THE RECORDING INDUSTRY lost a major ruling in Atlantic v. Brennan when a federal judge in Connecticut ruled that merely making music available to other users is not evidence of copyright infringement. The judge also found that no proof of infringement was supplied by the record companies that brought the suit. With two of three findings going to the defendant, the case was thrown out.
GOOGLE suffered a 7% drop in ad clicks from December to January and a .3% drop year over year according to comScore. Clicks also declined 7% between November and December. Wall Street responded to the news by hammering down Google’s stock by as much as 8% during trading on Tuesday. While the company has not verified comScore’s findings it did officially report substantially slowed growth during the fourth quarter. The cause may be any number of factors, from a tightening economy to increased success in battling click fraud.
CBS reported a 15% decline in Q4 revenue and flat ad revenue due to slowdowns in TV and radio. Les Moonves said that the company would cutback on pilot expenditures, calling them “vastly overrated.” He also tried to ease concerns about the slowing TV business by saying that “Network TV will always be a must-buy” for advertisers. (Maybe.) In other TV-slowdown news, DISH saw a 76% decline in subscriber gains during Q4.
APPLE announced that iTunes has become the number two music retailer in the US, trailing only Wal-Mart in music sales during 2007. The store has 50 million customers and has sold 4 billion songs to date. The iTunes juggernaut continues.
THE WGA ratified the new contract with the AMPTP with 93% of members voting to approve the deal. The contract is retroactive to February 13th and will be in effect until May 2, 2011. And the focus shifts to SAG.
NBC UNIVERSAL will soon close the beta period for NBC Direct. The download service will officially launch sometime this quarter, though no specific date has been announced. NBC Direct will offer automatic copy-protected downloads of top NBC shows, including “The Office” and Conan O’Brien. Let’s hope they fulfill the promise of Mac support in a reasonable time frame.
ESPN will offer substantial online coverage of its first Masters tournament. Live streaming of the event will be offered to the handful of people that can actually access ESPN360.com. For the rest of us, video exclusives will be posted on Masters.org and live “look ins” will be available on ESPN.com. There will be blogs, live audio updates, chats and pretty much anything else you an imagine. Except, of course, access to ESPN360.