MediaFile

UPDATE: AOL’s buying spree

kickapps-logo.JPGThe ink has barely dried on AOL’s $850 million proposed purchase of Bebo, but reports of another deal are already percolating. AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher reports AOL is seriously considering buying New York-based widget-maker KickApps for $90 million.

KickApps makes widgets to order for a broad range of companies, such as a car search widget for Autobytel and a social community for Time Warner’s CW TV network’s “Gossip Girl,” Swisher says.

Investors Softbank Capital, Prism VentureWorks and Spark Capital and others have dropped $17 million into KickApps.

The bigger question is whether parent company Time Warner is prettying up AOL for a sale or taking another go at finding its place in a world defined by Google and other bigger rivals. At this point, we’re thinking probably both as Time Warner mulls its options.

AOL wasn’t immediately reachable. KickApps declined comment.

Update: A source familiar with AOL’s plans tells us a deal is “very unlikely.” 

Malone, Diller and the story that ended the affair

maffei-sun-valley.jpgMedia titans John Malone and Barry Diller knew they had their fair share of disagreements over the years, but like many couples heading to divorce, they apparently needed someone else to tell them that.

Enter Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Vascellaro.

The media industry read with rapt interest her story in October that put in plain language how much tension had built up between the two over their partnership in IAC/InterActiveCorp. 

But as the two moguls duke it out in Delaware court this week, they keep invoking that story, day after day, as the moment that sent their relationship past the point of no return. 

Disney on AOL – “NO” comment

iger.jpgNot that anyone was suspicious, but in case you’re wondering Disney isn’t buying AOL .

Iger blurted that out in response to BusinessWeek editor John Byrne’s question on stage at the McGraw-Hill Media Summit in New York on Wednesday.

Byrne: “Can we expect Disney to make another big acquisition? Would you think about AOL for example?”

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.)

Google, Microsoft may be eyeing Digg.com

Digg.com founder Kevin RoseIs Digg.com for sale?Even though founder Kevin Rose told CNET last month that the answer is “no”, today the answer appears to be “yes”.According to TechCrunch, Google and Microsoft may be prepared to fight over the popular Web site, which lets readers recommend articles to others.Digg has been working with investment bank Allen & Co, and is pitching big tech and media companies on a sale. It is even prepared to take less than the $300 million suggested late last year, TechCrunch said.Four companies, including Internet giants Google and Microsoft, are in heavy due diligence with Digg. The other two are media or news companies, TechCrunch said, adding that Google will likely bid $200-$225 million, which Digg would likely accept. Is Barry Diller’s IAC interested?TechCrunch expects a bidding war between Microsoft and Google.It wouldn’t be the first time they have butt heads over Digg. Last summer, Microsoft became the exclusive provider of display and contextual advertising on Digg.com, replacing Google.Then again, Silicon Alley Insider suggests that any offer over $100 million might be too much.Update: Digg CEO Jay Adelson speaks out on the company’s blog:

Normally our policy is to not comment about things like this, but this morning’s rumors about a bidding war involving Google and Microsoft have created such a stir we feel compelled to tell you all directly that they are completely inaccurate.Sorry to burst any drama theories, but they aren’t true. We remain focused on improving Digg and rolling out great features.

Alleyinsider’s Peter Kafka remains a bit skeptical over Adelson’s comments.(TechCrunch )Keep an eye on:

    Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer pledged the company would gain share against Google in online advertising and Web searching, even if it’s his “last breath” at the company. (Reuters) The board of National Public Radio its said chief executive, Ken Stern, was leaving after less than 18 months “by mutual agreement.” (NYT)

(Photo: Digg.com founder Kevin Rose, Digg.com)