I Want My User-Generated Content

At a Chuchill Club event last night entitled Video Goes Internet: The Future of What You Watch, representatives of WIRED, Google, MSN, MTV, ESPN, and Slingbox discussed the future of video over the Internet. Here are a couple of observations from the panel (in no particular order) ...
  • Traditional networks will only survive if they adopt a "voice" or point-of-view. While ESPN and MTV mean something to audiences, to the consumer, NBC, ABC, and CBS are just random assemblages of programming, signifying nothing.
  • Consumers are contributing a surprising number of homemade commercials to Google Video.
  • Because of rights issues, search engines will not supplant networks. Google is interested in linking off to other video networks. From Google's perspective, finding the right programming will still be a huge problem.
  • MTV and ESPN are designing programming for two-screen viewing.
  • Almost half of ESPN's daily audience of 4.5 million uniques watches videos on its site.

Vital Thoughts

ThinkEquity has raised its estimates for VitalStream ...

We believe business remains strong at VitalStream and expect the company to outperform our raised 1Q and 2006 estimates. We continue to believe VitalStream is the best way for investors to play the increasing demand for online streaming content, as the Internet grows as a distribution channel for interactive rich media and advertising. We are reiterating our Buy rating and raising our 12-month price target from $10 to $14.

Brands Take to the Web

This from the front page of today's Wall Street Journal [subscription required] ...

After years of cautiously experimenting with Web marketing, powerhouse advertisers like General Mills Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. are cranking up online spending and increasing the range of brands they promote on the Web. General Mills, maker of Cheerios and Betty Crocker baking mixes, expects to nearly double online-ad spending in the current fiscal year. Kraft, home of Jell-O and Kool-Aid, plans to double its number of online-ad campaigns in 2006 and to increase the number of brands it advertises on the Internet by at least half.

The shift underlines the Internet's threat to traditional media such as television and print magazines. It suggests that the boom in Internet advertising that has already fueled rapid revenue growth in recent years at Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and other companies could continue as still other groups of more traditional advertisers step up online spending.

The packaged-goods companies say their customers are spending more time online and using the Web in new ways, such as watching TV shows and other video. 'Our job is to invest in where consumers are engaging with media,' says John Galloway, vice president of sports, media and interactive marketing at PepsiCo Inc.'s Pepsi-Cola North America unit. At his division, online spending is expected to rise to between 5% and 10% of the overall ad budget in 2006, from 1% five years ago.
[Bigger Buy]

Providers of consumer packaged goods accounted for more than 11% of the $145 billion in U.S. ad spending in 2005, according to research firm TNS Media Intelligence. But they spent just 1.6% of their ad dollars online last year, on average, compared with an overall average of 5.8% of total ad spending for U.S. advertisers, says TNS. These advertisers have been the most challenging targets for Internet companies, says Wenda Harris Millard, chief sales officer at Yahoo. That company has overcome some of their resistance by wielding new tools to show that Web ads can increase consumer spending.

These developments bode well for BlueLithium, which has focused heavily on brand-building campaigns.

Gump's Web Revamp

Gump's received a nice write-up from MSNBC/San Francisco Business Times.

Listen Up

A good two-part analysis of music subscription services on TechCrunch. I gave up my Rhapsody subscription about six months ago and haven't turned back. Everyone eventually reaches subscription overload, and for me, $120 per year for a music service that I only used once or twice a week did not make "cents." (It's clearly a subject that hits home: the number of comments speaks volumes.) I am currently buying music from a couple of sites mentioned in the article, listening to Pandora, and streaming (and burning) Internet radio using StationRipper, one of the best and most unsung programs out there.

Ignite Catches Fire

Ignite Technologies has a new CEO, and he's quite a catch. Jim Janicki formerly served as CEO of Calpont, a database solutions provider backed by Austin Ventures. Before Calpont, he grew MetaSolv Software from three employees to more than 600 and took the company public in 1999. In 2001, MetaSolv generated $130 million in revenue, leading Ernst & Young to name Janicki its "Entrpreneur of the Year."

Follow the Money

BlueLithium announced today that Bill Lonergan has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer.

VitalStream in the News

VitalStream is making news yet again ...

VitalStream Holdings, Inc. (OTCBB:VSHI), a world leader in audio and video streaming, today announced that it has effected a 1-for-4 reverse split of its common stock as approved by its Board of Directors on March 24, 2006. Upon today’s market open, VitalStream’s common stock will begin trading on a split-adjusted basis under the new trading symbol “VSHI” (OTCBB:VSHI).