A Little of the Old In and Out
(image via microsoft)
In: John Nicol. The MSN brand is a changing (Brand confusion?). John Nicol -- "formerly president and CEO of MSNBC.com and GM of MSN TV, has been in the wings since returning to the company late last year to reignite MSN as an entertainment destination," according to Paidcontent. Redmond is willing to spend, "hundreds of millions of dollars" to turn MSN into an entertainment leader, competing against established players like Yahoo! and AOL. According to Richard MacManus at the Web2.0 Blog:
"The new head of Microsoft's MSN division, John Nicol, has been calling the company's MSN portal "MSN Media Network" internally, according to reports. However Nicol says that Microsoft has no formal plans to rebrand the site.
"In a CNET article Nicol talks about wanting MSN to be a 'media network', which immediately makes me think of Lloyd Braun's role over at Yahoo. Users won't see the distinction between MSN content and Live.com content Nicol mentions the buzz-phrase 'user-generated content' a couple of times, also that they want more video and multimedia content in general. This suggests to me that MSN is following Yahoo's lead and trying to become a similar media portal.
"Which gets them into the same 'Hollywood' territory that Yahoo has been flirting with - tv over the Web and so forth."
(image via optushome)
Out: Dick Cheney. The pendulum swings. No way around it: The Vice President had a bad week (Does Colin Powell now wish he stayed on a bit?). As far as the electoral map goes, Cheney contributes little to the Presidential ticket (Wyoming, Cheney's home state, is solid Bush-country), but it was conventional wisdom that he represented, through his years on The Hill, the elusive: "gravitas." What happens when that gravitas is replaced with the whiffs of scandal? (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) First, from our favorite Dickensian villain, Robert Novak:
"Currently circulating in the Senate cloakrooms is word that Sen. Pat Roberts, Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee, brought up with Dick Cheney the administration's need to disclose to Congress sensitive security information. ''There is no upside for us in that,'' the vice president is reputed to have replied."
Then, with brio, from National Journal:
"Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been 'authorized' by Cheney and other White House 'superiors' in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records.
"According to sources with firsthand knowledge, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war.
"Libby specifically claimed that in one instance he had been authorized to divulge portions of a then-still highly classified National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons, according to correspondence recently filed in federal court by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald.
"Beyond what was stated in the court paper, say people with firsthand knowledge of the matter, Libby also indicated what he will offer as a broad defense during his upcoming criminal trial: that Vice President Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials had earlier encouraged and authorized him to share classified information with journalists to build public support for going to war. Later, after the war began in 2003, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war."
Oof! (Averted Gaze)
(image via hdbeat)
In: Oprah. OprahoprahOprah. That's all we've been hearing for the past week. And we're loyal Oprites. Is it sweeps or something? First, Oprah split James Frey open like a hot peanut; then, on the flipside, Oprah gently let Dave Chappelle dig himself into the "paranoid" ditch. (A considerable pause) Now, this. Granted, $55 "large" is pocket change to O, but she may bring the woman demographic over with her, which would be a significant development in the evolution of satellite radio. According to the ChiSunTimes:
"A year ago, Oprah Winfrey admittedly didn't know what satellite radio was.
"Now, after signing a three-year, $55 million deal with XM Satellite Radio, she's at the helm of the 'Oprah & Friends' radio channel.
"The pay channel will launch in September and feature far more friends than Oprah. She signed on to host a weekly 30-minute taped 'reality radio' program with her best friend, Gayle King.
"The rest of the programming will feature shows with people such as Bob Greene, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Robin Smith, Marianne Williamson and Nate Berkus.
"'For the most part, this is really about my friends,' Winfrey said Thursday."
Out: Mariah Carey. Mariah didn't have a good Grammy's even though, saleswise, she had a fantastic 2005. According to the 3AMGirls:
"AN A-list crowd including Beyonce and Jay-Z tried and failed to get in to Mariah Carey's lavish post-Grammys bash ...
"... The debacle occurred when Kanye West's party was closed down due to overcrowding. VIP guests went in search of another stylish do - with many heading for Mariah's soiree.
"Their Hummer limos flooded the narrow residential street. And as the stars were still queuing to get in, the emergency services deemed it a fire hazard and closed Mariah's party down just an hour after it started.
"One guest said: 'It was mayhem, but fire marshals decided it was too busy and closed the party down. People were told to sit in their cars for two hours before being turned away.
"'Even Beyonce was sent on her way after her car pulled up at the end of a 100-car queue.'
"Guests who made it in to the �200,000 bash included Kirsten Dunst, Mischa Barton and Playboy boss Hugh Hefner. But some close pals of Mariah - who won three Grammys at the ceremony in LA's Staples Center - were left out in the cold.
"And a guest said: 'Mariah was devastasted, She pleaded with the fire department to let her closest friends and colleagues in, but there was no relenting. It ruined her night, but at 2am, 10 of the 300 or so people who were still outside were allowed up.'"
(image via innovative-travel.com)
In: Digitizing the Olympics. From ancient Greece to mobile networks. According to network insiders, there is no-buzz for the games at Torino, but it is not inconceivable that they could find a life for itself within the digital cosmos. According to Paidcontent:
"Not only will NBC Universal broadcast 418 hours of coverage across its own broadcast and cable networks, the U.S. rightsholder for the 2006 Winter Olympics has patched together an online/mobile network that may be unprecedented in terms of extending reach -- teaming up with more than a dozen companies ranging from About.com to Zingy for access to Torino beyond the big screen. Among those involved: Apple, Google, ESPN.com, Intel, Lenovo, TriggerNews.com and Zap2It. Three of the sites -- About.com, Google and ESPN.com -- are traffic magnets -- as well as traffic drivers.
".. During the 2004 Summer Olympics, mobile video was limited to brief highlights on Edge-enabled AT&T Wireless handsets; at the time, that was the Nokia 6620. This time, anyone with a MobiTV subscription can watch highlights on a dedicated channel that will be updated daily. It's not the same as live portability but it's a step closer."
The full story here.