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Apr 7, 2008

NEWS: Local TV 5-10 Years From 'Meaningful' Digital Revenue

Analyst: Local TV 5-10 Years From 'Meaningful' Digital Revenue

Predicta_TV1.jpgSome not-great, sort-of-obvious news for local TV stations: The Web won't save you.

So says Wachovia analyst Marci Ryvicker, who argues that the stations' lead-footed forays on the Internet and with their own multicast digital channels "leads us to believe that we are at least five (if not 10) years away before new media/digital opportunities have any financial significance in the broadcast space."

Terrestrial radio isn't doing any better. Stung with defeat over the Sirius-XM Radio merger, they face similar challenges in building businesses out of their own additional digital spectrum. Ryvicker says "it is amazing to us," that HD radio still isn't in cars (but satellite is), and that "radio groups still plan to use the spectrum for programming rather than for datacasting or on-demand alternatives."

Local TV is comparatively relatively insulated from the ravages of the Web, but it's still getting beaten up, and the hammering will only get worse over time. The real losers could be the companies like TitanTV, who intend to make money by moving the local stations online. Tough sell.

Joost CEO On US & Global Plans, Cutbacks

Mike Volpi, CEO of Joost, spent his first weekend in California in many months dealing with the blowback from a story in The Sunday Times (of UK) that has the company scaling back its global ambitions in favor of a US-only focus. We talked earlier this evening, and Volpi said none of those things are actually true. (PaidContent had talked to Joost spokesperson earlier today.)

“We are focusing on US, Western Europe, China and a few other Asian markets,” he told me. “Taking a more measured approach to our expansion, and keeping it in sync with markets where online advertising is mature enough.” Volpi pointed out that Joost launched in China two weeks ago, and has recently signed content partnerships in Scandinavia. When you add to the mix UK, France and a couple of other Western European countries, Volpi said it is pretty obvious that the company is not scaling back from its global ambitions...

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