Archive for November, 2011

U nabs rights to ‘In The Garden Of Beasts’

November 29, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film News: Erik Larson book describes U.S. ambassador's time in Nazi Germany -- Universal has optioned film rights to Erik Larson's non-fiction novel "In the Garden of the Beasts" with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman on board to produce.

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"Music Everywhere": Spotify’s "New Direction"

November 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Hey! Remember last week, when Spotify sent out that cryptic announcement about a press conference they’re holding this week, and said they’re headed in a “new direction”? Here’s what the music service is likely to announce: The ability to let third-party developers tap into Spotify’s music library and make it available to their own users — as along as those users are already paying Spotify for a premium account. That’s what Spotify has been discussing with developers for much of this fall. My educated guess is that the company plans to unveil its plans at its Wednesday event in New York. Wired’s Eliot Van Buskirk reached the same conclusion last week. Spotify reps won’t comment, and I’ve yet to find a developer who says they’re working with Spotify on the new project. And developers working on some music-based apps that would be logical candidates for a Spotify tie-up tell me they’re not helping the service launch its expanded API (application programming interface). Want more hedges? No problem: There’s an open question about whether Spotify would need to seek permission from the big music labels and publishers to open up its catalog to outsiders, or whether their existing deals will suffice. As you may recall, the last time Spotify needed permission from the labels — when it wanted to open up in the U.S. — the process took more than two years. (Shudder).

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WashPost Says Its Facebook App Readers Are Younger — And More Indian

November 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The Washington Post said today that its social news app — which in my opinion gets far too much play at top of my Facebook newsfeed! — has 3.5 million users. That number is  in line with public stats , but the paper also disclosed that it’s reaching a new audience through Facebook: 83 percent of the app users are under 35 years old and 20 percent are based in India. The app will now syndicate stories from the Hindustan Times, GigaOM and ProPublica.

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Google Looks Forward to An Early Christmas Present from Washington: An OK for AdMeld

November 28, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Google’s deal to buy ad tech startup AdMeld , announced in June, looks like it is finally ready to close. Industry sources expect the Department of Justice, who had been reviewing the $400 million transaction for antitrust violations , to approve the deal in the next couple weeks, perhaps as early as this Friday. It’s unclear whether the DOJ will impose any restrictions on the deal. But Web ad players, reading tea leaves and DOJ body language, are betting the sale goes through unhindered. No comment from Google; I’ve yet to hear back from a Department of Justice rep. AdMeld helps publishers sell their ads by negotiating bids from multiple buyers, and is a big player in the complicated and fractured display advertising business. Google, which has long been dominant in search advertising,  has been steadily increasing its presence in display ads via acquisitions like DoubleClick and Invite Media. So it was easy to see why regulators might give another big deal some scrutiny. In fact at this point, every big deal Google makes will get a hard look from Washington, which is already pursuing a broad antitrust investigation. But so far regulators has yet to stop a deal, including Google’s $950 million acquisition of AdMob and its more recent deal for ITA. Next up: The $12.5 billion Googorola deal . The DOJ first began looking at Google-AdMob six months ago, and in late July,  extended their review . At the time, Google published a blog post explaining why the company couldn’t dominate display ads , even while its executives told Wall Street it had big ambitions in display. More recently, Google has gotten help making its case from competitors

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Spielberg grants Harris key ‘Lincoln’ role

November 28, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film News: Brit thesp will play Ulysses S. Grant -- Steven Spielberg has placed another Brit in a key role for the DreamWorks drama "Lincoln," as Jared Harris has been cast as Ulysses S. Grant.

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Hyundai Hopes YouTube Stars Drive Sales

November 28, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Turning Web video stars into TV spokesmodels — or, at least, people who appear in TV ads — isn’t a new idea . But that doesn’t mean Hyundai can’t try it again. Hence the car company’s latest campaign, which features a newish crop of YouTube hit-makers. Sometimes they’re making a direct reference to the clip that made them (sort of) famous. But if these things work, it’s not because they require the viewer to make the connection between TV and the Web.  The two work just fine in parallel.

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Icon U.K. to close distribution arm

November 28, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film News: Lionsgate U.K. eyes library, future releases -- After months of speculation, Icon U.K. Group is shuttering its U.K. distribution arm with Lionsgate U.K. believed to be in negotiations to buy its library and handle future releases of acquired titles in the territory.

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Rivero discovers ‘Pozo amargo’

November 28, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film News: Mexican auteur to shoot 'Pozo' after 'Morire' -- BARCELONA -- Mexico-based shingle Una Comunion will produce "Pozo amargo," the third feature of Locarno Golden Leopard winner Enrique Rivero.

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Akamai, Juniper Said to Be Contending for Israeli Start-Up Cotendo

November 28, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Israeli media having been buzzing in the last day or so about a possible takeover of a startup there called Cotendo. As reports in newspapers there have it, Cotendo is the subject of a bidding battle pitting Juniper Networks and AT&T on one side versus Akamai, over acquisition said to be worth as much as $350 million. As the Israeli publication Globes puts it , this would be one of the most successful exits for an Israeli start-up in the last decade. It wouldn’t be a bad exit for a bunch of U.S.-based venture capital funds, either. Cotendo raised $7 million from Sequoia Capital and Benchmark Capital in 2009, and then another $12 million in a round joined by Tenaya Capital last year. In June it took a $17 million strategic investment from Juniper and Citrix Systems. Cotendo is an Akamai competitor. Its content delivery network uses a network of distributed servers around the world to put content physically close to consumers, and it specializes in speeding up delivery to mobile phones and tablets, which is a lot like the business that Akamai is known for. The thing about Cotendo is that it has a reputation for being both faster at some things than Akamai, and also cheaper. Akamai has been known to buy competitors. In 2005 it took out Speedera Networks for $130 million after a contentious patent lawsuit between them.

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Viral Survey Says: No Thanks to Facebook Phone

November 28, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

In a post last week about what could be in a Facebook smartphone — one in a series about the mobile efforts at the social networking giant — AllThingsD.com asked readers if they wanted one or not (we also offered a maybe option, as you can see below). And, after garnering almost 1,500 responses so far, most people had no interest in such a device from Facebook, with almost 81 percent giving it the nix. Slightly less than eight percent wanted one, with 12 percent saying that they would possibly consider it. Apparently, Google Android and Apple iPhone have little to be worried about for now. View This Poll Related Posts on the Facebook Phone: It’s Finally Real and Its Name Is Buffy Forking Android Offers Both Promise and Pitfalls The “Slayer” That Wasn’t If It Comes, Will It Already Be Too Late? The Facebook Phone: Why Would You Want One? Full Facebook Phone Coverage

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