MediaFile

Swine flu: not so bad for CDC.gov

Too bad the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t charge for its information or make money off its website — they could have made a pile of cash on the swine flu scare. (You know, if it wasn’t a government site.)

Web traffic measurement firm comScore says traffic soared at CDC.gov last month, as people visited the website amid concerns over the H1N1, or swine, flu.

In April, CDC.gov saw a 142 percent increase in traffic, or 5.7 million visitors, making it the top audience gainer among websites, comScore said. “When news of the swine flu pandemic erupted, many Americans turned to the Internet as their primary source of information for how to keep themselves and their families safe,” said Jack Flanagan, executive vice president at comScore Media Metrix.

Social networks also continued their tear last month, growing 12 percent to nearly 140 million visitors. That’s about three-quarters of the U.S. online population, comScore says, so chances are someone you know is either is Twittering, Facebook-ing or on MySpace. Twitter jumped 83 percent to 17 million visitors, while Facebook grew 10 percent in April from the previous month to reach 67.5 million visitors. MySpace had 71 million visitors.

Keep an eye on:

Photo: Reuters

Hulu breaks into top 3 US video sites

Hulu continues its rapid ascent up the video charts, cracking the top three online video sites in the U.S. for the first time in March.

Some 380 million videos were viewed on Hulu.com, up 14.3 percent from February, according to market research firm comScore.

That allowed the NBC Universal and News Corp joint venture to steal the No.3 spot from Yahoo, whose total number of videos viewed in March actually declined by roughly 5 percent from February. Hulu held a 2.6 percent share of the 14.5 billion videos viewed in the U.S. last month.

MySpace friends ex-Facebooker

It looks like MySpace is getting closer to raiding the competition — at least, one step removed. Facebook veteran Owen Van Natta is expected to be named as the new head of News Corp’s MySpace social network on Friday.

The appointment comes after Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate said earlier this week that MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe would not renew his CEO contract, which expires in the fall. News Corp also said  co-founder Tom Anderson was in talks about taking a new role in the company.

Facebook has already surpassed MySpace in worldwide users. Even though Van Natta, like other high-profile Facebook executives, had left the company already, the question now is whether he can sprinkle some much-needed fairy dust on MySpace that will help it improve its flagging performance. In one sense, this might be starting already. Kara Swisher, proprietor of the Boomtown blog at the News Corp/Dow Jones-owned All Things Digital, reports that part of Van Natta’s remit will be to recruit more new talent to MySpace.

Join MySpace, be a journalist

When News Corp appointed a senior executive last week to oversee a project to share news among its various properties, we didn’t realize that it was including MySpace. Well, maybe “including” is a bit too expansive a word, but check out this announcement that came from the online social network on Monday:

MySpace, the world’s leading online social portal, together with Fox News, today announced an exclusive partnership for the launch of the official MySpace uReport community at http://www.myspace.com/ureport. The partnership, the first between MySpace and Fox News, gives the global MySpace community the ability to share their citizen journalist-produced content with the MySpace community, as well as have the chance to be featured on Fox News.

Members of the MySpace uReport community can become “uReporters” by uploading video and photos tagged by specific news categories including USA, World, Entertainment and Politics. This content could be featured in relevant programming on Fox News Channel and foxnews.com, with Fox News maintaining editorial control of the MySpace page. The community will also feature profiles of Fox News anchors and hosts, allowing members to link to their favorite network personalities.

Twitter older than it looks

You could be forgiven for thinking Twitter was the latest example of youth culture.

From the ability to fire off grammatically-abbreviated updates about daily trifles to keeping tabs on celebrities, the fast-growing microblogging service has all the earmarks of a young person’s pastime.

But Twitter devotees are grayer than one might expect: The majority of Twitter’s roughly 10 million unique Web site visitors worldwide in February were 35 years old or older, according to comScore.

YouTube tops 100 million U.S. viewers – comScore

Whether it’s the recession keeping people searching for cheap entertainment or just the gradual shift of consumer eyeballs to the Web, YouTube‘s popularity continues to grow. The Google-owned site topped 100 million U.S. viewers for the first time in January, industry tracker comScore said on Wednesday.

YouTube viewers in the U.S. dialed up more than 6 billion videos in the month. Overall, more than 147 million U.S. Internet users watched an average of 101 videos each in January. The average viewer watched around six hours, comScore said.

And YouTube continues to dwarf its competition, with a nearly 43 percent online video market share. Fox Interactive Media, which includes MySpace, ranked second with a 3.7 percent share.

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.

Facebook hotter than MySpace: Yahoo CEO Bartz

Facebook is hot, MySpace is not.  We didn’t say it, Yahoo’s new chief executive Carol Bartz did.

During Yahoo’s quarterly earnings call on Tuesday, one analysts asked Bartz what Yahoo’s strategy is for going after the younger demographic, i.e. the generation whose lives play out on social networks.

“That was one of the questions I asked the (Yahoo) board when I was speaking to them in November and December,” Bartz replied. “I have a 20-year-old and also two kids in their late 20s, so I’m very familiar with the Facebooks of the world and before that, MySpace, and see what the kids do. So I’m very curious about that demographic.”

from Fan Fare:

MySpace Cafe at Sundance. Is it Yahoo II: the sequel?

USA/Years ago at the Sundance Film Festival, Yahoo! sponsored a small cafe where festivalgoers could drop in -- if they were on the list -- and grab a quick bite to eat. But over time, it seems Yahoo's fame and fortune as an Internet portal have receded, and in it's place popped up social networking site MySpace. And in recent years, MySpace has sponsored the cafe at Sundance.

Now, it seems that in its fifth year (2009) MySpace is facing the keen competitive threat of social networking site Facebook. So, when we sat down with MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe in the MySpace Cafe, we couldn't help but note the irony. Could MySpace be "Yahoo II: The Sequel"? (We couldn't resist the movie pun. It is Sundance, after all). DeWolfe laughed. He doesn't see it that way at all and, in fact, he said the outlook for MySpace appears bright.

"During the first half of our fiscal year, we are up (in revenues) year over year, and we're profitable. We're cautiously optimistic over the next 6 months," he said about the business climate. "The overall advertising marketing, in general, both online and offline is softening ... how that affects us in three or four months is really difficult to say ... (but) the economic downturn during Bear Stearns and the financial crisis, we've done great through all that, and again we're up year over year."

It’s Super Bowl time and that means beer ads

We recently wrote that advertisers have even more riding on this Super Bowl than usual. There may be no better illustration of this than Anheuser-Busch InBev, brewer of such Super Bowl marketing staples as Bud and Bud Light.

Yesterday, the company gave the press a glimpse of some of its advertising for this year’s big game. The company has purchased 4-1/2 minutes worth of advertising time, once again making it the biggest Super Bowl advertiser.

At first glimpse, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s plans don’t seem that different than other years. It will go for humor in Bud Light spots and emotion in its Budweiser spots, using the Clydesdale horses. (Actually, it will run a record 3 Clydesdale commercials during the game).