Good morning, it’s Monday, June 27, 2011, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis edition online, click here.
Google admitted that it has received formal notification from the FTC that it has become the target of a major antitrust investigation, but pleaded ignorance about the commission’s concerns. Google Fellow and head of the search ranking team Amit Singhal claimed in a blog post that Google’s search and advertising practices follow what’s best for the user and that searchers have their choice of online search services. Meanwhile, advocacy group Consumer Watchdog called on the Obama Administration to distance itself from the company – no more parties or State Dinners – while the probe is underway.
Amazon has added a slew of additional programming and more connected devices to its Prime Instant Video program, bringing the total number of devices supported to 300 and available movies and shows to over 6,000 titles. (The subscription service is offered up as a free perk for members of the $79/yr. Amazon Prime program, who receive free two-day shipping on most items purchased from the online retailer.) Rumor has it that Amazon is working on its own color tablet to complement the service later this year.
Netflix has introduced video-quality streaming options in the U.S. to help users who connect to the service through an IP that imposes caps for excessive usage, writes DSL Reports. (AT&T introduced 150 GB bandwidth caps in March for instance, charging an extra $10 for each additional 50 GB of usage.) Netflix first introduced streaming quality options for the Canadian market in March.
HBO has surpassed 3 million downloads of its 1,400 show HBO Go streaming app less than two months after its debut, per CNET. (MSO’s such as Comcast are beginning to promote digital HBO services to its customers more aggressively – a customer service rep reminded yours truly of the offering during a call just yesterday.)
Mobile location-based start-up Foursquare has raised an additional $50 million in financing led by Andreessen Horowitz with O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital participating. The start-up will use to funding to hire additional engineers in New York and San Francisco, who will work to build out new services and expand internationally. Foursquare’s mobile check-in app has attracted over 10 million users to date on multiple platforms.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) introduced a bill with bipartisan support that would legalize online poker sites in the U.S. The proposed legislation would create an interstate licensing program for internet poker sites (that pay out real money for winning hands) and would allow individual states to opt out. The bill will head next to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Electronic Arts website fell victim to hackers last week as users’ birthdates, phone numbers and mailing addresses were swiped. The hacked website was associated with the fantasy game “Neverwinter Nights.”
Hulu could be valued at more than $2 billion if the company, like Netflix, were to trade at 50 times earnings, according to Bloomberg/SNL Kagan analysis. The company is expected to turn a profit of about $45 million this year.
Internet domain-name registration company GoDaddy is close to being purchased by private equity firms KKR and Silver Lake, according to reports. Technology Crossover Ventures is also a minority investor in the proposed deal.
Viewers who stream movies and TV shows on Netflix are even more likely than before to downgrade or cut their cable subscriptions, according to a new report from Frisco, TX-based The Diffusion Group (TDG). The percentage of Netflix Streamers to varying degrees likely to downgrade their PayTV service increased from 16% in 2010 to 32% in 2011, with the “need to save money” as the primary reason for the move for lighter users. Among moderate and heavy users likely to downgrade, however, 61% cite growing use of online video as the primary reason for likely downgrade (two-thirds of which cite Netflix use in particular). Only 24% of moderate and heavy Netflix Streamers cite economic concerns as their primary motivation to downgrade.
As Nielsen continues to tweak its Extended Screen measurement system, ComScore has introduced a new reporting system that measures digital traffic on multiple devices including computers, mobile phones, tablets, music players, e-readers, gaming devices and other web-enabled devices. The “Device Essentials” numbers will measure categories such as share of smartphone usage by OS, carrier share of smartphone traffic and traffic to site content categories by carrier and are based on comScore’s global Unified Digital Measurement (UDM) data, which utilizes census-level info from tagged web page content.
For instance, the iPad and iPhone demonstrated considerable dominance across many countries in the following breakdown. The iPad contributed more than 89% of tablet traffic across all markets in May, according to ComScore and was responsible for over a third of all non-computer traffic in Canada – nearly equal to the traffic generated by the iPhone, the leading smartphone in Canada in terms of traffic by more than a 3-1 margin.
Share of Non-Computer Device Traffic for Selected Countries – May 2011
Multi-Country Report for Selected Countries
Tablets Mobile Phones Other Devices
IPad Android Other iPhone Android Other Feature iPod Other
Tablet Smartphone phone Touch__________
Canada 33.5% 0.4% 1.3% 34.6% 8.2% 3.6% 1.5% 14.9% 2.0%
Brazil 31.8% 1.6% 0.0% 21.0% 11.7% 11.3% 17.3% 4.1% 1.1%
Germany 29.4% 0.9% 0.0% 35.1% 16.2% 4.6% 2.8% 8.3% 2.5%
Spain 27.4% 0.8% 0.0% 34.2% 22.1% 7.2% 2.7% 3.6% 1.9%
France 26.9% 0.6% 0.0% 34.3% 17.1% 5.7% 5.5% 3.9% 6.0%
Singapore 26.2% 1.4% 0.1% 51.9% 10.0% 3.9% 1.5% 4.8% 0.2%
Australia 25.9% 0.5% 0.0% 50.0% 10.5% 3.8% 1.8% 7.1% 0.4%
U.S. 21.8% 0.6% 0.1% 23.5% 35.6% 6.7% 2.4% 7.8% 1.5%
U.K. 21.3% 0.3% 0.0% 29.9% 15.1% 15.0% 8.2% 8.7% 1.5%
Chile 12.9% 0.6% 0.0% 45.2% 13.9% 11.6% 9.1% 6.0% 0.7%
Argentina 12.4% 0.4% 0.0% 12.5% 23.2% 16.8% 27.5% 6.7% 0.5%
Japan 11.3% 0.0% 0.0% 49.5% 30.6% 0.2% 2.6% 4.7% 1.1%
India 4.0% 0.5% 0.0% 2.8% 6.0% 14.1% 71.9% 0.6% 0.0%
Source: comScore Device Essentials
NBC.com has launched a new iPad app offering video clips, images, schedules, information and games about NBC programming. No, the app does not provide access to full-length NBC shows.
Sean Holzman has been hired by New York-based publisher Bonnier Corp. to the newly created position of Chief Brand Development Officer, charged with the licensing of the company’s brands, editorial, video, mobile and TV products and developing new revenue streams. He joins from Source Interlink Media, where he served as President of the Enterprises Division.
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Dedicated to the business of TV Sports and written by Managing Editor Chris Pursell.
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One of the biggest challenges for TV networks is to remind viewers when their shows are on – a problem that has only intensified with the proliferation of channels and viewing options. Enter San Francisco-based online TV and video directory Yidio, which is making an effort to push beyond check-ins and real time kibitzing by introducing a new push notification Alerts program. Now you can sign up to be alerting via Facebook, Twitter or email when your favorite show is about to air on broadcast or cable or when the show is available to stream online. (You’ll also be alerted to breaking news items about the show.) Yidio has grown extremely popular on Facebook – recently surpassing 500k “likes” – and it has differentiated itself with a generous “Credits” partner program that rewards users with a virtual currency that can be turned in for Amazon streaming credits. Yidio makes money by earning a commission for driving sales to Amazon, Netflix, iTunes and Hulu Plus.
Later – Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis Digital
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