Category Archives: Video

Are you under TiVo’s StopWatch?

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Putting his hand on the proverbial Bible, Todd Juenger, a VP at TiVo, swears blind that the digital video recording company is not archiving and selling inidivual subscriber’s data.

TiVo is, however, through its StopWatch initative offering ad agencies and television networks the opportunity to receive real time data concerning which programs TiVo subscribers are watching and which ads they are skipping.

Talking with the San Francisco Chronicle, Todd said that StopWatch only delivers a random, anonymous sampling of what their user base is watching.

Inherently as an advocate of the attention economy I find nothing wrong or alarming in what TiVo is doing. However, there is a slippery slope effect and it is up to users to determine their level of confidence in particular companies…do you trust companies like TiVo…will they continue to anonymise your data?

Venture Wrap: LinkedIn, ROO and Headsprout

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In venture news this week, professional networking site, LinkedIn, has raised $12.8 million from Bessemer Venture Partners and the European Founders Fund. The post money valuation placed on the Palo Alto company was a cool $250 million.

The funding will be used to allow them to experiment with new products. They’ve recently been trialling LinkedIn Answers – a user gets to ask her contacts business questions – and launched LinkedIn Experts earlier this month – users can submit requests to experts for advice.

Seattle-based kids online learning company, Headsprout, has raised $8 million from Kaplan, an educational company, to focus on putting an end to illiteracy. The company was set up in 1999 and initially raised funding from Sofinnova Ventures, the Raisin Fund and Roser Ventures.

On the acquisitive front, News Corp. is reported to be making a $12 million investment into ROO Networks, a listed company that provides digital video solutions. Michael Arrington has picked up on the fact that this is not through Fox Interactive – who, he says, have been having separate conversations with Brightcove, a competitor to ROO.

Former Fox Interactive head, Ross Levinsohn must be shaking with laughter.

Fox is also said to be in talks to acquire ad optimisation company, Strategic Data Corporation.

Buzzed about Venture Capital

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It’s been a busy few days on the funding front — deals that entered the investment pipelines are popping up like flowers in a spring field at the moment. Here’s a snapshot:

* Buzzlogic, a social media influence software company based in San Francisco has not only been chosen by AlwaysOn Media as an AO Media 100 Top Private Companies, but they’ve also secured a Series A round of $9.6 million. The round was led by Adams Capital Management and included Ackerley Partners and Transcosmos.

* Boxxet, based in Burlingame, Ca this popular topic information site creator has raised $900k in seed funding from Ascend Venture Group.

* Music Nation, a New York company focused on independent music videos, has raised a first round of $5.5 million from Greylock Partners and Point Judith Capital.

* OKcupid, a dating site in New York has raised $6 million in angel funding, and a mobile dating service, Icebreaker, from Bellevue, Washington has secured funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners for Crush or Flush, its mobile version of Hot or Not.

* Brightcove has raised $59.5 million in a Series C round. The funding in this online video platform company which bills itself as an Internet TV company was led by AllianceBernstein, Brookside Capital and Maverick Capital and also included a bunch of others along with The New York Times Company.

* Millenial Media, a wireless advertising company based in Baltimore, MD has secured $6.3 million in a Series A round from Bessemer Venture Partners, Columbia Capital and Acta Wireless.

Charles Moldow, a General Partner at Foundation Capital, has written a great piece of advice for entrpreneurs considering their route to market titled VC to aspiring entrepreneur: Are you sure you want out money? in which he outlines the equity dilution principle vis a vis exit opportunities and urges would be investees to think hard about the path they choose.

Joost to boost beta

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The project formerly known as Venice has announced that, following hot on the heels of the move from project to venture, they will be expanding the beta.

Joost’s CEO, Fredrik de Wahl, says that they are putting more content on the platform and creating more and more applications and functionality.

Release 0.8 is pending

CBS: No More New Media

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CBS Corp’s CEO,  Leslie Moonves, gave an insightful keynote at CES in Las Vegas in which he stated that there’s no such this as old or new media anymore…”There is just media.”

A great statement, but unfortunately there are still old and new media companies. Old media guys just don’t get the changes that are taking place around them at lightning speed and at some stage they’ll drop off the map and become defunct media companies, at which point we can truly drop the old/new media moniker.

In the meantime, CBS seems to have embraced all that it means to be at the media forefront. Firstly, they are taking a multi-faceted approach to playing in the digital space, developing some ideas entirely in house, and in other cases forming partnerships to bring ideas to life.

Secondly, CBS has formed some innovative relationships, including:

* with Electric Sheep, to build a Star Trek environment within Second Life

* with Sling Media, to develop a new app called Clip+Sling, which will allow audiences to share short segments of programming.

Leslie finished off by saying, “Anything is possible. Audiences know that, content people know that, and innovators in the digital space know that.”

Clip+Sling will give Slingbox owners the ability to clip and share content directly from either live or recorded television in a simple process via the SlingPlayer (desktop or mobile). They’ll then be able to share this content with friends, even if they aren’t Slingbox users. CBS will be participating in a beta trial to educate themselves on what their audiences want. Their take is that such new capabilities as Clip+Sling, as long as they are undertaken with due consideration for content owners, are worth pursuing.

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Hightechwire: Venture Wrap

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The latest venture funding activity includes:

* Heavy.com, an online video site for 18-34 year old males, which has closed a $20m financing from Polaris Venture Partners. The funding (which comes on top of $10m provided by Polaris in early 2006) will be used to expand Heavy’s network internationally. According to Mike Hirshland, a partner at Polaris, “Heavy is building a true 21st century media company, which combines internally developed content with great consumer generated content and with a sustainable revenue model. As advertisers expand their online video budgets in 2007, they are looking to work with the few online brands that can effectively deliver audience in scale.”

* With technology developed in Israel, San Francisco based Amobee has developed a telco grade adserving solution for mobile operators, which enables them to ad-fund non-voice related apps and services. The company has raised further funding from Sequoia and Accel (they raised $5m in 2005).

On the M&A side, Colorado-based Digitalglobe, which provides high resolution commercial satellite imagery and geospatial information products has acquired GlobeXplorer, a geographic data integration and publishing company from Stewart REI. GlobeXplorer’s web-based search and delivery apps will augment Digitalglobe’s Quickbird satellite system. The company’s images power GoogleEarth and they anticipate launching two new satellites in 07/08.

Rule One of New Media: It’s All About the Conversation

Mark Sigal has written an interesting post about the shift from traditional media in which the main rule was that Content is King to the new media arena in which the Conversation is King.

New media is exemplified by the almost random, helter-skelter manner that conversations about a song, a news story or a video clip can spark up and then spread virally across many groups of “friends” who share similar interests.

It is designed for a generation of multi-taskers that excels at consuming information in “sound bites.” It is about the conversation, the narratives that can shape and direct conversations and the electricity that we feel when connecting with the human sources of content.

Unlike “old media,” where content was the star, in new media, it is about the users and giving them control of what they digest, how they digest it and with whom.

Mark, who is CEO of vSocial and a hyper entrepreneur, suggests a new value chain is emerging…what he calls Channel Me:

First off, it will be user-centric. By that, I mean users will have the tools that they need for easy capturing, organizing, customizing and sharing of content of interest.

These tools will have built in recognition systems (like deep profiles) to systematically connect like minds together, and filters that provide transparency that highlights what’s new, popular, recently viewed, talked about or related content.

More often than not, such content will be ad supported, but the interesting question that comes to the fore is who pays whom? In some cases it will be a third party advertiser looking to affiliate with contextually targeted content. In others, however, the content owner may actually reward the most virally connected users for spreading the word.

I’ll let you read the rest of the post on Mark’s blog, but before I go here is a final nugget…

The evolution of the Web from text, pictures and links to video-powered social nets is as profound as the evolution of broadcast media from radio to television, and it is destined to be no less exciting.