Archive for April, 2011

HBO Comes to the iPad, a Couple Days Early [MediaMemo]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

HBO Go, the pay cable channel’s Web service, doesn’t formally launch on the iPad until Monday. But no need to wait: You can download it now at iTunes . As advertised, the free app is a mirror of HBO’s existing broadband service: It lets the channel’s subscribers stream a very deep catalog of HBO’s shows and movies, on demand, via both Wi-Fi and wireless networks. It will also work on Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, as well as 20 phones running Google’s Android; it won’t work on tablets running Google’s newest Honeycomb OS, though. (Demo video from BTIG’s Rich Greenfield at the bottom of this post) The two catches: The service is available to most cable customers, with the exception of Time Warner Cable and Cablevision subscribers. Time Warner Cable says it’s working on a deal; Cablevision won’t comment. It’s a very deep catalog–1,400 titles, including the complete run of great series like “The Sopranos” and “The Wire”–but it will still have gaps that could frustrate HBO’s most avid users. I’d like to try David Simon’s “Treme” again, for instance, but I can’t get last season’s episodes; just the new ones that started airing last week. Some of you will bemoan the fact that you have to be a cable subscriber to get this–there’s no broadband-only option, a la Netflix and Hulu Plus.

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HTC Posts Strong Results and Outlook, Plans to Add 1,000 Workers [Mobilized]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Taiwan’s HTC continued to benefit from the growth in the smartphone market, reporting Friday first-quarter revenue and profits more than double those of a year ago. For the first quarter, HTC said it earned $504 million (14.8 million Taiwanese dollars) on revenue of $3.5 billion (104.6 billion Taiwanese dollars). A year ago, earnings and revenue were only a bit more than a third of that. The company said that it shipped 9.7 million phones in the first quarter, up six percent from the fourth quarter and nearly triple the number of a year ago. HTC’s average selling prices also increased six percent from a year ago, to $359. “We had a phenomenal quarter with record sales and profits,” HTC CEO Peter Chou said in a statement. “Our innovation and leadership in technology has taken us to new highs.” For the current quarter, the company expects to ship between 11 and 11.5 million phones, more than double the amount from last year. Revenue is also predicted to nearly double, to around 120 billion Taiwan dollars. HTC has been working to distinguish itself both through unique hardware like its Facebook-centric Salsa and ChaCha phones as well as with an updated version of its HTC Sense software. The company said it plans to continue to invest in its brand and also plans to add 1,000 new employees to its workforce.

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HTC Posts Strong Results and Outlook, Plans to Add 1,000 Workers [Mobilized]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Taiwan’s HTC continued to benefit from the growth in the smartphone market, reporting Friday first-quarter revenue and profits more than double those of a year ago. For the first quarter, HTC said it earned $504 million (14.8 million Taiwanese dollars) on revenue of $3.5 billion (104.6 billion Taiwanese dollars). A year ago, earnings and revenue were only a bit more than a third of that. The company said that it shipped 9.7 million phones in the first quarter, up six percent from the fourth quarter and nearly triple the number of a year ago. HTC’s average selling prices also increased six percent from a year ago, to $359. “We had a phenomenal quarter with record sales and profits,” HTC CEO Peter Chou said in a statement. “Our innovation and leadership in technology has taken us to new highs.” For the current quarter, the company expects to ship between 11 and 11.5 million phones, more than double the amount from last year. Revenue is also predicted to nearly double, to around 120 billion Taiwan dollars. HTC has been working to distinguish itself both through unique hardware like its Facebook-centric Salsa and ChaCha phones as well as with an updated version of its HTC Sense software. The company said it plans to continue to invest in its brand and also plans to add 1,000 new employees to its workforce.

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The Bull Case for Demand Media–And Why Wall Street May Not Buy It [MediaMemo]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

There’s no debate that changes Google has made to its search engine’s ranking formula have taken a toll on Demand Media. How big a toll? That one’s up for debate: Richard Rosenblatt’s company says the changes, which affect the traffic that Demand’s sites get from Google, aren’t significant enough for the company to change its guidance. Most of Wall Street disagrees, and has been hammering Demand shares for the last couple of weeks. DMD is now trading around $16.70, down from a peak of more than $27 earlier this year. In a note published today, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan argues that investors are overreacting (Stifel helped take Demand public in January), and keeps his “buy” rating intact. A worst-case scenario, he says, is that the Google changes will clip Demand revenues by 10 percent and EBITDA by 20 percent–but Wall Street has pummeled Demand much more than that. Rohan (and many others) are very interested to see what Demand says on its May 5 earnings call: EHow and Demand Media had a great deal of momentum all the way through the first quarter and into the second quarter

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The Bull Case for Demand Media–And Why Wall Street May Not Buy It [MediaMemo]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

There’s no debate that changes Google has made to its search engine’s ranking formula have taken a toll on Demand Media. How big a toll? That one’s up for debate: Richard Rosenblatt’s company says the changes, which affect the traffic that Demand’s sites get from Google, aren’t significant enough for the company to change its guidance. Most of Wall Street disagrees, and has been hammering Demand shares for the last couple of weeks. DMD is now trading around $16.70, down from a peak of more than $27 earlier this year. In a note published today, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan argues that investors are overreacting (Stifel helped take Demand public in January), and keeps his “buy” rating intact. A worst-case scenario, he says, is that the Google changes will clip Demand revenues by 10 percent and EBITDA by 20 percent–but Wall Street has pummeled Demand much more than that. Rohan (and many others) are very interested to see what Demand says on its May 5 earnings call: EHow and Demand Media had a great deal of momentum all the way through the first quarter and into the second quarter. But there is now this new variable with which to contend–it is hard to forecast traffic if there is volatility in index rank. How does that all balance out? To the extent that is possible to broaden the range of possible outcomes for the year, without abandoning the guidance altogether, we believe that would be incrementally positive, at least compared to current levels of fear. Maintaining guidance for full year revenue and EBITDA would be even sweeter, if possible. The “what can be done” part of this is key, in our view–own up to the weaknesses, identify the steps required to address those weaknesses, and correct course. Quickly. Which sounds great. The problem for Demand (and many other publishers, including the New York Times , which said that its About.com had been beaten up by algorithm changes, too) is that it’s entirely possible that Google isn’t done adjusting its search formulas. And what if it’s just beginning to overhaul search

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Media faces royal hangover

April 29, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

TV News: Celeb spectacle trumps hard news as media gloms on to wedding coverage -- The Royal Wedding went off without a hitch, but from a media perspective, that wasn't the real story. Like most modern spectacles, this one was less about the actual consummation than the foreplay.

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Casual Game Maker PopCap Buys Social Games Studio ZipZapPlay [eMoney]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Looking to expand beyond casual game titles such as Bejeweled, PopCap Games has acquired ZipZapPlay , a social games company based in San Francisco. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. PopCap said it will develop four or five new Facebook games by the end of the year. The acquisition will also enable the company, which is hoping to file for an IPO this year , to have a presence in San Francisco. PopCap , which is mostly focused on PC gaming, is already attracting nearly five million daily users on Facebook with titles such as Bejeweled Blitz and Zuma. Zynga, the category leader, attracts more than 55 million daily users and has been on an acquisition tear, acquiring at least one company every month

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BoomTown on KQED’s "iPhone or iSpy" Radio Show (Audio) [BoomTown]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The Apple iOS and Google Android smartphone location-tracking kerfuffle . Smarty-pants commentators. KQED’s “Forum” radio show with interviewer Michael Krasny yesterday. Go!

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BoomTown on KQED’s "iPhone or iSpy" Radio Show (Audio) [BoomTown]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The Apple iOS and Google Android smartphone location-tracking kerfuffle . Smarty-pants commentators. KQED’s “Forum” radio show with interviewer Michael Krasny yesterday. Go!

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Al Gore’s Next Invention: The Future of Books? (Cheap Shot, But Cool App) [NetworkEffect]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Push Pop Press , a digital book publishing platform, went live with its first title this week, Al Gore’s “Our Choice,” available as an iOS app for $4.99. The start-up, as we’ve written before, was founded by an Apple designer prodigy named Mike Matas. “Our Choice” was first demoed at TED , where Matas wowed the crowd by activating a wind turbine demo within the book by blowing on his iPad and iPhone. The most distinctive part of the book platform seems to be the ability to pull any multimedia off the page with a two-finger gesture and browse around infographics with one finger (and occasionally your breath). But now that the book’s available, you can buy it for yourself here or watch the tour guided by Al Gore below. Other iPad-focused interactive book makers include Inkling and 955 Dreams .

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