Great Media Depression, Ecommerce slows, Youtube to stream MGM films, Whitespace & Dell, Tmobile G1 campaign, AT&T launches

Great (Media) Depression Looms
Last week's grim warnings from advertising and consumer-dependent Big Media notably culminated with Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger conceding that this economic downturn and ad falloff have been faster than any he has witnessed in 30 years. It has spread like wildfire from local television, radio and newspapers to the cable and broadcast networks to theme parks and resorts. That Disney missed fiscal fourth-quarter consensus earnings estimates (43 cents versus 48 cents) for the first time in Iger's tenure is a testament to the difficulty of the current environment, analysts say.
ComScore: E-commerce Also Slows To A Crawl
The growth in online shopping hasn't just slowed, "it's fallen off a cliff," says Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore, which is predicting that e-commerce sales will grow between 6% and 10% this holiday season. And while any growth at all might sound like a dream come true to suffering brick-and-mortar retailers, it's shockingly low compared to recent years.
Year-to-date, comScore says, online sales have grown 10% to $158 billion--compared to 17% last year, 20% in 2006, and 22% in 2005. Just this year, it has plunged from 19% in the first quarter, 13% in the second, and 9% in the third. Excluding travel, the drop is even steeper, falling to just 5% in September.

Phoenix Daily Slims to 4-Day Week

The East Valley Tribune in suburban Phoenix is reducing its publication schedule, printing just four days a week and posting news on its website daily. The move is part of an effort to continue to compete in a crowded space; the paper struggles with competition not only from internet news sources but from nearly 40 weeklies in the Phoenix metro area, and from The Arizona Republic, the country's 10th largest newspaper, writes Editor & Publisher.
Sprint's turnaround plan complicated by iPhone, economy
Last week, the company reported a loss of 1.3 million net subscribers in the third quarter and a net loss of $326 million as CEO Dan Hesse embarks on his turnaround plan for the company. While it's not clear how many subscribers Sprint lost to AT&T Mobility because of the iPhone 3G, we do know that AT&T Mobility sold 2.4 million iPhone 3G devices and 40 percent of those activations were for customers that were new to AT&T. Verizon said it was impacted a bit by the iPhone, but it now appears that Sprint and T-Mobile were the most likely victims. T-Mobile's churn grew to 2.4 percent in the third quarter from 1.9 percent in the second quarter 2008, coinciding with the launch of the iPhone 3G.
Virgin considers content unit sale
Virgin Media is considering selling off its content division, which includes the channels Virgin 1, Dave and Watch, the Financial Times has learned.

BBC May Open The iPlayer To Overseas Viewers

Future plans for the iPlayer include the development of a platform-neutral iPlayer download client. Using Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) the BBC intends to offer iPlayer downloads to Mac and Linux users by the end of 2008. The download option will, however, remain unavailable to viewers accessing iPlayer through iPod touch or iPhone devices. Mr Huggers also raised the possibility of international expansion of the iPlayer and noted that community features needed to be added to the video service

YouTube to stream free MGM films online
Video sharing site YouTube will stream full-length TV shows and films from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's archives, in a bid to boost ad revenues for its parent company Google. All films and TV shows will be free to watch, with ads running alongside the video. The deal will see MGM set up a number of content channels within YouTube.

White space: Dell to make laptops; Google downright giddy

The conditions the FCC imposed includes requiring both fixed and portable devices to include spectrum sensing and geolocation capabilities as well as use an FCC database of TV signals and location of venues such as stadiums and churches that use wireless microphones. These database and geolocation capabilities would, in theory, prevent interference with broadcast TV stations and wireless microphones and ensure compliance with FCC rules.

T-Mobile to launch 1 billion G1 ads through Platform-A

T-Mobile USA is going to practically unprecedented lengths to get the G1, the first phone running on Google's Android platform, greater market exposure. The carrier is partnering with AOL's Platform-A advertising network to deliver 1 billion ad impressions in a two-day blitz next week that is expected to reach 81 million people.

AT&T Launches Online Video Search Site,

AT&T is getting into the online video search game. They've launched, which indexes videos from thousands of video sites. Users can organize videos into collections, which can be shared through social networking widgets.
Japan's Panasonic to Acquire Sanyo
Panasonic's move would create a $110-billion tech behemoth.
The takeover would be the biggest in Japan's crowded consumer electronics sector, where about a dozen companies compete. It's debatable whether Panasonic's move will trigger a wave of mergers and tie-ups among Japanese firms. Some of the country's struggling tech companies, such as Pioneer, have resisted the idea of putting themselves on the block or getting swallowed up by bigger brands, opting instead for alliances to ride out the economic downturn.


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