Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, March 13, 2021

Media companies are looking to buy their way into all the hot online spots, but the acquisition terrain isn’t looking particularly promising, with midsized Web properties unavailable or valued too nebulously to buy up.

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind any and all media M&A sniffers that this here website is perpetually and unashamedly For Sale, for the right price. Make me an offer, yo.

Of course, I might have to build up a bit more of an audience first:

For a Web site to pique the interest of mass-market advertisers, it needs to have at least a million unique visitors a month; to be considered a major takeover candidate, it needs to have five million unique visitors, said Sharon Wienbar, a managing director with BA Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley venture firm that invests in Internet content companies…

[Tribe Networks’ Mark] Pincus noted that to reach a narrowly defined audience, the cost for having an advertisement seen 1,000 times, an advertising industry standard measure, was $20 to $50. An example, he said, would be visitors to a major portal’s finance page.

He said that to reach broader audiences with specific interests — like the people who visit a job search site — ads command $4 to $10 per thousand impressions, a “huge jump” from $1 or $2 just two years ago.

To reach general audiences, like the masses who use Myspace.com on a regular basis, he said the price has jumped to $1 or $2 per thousand impressions, from pennies.

Maybe I should start giving away iPods or something…

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/13/2006 10:44:53 PM
Category: Internet, Business | Permalink | Feedback

hello, children
Spoofs needling Mormons, Jews and Muslims were okay. But pick on Scientologists, and Chef is outta there.

Normally, I’d reserve judgement on this sort of thing, until things were truly final. But from the rhetoric coming out, I’d say it’s pretty much final:

“This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology,” [“South Park” co-creator Trey] Stone told the Associated Press. “He has no problem — and he’s cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians.”…

Past episodes of South Park have skewered Catholics, Jews and Mormons, among others. However, according to Stone, he and Parker “never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology.

“He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin,” Stone told the Associated Press…

In January 2006, [Isaac] Hayes told the New York Daily News that he loved the “humor in it, the audacity of Matt and Trey.”

“Nobody is exempt from their humor,” he said. “They’re equal-opportunity offenders. Don’t be offended by it. If you take it too seriously, you have problems.”

It seems the silky-voiced crooner may have neglected to take his own advice.

It’s too bad “South Park” currently sucks, as most television shows tend to do so far into their runs. Maybe they can parody themselves over this mess. We can only guess: Are they going to find a new voice for Chef, or else somehow eliminate the character?

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/13/2006 09:28:13 PM
Category: TV, Celebrity | Permalink | Feedback (4)

Under Odysseus is a humorous warblog as written by an anonymous soldier from Greek antiquity. Plenty of cameos by Hector, Agamemnon, and the wandering General himself.

No telling if it’s a bit of fun by a history hobbyist, or a stealth marketing piece for 300, the upcoming movie adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel. Then again, there’s already a production blog for the flick…

Aside from the obvious tip of the hat to current Iraq War miliblogs, this reminds me of that specific subset of blogs out there: Faux journals as written by historical figures. I remember years ago, when blogging was just catching on, I read about some blog that was written by Julius Caesar as he chronicled his campaigns in Gaul. I never did find that one. But these types of applications of the blogging format go a long way toward properly eroding the concept of “blog” as a genre.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/13/2006 06:15:43 PM
Category: Bloggin', Publishing, Movies | Permalink | Feedback

Today’s sale of Knight-Ridder to McClatchy will involve the sale and/or shuttering of 12 of KR’s newspapers. And remember: A deal with McClatchy was the best-case scenario, because the alternative would have been acquisition by private equity vultures who probably would have gutted the company to the barest of bones.

This is a continuation of a decades-long trend, recently accelerated by the mushrooming of online media outlets. As a report from NYU’s Project for Excellence in Journalism illustrates, the irony is that as the news-dissemination landscape grows, the critical newsgathering infrastructure erodes.

The study depicts the media in an interregnum — with the reach of print, radio and television reduced, but the promise of an egalitarian online “citizen journalism” unfulfilled.

“It’s probably glib and even naive to say simply that more platforms equal more choices,” project Director Tom Rosenstiel said. “The content has to come from somewhere, and as older news-gathering media decline, some of the strengths they offer in monitoring the powerful and verifying the facts may be weakening as well.”

Who’s going to fill the void of the dedicated investigative reporter, who actually digs up information that otherwise wouldn’t appear on a website or in a press release? Probably no one. For all the criticism over biased and soft reporting, newspapers tend to be the main originators of original news content, doing the dirty work that supplies other outlets. When newsroom staffs get reduced, the effect is felt through the media landscape.

But there’s always citizen reporting via blogs, right? Wrong:

The study’s review of content across the media found that radio stations put few reporters in the field and Internet bloggers tended to offer opinions rather than new information. The study found original reporting in just 5% of blog postings it reviewed.

No surprise there, even though the number of people who rely on blogs as their prime news source increases. I’ve always said that blogs are valuable in terms of punditry and supplemental information on news items, but weak vehicles for news origination. The echo chamber effect give the illusion that a lot of news is being generated, but its just a lot of opinion, of varying quality, being bandied about endlessly. It’s this quality of the blogosphere that compels PR assaults like Edelman’s recent Wal-Mart rehabilitation campaign to target blogs — they’re easy, unfiltered pickings.

Plenty of bloggers think they can do journalism by gluing themselves to their mouse and monitors for a couple of hours a night, but the fact is, it’s not a hobbyist pursuit. It’s a job, and without enough resources, it’s a near-impossible job to fulfill.

The PEJ study suggests that this is a transitionary phase, that old media’s buckling business model is creating a vacuum that the new media inheritors aren’t able to effectively fill just yet. Presumably, an increasingly logged-in society will create a more monetized online media model that will make possible rigorous newsgathering, fulfilling the role of the fourth estate. Until then?

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/13/2006 11:25:26 AM
Category: Internet, Bloggin', Media | Permalink | Feedback

I was just getting used to seeing North Fork Bank branches on every corner, and now the New York regional bank is being snapped up by Capital One for $14.6 billion.

Coming from that banking colony known as Florida, it’s a familiar pattern: A small community bank builds up some size, and the second it becomes a ghost of a blip asset-wise, a Bank of America or Wachovia swallows it up. I wonder how the acquired banks’ customers feel when that happens; many of them very likely gravitated toward smaller operations specifically because of bad experiences with megabanks.

Then again, Capital One’s move is a complementary one, since their main business is corporate and credit. And Hiberia National Bank, CapOne’s previous toe-dip into retail banking, has retained its brand identity. So at least for the short term, it appears North Fork will keep its name and colors.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/13/2006 09:58:17 AM
Category: Business, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback