Tuesday, September 30, 2008

'No' vote on $700b bailout impacts tech stocks bigtime

The US House of Representitives 'no' vote on the proposed $700b bailout of Wall Street has as expected impacted the stock market - with tech stocks also vulnerable.

Lets have a look at what the last day has done to the value of some of the biggies.

Yahoo! - down 10.6% (market cap $23.4b)
Google - down 9.5% (market cap $122.6b)
Microsoft - down 8.39% (market cap $229b)
Research In Motion - down 11.07% (market cap $35.58)
Apple - down 17.4% (market cap $93.8b)
Time Warner - down 8.8% (market cap $46.3b)

That's in excess of $55b USD wiped off the value of the above 6 companies in 1 day. The fun starts locally in a few minutes

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Joe Pollard named CEO of ninemsn

Despite previously ruling out her candidacy for the CEO role at ninemsn (http://www.businessday.com.au/business/ninemsn-moves-to-calm-market-fears-over-turmoil-20080709-3cmp.html), Joe Pollard has been named the new CEO of the MSFT/PBL JV.

I've dealt with Joe on numerous occasions before and she is great. Earlier this year she invited myself and my colleague, Ben Maudsley, to speak at the ninemsn sales offsite and give an agency perspective on things and our broad thoughts on the next 12 months ... which was a great opportunity to speak with various people from publisher side on their thoughts and compare notes.

Congrats Joe.

Technorati State of the Blogosphere


Essential reading. Very interesting for those involved in blogs, who read blogs, or who want to know more about the space.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Plugger rebrands as wotnews?

Weird ... Plugger.com.au has changed its name to wotnews.com.au

"The name Wotnews acknowledges our relationship with Wotif.com. While we remain an independent business and a separately operated website, we're associated with them in that we now share the Wot brand via a licensing agreement"

Um ... okay. Question. What does wotif.com have to do with a news aggregator/search utility? Why would you licence the name?

I guess a name change doesn't take away from the strength of the product - it's a bloody good resource that will only evolve and improve over time.

Is this man the smartest guy in AU digital media?

Former Text Media owner and Sydney Morning Herald editor Eric Beecher is building up a pretty impressive web business.

With Crikey established, Business Spectator growing rapidly, Eureka Report and Smart Company - Beecher has 4 publications that are hard not to notice.

Plus he has a team of people who are well respected - Kohler, Gottleibsen, Mayne, Amanda Gome, Jonathan Green and many more - who are delivering engaging content.

And he is making very strong in roads on an extremely valuable audience and showing that there will always be demand for strong, intelligent content.

So whilst the groups that used to dominate eyeball share of this lucrative audience focus on singles sites and trying to nail youth, Beecher has put together web assets that would be pound for pound, page for page probably the most valuable in the country. Advertisers want to reach a quality audience in quality surrounds - the Beecher sites achieve this.

Sure, the audiences aren't super massive - but they are strong and they are loyal to quality content. And right now, quality is the key differentiator as it is relatively easy to reach most audiences online ... but difficult to reach them in quality environments.

According to Nielsen Market Intelligence, to 22 September they had achieved the following user figures this month.

Business Spectator - 152,000 users
Crikey - 118,000 users
Smart Company - 65,000 users
Eureka Report - 39,000 users

These four are sites to watch - because I feel they haven't even started to scratch the surface on what they could do.

Audience, content or context?

I've been thinking about this issue a lot lately.

Where does a publishers value lie? In their audience ... or in their content?

This 2007 article from Clickz talks about it in more depth - http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3626145

It comes down to this - how will media firms prove the value of their brands to advertisers when asking higher CPMs on their own properties?

We're seeing rate cards increase this quarter - but interestingly enough there hasn't been a huge amount of rationale behind these increases.

The Clickz article touches on two schools of thought ...

Thought 1: "Many media sellers and observers stress, when selling placements on branded publisher sites, the value proposition is not about the content per se. Rather, it's in the audience attracted to those sites by that content"

Thought 2: Shawn Riegsecker, chairman and CEO of local media planning and buying service, Centro, isn't so sure the audience is where a media brand's equity lies. "That audience that visits your site is the same audience that visits Yahoo….It's not the audience, it's the environment," he told ClickZ News. "The challenge to the publishers is to make sure the experience and the environment when someone reads a story on their site is a vast improvement to the experience on a portal."

Personally I think it's probably a mix of the two ... but I think moving forward there is more value in the second school of thought - and there will be a much better definition of 'content' - and what 'content' advertisers want to be associated with.

Locally, the publisher world are good at selling audience - big numbers, we have x% of ABs, we have x% of 14-17yo, 24% of GBs visit us weekly ... all great figures ... but hardly differentiators and hardly reasons why marketers will choose your site over another.

Much of what we're trying to achieve is reaching the right person, at the right time, with the right message in the right context. Yes, context is vital. Context in terms of the content but also in terms of the brands surrounding yours.

Yes Facebook can allow me to target curly haired bocce players who live in Eltham and drive a Vespa ... but if there's only 1 of him then it's futile. Likewise, Facebook might allow me to target GBs with kids who are interested in skin care - but if my ad is running next to a Lavalife or RSVP in my opinion it devalues the whole equation.

I like to use the below when looking to value an opportunity ...

Targeted audience + Focused editorial + Specific, relevant ads + Interested readers = Integrated community

What do you think is important when looking at value?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Media in 2015

I'm working on a pitch at the moment and one of the areas we have to address in our response is ...

'How different the response might be in 2015 with all the changes predicted in the media marketplace'

It's an interesting question. In the scope of this pitch brief I think I have the answer. But geeez it'd be interesting to be a fly on the wall when the responses are presented by each agency to see where they believe things will go.

Personally it's been great for me as working on it has given me incredible clarity and I think allowed me to improve the way I look forward.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Over the top taken even further

If FD keep doing this I reckon a few of their loyal users will leave.

Ad overkill to the extreme. I'm not convinced there's any real benefactor from FDTV other than FD and their EBIT - seems to bombard the user with more ads than they need, and I think advertisers might start to question their rates when ads are running on top of other ads.
Where's the content?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Diddy takes video blogging to new levels

Take note video bloggers. Diddy somehow makes the normally boring world of videoblogging interesting.

Froot Loops in the heezy. The Diddy dance around 3m is hot fire.

Telstra Media is borne: Milne kicks it off with creepy comment

Telstra launched their media division today. Sol pumped it up by saying it's an important part of the companies future and that content lay at the centre of what Telstra wants to achieve moving forward.

Then somebody let Justin Milne have a comment - a man with a reputation for sometimes saying the wrong things. I think today was one of them.

From the article on the heraldsun.com.au - http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24367438-664,00.html

Mr Milne said building a media-comms company involved combining the power of the media to attract customers to a telecommunication service.

"So the simple proposition is, 'Gee, I'm thinking about getting a new mobile, Telstra's got the footy, I'd better buy theirs'.

"Then we go 'great, you've bought our mobile service - we're making money from that - and now in addition to that we'd like to make money from serving you ads from selling new ringtones'."

Has anyone told the guy that consumers probably don't want to know how Telstra is trying to screw more money out of them through content and ringtones and ad targeting ...

Will ninemsn appoint a new CEO?

News has broken today that ACP Magazines CEO Scott Lorsen has effectively been made redundant, as PBL Media have decided to phase out the role of a CEO within the magazine publishing group.

From a statement by Ian Law ... "The decision to phase out the role of CEO of ACP Magazines is part of an ongoing process to streamline the management reporting structure within the PBL Media group, ensuring the business has a structure that is focused on publishing and broadcasting the best content."

An 'ongoing process' ... does this mean it may include ninemsn? Could the current ninemsn executive team take on broader roles?

Tony Faure left at the end of August and announced he was leaving almost 3 months prior to that. Still, there's no replacement and no market murmurings about a possible new CEO.

Maybe the questions needs to move from 'Who will be the new CEO of ninemsn?' to 'Will there be a new CEO of ninemsn?'

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So what is a media company?

I was looking for some guidance on a defintion for a presentation I am preparing ... and came across this article that is even more interesting reading 2+ years on


It's by The Economist and focuses on former Yahoo! CEO, Terry Semel. Semel was brought on board to turn Yahoo! into a “21st-century media company” ... however things didn't quite turn out as expected. Semel resigned in August of 2007.

Semel went heavy on original content before taking a bit of a U-Turn in 2006 when content aggregation was all the rage. This article was written almost at the very moment things went south for Yahoo!

Semel talks about three key changes - content/programming on demand and how the net has democratised information by allowing the user to be the programmer.

Secondly, that small audiences and many of them are as good if not better than large scale broadcast mass audiences and that Yahoo! wanted to mix professional and amateur content to create these small, niche audiences and monetise them accordingly.

Thirdly, "Where does all this lead? “It will look more and more like a stock exchange,” says Mr Semel. An exchange, that is, for users who “offer” (create) and “bid” for (search, navigate, share, enjoy) content. And a stock exchange for advertisers, who bid against one another to have their sponsored links placed in front of these users."

I feel the first 2 are still relevant, and point 3 was where it went a little awry. For the record, 2006 was when the stock price of Yahoo! plummeted (from $43 in January to $25 in December) and I think this cloudy vision was the straw that broke the camels back.

The idea of point 3 would never have made sense for Yahoo! - or MOST businesses aside Google - funnily enough the idea of an exchange (ie a market exchange) is still a live one.

Still, it's getting close to the end of 2008 and there is more debate than ever on what makes a media company. Is Google a media company? I'd say yes ... ask them and they say no. How do old media companies define what they are now?

The weird thing is - Semel was definitely onto something ... and right now his original vision is probably more relevant than ever. Semel's talk about user programming and the importance of the small audience is bang on in my opinion and still largely left unfulfilled (especially the large point) by large scale players.

So, what does the term 'media company' mean in 2008?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yahoo!7 and other big players lose audience during Olympic period of August

New Nielsen data is out and it's big.

Yahoo!7 - who had the official Olympics presence in AU - actually lost audience numbers in August.

August 08 saw 5.35m Australia' s visit the site, down 41,000 from July.

This would be an annoyance to the Yahoo!7 management team, who rely on this Nielsen data as it's their only source of audited third party measurement to take to market. (as they don't use Market Intelligence)

It may also raise questions about the value of the Olympics to Yahoo!7 in terms of exposing the brand and their services to a new audience.

All of the main players took hits in August - ninemsn was down over 200,000 uniques, Fairfax Digital down 100,000 uniques, and News Digital down over 300,000 uniques. Relative to these numbers, the Yahoo! result doesn't look too bad ... but would still be a worry as it will raise concerns as to what the numbers will do in September without the Olympic traffic to pump it up.

It would also be a surprise for the other networks - who wouldn't have banked on them losing audience numbers of this volume as they enter the absolutely crucial back quarter.

All data sourced from Nielsen Netview, August 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Q4 2008: 4 thought starters

I am very interested to see what eventuates in Q4 of this year. Generally the last quarter of the year is a pretty robust period, but in 07 it moved from hunstoppable growth momentum to barely a whimper, with 2007 Q4 revenue only up 19% on 2006 Q4 revenue.

Compare this with a 67% increase form 2006 (compared to 2005) and similar increases in the previous years and this figure would have caught the attention of the main players.

Don't get me wrong, 19% YOY growth is nothing to sneeze at, but when you're used to 50%+ growth YOY it shows that the industry is maturing and the momentum off the back of the migration of spend from offline to online is slowing.

Here's 4 things I'll be keeping a close eye on across the next 3-4 months.

1. Emergence of the specialist

This applies for all areas of digital. Agencies. Publishers. Sales houses. Search. Display. I think specialisation and service level will become a key differentiator in a very competitive industry. Knowing your product. Understanding your audience. Understanding the brief. All fundamentals but generally missed most of the time. Agencies are going to want publisher partners who can address business problems and conceive solutions, not sell banners and medium rectangles. Clients are going to want agencies who really understand the digital space - from internet to mobile to emerging technologies, in game, video, social media etc

I also think media owners/publishers will need to do more to skill up their sales teams to truly understand their audience and their key points of difference. Portals are usually generalists in terms of their understanding of audience and context - there is an opening for specialists (like Gizmodo, Sportal, Cnet) to work with larger portals specialist areas (sport, tech, health, parenting) in terms of site representation and content syndication. The portals bring the audience to the content, the specialists extract the revenue it deserves. Being 'great at one thing' is severely undervalued in AU.

Edit: By the above what I am saying is we should start thinking about specialists selling specialist content. For me, it makes more sense for me to buy a parenting environment off someone who has experience in the area (they don't need to be a parent but they need to understand parenting) rather than a 25 year old single guy. It makes sense for a specialist who understands technology to be offering solutions to an advertiser wanting to reach this audience, not a salesperson who doesn't understand that environment. Just like it might not be feasible for an agency person to give you definitive info on ALL elements of digital media ... it's equally not feasible for one salesperson to sell 10 different environments with 10 different audiences and mindsets.

Google has employed Industry Marketing Managers whose job is to stay on top of all industry trends - essentially become an analyst - and they feed these insights to their clients. The result, more trust.

2. Service is the differentiator

Market tolerance of adops mishaps, under deliveries, misleading ad network buys, ambiguous creative specs, lack of knowledge about audience data, content etc will not be as tolerated as it's been before. The excuse 'we're such a young medium, it's a steep learning curve' is such a cop out - we need, as an industry to ensure we can deliver what we sell. As a result, revenue will move towards providers who have the above issues sorted out and have their back end in check. Everyone is going to have to work harder to earn their slice of the digital pie, and as a result we might see the first signs of some consolidation or even better, vastly improved service.

3. Forced mid-tail embrace

Mid tail consumption in AU is obvious - approximately 8% of pages viewed on the Internet belong to the big 5, and about 11% belongs to Google. What are people doing with the other 80%? They are using mid tail sites. Problem is, the dollars haven't flowed into this critical area - namely due to the market presence of the big guys, plus a lack of a great vertical network, time constraints etc. This might all change. Reason - most of the big players have increased their rate cards to levels that perhaps are above what is reasonable. This will force marketers to look elsewhere, namely the mid tail - which is far more cost competitive and generally gives you access to more engaged and credible audiences.

4. The hard TV/online cross-sell

For the 2008 Olympics, advertisers on the Olympics didn't have the choice regarding taking an online package, it was a deal mandatory. I can see this becoming more common across key in demand TV programming - inclusive deals that cover both TV and online. It's a good way for the cross media players (namely 7 and 9) to leverage their TV muscle to generate additional revenues for their online assets. With James Warburton now Chief Digital guy at 7 Media Group, I think it'll be the 7/Yahoo group that lead the charge across their key programming in the front half of 2009.

Yahoo! challenges Google with Bigpond mobile deal? Really?

The Oz is reporting Yahoo! and Bigpond striking a deal for Yahoo! to power the Bigpond Mobile on deck search - http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24326440-26077,00.html

"The multi-year deal between Yahoo7 and Telstra's Sensis division means Yahoo's oneSearch technology will replace Sensis's search technology on 4.4 million Telstra BigPond 3G-enabled phones.

"Revenue from display and search advertising that appears on the mobile search service -- which will be accessible through a co-branded button on the content menus of all Telstra 3G phones -- will be shared between Yahoo7 and Sensis.

"The partnership will eventually be expanded to include Sensis's Yellow and Trading Post classified searches and Telstra BigPond content.

"Yahoo7 chief executive Rohan Lund said the deal was the most significant for the company in the mobile space and would give Yahoo's advertisers access to a much bigger audience."

Is this really much of a big deal. It definitely doesn't amount to a challenge to Google. Let's not forget Google is flogging Yahoo! in search globally and even more in AU.

People trust Google - they use it on their PC and will also use it on their mobile. It's questionable how much incremental traffic this will bring Yahoo! search and also about the real value/visbility it will give to its advertisers. It makes for nice PR but will it deliver much to their consumers - user/advertiser.

It's interesting to see the deals Lund is looking to strike - he is looking to build Yahoo! audience through distribution deals. It's not a bad play - it's generally cheaper than ATL marketing - and the new eyeballs generated can be added to the topline figure the large guys still like to throw around (we have 5m users etc) despite most marketers not caring anymore about topline network numbers.

Also, does this mean Telstra is putting Sensis search to bed? It's been a rough 4-5 years for Sensis search - it might make more sense to utilise Yahoo!'s better technology and enter into a revshare deal with them on advertising. Would cut a sh*tload of salary cost and they could no doubt negotiate a pretty good deal with Yahoo! as Sensis/Bigpond Internet distro could increase Yahoo!'s total search audience in AU by 50-100%.

ABC to include advertising on mobile services?

That's what Crikey.com.au is reporting in this article - http://www.crikey.com.au/Media-Arts-and-Sports/20080908-ABC-advertising.html

Apparently dev has been outsourced to a company called Wapfly. The million dollar question (literally) is ... who will be selling the space?

All the big guys will want to give this a crack. Question is, are they equipped/skilled to do it justice? Justice in terms of maintaining the integrity of ABC content and also selling the mobile space and mindset appropriately.

The mobile space is a pretty fresh territory and the sophistication of the sell isn't quite there yet. Bigpond have a big lead on the rest of the market in terms of tools and measurement, but surely you couldn't expect Aunty and Sol to get into bed together ... what would the neighbours think!

One to watch ...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Online employment classified distribution heats up

Was reading today that Seek and Yahoo!7 have re-married after 3 years of Yahoo! eloping with Fairfax's MyCareer offering.

Seek and Yahoo! were strong partners - Seek was Yahoo!'s first investment outside of the US - and the 2 enjoyed a mutually beneficial classified distribution arrangement up until the end of 2005 when Yahoo! migrated all classifieds deals over to Fairfax.

Now they're back in bed - and talking up a joint website (which I imagine is Seek's engine and backend with a Yahoo! top and tail frame job)

Full article - http://www.smartcompany.com.au/Free-Articles/The-Briefing/20080910-SEEK-and-Yahoo7-launch-jobs-partnership.html

For Yahoo! this is a good source of revenue. You'd estimate there's probably around $1m to be gained yearly dependant on the commercials. Plus they are aligning with the market leader, which is ideal.

Also saw that News's Careerone and Ebay have launched a similar distribution initiative called ebay jobs. The combination seems very odd to me - who goes to ebay to look for work?


I guess it's a win/win. Ebay will getting paid based on the traffic it can deliver to careerone. Careerone is hoping that distribution across ebay's mega base audience gives them incremental traffic - traffic they can use to justify their charges to job advertisers. Despite some additional revenue for ebay (which they are under pressure to generate), I don't see the upside for ebay nor the benefit for their users.

The classifieds space is ultra competitive - so these deals, whilst they seem a little odd - come at a premium as each of the main players wants desperately to increase their base usage.

AU Dodgy patrol: Selling something you don't have

Who is the AU repping house selling Facebook News Feed ad units to clients, but not actually being able to fulfill them?

I have experienced first hand, and heard from others of a third party sales company selling these ad units to agencies, then ignoring requests for screenshots and proof of posting ... and then when repeatedly pressed finally admitting that they don't actually have the right to be selling these ads and trying to allocate the dollar amounts into properties outside of Facebook.

It's dodgy sh*t like this that gives the industry a bad name.

You depend on Google more than you probably know

Valleywag writes "really, isn't Google's move to archive centuries of newspapers a bit like the architects of a genocide dedicating a museum to the holocaust they committed" in an article discussing Google's plans to archive printed newspaper articles (as explained by Marisa Meyer at TC50/52). I laughed.

However the article, titled 'The Cuddly Embrace of the Google Monster' is definitely worth reading - http://valleywag.com/5047597/the-cuddly-embrace-of-the-google-monster

It oulines category traffic across key categories, and what percentage of that traffic is driven by search engines.

It's interesting data - especially for those working in media who need to be across the how/where/why/what of people accessing content online and where they are turning to for trusted opinion and information.

Over 44% of traffic to Health/Medical sites is driven by Google. 35% of the travel category is driven by them. 25% of shopping and classifieds. 23% of entertainment.

With those stats, and Google's slow but steady moves into the 'media biz' ... could it be appealing for the GOOG to enter a little deeper into the Health and Travel spaces?

The only 2 categories with minimal reliance on search are Sports and Social Networking.

The power Google holds with the media world is so large - and it's getting larger each day. And it will continue to grow as Google is used by more and more as their sole navigation tool on the web.

Interesting quote from the article: "The biggest threat to Google comes not from Redmond or Sunnyvale, but from its own headquarters in Mountain View. Hubris plagues Google's executives, who are so convinced they are doing good that they are blind to the damage they leave in their wake, and indifferent to outside viewpoints."

Remember too, these are global figures. In AU Google has between 90-93% of the search market (whereas in the US it has just over 70%) - so here their power is greater.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Google Ad Planner - barely worth a look

I was pretty excited about Google Ad Planner when it was announced.

Why? Well ... the current measurement tools we have at our disposal in AU are pretty dire. They are either too light on in terms of depth of data, or packed full of data that really has no use.

So when Google stated "If you're a media planner at an ad agency, you know that planning an online display buy can be challenging, particularly in scaling your campaign's reach while keeping it relevant for your target audience", I thought things were on the up.

Not true. Well ... not true, yet.

Google AdPlanner is an epic anti climax in AU.


Well, you can't actually plan anything. Reason for this is when you start (and I mean START) drilling into an audience on even the most basic level (ie gender, age) it hits you with the error ...

"You have likely either specified an audience too small to display or a site without any data. Please change your audience definition."

I got the same error when I was looking up EVERY age bracket, and the only site that appeared when I looked for Males was BrisbaneTimes.com.au. Don't even bother with household income ... same result.

It turns out demographic information isn't available for sites outside of the US.

Still, AdPlanner is pretty basic. Where does it fall down?

1. Where are they getting their data from? It's not stated - this concerns me.

2. It gives preferential treatment to Google Content Network sites.

3. It gives really broad estimates of available inventory per day (ie 10K - 100K) which makes it very difficult to get accurate projections

4. It only focuses on unique users and page impressions - not time spent, pages per user, geolocation, media type (ie streaming video, audio, html etc). Very backward.

5. It is missing a LOT of AU sites - LOADS. I'd estimate 80-90%

6. It has a stack of sites that do not accept advertising - like CommBank and Public Transport sites - which is useless for an "Ad" Planner. No option to switch these off either (which Netview has)

7. No information on AU eyeballs across overseas sites. How many AU eyeballs on Digg? Don't ask Google Ad Planner - they can't tell you - which doesn't help given so much Internet use in AU is on o/s sites. Massive fail here.

8. Google claim "discover many relevant sites--small and large--that would otherwise be hard to find." Not true in AU - it's barely scratching the surface

The only groups/agencies this tool will benefit are those who can't afford to subscribe to market data sources. As much as it pains me to say it, Nielsen offers more robust user data and Morgan gives better insight into the consumer. Yes, both are very limited ... but right now they are still the best two.

Unless Ad Planner can dramatically - and I mean DRAMATICALLY - improve, I wouldn't waste anymore time on it.

"Google Ad Planner is designed with media planners in mind"

Maybe ask some media planners for input next time as I don't know any media planner who would find it useful in its current state.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Dell brings us Digital Nomads

Nice branded content initiative from Dell


Much better than the low end banner ads they run ad nauseum in this market ...

Branded content has the potential to become a real boom for digital publishers in AU - the problem is they're not equipped sales wise or editorially (mindset) to deliver what is required ... yet.

Note to most - an xmas gift guide sponsored by an advertiser IS NOT BRANDED CONTENT. Nor is repackaging ideas you couldn't sell to other advertisers ...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Oops Patrol: Carat US lay off internal management info sent to entire company

Carat US has layed off some employees, but made the mistake of sending out information meant for management to the ENTIRE COMPANY.

Information that now has been picked up by AdAge and goes into depth about what to say to those who are being let go, what to say to suppliers, clients and other staff and reasons for the redundancies.


All the juice here - http://valleywag.com/5045091/ad-agency-mails-powerpoint-about-layoffs-to-entire-company

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Six months on: Bebo still isn't the biggest social network in AU

From http://www.marketingmag.com.au/case_studies/view/in-the-spotlight-bebo-170

"Within six months we’ll be the largest social networking site in Australia.” Bebo’s Jim Scheinman at the ad:tech conference in February this year.

Whilst there's nothing better than a bit of blow in foreign exec optimism to get the media excited, I wonder how Schienman would be feeling about Bebo's current position in AU.

In July Bebo was at 719,000 users according to Nielsen Netview. Myspace was at 2.6m people. Facebook 3.4m.

Techcrunch ask whether Hulu could be a bigger business than YouTube

TC have run a pretty poorly written (my thoughts anyway - sketchy data and assumptions - still it's better than reading about social media startups with no business model and 400m valuations) article about YouTube v Hulu over here - http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/09/01/can-hulu-be-a-bigger-business-than-youtube/

Interestingly, TC head honcho Michael Arrington used to call Hulu Clownco (which was allegedly Google's internal name for the service) repeatedly (http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/08/09/wow-clown-co-got-that-1-billion-valuation-still-nameless-though/) and was pretty dismissive of the concept; and the tech media absolutely flogged the concept when it launched, lambasting it as a flop and giving the NBC/Fox brainstrust advice on how to make it really work (example: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/hulu.php)

Now it seems the US tech media is embracing Hulu and maybe, just maybe, are open to the fact that a bunch of TV guys might actually have a more viable business with web video than YouTube. It will be interesting to watch TechCrunch cover Hulu over the next 12 months.

Can Hulu be more viable than YouTube? I don't know. Right now, absolutely ... Hulu in my opinion could command 10-20x the CPMs YouTube can - plus they can monetise all their inventory (YouTube can monetise approx 3-4% of theirs) PLUS they can (if done smartly) bundle Hulu placements in with TV buys (ie you buy 30 Rock via 7 for TV and also buy in on the online component at the same time via Hulu). However the biggest thing is trust, traditional brand advertisers trust what they know - and they know TV, TV shows and the production houses.

They're not quite sure on YouTube. Case in point - show a brand manager at nameless FMCG company or Movie distributor the most popular videos (http://au.youtube.com/browse?s=mp) and they will turn their nose up and ask to not be placed near that content.

In the future - who knows - never discount Google to come up with a game changing idea ... however they need to hurry up as they might lose the momentum they had and Hulu is focused on global expansion so the clock is ticking.

Battelle asks whether Google are spreading their efforts too thinly

John Battelle is someone I follow on Twitter. I love reading his stuff. I like what he is doing with Federated Media (giving advertisers access to 'conversational media', entering the world of branded content etc) and I like how he thinks about things related to digital.

He posted a few interesting 'tweets' (ugh I hate that word) today re Google. I thought I'd repost them here.

Follow John Battelle on Twitter - http://twitter.com/johnbattelle

Let's make a list of oceans that Google plans to boil, shall we?

1. Computer Operating Systems. Oh, well, no really, Web Operating Systems (Chrome et al).

2. Search. Check that one as boiled, but it's not easy to keep that ocean at true temperature.

3. Cloud computing, including applications (also known as Office).

4. Healthcare data. Really.

5. The entire mobile ecosystem, from OS to hardware (android).

6. Energy. Yep, energy (figuring out how to come up with sustainable energy below the cost of coal). Through Google.org.

7. The entire advertising/marketing ecosystem, offline and online.

8. Traditional methodologies and understandings of how a public company comports itself.

PS - # 7 includes analytics, ad serving, ad selling, integrated programs, TV, radio, print, etc.

9. Social networking. Yes, dead serious, they are playing against MySpace, Facebook, etc.

10. The entire UGC media world with YouTube and Blogger and Knol et al.

You tell me, is the company stretched too thin?

ninemsn get fixated

Ninemsn have launched Fixated - www.fixated.com.au - with Citibank coming on board as the launch sponsor.

I've had a bit of a play - seems very similar to Hollywood Stock Exchange (http://www.hsx.com/) and Celebdaq (http://www.bbc.co.uk/celebdaq/). Not really a new concept (well, not at all a new concept) but they are the first to add a local spin. Yes, it's still a rip off but hey ... imitation is flattery.

Most interestingly, Citibank are the launch sponsor. Citibank's online efforts have generally been all DR focussed so it's fantastic to see them step into the area of sponsorships/branded content and outside of affiliate and CPA.

It's also good to see ninemsn really working at making thefix a consumer brand - which I think is indicative of ninemsn heading down the path of really building value and equity in their brands as opposed to being a faceless aggregator of feeds.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Facebook hiring in Oz

So Facebook are looking for a Head of Sales in the Australian market - which suggests local operations (or at least a sales team) isn't too far away.