Archives: August 2009

Voting Begins for EW.com’s Second Annual EWwy Awards

EwwyAwards.jpgFor the second year in a row, Entertainment Weekly and Hulu will team up to recognize TV shows and performances that were snubbed by the Emmy Awards with EW.com’s Second Annual EWwy Awards.

“Every year, outstanding TV shows and performances are egregiously overlooked, underappreciated and essentially snubbed by the Emmy Awards,” the two parties said. “Now, fans can turn the Emmys upside down by allowing their favorites a second chance at glory.”

EW.com will feature galleries of photos for the 10 categories with links back to Hulu’s EWwys package, as well as posts on its PopWatch blog with embedded video clips of the nominees. Meanwhile, Hulu will feature a “carousel” of videos with links to vote and review all of the nominees at EW.com.

Voting in the five comedy categories will run through Sept. 7, after which the five drama categories will take over. Winners of the EWwy statuette—a shiny, golden female sheep, or “ewe”—will be announced Monday, Sept. 14.

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Hunting the Twitter Fail Whale

Twitter’s renowned Fail Whale has been working so much lately that it had to deploy a stand-in during the microblogging service’s most recent outage.

TwitterLogo.jpgBut if NTT America has any say in it, the Fail Whale will become a rare sight in the tweetstream. The network provider today announced it has opened a 15,000-square-foot data center in Silicon Valley.

From TechCrunch:

Big deal, you might think, a network provider expands its capacity. Except this network provider has a very high-profile client: Twitter.

Though Twitter is never actually mentioned in NTT’s press release, the blog Data Center Knowledge put two and two together, recalling a quote in June from NTT America COO Kazuhiro Gomi: “traffic generated by Twitter is getting so big, it’s basically eating up a lot of our data center network resources, especially the segment where Twitter is hosted. Other customers are riding on the same segment.”

How much is Twitter straining the network? According to Data Center Knowledge:

Twitter experienced 752 percent traffic growth in 2008, but that was nothing compared to the traffic explosion in the first half of 2009, as the microblogging service went mainstream and was widely adopted by celebrities and a growing number of businesses.

Sure, blame the celebrities. Dan Abrams will have something to say about this.

NTT America began hosting Twitter traffic in 2008, resulting in less downtime from the previous year. But Twitter has seen frequent outages this year, including a denial of service attack on Aug. 6 that halted traffic for hours.

Msnbc.com Offers Health Care ‘Dose of Reality’

Vowing to separate fact from fiction in the acrimonious debate over health care reform, msnbc.com today launched an online guide to healthcare reform.

msnbc.comDoseofReality.JPGCalled “Dose of Reality,” the guide offers news, video, analysis, community forums and interactive tools on health care.

“Health care reform has the potential to touch the lives of every single American,” msnbc.com Health Editor Julia Sommerfeld said in a prepared statement. “Our readers don’t want to just sit back and read the headlines on this most personal of politics stories. They want to join the discussion, frame the debate and have their specific issues addressed.”

Indeed, msnbc.com is counting on this impulse to drive coverage. The most prominent feature on the guide’s site is “Your Daily Dose,” in which readers are asked to submit health care claims they’d like investigated to msnbc.com politics reporter Tom Curry, who will post his findings.

For readers who can’t wait for Curry to look into your question, the site features a section near the bottom of the home page called “Tools and explainers” (sample headline: 5 biggest myths of health care reform).

And if you tire of “facts” and “reality,” there’s always the Twitter argue-fest immediately above.

Eric Eldon Joins Inside Facebook

InsideFacebookEricEldon.jpgEric Eldon must really want to get Inside Facebook.

Eldon left his editor post at VentureBeat, where he led coverage of digital media and social networking, to become co-editor of Inside Facebook and Inside Social Games, Inside Facebook announced.

While at VentureBeat, Eldon broke the story about Facebook’s plan to let employees sell stock in the company at a $4 billion valuation, according to Silicon Alley Insider.

Inside Facebook’s Justin Smith wrote on the post announcing Eldon’s hire:

Eric is one of the most knowledgeable journalists and analysts covering our space, and he’ll be helping us deepen and expand our services to you. Eric is making a bold move to IF and ISG, and I’m grateful and thrilled to have him on our team.

CBSSports.com Subscribes to Sports Illustrated

CBSSportsLogo.jpgCBSSports.com is teaming up with Sports Illustrated in an online-content partnership, paidContent reports.

The two parties will share each other’s content across their online properties and in the print edition of Sports Illustrated.

As part of the agreement, CBS Interactive’s high-school-sports site, MaxPreps, will displace high-school and college sports network Takkle on the front of SI.com‘s High School section, according to paidContent.

YouTube’s Reyes Hitches a Ride with Tesla Motors

TeslaMotors.jpgRicardo Reyes left the world of online video for the world of highway-capable electric vehicles.

Reyes, head of global communications and public affairs at YouTube, will join Tesla Motors as vice president for communications in mid-September.

Prior to his current post at YouTube, he handled litigation, competition and policy communications for the Google-owned video-sharing site. Before joining YouTube, he spent 10 years working on public policy and communications in Washington, D.C., including two years at law firm Bracewell and Giuliani, where he led crisis-consulting and communications-management services.

At Tesla, he will start Sept. 14 and immediately travel to Frankfurt, Germany, for the 63rd International Motor Show, where Tesla executives will be available throughout the media preview Sept. 15-16, as well as keynoting Sept. 18.

Tesla sells cars online and operates showrooms in New York, Seattle, London, West Los Angeles and California’s Silicon Valley. The automaker said it will open stores in Chicago and Munich in the upcoming weeks, and it also plans stores in south Florida, Washington, D.C., Toronto and Monaco this year.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said:

Ricardo has deep expertise in both the public and private sectors in managing complex communication issues. He has a well-earned reputation for being forthright, possessing a nuanced understanding of the facts and adapting quickly to a rapidly changing landscape, making Ricardo the perfect person for a fast-paced, high-profile company like ours. This is further evidence that Tesla is aggressively recruiting from both Silicon Valley and the traditional automotive industry to build the best possible team.

Study: Parents Have No Clue How Much Kids Use Social Media

In the words of Will Smith, “So to you other kids all across the land, there’s no need to argue: Parents just don’t understand.”

Common Sense Media did a study of parents’ perceptions of their kids’ social-media use and found that, basically, the parents had no clue, according to The New York Times.

The study found that 22% of teen-agers check social networks more than 10 times daily, and 51% more than once daily. However, the respective numbers for parents believing those numbers: only 4% and 23%.

Common Sense CEO James Steyer told the Times:

It’s not just that parents don’t keep track: They also don’t know the extent to which this has changed the way kids socialize, the way they communicate and also the way they learn.

Internet on New Weather Channel CEO’s Radar

WeatherComJimena.jpgThe Weather Channel CEO Michael Kelly, former president of AOL Media Networks, wants to expand the cable programmer’s reach on the Internet and on mobile devices, he said in an interview with TWC’s hometown newspaper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Some of the highlights from Kelly’s interview with the Journal-Constitution:

While other (networks) have struggled to be relevant on other platforms, we are the leader on those platforms, with 49 million unique visitors per month to our Web site and on mobile about 12 million visitors per month.

Many other media companies have found that if they’re the No. 1, say, travel station channel—and I’m just making that up as an example—then someone else dominates travel on the Web. So they lose viewers on television to somebody else’s real estate on the Web. In our case, when people leave our television (programming), they’re usually going to our Internet (site). And when they leave our Internet, they’re usually going to our mobile (services). And that’s a real distinct advantage. Nobody other than The Weather Channel and CNN really have that opportunity.

The question for us is: How do we take advantage of the opportunity of changing viewing habits on television and online and mobile?

We have Web sites in certain countries. We don’t have TV outside of the United States, but you go to Weather.com and plug in any city in the world, you’ll get the weather from us.

In the not-too-distant future, advertisers will buy seamlessly on TV, on the Web, on mobile, with a (cohesive) message. And we’re going to be one of the leading beneficiaries of that.

Fantasy Football To Kick Off Another Season of Slacking On the Job

Fueled in large part by the Internet, Fantasy Football has become incredibly popular over the past 15 years, with print, online and broadcast outlets hosting leagues and providing detailed coverage for millions of ravenous team “owners.”

mike-levy.pngMike Levy, chairman and CEO of OPEN Sports Network, was there at the beginning. One of the pioneers of Internet sports content, Levy founded Sportsline.com in 1994, launching an online Fantasy Football game a year later.

“It was fairly crude,” Levy told WebNewser.com in a recent phone interview from Las Vegas.

Not so the new generation of Fantasy Football games. Thanks to the advent of community and social media tools, online-based leagues continue to roll out next-generation features.

For example, OPENSports.com (which Levy started in 2008) and FOXSports.com on MSN are partnering this year on two Fantasy games — FOX Fantasy LIVE and FOX Fantasy Quick Challenge.

Levy calls FOX Fantasy LIVE, which allows unlimited, real-time substitutions, “really innovative. No one has seen anything like it. People can move players in and out of the games as they’re going on. It’s super complex.” (More so, no doubt, after a few beers.)

Quick Challenge features three different games in which players can go head-to-head or compete in a group on a week-to-week basis. Quick Challenge includes a salary cap and offers the option (as does FOX Fantasy LIVE) of playing for fun or cash.

Levy, who sold Sportsline to CBS in 2004, says OPENSports.com next year plans to unveil fantasy games for baseball and NASCAR. Of immediate concern, however, is the Fantasy Football draft, which for FOX Fantasy Football‘s nearly 475 public leagues begins today and runs for another week.

As for the man seen by some as a father of modern-day fantasy football, does Levy feel he bears any responsibility for the loss of productivity in the workplace due to our nation’s obsession with fantasy sports?

“Well, I hope so.”

USOpen.org Ready to Serve Up Tennis Fare

USOpenOrg.jpgIf you can’t get out to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., USOpen.org is the place to be.

The site, created by the USTA and IBM, will offer live streaming of every match aired by ESPN and Tennis Channel, as previously reported, totaling more than 150 matches.

The USTA and IBM are also introducing a new mobile application for the iPhone with special features sponsored by American Express, including live scores, video, news, venue information and USOpen.org Radio with “Ask the Booth,” which allows users to submit questions that will be answered by tennis insiders throughout the tournament. American Express will also offer an interactive grounds map and video content with pro players.

USOpen.org will also feature updates, links and promotions from social-networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

And the site will host the official U.S. Open Bracket Challenge, which allows fans to fill out U.S. Open brackets online and win prizes.

For Spanish-speaking tennis fans, USOpen.org debuted a Spanish version of its widget, providing scores, headlines and photos, as well as the ability to be posted to blogs, Websites and Facebook pages.

The site will also feature an interactive application that allows fans to see view from their seat from anywhere in Arthur Ashe Stadium, as well as to plot “door-to-Stadium” directions from their homes by foot, mass transportation or car.

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