Rupert Street Journal Isn't the Only Big Deal That Deserves Analysis

Not Up on the Latest Moves From Yahoo and Others? Don't Worry -- Media Guy's Here to Sort It All Out

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Nonstop brow-furrowing and chin-scratching about the media deal of the year -- that one involving a certain business newspaper getting acquired by a certain Aussie media mogul -- have become staples of the media-about-media navel-gaze-onomy. But what about other recent media deals?
Stone (l.) and Parker are sitting pretty after renegotiation.
Stone (l.) and Parker are sitting pretty after renegotiation. Credit: Michael Yarish

Other media deals? There've been other media deals? Turns out, yeah. Here's a rundown of some of the more intriguing ones -- real and rumored -- and what I think they amount to.

YAHOO TAKES ACTIONALITY
Yahoo just snagged Actionality, a company based in Munich that touts its ability to "automatically place rich-media mobile commercials into any mobile content your target audience uses."

What it means: The war is on. Google has gotten plenty of buzz for its rumored development of a phone, but this deal means that Yahoo has its eyes on the mobile-advertising prize.

My prediction: Watch for copycat mobile-advertising acquisitions, à la (in the web-advertising space) Microsoft's aQuantive deal and Yahoo's Right Media buyout -- both of which came in the wake of Google's announced $3 billion acquisition of DoubleClick earlier this year.

GOOGLE PHONES VODAFONE?
Speaking of the G-Phone, the Indian news site Rediff.com says Google has been in talks with Indian telecom companies Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar.

What it means: Google is certainly in talks with telecom companies around the world -- it can't not be. But I like the tech blog Engadget's take on the likelihood of an actual physical G-Phone: "Google wants to supply the platform, but we don't think they want to sell hardware."

My prediction: Google introduces a killer-app G-Phone OS that works seamlessly with its existing web-based killer-app, Google Maps, an ad-driven version of its Google Local service and the soon-to-be ubiquitous GPS (global positioning system) chips in cellphones.

CBS-WASHINGTON POST TEAM UP
The news organizations agreed last week to share online content.

What it means: Yawn! Nobody's gonna care, and the savviest consumers of news online are already cobbling together their own content-sharing nondeals by cherry-picking from multiple news sources including, yes, CBSNews.com and WashingtonPost.com.

My prediction: One of the organizations will blunder badly at some point (remember the CBSNews.com "Katie Couric's Notebook" plagiarism scandal in April?) and the other will quietly let the vaunted partnership peter out.

THE 'SOUTH PARK' BOYS SCORE AD REVENUE
Thanks to last week's deal, not only do the "South Park" creators get backing from Comedy Central to create South Park Digital Studios, but they get a 50% cut of ad revenue from the viral content they create.

What it means: Despite panic that the 50-50 ad split rewrites the rule book on what the talent can demand of studios, Matt Stone and Trey Parker's position within the Viacom empire is simply unique. The 10-year-old "South Park" franchise essentially established Comedy Central as a viable brand, and Parker and Stone have been functioning as quasi-moguls for years. And remember: They've been authorities on "viral" since back in the day when viral video was transmitted by VHS tape.

My prediction: No other content creators are going to be able to get anywhere near this sort of ad-revenue-sharing deal anytime soon. Except maybe "Family Guy" auteur Seth MacFarlane.
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