Separated at Birth?

September 11, 2007

 IAC/Interactive’s former mascot “Jeeves”

… and IAC/Interactive’s present mascot “Barry” (image via nysocialdiary)


Bits & Bytes

September 11, 2007

(Alan and Susan Patricof)

>”Radio, network television and the newspaper industry all felt the sting of lower ad expenditures in the first half of the year. The financial services industry, which spends tens of billions of ad dollars, has been particularly hurt by the housing crisis and the subsequent credit crunch … Predictably, online ad spending was up in the first half of the year.” (FishbowlNY)

 >” … (T)here are also rows of neatly stacked business plans on that desk, from startups soliciting investments from his new VC firm, Greycroft Partners – proof that, his wardrobe notwithstanding, Patricof is back in vogue. ‘We’re seeing 30 to 50 deals a week,’ he says. ‘New York has never been hotter.’ What’s providing the heat is online advertising. The market for web ads jumped 35% in 2006 to almost $17 billion and has increased for ten consecutive quarters. The past two years saw a total of $7.3 billion in new spending, an ocean of cash that has given rise to a flood of web-media firms. ” (Fortune)


An invitation from NTV, which has been getting good reviews for their screening series:

“Hey East Coasters! Want to come out and watch online movies accompanied by an audience of living people rather than the solitary glow of your laptop screen? Eat popcorn and drink beer? You may be hipper than us geeks, but we’re not that different, are we? Join us on September 24 for a bonus Pier Screenings live event held in New York City, continuing the series we’ve been running in San Francisco all summer.

“The theme for September is ‘love stories,’ which we’re opening to wide (but not pornographic) interpretation. Have you made a movie about a crush, a friend, a lover, a favorite food, a favorite place, or anything else you love? If it’s under five minutes, and you own the rights to it, submit it to the NewTeeVee community site (directions here), and encourage your friends to turn out and rate it. The six most-loved shorts will be shown at the event in New York.”

Britney Spears performs at the MTV Video Music Awards held at the Palms Hotel and Casino on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007, in Las Vegas. 

MTV and can thank the bad behavior of rock stars for their ratings gains. Sure, at the end of the day the network — and website — lack cultural relevance. The slow, creeping death of the music industry notwithstanding, Sumner Redstone — who, no doubt, kept a fish eye on the MTV Music Awards ratings — ought to throw Britney Spears a valentine, or at least a bottle of MonaVie. Although the show was virtually unwatchable, Britney’s train wreck — and, possibly Tommy Lee’s fisticuffs — literally saved the show. And, even better — and Webnewsier — the show, which was a one-shot deal — is getting a new life clipwise on the web. From Broadcasting and Cable (via alleyinsider):

 “MTV‘s decision to move the Video Music Awards to Las Vegas and run the telecast for only one night seems to have paid off in the ratings, according to early numbers.

“The VMAs telecast, from 9 p.m.-11 p.m. Sunday, averaged 7.08 million total viewers and 5 million viewers 12-34, up about 23% from last year. That was the most viewers in the demo for any ad-supported (thus excluding Disney Channel) cable telecast this year.

“… MTV also put a big push behind its online embellishments to the telecast this year and earned traffic increases over last. posted 2.6 million unique visitors Sunday, up 40% from last year, according to the network.

“That made it’s most trafficked day ever, up 32% from the previous record — last year’s day after the VMAs. By 3:30 p.m. Monday, the site had logged 7 million total video streams, MTV said.”

 And, of course, TMZ is picking up some of the scraps.

 Ron Mwangaguhunga

More moves at Hearst, which is taking the digital at least as seriously as it is taking international expansion. From WWD:

 “Sarah Cristobal has been named as senior Web editor of Harper’s Bazaar online. Cristobal will take over the daily programming, video creative development and continuing rollout of new interactive features on the site. Cristobal joins from, where she was associate editor. She begins Sept. 24.”


Steven Schwartzman incites dangerous passions — and obvious counterspin — in the minds of people who matter in this economy. He is in the zeitgeist. Everyone who is anyone has an opinion — often explosive — of Schwartzman’s turn of the milennium granstanding (The Brilliant Michael Gross coined the neologism “Schadenschwarzmanfreude“). He’s a cypher, like Driser’s Financier. Some might argue that Schwarzman’s ScadenFrom PEHub:

“In the weeks following Rupert Murdoch’s bid for Dow Jones, I got asked a few dozen times if a private equity firm would step in to play white knight. ‘No,’ I replied, because of the dizzying price point. Moreover, private equity firms are best when buying a strong product that has been underperforming due to operational problems. Dow Jones had been underperforming because of irreversible media market trends (read: death of newspapers), and Murdoch was far more qualified to enact a new media turnaround than were almost any private equity firms (no matter how loathsome some of his other media endeavors may be).

“But it does seem that at least one private equity firm made an inquiry: The Blackstone Group.

“Dow Jones revealed in an SEC filing that it approached, or was contracted, by 20 potential buyers in addition to News Corp. Among them was a ‘private investment company’ – which had previously indicated an interest in acquiring Dow Jones. That suitor was The Blackstone Group, as reported earlier today by The Wall Street Journal (natch).”

Bits & Bytes

September 10, 2007

>”CollegeHumor’s audience rose from 4 million to 7 million users and increased ad sales allowed us to hire our first employee to work with us in our fifth bedroom office. Subsequently, we established office hours and wore pants to work. Most importantly, we made contacts that were out of grasp when we worked from San Diego. Nick Denton, who motivated by goodwill or his swelling crush on Ricky, I’m unsure, introduced us to everybody we needed to know, to teach us how to scale big. And, that’s how we met Rebecca Mead. The writer who interviewed us for months and went on to write an article entitled Funny Boys, which was published in the New Yorker on January 24, 2005. And that’s when everything changed. When good became great.” (ZachKlein via Jossip)

>”The media guru who brought us 60 Minutes has a new idea: Take a miniversion of the regular ratings leader to the Internet and target the most-sought-after spending group, affluent college kids. ‘I look around and I see an awful lot of corporations that stay out of television news because they can’t reach the demographic they want,’ CBS newsman Don Hewitt tells us. ‘So I’m trying to reach it for them.’He’s got a platform: CBS’s U-Wire, the college press Internet site. A name: ‘Anything Goes, as in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes.'” (USNews via IWantMedia

 >”Town and Country Travel, a quarterly magazine and spin-off of Town & Country, has officially launched their online presence at

>”The push to deliver more shows through the Web comes as networks have started seeing dollars roll in from this new type of broadcasting. James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research, said revenue from downloads and ad-supported video streaming could reach around $800 million this year. Adams Media Research forecasts that number could grow to around $6 billion by 2011. The ad-supported strategy builds off a series of experiments started by the networks last season, when episodes of hit shows like ABC’s ‘Lost’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’ and NBC’s ‘Heroes’ were offered as free video streams.” (NYPost

 >”(Dick) Parsons likes the vineyard because it’s the opposite of his day job. ‘What I have to wrestle with all the time is digital technology,’ he says. ‘How is it changing my world? What does it mean to music? What does it mean to film and television? How is it going to change the advertising paradigm for the magazines?’ He holds up his glass. ‘You can’t digitize this!’ Presumably Murdoch doesn’t allow himself such soul-searching. But that’s part of Parsons’s affable appeal. Still, being a likable titan can be a burden. Parsons won’t walk down the street anymore. He can’t. ‘People come up to you just ragging you out,’ he says. ‘My cable thing went out, I didn’t get my magazine, I moved my AOL forwarding thing, whatever they say!’ And as he’s saying all this, Alec Baldwin, another member of his stogie club, comes up and gives him a bear hug. ‘You know how much I love this man?’ Baldwin says. ‘I love this man so much I won’t complain about my AOL account!'” (NewYork via IWantMedia

 >”Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive (TTWOCramer’s TakeStockpickr) posted a narrower-than-expected third-quarter loss and guided the full year in line with its revised expectations. The company had cut its outlook last month on news of the delay of its key game, Grand Theft Auto IV. ” (TheStreet)

 >”Chicago Tribune’s Maureen (“Mo”) Ryan (via Ain’t It Cool News) reports that SCI FI Channel may be planning to spool out those final Battlestar Galactica episodes – all the way to 2009. The fourth and farewell season of the Peabody award-winning Battlestar was expected to launch sometime during 1Q ’08.  (The two-hour Battlestar tv movie prequel, Razor, premieres November 24.)According to Ryan, Battlestar actors appearing onstage at Atlanta’s DragonCon over the Labor Day weekend spilled, saying that the twenty-episode season will be split into two blocks.  The first half of the final season will launch February ’08 but the back half won’t be coming up for air until February ’09 – at least according to reports filtering out from the con.” (Multichannel)

Ron Mwangaguhunga