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Jan 24 2006
MySpace Goes Mobile, Faces a New Challenger
PaidContent reports that a new social networking site for Teens called Tagged has received funding. Little is revealed about the business model, but it will be difficult for anyone entering the space to gain market share from MySpace.

The average age of MySpace users skews a bit older than a teenage user base (roughly 18), but it still has a great deal of users in their teens who aren�t likely to abandon the accounts they have set up and developed (and made known to �friends� in the network). This gets to the stickiness of social networking, and the advantages of being first to market. Although this clearly didn�t work for Friendster, a combination of features, differentiation (MySpace�s focus on music) and marketing are clearly important in this space.

Fox Interactive Media President Ross Levinsohn, meanwhile, announced at the NATPE show in Las Vegas that this is the year MySpace will �go mobile.�

�You can see [users] interacting on their computer now want to extend that to the phone. � We want to empower MySpace screen names to supplant mobile numbers,� he said.

How this will be done isn�t exactly clear. It could require hardware partnerships as well as carrier partnerships. It could be complicated. But all that aside, it could be a very powerful integration, given that the MySpace demographic also represents a large market of mobile users.

More importantly, they are also an attractive demographic for advertisers, especially when mobile and inclined to transact locally. Bring in the possibility of contextual and geotargeted advertising, and you start to get the picture. We�ll have to wait and see what FIM has up its sleeve.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  13:54 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
First the Web, Then IPTV, Next Radio
An interesting piece in today�s New York Times about HD radio. Better described as �digital radio�, the technology allows broadcasters to fit three additional channels in the space now occupied by just one.

A digital signal also allows for much better behavioral targeting for advertisers. Combine this with Google�s recent move into radio advertising, and you have a new growth medium for targeted local advertising.

The move towards digital radio will largely be fueled by the new on-demand marketplace. There will be more content choices and more of a pull of content, rather than a broadcast push. The pull is also where targeting can be more acutely executed.

WIRED magazine wrote a great forward looking piece last March which speculated some of the possibilities of digital radio.

From the article:
As listeners select the programs they want to hear, they're instructing the radio about their interests. "Whenever you pull the dial like a piece of taffy and let more signals come through, you are of course going to get a lot more niches," Griffin says. As a broadcaster, "you make money [running a collection of niche stations] because targeted ad buys are so much more valuable than nontargeted. Traditional media isn't a great way to reach fly fishermen or people who are in quilting bees, but niches are."

In this TiVo-esque environment, Clear Channel-style mass broadcasting becomes less and less effective.

The technology is in an early adoption stage, and the pricing for necessary hardware reflects that. But the price will come down and it should follow a typical new technology life cycle. When it reaches wide scale adoption, we can expect to see many of the targeting abilities of the web, and of IPTV, manifest in radio.

There is a lot more to it, and we will continue to analyze this interesting area as it develops.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  13:20 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 17 2006
A New Strategy for Outdoor Advertising?
Here�s an interesting concept that circumvents some of the challenges of integrating advertising in online maps. SEW points out that the rooftop ads probably aren�t for the sake of online mapping satellite imagery; they actually target commercial flights as they approach airports.

It still makes one wonder about the possibilities in online mapping. It probably wouldn�t take off to a large degree; and if it did, mapping providers would likely blur out any ads that didn�t pay for placement. But it�s an interesting anecdote that demonstrates the creativity of marketers finding every last nook and cranny of advertising space in the physical and online worlds.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  17:28 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 17 2006
Yahoo! Continues Toolbar Distribution Strategy
In December, we wrote an Advisory about toolbar strategies employed by portals, IYPs and others. The benefit, in a nutshell, is to cement the brand into a user�s browser, or desktop, which all but guarantees repeat use and exposure. The challenge, however, is competing for limited browser or desktop real estate. Google, Yahoo! and others have, as a result, enacted clever strategies and partnerships to drive toolbar downloads. Here is the latest one from Yahoo!.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  17:18 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 17 2006
News Corp. Plans to Compete for Broadband
One thing seems to stand in the way of Rupert Murdoch�s march toward a broadband empire: the broadband network itself.

This BusinessWeek article outlines his plans to compete with cable and telecom �triple play� bundles by updating News Corp.-owned satellite network DirecTV to carry data and voice into subscribers� homes. The challenge? Updating the satellite network to carry faster data in two directions, as cable and DSL networks currently do (and satellite currently does not).

The alternative is to build a Wi-Max network from the ground up, which is cheaper than building a terrestrial broadband network. Murdoch is willing to earmark about a billion dollars for the cause, a necessary investment to fully leverage the Web properties he recently acquired, including MySpace, and the launch of Fox Interactive Media.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  16:57 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 17 2006
A Whole New Kind of Local Ad Inventory
This just in from the bizarre item of the day department. A new trend in local advertising? Probably not, but good for a quick laugh on a Tuesday.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  15:03 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 14 2006
MSN AdCenter's Ambitions
Microsoft Corp. announced Friday that it will step up its adCenter online ad platform to handle all the paid search results that appear on MSN search.

Currently about 25 percent of sponsored links come from adCenter, and the rest are outsourced to Yahoo! (Overture). The contract with Yahoo! expires in June though.

So its in-house ad placement is hoped to bring in higher paid search revenues and provide some competition for Google and Yahoo!.

It also represents a step toward developing a platform for placing ads across multiple platforms, as search is beginning to seep across various devices and platforms (i.e. Yahoo! Go). The development work for this platform will mostly take place at Microsoft�s newly launched adLab, a marriage between its Redmond-based adCenter team and its Chinese research lab. adLab will work on ways to better target user demographics, behavior and device use.

It�s a clear move to catch up to Google and Yahoo!, behind which it currently trails in paid search market share. As ad inventory will increase with more search happening across different platforms and devices, it�s a good time for Microsoft to make such a move.

It will have some catching up to do, however, as Yahoo! has already signed partnerships with Motorola and Nokia to bundle Yahoo! Go in new phones, and Google is beginning to make some moves of its own in the portable device market. These partnerships will cement Google and Yahoo! into the interfaces of these devices. Look for Microsoft to do the same, as this is where much of the new growth in search market share will come from.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  14:32 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 12 2006
IPTV Article of the Day
The Washington Post�s Leslie Walker penned an interesting post-CES piece today about IPTV.

From the article:

No single company put everything together into a magical product at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, but you didn�t need much imagination to connect the booths and see the Internet TV networks of the 21st century struggling to be born. The unmistakable theme was how video is moving over the Internet onto home televisions and mobile devices in ways that will finally allow consumers to talk back to their TVs, much as they have been interacting with Web sites for the past decade.

This is a point we have continually raised about the benefits IPTV will bring to consumer targeting and advertising. The interaction or pulling in of on-demand content will not only serve users in innovative ways, but will also give networks, service providers and advertisers invaluable, detailed information about what viewers want and exactly where they are. The inherent advantages of IP technologies over cable and satellite will allow this tracking�as they have done on the Web�as Walker pointed out (and as we have in the past).

This point she makes is also intriguing:

Basically, IPTV allows multiple layers of video, pictures and text to be mixed with video feeds in ways viewers can control with their remotes. It�s the old interactive TV vision�point your remote at an actress on screen and up comes her name, prior credits and perhaps a �buy me� button for her blue sequined dress.

The big question is: How will all the moving parts come together, such as content creation and aggregation, hardware integration, service providers, monetization strategies, and advertising sales channels (or perhaps self provisioning).

An interesting read and a primer for many IPTV issues we�ll raise at the upcoming Drilling Down on Local conference.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  15:18 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

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