GENERAL MOTORS will shift half of its $3 billion advertising budget to online and one-to-one marketing within 3 years. That indicates a rapid increase over the $197 million GM spent online last year. The company plans to embrace a wide variety of formats, including gaming, search, interactive applications and more.
THE FCC announced that the 700 MHz spectrum auction ended after raising over $19 billion, making it the most profitable government auction in history. Winners will be revealed within the next few days. One failure was insufficient bidding for the D-block, which required winners to share spectrum with public safety organizations. The D-block is expected to be re-auctioned with fewer regulations.
APPLE is in talks with music labels about offering unlimited downloads from the iTunes Music Store. The company is planning two different business models: a monthly subscription plan and unlimited access for the life of an iPod or iPhone in exchange for a higher purchase price. Apple is currently haggling with labels over the appropriate price for the service. In other Apple news, Adobe announced that it has begun work on a new Flash media player designed for the iPhone.
FACEBOOK will launch an instant-messaging service, allowing users to chat in real time on Facebook.com. The service should provide serious competition to AOL’s popular Instant Messenger service. The site has also added enhanced privacy functions, giving users detailed control over what parts of their profile specific friends and acquaintances can access. After the Beacon fiasco, any increase in privacy should be welcomed by users.
CABLEVISION will soon begin delivering 15 Voom HD channels using switched digital video. The change will require a new HD set-top box that will be offered free to consumers for one year. Expected roll out is sometime in April or May.
ANTIGUA is threatening to repeal intellectual property treaties with the United States and to allow massive copyright infringement on the island if the U.S. doesn’t hasten its response to pending trade disputes. A representative of the island said that the United States is not negotiating fairly in a dispute over Internet gambling. The World Trade Organization has already determined that the U.S. owes Antigua $21 million but has not sanctioned stealing music, movies and more as a proper settlement. Still, Antigua is threatening to copy “virtually anything that can be duplicated.”