Good morning, it’s Monday, July 14, 2008, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
After making all that fuss about bringing an offer, Yahoo spurned another proposal from Microsoft on Saturday, this one brought jointly with Carl Icahn as a 24 hour take-it-or-leave-it ploy. The deal called for a complex restructuring of the company that would have given Microsoft control of Yahoo’s search business and what was left to Icahn and his dissident slate of replacement board members. So in other words, they were asking Roy Bostock and Jerry Yang to sell off its most valuable asset then fire themselves. And Microsoft sent a man they view as a shameless corporate raider as the messenger. In its rejection letter Yahoo dismissed the proposal as “erratic and unpredictable” and questioned Mr. Icahn and his alternative board members’ ability to run the technology firm in the wake of such a fire sale.
The UK’s Guardian News & Media acquired online tech publisher ContentNext for a reported 15 million pounds ($30 million), operator of paidcontent.org, moconews.net paidcontent:UK and contentsutra.com. Guardian executives described the purchase as part of its strategy to build out its international presence in an interview posted on paidcontent.org. They also promised to keep the ContentNext sites independent from its existing properties.
VH1 will pay tribute to The Who on Tuesday streaming sneak peek performances by Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, The Flaming Lips, Incubus and Jack Black’s Tenacious D taped on Saturday at UCLA, two days before the performances air in a tribute show on July 17. Rainn Wilson will host the coverage on Rock.VH1.com, featuring an exclusive jam session with The Who. (The site already has a nice career retrospective up about the band.) Additionally VH1 has launched a new Facebook app called VH1 Framed You, allowing users to insert their own images in photos and videos of rock stars. It’s sort of digital version of those cut outs you see at beach.
Chelmsford, MA-based online music discovery service OurStage unveiled a new matchmaking tool to help musicians find and apply for gigs. The OurStage Marketplace will work in conjunction with promoter Live Nation using the site’s user-based “Mojo” rating system to help national bands scout up-and-coming local acts to open their shows. The system will serve venues in New England, Denver and the San Francisco Bay Area to begin with.
The big 21-country international release of the iPhone 3G didn’t go as smoothly as Mr. Jobs would have liked. AT&T’s insistence on trying to activate the phones in store taxed Apple’s authentication server and caused lines to move at a snail’s pace or sent buyers home with a phone only good for making emergency calls. (During last year’s iPhone 1.0 launch Apple had everyone activate their own phone at home through iTunes.) Worse yet, AT&T outlets were allowed to sell far fewer phones that Apple Stores, forcing them to turn away customers who waited hours to get their hands on one. To add insult to injury, Apple’s MobileMe data conversion service had all kinds of problems, screwing up users’ contacts, email and calendars or denying users access to their accounts.
All good things come to those who wait. On the eve of the E3 conference Microsoft announced it was slicing the price of its latest Xbox 360 game console by $50 to $349 with a 60 GB hard drive. Meanwhile, the 20GB version was cut to $299 while supplies last. It was almost exactly a year ago when Sony dropped the price of the PS3 by $100 to $499.
Gaming confab E3 returns to the LA Convention Center beginning today after it consciously contracted last year by a factor of 10 by limiting attendance to gaming industry professionals only. But with several big companies including Activision Blizzard leaving its organizing body The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) in the past few months, the industry is expecting less overall attendees this time than in past years (peaking at about 70,000 in 2005.) Look for major announcements this week from companies including Sony (preparing to launch a cooperative game platform and virtual world meeting place) and EA (gearing up for the release of Spore, the life simulation game from Will-The Sims-Wright.)
Now that the iPhone 3G is in the hands of an estimated 1 million users in the U.S., the war begins to see which social networking app will win the day and become the favorite for the platform. The device’s portability, ease of use and GPS capabilities position the iPhone to become a platform for linking communities together in ways that a PC cannot. Previously mentioned Loopt may have a leg up on the competition out of the gate. Besides showing where fellow users are on a map, the location-based social networking application is enlisting content from local recommendation site Yelp such as bar and restaurant reviews (great idea.) A new feature called Loopt Link builds in integrations with web-based social networks, allowing users to share information with other social networks. Rather than trying to replace Facebook, Loopt is working to be the mobile touch point connecting users from existing communities. As long as the site’s security tools prove to be effective (allowing users to toggle off location sharing at will,) Loopt may really be onto something.
Later — Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital
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JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, PUBLICITY/NBC UNI/New York, NY: Resp. for generating max positive press for Sci Fi programming, develop PR strategy & campaign plans. 7 years publicity experience. www.nbcjobs.com keyword #813464 (7/19)
JOB OPENING: MKTG MGR/Showtime/NY: Mng program promotion, approval, co-branding of SNI mktg tactics. Track/analyze results of key acct mktg initiatives. Org’d, multitask, exc comm. Apply: www.sho.com/site/about/careers.do Job #187BR (7/19)
JOB OPENING: SR ASSOC/PBS/Crystal City/Arlington, VA: Work with the Ecommerce Product Data Mngmnt team in mngng the product life cycle within the PBS Product Database. Job description & to apply: please visit www.pbs.org/jobs (7/19)
JOB OPENING: Director/On Air Promotion/FOOD NETWK/NY: 7yrs broadcast or cable netwk. Manage teams on tune-in & brand campaigns, writing, producing w/internal depts. on messaging & content. To apply: www.scrippsnetwork.com (7/19)
JOB OPENING: SR RESEARCH ANALYST/Turner/ATL: Corp level pos. working w/all Turner Props. Ent/Kids/News/Sports. Present findings to Execs/TW Corp. Solid media math skills/3-5 yrs.Apply: [email protected] (7/19)
JOB OPENING: NAT. AD SALES ACCT MGR/NYC: Develop new & grow existing business for satellite radio selling multiple formats @client & agency levels, prior exp in national media sales needed – apply @ www.siriusradio.com/careers (7/19)
JOB OPENING: PER INQUIRY MEDIA BUYER/Chicago: Advertising agency is seeking experienced TV PI buyer, ideally locally based. Require at least 2 yrs experience with pertinent data base skills. Send resume to: [email protected] (7/19)
JOB OPENING: INTERACTIVE PRODUCER, PROJ. MGR/ NEW MEDIA/NBC Universal/NY: Dvlp & lead iTV events, gaming, wireless initiatives. Seeking motivated, creative superstar w/ passion for 1st to mkt innovation. Apply: www.nbcjobs.com #832071 (7/19)
JOB OPENING: SR FINANCE ANALYST/ IFC Entertainment/NYC: Budget, forecasting, analysis and planning. 5+ yrs finance exp in cable/TV/ent pref’d. BS/BA req’d. Apply to req ID 6590BR at www.cablevision.jobs (7/19)
JOB OPENING: MGR SALES SRVCS/Fuse/NY: Resp for managing Nat’l inventory for Sales. Oversee Stewardship process. Create Sales selling schedules, Inv reporting and analysis. Gabriel, a plus. Rez to: [email protected] “MSS” in sub (7/18)
JOB OPENING: RESEARCH MGR/NYC/GSN, the Network for Games: Resp incl. recurring & ad hoc TV & online reports for ad sales. 5 yrs research exp in cable TV. BA/BS. Resume/Cover: [email protected] (7/18)
JOB OPENING: MEDIA BUSINESS ANALYSTS/(2)/ NYC: Exp. w/Digital Asset Mgmt. systems required. Process modeling exp. required. Use case exp. a plus. Apply to: [email protected] (7/18)
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JOB OPENING: ASST TO PRESIDENT/THE HOTEL NETWORKS NY: Key position w/ growing co. Strong verbal/written comm & PC skills. Word, Excel, PPT. Detailed & orgnzd, self starter, multi tasker; Resume to: [email protected] (7/17)
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JOB OPENING: VIDEO PRODUCER (Freelance)/Lifetime Networks (LA): Produce web videos from existing and original content. 5+ yrs producing exp., including web content. Apply to: [email protected] (7/17)
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JOB OPENING: DIR PROMO MKTG/NY/AETN: Develop & execute ad sales & mktg partnership in digital media, strong project mgt needed, exp in promo mktg req’d. Apply: www.aetn.com (7/16)
JOB OPENING: VP, RESEARCH/NBC UNIVERSAL/NY: Oversee daily operations of NY sales research office. Manage team in analyses, reporting and sales presentations. 8 yrs TV research exp req. www.nbcjobs.com job# 831379 (7/16)
JOB OPENING: AD SALES RSCH MGR, NAT’L TV NTWRK: 4-5 yrs exp brdcst or cable media rsrch. Exp w/ Galaxy/NPower/Mkt Brks. Knwlg of MRIs, AdViews, Star Trak a +. Strong comm. skills & team player a must. Res: [email protected] (7/16)
JOB OPENING: MANAGER, LISTINGS EDITOR/ABC Burbank: BA/BS, 3yrs Publicity listings, traffic, strong attention to detail, Word, Excel, apply at www.disneycareers.com (req 169058) (7/15)
JOB OPENING: SR RESEARCH ANALYST/Scripps/Knox TN/in support of interactive 4 all Scripps sites. to apply: Direct Link or www.scrippsnetworks.com (7/15)
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