“Over the long term, this threatens the production of high-quality content and the existence of independent journalism … Going forward, we no longer wish to be forced to give away property without having granted permission.” The declaration was sent to commissioner Viviane Reding.
Signatories to this latest effort include Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) managing editor Robert Thomson, News Corp Europe CEO James Murdoch and DMGT chair Viscount Rothemere. But most support comes from German newspapers, which IHT.com says are already lobbying at home for a music-style royalties arrangement on content; Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner is chief amongst them.
A successful outcome for the publishers would be if Reding issued an opinion stating excertped aggregation illegal without upfront payment (unlikely, since it strays more closely to a kind of “fair use” principle, even though few European countries have one), or for a watered-down kind of revenue generation agreement via tracking of watermarked stories.
NBCSports.com project manager Eric Black was on hand at Microsoft’s Silverlight 3 event on Friday to talk up the network’s commitment to use Silverlight for all its coming major sporting event HD streaming, including the Vancouver Olympics. We followed up with him afterward to ask about the site’s just-finished sportscast, that of Wimbledon 2009. It was one of the first implementations of Silverlight’s new smooth streaming.
While fans were justifiably P.O.’ed at NBC’s delays of matches both on TV and on-air, Black reports a respectable watching group for the finals last Sunday morning. Actual numbers should be out this week. Microsoft bragged at the presentation that all 35-plus hours of streamed tennis from six different courts were powered by two servers.
Black said NBCSports.com is committed to Silverlight, but it hasn’t figured out which other streaming partners it likes best. For Wimbledon the site used iStreamPlanet, but NBC has also worked with or announced plans to work with Move Networks, Conviva and Pando.
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As new media continues to be an amplifying platform for previously under-recognized constituencies and agendas, women are looking to claim their piece of the pie. On May 12,
the “Women Who Tech” Telesummit took place. There was a full day of panels and plenty to listen to. Holly Ross, Executive Director of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), put the cards on the table with her opening comment, “The tech world does not belong to the guys.”
Joan Blades, moveon.org co-founder and the
mobilizing force behind momsrising.org, spoke
clearly about what the Net has to offer women. She stated, “The virtual world is good in breaking down barriers, and has unarticulated advantages for those who don’t fit the mold.” Blades believes that Cyberspace makes it safe for women to work differently, and creates a new reality where people can fulfill their responsibilities outside of work. In addition to her position that social media has helped women find their voice, she sees the virtual world as dovetailing with mothering. Blades has been working on both a culture and a policy change, with an eye to underscoring the importance of parenting. She said, “When we create flexibility, it is better for all.”
The need for women to embrace their expertise was put forth by
renofabuloousmedia.com”>Tracy Viselli, known to her Twitter followers as Myrna the Minx. Qualifying how men and women approach the issue differently she said, “Men call themselves experts if they have something to contribute.” Women, regardless of their knowledge, tend to minimize the importance of their input. Leslie Hawthorn, Program Manager for Google’s Open Source Team, mentioned the devaluation of what are considered “soft skills,” such as nurturing and communications. She suggested they were not respected since they are not a “quantifiable or measurable” expertise.
The question of who was building a “digital ceiling” – and if it in fact existed – was addressed by Lynne D. Johnson, Senior
Senior Editor at FastCompany.com. She noted that in the tech world the majority of the players
were white males, but that women limited themselves. “Women need to put themselves out
there,” she said, emphasizing the need to have enough courage to speak for oneself. Susan Mernit underscored the importance of “not allowing yourself to be silenced,” adding “women ask permission too much.” A common concern in the discussion was, “What do you do when colleagues take male opinions more seriously?”
A topic that continues to dog the feminist community is “lack of diversity.” In a panel
entitled “Social Networks and Diversity Barriers,” Shireen Mitchell (socialmediawoc.com) spoke
about why diversity has been missing and what we can do about it. Mitchell reflected, “If we were inclusive to begin with, we wouldn’t have to go back and fix it.” Mitchell said that to retrieve
missing voices, “we need to be more intentional and create a structure where no one person is more important than someone else.” The conversation included a concern for “transparency,” “propelling power to the edges,” and making sure that a “core of people don’t become like the cool kids clique in high school.” Mitchell summed up, “We’ve got to get past the token members…and keep the gene pool mixed in.” When it comes to lining up tech experts for symposiums and conferences,
reece/”>Connie Reece suggested that women should not wait to be asked, but instead step up and propose potential speakers.
Tools for online communications were examined. (Taking place before the Iranian news
story, nobody knew how central to driving the information flow Twitter would be.) A link went up for “Twitter basics” from the site of tech guru
26/a-non-fanatical-beginners-guide-to-twitter/”>Deanna Zandt. Rebecca Moore, Manager of Google Earth Outreach, talked about a new generation of mapping tools that can help clarify a public issue concern. Her example was how the crisis in Darfur was given visceral visualization through satellite imagery that showed “the actual destruction of villages.” Natalie Foster, Director of New Media at the DNC, commented on the viability of translating “activity in technology to real world activism.”
“Launching Your Own Start-Up” featured a group of women with different philosophies, who all agreed that “you do it when it is the only thing you can do.” Lisa Stone, co-founder of BlogHer, went to her users and asked the community what they wanted. A written mission, building, and “trying things” was the strategy for two years before they went for outside money. They were constantly soliciting feedback. Stone sensed a “fear of failure among women,” that prevented them from leaping into an opportunity. Mary Hodder offered, “Who cares if you fail? Just go flying off the cliff!”
When it came to the question of funding, Stone related her conviction that “community was the bedrock of the project,” and investors need to care about the product. Amy Muller, Chief Community Officer of Get Satisfaction,
recommended going as long as possible “boot-strapping,” thereby holding off on the venture capitalist route. Getting advisors, giving them stock, and asking other women how they were funded was offered as options. Hodder was emphatic about “building for revenue from Day
One, even if it’s $1,000 per month for Ad Sense. The general mantra was, “Start building it
and get it out there!”
Three weeks later, at the MediaBistro Circus in Manhattan, I was able to interview several of the women who were on-site the first
day. Eileen Gittins, Founder and CEO of Blurb, sees the
situation for women as “better than ever…because when markets are difficult it’s all about talent.” Her staff is 50 per cent women. She said, “Women in Silicon Valley are about meritocracy; in start-ups, there are no glass ceilings.” Gittins told me, “The Internet is gender blind. It’s more of a level playing field.” Valeria Maltoni, of
agent.com”>ConversationAgent.com, echoed some of the same sentiments I had heard during the “Women Who Tech” panels. “I don’t like to be self-promotional, and tech is an amplifier of who we are.” As an after thought she observed, “Women are afraid of controversy.”
The founder of MediaBistro, Laurel Touby, was on hand, and sat down to give me some feedback on women in technology and new media. She said, “I think we’re really behind, still. We need more women in engineering. I think we are starting to browse more in the tech world, but we need to browse more on the Internet [not just use it to accomplish a task]. We need to be more gatherers on the web, not just surgical browsers.” Tackling the subject of women raising funds for their endeavors she said, “Women still cave in to their desire to help, without helping themselves. [They] don’t have confidence to raise capital; they don’t have enough role models. There is a different way that men seem to approach the problem.” Touby admitted that although she didn’t have the know-how to do financial projections on her own, she realized she could leverage her abilities to find people “out there” to do what she didn’t have experience with.
Shortly afterwards, I talked with Deborah Siegel and Kamy Wicoff about their new site, SheWrites. An online destination for literary women, both readers and writers, it is an example of women reaching out to others to form a supportive community. Wicoff said, “Women want to create their own networking systems.” When I last checked, the site had over 1,000 subscribers, which proved the theory -“Go granular” – I had heard proffered at MediaBistro Circus 2008.
With technology making it possible to connect with others that share common interests and beliefs, women can no longer sit on the sidelines and be intimidated. There’s too much to accomplish and too much at stake.
The Obamas toured a center of the African slave trade on Saturday on the coast of Ghana.
President Barack Obama returned early Sunday morning from a near week-long international tour that took him to a key summit in Moscow, a G-8 summit, and his first appearance in Africa as president. But some suggested, with his poll numbers down a bit and media attention mostly elsewhere, that his summiteering is having diminishing returns.
Perhaps. But I think it has at least as much to do with the media culture.
American media, especially cable TV news, is moving more into infotainment mode, stuck on a few areas. Geopolitics has never been its strong suit, and political coverage is mostly focused on food fights. Which was unfortunate, as following on to his addresses in Prague and Cairo, Obama gave the final two of his advertised four major speeches on his new geopolitics last week, in Moscow and in Accra, Ghana.
While Obama was in Moscow for a fairly momentous summit with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, American media was mostly transfixed by some very shiny pieces of tinsel named Michael Jackson and Sarah Palin.
Obama’s meeting with the Pope is the sort of standard event that the conventional media knows how to cover.
Now, admittedly, neither Jackson nor Palin holds much interest for me. They’re non-serious celebrities. I have a high tolerance for eccentricity, which can be a creative thing, but Michael Jackson was just plain weird, and I hadn’t listened to his music in many decades. As for Sarah Palin, I pegged her as a lightweight in a piece here on the Huffington Post just a few hours after she was announced as John McCain’s running mate and maintained that she was a serious hindrance for McCain right after her career highlight speech at the Republican national convention. She’s a political sideshow. Put another way, she’ll be president some time after Han Solo.
Here’s the 911 call for the late Michael Jackson.
But between the now ingrained back-and-forth fights over Palin and the Jackson circus, the dominant programmming was set, taking over the most interesting part of Obama’s week, the Russian part.
Admittedly, geopolitics isn’t easy to talk about. It’s not simply a matter of opinion. The media is quickly at sea when foreign policy goes beyond Western Europe and the Middle East. And even CNN has cut back on its geopolitical coverage. Fox News and MSNBC are barely in the game.
That was especially clear on Saturday, when the Obamas toured a former center of the African slave trade on the coast of Ghana.
Fox News had no set-up for this obviously dramatic moment in the history of America’s first black president, cutting away from its usual conservative chatter only as Obama was wrapping up his remarks after he and his family toured the former dungeons and slave pens, cutting away not long after. As for MSNBC, it had no coverage at all, stuck as it was on whatever infotainment sludge it is that the channel telecasts on weekends. Only CNN had anything approaching full coverage.
The media culture and its obsessions aside, Obama had a very interesting week.
Russia and America are now allied on Afghanistan.
The Moscow Summit from Monday to Wednesday was the so-called “Reset Summit” to bring American/Russian relations out of the neo-Cold War depths they’d sunk to last year. It certainly succeeded at that, and at some other things as well, especially with regard to sharp reductions in nuclear weapons, aid for the US effort in Afghanistan, and a pullback on NATO expansion, a longtime thorn in the side of Russia. But other sticking points remained, on a US anti-missile shield and on Iran.
And while Obama has good rapport with Medvedev, the reaction of Putin, which is not yet clear, may be the most telling. Here’s one early indication of what Putin’s reaction might be. Obama’s buddy, Medvedev (Putin’s former chief of staff), announced as the G-8 summit ended that if the proposed US anti-missile shield in Eastern Europe isn’t resolved to Moscow’s satisfaction by September, he will move offensive missiles into Kaliningrad, formerly the Prussian/German city of Konigsberg, a Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic.
After Moscow, which coincided with the height of the Jackson circus and the Palin psychodrama, things went predictably downhill at the G-8, the group of eight advanced industrial nations which has been largely overtaken by the G-20.
With Obama’s encouragement, the G-8 leaders agreed to provide $20 billion in food aid to Africa, mainly in development programs rather than cash which would otherwise likely end up in the pockets of corrupt regimes.
That aside, the G-8 summit looks like a disappointment. While leaders agreed to continue economic stimulus efforts, with the International Monetary Fund projecting a 1.4% contraction in the global economy this year (down slightly from the previous forecast), there’s still concern about continuing unemployment. Which is usually a lagging indicator of any recovery.
The more established industrial countries are at loggerheads with more recently industrializing countries on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. China and India are not on board. As a result, the more established powers agreed to a goal of cutting temperature rises but not specific targets in greenhouse gas reductions This means there is a great deal to be done prior to the UN’s big Copenhagen conference late this year on climate change.
Obama delivered a major address on America, Africa, and the new world framework on Saturday to the Ghanaian Parliament in Accra.
Obama’s first visit to Africa as president, obviously fairly momentous, received relatively short shrift. That’s probably a function of timing, (coming on the weekend in the US), ignorance (like most white Americans, I know relatively about Africa), and overload (coming at the tail end of a big week), as well as a failing media culture.
It’s unfortunate, as Obama’s speech to the Ghanaian Parliament in Accra, with more than a bit of tough love that certainly no other president could utter, was quite interesting. And deserves much more attention than I can give it now. (For one thing, I would actually have to know about Africa, which I do not.)
Sarah Palin, chatting flirtatiously here with a Canadian comedian she strangely believed to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy, will, odd as it may seem, never be president.
Contrary to conventional media expectation, Obama has not been hunkered down in the White House, dispatching Hillary Clinton to fly the flag around the world. (Indeed, Clinton will give her first major speech as secretary of state only this week.) Instead, Obama is pursuing a very expansive recasting of America’s role in the world, with a fascinating blend of high-flown rhetoric and realpolitik.
It has nothing to do with the controversial fluff that is Sarah Palin, the infotainment appeal of Michael Jackson, the usual partisan ping-pong, or even the celebrity-oriented media obsessions with the Obamas themselves. But it does have a lot to do with America’s future.
While Fox, along with its partners Disney and NBC, continues to try to broker content and ad sales deals so that Hulu can get going in the U.K., the network is already making inroads in online video overseas with its Latin American VOD property, Mundo Fox.
Launched roughly a month ago, the site is getting a boost in the volume of long-form, HD quality programming as part of a new deal with newly-profitable white-label video provider Brightcove—but what’s more interesting is how similar in design Mundo Fox (pictured) is to Hulu.
Aside from some slight graphical differences, the two sites have the same clean, simple interface, complete with similar fonts, a registration link on the homepage, and the ability to navigate shows by criteria like channel and popularity. (Most video sites offer some variation on this basic setup, but Mundo Fox has a distinctly Hulu-like appearance).
Pablo Silva, VP of global online publishing at Fox International Channels, said the site has attracted 1.5 million unique visitors and “millions of streams” since its launch—though, when I asked him about the similarities to Hulu, he laid out the many ways that Fox was skewing differently with this new site:
Tameka Kee: At first glance, Mundo Fox seems like a Spanish-language Hulu clone. How deep do the similarities go?
Pablo Silva: They’re both VOD sites, but that’s where the similarities end. Mundo Fox is also not a standalone brand. Quite the opposite, it’s closely connected to our stable of paid TV properties; it leverages our existing output deals, and an increasing number of Fox Latin American Channels own original productions and co-productions (e.g. The Listener, Mental, 9MM and Tiempo Final). Mundo Fox is also managed by the exact same team that runs the TV network, from top management to ad sales, marketing, acquisitions and so on.
Are the CPMs for Mundo Fox comparable to those on Hulu?
On a dollar-to-dollar comparison, U.S. CPMs are still higher when compared to Latam, but Mundo Fox is a premium video destination with a sought-after demographic—which in turn demands a premium CPM.
Are advertisers in Latam as readily adopting video as they are here in the U.S.?
They definitely are, and we’re particularly well-positioned [to capitalize on the interest], with sales forces in markets such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, as well as the .Fox Networks online ad network, and close relationships with TV advertisers.
Does Fox foresee partnering with any other content providers (like NBC, for Hulu) to distribute shows in Latam?
What you might begin to see very soon is a ‘syndicatable’ version of the Mundo Fox player on a number of partner websites—but we’re predominately focused on making the best possible experience with the 800+ hours of premium video content we already have.
Will Mundo Fox offer any pay-for/subscription content?
Mundo Fox is 100% ad-funded right now, but we might offer some of our content under the electronic sell-through (EST) model in the future.
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Beyond just TV longevity, SpongeBob SquarePants has grown into a nearly $8 billion-dollar-a-year property at retail for Nickelodeon, with more than 700 license partners worldwide, making it the most widely distributed franchise in MTV Networks history, hands -- or pants, as it were -- down.
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Marketers love TV -- just not at these prices. And so hopes for a neat wrap to an already stalled upfront marketplace have begun to fizzle as advertisers dig in their heels a while longer.
SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Microsoft's not the only marketer whose advertising has Apple in its crosshairs. A tiny upstart named DoubleTwist is gunning for Apple's iTunes has started going after the brand.
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Razorfish and Ogilvy PR are trying out new social-media measurements that share traits with Net Promoter in that they're open, public, easy to replicate -- and they aim to become a standard, if not of customer satisfaction than of customer conversation.
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- There are a lot of players talking to Microsoft about Razorfish, among them Publicis, Dentsu, WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic and AKQA's private-equity investor, General Atlantic. But to best the field, the winning suitor will likely have to fork over more than money to the agency's owner, which is looking for "strategic assets," such as a commitment to buy its advertising offerings or use its technologies.
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- It would be like having the same conversation -- over and over and over again. That's how one digital ad executive describes a world where no one is allowed to collect information online, a scenario the industry is hurriedly -- and worriedly -- trying to keep from happening.
I hope you’ll permit me a little finger wagging in tracking how things like this get started.
First, shame on the Daily Mail for posting images of Malia Obama on Thursday claiming that her wearing this t-shirt (and then one other with a peace sign) while her Dad was negotiating arms control with the Russians meant she was somehow fronting for the anti-nuke movement and the CND. (Other sites, such as Newsday, also took a cut.) This young woman is growing with intense public attention and, along the way, learning to express herself as she develops her own sense of style, along with a political and social consciousness. The best advice to the media in this case is, either keep it to the fashion section, or move on.
Second, double shame on the Vancouver Sun for elevating the photo, along with mindless racist utterances about Malia at the typically paleo-site, the Free Republic into something the media twitterati is now trying to escalate into something, based on this one trashy story, that is supposedly already in the media sphere.
Third, shame on Mediaite, a slick new online media gossip rag for packaging the Freeper trash, the VS story, and the otherwise earth-shattering news of the election of a new hate-loving head of the young Republicans to further escalate the Malia/Freeper “story.”
Fourth, shame on more supposedly respectable journos/tweeters like Matt Cooper and David Shuster for further fueling this non-sense, with Shuster doing three tweets on it today (1, 2, 3) , the last one a promise/threat to elevate the story to the network tomorrow. (Yeah, the Freepers are loving that.)
But overall, someone please save us from a conflict-hungry and gossip-starved media forced to enter this week with no Michael Jackson to pick over and faced with the not-so-juicy prospects of a slam-dunk Sotomayor confirmation. It is arid conditions like these that draw professionals and bottom-feeders alike to elevate their 24/7 circulation, ego and ideological needs at the expense of The First Daughter.
(image: Remo Casilli/Reuters. caption: U.S. President Barack Obama’s eldest daughter Malia, 11, leaves the Giolitti gelato (ice cream) parlour in central Rome July 8, 2009. Leaders of G8 and G5 countries are attending a summit in the city of L’Aquila July 8-10.)
The TV upfront negotiations between agencies and networks appears to be moving forward after a period of paralysis, but you can dismiss any thought of online video benefiting from the recent impasse or from the sudden spurt of deal-making. For one things, sources say, the current system, whether spending is up or down, still tends to view online video as an after-thought or an experiment. And when budgets are tight, experiments are the last thing to be funded.
In particular, cross-platform deals are expected to remain more sidelined than in previous years. Total dollars are down, says Carrie Drinkwater, director of national broadcast for Havas media buyer MPG, and TV/online ad tie-ups aren’t attractive enough to get advertisers to up their spending. “While the slowness of this year’s upfront process gives advertisers and networks gives the parties involved more time to create something above and beyond the traditional banner ad, it’s simply not viewed as crucial,” Drinkwater told paidContent.
“Even though there is not going to be as big a push in terms of spending, I think there will be more creativity. I would expect more branded integration deals on TV and that will certainly be extended to online, as well as the use of sweepstakes and similar promotions. But these deals will not be raising the needle in an perceptive way.”
—Bottleneck: Web video is still one of the stronger advertising categories when it comes to spending growth. Some may have thought that the indifference to striking a TV deal could lead to more consideration for online video but that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, the bottleneck in TV deals the past few weeks only highlighted the real impediments the space has in terms of doing bigger deals. Even though average CPMs for online videos tend to be lower than what’s offered in primetime, agencies and advertisers are still reluctant to take a chance and invest more of their budgets in digital, said Jordan Levin, the former WB CEO who went on to co-found the multi-platform video production and talent management firm Generate. While Generate’s broadband series The Lake debuts on TheWB.com next month with the backing of what Levin calls a “major sponsor” he says he has agreed not to identify, such deals are not being tied to the upfront season. Levin: “More money should be moving to digital, given that audiences are shifting. But there’s so much legacy investment, coupled with fear and uncertainty, there’s a greater emphasis in the industry in talking up the effectiveness of TV versus online video.”
—No upfront for online video: One thing online video doesn’t have going for it is an organizational structure to promote sales—like an upfront market. Every once in a while, someone floats the idea for a marketplace around online advertising, especially for video, which in the minds of many traditional ad industry professionals feels more familiar. Despite individual attempts like Microsoft’s upfront-like presentations for its online programming, Levin doubts that a comparable system can be established for the web. “The upfront was always an artificial marketplace intended to force buying during a specific period of time. Because marketers were more engaged in reach and frequency strategy, as opposed to an efficiency strategy that’s associated with the web, the idea that there are ‘must-buys’ is becoming less and less relevant. There’s no brand marketer screaming at their buyer that they’re going to be shut out.” In general, there are a nearly infinite set of options for advertisers right now. Therefore, the worry of not getting your message out doesn’t exist, and that will continue to degrade the value of an upfront—for both TV and online.
The latest established executive to fall for Twitter’s luster: Google’s Alexander Macgillivray, who is joining the company as general counsel, according to the NYTBits blog. As deputy general counsel for products and intellectual property at Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Macgillivray played a prominent role in Google’s $125 million settlement with authors over the scanning of books. The state of that settlement, of course, is now in question since the U.S. Justice Department has launched a formal inquiry into whether it violates antitrust law.
Twitter has legal issues of a different sort, although they also are related to intellectual property. St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa, as well as some other parties, have sued the company for allowing people to hold accounts in their names. Twitter also said recently it was trying to trademark the word “Tweet.”
Macgillivray isn’t the first Googler to head to Twitter. Others include Douglas Bowman, the Google design lead, who joined Twitter in April, after saying his former employer had become too dependent on data in making design decisions. On his blog, Macgillivray is more positive about his experience at Google, describing it as a “dream job.” He does not, however, say why he’s leaving. We’ve reached out to both Google and Twitter for comment.