MediaFile

NBC, News Corp practice Olympic hedging

Big media executives are developing a new Olympic sport — hedging. Two of the best contenders are NBC-Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker and News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch.

Attendees at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York City asked both executives on Tuesday if they were interested in bidding for rights to broadcast the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Both answered the question in ways that sound different until you realize that they actually sound… the same.

Murdoch said “We haven’t thought about it” and concluded with “I wouldn’t think so.” Zucker said, “We’ll have to see what happens. We’re not going to make any decision that doesn’t make business sense. …. The Olympics are an important part of the company and something we’d would like to be involved with if it makes business sense.”

Murdoch pointed out what would make business sense for both companies: holding the summer games in Chicago. If the Windy City gets the spot, expect the executives to firm up their answers quickly, and come back saying “yes.” That would make a good advertising opportunity for whoever gets those broadcast rights.

However (there’s always a however), the International Olympics Committee doesn’t plan to award broadcast rights until it votes for the city that will host the games. That will be either Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo or Madrid. No sane U.S. network executive is going to show how much they want the broadcast rights before that vote, because they don’t want to make Chicago-sized bids for a Madrid-sized spectacle. So until the IOC votes, expect to hear little more than tepid interest in the games.

MySpace in talks to buy iLike for $20m – reports

MySpace is looking to buy Web music service iLike for around $20 million according to several blogs. iLike co-founder Hadi Partovi declined to comment when we asked him and MySpace’s PR team also declined to share details.

All Things Digital has the latest details of the deal which they say is around $13.5 million in cash, with a $6 million earn out for the founders which include Hadi’s twin brother Ali who is CEO. Official confirmation of an agreement is being held up by “thorny tax issues” according to All Things Digital’s sources.

The news makes some sense because as MySpace is fast losing ground to Facebook in the social networking arena. MySpace’s owner, News Corp, has indicated that it sees the site becoming more of an entertainment portal.

from Commentaries:

Online video: Revolution, Evolution or Counter-Revolution?

Lots of news in online video world, some potentially significant. 

And some we can only wait and see about.

Google Inc, Cisco Systems and News Corp are separately doing things that could mean sweeping changes in the way video is produced and consumed on the web. Eric Schmidt John Chambers Rupert Murdoch

from Commentaries:

Counter-Revolution?

FoxTVRupert Murdoch used News Corp's fiscal fourth quarter conference call on Wednesday to say he wants to be paid ANYTIME his news is read online. Perhaps he was just in a cranky mood, but most of the reporters listening to the call thinks he's going beyond what he's said many times before on the topic.

The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive methods of distribution, but it has not made the content free. Accordingly, we intend to charge for all news websites.

The Sun, 6 Aug 2009That's not just for newspapers and websites, but also for his TV news channels, like Fox, and by implication, Sky, when viewed online, Murdoch said.  However, when asked if he will be charging for celebrity photos from newspapers such as The Sun or News of The World, it was by no means clear he's figured out how to make visitors pay to view these other than by watching ads.

Microsoft-Yahoo provide a closer look at ad deal

By most accounts, the 88 percent revenue share Yahoo will collect from its advertising partnership with Microsoft is a pretty darn good number. Obviously, 90 percent is even better. And that’s exactly the share of revenue that Microsoft will pay Yahoo in the second half of their 10-year deal, according to a regulatory filing.******The filing casts more light on the details of the partnership. It also seemed to give a lift to Yahoo, whose stock rose slightly in early trade.******Here are five other key points from the filing …*** *** At least 400 Yahoo staffers will join Microsoft. The two companies will select an extra 150 employees to help with Yahoo’s transition to Microsoft’s search technology.

*** A definitive agreement is due to be signed by October 27, or they head for an arbitration panel.

*** Microsoft is paying Yahoo about $50 million a year during the first three years of the deal to help with transition costs.

*** The deal is limited to web sites, applications and “other online digital properties designed for use and consumption on personal computers.” But Yahoo can receive Microsoft mapping and mobile search if it wants.

*** Yahoo can kill the deal if the Yahoo and Microsoft’s share of the U.S. query market falls below a certain level. Either party can terminate the deal due to repeated material breaches of the agreement.

***

***If you want more information on these provisions, or others, have a look here.******Keep an eye on:***

    *** What’s the Wall Street Journal’s policy when it comes to story embargoes? PaidContent has the latest rundown (paidContent.org)

    ***

***

    *** Google is doing a little wheeling and dealing. It is buying On2 Technologies, and has sold its Google Radio Automation business (Reuters)

    ***

***

    *** Sirius XM Radio’s stock has been on a run this week. Seems that investors are looking past what will likely be quarterly loss and focussing instead on new initiatives like “cash for clunkers” (Reuters)

    *** Looking for a less expensive digital book reader? Sony’s hoping to please (Reuters)

    ***

***(Photo: Reuters)

Sun Valley: When will YouTube make a profit?

That question has got louder and louder from investors and Wall Street analysts concerned that YouTube owner Google is racking huge profit-hindering costs to be the free online video platform for the world. It seems Google’s top guys don’t know the answer either — or if they do, they’re choosing not to share it with reporters on Thursday.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt told a media briefing at Sun Valley that he believes YouTube, which his company spent $1.65 billion to acquire three years ago, will come good thanks to its recent launch of new advertising formats such as pay-to-promote and pre-roll ads. “We’re optimisic that YouTube will be a strong revenue business for us because of these products,” he told reporters.

But the problem is investors are more concerned with the huge costs involved in streaming millions of videos globally everyday with a very small percentage of them covered by advertising. In other words when will YouTube make money from its dominance?

Sun Valley: Murdoch has nothing to say on wiretapping

When it comes to wiretapping in the UK, the key question for Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp, is what did he know and when did he know it?

Murdoch’s News of the World is caught up in new allegations that its journalists intercepted mobile phone voicemails of Hollywood celebrities and athletes. British police have said they are not re-opening a 2005 investigation, which saw the firing of then News of World editor Andy Coulson.

Many want to know how far up the chain of command did knowledge of this alleged activity went. So what does Murdoch have to say on this matter?

Live Blogging from Sun Valley (Day 2)

Reuters reporters Robert MacMillan, Yinka Adegoke and Alexei Oreskovic will be sending live updates from the Sun Valley gathering. Read their updates below or follow us on Twitter.

Sun Valley: Reuters returns to Idaho

Nearly every powerful media and technology executive you can think of will be camping out in the idyllic and affluent ski resort town of Sun Valley this week. They have aimed their Gulfstreams squarely at Idaho so they can show up at the 27th edition of Allen & Co’s media and technology conference, which investment banker Herb Allen holds every summer here.

That means nearly every media reporter you can think of will be hovering among the hedgerows and parking lots (and in the bar, naturally), waiting to get a few precious seconds with super-wattage movie executives from DreamWorks’s Jeffrey Katzenberg to Paramount’s Brad Grey, technology heavyweights such as Michael Dell and Bill Gates, media kingpins Philippe Dauman and Rupert Murdoch and fresh-faced startup darlings like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Evan Williams and Ning’s Gina Bianchini.

Reuters, of course, will be among the press crew at the scene. Reporters Yinka Adegoke and Alexei Oreskovic will show up, as will I, and photographer Rick Wilking will be shooting the pictures that at Sun Valley often tell a more eloquent story than any text dispatch can.

Grey’s, Wives on Hulu from today

Starting today Disney content will go live on Hulu, consumating a deal that was struck earlier this year to join the two-year venture with NBC Universal, News Corp and Providence Equity Partners.

The first few shows include popular fare from ABC such as Grey’s Anatomy,  Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty. This means Hulu is going from strength to strength in locking down its leadership as the place for watching TV on the Web.

Part of the attraction of Hulu is that it is free for U.S. residents, since most of the content can be watched for free over the air in the U.S. But we wouldn’t be surprised if Hulu’s owners added a paid service as part of the TV Everywhere initiative players like Time Warner have been promoting. Such a ‘paid-for’ service would actually be free if the customer is already a paying cable/satellite TV subscriber.