MediaFile

Verizon launches interactive ads on FiOS

Looking to expand its options for video content,  Verizon has quietly started to emulate DVD video technology in its FiOS television system. This means that its on-demand video offerings will eventually include interactive options such as extra chapters, subtitles or files with information about the actors in a show, just like movie DVDs have offered for years.

It’s also a way for the company to offer interactive advertising, currently on display under the marketplace option in its FiOS TV service menu. So if you like a car ad, you could click on a option to see more before you buy.

And because the adverts can be made in the DVD format it means “advertising sooner, easier and cheaper,” according to Joseph Ambeault, consumer video product development director of Verizon.

He says that because “more than 70 percent of consumers who use DVDS use the extras” Verizon sees the technology becoming very popular and “opening up a larger pool of content.” That potentially includes user generate content that could be sent to a FiOS1 local station, like the one due to launch soon in New York.

While Verizon is fond of adding “this is not something you find on cable” after describing its FiOS features, it looks like interactive advertising on cable rivals is right on Verizon’s heels.
In a story dated April 7, Associated Press describes how Ford could potentially send you an information packet on its new Mustang car after you’ve simply clicked on the yes button during an ad, a feature the wire service describes as “the future of cable TV advertising

Thinking about EchoStarSiriusXMSatelliteRadio Inc.

Because of a big upcoming debt payment — and a stock price of about 14 cents a share — Sirius XM Satellite Radio finds itself in quite a predicament.

This, apparently, hasn’t been lost on EchoStar’s Charles Ergen, who may be getting ready to take over the company.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Ergen has recently acquired part of a $300 million tranche of Sirius debt that matures on Feb. 17: “Sirius recently converted part of the debt to equity, reducing the total debt outstanding to about $175 million. It isn’t clear whether Mr. Ergen participated in the exchange, however. Mr. Ergen could also be buying up senior bank debt, due in May, which trades thinly on the over-the-counter market.”

Write this down: News Corp

News Corp is many things to many people. Its latest incarnation? Pinata.

Everyone is taking a whack at Rupert Murdoch’s international media empire these days as its stock languishes and it gets ready to report second-quarter financial results on Thursday. Newspaper advertising revenue is falling, the movie season hasn’t looked so hot so far, MySpace is unlikely to friend Facebook, the euro and the pound are hurting European operations, DVDs are dying and cable networks revenue doesn’t look like it will be able to compensate.

On top of all that, people are beginning to wonder if the company will announce a writedown, and how soon. My story, which ran on Friday, says the newspaper business looks ripe for a writedown, and quotes Pali Capital analyst RIch Greenfield saying that part of the company’s problem is Murdoch’s sentimental attachment to old media:

If Murdoch wants to keep the business healthy, it is time to make “hard decisions” and prune older media like papers, Pali Capital analyst Rich Greenfield said.

from Fan Fare:

Note to Netflix: There’s a recession on

NETFLIX/ Netflix Inc <NFLX.O> apparently didn't get the memo: there's a recession on.

The online DVD rental company is aiming for "at least" 12 percent net earnings growth in 2009 and will invest any "surplus profit" -- terms not heard much on Wall Street these days -- in growing its subscriber base and streaming content, Chief Executive Reed Hastings told investors on Monday.

The comments, made amid a storm of bad news from other U.S. media companies, came as the Los Gatos, California company posted a 45 percent rise in quarterly profit that even its own executives weren't expecting.

"Our October forecast of slowing growth turned out to be wrong," Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy admitted on a conference call with analysts. "We continue to see strong momentum in our business, quarter to date."

Beam me up…Barbie?

Yes, it’s true. Mattel has gone where it has already gone before, but only differently!

Pictures of Mattel’s new Star Trek Barbies were released on Wednesday causing a stir among Trekkies, eagerly anticipating Paramount’s May release of the film, “Star Trek,” chronicling the earliest days of Captain Kirk and Spock.

The toys’ images, released by CBS Consumer Products, which owns the licensing rights for Star Trek consumer products, show the three dolls, which are modeled after the three actors playing Captain Kirk, Spock, and Lieutenant Uhura in the film, which is set to be released in theatres on May 8th!

Playboy strips DVDs from shelves

If you thought DVDs’ days were numbered, check this out: even porn DVDs aren’t worth selling. That seems to be the bottom lineplayboy1.jpg from Playboy, anyway, which is shutting its DVD operation to save money and focus on online porn (not that playboy.com isn’t full of interesting articles). To get the full scoop, check out our story here.

DVD sales gets worse in ’08 – Pali Research

dvds-broken.jpgToo little too late, at least for 2008. Hollywood’s long awaited decision to back a winner in the single next-generation DVD wars didn’t come fast enough to stem a further decline in DVD sales this year, according to Pali Research’s Richard Greenfield.Greenfield now expects consumer spending on DVDs to fall 4 to 5 percent this year, compared to a 2 percent decline in 2007, despite an anticipated tripling of Blu-ray DVD sales this year. Blu-ray won’t start slowing the decline until 2009-2010.Slowing sales of older titles, Wal-Mart’s decision to clean up its aisles by eliminating “dump bins” of discounted titles, and anticipated Internet service bandwidth increases that could boost piracy of video are also expected to pressure sales of physical media.Perhaps there is still time for DVD and Blu-ray to make nice with consumers. Sony’s U.S. chief said consumers prefer physical discs to Internet delivery, and that it could take a decade before downloading hits its stride.(Photos: Reuters / This is what they do to pirated DVDs in Bucharest.)