MICROSOFT has acquired AdECN, a small broker of Internet ad space. It will remain a separate company to encourage the growth of a neutral network, but will begin brokering Microsoft ad inventory. aQuantive inventory will be included in the mix.
Senator Claire McCaskill told a Senate Commerce Committee that the lack of preparation for the upcoming digital transition scares her politically. About 69 million analog TV sets are at risk of “going dark” on February 17, 2009 if public awareness is not raised. The Senator believes her constituents will blame her, saying “…there is no anger that comes close to the anger of an American who can’t get television.” The $1.5 billion federal coupon program, intended to encourage the purchase of digital-to-analog converters, will cover less than half of those 69 million TVs.
A&E Networks will offer digital downloads of original shows — for viewing on planes. The network is teaming up with Southwest Airlines to allow passengers to download shows to laptops for in-flight viewing. A&E is offering the shows for free, to create awareness among the captive airplane audience. No details have been revealed on the choice of video format.
TARGET has chosen sides in the high-def format war. The retailer will only stock and sell Blu-ray players starting this October. The move is another blow to HD-DVD. Blockbuster recently went Blu-ray only, as well.
HBO is throwing in the towel for This Just In, a failed experiment in online comedy. The site was announced in late 2006, and was intended as a breeding ground for new comedic talent. However, This Just In was plagued by poor design and under-exposure. The site, which was a joint venture with AOL, will close in August.