Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Caller Beware! The Ides of March

The convergence bandwagon is rolling on nicely. 3i has expanded it's media investments team. City based funds with institutional funding, such as YFM are investing in a magazine that serves the media and advertising industry. You know things are good when even such naval gazing can be funded.

Disney has announced "parentpedia" - the site aimed at mums. But it seems it hasn't yet learnt from history. The danger of announcing something publicly before the site is actually up and typing the URL into a browser can get you there, is certainly infra-dig in todays world. This is the best you get now.

Talking of tough times, phone shows have a really bad week - make that month. No sooner has the scam-mongering around phone in game shows become yesterdays news, and ITV's phone based shows are limping back on air (although ITV Play seems like it's still stuck in a cross connection), that new stories are emerging. Channel 4 reported problems on a racing show with phone in contests. BBC1's Blue Peter has it's own story to tell about phone-in problems this week - 14,000 calls, but a failure to pick a winner from them - and a decision to fake a winner. You'd think by now the phone bit was the one piece people had actually figured out. Or is there a possibility that the choice between pulling a show off the air and letting it run despite the phone problems is laced by the commercial willingness to forego the healthy income the phone contests generate? Channel 4 & Five earn £ 17m from phone-ins - not an amount to be sneezed at. Possibly the only firms worse off than the broadcasters are the phone companies. Eckoh unfortunately seems to be the company at the forefront of all discussions. It also claims to be the victim of false allegations. Which suggests that its never too late to occupy the high moral ground!

Which reminds me, the ban on gambling advertising is being lifted, albeit with checks and balances in place. Sadly this is still not going to make a tangible difference to the handful of Partygaming shares I'm still clinging on to. Yet.


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