APPLE ends the week in the iGutter. Yesterday, the company released an iPhone update targeting users that have installed third-party applications on the device, unlocked it, or otherwise hacked it in some way. The update has rendered some of the phones completely useless, turning them into iBricks. This, absurdly enough, seems to be the intended result of the update – to actually destroy the company’s own devices. It gets worse: the update has “bricked” a large number of normal, unhacked iPhones, or simply caused massive data loss, deleting valuable user photos and notes. Message boards and blogs have been swamped by enraged users. Oh, and mobile operator Orange is re-thinking its decision to offer the iPhone in France, because it doesn’t like the idea of giving Apple a third of the revenue from iPhone subscriptions. Stay tuned, to see where this train wreck hits next.
CABLE COMPANIES have recently courted political ad buyers in Washington, to drum up support for the industry’s forth-coming interactive ad initiative. The project is called “Canoe,” and it seeks to standardize interactive ads across cable systems, in an attempt to draw more lucrative national advertisers. It is led by Steve Burke of Comcast and Landel Hobbs of Time Warner Cable. CableLabs is looking for technology partners to help build the system on behalf of the industry. The recent foray into Washington politics could result in an on-demand channel being created for the 2008 election. Election coverage would allow advertisers to test out the new ads, offering audience polling and other interactive features.
CBS will launch CBS EyeLab, a digital production studio that focuses on creating and distributing short, YouTube-style clips of CBS shows. The clips will act as both promotional tools and revenue generators, as CBS plans to sell embedded advertising. CBS research indicates that less than a third of its audience wants to watch full-length episodes of shows online. However, the impetus may have come from “Endless Caruso One Liners,” an amusing user-generated mashup of clips from CSI Miami. The video has been viewed over a million times on YouTube, and was screened by Les Moonves during a presentation at this year’s CES.
DISNEY has decided that it doesn’t really want to be a phone company, after-all. The struggling MVNO will shutter its proprietary Disney mobile phone service at the end of the year, and has stopped selling handsets – effective immediately. Disney also shutdown its ESPN phone service last year, giving a clear indication that branded phone services are losing propositions.
JOOST has signed a deal with Major League Baseball, to offer on-demand game broadcasts and highlight films from the 2007 season. “The Daily Rewind” highlight show will be available worldwide, but full games will only be available outside the United States. Upcoming playoff match-ups will be added to Joost within 24 hours of initial airing.