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Jan 23, 2009

STAT ComScore: Internet Population Passes One Billion; Top 15 Countries

Ed: Web is still hyper-growth business. Mobile and netbooks add to easy access.

The number of people on the Internet surpassed one billion in December, according to comScore. The actual number is probably higher than that (Internet World Stats counted nearly 1.5 billion Web surfers worldwide as of June 30, 2008). In any case, only between 15 and 22 percent of the world’s population is on the Internet. We have a long way to go.

Using the comScore numbers, here is the breakdown by country and region (in unique visitors as of December, 2008; some of the numbers are rounded):

Top 15 countries, by Internet population:

  1. China: 179.7 million
  2. United States: 163.3 million
  3. Japan: 60.0 million
  4. Germany: 37.0 million
  5. United Kingdom: 36.7 million
  6. France: 34.0 million
  7. India: 32.1 million
  8. Russia: 29.0 million
  9. Brazil: 27.7 million
  10. South Korea: 27.3 million
  11. Canada: 21.8 million
  12. Italy: 20.8 million
  13. Spain: 17.9 million
  14. Mexico: 12.5 million
  15. Netherlands: 11.8 million

Worldwide Internet Audience

  • Asia Pacific: 416 million (41.3%)
  • Europe: 283 million (28.0%)
  • North America: 185 million (18.4%)
  • Latin America: 75 million (7.4%)
  • Middle East & Africa: 49 million (4.8%)

CLIP ThisMoment: Photo and Video Micro-Blogging for the Mainstream


this_moment_logo.pngIf you imagine a mash-up of a micro-blogging site with a very pretty photo and video sharing service, with good privacy controls and an innovative user interface thrown in for good measure, you might come up with something akin to thisMoment. ThisMoment, which is still in private beta (though we have a few invites to give away), is one of the prettier sites we have reviewed in the recent past. The idea behind thisMoment is that you can upload photos and videos from special moments in your life to the site, which then displays them in a beautiful user interface. The site, however, is flexible enough to make it a very capable all-purpose photo and video micro-blogging service.



'Moments,' as thisMoment calls your updates, appear in a side-scrolling slideshow at the bottom of the screen. They can include multiple photos and videos, which you can import from Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, and YouTube. You can also upload pictures and videos directly to thisMoment.

this_moment_timeline.pngThe central element for browsing thisMoment is the timeline, which consists of a series of bars. You can assign different 'moments' a specific importance, which is represented by the height of the bar in your timeline. Different types of events also come with different colors. This is a surprisingly elegant way of browsing through individual timelines, but it also makes finding specific events relatively hard, has the timelines don't actually have dates on them.

As you would expect from a social site, you can follow other users, send messages to your friends and family members on the service,

Geared Towards the Mainstream

ThisMoment is clearly geared towards a mainstream audience. It does have the ability to send updates to your Twitter account, but there are no embeddable widgets or other export functions for your photos or videos. For the most parts, thisMoment is a closed off silo. There is also no way to send images or videos to it from outside of the service. You can't email a picture to thisMoment, for example, and have it appear in your timeline.


Verdict: Pretty, Fun, But Limited

Most users won't mind (and may even appreciate) that the service lives in a walled garden. The site is definitely a great place to share updates about your kids or your travels, and thisMoment's user interface is very elegant, though sometimes to the detriment of its functionality. Why, for example, is the actual content relegated to the bottom half of the screen, even when browsing through the photos and videos of an event?

this_moment_small_sshot.pngAdvanced users will probably want more functionality and the ability to port their data or at least get an RSS feed from thisMoment that they can import to FriendFeed or other services.

However, advanced users are not the focus of this site, and it does what it does very well.

CLIP Google Puts The Squeeze On Free Apps

Ed: Not impressed. We have 6 clients using Google Apps for domain name only, not mail, docs, calendar, and web hosting. How many do you have?

Google says the vast majority of the 1 million businesses that use Google Apps opt for the free advertising supported version. To make the free option less attractive they’ve been quietly lowering the number of user accounts that can be associated with a free account. Now as businesses grow, they’ll be forced to move to the paid version much more quickly than before.

Google Apps is a suite of online applications like gmail, Google calendar, Google Docs, etc. that are packaged and tailored for business use. It’s growing fast - in a recent post where Google announced the opening of a reseller program, the company said that more than 1 million businesses and 10 million users use Google Apps today, and 3,000 new businesses sign up daily. The largest business user, Genentech, has 20,000 employees on Google Apps.

When Google Apps first launched in August 2006 it was free and described as “a service available at no cost to organizations of all shapes and sizes.”

Free for everyone lasted until February 2007, when Google announced a premier edition of the service with more storage and an uptime guarantee. The cost was (and is) $50 per user per year.

When Google Apps first launched up to 200 user accounts could be created for each business under the free version. But that limit was quietly reduced to just 100 user accounts. And then when the reseller program was announced earlier this month, the limit was cut in half again, to just 50 accounts.

Jan 22, 2009

Can the Washington Post Create the Killer Political Database?

Ed: Will Obama lead a new wave of new media spending?

January 20, 2009

A Director of New Media for the White House!

I love this. The White House has a Director of New Media. How cool is that?

Macon Phillips, formerly Director, Strategy and Communications for Blue State Digital (or still? not sure) is filling the role. Blue State handled many of the Obama camp's digital media efforts -- things like Web site development and other organization and communication tools (not really the ads though).

Phillips's first post to the WhiteHouse.gov site notes that the revamped-site "will serve as a place for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world."

He expounded on three priorities of the administration's new media efforts: Communication, Transparency ("executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review"), and Participation ("we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it").

This last priority is pretty interesting. We'll have to wait and see what is deemed non-emergency legislation as so much of the stuff we can expect to come out of congress will be in the emergency column in the near future, one would imagine.

Of course, any citizen has been able to access any legislation online in the past by accessing the House and Senate sites. However, having such documents easily linked to on the WhiteHouse site could result in more citizen engagement. Plus, a promise to wait five days to get the country's reaction is a novel one.

Check it out here, and while you're at it, don't forget to read about former First Pets!

whorunsgovlogo.jpgThis morning the Washington Post launched WhoRunsGov.com, a site where readers can learn background information about the new Obama administration, members of congress, prominent military officials and others who now "run government."

Is the Post following the trailblazing work of organizations like the New York Times and the UK Guardian in making the newspaper of the future a database of public information, layered with analytic, visual and programmatic added value? That's what we have hopes for, but it's not clear yet that the Post knows what to do with its new site.

WhoRunsGov is built on a Mindtouch Dekiwiki, the same sophisticated platform used by many other organizations to assemble data-centric application sites built largely on mashups. We've seen some awesome work done by IBM with a Dekiwiki for example, pulling in data using Dapper and mashing it up with maps APIs.

WhoRunsGov, on the other hand, looks mostly like a content site right now. A mix of political news and a would-be search engine magnet in the form of 240 pages about high profile political figures. The site is a moderated wiki, it includes blogs and it aggregates relevant news coverage from the Post and around the web. That's cool, but it sure could be cooler.

Earlier this month the Post hired political blogging star Greg Sargent away from Talking Points Memo to write the lead blog on WhoRunsGov. Sargent's posts should be good and popular, but we'd love to see them augmented with content based in a paradigm fresher than the old broadcast media. There's a lot of third party data that could be pulled in to WhoRunsGov and there's outbound APIs that could make it a much more valuable site, ultimately increasing its draw and traffic.

More Inspiring Examples

What would that look like? For some inspiring examples, check out Little Sis, described as "an involuntary Facebook of powerful Americans, collaboratively edited & maintained by people like you." If you remember the Flash visualization theyrule.net, Little Sis is of the same vein, but a living site.

Little Sis is getting a lot of love from the Sunlight Foundation and its grand slam site OpenCongress.

The UK Guardian is doing a lot of things in this direction, most notably their initiative Free Our Data, where they are agitating for release of public data for the purpose of mashups. That's pretty hot.

The New York Times has released multiple APIs and just announced a conference called Times Open, "for developers interested in working with NYTimes.com as a news and information platform." (Disclosure: the NYTimes is a syndication partner of this site.)

The coolest political tech initiative we've seen in a long time is Memeorandum Colors, a Greasemonkey script on top of some really innovative data mining to determine the political leanings of blogs participating in the hottest online discussions each day.

Compared to those kinds of initiatives, WhoRunsGov looks a bit boring so far. There's a lot of potential though, and we hope to see the Washington Post's new initiative develop with more impact than it had when it came out of the gate.

BBC's Semantic Music Project

The BBC Music Beta project is an ongoing effort by the BBC to build semantically linked and annotated web pages about artists and singers whose songs are played on BBC radio stations. Within these pages, collections of data are enhanced and interconnected with semantic metadata, letting music fans explore connections between artists that they may have not known existed.

The BBC Music project has been in beta since June of last year. According to silicon.com, Matthew Shorter, Interactive Editor for Music at the BBC, the project is "a part of a general movement that's going on at the BBC to move away from pages that are built in a variety of legacy content production systems to actually publishing data that we can use in a more dynamic way across the web."


That dynamic backend technology - semantic markup - adds additional context to data about the artist which can include anything from previous bands, past collaborators, venues played, and more. The metadata is then linked together to create relationships that you may not have even known about before.

Most of the information for the project comes from MusicBrainz, an open content music "metadatabase" that lists information for over 400,000 artists. To make a BBC music page, the contextual information surrounding the artist is imported to their BBC page. By using the artist's "MusicBrainzID," web page creators can integrate the artist's Wikipedia biography, too. Reusing this content is a better use of their time and energy, says Shorter, because the content is already available on the public domain.

As more projects like this take advantage of the publicly available metadata available, the beginnings of a real semantic web can finally take root.

Britannica Wants to Be More Like Wikipedia: Lets Users Contribute

britannica_logo.pngAccording to the Sydney Morning Herald, the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica is about to open ups its articles to edits by its users. Jorge Cauz, Britannica's president, tells the SMH that readers will soon be able to make edits to existing articles and create their own content. These updates, however, will be vetted by Britannica's staff, which hopes to review every edit within 20 minutes.

Why did CNN’s web site dominate inauguration coverage? Facebook Connect?

Ed: Viral, realtime, scalable, virtual conference
  • Visitors chat during live video stream
  • Comments feed Facebook news-feed to their friends at Facebook
  • More visitors join the viewing, chatting
Is this the future of live events?

from VentureBeat by 

CNN’s web site had the attention of more than four percent of U.S. web users when it streamed President Barack Obama’s inauguration live on Tuesday, according to a Compete traffic report today — much higher than rival Fox, CBS and MSNBC’s traffic combined. Why?

Maybe it was because CNN’s site was already much more popular, as you can see from the Compete traffic graph. Since most people already visited CNN’s web site for online news, its where they told their friends to go.

However, many of us were impressed by CNN’s integration of Facebook Connect (even though the video wasn’t perfect). Maybe that service’s success had something to do with the traffic increase? It basically lets you chat with your friends on Facebook while watching the inauguration on CNN, repurposing Facebook status updates feature into a real-time threaded chat service. Facebook saidthat more than 1.5 million status messages were generated on the CNN site that day. See screenshot below.

One way that Connect may have driven traffic to CNN is that the chat messages appeared within user profiles and on news feeds on Facebook, so friends would see that you were watching the inauguration and go chat with you on CNN. Of course, Facebook and CNN both advertised the service beforehand, so that certainly affected overall usage. We don’t have detailed numbers to help us sort out why CNN’s traffic was so much higher than rivals during the inauguration, but it could be an early indicator of where Connect is going.

Jan 21, 2009

CLIP Facebook and CNN: The Power of the Social Web Revealed

Ed: Real-time stream of Facebook status changes on the CNN website.

Today Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. As several million people attended the inauguration in Washington D.C., Facebook and CNN invited the rest of the world to watch the moment online. Online visitors to CNN.com were able to use its video player to watch the live broadcast coverage of the event. We also saw what has be one of the most brilliant examples of the real-time web in action: next to the video, the Facebook status updates of those watching streamed by in the sidebar.

The integration of the status updates on CNN.com Live was powered by Facebook Connect, Facebook's relatively new platform for porting your online identity anywhere on the web. When a web site uses Facebook Connect, visitors can easily authenticate on that site using their Facebook account information - no need for a separate username and password. Besides simply being convenient, it allows people to log on as their "real" selves, a trend that perhaps speaks to the beginning of the end of online anonymity.


If there was any doubt of the power this platform provides, we've just witnessed an incredible - if not historic - example of what it can do. President Obama's inauguration is sure to knock Facebook Connect ahead of its main competitor in the realm of portable social identities,Google Friend Connect, whose current claim to fame is a blog widget that does little more than the falling-from-grace Yahoo's MyBlogLog widget does now, save for some over-hyped integration with social services like Twitter, Plaxo, and Orkut.

In the end, not only did Facebook Connect provide an interactive look into the thoughts and feelings of all those watching CNN's coverage via the web - it did so without crashing. According to the statistics, there were 200,000+ status updates, which equaled out to 3,000 people commenting on the Facebook/CNN feed per minute. Right before Obama spoke, that number grew to 8500. Additionally, Obama's Facebook Fan Page hasmore than 4 million fans and more than 500,000 wall posts. (We wonder if anyone on his staff will ever read all those!).

CNN didn't do too badly either. They broke their total daily streaming record, set earlier on Election Day, and delivered 5.3 million streams. Did you have trouble catching a stream? We didn't hear of any issues, but if you missed out, you can watch it again later today. CNN will replay the live video at 3 PM, 5 PM, 9 PM, and 12 midnight (EST) on cnn.com/video.

For more political coverage as it relates to the web, see also our post from last night, 7 Online Things You Can Do to Help Obama Restore America.

Jan 20, 2009

It's Official: NYTCo Gets $250 Million Cash Infusion From Carlos Slim's 'Banco Inbursa'

imageAs expected, The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) has received a $250 million cash injection from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu. Reports over the weekend from both the Times and the WSJ said that the deal could close today—but also that it could collapse under its complexity before anything had finalized. Under the terms of the deal, NYTCo will use the money to refinance its existing debt. In particular, president and CEO Janet L. Robinson said the proceeds would be used to help cover the $400 million credit facility expiring in May.Release.

Some other details about the deal include:

—The notes are priced at a 14 percent interest rate, of which the NYTCo may choose to pay 3 percent for an additional issuance. The notes are callable beginning three years.

—Slim and members of his family are the main shareholders of Grupo Financiero Inbursa, S.A B. de C.V., which is the parent company of Banco Inbursa. Those two entities own Inmobiliaria Carso, the vehicle through which Slim currently holds 6.9 percent of the NYTCo's Class A shares.

—Slim purchased the 6.9 stake in NYTCo back in September. The value at the time: approximately $127 million, 9.1 million shares at $13.96 a share.The value now: about $58 million based on Friday's $6.41 close (which was up 3.27 percent in trading that day).

David adds: While Slim's purchase won't erase the $1.1 billion in debt NYTCo has due in the next few years, it certainly will give the company some room to maneuver as the entire newspaper industry is trying to cope in one of most perilous financial periods since World War II. In order to get some breathing room, NYTCo execs have turned to Slim, who is regarded as one of the world's richest individuals. But as Robinson insisted in the release, the company is continuing to "explore other financing initiatives."

—Still, some of the ideas NYTCo has floated lately—like selling off the Boston Globe (which has been mentioned by others for years, not Times execs), dumping its stake in the Boston Red Sox and taking out a mortgage or sale-lease on its 58 percent ownership of its Times Tower office building—make sense, but will be enormously difficult to pull off in this kind of poor economic environment. Additional moves to free up cash, like November's decision to reduce the generous dividend payments, have continued to spur debate about whether NYTCo has gone far enough.

—As for Slim's intentions, that's likely to continue to draw attention. He's keeping mum for now, Reuters says. For example, is this part of a larger plan to gain control of the NYT? The 15.9 million Class A shares Slim got in the deal, if converted to stock, the company, could eventually give the Mexican tycoon a 17 percent interest in the publisher. While the Sulzberger family that has controlled the paper for over a century hope that in return for the holdings, Slim will offer an added line of defense against dissident shareholders, he could certainly change his outlook if the NYTCo's business suffers further, presenting an even greater challenge to the family and their hold of the world's leading newspapers.

CLIP Cisco in The Cloud: Application Extension Platform (AXP)

Ed: Network problem for retail chains and large enterprises with regional sales offices.

One doesn't tend to associate Cisco with Web 2.0, social media or cloud computing. Cisco equals routers, the plumbing of the web. In other words, vital and hugely profitable; but not the 'new, new thing' of the Internet. It turns outwe have written before about how Cisco is using social media to reach enterprise clients and playing in the enterprise social networking space. Now Cisco wants to position its Application Extension Platform (AXP) in the cloud platform space and is encouraging developers with $100,000 in prizes for the most innovative applications.

The product AXP is not new. Cisco launched it about 4 years ago. But it is now ramping up the marketing. Read on for a rundown of AXP's positioning in the market.

The Networking Problems In Branch Offices

On the consumer Internet, we connect directly to big server farms running our favorite services. In the Enterprise world, most users connect via a branch network. In this more complicated world, there are three concerns that are not well addressed by the platforms that emerged in the Web 2.0 era:

  1. Security at the branch level. Security at the data center or server farm may be great, but the branch is often a back-door threat.
  2. Performance. If a hundred people are working in a branch, dealing with some network traffic locally would improve performance.
  3. Survivability. Losing connectivity to the cloud is still a significant issue. If it happens to a single consumer, you shrug it off and say "Oh well." If it stops a bank branch from functioning, well, that's another story.

Cisco AXP aims to address these challenges in branch networks. The $100,000 contest is part of this, as it asks developers to think of what apps can run at the branch level within a Cisco network router (aka "the box") - which is really a Linux server with the network services exposed via an API. February 27th is the final deadline for submissions, if you're a developer interested in this challenge. Finalists will be announced in May and the winners will be announced in August/September.

For more on the technology, current usage cases, and competition rules see Cisco's presentation on Slideshare.

Cisco Media Briefing Developer Contest V4.3
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Jan 19, 2009

CLIP Hold Your Own Photo-Design Contests With Aviary’s W1K

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably come across the handiwork of Worth1000, a site that invites readers to use their image-editing skills to do everything from crafting new logos, to creating vintage ads for modern products or adding monsters to otherwise tame photos. The site has run over 200,000 contests since its inception in 2002, and now has galleries teeming with hundreds of thousands of user-created images.

Now Aviary, the company behind Worth1000, is looking to give site owners a chance to run their own image-design competitions. The company has built a powerful suite of browser-based imaged editing tools, and is now launching a new site called w1k.com that helps users easily create their own online photo-editing contests. These contests can consist of anything from crowdsourced logo-design competitions to humorous celebrity-morphs (and everything in between), and could appeal to a broad range of publishers.

Users will be able to submit their entries either using Aviary’s online photo-editing software (which should be suitable for most people), or they can upload images from their desktop if they’d rather use software like Photoshop or Gimp. Users will be able to stir up interest in their submissions by sharing links through Email, Twitter, Facebook and other services, though contest administrators will be able to restrict these options. The Aviary team is also implementing the anti-cheating system it has developed for Worth1000, so the contests should be more accurate than a homegrown image-upload and voting system.

Aviary is offering a basic template for free that will be more than enough for most users. To generate revenue, it will also offer a premium option that allows website publishers to create customized templates and also includes a robust interface for stat-tracking and demographic information. For an example of how customizable these contest sites are, check out this fake contest, which shows off a TechCrunch-themed design along with some interesting ideas for alternate Crunchies statue designs (we like the real guy just fine, though). Other examples include a competition sponsored by EA for MirrorsEdge and this Dark Theme, which will be available to free users.

Aviary’s w1k.com contest creator seems poised to do well. Companies like EA benefit from the contests because they help generate user-interest while simultaneously getting what amounts to free image design, while smaller sites can use the competitions to increase engagement. The basic technology behind running one of these competitions may not be too difficult to reproduce, but Aviary also has its browser-based image editor, which makes the contests accessible to a much broader audience.

Mag Publishers: Digital Barely Made A Dent In '08 Ad Revenues

Magazine publishers can expect an even tougher year of declining ad pages. And the promise of digital ad sales someday making up for print losses is looking ever more distant. An AdAge survey of mag companies' digital revenues show that even those that have been most active on the online front have a long way to go.

—Time Inc. came in far ahead of everyone else in terms of dollars—last year, the company brought in an estimated $245 million in digital ad dollars. But that's only 10 percent of its total ad revenue. Condé Nast's digital take last year—$104 million—is on its face an impressive figure. But digital contributed a paltry 3 percent of the company's advertising stream, a surprising fact considering Conde Nast's early efforts to build an online ad presence.

—Others are making greater strides when it comes to boosting online as a share of their advertising, but their digital revenues are much lower than those of places like Time Inc. At Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO), online made up about 12 percent of its ad sales in 2008, but digital revenues totaled just $14 million. Some individual magazine titles are converting to digital at a faster rate. New York Magazinecurrently gets 20 percent of its ad revenue from the web. The magazine's goal is to get to 50 percent within five years. A full chart of the survey is available here (PDF).


2008 Magazine Advertising Shows Effects of Soft Economy

January 13, 2009

New York, NY (January 13, 2009)—Total magazine rate-card-reported advertising revenue for full-year 2008 closed at $23,652,018,533, posting a 7.8% decline against the previous year, according to Publishers Information Bureau (PIB).  A total of 220,813 advertising pages were generated throughout the year, a drop of 11.7% compared to 2007.  In the fourth quarter, PIB revenue generated $6,569,577,476, which was a 13.8% decrease compared to 2007’s fourth quarter.  There were 60,814.50 advertising pages counted for the quarter, a decline of 17.1% compared to the same period in 2007. 

“Like other ad-supported media, magazines have been affected by the economic slump, which deepened as 2008 progressed,” said Ellen Oppenheim, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Magazine Publishers of America, which administers PIB.  “Advertiser decisions for the fourth quarter were influenced by a range of factors. For longer-lead time monthlies, consumers cut spending during the summer due to soaring energy prices, which caused advertisers to put buy fewer ads in year-end magazine issues.  In the fall and early winter, rising unemployment and steep stock market declines led to restrained ad spending in weekly titles.”

CLIP Heyzap creates market of widgets to put casual games on any web site

Casual games are multiplying like weeds. But Heyzap can embed them on any web site via a widget (a light web application).

With a few clicks, you can embed the code in your site and “gameify” it. Games are sticky. They’re engaging and often a lot more fun than most business-oriented web sites. Heyzap’s widgets are fairly democratic — big brands can use them, but so can your average user who wants, say, a favorite flash game embedded on a MySpace page.

It’s a good deal for game publishers and developers because it’s a way to distribute games to a far wider audience than they otherwise might reach. Developers can upload their games directly into the site. Heyzap takes a cut, the game developers or publishers get a cut, and so doesMochi Media, which embeds ads in the games.

So far, Heyzap has put together a database of more than 4,000 games that can be sorted into categories like sports or puzzles. By organizing the games, Heyzap says it’s something like a YouTube of flash games. (Of course, Kongregate, which aggregates user-created games, already has that nickname).

Immad Akhund and Jude Gomila founded the San Francisco company. It has funding from Y Combinator. The company expects to look for money later. It will face some serious competition on the web from the likes of Wild Tangent, Oberon Media, Addicting Games, Games2Win, GameCurry, and the aforementioned Kongregate. NeoEdge does something similar with widgets, but NeoEdge focuses mainly on downloadable games.

Akhund previous founded Clickpass and sold that a couple of months ago to Synthasite.

CLIP Holy Crap, Search Advertising Actually Shrank In Q4 (GOOG)

from Silicon Alley Insider by 

U.S. search advertising spending fell an unprecedented 8% year-over-year in Q4, search marketing firm Efficient Frontier reports. It was the first time search advertising spending declined in a quarter year-over-year since Efficient Frontier began keeping track.

If true, it's particularly bad news for search advertising leader Google (GOOG), which EF said maintained its 76% market share. But it's not a happy day for followers Yahoo (YHOO), which saw market share slip to 20%, or Microsoft (MSFT) -- its share down 4.2% -- either.

Google execs always said that the company would weather a recession better than most advertising-exposed companies because search advertising return on investment (ROI) is so easily measured. And while it's true that retail marketers actually increased their spending 9% during Q4, hits to finance (down 20% vs. Q4'07) and automotive (down 23% vs Q4'07) more than made up for that gain.

ElmoFalling.jpgAnother theory gone bust is that the continued shift of money from offline to online will keep online advertising growing even as it implodes offline.

Here's what's actually terrifying about all this: what we heard all quarter from agencies and publishers was that yes, ad spending may be down some, but mostly marketers were just moving their spending into products with more discernible ROI -- you know, like search.

There's not much that offers more concrete ROI than search. So if it was down 8% year-over-year in Q4, how badly was display advertising damaged?

Now you know why publishing execs are saying we'll be "lucky" if display spending is down just 10% in 2009.

Caveats? We got 'em. If you'd like to feel better about these numbers, you can remember that they are from one source only, they measure U.S. spending only, and that they come from an undefined sample size.

Still, we bet its numbers like these that got Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes in a room together. As spending growth -- and even, perhaps, spending -- shrinks, we're sure to see industry consolidation. Also: like with saw withGoogle's first layoffs ever last week, expect more shrinking within the companies themselves.

See Also:
How Microsoft Blew Search (MSFT)

Carol Bartz's "Gut" Tells Her Not To Do Microsoft Search Deal (YHOO)

Jan 18, 2009

CLIP US: Star Tribune files for Chapter 11

Posted by
 Lauren Drablier on January 16, 2009 at 9:56 AM
According to several reports, Minneapolis' Star Tribune filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 due to falling advertising sales.  The Star Tribune joins the Tribune Co. (owner of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times) that filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 8. 

8-3-07_MN_ST.jpgThe Star Tribune listed its assets between $100 million and $500 million and debt of between $500 million and $1 billion, Bloomberg reports.  Ad sales have fallen by $75 million in two years and circulation has fallen by 6.7 percent in a six-month period at the end of 2008.

According to publisher Chris Harte, "We intend to use the Chapter 11 process to make this great Twin Cities institution stronger, leaner and more efficient."

Businesses file for Chapter 11 when they are unable to pay debt or creditors.  Chapter 11 is basically reorganization of the company, not liquidation.  After filing for Chapter 11, most companies remain in control of business operations.  If a businesses' debts exceed its assets, then the court can decide to hand over all of their rights and interests to the company's creditors.

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