GOOGLE will announce Gadget Ads today. The new service will allow advertisers to run widget-like ads across the AdSense network. Gadgets will allow advertisers to gain interactive, multimedia placement on sites. They can include video, chat, games, and more. Widgets are exploding in popularity on the web, reaching 48% of online users.
COMCAST CEO Brian Roberts told investors that cable operators are banding together to create an interactive, targeted advertising standard. While being scant on details, Roberts said it is the “goal of the industry” to increase its share of the $290 billion advertising business in the U.S., and that they will work together to do so. CableLabs is spearheading the interactive effort, which will be pitched directly to broadcasters.
MGM is launching its own HD channel to showcase its vast library of films. Chairman Harry Sloan said that MGM had missed an opportunity in TV by licensing its films to cable channels. That strategy, he believes, was a mistake, and MGM should have used its films to build its own TV property. MGM will attempt that by launching an HD channel on DirecTV in the U.S.
RUPERT MURDOCH announced that he is leaning towards eliminating subscription fees for WSJ.com. Speaking yesterday at the Communacopia conference, Murdoch said that increased traffic and advertising revenue will eventually make up for lost subscription fees. WSJ.com has close to 1 million paying subscribers, which generate almost $50 million in revenue every year. As reported yesterday, the New York Times has decided to eliminate its paid subscription service.
DIGG has relaunched, featuring increased social-networking features. Digg.com is one of the top social-news sites, and it will now feature MySpace-like profiles, comments sections, and the ability to share stories directly with friends and acquaintances. The site also plans future increases in personalization for users. The changes could help increase Digg’s ability to serve targeted advertising, by giving it more information about its large user base.