Archive for July, 2011

AOL Nearly Ready With Editions: The App for When You Crap

July 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

For nine months now, AOL has been working on Editions by AOL — an online magazine for the iPad. It’s designed to sit somewhere between the Daily and Flipboard, offering a mix of personalized and broadly aimed content from both AOL and non-AOL sources. And the app is almost ready, at least according to the toilet paper inside the company’s restrooms. “The App for When You Crap … Coming Soon … editions.com,” reads the light blue print on all the rolls supplied in AOL’s bathrooms. It’s not often you hear the word crap used when promoting a product, but it is oddly refreshing. AOL employees are also having fun with the TP promotion. Mobile boss David Temkin (whom I recently interviewed on stage ) arrived to work on Friday to find his desk and chair covered with the stuff. The potty-oriented nickname for Editions was used in a YouTube video earlier this year, a video that has since gotten more than 10,000 views (including, I’m told, nearly everyone at AOL). For more on Editions, check out this story based on a sneak peek AllThingsD got of the product in March .

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C’mon In, the VP8 Patent Pool’s Warm

July 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The MPEG LA’s call for patents essential to the VP8 video codec specification , part of Google’s new WebM video format, have been answered. A dozen times over. In an interview with StreamingMedia.com , MPEG LA, the consortium that controls the AVC/H.264 video standard, said 12 companies have come forward with patents believed to be essential to the VP8 standard. “MPEG LA met with VP8 essential patent holders in late June to facilitate a discussion among them whether and on what terms they may want to create a VP8 patent pool license and is continuing to facilitate that discussion,” a representative explained. So who are these patent holders? MPEG LA won’t say (Certainly, it’s no one on this list ). But if they agree to form a patent pool license, Google’s royalty-free video standard may not be royalty free for much longer.

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Videogames Discover Daily Deals as PopCap’s Plants Vs. Zombies Sells for Half Off

July 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The obvious similarity between Groupon and Zynga is that they are both racing to become the next darling on Wall Street. Both have been exceedingly good at getting big fast, raising tons of cash and at creating a brand new industry. I’ve written about that before . But it appears the daily deals space and games industry could have even more in common than I thought. PopCap, which turned down a $1 billion buyout offer from Zynga for a $750 million offer from Electronic Arts , started selling one of its most popular games today for half-off on Tippr , which competes against Groupon and others. So far, 26 people have purchased PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies for $10, which represents a discount of 50 percent, so I’m pretty sure the deal isn’t a ploy by PopCap to juice its sales right before the deal with EA is finalized. Over the past year, daily deals have quickly expanded from offering spa and restaurant discounts to just about every other category under the sun, including Amazon gift cards, movie tickets, travel deals, food, clothing, etc. But a videogame download is still a rare find. Together the pair makes sense for the right game. PopCap’s game titles are considered casual titles that appeal to the mainstream, much like games found on Facebook.

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Videogames Discover Daily Deals as PopCap’s Plants Vs. Zombies Sells for Half Off

July 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The obvious similarity between Groupon and Zynga is that they are both racing to become the next darling on Wall Street. Both have been exceedingly good at getting big fast, raising tons of cash and at creating a brand new industry. I’ve written about that before . But it appears the daily deals space and games industry could have even more in common than I thought. PopCap, which turned down a $1 billion buyout offer from Zynga for a $750 million offer from Electronic Arts , started selling one of its most popular games today for half-off on Tippr , which competes against Groupon and others. So far, 26 people have purchased PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies for $10, which represents a discount of 50 percent, so I’m pretty sure the deal isn’t a ploy by PopCap to juice its sales right before the deal with EA is finalized. Over the past year, daily deals have quickly expanded from offering spa and restaurant discounts to just about every other category under the sun, including Amazon gift cards, movie tickets, travel deals, food, clothing, etc. But a videogame download is still a rare find. Together the pair makes sense for the right game. PopCap’s game titles are considered casual titles that appeal to the mainstream, much like games found on Facebook. Its PC titles, including Bejeweled, are frequently sold online or at major retailers, such as Wal-Mart. Daily deal providers, which have millions of subscribers, reach a similarly wide audience. For example, it wouldn’t surprise me to see an offer for 50 percent off Facebook Credits in the not so distant future, or for specific games that are seeking new distribution.

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Videogames Discover Daily Deals as PopCap’s Plants Vs. Zombies Sells for Half Off

July 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The obvious similarity between Groupon and Zynga is that they are both racing to become the next darling on Wall Street. Both have been exceedingly good at getting big fast, raising tons of cash and at creating a brand new industry. I’ve written about that before . But it appears the daily deals space and games industry could have even more in common than I thought. PopCap, which turned down a $1 billion buyout offer from Zynga for a $750 million offer from Electronic Arts , started selling one of its most popular games today for half-off on Tippr , which competes against Groupon and others. So far, 26 people have purchased PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies for $10, which represents a discount of 50 percent, so I’m pretty sure the deal isn’t a ploy by PopCap to juice its sales right before the deal with EA is finalized. Over the past year, daily deals have quickly expanded from offering spa and restaurant discounts to just about every other category under the sun, including Amazon gift cards, movie tickets, travel deals, food, clothing, etc.

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HTC Sales Continue Steep Upward Trend

July 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Taiwanese cellphone maker HTC issued another upbeat earnings report on Friday, as second-quarter profit and revenue more than doubled from a year earlier. The company said it earned 17.52 billion Taiwanese dollars (US $606.7 million) on revenue of NT$124.4 billion ($4.3 billion) in the quarter. Unit shipments of 12.1 million were up 123.7 percent from a year ago and almost 25 percent from an already strong first quarter . “Consumer reactions to our award-winning designs have driven us to another record-breaking quarter,” HTC CEO Peter Chou said in a statement. “Our teams work so hard to create each individual experience on the device, and it is gratifying for all of us to see them embraced at the volume levels we are consistently reporting across the globe.” Average selling prices ticked up 2.6 percent from year-ago levels, to $349. The average selling prices did dip a bit from the prior quarter as the company introduced several lower-priced Android smartphones, including its Facebook-centric ChaCha and Salsa phones , as well as the Wildfire S. For the third quarter, the company said to expect shipments of about 13.5 million units with revenue of around NT$137 billion, up 10 percent from the prior quarter and 80 percent from last year’s third quarter.

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Oxygen Programming Chief Runs Out of Air

July 29, 2011  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Nearly three-and-a-half years after being tapped to oversee programming at NBC Universal’s Oxygen Media, Amy Introcaso-Davis is stepping down from her post. While Introcaso-Davis played an integral role in raising the network’s profile, Oxygen’s ratings spike has petered out. In the second quarter of 2011, the network averaged 387,000 viewers in prime time, down 11 percent from the year-ago period and flat versus Q2 2008, Introcaso-Davis’ first in charge of original programming and development. The target demos have suffered a similar downturn. Women 18-49 fell 11 percent in the second quarter, as Oxygen averaged 147,000 in prime time. In the same period, Oxygen’s deliveries of women 25-54 plummeted 21 percent to 125,000. Oxygen on Friday said Introcaso-Davis voluntarily resigned her position, adding that she’ll stay aboard until a replacement has been identified. Introcaso-Davis leaves in the wake of a disappointing season, one that saw a number of new and returning series fail to connect with viewers. The World According to Paris , a reality series starring a past-her-cultural-expiration-date Paris Hilton, was dead on arrival, while the much-hyped competition series The Glee Project hasn’t been the mega-hit Oxygen had anticipated. Hilton’s show premiered to just 409,000 viewers on June 1, upon which the celebutante complained that Oxygen had muffed the series’ starting time. (The charge was unfounded.) The July 20 finale drew a mere 274,000 die-hards

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Gilt Groupe’s Policy on Upcoming Wine Sales Leaving Behind a Sour Taste

July 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Gilt Taste , the high-end food site operated by the Gilt Groupe, is preparing to launch a wine vertical that has some people in the industry feeling sour. According to the marketing terms that we obtained from a source, we learned that Gilt is asking wineries and other suppliers to agree to a 12-month exclusive if they choose to feature their products on the site. Gilt Taste is expected to start selling wine in August. In speaking with Gilt’s competitors, we’ve learned the terms are far from average. Here’s the exact wording: Seller agrees that for the Term of this Agreement, and for twelve (12) months following the Term, it will not enter into any similar agreement with a Direct Competitor or create its own flash sale site for the marketing of wine. “Direct Competitor” means a company similarly situated to Agent that is in the business of conducting online marketing via a flash sale model, including, but not limited to, Rue La La, One Kings Lane, HauteLook, Lot18, inVino and ideeli.

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Current Italy to Go Dark

July 29, 2011  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Current TV’s last-ditch efforts to save its left-leaning Italian-language network, Current Italy, have failed and the channel will go dark this Sunday, according to an internal memo sent out to staffers by Current co-founder and CEO Joel Hyatt this morning. “It is with great sadness and frustration that I must inform all of you that Current Italy will go off the air and cease operations on Sunday,” Hyatt wrote. In recent months, Current had been engaged in a protracted and public battle with News Corp., which owns Sky Italia, Current Italy’s carrier and the only satellite platform operating in that country. News Corp. made the abrupt and, at the time, unexpected decision to pull Current from its airwaves last May, only a few months after the network announced that it was hiring former MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann as a prime-time host. In his note to staffers, Hyatt described News Corp.’s decision to pull Current as a “purely political decision,” echoing a point that Current co-founder Al Gore had made to the Guardian this past May . In that interview, Gore alleged that Olbermann’s hiring at Current was News Corp’s main impetus for pulling the plug, and lambasted News Corp. for wielding "an ideological agenda." "News Corporation . . . seeks political power in every nation they operate. They wield that power to shut down voices that disagree with the agenda of Rupert Murdoch," Gore told the Guardian . The announcement of Current Italy’s closure comes just one day after news emerged that Current TV CEO Mark Rosenthal is stepping down after two years in that job, ceding full responsibility to Hyatt. Hyatt had been working alongside Rosenthal as co-CEO for the past two months, and sources told Adweek that Rosenthal is leaving because he wasn’t comfortable sharing that top spot. Also of note: after the resignation and arrest of Murdoch deputy Rebekah Brooks in mid-July, it was former Sky Italia chief Tom Mockridge who ascended to the position of Brooks’ replacement as head of Murcoch's News International.

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Barack Obama and the Mother of All #FollowFridays

July 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

U.S. President Barack Obama spewed out a barrage of tweets today, at least one of which he wrote personally, urging voters to contact their Republican representatives and “ask them to support a bipartisan solution to the deficit crisis.” The time for putting party first is over. If you want to see a bipartisan #compromise , let Congress know. Call. Email. Tweet. —BO July 29, 2011 8:45 am via web Reply Retweet Favorite @BarackObama Barack Obama “The time for putting party first is over. If you want to see a bipartisan #compromise, let Congress know. Call. Email.

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