News of the News Corp.
Over The Aereo
Curation and aggregation drive online news. Reporters dig up and collect bits of information for their stories, other news sites aggregate and pass the stories along, and news ticker services boil them down further. But when we think of the news ecosystem, we often forget the one organization to rule them all: Google.
Google is, Read More
What’s the best way to respond when a court ruling doesn’t go in your favor? Public histrionics, judging by statements from News Corp. COO Chase Carey.
Last week, the Second Circuit appeals court upheld a decision denying broadcasters their motion for a preliminary injunction against Aereo, the Barry Diller-backed startup that lets users live-stream broadcast TV. The plaintiffs in the case are a cohort of powerful media companies, including NBC, CBS, Disney and, yes, News Corp, whose COO Chase Carey is not taking the decision lying down.
News of the News Corp.
Betabeat was sceptical when we first heard about Beyond Oblivian, a New York based music startup that got $87 million in backing from big names like Allen & Co., Sony and News. Corp. The startup aimed to take on Spotify by offering an unlimited music streaming service with no monthly fee. Instead the service came baked into smartphones, adding around $60 to the cost of each device,
Seems like our doubts were well founded. The Financial Times is reporting that has shut down before it even launched.
The full News. Corp board will meet this week to discuss the fallout from the News of the World “Phone Hacking” scandal and then, on Wednesday, deliver its end of year financial report which it hopes will shift attention and allow the company to move on.
The big news on the tech side is that News Corp. finally sold off the long suffering Myspace, which had been a perpetual eye sore on its quarterly results. The purchase price wasn’t enough to move the needle, but it will stem the losses in the interactive division. The cable division and Fox in particular, are expected to deliver their typically stellar results.
Beg Borrow and Steal
The word hacker has been everywhere recently, splashed across the front page for weeks as the “Phone Hacking” scandal at News of the World engulfed Rupert Murdoch and his media empire. There is a sensational mystique to the term that makes it irresistible to journalists. But typing the default password “1111” into the voicemail box of a murdered girl is not hacking. Neither is bribing the police for the phone numbers of celebrities and crime victims. Unless we’re ready to call smashing the window on my Honda Civic “car hacking,” nothing in the News. Corp scandal fits the bill.
“If it had been me, I would have broken into the phone company system, so I could have had direct access to the messages of all their customers,” said Kevin Mitnick, who was for several years the most wanted computer criminal in America, after hacking into the voicemail computers at Pacific Bell. “What News Corp. did, guess pin codes, spoofing voicemails, that is amateur script kiddie stuff.”
Despite handing out pink slips to almost 40 percent of its employees and putting another 40 percent on a transition plan that will keep them on staff as they look for new gigs, Myspace seems likely to sell for a fraction of the $580 million News Corp paid for it back in the summer of Read More
Beg Borrow and Steal
A dispatch from the sad saga of Myspace, the Tumblr-Facebook precursor once thought to be worth $327 million, comes to us from the Pew Center, which today issued a comparative report on “social networking services.” Myspace had a still-impressive 35 million visitors last month, according to comScore (although that number is dropping) and Pew has one statistic that contrasted starkly with the other social networks. A supermajority of Myspace’s users have been on the site for more than two years: 76 percent. For the other sites, that number is around 33 to 36 percent.
This is a reflection of Myspace’s inability to recruit new users, sure. Just three percent of its users joined in the last six months. But isn’t it a basic rule of sales that new customer acquisition is much more expensive than existing customer retention? Myspace’s users are highly familiar with the brand and the interface. Considering all the money flowing to start-ups whose main challenge is the struggle to recruit users, it’s hard to believe its corporate overloads (this bloodbath is all your fault anyway, News Corp.) are having so much trouble finding a buyer.
Activity on Myspace has been plunging for some time now, making it very difficult for the once powerful social network to sign new advertising deals, and prompting parent company News Corp. to put it up for sale.
The big redesign that rolled out a few months back was supposed to refocus the site and Read More
Mike Arrington writes about the fascination with Myspace’s decline. “It’s like slowing down at the scene of an accident,” says an anonymous source. “This is a dramatic situation, and more drama is likely as the scene continues to unfold,” says Mr. Arrington. Can’t wait to write these words about The Daily. Read More