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Jan 4 2006
Listen to Live CES Keynotes Online
SEW points to a few places online where you will be able to listen to the live CES Keynote from Bill Gates tonight at 6:30 PST (If you aren�t watching the Rose Bowl). We expect that local search will play a part in some way in what he has to say. Yahoo!�s Terry Semel, and Google�s Larry Page speak on Friday and there will likely be live audio casts online somewhere, which SEW is committed to finding. We�ll keep our eyes open as well.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  15:45 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 4 2006
Syndicated Data to Be Unveiled in January
The U.S. Yellow Pages industry is set to see its first batch of syndicated usage data in a number of years. Later this month, according to a press release issued today by SRI/Knowledge Networks, 2005 usage data for 45 U.S. markets will be released. The data is being branded the Yellow Pages Market Reporter.

According to KN/SRI, 10 directory publishers participated in the study in 2005, and so far 12 certified marketing representative companies have signed up to receive the data.

While 10 publishers doesn�t sound like many, the 10 that are participating account for the lion�s share of U.S. directory revenue.

TKG has watched the process unfold of rekindling syndicated usage research. The process has been difficult due to complex methodology issues and conflicting interests among the participants. TKG applauds this development and acknowledges the hard work required to take this initiative this far. The next challenges include keeping the process together for the long haul and adding the participation of more publishers. But for now it is worthwhile noting that the initiative has achieved at least initial success.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  13:14 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 4 2006
ISP Competition: 'Bring It On'
... to paraphrase the words of George Bush. For the past 7+ days, I�ve had limited Internet access because of myriad problems at Comcast and with the weather in the Bay Area, where I live. Three technicians, 7 calls and 4 online chats later, the problems aren�t fixed and I keep getting different information from people I speak to. (I�m cheating on a neighbor�s unreliable Wi-Fi network when I do get on.)

I have two contradictory thoughts: Being offline for most of last week gave me some much needed perspective that the Internet isn�t the alpha and omega of existence�of course, I already knew that intellectually� there are many more �human� problems (and pleasures) that should and do trump the questions of search engine market share and online demographics. However, admittedly, I am somewhat compulsively involved with the Internet and its many dramas.

The Internet is now a utility and should be as reliable; it�s no longer a novelty. It must work all the time, and there must be redundant systems to ensure that it does. Right now, amazingly (because of my own �inertia"), I pay $61.90 per month for my Comcast �high-speed� Internet. I�ve considered switching to ATT-Yahoo!, but the speeds are slower (although so are the prices).

Yet most of the time I don�t in fact get on at the promised superior cable speeds. Indeed, one of the amazing things I discovered during this little ordeal was that Comcast was actually rationing the signal strength to my house. That was revealed when one of the technicians removed the device constricting the bandwidth to boost the signal speed I was receiving.

But enough of this griping ... Bring on the municipal Wi-Fi (GoogleNet, whoever; I don�t care). It can�t happen fast enough for me. Maybe that would put some fear into Comcast to deliver better service and better speed at more competitive pricing.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  13:07 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 4 2006
Let the Announcements Begin
We�re bracing ourselves for a torrent of announcements to come out of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas over the next few days. Device convergence will be a major theme and IPTV will get a lot of attention.

PaidContent reports that IPTV content aggregator and service provider Akimbo has struck a deal with Thomson (RCA) to launch a co-branded Akimbo video player (set-top box) that will interface with the broadband delivery of video content from Movielink. Akimbo had previously marketed its own set-top box but recently announced that it will seek hardware partners and focus more on being a content aggregator and service provider.

News Corp. subsidiary NDS has also launched a service called XSpace, which allows users to access online video content on their television. This is basically a technology play that brings Web video clips (news, sports and entertainment already available online) to your television. So there is no content aggregation involved�just a form factor issue. The technology supports the ad delivery that comes with the content, as well as subscription-based content.

IPTV start-up and content aggregator DaveTV (similar model as Akimbo) is expected to announce a new IPTV delivery platform this week that will include content partnerships for Hollywood movies. We�ll be watching closely for that announcement and others.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  12:41 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 4 2006
Google Pay-Per-View?
Here�s Shankar Gupta�s piece at MediaPost (reg. req�d) about Google gearing up to potentially charge users to watch full-length videos.

While more and more users are paying for content online, this move would (in my view) be premature. There�s too much competition out there and the broadband video market is too new (although it�s apparently working on the iPod) to institute a pay-per-view strategy.

Speaking of such competition, Starz�s Vongo (a $9.95 subscription service as opposed to PPV) will soon permit movie downloads onto a variety of devices. Eventual consumer adoption of such services will largely put video rental companies out of business (and maybe Netflix too, unless they go forward with a similar service, previously �indefinitely postponed").


This USAToday column looks at the long tail of video content and the role of user recommendations in driving that content (rehash, but timely rehash).

Here�s Om Malik�s theory about Larry Page�s keynote at CES and Google Video

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  05:22 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 4 2006
More Than a Product a Week
Now I know partly why I feel so exhausted. According to the Google Blog , the company introduced 77 new products in 2005.

So there are 52 weeks in a year ... that makes approximately 1.4 product announcements per week. As I wrote last week, analytics firm Hitwise suggests that Google�s momentum (and share growth in the past six months) is partly tied to the introduction of many new products/offerings.

I wonder if there�s a strategy in there somewhere: product rollout, frenzy of coverage, ubiquity of Google name reinforces usage, also drives market share gains, advertisers follow, stock gains (Hello $600!), et cetera, et cetera.

I suspect there wasn�t a day in 2005 that didn�t see at least one article written about Google in the U.S. and abroad.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  04:53 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 4 2006
Traditional Media Audiences in Decline
According to new consumer data from Burst Media, older Americans (55+)�thought to be a die-hard audience for traditional media�are apparently adopting the Internet at the expense of those media: television, radio, magazines or newspapers (the study, reported in MarketingVOX, doesn�t discuss YP).

The currency, breadth, accuracy and ubiquitous availability of the Internet and online content are responsible for the trend, according to Burst (vs. one year ago):

  • 36.6 percent spend less time reading magazines

  • 44.1 percent spend less time reading newspapers

  • 44.0 percent spend less time listening to the radio

  • 43.6 percent spend less time watching TV

The Kelsey Group�s next UserView consumer survey will be conducted this quarter.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  04:42 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 4 2006
Return of the Free/Low-Cost PC?
On the subject of consumer electronics ...

How low can it go? The price of PCs, that is. The cheapest desktop PC I was able to find online was selling for less than US$300. That�s pretty cheap, but remember the era of FreePC and PeoplePC (now an ISP)?

These and several other start-ups in the first round of the Internet offered free (ad-supported) PCs to consumers. The consensus was that the concept was flawed. (I had a friend who ran such a start-up and I almost worked for him.)

But now, the US$100 laptop and the rumored �Google Cube� suggest the era of the free PC may be here again. The idea of an ad-supported PC is less preposterous today than it was seven years ago.

Regardless, if it doesn�t get to free it will get close. Deflation (or something akin to it) is happening in the PC market.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  03:44 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

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