Monday, October 20th, 2008


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Cynopsis: DIGITAL


Good morning, it’s Monday, October 20, 2008, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

Online real estate start-ups are being hit hard by the double whammy of the economic downturn and the real estate crisis. Well-funded, which estimates the value of area homes based on publically available data, announced it is cutting 25% of its workforce despite counting 5.4 million unique visitors in September ­- a 42% increase in traffic over this time last year. Earlier last week Seattle-based, which facilitates buying and selling of homes without an agent, announced it was laying off 20% of its employees, despite a 50% uptick in revenues and a 300% spike in traffic. Unfortunately layoff announcements are becoming the par for the course in the tech space. Cutbacks were also reported at the newly-merged Sirius XM Satellite Radio; the hot social network Hi5 (per TechCrunch); video blog commenting platform Seesmic; and search engine start-up Search Me, which according to VentureBeat plans to cut 20% of its staff. Yahoo is expected to announce more than 1,000 job cuts when it reports its earnings this week.


CBS News announced plans to hold a live webcast anchored by Katie Couric on and that will pick up where the network’s broadcast coverage leaves off on election night. Katie and her crew will once again field questions submitted by online viewers before and during the webcast, the 11th produced by during the past month and a half.


At a time when most news organizations are cutting back drastically on international reporting staff, Global News Enterprises announced the planned launch of GlobalPost next January 12, a web-based news service that will provide daily international news coverage from its own team of 70 correspondents based in 53 different countries. Founded by media entrepreneur Philip S. Balboni and foreign correspondent Charles M. Sennott, GlobalPost will distribute rich media news content via print and online syndication platforms as well as through a premium membership model. Editors include former Newsday Middle East correspondent Matt McAllester – to be based in the UK – and former Newsweek correspondent Josh Hammer, who will oversee GlobalPost’s Berlin office.
Chinese video sharing site PPS.TV announced completion of a 3rd round of financing completed before the Beijing Games for U.S. $20 million, led by Korean LG Electronics affiliate LB Investment.
‘s Mark Zuckerberg and his lieutenants have been taking meetings with the major record labels to gage their interest in a music service for the social networking service, says The New York Post. The service, which has been in the discussion stage for months, would revolve around sharing rather than streaming or distributing licensed ad-supported tracks, a la MySpace Music. 


The iPhone is becoming increasingly indispensable for sports fans, both spectators and sporting types:

  • Thousands turned to their MLB At Bat app on Saturday night when technical difficulties shut down the TBS feed of the game 6 Red Sox/Rays ALCS matchup. (TBS resumed coverage during the second inning.) The application, one of the originals on the platform currently ranked #15, offers a real time box scores, pitch-by-pitch graphics and video highlights of each Major League game
  • Golfers have a number of iPhone apps to choose from. iPhone 18 keeps your golf score. Golfleaderboard provides live golf coverage of tournaments. GolfFlyOver finds courses in your area and provides GPS-based course maps, yardage to the pin readings and slope meters for over 12,000 U.S golf courses
  • Social gaming company SGN just launched the free app iBaseball, its latest in a series of Wii-inspired games that utilize the iPhone’s accelerometer technology. Tilt the device to put a curve on your pitch or swing the pine. IGN already has over 2 million downloads for its iGolf and iBowl games


Broadcasters filed an emergency request with the FCC on Friday urging the agency to slow down plans to open up vacant “white space” spectrum for use by wireless internet devices. The NAB has long maintained that portable devices operating on unused TV spectrum would interfere with TV reception; now it claims the FCC misinterpreted a report released last Wednesday by the commission’s Office of Engineering and Technology detailing interference test data.


In what could be seen as validation of the medium, the deep-pocketed Obama campaign purchased a series of in-game ads that will be featured in swing states embedded within 18 different games offered through the Xbox Live service including the Criterion Games’ Burnout Paradise. The ads will appear as banners or billboards encouraging players to register to vote, directing them to the campaign’s website
        Prices for online display ads declined by 21% during Q3 and by 27% for the calendar year, according to ad optimization firm PubMatic. Its quarterly AdPrice Index indicates the downturn has affected sites large and small, although smaller sites fared the best earning an average of CPM of $.61 vs. $.18 for larger sites. CPMs for Gaming were down 34% from Q1 2008 while the
Social Networks vertical also continued to experience weak pricing with an average CPM of $0.20.


The Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index suffered a crisis of confidence for the third quarter, dipping to a 2.89 rating (with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest possible rating.) It was the lowest level recorded since the index was established in 2004. The “unprecedented deterioration of macro economic conditions” and the resulting impact on the venture capital business model were cited most often by venture capitalists as factors that negatively impacted their confidence.
Google continued its dominance of the U.S. search business accounting for 71.16% of all U.S. searches during the 4 weeks ending Sept. 27, according to Hitwise. That’s a 12% year-over-year increase vs. Sept. 2007.
Percentage of U.S. Searches Among Leading Search Providers
Domain     Sept. 2007    Aug. 2008     Sept. 2008
Google          63.55%        71.01%         71.16%         
Yahoo           22.55%        18.26%         18.06%
MSN*              6.28%         5.32%           5.36%          4.32%         3.45%           3.63%
Source: Hitwise, *includes searches on and MSN Search but not

~ EXECUTIVE MOVES ~ has upped executive Catherine Captain to General Manager. In this newly created role, Catherine will drive strategic planning, content partnerships and marketing for the site, produced by – a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal. She reports to Charlie Tillinghast, President of 



The viral video hits keep on rolling in for NBC’s Saturday Night Live team. This week the real Sarah Palin dropped by, along with Mark Wahlberg, creator Loren Michaels and SNL regular Alec Baldwin. (After mistaking the real Sarah for the his 30 Rock costar Tina Fey, Alec sucks up to her with the sycophantic admission that she is “way hotter in person.”) See if you can pick out the cameo by an alpaca. Governor Palin also rocked out to a rap by expecting Amy Poehler on Weekend Update. The videos, which no doubt fall under the “if you can’t beat ‘em join ’em” strategy for the McCain/Palin campaign, racked up more than 2 million views collectively less than 24 hours after they were posted. The question on everyone’s mind now, of course, is how much NBC’s 30 Rock will benefit from all the exposure. The show doesn’t premiere on air until Oct. 30 but the first episode will be available on beginning Oct. 23.
Later — Wayne
 Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital

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Cyn opsis CLASSIFIEDSFor More classifieds, visit the classifieds page here    .

JOB OPENING: AE, ONLINE AD SALES/Comcast/LA: Rep Comcast Nets, E! Online,,, to our external customers, develop, generate and maintain business for all networks. (10/25)

JOB OPENING: SR. MGR, RESEARCH/Music Choice: Support sales, mrktng & prgrmng initiatives across multiple platforms w/accurate & actionable research. BA/BS, plus 6-8 yrs relevant media research exp. required [email protected] (10/25)

JOB OPENING: NEWS WRITERS/CNN “NO BIAS, NO BULL”/NY: Exp’d news writers wanted for prgrm w/ compelling & engaging copy, full of attitude, flair, passion, sass, & appropriate outrage. Writing samples/Res: [email protected] EOE (10/25)

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JOB OPENING: SR BRAND MGR/HiT Entertainment/NYC: Dvlp/execute global creative & bus strategy to grow assigned brands & achieve financial targets. 7+ yrs brand mgmt exp kids ent and/or licensing. Res: [email protected] (10/24)

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JOB OPENING: MGR. AD SALES TRAINING & SYSTEMS/Comcast/NY: Responsible for overall training, quality assurance & staff support on all Comcast Ad Sales systems. Apply: or (10/24)

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JOB OPENING: ASST MGR BRAND & NEW MEDIA MKTG/Hachette Book Group (Little, Brown Books, Young Readers div) NY: Req’s both creative mktg & new media/web exp.Apply: (10/22)

JOB OPENING: ASSOC PROD, FASHION & BEAUTY/Lifetime/NY: Research celebrity photos, prod Web pages, update content. Spot celeb fashion trends to create celebrity content. Industry Cont a +. (10/22)

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FALL INTERNSHIP CREDITS ONLY: The Research department at CBS Television Distribution is looking for qualified Interns for Fall 2008. Please send resume to [email protected] (10/23)

FALL INTERNSHIP CREDITS ONLY: The Media Relations department at CBS Television Distribution is looking for qualified Interns for Fall 2008. Please send resume to [email protected] (10/23)

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