Media News

A handpicked selection of today’s media-related news. With 24.000 entries, our archives chronicle 15 years of press industry developments. A goldmine for scholars and researchers.

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  • 13 January 2012 | Fox News

    Microsoft eclipses Yahoo in US search for 1st time

    Microsoft Corp. has finally reached a long-sought and expensive goal - its Bing search engine now ranks second behind Google in the Internet's most lucrative market. Bing and Microsoft's other websites fielded 2.75 billion search requests in the U.S. during December, catapulting in front of Yahoo Inc. for the first time in the jockeying for runner up to Google Inc., according to statistics released Wednesday by comScore Inc. Bing's December volume translated into a 15.1 percent share of the U.S. search traffic, comScore said. Yahoo processed 2.65 billion search requests, representing 14.5 percent of the U.S. market. Google remained Internet's go-to place for information, with 12 billion U.S. requests in December. That works out to a 65.9 percent market share. Other research firms track the Internet search market. But comScore's numbers matter the most to industry analysts and the companies trying to attract queries so they can make more money from the ads that appear alongside the results. Google's dominance of online search is the main reason it has established itself as the Internet's most profitable company. Analysts have expected Microsoft and Yahoo to flip-flop their positions in Internet search since they announced a partnership in July 2009. The 10-year agreement has enabled Yahoo to save money by relying on Microsoft to provide the bulk of its search technology. Microsoft wanted the deal so it would have billions more search requests to analyze each year, giving it a better chance to learn about people's tendencies and preferences.
  • 13 January 2012 | Reuters

    Homeland Security watches Twitter, social media

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's command center routinely monitors dozens of popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks and news and gossip sites including the Huffington Post and Drudge Report, according to a government document. A "privacy compliance review" issued by DHS last November says that since at least June 2010, its national operations center has been operating a "Social Networking/Media Capability" which involves regular monitoring of "publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites and message boards." The purpose of the monitoring, says the government document, is to "collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture." The document adds, using more plain language, that such monitoring is designed to help DHS and its numerous agencies, which include the U.S. Secret Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency, to manage government responses to such events as the 2010 earthquake and aftermath in Haiti and security and border control related to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. A DHS official familiar with the monitoring program said that it was intended purely to enable command center officials to keep in touch with various Internet-era media so that they were aware of major, developing events to which the Department or its agencies might have to respond.
  • 13 January 2012 | VOA News

    French TV reporter’s death highlights journalism dangers of Arab Spring

    The death of French television reporter Gilles Jacquier in Syria adds to a mounting toll of journalists killed, detained and attacked as they try to cover the year-old Arab Spring uprising. According to watchdog group Reporters Without Borders, the Middle East was the most dangerous region for journalists last year. France has demanded a full investigation into the death of France 2 TV's Jacquier, who became the first western journalist killed in Syria since the anti-government uprising began 10 months ago. Jacquier adds to a mounting toll of journalists killed, attacked and detained while covering the Arab Spring uprising. Paris-based watchdog group Reporters Without Borders estimates 20 journalists were killed and 553 were attacked and threatened in the Middle East in 2011 - the highest numbers of any region. "What at least has been common among all the Arab uprisings since last year is that all the regimes tried to control the flow of information," said Soazig Dollet, who heads RSF's Middle East and North Africa bureau. "They all tried to …organize a blackout regarding first the demonstrations and the protests - and the repression of those protests - by attacking local media and by preventing foreign journalist to enter." Dollet said Jacquier becomes the fourth journalist killed in Syria since the uprising there began. Journalists also were killed in covering the uprisings in Yemen, Libya, Egypt and during Tunisia's relatively peaceful revolution a year ago.
  • 13 January 2012 | LA Times blog

    Iran tightens Internet restrictions

    Many owners of Iranian Internet cafes are casting a wary eye on their calendars this month. By Jan. 18, they will be required to have implemented a list of new restrictions recently put out by authorities. Among other restrictions, the new rules require computer users to show photo ID when visiting cyber cafes, provide their full name and the name of their father, as well as show their national Iranian identification number. Internet cafe owners, meanwhile, will be required to install close-circuit cameras in their facilities and maintain records of browsing history and websites visited by users. "Cafe Nets have a 15-day deadline to implement the circular for the transparency of all activities of the clients," read an excerpt from a statement posted on the website of the Iranian cyber police, a special unit launched last year to confront cyber crimes. Rights groups say it was set up to strengthen government control of the Internet. Iranian newspapers have recently printed a circular on the new rules, which many Internet cafes in Tehran have posted on their walls. The new cyber restrictions underline a pattern of official behavior that makes activists and observers believe that a Web crackdown is underway.
  • 13 January 2012 | The Guardian

    Mecom improves but 2011 profits down

    Mecom, the pan European newspaper publisher, has reported a double-digit decline in advertising in the fourth quarter at its flagship Dutch operation – but expects "slightly better" than expected full year results. The publisher said that it expects to show some improvement in its 2011 results compared to the guidance it gave investors in October, when the company downgraded profit forecasts by up to EUR 10m. Mecom said that profits – earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation – fell by EUR 5m in the second half of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. This is, however, less than the company feared when it downgraded it profit expectations in October, to "no lower than EUR 140m" for 2011, with Mecom now expecting EBITDA to come in at about EUR 144m for the year. This is a 4.6 percent decline on 2010's full year EBITDA of EUR 151m. Mecom said advertising revenue in the final quarter fell by 12 percent year-on-year in the Netherlands, 18 percent in Poland and 5 percent each in Norway and Denmark. The publisher said there was "continuing turbulent economic conditions and lack of consumer confidence". Total ad revenue across the group fell by 9 percent last year, Mecom said. The company said it expects "further declines" in advertising in 2012, although tempered by "strong growth" in digital advertising.
  • 13 January 2012 | LA Times

    YouTube executive charts Internet video’s meteoric rise

    YouTube executive Robert Kyncl took the consumer electronics industry on a trip through a time machine — just five years back — when subscription service Netflix didn't stream movies online, Internet television service Hulu didn't exist and YouTube was still in its infancy. The times, and the way viewers consume entertainment, are a changin', as Kyncl underscored in his keynote address Thursday at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where he charted the rapid rise of the Internet as a distribution platform. Kyncl predicted that Internet video soon would account for 90 percent of the traffic on the Web. Kyncl portrayed Internet video as the next major step in the evolution of media, once dominated by three broadcast networks that together commanded 100 percent of television viewership in the U.S. The emergence of cable and satellite distributors made possible the fragmentation of the audience around niche programming. By 2020, Kyncl predicted, about 75 percent of channels will be transmitted by the Internet. The global reach of sites such as YouTube will allow for even more specialized channels to draw together sizable audiences of passionate enthusiasts, he said.