.1 million viewers, making it the most-watched election special in Comedy Central history. The show earned a 1.9 rating among 18- to 49-year-olds, 47% higher than the 2004 “Indecision.” TVWeek.com (11/5)

indecision2

A combined total of 70.6 million viewers tuned in to watch extended election night coverage across 14 network last night, according to Nielsen Research.  Leading the broadcast and cable networks in total viewers for the 8-1230am time frame was CNN with 13.2 million viewers, immediately followed by ABC News with 12.5 million.  A full list of the 14 networks and their total viewers for the evening are listed below in the Ratings section. (Cynopsis 11/6)

SCI FI Channel approved nine new episodes of Scare Tactics for next spring. Hosted by Tracy Morgan, this hidden-camera series using elaborate sets and scenarios to scare the bee-geebies out of unsuspecting people has averaged 1.54 million total viewers through its third season (July-November 2008). (Cynopsis 11/6)

scare-tactics

Adult Swim, the grown-up version of Cartoon Network, in January will begin programming at 10 p.m., seven days a week, adding an extra hour on Mondays through Saturdays. The Turner network also announced that it would fill that extra hour by becoming the exclusive cable TV home of reruns of the venerable Fox hit “King of the Hill.” The Hollywood Reporter (11/5)

(Below) Can the change in political leadership also signal a change in reality television?  This sounds insanely awful.

In its new reality beauty competition series True Beauty, ABC explores what really makes a person attractive. From executive producers Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher, True Beauty debuts January 5 at 10p. Over the course of eight episodes, six beautiful females and four handsome guys will live together in a Los Angeles mansion while they participate in various inner and outer beauty challenges eliciting their true temperament. (Cynopsis 11/6)

ABC canceled the midseason series Single With Parents, the comedy produced by ABC Studios and DreamWorks and starring Alyssa Milano, according to THR. Production on the show had been interrupted due to disagreements over creative direction and with no resolution, ABC decided to nix it altogether. (Cynopsis 11/6)

With advertising revenue from the presidential election picking up steam during the third quarter, Time Warner’s cable TV channels, led by CNN, reported a 21% increase in operating income during the period. Overall, Time Warner, which recently spun off its Time Warner Cable unit, posted profit of $1.07 billion on revenue of $11.71 billion. The Wall Street Journal (11/6) , Reuters (11/5) , Mediaweek (11/5)

time-warner

The cable TV channels of News Corp. were one of the few silver linings in an otherwise bleak fiscal first-quarter earnings report issued by the company. While the cable channels saw operating income rise 31%, primarily because of higher carriage fees, News Corp. as a whole reported a 30% drop in profit during the period, which ended Sept. 30. The Wall Street Journal (11/6) , Multichannel News (11/5)

During its busy session on Tuesday the FCC also launched an investigation into the pricing policies of America’s major cable operators and Verizon Communications, reports the AP. The agency sent a letter to a multiple MSOs and Verizon, asking them if they’re using the nation’s digital transition to trick customers into paying higher fees by moving analog channels to costlier digital tiers to make room for more HD or broadband offerings. (Cynopsis 11/6)

The billions of dollars spent during the 2008 election cycle gave media companies a sorely needed boost. But the world financial crisis that exploded this autumn will keep rattling them well into 2009, analysts say. “The worst case is nothing happens until 2010.” (Iwantmedia 11/6, http://www.reuters.com/article/reutersEdge/idUSTRE4A4AN520081105 11/5)

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