The UpStream

AOL Buys Another Company, Huffington Post, for $315 Million

posted Friday Feb 18, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

AOL Buys Another Company, Huffington Post, for $315 Million

I'm not quite sure where AOL is getting the money to purchase all the companies that they are frightened by but they are sure doing a good job at creating a huge cluster of big brands underneath their umbrella. With TechCrunch, Engadget, Joystiq, Moviefone, Mapquest and Switched already under their belt, AOL has now purchased Huffington Post for $315 million, $300 million of it in cash. Co-founder Arianna Huffington will become president and editor-in-chief. Since its inception in 2005, the HuffPo has been ever-growing in popularity and now reaches an average of 25 million visitors and over 4 million comments each month. AOL and Huffington Post's board of directors have agreed on the transaction as have the shareholders and the finalization of the deal should happen no later than early Q2.

From AOL and Huffington Post we have a press release:

Acquisition Will Solidify AOL's Strategy of Creating a Premier Content Network With Local, National and International Reach

Arianna Huffington To Lead Newly Formed The Huffington Post Media Group Which Will Integrate All Huffington Post and AOL Content, Including News, Tech, Women, Local, Multicultural, Entertainment, Video, Community, and More

The New Combined Media Group Will Reach 117 Million Americans and 270 Million Globally

Group Uniquely Positioned To Redefine the Future of Brand Advertising and Marketing For an Engaged and Influential Audience

Tim Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of AOL spoke highly of the acquisition and of Arianna Huffington.

The acquisition of The Huffington Post will create a next-generation American media company with global reach that combines content, community, and social experiences for consumers. Together, our companies will embrace the digital future and become a digital destination that delivers unmatched experiences for both consumers and advertisers. ... Arianna is a singularly passionate and dedicated champion of innovative journalistic engagement, and a master of the art of using new media to illuminate, entertain and enhance the national conversation. Arianna is a remarkable person and she will continue to create remarkable outcomes for the combined company.

For more on this move, follow the break.

Google Digital Subscription Service Aims High By Shooting Lower Than Apple

posted Friday Feb 18, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Google Digital Subscription Service Aims High By Shooting Lower Than Apple

Apple's new iTunes based subscription service barely made it off the tree before Google stepped in to try and steal their sunshine with their new digital subscription service called One Pass. The service will consist of the usual suspects, e-books, newspapers, and magazines but there are some distinct differences between One Pass and Apple's service that Google CEO Eric Schmidt made light of in Barcelona. A significant decrease in the cut Google takes from publishers and a less strict policy about relinquishing user info to them could help Google stick it to Apple in a different way than at the grocery store.

Satisfy your thirst for details by hitting the break.

US Government Seizes Websites for Child Porn

posted Thursday Feb 17, 2011 by Scott Ertz

US Government Seizes Websites for Child Porn

Ever since the FCC considered taking over the Internet, the government has been taking more of a role in managing the Internet. We have seen several instances of the federal government seizing control of websites, primarily over copyright issues. This week we had an interesting seizure - 84,000 domains in regard to child pornography. The only problem? They were seized on accident.

In an attempt to remove a single site, mooo.com, the Department of Justice's "Operation Save Our Children" wrongfully shutdown 84,000 domains all hosted through the same DNS, FreeDNS. Last Friday, if you had visited any one of the personal or small business sites hosted through FreeDNS.afraid.org, they were greeted with this image:

For more information on the sites shut down and their response, hit the break.

Apple Subscribes to the Death of Subscriptions

posted Thursday Feb 17, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Apple Subscribes to the Death of Subscriptions

Apple this week announced a new subscription service for the iTunes library, wherein you can subscribe to services like News Corp.'s The Daily, the first and currently only iOS-based newspaper. This announcement, however, certainly paves the way for other publications to come behind and be successful. From the press release,

Subscriptions purchased from within the App Store will be sold using the same App Store billing system that has been used to buy billions of apps and In-App Purchases. Publishers set the price and length of subscription (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly or yearly). Then with one-click, customers pick the length of subscription and are automatically charged based on their chosen length of commitment (weekly, monthly, etc.). Customers can review and manage all of their subscriptions from their personal account page, including canceling the automatic renewal of a subscription. Apple processes all payments, keeping the same 30 percent share that it does today for other In-App Purchases.

This sounds like a great idea, except for the publishers. Let's take into consideration Pandora. This is, generally, a free service. They do, however, offer a subscription service that allows for no advertisements, more skips, etc. Their margins are probably in the 5% range when you consider the service they offer and the cost they offer it for. Under this new subscription package, they will lose money on each subscription they sell - by quite a lot. Now, let's look at a magazine subscription through Amazon Kindle. There might be 10% margin on that, but they will also lose money under this new plan.

Why would Apple setup a subscription product that will bankrupt the subscription services? Hit the break to find out.

'PlayStation Certified' S1 Tablet Come At Us!

posted Wednesday Feb 16, 2011 by Jon Wurm

'PlayStation Certified' S1 Tablet Come At Us!

It seems Sony is finally coming out from behind the curve with the announcement of the PSP2 and the Xperia Play smartphone. Of course, it only seems that way because Sony never intends to be a first mover in the industry which could work to their advantage if they spent more of their time addressing some fundamental issues instead of just cramming more and more power into their devices.

In the effort of fairness, Sony is getting rid of the XCrossMediaBar user interface that has been around forever and the thumb sticks on the PSP2 have been reported to be much more user friendly. Their adoption of Android has opened up some interesting possibilities for expansion of the PSP2 and Xperia Play devices to include things like social games thanks to the PlayStation Suite. It has also opened up the possibility of a Sony tablet running Android 3.0, which has been recently confirmed by inside sources with engadget.

To find out what Sony has in store for the new tablet, hit the break.

Spotify Inches Closer to Being Spotted in the US

posted Sunday Feb 13, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Spotify Inches Closer to Being Spotted in the US

Everybody should care about Spotify. Not only for the reason that it's an awesome service that's slowly creeping its way to the US very soon but also because I'm talking about it! Just a couple of weeks ago we talked about the European-based music streaming service inking a deal with Sony. It turns out that there may be more hints of the service touching down on American soil sooner than we thought.

Some Americans have been given free Premium access to Spotify early; VIPs, music industry analysts, record label heads and press. That select group of individuals received an email from Spotify this week hinting at a launch of the service in the "coming months" and that they're gonna have to be paying soon.

To see the letter and find out more, click that break!

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