The Google deal for Twitch.TV, rumbled around in Silicon Valley for months, now finally is cinched at around $1 billion — but not officially announced, according to the tech investor site VentureBeat. If true, the deal would bring into the Google fold one of the biggest sources of online video traffic that isn’t already Google’s YouTube division, which is spearheading the deal. The acquisition also would reinforce how hot the videogame sector has become for online entertainment, as millions of fans watch others play, and sometimes grab their own bit of notoriety by streaming their performances on Internet-connected PCs, the Sony PS4 or the Microsoft Xbox One.
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Dinesh D’Souza and the team behind the recently released documentary America: Imagine The World Without Her still want to know why Google won’t display the show times for their movie. Earlier this week, lawyers for the conservative author/filmmaker sent a second letter to the tech giant’s chief legal officer David Drummond trying to get the situation resolved, I’ve learned. The July 16 letter from Sheppard, Mullin attorney Kelly Crabb requested “that Google correctly display information for America: Imagine The World Without Her in the same way it displays information for other movies currently in theaters.”
You’d think that would be a simple enough request for one of the world’s top search engines. But in this case, you’d be wrong. “I don’t know what the point of a search engine is if people can’t access the information they’re looking for,” a frustrated D’Souza told me today. In addition to no showtimes listed, no click-through poster for the pic appears in the Google banner search result — though 2004′s Team America, Fox’s The Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the as-yet-unreleased The Avengers: Age Of Ultron do. Read More »
Google announced its mixed Q2 results tonight along with news that its longtime Chief Business Officer, Nikesh Arora, plans to leave to become CEO of SoftBank Internet and Media. He’ll be replaced by Omid Kordestani, one of Google’s founders.
Net income for the quarter came in at $3.42B, +6% vs the period last year, on revenues of $16.0B, +21.7%. The top line beat analysts’ consensus forecast of $15.6B. But earnings at $6.08 a share, not including one-time expenses, fell short of the Street’s prediction of $6.25.
Paid clicks on Google ads increased 25% vs last year. But the cost per click fell 6%. Also, traffic-acquisition costs increased 9.3%, to $3.3B while other costs rose 29.4% to $2.82B.
Google execs usually offer little color about the quarter in their earnings releases, and this time was no exception. “We are moving forward with great product momentum and are excited to continue providing amazing user experiences, with a view to the long term,” CFO Patrick Pichette says.
Google seems to agree with Apple‘s view that people are better than computer algorithms when it comes to figuring out what songs other people want to hear. The search giant just announced its acquisition of Songza, which “uses contextual expert-curated playlists to give you the right music at the right time,” the company says today in announcing its acquisition. While it plans no changes now, the plan is to “bring what you love about Songza to Google Play Music. We’ll also look for opportunities to bring their great work to the music experience on YouTube and other Google products.” Read More »
“TVs are primarily entertainment interfaces,” engineering director Dave Burke said as he introduced AndroidTV to developers at the Google I/O conference today. The company wants app makers to support its effort to tightly integrate Android phone and app capabilities to TV navigation. For example, those with AndroidTV supported sets or set top boxes will be able to use a smartphone or watch to make search commands, including by voice, tailored for TV: If you ask for Breaking Bad, then it will offer to play an episode available for streaming, and provide info about stars. Users also can find programming by making indirect search requests: It can call up Oscar nominated movies from a particular year, or find actors from inquiries about the parts they play. Sony’s 2015 Ultra HD 4K TVs will support the platform as will next year’s models from Sharp and TP Vision. Others on board include Marvell, Intel, and Qualcomm — and Razer and Asus plan to make AndroidTV set top boxes.
Noting that Android phone users check the devices 125 times a day, the company raised the bar in smart watches — a market that Apple’s expected to enter this year. Google’s Androidwear software can respond to voice commands, tell you your heart rate, and provide information tied to what’s on your calendar or where you are. It knows when you’re at home to offer ordinary for reminders. If you’re traveling it can provide flight status, a boarding pass, and weather forecast at the destination.
DreamWorks Animation will launch a YouTube family channel called DreamworksTV that will kick off this summer YouTube’s head of content and business operations Robert Kyncl told advertisers today at the company’s NewFront presentation in NYC. It was part of a campaign by the Google-owned company to promote itself as a place that’s safe for advertisers — with tons of data and, now, audience guarantees.
The problem with YouTube as an ad medium is that it’s too vast, and has too much inventory. Advertisers fear that their messages will be lost, and don’t want to pay up. But the service hopes to address that with a new sales initiative called Google Preferred, which it launched with support from ad agency Digitas. The program promotes the 5% most popular channels specializing in food, music, and entertainment. YouTube says it partnered with comScore and Nielsen to provide data in addition to Google’s real-time analytics. And Margo Georgiadis, Google’s sales president for the Americas, says it can make a “100% guarantee you’ll reach the audience you want to target.” That’s especially potent for those who want to reach 18-to-34 year olds. YouTube is the “No. 1 place [they] go to learn about a product or a passion,” she says. Read More »
The stock is down about 5.6% in post market trading on the disappointing results, which include a 9% year over year drop in the average cost per click. The search giant reported net income of $3.45B, +3.2% vs the first three months of 2013, on revenues of $15.42B, +19.1%. If you factor out the impact from the sale of the Motorola Mobile business to Lenovo Group then earnings per share would have come in at $6.27, below the $6.33 that the Street anticipated. Revenues also were lower than the $15.51B analysts expected. Google says that revenues from its sites improved 21% to $10.47B while partner sites were +4% to $3.4B. But revenue costs, primarily for the data centers, jumped 25.8% to $2.73B while operating expenses were +31.2% to $5.34B. Per usual, CEO Larry Page had little to say in the company release: He noted that “We got lots of product improvements done, especially on mobile. I’m also excited with progress on our emerging businesses.”
They haven’t gotten a chance to have the case reheard yet but Google has dodged a financial bullet in the seemingly never ending matter of the anti-Islam film Innocence Of Muslims. Late last night, the 9th Circuit succinctly rejected an emergency motion from actress Cindy Lee Garcia last week seeking more than $127 million in penalties against the tech giant for not complying with a surprising February 26 court order to take down the controversial video. “Appellant’s emergency contempt motion is denied,” ordered a 3-Judge panel on March 31 (read it here) in response to Garcia’s March 25 filing. Google, according to Garcia, is taking its time taking down the inflammatory 2012 14-minute video and even going so far as asking the actress to provide them with “each and every individual URL” that’s still on the tech company’s platform. One of the places the video was still available, according to Garcia, was Egypt – the nation where the actress received an execution threat for her brief appearance in Innocence. Google has long argued that Garcia had no copyright claim on the video, which she appears for 5 seconds, and to take it down is an affront to free speech.
Related: Google Takes Another Hit In ‘Innocence Of Muslims’ Appeal
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We’re still waiting for Apple to introduce its long-rumored iWatch. But Google today showed what it plans for mobile devices, beginning with watches including ones made by LG, HTC, Samsung and Motorola: The Android Wear software integrates voice commands and the kinds of location-based information that owners of Android smartphones and tablets access from their Google Now cards. “Just say ‘Ok Google’ to ask questions, like how many calories are in an avocado, what time your flight leaves, and the score of the game,” the company says in a blog post. “Or say “Ok Google” to get stuff done, like calling a taxi, sending a text, making a restaurant reservation or setting an alarm.” Android watches also will feed commands to smartphones and TVs. This company video illustrates what it has in mind.
UPDATE, 3:29 PM: Google got some swift justice today, but it wasn’t the type it wanted. The 9th Circuit Appeals has decided it does not want to conduct an all-judges rehearing of the tech giant’s appeal in the Innocence Of Muslims copyright case. “A vote of the non-recused active judges was conducted as to whether to rehear the panel order en banc,” read an order (read it here) from the court today after Judge Sidney Thomas talked to his colleagues. “A majority of the non-recused active judges did not vote in favor of rehearing en banc.” This sua sponte action of Thomas’ own initiative comes two days after the tech giant requested a full rehearing by the appeals court. On February 19, a 9th Circuit panel sided with actress Cindy Lee Garcia and decided 2-1 that YouTube had to take down the controversial anti-Islam film Innocence Of Muslims. With today’s order, this is Google’s third loss in a row in its appeal. “Therefore, the panel shall resume control of the case,” added today’s 2-page order. “Any further proceedings as to the panel opinion, including any petitions for rehearing and rehearing en banc, will be considered separately.”
Related: Google Allowed To Post Edited ‘Innocence Of Muslims’ Video Online Says Court
PREVIOUS, MARCH 13 PM: It has struck out two times in a row so far, but Google isn’t giving up its legal battle to get the Innocence Of Muslims video back on YouTube. In an expected en banc rehearing request this week against the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2-1 decision of February 19 in favor of actress Cindy Lee Garcia ordering the controversial 14-minute trailer taken offline, the tech giant says the Copyright Office is on its side.
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If you want better privacy and security, you’d better pay for it instead of relying on ad-financed search, social media and other online companies most of us use, said a SXSW Interactive Conference panel featuring Edward Snowden, the former intelligence analyst making his first public video appearance since he blew the whistle on massive U.S. government surveillance. Snowden, still living in an undisclosed Russian location while he seeks asylum, took part in the panel long distance by way of a Google+ Hangout chat room. The irony of using such a free service while criticizing Google’s data security was not lost on Snowden or the ACLU specialists who joined him on the panel. The event has been criticized by politicians including Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He wrote a letter to SXSW last week urging the fest to uninvite Snowden, saying his inclusion rewarded him and “undermines the very fairness and freedom that SXSW and the ACLU purport to foster.” The appearance went off without a hitch.
Snowden — perhaps predictably for a long-time computer specialist — focused his remarks today on the technical and legal tools that could protect an average user from mass surveillance. Snowden said putting those protections in place, both in how government oversight works and in how we use our favorite online services, is essential to the Internet’s long-term viability. ”This is a global issue,” Snowden said. “(The U.S. mass-surveillance efforts are) setting fire to the future of the Internet. And the people in this room now, you’re all the firefighters. Changes in technical standards can make mass surveillance more expensive and less practical.” Read More »
This was expected, and needed, as evidenced by last week’s announcement that the online video service that targets gamers (read: teenaged boys and young men) axed about 30% of its workforce. But it’s interesting to see how much today’s release plays up the potential partnerships between Machinima and Warner Bros. Machinima CEO Allen DeBevoise says that there are “myriad opportunities” to connect their audiences. And Warner Bros Television Group President of Business and Strategy Craig Hunegs says he’s “excited” about the ability “to reach new audiences, create new original content, and discover new talent.” Don’t be surprised if they look for projects outside of Google’s YouTube, which collects about 45% of the ad revenues it sells for Machinima. No word here about the terms of the financing arrangement, although the companies say that current investors MK Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Google Capital have also upped their stake. Machinima is said to have raised $67M, including $35M from Google. Here’s today’s official announcement:
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Despite Google‘s best legal efforts, you won’t be seeing the controversial Innocence Of Muslims trailer on YouTube anytime soon – at least not the version with actress Cindy Lee Garcia in it. On Friday, the tech giant was denied its second emergency stay motion against the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2-1 decision of February 19 ordering the video wiped off YouTube. That order was made public on February 26 and while Google tried to quickly get the right to have the video online during the appeal process, it failed – kind of. “Google, Inc. shall take down all copies of Innocence of Muslims from YouTube.com and from any other platforms under Google’s control, and take all reasonable steps to prevent further uploads of Innocence of Muslims to those platforms. Google shall comply with this order within twenty-four hours of the issuance thereof,” said the 3-judge panel in its 2-page order on February 28 (read it here). While this reaffirms the court’s earlier decision, it does make a small but important change in regards to the 2012 14-minute video and the actress who launched the copyright case against it. A change that gives Google and anyone else who wants to post the video some wiggle room. “This order does not preclude the posting or display of any version of Innocence of Muslims that does not include Cindy Lee Garcia’s performance,” … Read More »
UPDATE, 12:39 PM: Google isn’t taking a court order to take down the 14-minute trailer for Innocence Of Muslims lying down. YouTube‘s parent company filed an emergency motion at the 9thCircuit Court of Appeals late yesterday urging it to stay its order pending a full en banc hearing. Google’s 29-page motion raised First Amendment concerns and alleged that there’d be copyright “chaos” for everyone — especially Hollywood — if minor players in a production can assert a right to control its fate. Service providers including YouTube lack the ability to determine who has a valid copyright claim, the search giant says. “And absent a stay, Google, YouTube, and the public face irreparable harm because the panel’s order will gag their speech and limit access to newsworthy documents—categorically irreparable injuries.” In a case than lasted more than a year and a half, the court sided with actress Cindy Lee Garcia who wanted the trailer for the anti-Islam film taken down. We’ll see what the Ninth Circuit says.
PREVIOUS, WEDNESDAY AM: Actress Cindy Lee Garcia has won a significant victory in her copyright case against Google over her request to have Google-owned YouTube take down the trailer for the controversial anti-Islam film Innocence Of Muslims. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision today (read it here) rejected Google’s assertion that the removal of the film amounted to a prior restraint of speech that violated the U.S. Constitution. The court is ordering YouTube to remove the video, and the video-sharing site could be hit with major penalties. Read More »
The companies say that they’ll offer comScore‘s validated Campaign Essentials (or vCE) to buyers who use Google‘s DoubleClick ad platform — providing advertisers with real-time data showing how well their digital sales pitches are working so they can quickly adjust messages that aren’t hitting the mark. That could appeal to brand managers who’ve been skittish about the medium as they continue to spend on television and other tried-and-true ad outlets. “It allows us to radically simplify digital media buying for the industry, while enhancing quality and accountability,” says comScore President Serge Matta. “This directly addresses many of the everyday challenges that prevent our clients from investing further in digital.” The initiative will begin in the U.S. this year for video and desktop display ads; they plan to add mobile and cross-platform later. Once rolled out, Google and comScore say that they’ll ask the Media Rating Council to accredit the service. Clients will be able to see “industry trusted, neutral data that’s directly comparable to TV and other traditional media,” the companies say. The speed and ease of use make this “a tipping point for brand advertising in the digital realm,” says Starcom MediaVest’s Global Digital, Data & Analytics President Lisa Weinstein. Advertisers spent about $43B on the Internet last year, an 18% increase vs 2012, Needham analyst Laura Martin estimates. But online media still salivate over the $75B that she says went to TV.
Believe it or not, this is the second $100M stock award that Google has given Eric Schmidt — he scored his previous one in 2011, and it isn’t fully vested yet. But the board’s Leadership Development and Compensation Committed approved another one on January 29, the company disclosed today in an SEC filing, as well as $6M in cash to be paid on February 14 “in recognition of his contributions to Google’s performance in fiscal year 2013.” He’ll receive the restricted stock units on February 5 and they’ll vest over a four-year period that begins May 2015. The company will determine the precise number of shares Schmidt will receive by dividing $100M by Google’s stock price on February 4. Schmidt’s wealth comes almost entirely from his Google shares: His compensation in 2012 was $7.6M. But the company picked up a $316,778 tab for personal security and $14,018 “for costs related to aircraft chartered for Google business on which family and friends flew in 2012,” according to its proxy statement. Google’s stock price appreciated about 60% last year while the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 rose about 30%.
In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom catch up on the many highlights from earnings season announcements, beginning with those by possible dance partners Comcast and Time Warner Cable and what their news might mean for Comcast’s takeover bid. They also take the market temperature on Viacom and tech giants led by Google — which sold off its Motorola Mobility unit after owning it just two years — and Facebook, Apple, Yahoo and Amazon. They also look at exhibitors’ demands for shorter movie trailers and whether studios will play along.
Listen to the podcast in your choice of audio formats here:
Deadline Big Media podcast 70 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 70 (.M4A version)
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That’s quite a come down for Google, which paid $12.5B for Motorola Mobility in 2011 – the biggest deal it had ever made at the time — but couldn’t turn it into a money maker. The unit recorded an operating loss of $248M in last year’s Q3, a 29.2% increase from the period in 2012. Lenovo’s already a mobile phone player in several emerging markets — and now can become a competitor in the U.S., Latin America, and Western Europe. Today’s deal gives the Hong Kong-based computer company a portfolio of products that include the Moto X and Moto G. It scores the Motorola Mobility brand and trademarks as well as “over 2,000 patent assets,” the companies say. Google gets to keep the “vast majority of the Motorola Mobility patent portfolio,” including patent applications and invention disclosures. Google CEO Larry Page says that Lenovo “has the expertise and track record” to become a power among providers of Android-powered phones. Meanwhile Google will “devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere.” When he bought Motorola Mobility, Page vowed to “create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers.” But the mobile phones remained an also-ran in the U.S. Motorola had 6.7% of the market in November vs 41.2% for Apple’s iPhone and 26.0% for … Read More »
When Fox confirmed recently that AT&T, which had been one of the main sponsors of the singing competition since Season 2, will not return for the current 13th season, the move appeared to be a sign of the times. Phoning and texting, the primary way of audience voting a decade ago, have been pushed out by online voting, which American Idol has been doing for the past couple of seasons. Now the show has brought in Internet juggernauts Google and Facebook to handle voting this season and is introducing real-time results — months before the premiere of Rising Star on ABC, whose format is built around that. As part of the new partnerships, voting on Idol will begin at the beginning of the live shows as opposed to after the broadcast as was the practice for the first 12 seasons.
Google will provide an online voting platform that allows viewers to cast votes directly from Google Search. Meanwhile, Facebook will give on-air voting progress updates based on real-time East Coast voting data during select live shows. That will include demographic voting trends and relative contestant rankings. While not exactly mirroring Rising Star‘s model of contestants being able to see their voting tally as they perform, Idol is jumping in front of the trend of reporting voting as it happens in real time. One of Rising Star‘s biggest challenges has been incorporating Mountain and Pacific time zones in … Read More »