Archive for November, 2012

Court rejects ‘Muslims’ takedown request

November 30, 2012  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film News: Judge cites copyright issues in denying thesp's injunction effort

Read More

Cinemagram Raises $8.5M Led by Menlo Ventures

November 30, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Have you heard that VCs are taking more of a wait-and-see approach to investing in fast-growing mobile apps so they don’t find themselves plunging into a Draw Something or a Viddy just in time for the downslope? Well, not all of them. Cinemagram , a mobile social network for short, hybrid photo-videos, has received $8.5 million led by Menlo Ventures and including Atlas Venture, Khosla Ventures and Real Ventures. The round closed last week. Cinemagram saw extreme growth over the past couple of months , adding 100,000 or more new users per day. That curve has flattened a bit, admitted co-founder Temo Chalasani — the daily numbers of sign-ups are in the tens of thousands now. “It’s reasonable and healthy, as opposed to before, where it was an incredible spike,” Chalasani said of the app’s growth. Further, many of those users are sticking around for long periods of time. The average daily visitor watches at least 50 “cines” per day, Chalasani said. So why is Cinemagram different from and better than other shooting-star mobile apps? Chalasani believes that Cinemagram’s two-second cines are an ideal format for mobile. The default Cinemagram format is for the tiny clip to play over and over again automatically. It’s not so novel if you’ve ever seen an animated GIF. Unlike full-length videos, which can be tedious to create and watch from phones, two seconds is not much of an investment. Chalasani said these short clips should appeal to publishers and content creators, who can target mobile audiences with promos for their full-length material. A lot can be communicated in just two seconds, he noted. For instance, some Cinemagram users have taken to filming touchdowns when they’re watching football, and then posting them. Another Cinemagram user has recorded, over the past month, his brother Jake’s progress after being hospitalized with an induced coma after falling down concrete steps.

Read More

Andrew Mason Gets an Early Present — It’s Not His Job (Although He Got That, Too)

November 30, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

A hot topic of conversation at Groupon’s board meeting yesterday was whether Andrew Mason is the right person to lead the company. While I have already spelled out a number of reasons why he might be let go, here’s one reason why he should stay: On Black Friday, Groupon said it saw almost twice the purchase rate of its previous busiest day on record. Call it an early present for Mason, who also learned yesterday that he is keeping his job as CEO — at least, for now. This year, Groupon is putting an especially heavy emphasis on holiday gifts, after launching physical goods on the site more than a year ago. While coupons for restaurants and spas also sell well this time of year, physical gifts are more traditionally considered presents. Yesterday, Groupon said its physical products division, Groupon Goods, celebrated its biggest four-day weekend since the program’s inception. Put another way, over the seven days after Thanksgiving in North America, Groupon generated double the gross billings from last year, with essentially all of the growth attributable to Groupon Goods, according to Yipit , a third-party data provider. Top sellers included customizable photo books, iPhone cases, Topaz earrings and flying toy helicopters, which sold 43,000, 40,000, 42,000 and 11,000 units, respectively. While an increase in sales is always a good thing, Groupon has received some static about its entrance into selling physical goods, which have thinner margins than local deals. It also means entering an extremely competitive landscape with well-established players, like Walmart and Amazon, although clearly it has demonstrated it can sell thousands of items fairly easily. At least two promotions helped Groupon see a huge spike in the sale of Goods over the weekend.

Read More

‘Jimmy Kimmel’ records strong November sweep

November 30, 2012  |  Variety  |  No Comments

TV News: ABC talkshow looking good heading into timeslot shift

Read More

FCC Takes Up Low Power Radio to Add Diversity to Airwaves

November 30, 2012  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Coincidences in Washington? Try this. Just when the Federal Communications Commission is circulating a draft order to loosen media ownership rules, it voted today to take final steps to create lower-power FM radio, a new class of non-commercial radio stations aimed at increasing diversity on the radio airwaves. While the two FCC actions may seem unrelated, they are connected by a long-standing debate in Washington about whether there is adequate ownership diversity among the nation's airwaves. Recent data from the FCC shows it is lacking, with people of color owning just 3.6 percent of full-power TV stations and 8 percent of radio stations. On the one hand, lower-power radio promises to increase diversity on the airwaves by allowing communities and organizations to operate as many as 6,000 low-power, non-commercial radio stations

Read More

Katzenberg assesses future of D’Works Animation

November 30, 2012  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Business News: DreamWorks' new distrib relationship with Fox means more movies

Read More

The Future of Disqus Aims at Better Discovery (Trolls Not Welcome)

November 30, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Disqus is already everywhere you’ve been on the Web. It’s the most widely utilized commenting platform on the Internet, spread across two million Web sites both small and large (including, may I add, AllThingsD ). Thing is, Disqus gets little time in the spotlight . It’s the space on the Web page where you respond to content, the little blank box at the bottom of an article where users can weigh in. Disqus may already be ubiquitous, but it’s a secondary thought at best, not a destination. At least, not yet. The company recently had a “hack week,” piecing together features that could end up in the final Disqus product. The result: Taking the strengths of Disqus’s existing massive network of active comment discussions across the Web and filtering them, surfacing the most popular material for users to browse. In essence, Disqus wants to build something greater than the sum of its disparate discussion parts, the “destination” experience that the company is missing. Think of it as an amalgam of features popular on other social sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon and even Pinterest. In Disqus’ early hacked sketches, CEO Daniel Ha and company built a conceptual main homepage where the most active discussions across the network — or “trending” discussions, in familiar social network parlance — will show up

Read More

iPhone 5, iPad Mini Headed to China in December

November 30, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

With the required regulatory approvals in hand , Apple has moved quickly to bring the iPhone 5 to China. On Friday morning, the company set a date to bring the latest iteration of the iPhone to the worlds most populous country: Dec. 14 . The iPhone 5’s Chinese debut will be preceded by the launch of the Wi-Fi versions of the iPad mini and the fourth-generation iPad, which will go on sale in the country on Dec. 7. The launch of all three devices, particularly the iPhone 5, can’t come soon enough for Apple. China is increasingly one of the company’s most important markets, offering a growth opportunity that’s pretty much unsurpassed. But while the iPhone has historically sold quite well in China, it has yet to crack the country’s Top 5 smartphones. In China, the iPhone has claimed about 7.5 percent of the smartphone market, compared to rival Samsung, which has captured more than 20 percent, according to IHS iSuppli .

Read More

Twitter, Facebook and Those Ugly IBM Statistics

November 30, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Last week, IBM looked at the effect of social networks at online retailers on Black Friday and found … nothing. Or next to nothing: IBM said social sites generated a mere .34 percent of all online sales. Referral traffic to retailers from social sites was also just about zero: IBM said Facebook only accounted for .68 percent of visits to retail sites, while Twitter had a giant goose egg. Can’t be, right? Those are huge platforms. Surely IBM got its numbers wrong, via some sort of technical or statistical oversight. If so, you’d think that Facebook or Twitter might want to publicly dispute those stats, since they poke a hole in their “buy our ads, use our services, and sell more stuff” pitch. But so far neither company has said anything in public about IBM’s Black Friday numbers. Just to be sure, I checked with PR reps for both companies this week: Nada. Instead of debating the numbers themselves, people who are sympathetic to Twitter and Facebook are making a different point: IBM is measuring the wrong thing . Here’s the latest version of that argument , via social media analytics start-up DataSift , which says that the IBM study is “wrong,” because Twitter and Facebook “rocked Black Friday.” But DataSift’s post doesn’t actually argue with IBM’s numbers. It just presents other numbers that show lots of people talking about stores and shopping . It really is hard to believe that all that chatter didn’t result in more people clicking through to the stores themselves. So, perhaps future studies will figure out a more refined way of tracking that traffic, and Facebook and Twitter will have more favorable statistics to work with. Meantime, the IBM numbers are an ugly bit of coal both companies would like to ignore.

Read More

Ringwald developing drama at Lifetime

November 30, 2012  |  Variety  |  No Comments

TV News: Actress will also star as adult looking back at her past

Read More