The Morning Lowdown 04-19-11

Morning Lowdown

Some of the stories people are talking about this morning:

»  Former Tribune Company shareholders are bracing for a possible barrage of litigation aimed at clawing back more than $8 billion in payouts received in the company’s ill-fated buyout. (WSJ)

»  New Yorker media columnist Ken Auletta, author of best-selling book Googled, fell victim to a common digital crime Monday morning: His Gmail account was hacked. (Adweek)

»  The backlash against Spotify’s changes to its free service appears to be growing by the hour. (FT Tech Hub; check out paidContent UK’s recent coverage of Spotify)

»  Privacy Legislation’s Potential Impact on Online Media (GigaOm)

» To Start Screening Members for Sexual Offenses (Mashable)

»  How Flipboard Can Bring App Makers and Publishers Together (RRW)

»  Topix CEO Chris Tolles: Community Over Content (StreetFight)

»  Was RIM’s PlayBook, worth the wait? (Reuters)

»  A second act for ex-Time Inc. (NYSE: TWX) exec Michael Klingensmith and The Star Tribune. (NYT/David Carr)

»  Dan Gillmor: Excited by Experiments by Entrepreneurial Journalists (Dorian Benkoil/Mediashift)

The Morning Lowdown 04-18-11

Morning Lowdown

Some of the stories people are talking about this morning:

»  VH1 Cultivates Its Female Side (WSJ)

»  ‘Robot Journalist’ Out-Writes Human Sports Reporter (NPR)

»  Is Social Media Killing TV? (AdAge)

»  Flipboard: Threat and Opportunity (Monday Note)

»  LivingSocial’s Head of New Business Initiatives Dishes on What’s Next for Daily Deals (eMoney)

»  Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and the TV Industry (Chris Dixon)

»  ABC (NYSE: DIS) News gets into video books with new app (Lost Remote)

»  First Mover Interview: Randall Rothenberg Back at the IAB (Adweek)

»  Three Recommendations for Shifting Advertising to the Next Generation (AdAge)

»  David Carr Discusses New York Times (NYSE: NYT) Documentary (NY Fishbowl)

The Morning Lowdown 04-15-11

Morning Lowdown

Some of the stories people are talking about this morning:

»  Less than three months after Comcast Corp. (NSDQ: CMCSA) took control of NBC Universal, NBCU’s new CEO, Steve Burke, is angling for sports deals and pushing a big shift in how the entertainment company would use them. (WSJ)

»  How much of an effect has the February debut of the long-awaited Verizon iPhone 4 had on Apple’s bottom line? Probably not as big a one as the Verizon iPhone 5. (Digital Daily)

»  Harman Family to Keep Its Stake in Newsweek (NYT)

»  Vadim Lavrusik leaves Mashable to become Journalism Program Manager at Facebook. (CNN)

»  Well-Meaning “Privacy Bill of Rights” Wouldn’t Stop Online Tracking. (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

»  The newsonomics of the digital cafeteria. (Ken Doctor/Nieman Lab)

»  Who Is More Trust-Worthy with Our Data: The Government or Big Companies? (Techcrunch)

»  Why You Might Choose to Be in Favor of Transparency (Seth Godin)

Cricket’s World Cup Was Huge For Mobile Media

Cricket ball

The mobile is already the computer in many markets, it seems. In some of the countries where cricket is most popular, the recent ICC Cricket World Cup was consumed more on mobile than on PC internet.

ESPN (NYSE: DIS) says the mobile version of its ESPNcricinfo site accounted for 45 percent (45 million) of all the brand’s page views during the April 2 final, in which India beat Pakistan. That’s the highest share of any of the digital media through which ESPN covered the sport, and doesn’t even include the app versions of ESPNcricinfo.

It’s significant that mobile use outweighed desktop use. ESPN claims ESPNcricinfo’s mobile site took 63.6 percent of the global mobile audience in its industry segment - far outweighing the 36.1 percent share ESPNcricinfo claims it took in the desktop web market.

That effect came from Indians, who supplied the largest slice of mobile traffic to ESPNcricinfo (377.3 million page views through the tournament). There are around 700 million mobile phones in use in India - nearly the entire population of 1.15 billion. Many of the handsets are unsophisticated, but broadcasters nevertheless supply subscription audio content. In neighbouring Pakistan, BBC Urdu offered five, two-minute World Cup audio reports every hour for on-demand listening by dial-up during the competition.

July Systems, an LA-based mobile web infrastructure vendor which was contracted by ESPN, SuperSport and other proprietors during the tournament, says it served 74 million mobile page views globally during the final game, over Amazon’s Web Services system.

But, though the region reflected starkly in ESPN’s stats during the tournament, the overall audience for ESPNcricinfo’s mobile site remains small in an all-media context, setting a March 30 record of 1.9 million visitors, compared with 6.5 million on desktop that same day.

The takeaway must be that mobile users kept generating page views by refreshing, but desktop still had more actual unique users.

Red Eye Crew Debate Whether George Allen’s ‘Sports Banter’ Makes Him A ‘Casual Racist’

Former Virginia governor George Allen may be most famous for once calling an Indian American “macaca” on the campaign trail, but now he’s making news again for repeatedly asking a black NBC reporter what “position” he played, continually forgetting he didn’t play a sport at all. The Red Eye panel was somewhat torn on what to make of this– was Allen, now a Senate hopeful, a “casual racist,” or a “shitty conversationalist”?

Host Greg Gutfeld appeared initially unconvinced that Allen was a racist particularly– after all, sports banter had done so much to strengthen his relationship with Andy Levy. But panelist John DeVore disagreed, calling him a “nice, casual racist”– the kind that assumes you like basketball because you’re dating a black person, but doesn’t necessarily actively think of minorities as inferior. He later described him as an “uncle” type that had had a few beers, though Levy later thwarted his theory with a tweet from a white reporter who chimed in that, for what it’s worth, Allen constantly asks him about sports, too. “Racism solved!” DeVore exclaimed.

Gutfeld got more support from Remi Stern, who argued the sports talked was “like a bad second date where the person doesn’t remember anything he asked on the first date,” and agreed with Gutfeld that NBC reporter Craig Melvin’s decision to confront Allen over Twitter and not in person was in poor taste.

Meanwhile, there was an entirely different genre of objection to Allen’s comments to be explored. Panelist Jesse Joyce just objected to Allen as a “shitty conversationalist”– “nobody cares about sports questions… do you really want to hear his little league conquests?” He instead suggested more interesting topics to ask during small talk, like “what medicines he takes” or airport security experiences.

The discussion via Fox News below:

The Morning Lowdown 04-08-11

Morning Lowdown

Some of the stories people are talking about this morning:

»  Sony (NYSE: SNE) slashes PlayStation Portable prices by 24 percent in Europe to boost adoption. (Bloomberg)

»  Gannett (NYSE: GCI) flagship USA Today appears to be planning to pay bonuses to sports reporters based on pageviews —and may consider it for other sections. (The Big Lead, Gannett Blog, Romenesko)

»  Journalism 2.0 didn’t kill anyone, and neither did “Old Media.” (GigaOm)

»  Among the “five myths” about the future of journalism: “Online news will be fine as soon as the advertising revenue catches up” and “content will always be king.” (WaPo)

», which experienced a revenue dip in Q4 despite the online ad recovery, is getting a much-needed investment from its parent, the New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT), which will include the introduction of 200 topic sites, a Spanish-language version, a doubling its number of instructional videos and the launch a new homepage. (WSJ)

»  A group of industry associations in Europe will formally introduce a behavioral ad privacy icon later this month that is intended to give European consumers choice around how their data is collected and used online, it is intended to satisfy new E.U. laws that come into force at the end of May. (ClickZ)

»  Lady Gaga, Editor: Befuddling Pop Star to Guest Edit ‘Metro.’ (NY Observer)

»  Sixteen Newsweek staffers are taking buyouts as the magazine continues the integration with The Daily Beast. (Mediaweek)

»  Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has registered a bunch of domain names related to music and clouds this week. (Techcrunch)

»  If Google Was New York City & Online Piracy Was Knock-Off Handbags…(SearchEngineLand)

MLBAM Offers Free Mobile Video Trial Tied To Volvo Sponsorship

mlb at bat

Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s At Bat App has got some new updates today that will also include a free trial to access its streaming video for live games. The free trial lasts for the month of April and is available to non-subscribers who view a Volvo sponsorship. The ad comes as MLBAM is preparing to choose a vendor to craft a mobile ad serving platform for the company. has two full-season pricing options: $119.95 for the season/$24.99 a month for access to MLB.TV Premium and $99.95 a year/$19.99 a month for the basic video package. Each level included full portable access to that “.tv” subscription across a range of mobile phones within the At Bat apps as well as other connected devices (PS3, Roku, Boxee, among others). The At Bat apps are $14.99 for each of the various platforms (iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android). Other devices that can handle the live streaming will be added as they hit the marketplace (Xoom is one likely candidate) over the course of this season.

Volvo’s involvement with is part of the automaker’s larger digital ad strategy for 2011 and is focused heavily on sports this spring. It’s also sponsoring he Big East basketball conference. The strategy has been crafted with Mobext, the mobile marketing agency for MPG/Media Contacts, Volvo’s media buying shop. Volvo’s campaign for the will also run on the league’s Facebook FanPage and through Twitter. This “opening day” sponsorship is only available across Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The month-long free trial underscores the increasing importance of mobile video to MLBAM’s efforts. The company expects mobile usage to outpace wired in a year or two. That’s the reason its carefully trying to build its own ad system this season.

The surge in mobile activity is impressive. For example, three years ago, mobile comprised 8 percent of MLBAM’s traffic; in 2010, it represented 37 percent of all of MLBAM’s vistors. On the video front, in 2010, MLBAM, the digital business arm of Major League Baseball, said its viewers racked up 9.5 billion minutes of streaming ballgames across all devices.