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Weekly Media Briefing for October 31st-November 4th

By Michael Hurtig
Monday, October 31st, 2011
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Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom presented a keynote and interview at the Dublin Web Summit last week, and offered some insights into his experiences in the online video space. He mentioned that when he launched Joost, an online TV portal, in 2007 he quickly found out that it is “pretty much impossible to start an online company [video] and to have the licenses”. “The timing was right,” he said, mentioning that Hulu and other online sites popped up around the same time as Joost. Joost did not survive long, however – by the end of 2008 the company shut down its application-based service, and in 2009 sold its assets. What Zennstrom did not discuss in his interview is his move back into the online video space with Vdio, but instead the music licensing company which he co-founded, Rdio. He indicated that part of Rdio’s success is owing to the company’s tenacious efforts to form licensing partnerships with content owners. In his keynote above, you can hear Zennstrom’s advice for internet entrepreneurs. A video of his interview can be found here: http://new.livestream.com/channels/58/videos/4072

Is the latest version of Google TV the latest and greatest in television aggregation? The internet search giant is edging into the tv space at break-neck speed as it seeks not only to fine-tune its viewing platform and proprietary recommendation engine, but also to generate content for its upcoming streaming channels. The company’s production efforts via YouTube, which include partnerships with showrunners and writers with strong track records, are likely to make waves in the television industry, and have a greater impact than did the release of the first generation of Google TV. Youtube is getting set to launch 100 channels with professionally produced content.

Consumers aren’t dropping their cable subscriptions in droves, as many tv industry analysts had warned they might. Instead the New York Times reports, “the vast majority of American households are still paying for television subscriptions and watching most video that way.”

Following the Comcast-NBC merger in early 2011, it was announced that NBC was looking for non-profit news partners. This week, NBC has announced that it is making a major investment in local news across 10 stations, hiring 130 staff members to increase the output of NBC’s local news divisions. In addition, New York and other markets will receive new investigative and consumer units.

Time Warner is looking to cut down on excess spending and heavily invest in content, which includes its television shows, movies, sports and news that drive revenue. Via New York Times.

The FCC’s new Connect America Fund of up to 4.5 billion will be used to help bring high-speed internet connectivity  to communities with limited connections across the country.