Former Google Analytics Exec Phillips Joins Media6Degrees As CEO

Tom Phillips, one of a growing group of recent Google (NSDQ: GOOG) exiles, is joining social media audience data provider Media6Degrees. He replaces Joe Doran, who will remain as an adviser to Media6Degrees’ board and will assist on handling business development. Phillips headed Google’s Search & Analytics division and was also part of the team that helped integrate DoubleClick after the 3.1 billion acquisition. Prior to his three year stint at Google, Phillips was CEO of Deja.com, which he sold to Google and eBay.

Way before he got into digital, Phillips helped found the original publication of snark, Spy magazine, in 1986. He was also CEO and publisher of Spy. In between, he worked for ABC Internet News Ventures and ESPN (NYSE: DIS) Internet Ventures in the late 1990s. As for New York-based Media6Degrees, earlier this year, it closed a $9.8 million first round with U.S. Venture Partners, Venrock and various angel investors.

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Celebrate Fox News’ Bar Mitzvah Today

ff_10-7It’s time for Fox News Channel to become a man today (or something), as the top-rated cable news network turns 13-years-old.

The hosts have been mentioning the birthday on air today, beginning with the very first minute of Fox & Friends. Here’s how co-host Steve Doocy introduced it:

Said Doocy:

It’s hard to believe we’re kicking off, this morning, our 14th year. It seems like it was just yesterday that Roger Ailes came up with this idea, ‘Hey you know what? somebody’s got to balance all the other media out there,’ and Fox News was born. And a salute especially to Chet Collier today he was one of the broadcasting pioneers and a longtime member of Roger’s team. He helped establish us. He passed away this year, so we’re remembering Chet fondly on this anniversary of the start of Fox News Channel.

(Here’s more on Chet Collier.)

The network launched in 1996 to just 17 million cable subscribers. Now, of course, it has grown to become the long-time number one cable news network, and has expanded the lead in recent months. In fact, last week it ranked third in total day on all of cable, for the first time in 2009. It also finished 3rd in prime time (behind ESPN and USA in prime and NICK and Nick At Nite in total day).

Here’s the full ranker from last week.

Bill O’Reilly also had four of the top 25 programs on all of cable last week.

Look for more shout-outs to FNC’s 13th birthday on the network today.

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Judge Sets Nov. 9 Deadline For Revised Google Books Settlement

The federal judge overseeing the Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Books case is willing to give the company and the plaintiffs until Nov. 9 to come up with a U.S. settlement that works. The original proposed settlement ran into problems with the U.S. Department of Justice, which saw some potential antitrust issues with the proposed $125 million settlement. The proposed settlement already had been adjusted several times. Judge Denny Chin has been trying to give the parties enough room to come to terms; AP reports that lawyers for U.S. publishers and authors expect to have a deal in place by the new deadline. That won’t resolve Google’s issues in other arenas, including the European Union and France.

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Twacy! Tracy Morgan, The Internet Needs You

TwacyTwitter is a place for many things: Breaking news, political movements, movie reviews, transparent flirting, sardonic cats. But for all the voices on Twitter bleating for attention, famous and un, one remains silent: Tracy Morgan.

Celeb-tracking website OMGICU — as in, “OMG, I see you, and I’m going to tell this website where you are!” — wants to change that. They’ve actually made it quite an issue, creating a web page and making a video featuring OMGICU founder Hugh Dornbush (below, and yes, that’s his real name, not the name of his first pet and the street he grew up on). Dornbush and OMGICU unveiled the concept last night at the always-well-attended New York Tech Meetup, and today they have launched, sending the call out to Twitter for pickup via influencers in the tech scene. It’s how grassroots is done these days (especially when you’re repped by a social media-savvy PR company like Attention, which sent Twacy.org our way this morning) (and yes, it IS a dot-org. Nice touch, that).

Twacy tweetdeckIt’s not a hard sell though — Tracy Morgan is hilarious, and does seem to have that perfect lack of a filter to make him a delight on Twitter. The tweets themselves are eminently retweetable:

@OmieNice: “Where are the french fries I did not ask for? You guys need to anticipate me!” Bring Tracy Morgan to Twitter. http://twacy.org #twacy

@ovelocityo: Bring Tracy Morgan to Twitter. http://twacy.org “Tell her that you want her privates and your privates to do a high five.” -TM #twacy

@shelbyhot97: Bring Tracy Morgan to Twitter. http://twacy.org “I may hug people too hard and get lost at malls, but I’m not an idiot” –TM #twacy @omgicu

@whizhouse: “Have we lost our moral center? It just makes me want to pee on someone.” Bring Tracy Morgan to Twitter. http://twacy.org #twacy @omgicu

Etc. etc. If they seem neatly pre-programmed to you, it’s because these kids know what they’re doing — I specifically asked if Dornbush and OMGICU had sent their pals pre-written tweets to send out, and they in fact did not. Apparently they knew that there were enough Tracy Morgan quotes out there to galvanize the troops on their own. It takes a village.

Will this get Morgan on Twitter? Who knows. What it is doing in the meantime is (a) getting buzz for OMGICU, which seems the purpose of the campaign (I mean, aside from bringing the voice of Tracy Morgan to the masses) and (b) Showing that 30 Rock Twitter feed how it’s done. If you don’t believe me, check out the #twacy hashtag. At this rate, it won’t be long before it’s twending.



FLO TV Launches Watchman Mobile TV Viewing Device

FLOPTVQualcomm’sFLO TV is launching the properly-named-but-it’s-kind-of-a-boring-moniker FLO TV Personal Television device for those who want to watch television on the go. But do consumers want to carry around another device and pay another subscription to watch TV wherever they are?

The FLO TV Personal Television plays live and time-shifted video content over FLO’s multicast network, and promises no buffering or downloading to watch your shows. The 3.5-inch touch screen allows users to surf through channels with the swipe of a finger.

FLO TV does have a decent lineup of channels including Comedy Central, ESPN, MSNBC and MTV. But the Personal Television will cost $250 and requires an $8.99 per month subscription fee.

That’s pretty steep for a technology that hasn’t even caught on with consumers yet, and would be on top of what people already pay for mobile phones and pay TV subscriptions. Though recent research from Infonetics predicts that the number of mobile video subscribers worldwide will grow tenfold by the end of 2013 from the 41 million in 2008, that isn’t all gravy for mobile pay TV providers. In his analyst note, Jeff Heynen, Infonetics directing analyst, Broadband and Video, wrote:

“Though video-capable phones continue to become more widely available, subscriber uptake of pay TV services (not free-to-air video) continues to disappoint. A combination of poor macroeconomic conditions, subpar 3G network coverage for streamed video services, and pricing that puts mobile video services out of reach for many consumers is contributing to the lackluster growth of mobile video services around the world.”

The FLO Personal Television might be a tremendous device, but it’s a question of whether people need it. It doesn’t do anything other than display TV. FLO TV is already available on some mobile phone handsets through AT&T and Verizon, and more video is coming to competing services like the iPhone including live sports and breaking news. Will people want to pay (and find another pocket for) a device that just does TV? Maybe Liz can pick one up to replace her now-useless analog Sony Watchman.


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The Future of Condé Digital: Same Old, Same Old?

Picture 1It’s hard to ignore reality when it’s punching you in the face. At least we have to assume that the approximately 180 Condé Nast employees who got laid off earlier this week when the company decided to fold four magazines feel like they’ve been punched in the face.

The reality part, in the case of the rest of Condé Nast, of course means the Internet, which the company has woefully and rather spectacularly ignored to its great peril these last ten years. Whether the powers that be have been forced to do a similar reality check remains to be seen, but all signs point to not looking good.

Shortly after CEO Chuck Townsend announced the closures, noting that “in the coming weeks, we hope to announce initiatives to develop digital versions of our brands that will make use of new devices and distribution channels,” Mediaite obtained a memo to the digital staff from Condé Nast Digital svp Drew Schutte suggesting the clock was ticking.

In regard to Cookie.com and Gourmet,com, the sites will remain up at least through the end of the year. If you have advertisers booked into 2010 or feel those booked on them now will be interested in a change, please call Christine to discuss.

And then there’s this from today’s New York Observer:

Both Modern Bride’s and Elegant Bride’s verticals on Brides.com would be folded into the main site.

As for Cookie, its five daily blogs and online discussion forums (which are virtual ghost towns compared to sites like UrbanBaby.com) will go kaput. CookieMag.com will shut down soon. Condé Nast currently has no plans to create another online home for hip moms, according to Condé Nast Digital sources.

As for a possible online rebirth of Gourmet and other Condé Nast casualties? Many sources told The Observer they simply don’t know yet. And some weren’t sure if they could stomach a zombified version of Gourmet on the Web

Or course! Shutting down the Cookie.com site is a great idea, seeing as how the mommy blogs are such a minor aspect of the Internet culture. Sort of akin to closing up Domino. Sigh. Parsing the logic of Condé’s decisions is a frustrating game, one which we may not have to play much longer considering the pace at which the company is ridding itself of titles.