Fred Envy Pervasive at LA Conference

Here a Fred, there a Fred, everywhere a Fred-Fred. The specter of 15-year-old Lucas Cruikshank has seemed to haunt NATPE’s LA TV Fest this week, with mentions of his hit web creation, Fred Figglehorn, on many a talk or panel. Here’s our report from the conference hallways.

Whether you’re wearing a suit or jeans, everyone has the same disclaimer about Fred, “Personally, I don’t get it. Maybe I’m just too old.” But then it becomes clear that each and every one of them is in awe and fear of the Fred phenomenon. Cruikshank has created the most-subscribed channel in the history of YouTube by depicting a chipmunk-voiced six-year-old with anger management issues.

EQAL’s Greg Goodfried displayed perhaps the most stunning case of Fred envy, talking about his guy-with-a-Flipcam-and-Final-Cut work on the new EQAL project Get Cookin’ with Paula Deen. “Literally we sit around and say is this as good as Fred. Does it feel like Fred, is it cut like Fred.”

Until he can hit 6 million views per episode on a regular basis like Cruikshank does, he’s got to respect Fred’s low, in-your-face production values, said Goodfried.

Other Fred comments were similarly worshipful, though they concerned how much money exactly Cruikshank is making, and how he sets audience expectations by releasing every Thursday.

The other single anecdote that had new media tongues wagging like crazy at the conference came from SVP of Bravo Digital Media Lisa Hsia. On the same panel as Goodfried, she described a recent mobile series Bravo had commissioned. Bravo paid $2,500 for 14 episodes of the unspecified series.

“I’m not sure the producer made any money on it,” said Hsia, pointing out that the producer must have been OK with the deal since he or she did sign the contract. “You’re not going to make much money as a producer of webisode series for Bravo,” she said.

Online video makers in the hallways and at our meetup said they were mighty disheartened by both Goodfried and Hsia’s comments. People are still holding out hope they can create something that’s smart and innovative and make money doing it — but the reality is a pioneer of the industry is toting a Flipcam and a network exec is bragging about fleecing a video producer.



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A Wondrous Orb of Light, Warmth and Unconditional Love — Not!



Like many of you, I've had a big problem with the mainstream media's coverage of the defining story of the past two weeks. The cruel speculation, the invasive badgering of family members and friends, the unseemly fascination with autopsies and coffins and interments: Why, I ask you, can't or won't the media stop dwelling on the tragic deaths of those seven U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan? Fortunately, one brave soul refuses to go along with the herd.


Olympics Network: USOC Teams With Comcast For Olympics TV Station


This post is by The Huffington Post News Team from Media on HuffingtonPost.com


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




DENVER — The U.S. Olympic Committee's venture into the TV business is irritating some international Olympic leaders _ not exactly the reaction the Americans were expecting when they decided to create a network solely devoted to promoting the movement.

The USOC unveiled details Wednesday of the network it is forming with Comcast. The announcement came two days after International Olympic Committee television director Timo Lumme sent the USOC a letter warning that the federation might not receive all the clearance it wanted for programming and naming rights.

Among the IOC's chief concerns are how the new network will affect the IOC and USOC's relationship with NBC, which televises the Olympics in the United States and puts more money into the movement than any single company.

"We're saying we should have sat down before they did anything unilaterally," IOC TV negotiator Richard Carrion said in an interview with The New York Times.

The USOC leadership, meanwhile, had no intention of antagonizing the IOC, with which it has a touchy relationship that has become more relevant with Chicago vying to host the 2016 Olympics.

Nor did the USOC want to turn this into a rivalry with NBC: "They're the best of the best, period," former chairman Peter Ueberroth said.

USOC leaders sounded content on debuting their network modestly after the Vancouver Olympics, with a steady diet of archival footage, news shows and small sports coverage _ nothing that would cut into NBC's array of Olympic programming.

Still, chief operating officer Norman Bellingham conceded that eventually the new network could be in competition with NBC and its partner, Universal Sports, most notably after 2012, when NBC's contracts to air Olympic trials expire.

The USOC negotiated with NBC and its partners in trying to bring the Olympic network to air, but they couldn't reach an agreement. Bellingham said the IOC has long been aware of the USOC's intentions to start a new network, something he and others at the USOC have been talking about publicly for nearly three years.

Of the IOC complaints, he said, "to say they caught us by surprise is an understatement."

"We firmly believe that what we're doing with this network is in the best interest of the Olympic movement," Bellingham said. "This is something that's going to deliver great value to them. It speaks to the ideals of the movement. There's nothing out there that does that on a year-round basis."

At least one IOC member agreed. Dick Pound of Canada, the former lead negotiator for American TV rights, said his country has also been looking to bring a 24-7 network to air.

"I can't imagine that would be any concern for the IOC other than to say, `Hey, this is great,'" Pound said. "It's more exposure for the Olympic movement. Looking at it in utilitarian terms, it will probably enhance the value of the Olympic rights."

NBC spokesman Brian Walker said network executives were traveling and not available for comment.

The network intends to bid for the 2014 and 2016 Games. Because of the shaky economy, the bidding has been delayed until after the 2016 Games are awarded in October.

Though Olympic trials would likely be the most lucrative of events the USOC network could air, Ueberroth insisted there's another mission, which is to expose younger people to sports that are out of the mainstream, and in turn help create healthier lifestyles and keep the Olympic pipeline flowing.

All noble gestures, though in the end, it figures programming, timing and finances will make or break the network.

Many Olympic leaders were growing impatient as the process to bring the network online dragged out over nearly three years.

Some wondered if there was any way to make it profitable.

Others, including some at the IOC, wondered how it would affect the relationship with NBC.

Still others wondered where the viewers are going to come from. Most Olympic sports have extremely dedicated _ but extremely small _ fan bases.

None of those questions have been answered yet, nor are there any specific answers on how many people the network will reach.

The USOC partnered with Comcast, which will carry the channel on its basic digital tiers, with hopes to expand to other cable partners in the future. That should reach at least 10 million homes to start.

They are modeling it after the MLB Network, a staple on basic tiers of several cable companies, which in exchange for making it widely available got partial ownership of the network.

"I think it's fair to say that we're intending for this network to have far greater distribution than only the Comcast `Digital One' tier," Bellingham said.


Search for Children

As I have worked at The Bivings Group, I have focused on helping design websites and applications for specific audiences – professionals and adult aged individuals.  Many of the clients I have worked with don't need to focus on children, and young web surfers have unique needs.

Recently, I was introduced to the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) website.  While the site has a rather conservative and standard design – in my opinion – I am really intrigued by its book search feature geared towards children.

icdl

On this page, children are presented with a search interface that is different from an interface geared towards adults.  Adults are asked about keywords, authors, and titles, but children may not know such information.  Further, children are probably more prone to browse when searching for a book instead of having a specific author or book title in mind.  That is why IDCL provides children with different search options.  For instance, a child can search for a book that has orange on its cover.  Or instead of searching for historical fiction, children can search for “Make Believe Books” or ones that have “Imaginary Creature Characters.”  Further, they can search for books based upon age groups and type – picture or chapter books.

icdl2

Another interesting feature is that the search options are presented as graphical buttons that children can easily suss out the meaning of.  The search results are also presented by showing the book covers, and children can also flip through the entire books on the computer.

I think that this is an interesting search feature.  Imagine if Google or Yahoo! was set up like this…

Verizon FCC Complaint Seeks To Force HD Programming Access From Cablevision

The battle between Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) FiOS is going to the Federal Communications Commission, as the telco says that the MSO is wrongfully blocking it from programming the HD version of Madison Square Garden network, Multichannel News reports. Apart from the intense competition, the suit is driven by a tangle of federal rules that lay out what kinds of programming can and must be sold to cable and satellite operators. Because the MSG HD service is neither—it is delivered “terrestrially”—it falls into a protected gap.

From its vantage point, Verizon argues that by only making the non-HD, standard definition programming from the MSG sports network available to FiOS, Cablevision is denying it a unique “must have” service. But as MCN points out, the FCC rules simply require that sports coverage be universally accessible—it doesn’t say anything specific about the HD version, which Cablevision considers a clear competitive advantage.

The FCC is already considering whether to close the “terrestrial loophole,” something being fought by affected MSOs. Verizon is pressing for a decision from the FCC within five months.


Washington Post Uses The Word ‘Torture’ On Front Page

I received something of a shock whilst riding into the office on the subway this morning: There, on the front page of the Washington Post, above the fold, bold as love, sat the word, “TORTURE.” What was going on? I thought Dan Froomkin worked for us now!

As it turns out, there was a perfectly reasonable explanation. The story, by Steve Fainaru and William Booth is titled, “Mexico Accused of Torture in Drug War.” Get it? MEXICO. The article goes on to describe accusations that have been hurled at the Mexican army as they pursue drug traffickers and the “cartels that continue to terrorize much of the country.”

In Puerto Las Ollas, a mountain village of 50 people in the southern state of Guerrero, residents recounted how soldiers seeking information last month stuck needles under the fingernails of a disabled 37-year-old farmer, jabbed a knife into the back of his 13-year-old nephew, fired on a pastor, and stole food, milk, clothing and medication.

In Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, two dozen policemen who were arrested on drug charges in March alleged that, to extract confessions, soldiers beat them, held plastic bags over their heads until some lost consciousness, strapped their feet to a ceiling while dunking their heads in water and applied electric shocks, according to court documents, letters and interviews with their relatives and defense lawyers.

Obviously, there are questions:

1. These cartels are clearly defined as agents who “terrorize,” and who are clearly causing a national security crisis in Mexico, and, by extension, the United States. And yet, the article seems to be slanted in such a way that it makes the Mexican authorities look like “the bad guys.” What gives?

2. Despite the fact that the United States has clearly set a global precedent that allows authorities to take broad and often unsavory measures legitimately in pursuit of national security, and that this precedent has given rise to the term “enhanced interrogation techniques” to describe the actions taken in these cases. Yet there is no mention of “enhanced interrogation techniques” anywhere in the article. There is a mention of “harsh measures,” but it hardly balances out the 12 uses of the word “torture.”

3. Among the accusers are “human rights groups,” however, nowhere in the article are these groups properly identified as being from “the left” or “leftist.” Without this identification, it’s difficult for the reader to appreciate how much a part of the political fringe the opponents of torture are, something that comes standard issue in torture discussions about the United States.

It’s very hard to fathom what happened to the journalism in this article. But if I had to hazard a guess, I imagine that the word “torture” was used because, unlike the Americans who invented or supported or deployed “enhanced interrogation techniques,” there was very little chance that any of these Mexicans were ever going to find themselves in the awkward position of having to ask, “Why, Ms. Weymouth, this Malbec is delicious, what year is it?”

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to tv@huffingtonpost.com — learn more about our media monitoring project here.]


Netflix Streaming Coming to Sony TV Sets

netflix_logoAdd Sony TV sets to the long list of hardware devices that will stream Netflix movies. Netflix announced this morning that starting this fall, net-connected Sony Bravia TVs and older Bravias that use the Internet link module will be able to access its “Watch Instantly” movie service.

Sony joins a host of other consumer electronics companies carrying Netflix including LG, Vizio, Samsung along with Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Speaking of the Xbox, noticeably absent from the Sony announcement is streaming to the PlayStation 3. Netflix currently has an exclusive game console relationship with the mighty Microsoft, but once that ends, it’s likely the PS3 will get Netflix as well.

Sony also has a deal with Amazon’s VOD service to stream movies to its sets.

This deal was kind of inevitable given Netflix’s plan to be everywhere (and success so far at achieving that), but it’s a nice feather in the cap for the company to get (another) a big brand name like Sony. In April, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that his company had a “tremendous number” of hardware partnerships in the pipeline.



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Shelly Palmer: MJ Funeral Viewed By 31 Million on TV, 10 Million+ Online: MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer July 9, 2009

Nielsen is reporting that over 31 million people viewed Michael Jackson’s funeral on television. While the number is very high, it does not take into account the millions of viewers who streamed the coverage through a variety of streaming sites, nor the thousands who watched in movie theaters nationwide. Analysts know that over ten million live streams were served online, however, it is not clear exactly how many people viewed.

The US Olympic Committee is set to launch its own cable network. The US Olympic Network will cover the Olympics and Paraolympics and will only be available on Comcast’s digital classic tier. The goal is to generate revenue through devoting itself to Olympic coverage, while competing against NBC, who has broadcast rights to the next Olympics.

The SEC will continue to investigate Apple’s lack of disclosure about CEO Steve Jobs health. While the company noted that Jobs was healthy, despite increasing weight loss and rampant rumors that Jobs was seriously ill, it is unclear whether or not the company made misleading remarks about Jobs health, in order to financially protect its assets. In the span of nine days in January, Apple went from saying that Jobs was healthy to noting that he had a hormone imbalance, to eventually announcing that was taking a medical leave of absence, during which he had a liver transplant.

Verizon filed a complaint against Cablevision with the FCC over Cablevision’s refusal to make HD sports channels available on FiOS. Verizon claims that Cablevision is “intentionally and unlawfully” withholding programming rights for the NY Knicks, NY Ranger, NY Islanders, NJ Devils and Buffalo Sabres. While Cablevision, which owns the programming rights to each teams home games, sells Verizon access to its standard definition channels, Verizon claims that by refusing to sell HD channels as well Cablevision has an unfair advantage.

Google unveiled its new PC-based operating system yesterday. The Chrome OS is similar to its Chrome web browser in that it was built for people “who live on the web.” The open source OS will initially be available for netbooks in the second half of 2010.

Shelly Palmer is a consultant and the host of MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer a daily show featuring news you can use about technology, media & entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group LLC and the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV. Shelly is also President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. You can join the MediaBytes mailing list here. Shelly can be reached at shelly@palmer.net For information about Get Digital Classes, visit www.shellypalmer.com/seminars


Oodle + Twitter = Another Jab At Craigslist

Oodle continues to chip away at Craigslist’s domination of the online classifieds market by partnering with much larger sites like AOL and powering their listings—but with a new Twitter integration, the startup is making the battle about more than just scale—it’s trying to “make classifieds more social,” according to CEO Craig Donato. The company plans to start feeding a stream of listings to its Twitter account, complete with searchable keywords and hashtags; Donato said he expects the stream to average at least 10,000 tweets per day—which the company cleared with Twitter in advance.

Oodle users will also be able to post listings to their own Twitter, Facebook and MySpace streams from a single screen. The idea is that since people are already sharing content and personal information on these networks, sharing a link to the couch, bike or used car they’re trying to sell should come just as naturally. The exposure to their network should also increase the likelihood of a sale—since there’s an added level of trust when an apartment listing or other sales recommendation comes from a source like a friend-of-a-friend or coworker.

“We’re trying to get people talking about listings on these networks, as opposed to just photos and music,” Donato said. “When someone sees a job listing, for example, we want them to be able to ask a friend on MySpace if they’ve worked there. If there’s a used car they’re looking at, they can get an instant reaction from their Twitter stream about other drivers’ experiences. We know these conversations are happening offline—we want to facilitate people having them online.”

While most of the people sending tweets about their listings will likely be free users at first, the implications for Oodle’s paid listings business are clear. Local advertisers can pay to have their ads featured in a variety of ways; having their listings show up as part of a Twitter search increases the potential for exposure to Twitter’s more than 22 million unique monthly visitors (per Compete). And Oodle is hoping that the combination of scale and social interaction makes its paid listings more compelling than a buy on Craigslist.


Looking for Scale, Digital-Out-of-Home Industry Consolidates


NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — As the digital-out-of-home industry works to come up with better metrics for advertisers, the more challenging issue is scale. Of the dozens of companies that specialize in place-based media, only a handful, including National CineMedia, Premier Retail Networks and Walmart's in-store network, can be considered national. It's fitting, then, that National CineMedia is behind one of the largest acquisitions the digital-out-of-home-media industry has seen yet.


Combating Counterfeit Drugs



Counterfeit drugs not only cost drug companies a lot of money each year but also can cause long-term side effects or in some cases death. Drug company Pfizer and its agency, Universal McCann, decided to take the lead in fighting against the availability of counterfeit drugs on the internet and shock people into taking the problem more seriously.

For a more in-depth look at this Idea of the Week and other case studies, visit Ad Age and CMDglobal's Inspiration site.


Bonnie Fuller: Don’t Count Saint Sarah Palin Out for President in 2012!

Don’t write off Saint Sarah all you political pundits, press smartypants, and Washington insiders. You’re out of touch with the men and women who love Sarah Palin–always have been and clearly will be. In your mind–Mr. Rove, Mr. Steele, and Mr. Huckabee–Sarah Palin has thrown away her chance to take the White House by handing in her resignation as governor. That’s not what presidential candidates are supposed to do. They’re supposed to toil away for years–decades, even–as senators or governors–before announcing their candidacy on the long haul to The Big White House.

Well guess what, boys–election rules are now made to be broken. 2009-07-09-palin.jpg Didn’t you all just watch Barack Obama steal the White House right out from under the feet of the establishment-anointed Hillary Clinton? And he did it by forging a new path to the presidency based on an enormous grass roots movement that got its momentum from regular folks.

Oh yeah. Sounds familiar. Well Sarah Palin, despite her Katie Couric missteps, is no dumb bunny. The lady from Wasilla didn’t leapfrog from nowheresville to Alaska governor by accident. She is a canny operator in her own right, with the ability to understand and embody the opinions of her audience. And they already like her better than before!

A new nationwide USA TODAY/Gallup Poll has found that two-thirds of Republicans want Palin to be “a major national political figure” in the future. In fact a whopping 71% of Republicans say they’d likely vote for her if she ran for president in 2012. And this poll was done after her resignation!

In fact, announcing her resignation on the eve of Independence Day wasn’t done so the deed could slide under the radar of a long holiday weekend.

No way. She did it BECAUSE it WAS Independence Day and she wasn’t really announcing a resignation. No, she was actually proclaiming “my independence…no more politics as usual.”

When Sarah Palin shared the presidential campaign trail with Mr. Maverick himself, John McCain, she quickly learned that The Maverick is still a path with enormous appeal to the conservative small government crowd. That crowd still gets teary-eyed over the belief that every man or woman can make it for him or herself with just spit, vinegar and hard work. No need for government intervention. And don’t forget, Obama won the presidency because he was the Maverick Democrat.

2009-07-09-letterman.jpg

Now, the Lipstick Pitbull is banking on the fact that over the next 3.5 years there will be a behemoth of a backlash against Big Government, Big Spending, and Big Big Deficits–all the things that she and her supporters abhor.

And you know what–she’s probably right. No matter how successful Obama’s policies for routing a recession, there will be a swing back to the ideal that less government is more. America is just like that–cycles happen.

In the meantime, Saint Sarah can spend her time advancing her “higher calling” out of office. She made it very clear in her resignation speech that she has a mission and a missionary’s fervor.

In her own words, she is done with conventional “politics as usual.” Big Government spending is “amoral.” She needs to “BUILD UP” and “FIGHT” for our country. She will support others who “seek to serve for the RIGHT reasons.”

Sarah sees herself as the Joan of Arc for hardworking “average Americans.” 2009-07-09-parade.jpg And like saints and missionaries of the past, when you have a calling that necessitates taking a bigger, more important road than regular roads, then you can’t be bothered by accusations of “frivolous ethics violations,” or by the typical “blood sport of the national political process.”

I don’t agree with critics that claim Sarah was speaking gobeldy gook when she was announcing her resignation. No, she was saying exactly what she wants to do. And it’s clever.

No more time wasted on unproductive opposition that she would face in office. Instead, she’ll take her message successfully on the road. And whether she’s a new fox at Fox or reads speeches in front of sold-out auditoriums, Sarah Palin does know how to speak in a way that emotionally connects with her audience.

So beware to all Republicans and Democrats who count her out of the 2012 presidential race. These are unprecedented times, and unprecedented approaches that are not politics as usual will work. Saint Sarah has years now to go grassroots and spread her gospel. And guess what? It could work!

Photos: AP

For more on Sarah Palin, follow Bonnie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bonniefuller.


South Korea Websites Under Renewed Attack: State Official


This post is by The Huffington Post News Team from Media on HuffingtonPost.com


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




SEOUL, South Korea — A state official says seven South Korean Web sites are under renewed cyber attack.

Ku Kyo-young from the state-run Korea Communications Commission said the latest assault began around 6:30 p.m. (0930 GMT, 5:30 a.m. EDT ) Thursday.

He said one of the affected sites belongs to the government, the other six are private. Some are still working normally despite the attacks.

Earlier Thursday, the country's leading computer security company warned that another wave of cyber attacks was expected later in the day.

South Korea's spy agency suspects North Korea is behind the series of attacks that have triggered Web site outages in South Korea and the United States.


How to Get Radio and Outdoor on Media Plans Earlier


NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — For the past five years, John Partilla has changed the way advertisers think about media companies. As president of Time Warner's global marketing group, Mr. Partilla helped shape strategic marketing relationships with marketers by performing agency-like creative services for campaigns that ran in Time Warner properties. Now Mr. Partilla wants to do for radio and outdoor what he's already done for TV, publishing and the web as Clear Channel's president of global media sales.


Rollerskating Babies, Painted Bodies Rack up Viral Views


NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — With a whopping almost 4 million views — that's a record single-week view count for the Viral Video Chart — Air New Zealand returns to the chart with its "Nothing to Hide" campaign.


Inside The Tug Of War For—And Within—Razorfish

While sources tell paidContent Publicis Groupe still appears to be winning the tug of war for Microsoft’s Razorfish, two WPP Group execs insist the UK ad holding company is still very much in the running. Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) did have a set of talks with WPP about buying Razorfish last summer, but sources say that the purpose was to gauge interest, as Microsoft wasn’t ready for a deal. WPP sources conceded that they were not aware if there had been any substantive talks since then.

But now, as the two-year anniversary of Microsoft’s closing of its $6 billion acquisition of Razorfish parent aQuantive approaches next month—and with it, the expiration of certain tax penalties on a Razorfish sale—the company looks like it’s gearing up for serious talks to unload the agency and WPP execs say the company is still open to talking about an acquisition.

A deal would come at a tough time for Razorfish, which has been hit by the pullback in ad spend that the industry in general is going through. Two sources with knowledge of the company’s financial state also told paidContent that they estimated that Razorfish’s revenues were down at least double digits this past year and that Microsoft has pressured the company to cut costs significantly. And that has led to roughly 200 layoffs—12 percent of its 1,600 US staffers (it has another 800 staffers internationally) since last October—along with a reshuffling at the top.

Restructuring for a sale?: Aside from the layoffs and two office closings, Razorfish has had some notable changes at the top. In April, Clark Kokich handed the CEO reigns to Bob Lord, as the former moved into the new role of chairman. And there were other changes.. Razorfish has long been divided along three regions—east, west and central—and had separate P&L’s for each. Three Razorfish sources said that Kokich repeatedly defended the structure as saying it fostered innovation. But others felt the company had no real core, arguing that it was composed of a patchwork of shops. Microsoft might have grown concerned that potential buyers might have thought the same. As Redmond execs began taking a closer look at Razorfish, people familiar with the reorg suggest that part of Lord’s ascension called for demonstrating greater streamlining and unity. A clear example from that April reorg was the promotion of David Friedman as president of the Americas, the first time the agency had a single regional head. (Razorfish representatives directed all calls to Microsoft; a Microsoft rep said the company doesn’t comment on rumors.)

WPP plays up the Google angle: Razorfish has been fairly quiet in addressing the sale rumors with staffers for the past few months. A number of staffers say that clients are increasingly uncertain about what the company’s plans are and how it will affect them. Sources say that many Razorfish employees have taken to handicapping the two main companies vying for Razorfish, WPP and Publicis. Many accept that a further restructuring would be inevitable, since there would be so much much overlap at both firms. As one staffer told me, “Publicis has Digitas and the digital units under VivaKi, so I’m not sure where we would fit in that organization. At the same time, WPP’s digital holdings are pretty extensive, but it does appear that those shops operate a bit more independently.” For WPP’s part, despite doubts about its wherewithal to absorb such a large shop and meet Microsoft’s estimated $600 million asking price, the holding firm’s dealmakers may point out Publicis’ close relationship with Google (NSDQ: GOOG).

Two high-level WPP sources say CEO Sir Martin Sorrell—who has often described Google as a “frenemy,” despite the company’s own increased coziness with the search giant— expect him to highlight that by Razorfish in that orbit, Google would stand to benefit. Said one WPP source: “That’s not the whole argument, but it could be one more thing for Microsoft to consider regarding the sale.”


Why Is Pirate Bay’s Top Man So Glum With His Multi-Million Sale?

We think there’s plenty of water yet to pass under the bridge before the SEK 60 million (£7.4 million, $7.6 million) acquisition of The Pirate Bay’s domain actually happens. Not just because little-known Global Gaming Factory X shareholders haven’t yet approved its bid, or because its revenue projections are so outlandish – but because Bay co-founder and chief agitator Peter Sunde seems so ambivalent and stressed about the whole thing

—On the day the deal was announced, an uncertain Sunde blogged “The Pirate Bay might get acquired”. In what read like a warning, he said: “If the new owners will screw around with the site, nobody will keep using it.”

—Some of the Bay’s ideological die-hards flamed Sunde as a “traitor” (and worse), bringing him to acknowledge: “The last days have been quite stress for all of us … we really love you all … If we ever needed your support, this is now.” Sunde tweets: “I fucking cried earlier that people don’t understand us.” And snaps at detractors: “We’ve been fighting for five years. Where’s the thanks?”

—Sunde has been trying to escape the flak in Brazil during an excursion for a free-software conference: “There’s pictures of me and the president in the news and I got to sign autographs even when I left the conference and went to a night club in Porto Alegre, at 3am.” Whilst there, he’s been autographing Michael Jackson LPs (”all profits go to good things”).

—But he can’t avoid the issue. Responding to demands for news on Thursday, Sunde wrote: “My own personal feelings about it are so mixed and weird that I can’t decide which leg to stand on. Therefore, I do the only smart thing and pretend it’s not an issue right now.” He refused to give further info about the sale.

So why is Sunde – one of the Bay’s four founders – freaking out about making a mint from what Global Gaming has acknowledged is the acquisition only of a domain name.. ?

—We know the man nicknamed “brokep” is working on a range of other projects – the €5-a-month iPredator VPN anonymiser, his self-professed “YouTube killer” Video Bay and online payments startup Flattr. Meanwhile, Sunde says he’s involved in the wider WeRebuild.EU cyberpolitics lobby group plus an effort to anonymise Iranian web users, though these seem to be distributed groups.

—Maybe he didn’t get all he hoped for. Sunde acknowledges: “TPB is being sold for a great bit underneath it’s value.” That doesn’t even pay the 30 million SEK (£2.34 million, $3.77 million) fine the four founders were each handed in June.

In one way, the entertainment business has succeeded in suing Sunde in to submission; he’s changed strategy, is downbeat and admits after the trial “we have no energy left”. It seems his riposte will be to broaden the pirate and anonymous-downloading initiatives to more sites than Pirate Bay alone…

Until then, we ask: Why so sad, Peter… ?


TiVo And Best Buy Team Up To Promote Each Other

TiVo (NSDQ: TIVO)—which has seen the ranks of its subscribers drop—and Best Buy—which is ramping up its digital initiatives—think they can help each other out. The two companies are forming a partnership to promote each other’s offerings. The basics, via the NYT and the San Jose Mercury News: Best Buy will “heavily promote” TiVo DVRs in its stores and also put TiVo software on its in-house TVs. TiVo, meanwhile, will make Best Buy’s Napster music service (as well as unspecified future Best Buy digital offerings) available to its subscribers and also develop a new DVR that will promote Best Buy products.

No financial terms were disclosed—but TiVo likely has the most to gain in the deal. It continues to steadily lose subscribers to cable companies, so the prominent play at Best Buy stores should help (It had 3.2 million subscribers as of the end of its first quarter, down from 3.8 million a year ago). And the Napster tie-in will help it add to the list of services it offers on its DVRs. It already lets subscribers access the Rhapsody music service and it reached a deal with Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI) earlier this year that will allow subscribers to rent and buy movies.


Qik Nabs $5.5 Million In Funding For Mobile Video Streaming

Mobile video streaming service Qik has raised just under $5.5 million in funding, according to an SEC filing, which the company has confirmed. This round’s backers include Quest Venture Partners, CampVentures, and private investors. The Redwood City, Calif.-based startup raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz last year.

Qik competes with other mobile streaming services like Kyte—but it recently received a big endorsement from Nokia, by being one of the featured apps in its Ovi Store content and apps marketplace. The company has also tried to grow its user base beyond just the tech-savvy mobile set by supporting more “mainstream” phones like the BlackBerry Curve and Bold.


Qik Funding SEC Filing