NBCU plans to launch DIDJA.com early next year. The site is an on-demand advertising site, and will offer an archive of TV commercials,, movie trailers, and other branded content. It will offer brand-specific channels, featuring all commercials by one company. NBCU is hoping advertisers will eventually pay for prominent placement on the site.
ESPN plans an extensive overhaul of ESPN360.com, and a re-launch next month. The video site has failed to gain traction and differentiate itself from ESPN.com. It also suffers from a poor business model. ESPN asks Internet service providers to pay for access to its site, which currently limits its availability to only 16 million house-holds. The new site will focus on live events, offering over 2,000 in its first 12 months.
HEARST will announce its plans to buy KABOODLE INC., a social-networking site focused on shopping. Kaboodle.com has over two million unique monthly visitors, and 250,000 registered users. Visitors to the site share their opinions on products purchased on other sites, and tag them with keywords to help other users find them. Hearst purchased UGO.com, a media site focused on young men, at the end of July.
MASSIVE INC. and NIELSEN have released a study claiming that in-game ads increased brand familiarity by 64%. According to the study, ad-recall and purchase consideration both jumped 41%. Participants in the study also reported that brands seen in–game benefitted from an increased “cool quotient.” Seeing the brand in a gaming environment seemed to offer it some cachet with gamers.
THE NEW YORK TIMES will drop its “Select” membership, which required users to pay for access to op-eds and article archives. Subscriber numbers were decreasing, and the service was the focus of much internal debate. In June, the service had 221,000 paying subscribers.