Archives: January 2009

Going Beyond the TV to Report From A War Zone

The AP has a story about Al Jazeera English’s coverage of the recent flare-up between Israel and Hamas. The network had an upper hand with correspondents in Gaza, but the viewers who tuned in weren’t necessarily watching on TV.

Instead, the station streamed video of Israel’s offensive against Hamas on the Internet and took advantage of emerging online media such as the microblogging Web site Twitter to provide real-time updates.

Overall, the station’s Web video stream saw a 600 percent jump in worldwide viewership during the Gaza offensive – and about 60 percent of those hits came from the United States, according to the station’s internal numbers.

The jump in viewership reflects wider trends in global media, where the Web increasingly is the place where viewers go to watch video and social networking sites and citizen journalism are merging with traditional news coverage.

The AP story also reports on how AJE has been added to the Livestation platform. TVNewser profiled Livestation at the NAB Show last year.

Livestation said Al-Jazeera English footage viewed on its site jumped to 17 million minutes worldwide over a two week period during the Gaza conflict, up from 3 million minutes in a similar time period before the conflict began.

The service did not break down those numbers by specific country. But it said that over one full week of the Gaza conflict, the number of U.S. viewers to Al-Jazeera English on Livestation surged by six times the usual level.

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Van Susteren May Shut Down Popular “GretaWire” Blog

GretaWire_1.30.bmpIn a post on her blog this morning:

Because I promised you the behind the scenes, I figure I should alert you to the fact there is a good chance that I will shut down GretaWire soon. As you might have guessed, it is really time consuming (I do it alone) and I am trying to think what else I can do on the web. I would like to expand into other areas. It has been lots of fun blogging and building GretaWire with all of you but I, probably like you, like to dream about doing other things – whatever that may be. Secures Financing, Splits from Nerve Media

Hunter Walker
Special to WebNewser

nervemedia.jpgNerve Media has secured financing for their parenting site from New York-based venture capital fund Village Ventures. As a result of the new cash infusion, Babble will be spun off into a new company separate from Nerve Media. Both companies are now hiring.

Nerve Media got it’s start in 1997 with the sex and relationships blog The company’s CEO and co-founder Rufus Griscom will be leaving to serve as the chief executive of Babble although he will remain as non-executive chairman of the board at Nerve Media. Griscom’s departure leaves searching for a new CEO. Nerve will also be looking for a vice president of Sales. Babble is hiring an Office Manager and a Senior Sales Executive. Additionally, Griscom tells us that Babble will be looking for freelance bloggers to “build out new sections of the Web site.”

Village Venture is giving Babble $2 million. Babble also hopes to raise another $500,000 in VC funding during the first quarter of 2009. With the new funding, Griscom says he hopes Babble can become the “number one parenting Web site.” Griscom says that, so far, in what he describes as “phase one” of Babble, the site has “been pretty good at coming at the parenting category with a fresh perspective… but we have not been as good at answering the questions a mom has at 3 in the morning. So, in phase two, we’re going to have laser focus on answering those questions.”

According to Griscom, Babble has approximately 1.5 million monthly unique visitors.

Griscom says that “after a decade of growing Nerve” moving to Babble “was not an insignifcant decision.” But fatherhood changed things. “I have two little boys so I’m recognizing that I’ve graduated from the demographic,” he says.

Griscom describes Nerve’s audience as mainly composed of 20-30 something singles. We asked Griscom if he was nervous about the prospects for his sites during the recession. “I think it’s a good time to be in online media, because though online advertising is feeling some pain, you know print advertising is feeling considerably more pain.”

Is Plinky a Smarter Twitter?

Plinky is a new service that operates a bit like Twitter, but instead of asking what you’re doing right now Plinky asks you a different question every day. Sounds intriguing? It certainly adds some dynamics to the concept of microblogging Twitter ushered in a few years ago.

After registering your Plinky account, you can go right ahead and answer the day’s prompted question. For me, it was “Share where you’d fly for the weekend if your best friend had a helicopter.” You can choose to answer this prompt or you can skip to the next one. Some prompts are pretty basic, such as the one I received today. Others are more conclusive, and have multiple parts to answer. And depending on the context of a given prompt, Plinky will incorporate other media (maps, photos, etc.) into users’ answers.
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Breaking Tech News at Buzzup is a website dedicated to the latest news relating to technology. Or as they describe their site “a one stop shop so you can find all the latest news and gossip from a number of different sites.” However, the twist that makes this site a little different is that all the content comes from the users. Each member submits content and each article is then voted on by all the members. Then the most popular pieces get displayed on the front page for all viewers to read and vote on. Read more

New Austin Incubator Seeks Startups for Summer Program

Despite the dismal outlook of the economy and the changed landscape of venture capital funding for web-based companies, a new technology incubator program called Capital Factory is launching in Austin this week. Founded by local entrepreneurs Joshua Baer, Same Decker and Bryan Menell, the new incubator program is currently accepting applications for its first 10-week summer program. Beginning on May 22nd, the summer program for the chosen 10 startups ends in August with a live-streamed presentation from participants, so investors and others interested in the startups can see the culmination of Capital Factory’s first run at an incubator program.

There’s the expected emphasis on mentorship with the Capital Factory, but there’s also some cash rewards as well. Participating startups can receive up to $20,000 and office space, along with some basic IT infrastructure options and recruiting support, among other things.

And Austin is a good city for an incubator program focused on technology, as there’s already an established community of successful entrepreneurs and ready access to other necessary resources for the startup environment. Lucky for the Capital Factory, the deadline for accepting applications is shortly after SXSW, which is also based in Austin.
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Mobile Social Networks Help the Mobile Industry Overall

Some web trends do eventually translate into mobile web usage. According to a comScore report this week, the use of mobile social networking is driving mobile Internet usage in Western Europe (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, UK). In November, 34% of mobile phone owners in Western Europe that visited social networking sites accessed social media, but not other mobile web content. That means that a good portion of the 12.1 million mobile users in Western Europe are using their mobile web access just for social networking purposes.

Compared to other applications for accessing mobile web pages, social network mobile access grew at a much faster rate, clocking in at 152% increase between November 2007 and November 2008. As far as the Western Europe countries go, the UK has the highest penetration of mobile social networking, at 9%.
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