QuickLinks - Market
Issue no. 281 - 31 August 2003
- UK - Text messages play games with TV
Your TV and mobile are coming closer together, with game shows played by text message set to grow, say experts. Voting via SMS is already immensely popular in programmes such as Pop Idol, Fame Academy and Big Brother. But soon you could be shooting, kicking or punching other people on screen over a mobile handset.
- AOL launches blogging service
America Online has launched a new feature called AOL Journals in an effort to piggyback on the grassroots popularity of Web logs, or 'blogs.' The service lets people publish their own daily musings and complement their text with photos and picture albums. Users can also arrange their journals by topics, such as sports, relationships or books. AOL will offer the new feature as part of its proprietary online service, but users will be able to update their blogs through the AOL Web site, AOL Instant Messenger and their cell phones.
- Japan leads mobile game craze
Game makers have been offered a glimpse of the latest in games for mobile phones, with insights into the sort of things keeping Japanese thumbs busy. They include virtual pets which are fed by photos, pronunciation puzzles and games that are the quality of PlayStation One titles.
- Mobile gaming 'set to explode'
People are going to spend millions of pounds to play games on their mobiles by next year, say experts. Mobile gaming is seen by many as the next big thing, as phones become more powerful and come with colour screens.
- UK - BBC archive to be opened on Internet
Greg Dyke, director general of the BBC, has announced plans to give the public full access to all the corporation's programme archives. Mr Dyke said that everyone would in future be able to download BBC radio and TV programmes from the internet. The service, the BBC Creative Archive, would be free and available to everyone, as long as they were not intending to use the material for commercial purposes, Mr Dyke added.
Issue no. 279 - 17 August 2003
- AOL pleads for name change
America Online is asking its parent, AOL Time Warner, to ditch the AOL part of its name. The internet portal and e-mail service claims that the association with its parent firm is creating a negative image amongst its customers.
- DE - Match.com partners with German ISP
T-Online International, Europe's largest Internet service, will start to offer online dating services powered by US dating Web site Match.com by the end of August.
Issue no. 278 - 10 August 2003
- UK - Dixons to ditch Freeserve for AOL
High street electronics giant Dixons is poised to sign a £10m deal with AOL, terminating its five year relationship with rival Freeserve, the internet service provider it sold to France Telecom two years ago.
Issue no. 277 - 30 July 2003
- AOL lays off Netscape developers
America Online has laid off 50 employees involved in Web browser development at its Netscape Communications subsidiary amid a reorganization of its Mozilla open-source browser team. The layoffs mark the latest setback for Netscape, which has fought an increasingly lopsided battle with Microsoft for browser market share. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is currently used by more than 90 percent of Web surfers, according to site visitor statistics published by Google. see also Netscape browser left with skeleton staff (ZDNet Australia).
- Bertelsmann sells share in BarnesandNoble.com
German media giant Bertelsmann is continuing to rein in its dotcom investments by selling its stake in online bookseller BarnesandNoble.com and is still considering a deal to merge its music division with Warner Music. US bookstore Barnes & Noble will pay £101m to buy out its joint venture partner in the business as part of Bertelsmann chief Gunter Thielen's strategy of selling off or closing down many of the internet forays launched by his predecessor, Thomas Middelhoff.
- Mobile games - The Un-Doom Boom
(New York Times)
While many developers in the multibillion-dollar video game industry seek to extend its appeal, profile and profits with bolder, flashier and ever more engrossing games - a different sort of video game is quietly asserting itself into the mainstream. These games tend to be brief amusements that are almost instinctive. They are easy to learn and can be played on a variety of devices, including PC's, laptops, digital organizers and cellphones.
- US - AOL online faces further investigation
US media giant AOL Time Warner's embattled online division has been told to hand over documents relating to its bulk subscriber programme, which it used to boost subscriber figures. The securities and exchange commission, already investigating America Online over its accounting practices around the time of its record-breaking merger with Time Warner, has asked to see all documents relating to the practice of boosting subscriber figures with bulk deals. AOL subscription data exaggerated? (Reuters) and AOL Subscribers Down by 846,000 (Washington Post) .
Issue no. 276 - 23 June 2003
- UK - Sony to sell music downloads
Under pressure from the success of Apple's iTunes music store, Sony has joined the digital-download bandwagon. It was the last major holdout in Europe Sony Music will begin selling music downloads in Britain for its top artists, making it the last among the major recording labels to join Europe's music download bandwagon. But the long-awaited announcement comes with a hitch. Sony, home to such artists as Michael Jackson and Jennifer Lopez, will not sell song downloads to European Internet users outside the United Kingdom.
Issue no. 274 - 9 June 2003
- DE - Munich breaks with Windows for Linux
The local government in Munich, Germany, has voted to move 14,000 computers from Microsoft's Windows to the rival Linux operating system, despite efforts by the software giant to hang onto the multimillion-dollar contract. Microsoft had fought hard to retain the business, offering deals and discounts, with CEO Steve Ballmer interrupting a ski vacation in Switzerland to pay a personal visit to Munich's mayor about the issue.
Issue no. 273 - 1 June 2003
- DE - Software Group Threatens to Sue SCO on Linux
A German software group threatened to take U.S. software firm SCO Group to court if it did not withdraw from a worldwide attack on Linux, the free computer operating system. Linuxtag, a German Linux lobbying association, said it may seek a German court order against SCO because of threats made against 1,500 of the world's most important Linux supporters, including International Business Machines Corp. see also Microsoft's new Linux gambit (CNET News.com)
- Online music price war begins
The cost of downloading songs from the internet has been cut in the first round of a price war. Listen.com, which provides internet radio broadcasts for $9.95 (£6 ; 8 euros) a month, is slashing the price for burning music onto CDs from 99 cents to 79 cents (48 pence). This comes just a month after Apple Computers launched its online iTunes music store, which allows Mac users to download songs for 99 cents with no monthly subscription fee.
Issue no. 271 - 18 May 2003
- DE - T-Online edges into profit
T-Online, Germany's biggest internet service provider, is back in profit, helped by an increase in the number of broadband customers
- Music - Don't ignore middle-aged downloaders
Record companies targeting teenagers with new music download services may be forced to think again. Latest figures revealed that there were as many music fans in their middle ages downloading music as there are those under 24, The research, by Vivendi Universal-owned legal download service MP3.com, shows that 24% of its users are over 45, while a further quarter are aged 25 to 43 and 23% aged between 18 and 24. Separate new research from Forrester also provides some rare cheer for the record industry, predicting that online downloads will be worth £900m by 2007, 13% of the European market, as broadband connections become more widespread and consumers become used to buying tracks online.
Issue no. 269 - 6 May 2003
- Apple Launches Online Music Service
Apple unveiled its long-awaited online music service, promising to make the process of buying music on the Internet simple and cheap enough to compete with file-swapping sites the record industry blames for its slump. Apple said that its Internet-based iTunes Music Store software would allow users to download music for 99 cents per song without subscription fees.
Issue no. 267 - 21 April 2003
- Gloom settles on global CD sales
The global slump in music sales gathered pace in 2002, music industry figures have revealed. Sales dropped by 7% around the world last year after a 5% dip in 2001, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). The industry's inability to beat what it has labelled internet pirates and the "massive proliferation" of CD copying have been blamed.
Issue no. 266 - 6 April 2003
- AOL touts new broadband pacts
America Online unveiled new broadband partnerships in the campaign to entice its dial-up subscribers to high-speed Internet access. The online subsidiary of AOL Time Warner announced a new agreement with Major League Baseball's MLB Advanced Media that will provide AOL broadband subscribers with access to a variety of video and audio programs. AOL's strategy now emphasizes offering new features geared toward broadband users, in a quest to harness Internet users' growing enthusiasm for high-speed services that enable streaming audio and video over the Web.
- US - AOL's shrinking dial-up base
America Online expects to see its dial-up subscriber base contract, extending a trend seen in the last quarter, according to a regulatory filing the Internet division of AOL Time Warner. The remark reflects a quandary many Internet service providers face and underscores the importance of making strides in the high-speed, or broadband, world.
- US - Will broadband providers control Net content?
As the U.S.' Internet architecture moves from dial-up access to broadband, some speakers at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy (CFP) conference in New York expressed concern that the major cable operators that provide the high-speed networks will control users' access to content. The Center for Digital Democracy's fear is of a broadband world where cable operators steer users to content, services and applications that they or their partners own, and impede access to competitors' offerings, by slowing down users' connection rates to those sites or blocking them altogether. They argue for either allowing ISPs (Internet service providers) open access to the high-speed networks, or drafting regulations preventing broadband providers from limiting users' access to Web content and services.
Issue no. 264 - 23 March 2003
- US - Yahoo! launches premium multimedia service
Yahoo! launched a subscription service that features video and audio from the NCAA basketball tournament, "American Idol," The Weather Channel and other sources in an effort to boost revenues and attract more broadband users. The company said the multimedia features will be available to both dial-up and high-speed users, though broadband customers who have fast cable or Digital Subscriber Line Internet connections will see the most benefit. The cost of Yahoo Platinum will be $9.95 a month.
Issue no. 262 - 9 March 2003
- Europe - PlayStation tempts gamers online
The European trials of the online gaming service for the PlayStation 2 (PS2) will start at end of March. Sony is lagging behind rival Microsoft, who has been testing its European online gaming network for several months now. Both Sony and Microsoft have already ventured into online gaming in the US, where they have attracted hundreds of thousands of players.
Issue no. 261 - 2 March 2003
- Microsoft's 'youth' IM goes online
Microsoft has unveiled a test version of 3° - or threedegrees - an instant messaging product aimed at 13 to 24-year-olds that lets them hang out online together - as part of the software company's efforts to target the set that grew up with the Web. see also Microsoft Gets a Clue From Its Kiddie Corps (MSNBC). Because threedegrees relies on the cutting-edge peer-to-peer technology, the project will be a great test bed for future Microsoft P2P products. Threedegrees is also a fascinating experiment in how music can be legally shared over the Internet.
Issue no. 260 - 23 February 2003
- Google Buys Pyra: Blogging Goes Big-Time
Google, which runs the Web's premier search site, has purchased Pyra Labs, a San Francisco company that created some of the earliest technology for writing weblogs, the increasingly popular personal and opinion journals. The buyout is a huge boost to an enormously diverse genre of online publishing that has begun to change the equations of online news and information. Weblogs are frequently updated. Typically they include links to other pages on the Internet, and the topics range from technology to politics to just about anything you can name.
Issue no. 258 - 2 February 2003
- US - AOL reports first drop in subscribers
After a relentless decade-long climb to more than 35 million global subscribers, the number of America Online users has slipped for the first time. Tucked in among the more dramatic announcements in its earnings release, the online division of AOL Time Warner reported the departure of 170,000 U.S. users
- US - Porn Profits: Corporate America's Secret
Pornography has grown into a $10 billion business and some of the nation's best-known corporations are quietly sharing the profits. Companies like General Motors, AOL Time Warner and Marriott earn revenue by piping adult movies into Americans' homes and hotel rooms, but you won't see anything about it in their company reports. And you won't hear them talking about the production companies that actually make the films - or the performers the producers hire, men and women as young as 18, for sex that is often unprotected.
Issue no. 257 - 26 January 2003
- UK - Ringtones hit right note for record industry
Record companies are banking on the scourge of teachers and those travelling on public transport - the novelty mobile phone ringtone - to compensate for falling sales. Figures show the revenues record companies pull in from royalties on ringtones have soared 58% over the last year, while global record sales have dropped by a fifth in the US over the past two years.
Issue no. 256 - 18 January 2003
- Remembrance of dot-com idiocy past
At least Enron and WorldCom went down because of greed. But as James Ledbetter's "Starving to Death on $200 Million a Year" reveals, the Industry Standard pissed away a fortune out of mere carelessness.
Issue no. 255 - 6 January 2003
- Google vs. Evil
The world's biggest, best-loved search engine owes its success to supreme technology and a simple rule: Don't be evil. Now the geek icon is finding that moral compromise is just the cost of doing big business.
- Sind Internet- und Multimedia-Dienstleister anders?
Zwischen 1995 und 2000 fand die explosionsartige Entwicklung der Internet- und Multimediadienstleister in einer Art neuer Jugendbewegung statt. Die New Economy der neuen Generation trug auch zu einer Entgrenzung des geregelten Karriereweges. Doch dann fiel fast ebenso schnell wie entstanden die Branche wieder in sich zusammen. Die einst blühende Internetblume ist verwelkt oder hat sich mit der traditionellen Medien- oder Werbebranche verschmolzen. Heute "normalisiert" sich die Branche mit allen Merkmalen eines Sektors der "Old-Economy":
Issue no. 254 - 15 December 2002
- EU - Convergence of Web Services
Mr Erkki Liikanen Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society, Diffuse Final Conference, Brussels, 12th December 2002
- Video games - strong players
The video-games industry is booming, but how long will the good times last? Figures suggest that 2002 was the peak of the cycle, and that the market will shrink next year. Things will then cool off until the next generation of consoles appears in 2005. But the industry has two new tricks up its sleeve, in the form of online and mobile gaming.
Issue no. 253 - 8 December 2002
- Authors turn to video games
Look along the shelves of video games this Christmas and you will see a name normally found in most libraries and book shelves. Thriller writer Tom Clancy has his name above at least three blockbuster titles - Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six.
Issue no. 252 - 30 November 2002
- US - San Fernando Valley's Porn Business Booms Despite Poor Economy
The San Fernando Valley is home to most of America's pornography industry - videos, Web sites, phone sex businesses, adult toys and even the old-fashioned dirty magazine. While many parts of the nation's economy have suffered, the past five years have been good for the adult industry, as new video and computer technology opened the doors to hundreds of millions of potential customers around the world.
Issue no. 251 - 24 November 2002
- US - Movielink's Premiere Doesn't Live Up to Its Promise
Movielink, the first site to let people legally download major-studio motion pictures - a joint venture of the five big studios (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal and Warner Bros.) - has opened for business. Its first-to-the-market status makes Movielink worthy of commendation: The movie industry may still whine about online piracy, but it's also offering an alternative to theft. If, however, you are a consumer instead of a policy analyst, Movielink looks much less attractive. It offers a lousy selection, uncompetitive prices, unduly restrictive terms, poor quality and a slow delivery mechanism.
Issue no. 250 - 17 November 2002
- Music industry - Fighting back
EMI’s new online music service is the latest sign that the big record labels, shocked by the speed with which their market is being eroded by piracy and the illegal downloading of songs over the Internet, are determined to fight back.
Issue no. 249 - 10 November 2002
Images that would once have sparked an obscenity trial are now only a mouse-click away, making hardcore routine and forcing mainstream magazines to adapt or die. As for the new breed of DIY net pornographers, all you need is a camera and a few happy 'swingers' and you're in business.
- Sex Sells - But It's No Longer Easy
Revenues are down, paying customers are few and far between and many operators have gone under. The industry is experiencing a classic case of market saturation - with too many operators vying for a revenue pool that is not expanding at the same rate. According to industry watch groups, this is the sentiment being felt in the online porn sector.
- The erotic industry, publishing, music on demand and VOD are key areas for content billing
There is a market for paid content. This year’s Content Billing Europe organised by Van Dusseldorp and Partners, opened with a presentation from keynote speaker Uwe Schnepf, Head of New Media for Tiscali (Germany). Discussing the challenges and opportunities in today’s premium content market, Mr. Schnepf asserted " there is a market for paid content". He highlighted that users are willing to pay for exclusive content with a high degree of entertainment and information, content that has an attractive price, content that is easy to handle and content that has some advantage for users e.g. archiving, personalisation. The key areas of premium content, according to Schnepf are the erotic industry, publishing, music on demand, and video on demand
- UK - Microsoft deal may give BT edge over broadband rivals
Experts believe that teaming up with Microsoft is a winning strategy for BT's 'no-frills' broadband service BT's alliance with Microsoft will help the telco to achieve market domination with its "no-frills" broadband product, an industry expert has predicted. The pact between the two companies will see BT and Microsoft working together on a range of broadband applications to complement BT Broadband, the high-speed Internet access package sold by BT Retail.
Issue no. 248 - 27 October 2002
- DE - Bertelsmann sagt Internet-Buchhandel offiziell ade
Der Medienkonzern Bertelsmann zieht einen Schlussstrich unter sein Engagement im Internet-Buchhandel: Zum Jahresende wird die deutsche BOL-Gesellschaft, in der das Gütersloher Unternehmen sein Buch- und Musikclubgeschäft mit dem Online-Handel zusammengefasst und unter der Marke BOL Bücher, CDs und Spiele über das Internet verkauft hatte, endgültig aufgelöst.
Issue no. 247 - 19 October 2002
- Napster or not, file swaps continue
The music industry succeeded in shutting down Napster, but it has failed to even slow free song swapping, new research shows. Some 41 million people traded music online during the first half of 2002, according to San Francisco-based Odyssey research. Worse yet, the increasing popularity of CD burners and portable digital music devices like Apple’s iPod has given consumers yet another way to swap music for free, opening up another hole in the music industry’s leaky copyright dam.
- Net piracy tackled by free music day
The British recording industry launches its latest attempt to stem the flood of consumers who are abandoning the legitimate CD market and turning to pirate internet services to download music for free. Rocked by plummeting global sales and the growing realisation that previous anti-piracy efforts have proved woefully inadequate, labels and , labels and distributors will try to tempt back customers with an initiative dubbed the "biggest ever official giveaway of digital music".
- Trendy games industry sheds geek image
Most people think video game developers are geeks hidden away in cubicles, gulping soda and munching fast food. Think again. At the trendy and spacious banana-shaped offices of industry giant Electronic Arts, programmers think of themselves as tech-savvy artists.
Issue no. 246 - 29 September 2002
- Bon Jovi takes on music pirates
Rock group Bon Jovi is offering fans an incentive to buy its latest CD rather than obtain a pirated copy from the internet. Users buying a legitimate copy of Bounce will find a 13-digit number inside the packaging. This serial number can be used on the group's website to entitle the user to special privileges, including tickets for concerts before they go on general release, unseen footage of the band and downloads of live versions of songs.
- Microsoft buys British game developer Rare
Microsoft has purchased British game developer Rare. It paid $375 million for the developer, best known for creating titles such as "GoldenEye" and "DonkeyKong 64" for Japanese game giant Nintendo. Rare will now produce games exclusively for the Xbox. Analysts have said Microsoft needs to dramatically enhance the quality of the roster of games available for the Xbox, particularly games aimed at younger and casual players, if it is to compete with industry giants Sony and Nintendo. see also Rare leaves Nintendo for Xbox (MSNBC).
- The Recording Industry is Trying to Kill the Goose That Lays the Golden Egg
Given the slight dip in CD sales despite so many reasons for there to be a much larger drop, it seems that the effect of downloading, burning, and sharing is one of the few bright lights helping the music industry with their most loyal customers.
Index page see also Internet access and use | Electronic commerce | Statistics
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