MediaFile

Yahoo! Yahoo gets a makeover

yahoo1.jpg Yahoo is about to make a radical change to its home page — mostly trying to make it a more personal experience. It begins testing the page, on a small basis, today, Reuters reports.

For any of you out there who get a chance to play around with it, let us know what you think.

For the moment, here’s what were looking at…

The new home page relies on slick personalization technology that allows users who have signed into their Yahoo account to see when new information arrives not just on Yahoo sites, like e-mail or news, but off-Yahoo on sites such as eBay Inc’s auctions or Google Inc’s Gmail service.

Instead of whisking people to these sites, users can see a preview of the information while staying on the home page, which allows them to quickly navigate across a range of their favorite sites.

Why is Yahoo tinkering with the site? Well, let’s remember that this is a company locked in a battle for Internet popularity with Google (who it also has an ad deal with — see below). And shareholders have been grumbling ever since a potential merger with Microsoft fell through, The Wall Street Journal points out.

Murdoch strikes again, this time in Esquire

Rupert MurdochEsquire magazine is running a Q&A with News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch, in which in the international media tycoon talks about his upbringing, what makes Murdoch Murdoch, his new crown jewel The Wall Street Journal, Fox News and a host of other subjects. Without further ado (warning: look out for some inappropriate language):

Murdoch on his political ideology and the crisis blowing through multiple financial institutions:

I’m not a knee-jerk conservative. I passionately believe in free markets and less government, but not to the point of being a libertarian. After this financial crisis, there are going to be some restrictions. I’m frightened they’ll go too far, but certainly there should be something.

So what’s the outlook for media?

merrill.jpg

For the media business, the next couple of days will likely set the tone for the remainder of the year. Why? Because just about everyone who is anyone will be speaking at a Merrill Lynch conference out in California.

We’re talking about CBS, News Corp, Liberty Media, Time Warner, NBC Universal, etc. You get the picture.

We suspect the catchphrase of the conference will be something like “cautious.” It’s highly unlikely that executives will tell us the media industry is awful, terrible, or horrible.

Do you know who’s watching?

telescope.jpgIt’s called deep-packet inspection. Congress wonders if it’s plain-old spying. Basically, it’s when web companies track their customers’ visits online and use the information to tailor Internet advertisements for them.

Congress was worried about it enough to begin questioning some of the biggest Internet companies about the practice this month.  And guess what? It seems some web companies are indeed using targeting without informing their customers.

The Washington Post writes that the revelations come from letters released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Waiting on the News Corp news

murdoch.jpgCome Tuesday, all eyes will be on News Corp.

The company’s earnings report should cast some more light on what’s happening in the media world – both in the United States and abroad. This is, after all, a media company with enormous reach and one whose shares have been hammered this year on worries about a slowdown.

For those who are impatient, Rupert Murdoch made some comments today that are worth noting. First and foremost, he said television advertising in the United States was good, despite a slowing economy (it’s easier to say that when your network is home to “American Idol”).

“Our advertisement on television and the Internet is very, very good, except for local television,” he said. “Cable networks are all sold out for 12 months,” he said, adding that Britain was holding up “very well”.

Yahoo: The Road to No Deal

The following is a timeline of key events leading up to Yahoo’s Aug. 1 annual meeting.

2006 January – Yahoo Inc begins to report a string of weak quarterly results, reflecting competitive missteps by the company, market share gains by rival Google Inc, changes in the online advertising landscape and weakening spending in some ad segments.

Stock_slide

2006 – Microsoft Corp and Yahoo begin preliminary talks on various partnerships, including a merger.

Google, Microsoft augur tougher times ahead

googlesign.jpgGoogle’s second quarter earnings disappointed Wall Street yesterday and sent its shares tumbling. The search giant blamed lower returns from managing its huge cash piles but analysts are also concerned the market leader in search advertising might augur a wider slowdown in online advertising.

Google itself said revenue growth from search ads was “positive” in every sector except for real estate, which was down by a small amount.

But the Street wasn’t convinced, perhaps because Microsoft also disappointed with its quarterly earnings citing “tough” economic conditions which impacted its software business and online ad sales.

Murdoch rising

rtrhqbh.jpgJames Murdoch, heir apparent to the News Corp empire, leapfrogged dad Rupert on the annual Guardian list of top 100 most powerful people in media.

James — who oversees the media empire’s Europe and Asia assets including British newspapers The Sun, Times, Sunday Times and News of the World – first suprised detractors by turning around BSkyB.

What we didn’t know was he’s also a black belt in karate. What we do know is he, like Rupert, rarely flinches from a fight. Ask the BBC, or Virgin Media. Like another mogul, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, he also dropped out of Harvard.

Murdoch in Sun Valley: No deals

murdoch.jpgConsummate dealmaker Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corp, strolled into the Sun Valley Inn for the first full day of Allen & Co’s annual mogul retreat.

Asked by CNBC reporter Julia Boorstin whether he was buying anything, he shot back, “Not today. Not this week.”

That might provide some small comfort for shareholders who have sent shares of News Corp sinking close to 30 percent since the beginning of the year on a variety of issues, including a sluggish economy and threats of an advertising recession. Shareholders also craw about the dreaded “Murdoch Discount” — investor concern the media tycoon will suddenly make another a big purchase.

Brauchli’s unfinished News Corp business

Marcus Brauchli could have looked forward to a pleasant summer vacation before digging into his new job in September as The Washington Post’s new executive editor, but instead he will punch the clock like the rest of us.

In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, the former Wall Street Journal managing editor said he plans to wrap up his consulting work with News Corp on a project in Asia. We don’t know the details, but it was part of an agreement tied to his resignation from the Journal after News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch let him know that his services at the paper would no longer be needed.

“It’s very interesting and productive,” was all Brauchli would say about it.