Posts Tagged ‘MySpace

05
Aug
10

Rupert Murdoch says Apple’s iPad is a ‘game-changer’ for news media

NEWS
Rupert Murdoch says Apple’s iPad is a ‘game-changer’ for news media

Thursday, August 05, 2010

••• Global media chief Rupert Murdoch says Apple’s iPad will be a ‘game changer’ for newspapers.

The chairman and chief executive of News Corporation said the iPad would allow publishers to attract new readers to their mastheads.

‘It’s a real game changer in the presentation of news,’ Mr. Murdoch said on Thursday during a conference call for the company’s full year profit results.

‘We will have young people reading newspapers. We will have different looking types of newspapers.’

News Corp owns newspapers in the U.S., U.K., Australia and elsewhere.

Mr. Murdoch said he expected to see hundreds of millions of these devices around the world.

‘There will be all sorts of things we can do with them,’ Mr. Murdoch said.

‘As they develop technologically, we have got to to develop our methods of presentation of news.’

News Corp chief operating officer Chase Carey said the iPad ‘really starts to deliver on the promise of multimedia’ for the first time.

In terms of charging for online content, The Times and Sunday Times newspapers in the U.K. started slugging users $1.59 (£1) a day, or $3.18 (£2) a week, to access their content online from the start of July.

Mr. Murdoch said there had been a positive response, but declined to say how many people had paid for subscriptions.

‘We have had a very encouraging number of people subscribing at a good price,’ he said.

‘But we think we are on the right strategy there and we think it’s going well.’

Mr. Murdoch also flagged changes to News Corp’s social networking portal MySpace, which he said was going through a major overhaul under a new management team.

‘It will look very, very different in a few months to what it’s looked for the last few years,’ Mr Murdoch said.

‘We are going to see it out for some time yet.’
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): News Corporation
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04
Aug
10

News Corp. Posts $875 Million Profit as Ad Sales Rise

NEWS
News Corp. Posts $875 Million Profit as Ad Sales Rise

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

••• Media and entertainment giant News Corp. reported, Wednesday, that it has swung to profit in the fiscal fourth quarter on the back of strong performance from its television networks division which posted impressive ad sales.

News Corp. said its net profit in June quarter was $875 million or $0.33 per share as against loss of $203 million or $0.08 per share in the year ago period.

The company said its revenue moved up 5.7 percent to $8.11 billion.

Analysts, on average, had expected News Corp. to report profit of $0.20 per share on revenue on $7.87 billion.

However, operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and administrative expenses, slipped 1.7 percent year-on-year in June quarter to $932 million from $948 million.

The media conglomerate said its earnings were driven by strong performance put up by its television networks division, which accounted for more than half of its operating income.

Profits at domestic channels surged by 30 percent while international channels improved 40 percent. Overall, operating profit at cable television networks division, which include channels such as Fox News Channel and FX, surged 31 percent to $563 million on the back of advertising revenue which jumped 11 percent. The division also saw double-digit growth in revenue from fees paid by cable, satellite and fiber video providers.

Operating profit at News Corp.’s broadcast television division also surged 13 percent to $113 million on improved ad sales offsetting higher programming expenses at the company’s national broadcast network – Fox Broadcasting.

The group’s filmed entertainment division also did well but could not beat third quarter performance. Operating income in June quarter dropped 32 percent year-on-year to $137 million. In March quarter, profit stood at $497 million. At the time of announcing third quarter earnings, News Corp. had warned that one should not expect stellar performance from this division in the fourth quarter, largely due to an expected year-over-year decline in the film business due to the timing of releases.

The newspapers and information services division, which include the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch and Dow Jones, also reported 20 percent surge in profit to $115 million on higher ad revenue, though it was below Street estimates.

The company’s digital media division, which include social networking site MySpace, however, disappointed, reporting an operating loss of $174 million in the June quarter on lower search and advertising revenue. News Corp. said MySpace is set for a “major overhaul.”

News Corp.’s satellite TV division also disappointed, reporting a 37 percent slide in operating income to $97 million on the back of continued weakness at Sky Italia.

To reduce dependence on the economically sensitive advertisement-based revenue, News Corp. said it is beefing up its portfolio of subscription-based assets. In June, it said it has made a bid for the 61 percent stake of pay-TV operator British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSkyB) it doesn’t already own.

“The opportunity for us to expand the scale of our franchises is significant, including through taking advantage of the continual technological advances that will broaden the reach of our core content and distribution businesses,” News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

The company’s full-year results were more impressive.

News Corp. said its net profit in fiscal year 2010 was $2.5 billion, helped primarily by blockbuster movie “Avatar.” DVD sales of other films like “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” also bumped up its profits. In the prior year, News Corp. incurred a net loss of $3.4 billion, which included a one-time pre-tax impairment and other charges of $9.2 billion.

“These results underscore just how well positioned we are – fiscally, operationally and strategically – for further growth across all of our markets,” Murdoch said.

Shares of News Corp., which owns Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, MySpace and 20th Century Fox among other things, closed up 1.61 percent at $13.85. Following the financial results announcement, the company’s shares were up 3.25 percent in the after-market hours.
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): News Corporation
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17
Jun
10

AOL sells Bebo for scrap – and a $275 million tax break

NEWS
AOL sells Bebo for scrap – and a $275 million tax break

Thursday, June 17, 2010

••• AOL Inc is paring back its ambitions in online social networking, selling a website called Bebo that it bought a little more than two years ago for $.850 million. when AOL was still part of Time Warner Inc.
Bebo, which was launched in 2005, has failed to match the huge popularity of sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

It has been strong in foreign markets, though, including Britain.

AOL tried to take advantage of that to drive traffic to its other ad-supported web properties, but the site has been losing ground.

Worldwide, it had about 12.6 million users in April, less than half of the 26.9 million it had in the same month a year ago, according to comScore Inc.

In the U.S., Bebo was down to 4.9 million from 10.2 million a year earlier. In the same period, Facebook has grown to 121.8 million users in the US from 67.5 million.

AOL said in April it planned to shut Bebo or sell it. The company said on Wednesday the buyer is the private investment firm, Criterion Capital Partners LLC.

The California firm did not say how much it is paying, but analysts have speculated that the site would fetch just a small fraction of what AOL paid for it. In a note AOL CEO Tim Armstrong sent to employees on Thursday, he said the deal provides a ‘meaningful’ tax deduction for AOL.

AOL said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it expects to log a tax benefit of $275 million to $325 million in the April-June quarter. The company also said it will assess whether it needs to write down the value of its business overall for the quarter.

In his note, Armstrong also said the sale would let Bebo users continue to use the service.

Criterion Capital Partners are specialists in facilitating growth plans and turnarounds and are well-placed to drive Bebo’s effort to strengthen its foothold within the highly competitive social networking arena,’ he wrote.

In April, AOL unloaded another service that it had acquired for more money. It agreed to sell its ICQ instant messaging business for $187.5 million in cash to Russian internet investor Digital Sky Technologies. In 1998, AOL, then known as America Online, paid at least $US287 million to buy Mirabilis, the Israeli company behind ICQ.

AOL shares fell 8 cents to $22.20 in afternoon trading.
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22
May
10

Facebook preparing to make changes to privacy settings in response to criticism

NEWS
Facebook preparing to make changes to privacy settings in response to criticism

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Facebook on Saturday said it plans to simplify privacy controls at the popular social-networking service to appease critics.

‘We’ve spent the last couple of weeks listening to users and consulting with experts in California; Washington, DC, and around the world,’ Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in response to an AFP inquiry.

‘The messages we’ve received are pretty clear. Users appreciate having precise and comprehensive controls, but want them to be simpler and easier to use.’

Facebook contended that members like new programs rolled out at the California-based internet hotspot but want easy ways to opt out of sharing personal information with third-party applications or websites.

‘We’re listening to this input and incorporating it into innovations we hope to announce shortly,’ Noyes said.

Facebook has been under fire from U.S. privacy and consumer groups, U.S. lawmakers and the European Union over new features that critics claim compromise the privacy of its more than 400 million members.

The features introduced last month include the ability for partner websites to incorporate Facebook data, a move that would further expand the social network’s presence on the internet.
Four U.S. senators, in a letter to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, said they were worried that personal information about Facebook users is being made available to third party websites.

The senators also expressed concerns that ‘Facebook now obligates users to make publicly available certain parts of their profile that were previously private’.

Sharing personal information should be an ‘opt-in’ procedure in which a user specifically gives permission for data to be shared, privacy advocates argue.

Coming Facebook refinements are not expected to include a shift to an opt-in model.

Facebook vice president of global communications Elliot Schrage has been adamant that online privacy is taken very seriously at the company.

‘These new products and features are designed to enhance personalisation and promote social activity across the internet while continuing to give users unprecedented control over what information they share, when they want to share it, and with whom,’ Schrage said.

MySpace on May 17 announced plans to simplify its privacy settings as it seeks to differentiate itself from social network rival Facebook, which has eclipsed the News Corp-owned social networking service.

‘The last few weeks have been fraught with discussion around user privacy on social networks,’ MySpace co-president Mike Jones said in a blog post without directly mentioning Facebook by name.

‘While MySpace at its core is about discovery, self expression and sharing, we understand people might want the option of limiting the sharing of their information to a select group of friends,’ Jones said.
Jones said MySpace, which was bought by News Corp. in 2005 for $580 million, is ‘planning the launch of a simplified privacy setting for our user profiles.

‘While we’ve had these plans in the works for some time, given the recent outcry over privacy concerns in the media, we felt it was important to unveil those plans to our users now,’ he said.
• Source(s): Facebook Inc. and MySpace / Digital Media Group / News Corporation
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27
Apr
10

Google Acquires LabPixies

NEWS
Google Acquires LabPixies
Google Acquires LabPixies For $25 Million

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Google has bought an Israeli company that develops mini-programs for the web known as widgets in the latest in a string of acquisitions.

The Mountain View, California-based Google announced the purchase of LabPixies in a blog post. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

LabPixies already makes widgets for iGoogle, Google’s personalised homepage service.

‘We decided that we could do more if we were part of the same team, and as such, we’re thrilled to announce the acquisition of Labpixies,’ Don Loeb, a member of the iGoogle team said.

‘The team will be based in our ever-growing Tel Aviv office and will anchor our iGoogle efforts across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa,’ Loeb said.

‘We are looking forward to working with Labpixies to develop great web apps and leverage their knowledge and expertise to help developers and improve the ecosystem overall,’ he said.

Besides iGoogle, LabPixies has also developed widgets for Google’s Android mobile phone operating system and the iPhone.

Widgets developed by LabPixies include calendars, news feeds, to-do lists and games.

Google has been on a buying spree for the past few months, snapping up a number of small startups including DocVerse, Picnik, Aardvark and Plink.

Chief executive Eric Schmidt said in a conference call with analysts in January that Google planned to acquire about one company a month this year.

● Ran Ben – Yair, CEO LabPixies, said, “We deal with Google to see a golden opportunity for our team to fit in workspace sharing with us the same desire – to millions of users the ultimate online experience.'”

● Prof. Yossi Matias, director of Google R & D Center in Israel, said, “We believe that the combination of LabPixies center staff will allow us to continue strengthening the web platform, and make it attractive than ever for developers and users around the world.” He added that “Google believes in innovation and creativity Israel, and will continue to pursue collaboration with – for start-ups in the future local.”
• Source(s): Google Inc. & LabPixies

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13
Mar
10

U.K. pressures Facebook to install ‘panic button’ to protect kids

NEWS
U.K. pressures Facebook to install ‘panic button’ to protect kids

Saturday, March 13, 2010

••• British officials say they’re pressuring Facebook to make a “panic button” available on its Web pages following the death of a teenager at the hands of a man she met on the popular social networking site.

British child protection authorities have been lobbying Facebook and other social networking sites to install a one-click button which can allow children to get immediate police help if they suspect they’re at risk.

Calls for Facebook to install the button intensified following the kidnap, rape and murder of 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall. Her killer, Peter Chapman, used a bogus Facebook identity to befriend her online.

Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of Britain’s governing Labour Party, said Thursday ministers were lobbying Facebook to adopt the button.
Why are we asking this now?

On Monday, Peter Chapman, 33, was sentenced to a minimum of 35 years in prison for the murder of Darlington teenager Ashleigh Hall. Chapman, a convicted sex offender, was “very active” on a stolen black Acer laptop in the period leading up to the murder; it later transpired that he had used the social networking website Facebook in order to choose his victim. While websites such as Facebook usually play a passive, benign role in crimes that headlines might suggest are entirely attributable to them, this is one case where the death of a young woman was indeed caused by the ease of constructing a false Facebook identity, coupled with a tragic ignorance of the signs we should all look for, and the rules we should all follow.

What did Chapman do?

In autumn last year he signed up to Facebook under a false identity. By using the name Peter Cartwright and a photograph of an attractive, bare-chested young man, he successfully posed as a 19-year old and began to exchange messages with Ashleigh. Within the space of a month they had arranged a weekend rendezvous; Chapman explained in a message that the father of “Peter Cartwright” would be picking her up in his car. Ashleigh’s body was found the following Monday.

What is it about these sites that’s creating such a problem?

First, they’re extraordinarily popular with young people. Facebook is second only to Google in terms of overall popularity online, and the amount of time we spend on such websites to socialise, exchange messages, post links to interesting websites, play games and arrange real-life meet-ups is increasing rapidly. Marketing research company Nielsen reported last summer that 17 per cent of all time spent online is on social networking websites – and that figure is pushed up considerably by teenagers. Second, we’re gullible. The ease with which we can be flattered into opening messages and entering into dialogue with people we don’t know is staggering; it’s known as “social engineering” and has been rampant online since the first major web virus spread around the globe behind the email subject title “I LOVE YOU”.

Is this issue restricted to children?

Certainly not. Each week sees countless examples of adults being hoodwinked online, too. Indeed, the older generation’s lack of familiarity with modern technology can put them at an even higher risk of being duped into handing over money, revealing secrets or making ill-advised arrangements to meet strangers. The most famous recent example was when Fidel Castro’s 40-year old son had his explicit email messages reprinted in newspapers worldwide; the person he thought was “gorgeous” 27-year old Columbian sports journalist Claudia Valencia was actually a 46-year old man called Luis Dominguez.

Is Facebook a particular source of concern?

Facebook is one of the few social networking sites that require you to use your real name when you sign up. “It ultimately creates a safer and more trusted environment for all of our users,” says a Facebook spokesman. “We require people to be who they are.” However, it remains very easy to pretend to be someone else – as demonstrated by Peter Chapman with tragic consequences – and Facebook’s “real name” culture might even mean that we’re less likely to spot fakery. MySpace and Bebo, by contrast, are a free-for-all with no restrictions on pseudonymity – but it’s important to realise that there are many sound, privacy-related reasons for not revealing one’s true identity online. Indeed, many children are very aware of and comfortable with the idea of managing multiple online identities.

Can we ever be 100 per cent sure who we’re talking to online?

No. But while this fact could easily prompt paranoia, it’s more useful to adopt a healthy scepticism about online relationships and to classify them very differently to real-life ones.

What could be done to prevent a repeat of the Ashleigh Hall tragedy?

The Home Secretary Alan Johnson said yesterday that both the UK and the US were working on ways to detect the presence of convicted sex offenders on the internet, but legislating effectively in the online space is incredibly difficult. An NSPCC-supported plan to extend the sex offenders’ register to include their online identities and email addresses was deemed a breach of offenders’ rights under European law in December 2008, and while it remains a government commitment, the ease with which Chapman created his online alter ego demonstrates how toothless such a law would prove. In the US, the state of Illinois saw a new law take effect on 1 January which bars known sex offenders from social networking websites, but the definition is so broad as to potentially exclude them from risk-free online zones such as job-hunting websites, Amazon and even Google. In addition, tracking offenders’ internet use from an increasing number of access points (cafes, libraries, mobile phones, Wi-Fi hotspots and much else besides) just isn’t practical.

What more could these sites do to protect children?

Given that millions of teenagers use Facebook, MySpace and Bebo as virtual platforms to socialise, raising the minimum age permitted to join (currently 13 for Facebook and Bebo, 14 for MySpace) would be a drastic and unworkable measure – and, indeed, wouldn’t have helped 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), an arm of UK policing dedicated to child protection, is campaigning for social networking websites to incorporate a clearly visible button which would allow children to report suspicious behaviour; MSN Live Messenger and Bebo are two of many to already feature it, but Facebook is not yet on board – a fact described by Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne as a “glaring failure”. But the human weakness in detecting suspicious behaviour can render even that button redundant – making education the most crucial measure.

What rules should be followed?

CEOP’s website at thinkuknow.co.uk is an excellent resource for children, featuring information on how to have fun, how to stay in control and where to report anything that seems unusual. There’s also a primer for parents about social networking and other internet activities that their children might be indulging in. But three golden rules for children: don’t post material that you wouldn’t want your parents to see; keep your personal information private; and keep your internet friends as internet friends – because online identities may not always correspond to those in real life.

Is there any way of completely eliminating the risks?

Only by avoiding use of the internet altogether, but in the 21st century this is becoming an increasingly impractical option. Engagement and familiarity with the internet’s delights and menaces are a far better way for us all to stay safe.

Are sites such as Facebook as dangerous as they are made out to be?

Yes

• The internet is an unregulated space that convicted sex offenders have unfettered access to

• The ease with which we can adopt online pseudonyms can make the online landscape very confusing

• Children who have not had sufficient education about online safety may find themselves at risk

No

• The media enjoys demonising Facebook and likes to play upon existing fears of the internet

• Social networking websites are an increasingly important social tool and should be encouraged

• The vast majority of children have no more trouble in their online social lives than they do in the playground

• Source(s): U.K. Press

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