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Jun 7 2005
Please Spell 'Shopzilla'
As blogged by Greg Sterling earlier today, E.W. Scripps, the Cincinnati based media company known by some for its sponsorship of the National Spelling Bee, announced plans to buy online shopping site �� Shopzilla for an estimated $525 million. Scripps is making a bet on the future growth of online shopping �� today estimated at $100 billion.

E.W. Scripps, a traditional media company, paid almost 3 times more for Shopzilla��s 14 million unique visitors than what eBay paid for��s nearly 50 million unique visitors. What becomes of these two shopping sites over time now that they are part of larger companies is anyone��s guess. Will eBay��s online orientation propel forward? Will Scripps' traditional media culture cut against the grain of Shopzilla��s management team in Santa Monica, California? Time will tell. The only safe bet is that no one at next year��s National Spelling Bee will be asked to spell the name of Scripps�� latest and perhaps boldest acquisition.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  12:43 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jun 7 2005 goes for the Gold
Today I tripped over an offer from for a personalized weather report called ��gold��.

For $19.95, gold will get you more speed for downloading radar maps, the ability to customize ��your�� weather page and add your exact location (house or office) to the radar maps; view weather in 11 other cities of your choice and get all of this "ad free." With this offering, begins its push into the content subscription business. Like newspapers and other content providers, hopes that faster, richer and more personalized content will be enough to move visitors from a free ad-supported model to a subscription model. This move by may also suggest that they��ve had little ability to add more advertising inventory.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  10:59 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Jun 7 2005
Why Greg Sterling Still Pays $61.90 per Month
Why anyone is paying $61.90 per month for broadband connectivity now that SBC and Yahoo! are offering it at 15 bucks a month is a fine question. I pay my bill to the same company Greg does and I pay only $42.95 per month.

So why does Greg continue to pay $20 more per month? Because he cringes at the possibility that, while switching providers will lower his monthly bills, he might subject himself to a visit to customer support ��hell.�� That is a very scary place �� a place where dialing an innocent toll-free number may ultimately lead to multiple hand-offs �� across the country and almost certainly across the world. Narrowband is all but dead. No one in their right mind would sign up �� or should be allowed to sign up �� for anything other than high-speed Internet access. It is no longer a question of whether to have broadband, but from whom to buy broadband. The SBC-Yahoo! offer at $15 is very appealing, though it does require self-provisioning. For those technically fit and with loads of patience �� this is a compelling choice, but for Greg and the rest of us whose hearts skip a beat with even momentary loss of connectivity, the comfort is worth skipping a double latte each day.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  08:48 | permalink | comments [4] | trackbacks [0]

Jun 2 2005
Talking Yellow Pages for the 21st Century
Yellow Pages Group, the Yellow Pages publisher for all of Canada, is now taking an old concept �� talking Yellow Pages �� into a new era. John Kelsey knows all about the first 3,000 attempts to make talking Yellow Pages both an operational and a business success.

Notice the word ��attempts�� �� because so far, few talking YP services have ever lasted long enough to meet the lofty and often grandiose predictions. YPG �� in concert with CallGenie and Nuance �� is launching the ��first�� interactive, voice recognition-based Yellow Pages service. HelloYellow �� the new service's trademarked name �� is set to be tested in Toronto. We��ve been saying for some time now that Yellow Pages on cellphones or PDAs will require a voice interface. It appears that time has come. Now if the machine can understand the difference between ��a�� and ��eh,�� YPG and its partners will really be on to something.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  09:44 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jun 2 2005
Daddy, Where's the Amusement Park?
AOL��s MapQuest unit announced it was going ��back to the future�� today with plans to publish printed maps and guide books, and AOL announced the formation of MapQuest Publishing business unit. Perry Evans, CEO of LocalMatters, Inc. must be having a good laugh.

Perry used to work at R.R. Donnelley & Sons' original mapping company located in Mountville, PA �� now know to 41 million monthly unique visitors as One is reminded of the ��Smuckers�� old tag line �� with a name like blah, blah, blah, it ought to be good. In this case, AOL has finally seized the opportunity to leverage a global online brand with a real world, everyday solution �� printed maps and guide books. Mixed emotions abound. Rand McNally will watch its market share drop like a brick and can only kick itself for never getting ahead of the curve. Have you ever been to (Me neither.) Nor have I ever been to the R.R. Donnelley site looking for maps. Too bad neither had a road map for the future.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  09:36 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jun 1 2005
Radio Fights Back with Broad Mix
For a long time radio represented a viable way to narrow cast advertising to a targeted audience - country music, rock and roll, classical, etc. - each representing a different set of demographics. Along comes the iPod (and other digital music devices), which offers the music listener nearly an unlimited variety of music formats - 90's hip-hop mixed with Bach and Beethoven - and all of a sudden radio stations are scrambling (pun intended) to mix up their music.

Apparently this latest shift started at a station in Canada call Jack which promoted itself as a "we play everything" station. Now stations in the lower 48 states are following suit. In the San Francisco Bay Area, 95.7 used to be the country music station and is now a "we play anything" station. This is one more example of a traditional media business being turned sideways by the digital age. For now it would seem radio stations that focus on talk and news are safe - but with XM and Sirius building customer bases - we can only safely conclude "the times they are a changing."
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  12:50 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

May 25 2005
Media Share Shifts Continue
In the New York Times today, an article titled No More Same-Old lays out the challenges facing advertisers and advertising agencies in today��s ��connected�� and ever changing world.

According to Universal-McCann during the last 5 years, only three media categories have increased their overall ad budget share �� direct mail, cable TV and the Internet. Share losses were felt by the ��big-four�� traditional categories �� newspapers, broadcast TV, radio and magazines. And though left out of the analysis, Yellow Pages too lost share during the last 5 years. More evidence that media that can target audiences more precisely �� closer to where those audiences make buying decisions �� is on the rise. Yellow Pages can make this claim too �� so why hasn��t it gained share in the last 5 years? It maybe that Yellow Pages lost its way when instead of focusing on the value proposition �� Yellow Pages usually offers a great ROI - publishers and their legions of sales people began pushing color, double trucks, cover, spine, tip-on and other high-revenue items.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  01:14 | permalink | comments [2] | trackbacks [0]

May 23 2005
Hollywood Spending with Newspapers at Risk
As if newspapers have not had enough bad news in recent months �� declining readership, circulation audits, classified erosion. Now comes another challenge �� this time from Hollywood. A decade ago movie advertising accounted for about 8 percent of national newspaper advertising.

This share rose 73 percent to over 14 percent in 2004 and amounted to more than a billion dollars. While this might be classified as national advertising, it is really local advertising �� enabling moviegoers to find out what movie is playing at what theatre and at what time. As they say in the movie business, this trend ��may not have legs��. Now more than ever, moviegoers can go online to get a more comprehensive solution to their movie-going needs. The basic movie information is easily found online or over the phone. The online experience is considerably enhanced by easy access to reviews �� both edited and moviegoer generated, online ticketing, nearby eating options, parking choices and even traffic information. This is just one more example of the inevitable, albeit gradual, march toward the local online neighborhood.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  08:46 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

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