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 ViaSubscription's ASP Solution: ViaSubscription, an ASP subscription management company, has announced that it is currently servicing more than 1,000,000 subscribers, in only six months of its existence. The company hosts subscription systems, which in itself are powered by third-party software solutions--in this case the company uses Sandlot Corporation's "EclipseNet" subscription management system. ViaSubscription has customers such as Harris Publishing and About.com, among others. rali [06.26.02] | Technologies |

 Newspaper's Litmus Test: How local newspaper sites should be looking at their online ventures in a different light: "A litmus test is how your company views all those thousands of unique visitors who read the newspaper's content online for free. If the opinion is that they should either subscribe to the paper or pay an access fee, you work for a newspaper company. If the opinion is that the Internet presents a new business model that deserves time and resources, you work for a media company." rali [06.26.02] | Analysis |Newspapers |

 Mazingo, a wireless content distribution startup, has tied up with Sporting News Radio to deliver the radio content to its subscribers. Mazingo has developed a multi-media portal for wireless devices, and it charges about $7 a month for access to content such as full-length movies, classic TV shows, radio shows from the Wall Street Journal, comics and others, all available through download.
The Sporting News Radio will offer nearly a dozen "channels" of sports content, stories and interviews updated multiple times a day, as and when the PDA users syncs the device to the mother computer. For more on Mazingo, read my story I did earlier for Silicon Alley Reporter (free registration required). rali [06.26.02] | Multi-media |Wireless |

 AOL Developing High-Speed Streaming Tech: Following up on the earlier Fortune story, News.com reports on the details of AOL's new streaming technology. The technology, code-named "Ultravox", aims to create supercharged network routers capable of moving large media files far more efficiently than is possible with current Internet technology. "Despite years of tinkering, streaming costs remain too high for many would- be providers while quality is still too low to create a mass audience for commercial, Internet-powered entertainment services conceived by media giants such as AOL." This means further trouble for RealNetworks, which increasingly looks like it is competing with AOL. rali [06.26.02] | AOL |RNWK |

 The NewsMarket Raises $3 Million: The NewsMarket, a web-based video distribution company, has raised $3 million in venture capital funding from investors such as Ascend Venture Group (lead), New York Community Investment Company and CEI Ventures. This is among the very few pure-content venture fundings this year.
NewsMarket charges fees to corporations to put their video content on NewsMarket's Web site. It distributes these videos in digital format to media entities including CNBC, ABC, Bloomberg, NY1 and others. According to a story in TheDeal.com, the New York-based company reported $400,000 in revenue last year from more than 30 customers including Oracle Corp., Motorola Corp. and DaimlerChrysler. rali [06.26.02] | Multi-media |VC/M&A |

 Salon.com's Auditors Doubt Its Continued Viability: Salon Media Group (Nasdaq: SALNC), operator of Salon.com, has just filed it annual report for 2001. An interesting read, especially portions on its paid content efforts. However, the scary portion: its auditors doubt if it can survive as a going concern, citing cash flow problems. Here's the portion in full: "As of March 31, 2002, Salon's available cash resources were sufficient to meet working capital needs for approximately three to four months depending on revenues generated during the period. Salon's auditors have included a paragraph in their report indicating that substantial doubt exists as to its ability to continue as a going concern because it has recurring operating losses and negative cash flows, and an accumulated deficit. Salon has eliminated various positions, not filled positions opened by attrition, implemented a wage reduction of 15% effective April 1, 2001, and has cut discretionary spending to minimal amounts, but due to a weak U.S. economy in general, and limited visibility of advertising activity, it is unable to accurately predict if and when it will reach cash-flow break even.

Salon needs to raise additional funds and is currently in the process of exploring financing options. If it is unable to complete the financial transactions it is pursuing or if it is unable to fund its other liquidity needs, then it may be unable to continue as a going concern. Liquidity continues to be a constraint on business operations, including Salon's ability to react to competitive pressures or to take advantage of unanticipated opportunities." rali [06.26.02] | Earnings |SALNC |

 Is Terrorism a Threat To Subscription Services?: This is worth noting in full--a list of the risk factors which RealNetworks released along with its revised earnings estimates. "Factors that could cause actual results to differ from the results predicted include risks associated with the sustained adoption and use of and demand for RealNetworks' subscription services by customers and their continued willingness to pay for content online, and the potential that RealNetworks will be unable to continue to enter into commercially attractive agreements with content providers for compelling content for our subscription service offerings; continued growth in consumer demand for IP-based streaming and media delivery, the continued growth in broadband access and the impact of the lack of such growth on demand for both RealNetworks' consumer products and services and our systems software and services; factors impacting RealNetworks' partners' businesses that may impact the timing of their adoption or use of or payment for our technologies or the success of our relationships with those partners; the risks associated with the development of new streaming media technologies; competitive risks, including competing technologies, products and services, and the activities of our larger competitors, including Microsoft; and the risks associated with macroeconomic trends including without limitation the financial difficulties that have been facing and continue to face technology companies, the reduced demand for technology products and the impact of past and potential future terrorist activities and military actions; and RealNetworks' independent decisions, from time to time, whether to repurchase shares under its stock buyback program." rali [06.26.02] | RNWK |

 RealNetworks Revises Earnings Estimates: RealNetworks (Nasdaq: RNWK) has revised its second quarter earnings estimates, expected now to be between $42.5 million and $45.0 million. This represents a sequential decline from revenue of $47.2 million reported for the first quarter. The lower revenue expectation reflects weakness in the company's systems software business this quarter.
On the other hand, the RealOne multi-media subscription service continues to grow, with more than 700,000 paying subscribers, compared to 600,000 announced in April. Bear Strearns analyst estimates that by lining up 100,000 new subscribers in a quarter, the company is looking at a roughly $70 million business this year. He bases this figure on an average expenditure of $8 a month per subscriber. rali [06.26.02] | Earnings |RNWK |

 Wireless Billing Simplified: AT&T Wireless has just launched a service where content providers can charge for their digital goods and services directly to customers' wireless phone bills or credit cards. Previously, customers had to use a separate credit card in order to make purchases through their wireless phones, said the company. The "e-Wallet" service lets customers pay for digital content purchases using their wireless phone bill or personal credit card. "Hard goods" (i.e. CD 's) can be charged to a personal credit or debit card. The service has content from media companies such as ESPN, ABC News and others. rali [06.26.02] | Technologies |Wireless |

 Credit Cards May Default on Gaming: E-gaming companies (that is, Internet gambling casinos etc., NOT network gaming) could see their growth potential cut in half over the next year as major banks refuse to accept online gaming-related transactions, according to a new study by Bear Stearns. Growth rates in the industry could be sliced in 2003 from 43 percent to 20 percent, or to roughly $4.2 billion in total industry-wide revenues. "These moves by banks, as well as an unprecedented amount of negative sentiment toward the Internet gaming industry on both a state and federal level, could have several implications for the fast-growing e- gaming sector." rali [06.26.02] | Gaming |Pricing |

 Money From Trade Publishing: Trade publisher Reed Elsevier has made a remarkable turnaround, and its specialty online units are expected to turn in about $1.5 billion in revenues this year. "We're targeted at the professional end user -- the scientist, the lawyer, and others who are prepared to pay if they're getting the services and content they're looking for through the Internet." rali [06.26.02] | Biz/Fin |

 Weblogs For Newspapers?: Steve Outing exhorts newspapers to take up weblogging to connect with readers. "It could even be a paid subscription service, if the content was good enough and not something duplicated by others." That may not be a very feasible strategy on a standalone basis, but can definitely be tied in as a huge value-add to the bigger package. Weblogs are an extremely inexpensive way for high quality content.
Another possibility for revenues it through hosting local area websites, and charging a fee for it. rali [06.26.02] | Newspapers |

 RealNetworks On Sony Devices: Following the earlier announcement that users will soon have the ability to transfer music from Pressplay to Sony's Net MD Walkman recorders, RealNetworks has announced a "Sony Music Device Plug-in" for its RealOne player. The plug-in enables consumers to "easily transfer their digital music to Sony audio devices such as Net MD Walkman, Network Walkman and VAIO personal computers."
This announcement comes a month after Sony and RealNetworks signed an agreement to collaborate on consumer electronics devices. The alliance builds on previous deals between the two companies, including an agreement by Sony to support RealNetworks' digital video technology in the PlayStation 2 game console that Sony is positioning as a digital entertainment hub. rali [06.26.02] | Music |RNWK |Technologies |

 Yahoo Closes Finance Vision: Bereft of any way to monetize the seemingly valuable programming, Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) has decided to close two free services: is scrapping two free broadcasting services: FinanceVision, which provided streaming video clips with business and stock news, and a radio channel that came with its $5 billion acquisition of Broadcast.com. According to the story, "FinanceVision didn't mesh with the company's strategy of generating more subscription-based revenue and reducing its reliance on advertising."
FinanceVision was an ambitious strategy for Yahoo, the only section for which the portal produced original content. The vision was to become the CNBC of the Internet, but slow broadband adoption and lack of any kind of specific positioning did it in. Competition from the likes of Bloomberg, which has been streaming its TV content for free as well, has not helped. Expect Bloomberg to revisit its free streaming strategy in the near future...in fact, Bloomberg publisher told me in an interview about a month ago: "That is something we are looking at right now, for the same reasons other sites have looked at it--it is very costly to do. As a relatively new entrant in the market, it is very hard to get TV distribution, so our feeling has been that [the stream] is an important way for people to get to know us and understand our TV product." rali [06.25.02] | Biz/Fin |Multi-media |YHOO |

 Venture Capital in Digital Entertainment: Venture Capital in media and digital entertainment seems to be better than the overall investing environment, according to the story. VCs invested over $2.1 billion in the sector, about 485 percent more than 1995. The story makes too much of an extrapolation, because the fact remains that the multiples of returns on any media-related investment are not as high as technology. The market has a longer adoption curve than technology. The kind of digital media firms getting investments are only media-centric, that is, companies that are helping other media firms be more efficient. For instance, in the first four months of this year, six content delivery technology firms got funding, as opposed to zero (yes, zero) in pure content. And most of the investments in any case are later-stage.
However, as VCs and these digital entertainment startups become comfortable with valuations, things will stabilize. rali [06.25.02] | VC/M&A |

 Why Micropayments Won't work: Among the most cogent arguments against micropayments, drawing on comparisons from other disciplines. Micropayments will work "for services with a fixed value, such as a service that makes prints from your digital camera, or records a phone conversation to send it to you in an email, or provides mobile Internet access and prioritized packet delivery. They won't work for intellectual property, which always has a variable and unpredictable worth." rali [06.25.02] | Analysis |Pricing |

 Pressplay on Sony Devices: Sony Electronics and the online music subscription service Pressplay have announced that users will soon have the ability to transfer music from Pressplay to Sony's Net MD Walkman recorders. The feature will be available later this summer. The Pressplay service, which is offered through Sony's Musiclub web site as well as such other Pressplay affiliates, as MP3.com, MSN, Roxio and Yahoo, will include technology provided by Roxio that will allow users to transfer songs to their recorder.
Portability---the ability to listen to music on devices other than the computers, like the increasingly popular MP3 players like Apple's iPod and SonicBlue's Rio--is a huge issue with online music subscription services. Alan McGlade, president and CEO of MusicNet, told me in an earlier interview last year that record labels are aware of these types of issues and will take some time to solve them. "Traditionally, the record companies and these hardware manufacturers have seen each other as enemies, and it will take some time for them to come together," McGlade said in the story. Of course, it helps that Pressplay has Sony as one of the founding members, along with Vivendi Universal. rali [06.25.02] | Music |

 AOL Turning Sour on RealNetworks?: RealNetworks has always had a close relationship with AOL, more as a result of being Microsoft adversaries than anything else. AOL's is now perceiving the RealOne service as a threat to its own service, and is quietly developing its own music player using a set of audio and video standards. According to the story, "AOL has much bigger ambitions for the project, such as replacing Real's technology with its own in future versions of AOL's software and using its heft to undercut Real's deals with content providers. There is even speculation that AOL plans to use these standards to make its prodigious music, movie, and video libraries off-limits to anyone not using the player." rali [06.25.02] | AOL |Multi-media |RNWK |

 Streaming Sites Favor Ad Model, But How Long?: Streaming media content sites favor streaming advertising over subscription by a 60 percent to 13 percent margin, according to a new research report.
The research was based on an analysis of 38 streaming content providers. Subscription services in the group of selected sites include AOL, which does host banner ads surrounding the media player box, but it is primarily subscription based (users have to either subscribe to AOL, or pay AOL a content fee of $14.95/month for access to programming). The most glaring omission: RealNetworks, since it is both ad-supported and subscription-based.
Of the sites analyzed, over 21 percent of sites selected have no in-stream advertising whatsoever, although banner are placed on pages that contain streaming content. rali [06.25.02] | Multi-media |Research |

 Setting Up Streaming Subscription Sites: The first part of an extensive tutorial on developing a streaming subscription site--from liability considerations to payment and escrow services. Four issues have been tackled in-depth: What are you legal obligations to the consumer? How do you handle the cash transaction? How do you protect your content from being stolen, or vandalized by a hacker? How to set up a tracking system that follows your users from the time they log in to the time they leave?
The second part will be available in the coming weeks. rali [06.25.02] | Multi-media |Technologies |

 Slaying The Dragons to Profit: Korea is the biggest online gaming country in the world, and a small upstart NC Interactive is planning to make a run at it, against giants such as Electronic Arts ad Sony. NC’s parent company in South Korea, NCsoft, just happens to run the biggest online game in the world. "Lineage," the company's medieval role-playing game, has more than 4 million subscribers who pay an average monthly subscription fee of almost $25 to participate in "blood pledge" clans that besiege virtual castles and slay digital dragons. As opposed to Sony’s EverQuest, the company gives away the game for free and gets money through subsequent subscriptions.
The uptake: Lineage’s success has been driven mainly by broadband adoption in Korea, which incidentally has the highest broadband penetration rate in the world. Interestingly, gaming has also driven broadband adoption: “We have a partnership with KT (formerly Korea Telecom), which is basically the largest broadband ISP in world. If you talk with KT, they'll tell you that a large part of their success has come from the content side, and the biggest content in Korea now is Lineage.” rali [06.25.02] | Gaming |

 Get Ready to be Tethered: Newsweek does a story on "Palladium", the new digital rights management and cryptography system being developed by Microsoft, Intel and AMD. The system, to be embedded into PCs in the future, will have profound effects on how content is consumed and shared. Of course, this is being done in name of security. "Palladium is intended to become a new platform for a host of yet-unimagined services to enable privacy, commerce and entertainment in the coming decades. 'This isn’t just about solving problems, but expanding new realms of possibilities in the way people live and work with computers,' says product manager Mario Juarez."
Of course, as is to be expected, the discussion about this story on Slashdot is perhaps more interesting than the story itself. rali [06.25.02] | Multi-media |Technologies |

 Fill it Up, Britney: Start-up Internet has released Britney Spears Smart Card for $29.95. It comes with a card reader, plugs into a computer and takes users directly to a secure website where viewers can access information about coming tours and other promotions.
The technology is similar to StatCard's, which sells "Smart Trading Cards" that permits users to access an interactive game website and allows scores to be earned and saved on the trading card. The card is retailed through Toys "R" Us stores. StatCard received $1.6 million in angel round venture funding, rare for such a startup in this environment. rali [06.24.02] | Technologies |

 Wireless Content Pricing Models: The story gives a rundown on the various kinds of pricing models (from a developer's perspective) in Europe and what can be learned from these models. Content providers are trying to wrest the money away from the mobile operators, and expect some clever pricing schemes to come up as a result. rali [06.24.02] | Pricing |Wireless |

 RealNetworks Slides More Than 15 Percent: RealNetworks' shares are getting hammered by a report released by NetRatings detailing the market shares of various multimedia formats. Shares in RealNetworks, which delivers online music, video and games through its various Real software products, were trading at $4.68, or 16.6 percent lower in afternoon trade on Nasdaq. Still, Alan Davis, analyst at Seattle-based McAdamas Wright Ragen, said that RealNetworks remained a 'buy' anywhere below $5. "Their consumer business continues to grow sequentially," Davis said. rali [06.24.02] | Multi-media |RNWK |

 The Debate Continues: The paid content debate continues on Online Writing List. This particular post (again, there's no easy way to link to it, but it is titled "Re: Micropayments") enumerates usability/business model issues of Micropayment: "What users need is the ability to say, 'Yes, in this instance, for this particular bit of content, I am willing to pay this small amount.' If the Internet can adopt a business model that is more like a newsstand (where you can get a few copies of whatever you want) than a circulation department (where you can get a subscription to whatever they happen to carry), I bet paid content would take off."
Something similar was tried by Contentville, but it failed, for various reasons, of course. rali [06.24.02] | Analysis |

 Network Gaming Biggest Challenge: The Economist takes a look at the gaming industry, the "rare bright spot in the gloomy technology industry." Besides the physical consoles market, the biggest challenge is in moving to the network gaming arena, the online gaming, so to speak. Sony's margin on its "EverQuest" online subscription gaming service is about 65-70 percent. So addicted are the subscribers that almost none stopped playing when the subscription was raised from $10, according to the story.
However, slower broadband adoption is hindering the progress. "The lack of widespread broadband means that most observers do not expect a boom in online gaming until the next console cycle, starting in 2005." rali [06.24.02] | Gaming |

 Irish Not Willing: Another "pasty white" story on how users are unwilling to pay for content, this time from Ireland. Just 18 per cent willing to pay for daily news, 13 per cent for sport and 10 per cent for archive news. The outtake: 63 per cent of users indicated they would be willing to pay for Irish news if they were living outside Ireland. rali [06.24.02] | Research |

 Wireless Newspapers?: At the NAA’s NEXPO conference, newspaper technologists are betting that wireless could eventually become the third leg of the newspaper industry, joining printed paper and the Internet as outlets for disseminating news and advertising. In a test run in 13 newspaper districts, wireless users were found to be open to alerts for things such as classifieds etc. Consumers will pay for news; they will pay for alerts; they will pay for stuff that makes their life better, according to the story. Perhaps, but only in big markets. rali [06.24.02] | Newspapers |Wireless |

 Death of Free E-mail: Call it the personal e-mail shakeout. Things are changing, but slowly. "So far surfers aren't lining up to pay for these once-free features--that is, if they used them at all. Hotmail claims more than 110 million active users worldwide, but only 300,000 customers have signed on for any Hotmail or MSN extra-service options." rali [06.24.02] | E-mail |

 Chime in on Subscription Discussion: Since last Wednesday, a fascinating discussion about online paid content has been developing on Online Writing List (hosted by Poynter.org). There's no easy way to link to it, since it is an e-mail discussion list, but try here and click on "Read messages." The original discussion was prompted by this story, "Why I Am Paying for My Newspaper On-Line." rali [06.24.02] | Analysis |Newspapers |

 Catch-22 For Content Developers: Do you want for broadband penetration to reach a critical mass before jumping in ? Aren't we there already? Pew Internet's latest research comes to a rather obvious but important conclusion: people who use high-speed services to connect to the Internet from home have a much more active relationship with the online world than those who dial up to it over a regular phone line.
"The report also casts some doubt on a popular theory that the slower-than- expected adoption of broadband services is because of the reluctance of major entertainment companies to deliver movies and music over the Internet."
Read the full report on Pew Internet's website. rali [06.24.02] | Multi-media |Research |

  IGN Raises $2 Million: IGN Entertainment (Nasdaq: IGNX), which till recently was called Snowball.com, has raised $2 million in a private placement.
IGN recently changed its name from Snowball.com to focus on gaming sector through its popular IGN.com online subscription gaming site. The company claims than IGN is the largest online gaming community, with about 45,000 paid users and over 8 million unique monthly users. In the first quarter of this year, the company added 15,000 new subscribers to its IGNinsider program, and subscription revenues grew by 118 percent over the prior quarter, according to the company. rali [06.24.02] | Gaming |VC/M&A |

 MPEG-4 Tech for Wireless Content: Before wireless users become comfortable with video and audio content, the technology has to be in place. Perhaps the biggest hindrance to subscription content, as players in the market have found out, is standards. Software developer PacketVideo and digital media technology firm Pinnacle Systems (Nasdaq: PCLE) have joined forces to deliver MPEG-4 (moving picture experts group) content to wireless devices. The agreement between the players is a right step towards standards, according to the story. rali [06.23.02] | Multi-media |Technologies |Wireless |

 Will Wimbledon Be RealOne's European Launch Pad?: Last week RealNetworks launched the European edition. Sports is possibly the ideal "subscription-able" content, and Wimbledon may give RealOne a kickstart. Rabid fans are used to spending insane amounts of money to watch their teams. "Wimbledon is an opportunity we saw whereby we could create a premium version of content on the Internet for those tennis fans who really care," said Larry Jacobson, president and COO for RealNetworks, quoted in the story. rali [06.23.02] | Multi-media |RNWK |Sports |

 Valuing Content: Not directly related to media content, rather commercial content, but some important lessons: How do you value the price of your content, if you want to keep it free? Do you value it in terms of how much of it leads to sales calls? "We don't have a dollar figure. What would you do? Tag every piece of content separately and track whether a commercial inquiry comes from a given article? Ask every client exactly what made her hire you?" rali [06.21.02] | Analysis |Pricing |

 We're Broke: The Economics of a Web Community: Kuro5hin, the uber-intellectual tech community site, is going through the survival pangs. So the founder Rusty Foster (don't ever mention my name to him--he hates me!) is now asking his legion of followers to help save the site. "Many people are under the mistaken impression that the business of media is collecting information or creating entertainment and selling it to the public...Advertising is not a means of supporting media. Media is an excuse for presenting advertising." A reasoned analysis of why they need money to exist...almost an "NPRish" plea. Wired News also reports on Rusty's efforts at raising money so far. rali [06.21.02] | Analysis |Community |

 Feds Halve Webcasters Royalty Fee: Federal copyright regulators have set new royalty rates for online radio companies. Under the new rates, Web companies would pay 0.07 cent, or about a fourteenth of a cent, every time they played a song online for a single listener. Radio stations would pay the same amount when they put their music programming online. Even with the dramatic drop in fees, Webcasters said the decision could cripple many businesses. "The import of this decision is that artists and record labels will subsidize the Webcasting businesses of multibillion dollar companies like Yahoo, AOL, RealNetworks and Viacom," RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a statement. rali [06.20.02] | Multi-media |Music |

 Japan's Streaming Content Market: Japan's market for streaming content, including music and video clips, will expand to $1.35 billion in 2006, or 20 times larger than the market scale of $0.067 billion in 2001. However, what will be the most popular streaming content among market participants will have to be educational content and other contents believed to be the last ones subject to copyright disputes, according to the report. rali [06.20.02] | Multi-media |Research |

 Convergence Hinges on Broadband: PWC's take on convergence and how broadband adoption will drive it. "To see where the 'digital evolution' is headed, take a look at the surge in spending for digital cable and broadband Internet access. Consumers who've demanded a more diverse entertainment experience are leading the charge by subscribing to these upgraded distribution platforms, and new and more diverse content offerings will follow." rali [06.20.02] | Analysis |Multi-media |

 Yahoo's Subscription Revenue Potential: Sheer number crunching doesn't necessarily translate into revenues. That said, Yahoo has released traffic/market share number of its verticals like music, news, finance, maps, Geocities and other services. Twenty of Yahoo's services or channels are ranked in the top three in their respective verticals, pointing to the revenue generating potential. rali [06.20.02] | Portals |Research |YHOO |

 New Multimedia Format Numbers from NetRatings: As expected, Nielsen-NetRatings has released its revised version of online multimedia statistics for the three major competing formats: RealNetworks' RealMedia, Microsoft's Windows Media and Apple's QuickTime. Interesting, but not statistically significant: RealMedia triumphs with at-home users, while Windows Media triumphs among office users. QuickTime has gained a significant share. Interesting to see how the standards play out and how it would affect paid multi-media content. rali [06.20.02] | Multi-media |RNWK |Research |Technologies |

 CNET's Follies: CNET (Nasdaq: CNET), which is perhaps the bible for all kinds of tech news, is in itself down in the dumps. It's stock is at an all time low now. Tech ad recovery is not expected till 2004, according to this story. CNET's dilemma: how and when should we start charging for the content? It has among the most well read of sites--according to ComScore, it is first among the business/financial news sites, ahead of the likes of Fortune, MarketWatch and others. Point is: they should have thought about building other revenue streams much earlier. It may be too late now. As Jim Nail, an analyst with Forrester Research says in the story: ""I doubt it [will survive alone]. It goes back to mergers of media companies. In a conglomerate organization, CNET is a strong player." rali [06.20.02] | Biz/Fin |

 MSN on VZN: MSN has tied up with Verizon to offer high-speed broadband access by next spring. Microsoft would put $500 million into research and development for MSN this year, developing a number of new features that will show up in the new Verizon service. Extensive broadband content from MSN content partners such as MSNBC, ESPN, Billboard, E! Online, WebMD, Disney and Discovery also will be available. Interesting to watch as it may define how content providers get paid in the future by latching on to ISPs. IVillage is trying to develop a similar service, and launch it later this year. rali [06.20.02] | Multi-media |Portals |

 TheStreet.com CEO On Pricing: I did a story today on TheStreet.com (Nasdaq: TSCM), featuring an interview with the CEO. He talked about how the company goes about deciding the price points for its various high price, high value financial products. "In the cost benefit analysis we do, we look at the type of proprietary information we provide and we look at the benefit the end user can get. For example, we priced our StreetView product at $30,000 annually. But think about how a hedge fund or a large buy-side money manager consumes that information: If they get an investable idea from the StreetView, they will make that money back in a minute." rali [06.20.02] | Biz/Fin |Pricing |TSCM |

 WSJ.com Moves in B2B Areas: You had to see this coming. WSJ.com plans to launch a vertical on healthcare topics, part of a potential move to target the business-to-business arena. Other areas are in the anvil. No pricing has been announced as yet. rali [06.20.02] | Biz/Fin |Newspapers |WSJ |

 Let Users Buy: A Netherlands-based business TV channel Kanaal Z has launched an innovative new service: On the website of Kanaal Z, visitors can purchase video content in order to re-publish it on their website. The amount to be paid depends on the publishing parameters such as timing and channel. Seems an innovative way for publishers to cash onto the weblog community here in the U.S., though of course the pricing and the type of content would perhaps determine the popularity. rali [06.20.02] | Multi-media |

  eSubscription.org: A non-profit trade association for companies using the subscription model to sell content, memberships, goods and services on and off the Internet.
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  How to set up a streaming subscription site: The first part of an extensive tutorial on developing a streaming subscription site--from liability considerations to payment and escrow services.
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Content Convergence One Network, One Box ($$): "Shareholders must stop punishing forward-looking companies such as News Corp., Vivendi Universal and AOL Time Warner for acquisitive strategies that position them well for the convergence future." Interesting argument for more M&A activity in the content market.
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Free, fee and value added info services: A 13-page white paper released by Factiva on the business models for informations services like its own and competitors like Lexis-Nexis, Hoovers, Alacra and others. Key to the report, obviously aimed at selling its services, is the finding that using Factiva and the likes saves time finding the right information, as opposed to just searching the Web for free content.


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© 2002 Rafat Ali