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Apr 26, 2008

NEWS: Legacy Publishing Marching Like Lemmings?

Ed: Paper, print, mail is 60% of costs. If advertising declines 10%, gross margins decline 25%. Death of paper is not controlled by the subscribers. It's the rising cost of moving paper.

Reed Elsevier Seeking Separate Buyer For US Magazines, Variety

Reed Elsevier is planning to spit up its publishing unit and sell of the US-based and European businesses separately, a source tells Rafat Ali. Apax Partners, which discussed a deal for the whole unit, has now taken itself out of the bidding.

Analysts expected all of Reed Business Information to fetch anywhere from$1.96 billion to $2.6 billion, or 8x to 11x 2007 operating income of $233 million. Now Rafat reports the smaller US unit, which includes 80 trades like Variety, Publisher's Weekly and Broadcasting & Cable, is being shopped separately for $500 million.

The former publisher of Variety, Charlie Koones, recently joined PaidContent's board.

Related: Who's Going To Buy Variety + Reed Business?
Another Potential Reed, Variety Suitor: PE Firm Permira

Reed Business Sale: Apax Sitting Out For Now; Parts To Be Broken Up; U.S. To Be Sold Separately

So some reality check coming into the sale process of Reed Business Information, the business publishing arm of Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK) . We have learned that Apax, initially thought of as being one of the main contenders to buy the RBI worldwide division as a whole, is now sitting out of it. It was never very clear how serious Apax was in the first place, but we do know Reed's management tried to do a sweetheart deal with Apax before it went for a general bidding, with the current management in place, and it did not work out. UBS is running the sale process, but the official book for the company is not yet out (expected as soon as next week, after some delays).

We have also learned that Reed Elsevier has changed its mind on how to sell it. Initially it did not want to sell off various pieces separately, but now at least the U.S. part, RBI-US, will be sold off separately, and multiple parties are aligning their arrows for when the process starts. The potential buyers include some of the usual suspects on the PE side. The price for the U.S. piece, which includes about 80 magazines and online sites, is expected to be in the $500 million range, though as the market moves into a further recession, that price could come down...

Murdoch's WSJ: More News, Less Business

Keep forgetting what paper you're reading when you crack the WSJ in the morning? It's not you. It really is different since Rupert Murdoch bought it last year.

How different? The Project on Excellence in Journalism took a tally since News Corp. (NWS) took over: Business coverage is down 50% (!) on the front page, while political and foreign news are way up. Since Dec. 13, the Journal has devoted almost as much front-page real estate to politics (18%) as the New York Times (26.5%).

A complete study of the transformation is available at journalism.org, but here's a handy pre- and post-Murdoch synopsis:


Ziff Davis Enterprise Restructures, Issues Layoffs

...according to B2B magazine. The layoffs were handed down by Steve Weitzner, who was named chairman-CEO of ZDE in January. Aside from the layoffs, ZDE, the publisher of Baseline, CIO Insight and eWEEK, also promoted a number of executives. Kirk Laughlin is moving to the managing director post of the Live Event unit, after serving as senior edit...

IDG Expands Ad Network To Outside Blogs

...and b2b focused ad network on websites and blogs outside of the magazine company's circle of publications. As BtoB points out, the IDG TechNetwork has about 100 outside blogs signed up. IDG is sharing revenue with the sites in its network. The move as seen as a way to broaden its news coverage and extend the reach of its advertisers. IDG also...

Circulation Falls at Most Top Papers 

Word Count: 497  |  Companies Featured in This Article: Gannett, News Corp., A.H. Belo, Belo, Lee Enterprises

NEW YORK -- Circulation fell sharply at most top U.S. newspapers in the latest reporting period, an industry group said Monday, with the exception of the two largest national dailies, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Those papers eked out gains of under 1%, while The New York Times, the No. 3 paper, fell 3.9% in the six months ending in March, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Newspaper circulation has been on a declining trend since the 1980s but the pace of declines has picked up in recent years as reader habits change and more people go ...

Up For Grabs: $42 Billion of Newspaper Ad Revenue

goingoutofbusinesssale.jpgHow bad are things in the newspaper industry? Don't ask. After another jarring 3.5% decline over the past six months, print-paper circulation will drop to about 50 million this year--the lowest level since 1946 (62 years ago)....

In ten years, print-paper circulation and ad revenue will likely be a quarter of what it is today, if that.

Why? Because:

  • As circulations and ad revenue continue to fall, print economies-of-scale will reverse, cutting further into already shrinking print margins. 
  • As "green business" practices take hold, a new generation of consumers will come to view the newspaper industry as a horrifically wasteful polluter that eats forests, gobbles fuel and electricity, and farts untold amounts of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere--all to deliver information that might have been interesting yesterday. 
  • A generation of newspaper ad salespeople and ad sales buyers will gradually retire or quit, and advertisers will increasingly ask themselves why they are spending billions on ads they have no idea whether anyone looks at.
  • As financial and environmental pressures increase and a better grasp of reality sets in, more papers will opt to do what the Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin, did last weekend: Shut down their print businesses, fire a third of their staff, and put what's left online.

And good riddance--if not to the staff, at least to papers. And a hearty welcome to a slightly cleaner atmosphere and less need for recycling.

And here's some more good news: The $42 billion that was spent on print newspapers in 2007 isn't going to vaporize--it's just going to go somewhere else. ($42 billion--in the US alone!)

Ed: Good follow-up report to 'Web 2.0 is Green, Recession-Proof - The Macroeconomic View .' 

Newspaper-Circulation Drop Sharpens

Major U.S. newspapers experienced sharp drops in circulation over the last six months, with the exception of the two largest daily newspapers – USA Today and The Wall Street Journal – which saw slight gains.

Brand: AOL==Lost in Space

Ed: Dial-up access, cable access, portal content, social network, or advertising network? AOL was number 1 with dial-up. Since then, the AOL brand has mashed or mushed to obscurity.

AOL Acquires Fantasy Sports Site Fleaflicker

AOL has acquired Fleaflicker, a New Jersey-based fantasy sports site founded by 26 year old Ori Schwartz. We first coveredin July 2006.

The transaction price isn’t being disclosed. Based on the highlyfluctuating traffic to the site and the fact that they only support football (which explains the huge drops in traffic during the off-season), my guess is this is more of a technology acquisition than the buying of the business operations. Fleaflicker also powers the Washington Post’s Fantasy Football leagues.

AOL runs its own very popular fantasy sports sites for football, baseball, racing and golf, and AOL sports is surging in general (more on that in a follow up post).

AOL Sees Strong Growth In Sites After Year Long Revamping

AOL’s programming sites (Money & Finance, News, Sports, Health, Food, Music, Games, and Moviefone, among others) hit an all time high in high in unique visitors and traffic in March, the company says. Page views to the sites are up 35% over the last year and unique visitors up 11% to 56 million (AOL as a whole draws 209 million monthly unique visitors, says Comscore).

As a whole, the properties have had six consecutive months of unique visitor and page view growth.

Why the surge? AOL attributes it to a year long rebranding and redesign effort, noting that every key vertical site has been redesigned (see our coverage of AOL Finance, for example, and the almost immediate traffic surge that followed).

Many of the programming sites have dropped the AOL brand altogether. We wrote recently about the launch of Switched, their technology network. Black Voices, an African American culture and news site, and Asylum, a men-focused site, are other examples.

AIM, MapQuest, AOL Music, AOL Television, Black Voices, TMZ and Asylum are No. 1 in their respective categories, based on unique visitor counts from Comscore. AOL Money & Finance, Real Estate, Moviefone, Women, Health and AOL Latino are all in the top three spots compared to competitors.

Also see news of AOL’s acquisition today of fantasy sports site Fleaflicker, which it is integrating into AOL Sports.

Widgets: The Marketer’s Recession Survival Tool

...President of AOL. Userplane, which was acquired by AOL in August 2006, is a communications widget provider (add chat and other services to sites) and a large advertising network. Mike Jones’ personal blog is here. Companies facing a slowing economy are looking for more cost-effective ways to reach customers. Forrester’s recent post on the rol...

Still Need to Make a Call to Buy on AOL's Spot Market

...about hyping Platform A these days, it's given the new division a cool new logo. I admit, the design major in me digs it. ClickZ News Blog

AOL's Build-Your-Own Strategy: Working, At Least Partly [Silicon Alley Insider]

Yep, AOL (TWX) is still going to report a weak Q1 with revenue flat to down slightly from a year ago, but the news isn't all bad. In fact, one aspect of AOL's revamp as an ad-supported media company seems to be going reasonably well. Unique visitors to AOL's (TWX) sites are up 15% in Q1 to 56.6 million unique visitors, according to comScore, outpac...

Is AOL heading for a comeback?

...s Platform A is now the top ad network, beating out competing efforts from Yahoo and Google, are very good signs for the company. It’s not all good news yet, as Time Warner is expected to announce a relatively weak quarter for AOL when it reports earnings next week, according to The Wall Street Journal. But the pieces may be in place now for a s... VentureBeat 

Apr 25, 2008

NEWS: Maybe The Fight Against Click Fraud Isn’t Hopeless After All

Ed: Accidental, competitor, cookie-inflation, habitual, naive - fraud is one of many issues. 

Maybe The Fight Against Click Fraud Isn’t Hopeless After All


One good quarter does not make a trend, but there is a glimmer of hope in the fight against click fraud (fake clicks that can nevertheless cost advertisers money). Click Forensics is reporting that the overall click fraud rate was down half a percentage point in the first quarter to 16.3 percent. Although that is still higher than the rate was a year ago, it could be an indication that Google’s and Yahoo’s efforts to filter out bad clicks on search and contextual ads and improve the overall qualityof those ads is starting to have an effect.

When you look at the click fraud rate on their respective content networks where the worst offenses occur, AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network, the click fraud rate there also dipped slightly to 27.8 percent from 28.3 percent in the fourth quarter. That is still nearly a third of all clicks and needs to seriously go down further.

Perhaps this year the overall click fraud rate can be held steady instead of rising 15 percent, as it did in 2007.

Is Keyword Search About To Hit Its Breaking Point?


As the Web swells with more and more data, the predominant way of sifting through all of that data—keyword search—will one day break down in its ability to deliver the exact information we want at our fingertips. In fact, some argue that keyword search is already delivering diminishing returns—as the slide above by Nova Spivack implies. Spivack is the CEO and founder of semantic Web startupRadar Networks and is pushing his view that semantic search will help solve these problems. But anyone frustrated by the sense that it takes longer to find something on Google today than it did even a year ago knows there is some truth to his argument.

“Keyword search is okay,” he says, “but if the information explosion continues we need something better.” Today, there are about 1.3 billion people on the Web, and more than 100 million active Websites. As more people pile on, the amount of information on the Web keeps growing exponentially to accommodate all those seekers, and they ...

Study: Social Networks Mirroring Reality TV - Reality Journalism

Ed: One of the most popular themes at 'The New Economics of Advertising.'
Sex, Money, and Power - The Anchor of Social Networks
NEWS: More Sex, Power, Money

Study: Social Networks Mirroring Reality TV

New research from the University of Buffalo and University of Hawaii concludes that young people who watch reality TV are more likely to accept a large number of unknown friends and to post photos of themselves on social networking sites than their peers who do not watch shows like American Idol and Survivor. The researchers deemed such behavior "promiscuous."

Such research could lead to any number of other questions, but it does challenge the assertion that high-volume communication online is limited to a select few power-users in the tech industry. In other words, the "Scoble Problem" of Facebook's 5000 friend limit may be effecting people in the world at large.

More likely, the research gives reason to believe that online social networking may not be a fad. Beyond its usefulness for communication, personal expression and directory look-ups, the sites are also working in sync with some of the biggest cultural trends at large.

"Social cognitive theory suggests that we are always looking for different ways to behave," primary researcher Michael Stefanone told the U. of Buffalo school paper. "When people on reality TV are rewarded for behaviors such as being the center of attention and gain celebrity from it, it communicates to the audience that these behaviors are good things."

University coverage of the study concludes with the obligatory reminder that your Paris Hilton-style exploits on Facebook today could lose you a job tomorrow. I haven't found that to be true yet myself, but whatever.

Apr 24, 2008

Web 2.0 is Green, Recession-Proof - The Macroeconomic View

How does the recession tie with the green economy and increased shift toward online advertising? In the early 70's, the sudden shift of oil prices caused severe dislocations. Here is the macroeconomic view for 2008.
  • Cause: The double whammy of the mortgage crisis and oil prices created the recession.
  • Effect on goods: Consumers have less money; price of goods have inflated - thus buying less stuff.
  • Effect on services: The marginal cost of online services is free. Consumers spend more time online - playing, socializing, interacting, creating.
  • Effect on gas use: Shift from time spent purchasing goods to consuming online services reduces gas consumption - e.g. commuting costs to buy or work; and eventually publications that depend on gas guzzling lumber, paper mill, print, and mail supply chains.
  • Online ad growth: Online websites grow. Advertisers chase the hot action.
The domino effect of dislocations - economic history repeats regularly.

Web 2.0 Game Plan for the Green, Growth Economy
  1. Consumers: Stay home. Chat by IM, social networks more; play online; telecommute.
  2. Entrepreneurs: Export creative services to the globe.
  3. Publishers: Timetable to end paper waste.

UPS: Dramatic Slowing in U.S. Economy
Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed by 

This is striking stuff from courier company's UPS's earnings conference call:

Chief Executive Scott Davis:

UPS's first quarter results illustrate the dramatic slowing  in the U.S. economy. At our investor conference on March 12th, we told you that volume growth in January had been up 3%. But in the six weeks prior to the conference, it had been negative. We also said if these trends persisted through March, we would not achieve the earnings guidance we had provided for the quarter. [The] trends did continue. Many have become sharply more negative in the last two months. ... The great unknowns are the severity and the duration of the current economic slowdown. Many of our customers have tightened their belts resulting in a shift away from our premium air products to ground shipments. [Emphasis added]

Move along folks. No recession here.

Helping others go green

Official Google Blog by 
Happy Earth Day! I'm sure some of you are wondering how Google is celebrating, and we want to know what you're doing too. We work to make our business more environmentally sustainable throughout the year, but this month, we want to support the hard work you're doing to fight climate change. Last week we blogged about some of Google's new green tools, and now we have even more ways to help you observe Earth Day 2008:

  • Today we're launching the largest batch of new Google Transit cities yet. Travelers in San Francisco, Denver, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Rhode Island and other locations across the country can now use Google Maps to plan trips using public transportation.
  • Google Checkout continues to help you and your friends and family team up and donate to environmental organizations. We have a new video to help you learn how to donate and see how easy it is to map your network of generosity.

LinkedIn Answers: Gas Prices and Telecommuting... from The LinkedIn Blog by 

Rising gas prices have always been a topic of interest on news networks, but today it seemed to be all over CNN, including a news clip (featuring a cameo by LinkedIn's Scott Roberts; after the jump). But I digress - here's the LinkedIn Answers' question of the week, featuring a question on the correlation between rising gas prices and telecommuting...

Is Apple Recession Proof? Find Out Today Wired Top Stories

Apple's Q1 earnings report, scheduled for 5 p.m. Eastern today, will give a much-anticipated clue to the health of the tech economy. Wired.com is providing live coverage of the earnings report.

That Recession? Game Companies Aren't Feeling It

...advertising business malaise? It's still not affecting the video games business, even if Super Smash Bros. Brawl costs $50 at retail. Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan predicts video game software sales grew 47% y/y to $850 million in March, which would match February's 47% y/y sales gain. Leading the pack: Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo... Silicon Alley Insider

Ad Recession? Absolutely. Digital Crushed? Maybe.

...2008 Internet advertising growth from 21% to 19%. Next year it will shrink to 17%, he said: "I don't think there's any question there's going to be an impact." At the other end of the spectrum, Web optimists say a mild ad pullback could help digital. "A recession is great; it's going to force people into digital and accelerate the pay-per track... Silicon Alley Insider

Bits: Online Advertising Is a Lagging Indicator of a Recession

...hurting Internet advertising. Unlike the collapse of 2000, this year marketers are cutting traditional media buys and preserving their online spending. NYT > Technology

Google's chief economist waxes optimistic about Internet sector

Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich moderates a chat about the Internet economy with (from left) Robert Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Edwin Garrubbo of the Electronic Retailing Association, Michael Avon of Columbia Capital, and Google chief economist Hal Varian at the company's D.C. headquarters Friday.

(Credit: Anne Broache/CNET News.com)

WASHINGTON--The U.S. economy as a whole may not have the sunniest prognosis lately, but Google's chief economist and other industry watchers on Friday diagnosed the Internet sector as relatively healthy.

During a panel discussion at Google's D.C. headquarters, professor-turned-in-house-economist Hal Varian argued that an analysis of search queries at his company's site mirrors deeper economic trends. Job-related searches are up as a share of total searches, for instance, and real-estate and luxury goods searches are down--exactly what you'd expect in a "recessionary environment," Varian said.

But overall, the total number of searches on any topic continues to grow "very dramatically" from year to year, and e-commerce sales also continue to climb, Varian said.

"The lesson you learn from looking at query patterns on Google is, yes, we're seeing an economic slowdown, but no, that's not an Internet slowdown," said Varian, who admitted that his day job focuses on a more microeconomic task: the economics of Google's advertising auctions. "The Internet is still looking pretty strong, compared to most of these other sectors."

Comscore: Actually, We Were Right. And Google's US Business Stinks

Comscore: Actually, We Were Right. And Google's US Business Stinks


magidabraham.jpgComscore (SCOR) has had it up to its eyeballs with being blamed for blowing Google's quarter (GOOG). A week after a company blog post failed to quiet screams that inaccurate Google click data had cost investors millions, Comscore's CEO Magid Abraham sends an even more strongly worded email to clients.

The bottom line?

  • Our data was accurate. 
  • Pundits and investors who are blaming us should look in the mirror and ask why they couldn't even be bothered to distinguish between "US" and "Global."
  • The untold story of Google's quarter is that Google's US business stinks.

Dr. Magid Abraham, Comscore CEO:

When Google announced strong Q1 earnings last week, some financial and media analysts wrote thatcomScore’s reports of slowing growth in Google’s paid clicks missed the mark. That conclusion is patently false.

Unfortunately, many pundits attempted to draw conclusions about Google’s worldwiderevenue performance based on comScore’s domestic paid click data, resulting in an apples-to-oranges comparison. Had they used comScore's domestic paid click data to better understand Google's domestic revenue trends, they wouldn't have missed an important U.S. story and they also likely would have avoided making the wrong call onGoogle’s worldwide business.

Following several historical quarters of strong sequential domestic revenue growth (including the seasonally equivalent Q1 2007), Google’s Q1 2008 revenue growth was essentially flat, which represented a significant change for Google’s domestic business. Such an important trend was also evident in comScore’s paid click data.

The chart below shows the directional association between comScore’s domestic paid click trends, as compared to Google’s domestic revenue trends.


[The chart can also be viewed at the following link:http://www.comscore.com/images/google_us.gif]

Of course, this is not a perfect correlation because the comScore data do not include the impact of changes in Google’s price per click and do not include paid clicks from partner sites like AOL, Ask, Washington Post, etc. nor paid clicks from the AdSense network. But the strong relationship of the two trends is undeniable.

There is of course a lesson to be learned here. To extrapolate a single data point across all aspects of a company's business can lead to wildly inaccurate conclusions. 

Finally, to confirm the accuracy of the comScore paid click data, we previously published an apples-to-apples reconciliation on this blog. This analysis reconciles thecomScore data with metrics shown in Google’s Q1, 2008 financial report. In short,comScore got it right – both quantitatively and qualitatively. What was wrong were the conclusions that some people drew based on inherently flawed comparisons.

Dr. Magid Abraham

President and CEO

comScore, Inc.

NEWS: CNET and Yahoo Broadly Expand Editorial and Ad Relationship

CNET and Yahoo Broadly Expand Editorial and Ad Relationship

cnetWhen it reports its first quarter earnings this afternoon, CNET Networks will also announce a much expanded editorial and advertising relationship with Yahoo that will give the tech news site broad distribution on the highly trafficked Internet portal.

CNET and Yahoo have had content licensing deals in the past, in which some CNET content has been featured in the tech areas of 

CNET and Yahoo have had content licensing deals in the past, in which some CNET content has been featured in the tech areas of Yahoo.

But in 2006, Yahoo launched a more robust tech section, which includes original blogs and reviews, and which many saw as a direct competitor to sites like CNET.

Yahoo more recently launched a Tech Ticker site, a blog-like site aimed at tech investors with original material and a lot of videos, along with content from partners (including AllThingsD.com).

Under the new deal, sources at both companies said a large swath of CNET tech news and also reviews will be carried on Yahoo, making it the major supplier of tech news content to the site. Rather than just focusing on its owned-and-operated properties, Yahoo’s more recent strategy has been to partner with media companies.

In addition, under the terms of the deal, Yahoo will sell some of CNET’s remnant inventory and also allow CNET ad sales staff to sell into some area of Yahoo.

This deal is likely to be touted as a big win for CNET’s current management, including CEO Neil Ashe, who has been under siege from a group of dissident shareholders who are unhappy with the company’s lackluster performance and have called for a variety of significant changes.

CNET Buddies Up With Yahoo

...partnership with Yahoo, that Kara Swisher predicts will be cast as a "big win" for CEO Neil Ashe and the rest of CNET's current management. Details here are thin, but Swisher describes the deal as an expansion of CNET's current licensing pact that will make CNET "the major supplier of tech news content" to Yahoo's tech section and the recently-l...

NEWS: MySpace Apps Moves Out Of Beta

MySpace Apps Moves Out Of Beta

MySpace Application Gallery, MySpace’s app directory which launched in limited beta back in March, is now fully live and open to the public.

The MySpace application gallery allows users to browse applications and integrate them into their MySpace page and profile, giving what MySpace describes as “a more engaging and entertaining online experience.”

The biggest difference between todays launch and the beta launch is a link on the main MySpace page to the app page: minor in words but major in promoting MySpaces apps to MySpace’s user base. Users will also have one-click access to the Application Gallery from their home page through their individual control panels.

Since the beta launch, the MySpace Application Gallery has resulted in over 2.1 million installs from over 1,000 approved applications.

MySpace Apps Are Go For All Users

...MySpace officially opened its Application Gallery to all users this morning after launching it in public beta last March. In that time over 1,000 applications have been approved and added to the gallery and there have been over 2.1 million application installs across the site. Today, MySpace began promoting applications to users by adding an i... ReadWriteWeb

Apr 23, 2008

NEWS: Apple Reports Strongest March Quarter in Company’s History

Apple Reports Strongest March Quarter in Company’s History. Again.

...nobody told Apple. On Wednesday afternoon, the company reported second-quarter revenue of $7.5 billion on net income of $1.1 billion or $1.16 per diluted share, pretty much blowing the doors off Wall Street expectations. Apple shipped 2,289,000 Macs (up 51%), 10,644,000 iPods (up 1%) and [...]
Strong Mac Sales Boost Apple's Quarterly Earnings
... Apple on Wednesday reported strong earnings for the second quarter of 2008, with Macintosh computer sales overriding weak...
Quarterly Income Rises 36% at Apple
...Apple reported revenue of more than one-half billion dollars above analyst expectations and predicted continued strong sales in the current quarter.  NYT > Technology 
Earnings: Apple Posts $1 Billion-Plus Profit; Beats Street On Earnings, Revenue
...Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) earned $1.05 billion, or $1.16 per share, for the quarter ending March 29, compared with $770 million, or $0.87 per share, in the same quarter last year. Revenues for the company's second fiscal quarter were $7.51 billion, up 43 percent over $5.26 billion last year before the company launched the iPhone, the iPod Touch and the... paidContent.org

Weak phone sales hurt Motorola earnings

Losses for the maker of the Razr are greater than a year ago, while sales are down amid efforts to reorganize its mobile-phone business before breaking into two companies.
Apple's latest chip gamble
The Mac maker must have something in mind for the products of P.A. Semi, a chipmaker it acquired this week for $278 million. But what? CNET News.com - Business Tech

Blogs, social networks in China - Trend for Freedom

Ed: Advancing democratic freedom in developing worlds like China and India.

China Vaults Past USA In Internet Users

...China, already the world leader in cellphone use, has surpassed the USA as the No. 1 nation in Internet users. The number of Chinese on the Internet hit more than 220 million as of February, according to estimates from official Chinese statistics by the Beijing-based research group BDA China. Digg / Tech Industry News - Apr 22, 2008

Cartoons tell the China story on World Press Freedom Day

While the Olympic athletes race around the track to cheering crowds, policemen outside the stadium race after a man carrying a placard that reads, "Freedom of the Press."

The animated cartoon, like the still image above, can be downloaded here. It is just one of the cartoons and other editorial materials being offered for publication in newspapers, on websites and for broadcast on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May.

The cartoons, both the animated and print versions, were created by noted French cartoonist Michel Cambon exclusively for the World Association of Newspapers, which is making them available for world-wide publication.

The theme of the World Press Freedom Day initiative is "The Olympic Challenge: Free the Press in China!" and the campaign is dedicated to holding Chinese authorities to the pledges they made in their successful Olympic bid to allow greater press freedom.

Despite the promises of reform made ahead of the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese authoritiesolympic_cartoon.jpeg have intensified their crackdown on journalists and others who seek to exercise their right to freedom of expression. With at least 30 journalists and 50 cyber-dissidents in prison, China is the world's largest jailer of journalists.

Chinese journalists continue to face censorship and repression and authoritarian laws, including subversion, disseminating state secrets and spying, are used by the government to control and restrict newsgathering and information and to jail journalists.

Foreign journalists now reporting from China are regularly harassed and even expelled, as was the case during the March 2008 events in Tibet. This violates theOrganising Committee for the Beijing Olympic Games pledge that foreign media would have "complete freedom to report when they come to China"...

Baidu's William Chang: 'No reason for China to use Wikipedia'
China's leading search engine, said it's natural for Chinese to use Baidupedia rather than the foreign Wikipedia.
CNET News.com - Business Tech
...Korea and China, and about 90% of South Koreans read blogs and 88% read blogs in China.  "By and large, in the U.S. we're a country of voyeurs," said David Cohen, U.S. director of digital communications at UM. "We love to watch and consume content created by others, but there's a fairly small group that are doing that creation -- unlike China, w... editorsweblog 

Study shows that U.S. and Western Europe have lower participation rates in social media

...Korea and China, and about 90% of South Koreans read blogs and 88% read blogs in China.  "By and large, in the U.S. we're a country of voyeurs," said David Cohen, U.S. director of digital communications at UM. "We love to watch and consume content created by others, but there's a fairly small group that are doing that creation -- unlike China, w... editorsweblog 

Social Media is a global phenomenon [Venture Explorer]

China alone has more bloggers (42M) the US and Western Europe combined Video is the fastest growing element of social media.  Hardly surprising, given that video is the richest and yet the easiest to create form of content. Widgets are becoming very popular (23% of social network users, and 18% of bloggers, have installed an app or a widget) ... Venture Capital - 

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