Posts Tagged ‘people’

Al Jazeera America Will Have 6 Minutes of Ads Per Hour

August 15, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

One of the most surprising revelations in a call today with interim Al Jazeera CEO Ehab El Shihabi and president of newsgathering Kate O'Brian was that, unlike its more ad-heavy competitors, Al Jazeera America will have only six minutes per hour of commercials when it launches on Tuesday at 3 p.m. El Shihabi described the limited advertising as "one of our key competitive advantages," emphasizing the company's commitment to serious news over punditry and movie stars at O'Charley's. "There will be less opinion, less yelling, and fewer celebrity sightings," said El Shihabi. "We are not infotainment." The exec asserted forcefully that the programming would satisfy a huge, untapped audience. "We know that there is a desire for the kind of journalism we will have on Al Jazeera America," he said. "Americans want to have more in-depth coverage and less opinion; that is what we will have, and that is how Al Jazeera operates." When pressed, El Shihabi said that the network was "very interested in understanding the market, and how this market matched with the demand for our core identity,” he told TVNewser's Alex Weprin, citing research that said "55 million households that are considered under-served.” "We will have more than 14 hours of live news reported day and night, and we really mean that," said O'Brian. The network will provide around-the-clock coverage of events through its 12 U.S. bureaus, in addition to world news and material from stringers elsewhere in the country. Still, the network is fighting a perception problem. "We have definitely done testing," said El Shihabi. "The questions were 'What do you think about Al Jazeera?' and 'Do you watch Al Jazeera?' Seventy-five percent of the people who did not watch Al Jazeera came from the negative side, and 90 percent of the people who watched Al Jazeera came from the positive side." Both El Shihabi and O'Brian said they believe the programming will silence detractors. "I think people come with their own perceptions," said O'Brian. "Once they watch what we're doing, they'll see very quickly that we are not one news of any sort from one place all the time."

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A la Carte Is the Worst Idea Anyone Has Ever Had

August 14, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

During earnings calls among the major networks last week, there was a consistent refrain: a la carte may be in the news, but it's not on the horizon. Most CEOs simply took questions about a la carte the same way they take all dumb questions: as invitations to discuss their networks' innate superiority to the competition. "We doubt that it will happen, but if it happens, it probably helps us," said Jeff Bewkes to an analyst who essentially admitted in his question that a la carte was an unlikely proposition. Ken Lowe was perhaps the least equivocal on the Scripps Networks Interactive earnings call this past Thursday: "It's a very remote possibility at this point," Lowe said gently in response to an analyst. "It's not something I think is anywhere near in the future even though it's a little bit in the news these days. Really, it gives me a chance to underscore the value of the video package." Indeed. So why are we talking about it at all? Well, Time Warner Cable's Glenn Britt proposed selling cable channels a la carte to CBS head Les Moonves a week ago (a proposal that Moonves laughed off). "if you are unwilling to agree to this proposal," wrote Britt, "we would also be willing to resume carriage by allowing CBS to make its stations available on an a la carte basis at a price and on terms of its choosing, with 100% of that price remitted to CBS." Let's be clear: nobody, least of all Glenn Britt, thinks this is a good idea. Except maybe people in Congress, and that's why Glenn Britt probably shouldn't be pretending he takes the notion seriously.

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As It Tries to Revamp the Mobile Addressbook, Brewster Sees Staff Turnover

August 8, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Brewster , a small startup that makes a year-old iPhone contacts app , lost a significant portion of its staff this year, as Business Insider first reported today . “I have nothing but more confidence in what we’re going after. It’s just really hard,” said Brewster founder Steve Greenwood today, noting that “most of the people who were with us before are no longer with us today.” Commented investor Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, “Sometimes change is for the best.”

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Apple’s Next iPad Mini Will Likely Have "Retina" Display From Samsung

August 1, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

TAIPEI — Apple Inc.’s suppliers are gearing up for mass production of a new iPad mini in the fourth quarter that will likely feature a high-resolution screen from Samsung, people familiar with the matter say, an indication of the difficulty the U.S. company faces in its attempt to reduce its dependence on its biggest rival. Apple is working with suppliers in Asia on its next iPad mini with a high-resolution “retina” display, unlike the current iPad mini that comes with a lower-resolution screen, the people said. The size of the new tablet will likely be the same as the current 7.9-inch model, which was released in November last year. Apple has also been contemplating multiple color back covers for the new tablet, they said. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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Twelve Things About Voxer’s Tom Katis

July 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Frustration was the impetus for Tom Katis to co-found Voxer in 2007. While he was serving in the U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan, he experienced the limitations of communication via military walkie-talkie firsthand. Now his push-to-talk app is looking to be the Nextel of the future , with free, Voxer Pro, and Voxer Pro for Business versions available on iOS and Android. He sat down recently to answer some of our questions about what interests and drives him. What qualities do you like in a person? The qualities I find appealing are simple: Courage, intellect, enthusiasm. Name one thing you will regret never having done (if you never do it) Having kids. I love my life, but I feel like I’m missing out on something if I never have kids. Name one thing you will never regret having done Challenging myself. Attempting something hard

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Tech Companies Want Warrants for User Data Access

July 15, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and more than 50 other tech companies and industry organizations have come out in favor of a bill that would require government agencies to obtain a warrant to ask for access to electronic communications records or personal content stored in the cloud. Image copyright Nataly Bannykh They’ve responded to the Securities and Exchange Commission request for an exception to the proposed law because it doesn’t have the authority to ask for warrants. The companies said in a letter distributed in the U.S. Senate on Friday that they’d prefer that government agencies go directly to the people and companies they are investigating rather than to Internet service providers. As is already required for real-time electronic wiretapping, they’d like to see probable cause before government agencies can pull older online records.

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Nickelodeon’s Jim Perry on His Network and the State of the Market

July 15, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

After a particularly painful ratings drop-off, Nickelodeon is turning things around. The cable network has always controlled the lion's share of the GRPs in the kids' TV market (more than 70 percent of all kids' TV budgets, in fact), and it's returning to business as usual with what sources say is about a 5 percent uptick in CPM rates for the current upfront. That's in keeping with most of cable, though broadcast this year has turned out to be flat to down as networks scramble to cover their losses after a year of terrible ratings across the board. Nick's Jim Perry is particularly bullish on video games—no surprise in a year when both Sony and Microsoft are debuting new consoles. Perry also thinks CPG "bottomed out a year ago as all the people in the kids' space either reformulated (to meet new in-house standards at Disney) or moved skews away from kids and toward moms." Nick's own partnership with Bird's Eye , a frozen-foods maker that focuses on health, is indicative of the industry-wide change; the switch-up has diminished the presence of some food manufacturers (particularly those who rely on sugary snacks or cereals). Perry says at Nick, most of them have supplemented the shortfall with foods advertised more directly to moms—which is really the only way they're supposed to be advertised in the first place—but not everyone in the market has had that experience. That network and its competitors continue to push live viewing with event programming—Nick's Kids Choice Awards have attracted a lot of attention from Tide, in particular; and its Worldwide Day of Play has buys from the Burlington Coat Factory, among others. Perry also says the toy category is on its way up again—much of that is to do with the preponderance of licensed toys hitting the shelves during a year with half a dozen superhero movies drawing kids to the theaters and manufacturers like Lego buying licenses from big-ticket entertainment properties including some of Nick's own (the Ninja Turtles, Spongebob, etc.). Toys are perpetually in crisis, these days: kids prefer video games, and new gadgets like the ever-increasing kids' tablet category are plenty interesting to both tykes and parents looking to keep kids quiet, rather than active.

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Nearly 11 Million Viewers Turn to Cable for Zimmerman Verdict

July 15, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Approximately 10.6 million viewers on Saturday night turned to the cable news networks as a Florida jury returned a “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman trial . According to Nielsen, Fox News Channel on July 13 drew the biggest crowd in the 10-11 p.m. time slot, averaging 3.68 million viewers, edging CNN by a margin of 275,000. (CNN handily won the dollar demo, averaging 1.72 million adults 25-54 to FNC’s 1.11 million.) CNN sibling HLN averaged 2.2 million viewers and 980,000 adults 25-54, while MSNBC drew 1.3 million viewers and 510,000 members of the news demo. The deliveries marked a radical improvement over the sort of ratings the news nets pull on a typical Saturday night. Per Nielsen, FNC averaged 2.7 million viewers between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m

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Hulu’s New Plan: Compete with Netflix and Amazon. How is Hulu Going to Pay for That?

July 12, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

So they’re not selling . But what are Hulu’s owners going to do with the video service now? The immediate response to that question, via people who provide answers on behalf of Hulu’s owners, and translated a bit for public consumption: They are going to invest in Hulu’s potential as a “subscription video on demand” service. That is, they see real value in building up its Hulu Plus paid offering. Which is competing for eyeballs, time and consumer dollars with Netflix and Amazon. That makes sense. Yes, Hulu, which generated $690 million last year, can also be valuable as a free Web site that provides some “catch up” content from its three TV network owners (Disney/ABC, Comcast/NBC, 21stCenturyFox/Fox). It can also function as a hub for not-exactly free content for “authenticated” pay TV customers (see the Dish/Fox/Hulu deal from 2011 ). But Hulu Plus has turned out to be surprisingly popular, with more than 4 million people paying $8 a month for a subscription, even though the stuff they pay to see still has ads (Netflix and Amazon’s stuff is ad-free). While that places the service way behind Netflix and its 30 million U.S. subscribers, Hulu may well be ahead of Amazon when it comes to video eyeballs . Hulu’s managers have been campaigning for years to get more cash from their owners, so the money-losing service could compete even more effectively. They want to spend more on other people’s content, and make more of their own. One problem with that theory, though: If Hulu is going to compete with Netflix and Amazon, it may need a lot more money than it has, even though its owners have committed to giving it $750 million in fresh cash. I’m assuming that the contribution isn’t going to be an annual thing, but am trying to get Hulu’s owners to confirm that one way or another. But even if Hulu’s owners kicked in $750 million every year, and Hulu put all of that to work buying new stuff for the site, it could find itself outgunned.

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Lyft Sells Zimride Carpool Service to Rental-Car Giant Enterprise

July 12, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Enterprise Holdings has acquired Zimride , the peer-to-peer ride-matching service used on college campuses, at business offices, and for long-distance travel. Zimride was the first product of the company now known as Lyft, which has seen more growth and interest in its local ride-sharing service, where people can hail nonprofessional drivers via smartphone app. Enterprise, which owns Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car, will continue to operate Zimride. The main motivation for the sale was to allow Lyft to focus on just one product, said co-founder John Zimmer today. Some 90 percent of Lyft’s 80-person staff was already dedicated to Lyft, not Zimride. The pink-mustachioed Lyft hail-a-ride business is only a year old, while Zimride has been out for more than five years.

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