FCC to NBC: No More Exclusive Video Deals

Comcast cleared one more hurdle last week in it’s bid to acquire control of NBC Universal. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski gave the deal his blessing as long as they agreed to certain conditions. Conditions that certainly took the merry out of Hulu’s Christmas.

Says the Wall Street Journal:

According to people close to the FCC negotiations, those conditions would require that Comcast make NBC Universal and its other Comcast-owned video content available to pay-TV competitors at reasonable, nondiscriminatory terms. He also wants to impose conditions that would require Comcast to offer NBC Universal programming to other online video providers.

Right now, Hulu is the preferred carrier of all NBC programming online. They do syndicate out the video feeds to other third party sites, but they still get a piece of the pie and control of what and where it goes.

Twitter Says No More to TwitterMoms

Two years ago, Megan Calhoun launched a website devoted to connecting mom bloggers through Twitter. Thousands of moms signed up and with that came the brand names, eager to catch the ear of this influential segment of the online population.

She called the site TwitterMoms and I joined up back in August of 2009. Since then, I’ve been involved in a wide variety of marketing programs which were offered exclusively to members. Most of these were pay or gift for post opportunities where I was rewarded for writing about a product on my blog.  According to the website, more than $160,000 was rewarded to community members over the last year. A portion of the money was given to charity, and many members added their voice to stories for NBC/iVillage, the LA and New York Times and other media outlets.

Facebook and Google Expand on Social Shopping

I don’t think of shopping as a social experience, unless it’s a day at the mall with my friends. But when I’m online trying to fill a particular need, I’m not all that interested in sharing my choices with those who follow me on Facebook. Apparently, I’m alone in this because Google and Facebook are both working hard to make shopping a big part of their business.

Back in November, Google bought Boutiques.com. This site groups high-ticket fashion items by celebrity then uses a Likes and Dislikes algorithm to determine which tops, dresses and shoes are good for you. There’s an option to follow each of the celeb boutiques and every item has a share button so you can show those sweet $800.00 shoes to your boss on Facebook to explain why you need a raise.

Foursquare Hands Out a Holiday Gift: Photos and Comments

Foursquare has a gift for all of their users, a shiny new, souped up version of the app that will allow you to add photos and comments.

The ability to add comments turns this app from a trendy toy into something really useful. You can send a comment to a friend confirming your meet at a restaurant or send one to yourself to say, “don’t forget to use that coupon!” You can send comments through the website, Facebook or Twitter so it’s easy to access no matter where you are.

Online Ad Spending Beats Newspapers by Year End

We’ve seen it coming but the day is finally here, by the time we ring in the new year, spending on online ads will have passed newspaper ad spending for the first time ever.

According to eMarketer, print advertising in newspapers will fall to $22.8 billion while online ad spending will rise to $25.8 billion. They expect the difference to be even more significant by the end of 2011.

This past October, the Associated Press published a report that noted a 5% drop in newspaper circulation and an 8.7% drop the year before that.

Says the report:

Circulation declines hurt newspapers financially not only because they are losing revenue from subscriptions, but also because the bulk of newspaper advertising revenue is still generated by printed editions rather than their websites.

Don’t Let Bad Service Negate a Great Campaign

My hobby is entering giveaways. It’s probably akin to a gambling addiction but it doesn’t cost me a penny and I win some pretty cool stuff. Last week, I won a $25 gift certificate to a gourmet food company that I had never tried.

Last Friday was free shipping day, so it was the perfect day to get the best out of my win. Except for the fact that the system they use sees a gift code as a discount code so I could only use my gift certificate or get the free shipping, not both. Why? A gift certificate is money, not a discount. Determined to fix this, I called the company’s toll free number in the early evening, California time. I was directed to the “customer service” line which was a recording saying they were closed. Hmmm.

DirecTV Close to Rolling Out Targeted TV Commercials

I don’t have a pet and I have no interest in male enhancement products, yet during an average week, I’ll see plenty of commercials for kitty litter, dog food and ExtenZe. DirecTV says that’s going to change and it may happen as soon as the summer of 2011.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, DirectTV has a $10 – $20 million dollar commitment from Starcom MediaVest, a company that buys ad time on behalf of heavyhitters.

Under the new program, the ad buyer would list the characteristics of their target household and DirectTV’s system would search the data pools to find a match. A variety of commercial options would then be loaded into the box and the box itself would decide on the most appropriate commercial for each occasion.