Excellent Sun-Times Article Updates Internet Usage
A Day In The Life of the Net

Ten years ago, when someone mentioned the word Internet, the likely response would have been: "Inter-what?" In a decade, Internet use has exploded. On a typical day, 82 million American adults, 40 percent of the entire population, go online to read e-mail, use a search engine, catch the news or check the weather report.

- Full article here (highly recommended)
- Info graphic PDF (also recommended)

Warner Bros. Launches
Peer-To-Peer (P2P) Movie Service

- Full Article Here
- Wall Street Journal Article Here

Warner Bros. is rolling out a digital film delivery system, based on peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, with an eye on thwarting piracy by making it easier for enthusiasts to obtain movies online.

The film studio has partnered with Arvato Mobile, a subsidiary of entertainment giant Bertelsmann AG, to create In2Movies, a digital-download platform for selling movie and television content.

The service will debut in March in Germany, Austria, and parts of Switzerland, with additional markets added over time.


Study Suggests Video Games Bond Parent And Child
TechWeb - Fri Jan 27, 12:58 AM ET
More than a third of American parents play computer and video games and 80 percent do so with their children, according to a survey.
- Full article here

Survey: More Parents Playing Video Games
AP - Thu Jan 26, 10:49 PM ET

SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a sign that video games are becoming more popular as family entertainment, a national survey released Thursday indicates joysticks aren't just for kids. Thirty-five percent, or about one in three parents, say they play, too, and 80 percent of that segment play video games with their children, according to the new survey commissioned by the Entertainment Software Association, a video game industry group.
- Full article here

Opera goes on the road
InfoWorld - Mon Jan 30, 6:00 AM ET
San Francisco (InfoWorld) - Opera Software, the alternative browser company, officially launched Opera Mini on Tuesday -- a hosted mobile phone browsing service and application that has already racked up about one million users.
- Full article
- Opera company site

Citywide Wi-Fi - Top Ten (Plus Five) List

  1. Grand Haven, MI claims to be "first"
  2. Philadelphia, PA is installing it now with Earthlink
  3. New Orleans, LA announced plans last November
  4. Grand Rapids, MI is looking into it
  5. Minneapolis, MN wants in
  6. Hermosa Beach, CA went LIVE on Aug. 11th, 2006!
  7. San Franscisco, CA is spinning its wheels
  8. Portland, OR has issued an RFP
  9. Madison, WI to be completed by March 2006
  10. Corpus Christi, TX is getting it via Northrop Grumman
  11. Mountain View, CA is going WiFi "free" c/o Google
  12. Milwaukee, WI announced an initiative last October
  13. Tempe, AZ is up and running
  14. Dayton, OH claims to be first in its state
  15. New Haven and Hartford, CT are considering plans

CTA riders soon can track buses on Web
January 31, 2006
BY MARK J. KONKOL Transportation Reporter

The CTA is no Mickey Mouse operation, but a Web-based bus-tracking system the agency plans to roll out later this year is something straight out of the Magic Kingdom. Starting this spring, CTA riders will be able to check the real-time status of buses on the No. 20 Madison route via the Internet, and at an automated sign at one stop.
*Why don't we run ads on this screen?!?!

It's part of a pilot program that uses technology already on Walt Disney World's bus fleet -- aimed at giving folks an idea of where buses are located, and how long they'll have to wait for the next one.

Internet Phone Service Skype & Warner Music To Sell Ring Tones
[ Full story here ]

VoIP provider Skype has inked a deal with Warner Music Group to bring ringtones to its Internet phone service. Skype, which is owned by eBay, will sell song selections in much the same way that other phone providers like T-Mobile do: as replacements for traditional phone sounds that can be downloaded for a per-song charge.

Madonna will be the first featured artist, but it is likely that Skype's 70 million registered users will be able to draw from Warner's formidable stable of other artists as well.

Skype Warner Bros. Records

Portuguese film festival throws spotlight on mobile phone movies
LISBON (AFP) - Portugal has held its first-ever film festival featuring short movies made with mobile telephones, which are growing more and more popular around the world.

More than 30 international films ranging in length from 30 seconds to 10 minutes were shown on a normal screen along with regular movies as part of the three-day "Olhares" festival which wrapped up Sunday. Organizers of the fourth annual event said they decided to make room for movies filmed with camera-equipped mobiles, dubbed "pocket films," this year to showcase the emerging form and consider what effect it may have on cinema.

Read the full story here

[ Read the full story here ]
AOL, Mark Burnett Partner To Bring Reality TV to Web

AOL has signed a deal with Mark Burnett Productions to develop a real-life treasure hunt on the company's Web site. The deal represents a move to bring reality TV to the Web.

The show "Gold Rush!" will feature everyday people, rather than celebrities, who are searching for hidden treasure that is secreted away at various locales around the U.S. The clues will be placed throughout the AOL network, including on sites like MapQuest, Moviefone, and AIM.com.

- Read Mediaweek's take here


Arbitron, VNU Launch Apollo Project
Katy Bachman
JANUARY 17, 2006 - [ Click for article here. ]

Arbitron and VNU announced Tuesday the official launch of the pilot panel for Project Apollo, a national marketing service which collects multi-media and product purchase data from a common sample of consumers. As of Jan. 13, the national panel has more than 5,000 households installed with more than 10,000 individuals participating across the country. The pilot will run for six months with the first data released to clients in April.

Project Apollo collects data by combining Arbitron’s portable people meter with AC Nielsen’s Homescan consumer panel to provide a better understanding of the link between consumer exposure to multiple media and their shopping and purchase behavior. So far, six national advertisers, including Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, and Unilever USA, have signed agreements for the pilot. Combined, the six advertisers spend more than $6.2 billion in media advertising.

“Project Apollo is focused squarely on the needs of markeers who are increasingly under pressure to demonstrate the ROI of marketing investments,” said Dave Thomas, senior vp of strategy and business development for Nielsen Media Research, owned by Mediaweek parent VNU.

“When marketers know what actually gets communicated to consumers and how consumers respond in the marketplace, they will be better able to craft messages that will have an impact and make more informed decisions about their media budget and media mix,” said Linda Dupree, senior vp of PPM new product development for Arbitron.

Separately, Arbitron is in the process of demonstrating its PPM-based local ratings service in Houston, which could be commercialized for radio ratings as early as April. So far, several of the nation’s largest advertising agencies, including the Interpublic Group, WPP Group, Publicis Groupe, and Aegis Group have signed for the PPM service when it rolls out.

Nielsen Media Research has an option to form a joint venture with Arbitron to commercialize the PPM for TV ratings. That decision is due this quarter.


Wal-Mart Sounds Off With Soundcheck

January 26, 2006 [ Click for article here.]

NEW YORK -- Wal-Mart has launched a music performance series that will bring exclusive, cutting-edge and popular music content to customers in Wal-Mart stores nationwide and online at walmart.com. The series debuts with punk pop group Yellowcard and rock band Switchfoot, with upcoming performances slated by country star Miranda Lambert and R&B singer Ne-Yo. Gillette Fusion razors is co-sponsor of the performances, which will be taped at various recording studios throughout the year.

The launch is part of a strategy on the part of the mass merchant to become more hip and expand its reach with younger consumers.

Two- to three-minute long sneak previews of each performance will air nationwide in more than 3,000 Wal-Mart stores on the HDTV wall in the electronics department. A viewing of the complete 30- to 40-minute performance on Wal-Mart TV will take place every few weeks on a Friday night. Wal-Mart also will promote Soundcheck performances on Wal-Mart Radio and Wal-Mart TV. The performances and interviews with the musicians are available to stream online at Walmart.com at no cost; audio tracks can be downloaded for 88 cents each.

"Wal-Mart Soundcheck allows our customers to take their music experience at Wal-Mart to a whole new level, both in stores and online," Kevin Swint, Wal-Mart's divisional merchandising manager for digital media, said in a statement.

File Under: Why Are'nt WE Doing THIS?!? - "iTunes U"
Screenshot from Stanford on iTunes
Apple offers a "solution" to Universities that publishes the school's lectures and/or distance learning materials using the same engine as the iTunes Music Store. Imangine designing a branded iTunes portal for one of our clients! Click here for details - http://www.apple.com/education/solutions/itunes_u/

Aquafina Launches Web Film Promotion
Adweek.com article here

As part of Aquafina's "Drink more water" push, Pepsi is sponsoring a $10,000 Resolution Reality Contest via AOL for consumers to upload video describing their pledges. That site features celebrities reciting their resolutions and tips from AOL "coaches" for keeping them.

Tribal DDB Dallas handles.

All Peers puts BitTorrent File Sharing
*Into* the Firefox Browser

Due to be released "soon" as an extension, All Peers will let you share videos, photos and MP3s with anybody ... this will seriously open the flood gates. Stay tuned

More info at the All Peers site.


Gabcast.com does for Podcasts what Blogger did for, well, Blogs
Go to http://www.gabcast.com

What can I do with Gabcast: Add audio content to your Gabcast channels, using a telephone or VoIP client, anywhere in the world. It's FREE!

  1. Podcasters: it's the easiest way to Podcast, period!
  2. Bloggers: automatically add audio content to your blog!
  3. Webmasters: enhance your own website with audio feeds
  4. Journalists: report live events, on location
  5. Evangelists: broadcast your opinions to a rapidly growing audience

Custom Mags Woo Consumers Online
But the brands don't bang 'em on the head

P&G's Home Made Simple at http://www.homemadesimple.com is a wonderful example of using brands to reach consumers on their terms.

AP News Story here

An Apple store employee demonstrates new iMac G5 at the Apple Retail Store in Palo Alto, California November 28, 2005. Winners in the holiday online shopping race appear to be Wal-Mart, Amazon and Apple Computer, which are doing the best job of turning browsers into buyers, according to an analysis of Web traffic patterns. REUTERS/PRNewsFoto

Online Shopping Breaks Records in 2005
Holiday shoppers in the U.S. spent $30.1 billion from late October until December 23, a 30 percent increase over the 2004 holiday season ... according to a report released last week by Goldman Sachs, Nielsen/NetRatings, and Harris Interactive ... clothes were still the most popular item bought online during the season, with spending reaching $5.3 billion on the segment ... Consumers spent less online on toys and video games this year, with the category sinking 9 percent compared to 2004. ... 64 percent of those surveyed saying they were satisfied with their experience, compared to 61 percent in 2004.

PC World news story with details here.

Cable network Starz Entertainment Group LLC said it plans to launch an Internet movie download service called Vongo on Tuesday, backed by partnerships with Microsoft and Sony, amid a race to offer more videos over high-speed Internet connections. (Handout/Reuters)

Starz Launches Vongo® Download Service
Starz Entertainment Group is launching a movie download service that allows consumers to view full-length studio films, concerts and TV shows on portable devices powered by Microsoft Corp. software.

The service, dubbed "Vongo," is available for a monthly subscription of $9.99 and will eventually include more than 1,000 movies, short films and other programs. The films will be available at the same time they are offered on the Starz premium movie cable channel, about five to six months after they are released on DVD.

"It's kind of iTunes for movies," said technology analyst Rob Enderle

AP News story with details ... click here.

Convergence-ing >>> XM and Napster Beta Release
If you're an active XM Radio subscriber, you can add Napster's 1.5 million song library to your service. The concept is you'd be listening to XM, and when you hear a tune you like, you download it (limited to PC playback) or buy it for 99¢. A 14-day free trial requires you to download a 10MB proprietary player. But it's pretty easy to see this as a first baby step toward a dynamic "on demand" radio model designed to rival the iTunes/Podcast platform.

Details at http://www.xmradio.com/napster