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Is CT AG’s Concern About Price Fixing Warranted?

In the above video Wall Street Journal reporter Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka discuss the Connecticut Attorney General’s investigation into eBook pricing.

As they point out in the video, publishers are likely not colluding and are instead forming more partnerships with more eBook retailers. And with more retailers getting into the eBook space, comes more competition. “Uniform prices are creating more competition, not less,” says Trachtenberg.

And while the major publishers are selling pretty uniformly selling eBooks at $9.99-$14.99, we have seen a lot of testing from smaller shops and self-published authors at $1.99, $2.99 and $4.99. Price fixing may not be the issue the Attorney General is making it out to be. What do you think?

Hulu Plus Subscription: Will You Buy It?

hulu-logo062510.jpg All Things D’s Peter Kafka reports that Hulu’s long-rumored subscription product, Hulu Plus, could come as soon as next week for a select group of people.

The details are the same, $9.95 a month for access to a deeper library of content, including many previous seasons of shows, but Kafka has a few interesting scoops.

The initial launch will likely be limited to relatively small group of people, around 10,000 registered users. In addition, there are still rights issues to be worked out. Viacom-owned Comedy Central has the digital rights to older episodes of “30 Rock,” for example.

In a separate post, Kafka explains how ABC’s free iPad app will differ from the Hulu iPad app, which will likely accompany the premium product.

Will you pay $9.95 for older content? Or is the free version of Hulu enough to satiate your web-viewing needs?

MSNBC Readying iPad App

ipad_rgb.jpg Well this is interesting. According to Peter Kafka at All Things D, MSNBC is readying an iPad app based on one of its programs. While the network is being coy about which show it will be, Rachel Maddow is the likely candidate.

Kafka raises an interesting point, specifically that the network could be raising some eyebrows at the MSOs that carry the network. MSNBC, like most cable channels, makes a significant portion of its revenue from cable subscription fees.

Mark Marvel, who runs video advertising sales for MSNBC.com, mostly dismissed that concern:

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear some pushback from them”, he said. “[But] the fact is that this is going to be testing a new market.”

Aol Has Sold Bebo… Maybe?

Bebo061610.bmpThis is interesting. Mashable reports that Aol has found a buyer for its floundering social network Bebo. Aol said earlier this year that if it couldn’t find a buyer, it would shut the site down.

The only problem is that Aol won’t confirm any sort of deal, but as Peter Kafka at All Things D notes, they aren’t exactly denying it either. In a story with the headline “Aol Won’t Deny It Has Sold Bebo,” Kafka gets a non-statement from Aol PR, telling him “We haven’t announced anything.”

Ok then.

It certainly sounds like Aol is close to selling Bebo, but the non-denial seems to indicate that it hasn’t been signed, sealed and delivered quite yet.

The big question: who is buying it, and for how much? Aol bought Bebo for $850 million in 2008, and it is safe to say it will be lucky to get back a fraction of that in any sale.

Update: the Wall Street Journal reports that the deal is “close” and that the buyer is private equity firm Criterion Capital Partners. The sale price is believed to be between $3-30 million. Ouch.

Twitter Eyeing ‘Promoted Trends’?

According to Peter Kafka at All Thing D, Twitter is considering another revenue-generating initiative besides its already announced in-stream advertising.

The idea, Kafka says, is to offer “promoted trends” to advertisers. The way it would likely work is that an advertiser could choose a term that would appear on twitter’s homepage in the “trending topics” area.

Clicking on that term would call up a Twitter search results page, which would feature that advertisers’ “Promoted Tweet” at the top of the results.

Advertisers who have heard Twitter talk about the product say the service imagines charging “tens of thousands of dollars” a day for exclusive placement rights.

Of course, Twitter already has a problem with Spam, and there is always the potential for shenanigans, as was the case when Skittles launched an unusual marketing campaign with Twitter last year.

“All Things D” Launches App

All aboard the app train.

The Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD.com is the latest Web pub to get its own IPhone/IPod Touch app. The application includes Kara Swisher‘s Boomtown, Peter Kafka‘s MediaMemo blogs and video and Walt Mossberg‘s popular personal technology videos as well as his Mossblog.

The app will also keep users updated on the goings on at next week’s D-7 conference in San Diego.

AllThingsD.com launched in 2007 and is co-edited by Mossberg and Swisher.