Proposed Google/DoubleClick marriage may be on rocks. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) has announced a Congressional hearing. The Senate Judiciary Committee may follow. Two privacy watchdogs predict the merger will be nixed. Scott Cleland, chairman of the Precursor Group and an anti-Google lobbyist (on net neutrality) argues that the FTC should reject the merger because it “would lessen competition and harm consumers, advertisers and content providers.” Google maintains outward confidence. Laurie Petersen, MediaPost Yesterday, a “think-tank” on the merger nearly morphed into a courtroom brawl when a Google lawyer suggested a professor hired by Microsoft to study the issue was just shilling for his client. Anne Broache, CNET Regardless of the outcome, the uncertainty and length of the approval process can’t be helping DoubleClick.
Google dominates online video streaming; Fox’s MySpace a distant No. 2. ComScore video metrics for May: Nearly 75% of U.S. Internet users watched at least one video, and the average streamer watched 158 minutes of video in the month. The average video viewer consumed 63 streams, or about 2 per day. The average stream lasted 2.5 minutes. Google served 22% of all streams (almost all on YouTube), Fox 8%, Yahoo 5%, Viacom and Disney (Disney, ESPN, ABC.com) 3%, Time Warner and Microsoft 2%, and NBC Interactive 1%. The share of streamers (as opposed to streams) was less concentrated: 49% of video users watched video on Google, 40% on Fox, 27% on Yahoo, and 22% on Time Warner. Comscore. Key conclusion: Despite owning most of the world’s professionally produced video assets, traditional media companies are still making little headway online. This is in part because online users don’t want to watch the same stuff they watch on TV. Joost, take note.
HarperCollins to team with MySpace, solicit teen writing online. Like other traditional media businesses, book publishers are trying to figure out how not to get steamrolled by the Internet. One planned HarperCollins effort: a partnership with News Corp. sister company MySpace to build a “create and share” online writing tool, in which teens write prose and share it with friends, who then vote on it. Stefanie Olsen, CNET. Not clear how this will sell more books.
AOL’s Advertising.com tops ad network reach rankings again. Comscore’s June ratings show ad-network Advertising.com reaching 88% of U.S. Internet users. Valueclick and Yahoo were No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, with 74%. New-York staple 24/7 Real Media lagged in 14th place, with 51% reach, and rapidly growing ADSDAQ network operator ContextWeb hit 25th, with 36%. Enid Burns, ClickZ
New York’s Next New Networks and other companies professionalizing Internet TV; market projected to get big fast. iSuppli predicts the professional web video will grow from $400 million in 2006 to $6 billion in 2011, driven by better broadband connections (and a continued generational and cultural shift). ISuppli further estimates that VCs pumped nearly $1 billion into 150 video startups from 2002-2006, with another $112 million injected in the first half of 2007. Laurie Sullivan, NewTeeVee. Again, most of these folks presumably won’t succeed by producing traditional TV shows: the average stream of 2.5 minutes is more about attention-span, appropriateness, and setting than about video quality.
WSJ employees “heartbroken” about Murdoch. The melodramatic rhetoric in the Journal newsroom reaches new heights, with the impending takeover now seen as a struggle between the journalist equivalents of Harry Potter and Voldemort: “There’s a real culture of passion for the truth, for shining lights in dark places and making the mysterious understood,” said a (sobbing?) WSJ reporter interview by the New York Times. “The overwhelming view here is that under Murdoch, that gets compromised from Day One, and that idea is devastating, heartbreaking, to people.” Staffers are convinced they will be forced to print dot-drawings of topless women (horrors!). Dow Jones CEO Zannino has been ostracized for “emphasising growth” and seeming in favour of the merger (and for not having been a journalist). Fortunately, in the Washington bureau, a cooler head prevails: “It may ultimately prove this was the best of a mediocre set of options,” said a longtime reporter. Richard Perez-Pena, New York Times
Brooklyn-based Etsy building profits and buzz. BusinessWeek reports that the “eBay of arts and crafts” has netted $1 million on $12 million of revenue and has 300,000 users in 84 countries. In true Web 2.0 style, founder Rob Kalin launched the company with no business plan and soon raised $1 million from Union Square Ventures and others. Most of the company’s office furniture is scavenged. Importantly, Etsy follows the eBay model–paid listings and sales commissions–upending the Web 2.0 conceit that if you want to be successful, you have to be free. BusinessWeek, via MarketingVox
Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting System combines all digital ad sales. Ad units for the separate networks–TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Court TV, GameTap, Super Deluxe and Turner Sports–will now be working together. The company hired Walker Jacobs from Reuters to run the effort. The move steals a page from CBS and others, which have similarly consolidated sales efforts. Wayne Friedman, MediaPost
NBC Digital (understandably) trying to beef up NBC.com. Company adding social networking tools, personalisation, communities, streamed episodes of Conan, a fake Dunder Mifflin corporate site for “Office” fans, and, in October, an exclusively online series called “Coastal Dreams.” MediaPost, via MarketingVox. Points for effort, but not exactly lapel-grabbing. Separately, NBC and GE’s Peacock Equity Fund invested $25 million in Healthline, a vertical search engine. NBC exec Beth Comstock cited NBC-Healthline partnership possibilities as one factor in the decision. MarketingVox
New York mobile gaming start-up Cellufun outgrowing incubator, moving to Wall Street. Midtown too expensive. Cellufun blog