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When Google purchased YouTube for $1.65bn in late 2006, some wondered whether the acquisition would be the Web 2.0 equivalent of Yahoo's ill-fated billion-dollar purchase of Broadcast.com during the first .com boom.
It was hard not to be somewhat skeptical: YouTube was an expensive operation to run and was facing the same type of legal assault from Hollywood that basically killed Napster 1.0 years earlier.
Hollywood may not have a reputation for embracing new channels, but it's increasingly clear that new channels have the ability to help Hollywood's biggest companies succeed as consumers use technology to interact with content in new ways.
This is especially evident in the world of social media. It's increasingly evident that social channels can impact the small screen, and even though television and cable networks may not fully understand what this means yet, many of them are experimenting and investing in social because they see the potential to benefit.
For consumers in the United States wanting to give HBO their money for a subscription that doesn't require a cable bundle, the popular cable network delivered bad news earlier this year: thanks, but no thanks.
But HBO's response to the grassroots Take My Money, HBO! campaign didn't answer the question: can HBO ignore cord cutters forever?
When you think about digital piracy, music and movies probably top the list of the most sought-after types of content.
But according to a study conducted by Google and the Performing Right Society, it's piracy of live television that is growing the fastest.
Google's acquisition of YouTube may prove to be one of the savviest in internet history. Although some believed it appeared rich at the time, ask any of the companies that could have purchased Facebook for $1bn-plus less than a decade ago, and they'd probably tell you that sometimes, eleven figures is cheap.
But a big part of the reason YouTube has been so successful following its acquisition by Google is that the search giant continues to invest heavily in its development. The company is working with Hollywood to produce original content, and has made great strides over the years in inking licensing pacts with content creators.
London's 2012 Olympic Games are fast approaching, and NBC, which has television rights to the Olympics through 2020, is doing everything it can to recoup its substantial investment.
That's good news for viewers in the United States this year because NBC's strategy will make the 2012 Games coverage the most extensive yet.
The rise of the tablet is one of the biggest trends in computing today and there's little reason to doubt that this trend won't get anything but stronger.
The new iPad smashed sales records, affordable tablets with rich content ecosystems like the Kindle Fire are helping bring these devices to the masses, and Intel is promising a slew of new tablets when Windows 8 is released later this year.
If you ran a cable company facing the very real phenomenon of cord-cutting and you're approached about a partnership by one of the companies that has arguably done more to spur cord-cutting than any other, what would you say?
If you're Comcast, the answer is simple: 'take a hike.' And according to the New York Times, that's precisely what it has told Netflix.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings probably won't win a CEO of the Year award for his efforts in 2011.
After all, he was largely responsible for one of the biggest strategic and branding disasters of the year when he jumped the gun on trying to move his company away from delivering DVDs by mail and focusing on streaming instead.
Are cable customers ditching their cords, or shaving them? While the debate over what cable customers are doing and planning to do with their cords continues, one thing is clear: cable players are concerned.
So in an effort to prevent cord cutting, they're increasing looking to find ways to embrace the channel cord cutting is blamed on the internet.
The future of television may be digital, but if you're a player in the digital space looking at the meetings and parties taking place as television networks wrap up their annual upfront sales efforts, it's hard not to be a little bit jealous at all the money that still gets lavished at broadcast and cable ad inventory.
So this year, some digital players are hosting their own "upfronts" in an effort to get advertisers thinking about the commitments they should be making to digital ads.
Will 2011 be the year addressable television advertising – commercials targeted to specific homes – finally takes off? The answer is yes if you ask DirecTV and Starcom MediaVest. Starcom has committed to spend up to $20 million of its clients' budgets on addressable ads sold through DirecTV next year.
Forget the fact that Canoe Ventures, the much-hyped addressable ad platform launched by the big cable companies, is … well, dead in the water. A satellite provider may wind up delivering the most precisely-targeted TV ads for brands like P&G and Coke next year.