Good morning, it’s Monday, December 15, 2008, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
The FCC cancelled its vote originally scheduled for this week to consider a plan to auction off a portion of public airwaves to power a free nationwide wireless internet service. Lawmakers Jay Rockefeller (expected to lead the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee) and Henry Waxman (incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee) wrote personally to chairman Kevin Martin asking him to postpone the meeting in order to focus on the upcoming digital transition instead. The controversial plan, which would have included provisions outlawing adult-themed content, met a broad range of opposition from ISPs, content producers and consumer groups.
The gaming industry is emerging as a bright corner of the troubled economy as U.S. sales of videogames grew 10% to $2.91 billion in November, according to market research firm NPD Group. Sales of videogame consoles were also up 10%, to $1.21 billion led by the Nintendo which sold more than 2 million Wiis and 1.57 million DS hand-held consoles. Microsoft came in second, with 836,000 Xbox 360 consoles sold. Sony continued to struggle in November, selling only 378,000 PlayStation 3s, 206,000 PS2s and 421,000 of PSP handhelds.
Whoopi Goldberg, once a regular on Star Trek: The Next Generation, is set to executive produce and star in the sci-fi miniseries “Stream” for FEARnet.com, per Variety. The series will air in six 5-minute weekly installments both online and via on demand beginning Jan. 15.
YouTube introduced a Abuse and Safety resource guide offering tips and advice on how parents can help their kids navigate some of the land mines of the web including cyberbulling, privacy, spam, and sexual exploitation. The guide identifies which videos should be flagged as inappropriate and suggests who to call if you’re concerned someone is at risk of suicide. On a cheerier note YouTube also returned this year with a selection of funny holiday e-Cards.
Tech-centric online ad network NetShelter Technology Media closed on an $11.1 million Series A round of financing from Rho Canada, GrowthWorks Canadian Fund and JLA Ventures. NetShelter reached 15.25 million unique users in October to lead comScore’s technology and news category, edging out CNET for the first time.
Mobile cost-per-impression rates are falling as games and iPhone apps begin to command a larger share of mobile ad inventory, finds AdAge. Average CPMs in the mobile space are currently hovering around $15, compared to $20-$25 earlier this year.
Liberty Media announced a plan to spin off a majority of its Liberty Entertainment assets to create a separate publicly traded entity. The new company would include about 52% of the DirecTV Group, 50% of GSN, 100% of FUN Technologies and 100% of Liberty Sports Holdings, LLC, which includes three regional sports networks. The LMDI tracking stock will primarily consist of 100% of Starz Entertainment, 37% of WildBlue Communications, Inc. and an undetermined amount of cash.
Comcast announced it is rolling out it’s DOCSIS 3.0-powered “wideband” service in Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore and Ft. Wayne, Indiana in the coming weeks. The service, capable of hitting 50Mbps down and 5Mbps upstream, is now available to about 10 million homes and businesses including areas of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Oregon, Washington and New England.
The holidays are the season of top 10 lists and Nielsen has obliged us with a broad selection of top releases in multiple media formats. On the digital front NBC’s Heroes ranked as the top Timeshifted TV program, gaining 35% more viewers in live+7 viewing. Google was the top visited website, the San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose DMA ranked as top market for content downloading and “Low” from Fio Rida (featuring T-Pain) was the #1 most “digitally downloaded” song. The most popular PC game in terms of minutes played per week was Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft, whose users averaged 671 minutes/week playing the game. (That’s over 11 hours per week …)
Top 10 “Timeshifted” Primetime TV Programs
Rank Program Network % Increase in Viewership
1 HEROES NBC 35%
2 FRINGE FOX 26%
3 LOST ABC 25%
4 BONES FOX 21%
5 GREY’S ANATOMY ABC 20%
6 HOUSE FOX 18%
7 SURVIVOR: GABON CBS 18%
8 AMERICAN IDOL-Tues FOX 13%
9 THE MENTALIST CBS 13%
10 AMERICAN IDOL-Wed. FOX 12%
Source: The Nielsen Company
Data from Jan 01, 2008- Nov 23, 2008. Percent Increase in viewership is based on absolute difference between Live Household Ratings and Live+7
Top 10 Websites in the U.S
Rank Brand Ave. Monthly Unique Audience (000)
1 Google 120,498
2 Yahoo! 114,872
3 MSN/Windows Live 98,414
4 Microsoft 95,479
5 AOL Media Network 90,193
6 YouTube 72,623
7 Fox Interactive Media 68,780
8 eBay 54,680
9 Wikipedia 54,505
10 Apple 49,303
Source: The Nielsen Company
Note: Data from January – October 2008
Top 10 Most Digitally Downloaded Songs
Rank Song Artist
1 Low Flo Rida Featuring T-Pain
2 Bleeding Love Leona Lewis
3 Lollipop Lil Wayne Featuring Static Major
4 I Kissed a Girl Katy Perry
5 Viva La Vida Coldplay
6 Love Song Sara Bareilles
7 Apologize Timbaland Featuring OneRepublic
8 No Air Jordin Sparks Duet With Chris Brown
9 Disturbia Rihanna
10 4 Minutes Madonna Featuring Justin Timberlake
Source: Billboard Hot Digital Songs / The Nielsen Company
Note: Data from Billboard issue dates Dec 1, 2007 issue through November 29, 2008
(sales data from Nov. 12, 2007 through November 16, 2008).
Top 10 PC Game Titles in the U.S.
Rank Game Title Publisher AU% Ave. Minutes Played/Week
1 World of Warcraft Blizzard Entertainment .723 671
2 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Activision .163 403
3 Halo: Combat Evolved Microsoft Game Studios .092 295
4 Sims, The Electronic Arts Inc. 0.09 213
5 Sims 2, The Electronic Arts Inc. 0.086 291
6 RuneScape Jagex Ltd. 0.084 451
7 Diablo II Blizzard Entertainment 0.065 313
8 Team Fortress 2 Valve 0.063 371
9 Counter-Strike Sierra Studios 0.062 282
10 CS: Source Valve Sierra Studios 0.061 426
Source: The Nielsen Company
Note: Data from Jan – Oct 2008. AU% = % of PC Gamers playing title in the average minute
Apple upgraded the look of the App Store in iTunes, making it considerably easier to navigate. New sidebars highlight the top 20 paid and free apps separately, showcasing a wider variety of apps.
The ultra-compact, ultra cheap Acer 3G Netbook went on sale at Radio Shacks across the country on Friday. The Acer Aspire one netbook is priced at $99.99 for customers who sign up for a qualifying two-year AT&T DataConnect mobile broadband service agreement with plans starting at $60/month. The 9.8″ x 6.7″ laptop runs Windows XP and comes standard with a webcam, 1GB RAM, a 160 GB hard drive and built in Wi-Fi capabilities.
Microsoft’s Live Labs division released its first app for the iPhone/iPod Touch – a mobile version of its elegant photo display software called Seadragon. The technology, also used for Microsoft’s Photosynth suite, is built to zoom in and out of photos found on the net regardless of bandwidth constraints or image size.
Los Angeles-based web stido maniaTV added two C-Level executives and four director level positions to its staff:
- Daniel Paul joins as VP/Business Development. Daniel was formerly VP/Content Acquisition and Strategy at Joost and served as VP of New Media for Turner Broadcasting’s Home Entertainment Group
- Michael Klein was hired as VP of Sales. Michael, who formerly served as head of sales at National Lampoon, will oversee maniaTV sales offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the West Coast
- Stephen Przybylowski, formerly a manager at G4, joins as Director of Content Operations
- Andrea Chu, a former development director at Paramount Studios, will serve as Director of Content Distribution
- Former web development manager at Disney and Disney Mobile Ron Lucero signed on as Director of Software and Website Development
Minneapolis-based multiplatform entertainment network Reelz Channel, a subsidiary of Hubbard Broadcasting, has cancelled its flagship original show Dailies and laid off more than 40 employees in its Los Angeles studio.
Publicis’ interactive ad agency Digitas Inc. is laying off about 70 people or 2% of its staff in the U.S.
Evernote is an extremely handy multimedia note-taking application that allows you to capture text, photos and voice notes and catalog them for seamless sharing and easy access. The company was quick to produce an iPhone app that works flawlessly; it’s perfect for taking a picture of a map or making a quick note about something that you don’t want to forget. The problem with it is that the iPhone camera is limited. Now Evernote has partnered with SD memory card maker Eye-Fi to enable users to send photos over Wi-Fi directly into their Evernote accounts. Now you can simply snap a photo with a more robust digital camera then transmit it wirelessly into the Evernote interface.
Later — Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital
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