This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on media from around the Web.
New York Times Bits
Link: ESPN, Aided By Arbitron and comScore, to Follow the Audience Wherever It Goes
"With more people using Twitter while they watch television, surfing the Web while they listen to the radio, or toggling between the content on their tablets and smartphones, advertisers and media companies are struggling to keep track of the eyeballs they covet.
“On Monday, a new joint venture between Arbitron
(ARB), the radio ratings giant, comScore
(SCOR), the digital media research company, and ESPN
(DIS) will be announced that will try to measure the media consumption patterns of consumers across five platforms: radio, television, mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers. ESPN will be the first media company to use the service and collaborate with the two companies.
“‘The industry has been struggling with cross media,’ said Manish Bhatia, the executive vice president for new product innovation at Arbitron ‘Any conference you go to there is a discussion around cross-media management.’”
Link: Should Google Be Censoring Videos Just Because They Are Linked to Violence?
“After violent attacks on Americans in both Egypt and Libya — including an attack in Libya on Tuesday that killed the American ambassador to that country — Google
(GOOG) said on Wednesday that it has restricted access to a controversial YouTube video about the Prophet Muhammad that has been linked to the violence.
“According to a statement from the company, the video is still available on the YouTube website, but viewers from both Libya and Egypt are unable to see it. While this may be a goodwill gesture by the search giant aimed at helping to douse the flames of anti-American violence in the Middle East, it raises a number of questions about the company’s willingness to censor certain types of content even when it has not been asked to do so by a government or court. What other things might Google decide to block, and from whom?”
Link: Waterstones CEO: Amazon Partnership Great, Except for the 'Bear Traps'
“UK bookstore chain Waterstones’ CEO James Daunt admitted that the chain’s Amazon
(AMZN) partnership has been a bit fraught. ‘There are substantial difficulties for us around working with our major competitor,’ Daunt said at the Independent Publishers Guild Digital Quarterly Meeting on Tuesday, according to The Bookseller. ‘But we think we have an agreement which protects some of the most significant bear traps that sit there, and there are some major upsides for us.’
“Starting in October, Waterstones will sell the new Kindle models in its stores, including the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD, which are making their debut in the UK for the first time. (Amazon sells devices in other UK stores as well, not just Waterstones).
“The Waterstones/Amazon partnership, announced in May, baffled many, who don’t understand what Waterstones gets out of the deal. The chain does get a cut from the devices it sells, but it only gets a share of ebook sales when they’re purchased directly over its in-store WiFi network.”
Link: Facebook Throws a Coming Out Party for Its Ad Exchange
“Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook
(FB) is going to make a lot of money from mobile ads. In the meantime, the company is trying to figure out how to make more money from the Web ads it already sells.
“Here’s one way: Take the small ‘marketplace’ ads the company runs on the margins of its pages and make them more valuable, by letting marketers use their own targeting data to pitch the social networks’ users.
“That’s the premise behind the ‘Facebook Exchange’ the company launched three months ago. Since then, Facebook executives have placed a cone of silence around the project. Now it’s letting some of the ad tech companies that have been piloting Facebook Exchange talk about their experiences.”
Wall Street Journal Speakeasy
Link: No More Lines For KISS
“KISS, made up of original members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley and newer additions Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer, have sold more than 90 millions albums worldwide. Now they’re looking to increase their merchandising sales, tapping their in-stadium audience as well as their global fanbase.
“Launching Thursday for the final five shows of their KISS Motley Crue The Tour 2012, audience members will be able to purchase KISS merchandise directly from their seats. No more hazardous and frustrating lines around the merchandise tents but instead, a pay-to-play move that will result in a personalized purchasing experience — not to mention a VIP-style pickup.
“Deemed KISS X-Press program, the in-seat purchasing program is in conjunction with Live Nation
(LYV) Merchandise, whose CEO Dell Furano said that KISS has sold more than a half a billion dollars in merchandise in the last 15 years.”
No positions in stocks mentioned.