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John Borthwick's Instapaper highlights


I prefer the first Murdoch, but the second is now at work. He has struck just as Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner’s chief executive, has slimmed it down by spinning off Time Warner Cable and Time Inc, but before its growth potential was fully proved. The $73bn offer is not enough, and it will be hard to persuade Time Warner without overpaying.

The deal makes perfect sense for Mr Murdoch. He has coveted it since the 1980s, when he attempted to buy Warner Brothers before setting up Fox. He would control a production powerhouse, with one broadcast network, two film studios and cable networks including HBO, and be the king of the content castle.

“ This challenge reveals a fascinating strategic shift for the social network: The greatest obstacle standing between Facebook and its ambitions has nothing to do with persuading any of us to log in to Facebook tomorrow or to spend more time using its features. It’s entirely dependent on outside app developers’ adopting these tools. Facebook has become the world’s first social-media enterprise company. “The new Facebook is different from the old Facebook,” says one company insider who spoke on condition of anonymity. To those who remain fixated on what the social network used to be, this source says, “They’re just going to have to learn. We’re in a different world.” ”

“ Facebook does not break out revenue by ad product, but by our estimate that would translate to roughly $1 billion. “By the third day of testing Facebook [App Ads], it was already dominating every mobile-ad source out there,” says John Earner, CEO of mobile-game startup Space Ape, one of the first developers to use the ad unit. “By April of 2013, App Ads was the worst-kept secret in the gaming industry.” Space Ape’s Samurai Siege game pulls in $70,000 a day by spending up to 75% of its marketing budget on App Ads. More broadly, Facebook reports that 60% of the top-grossing apps on Apple’s App Store and Google Play use App Ads. ”

A study in the current issue of Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine seemed to confirm that. Five healthy adults were placed in what the researchers called Stone Age-like conditions in Germany for more than two months—without electricity, clocks or running water. Participants fell asleep about two hours earlier and got on average 1.5 hours more sleep than was estimated in their normal lives, the study said.

Their average amount of sleep per night: 7.2 hours.

“ The European Union—accustomed to peace and quiet—has neither determination nor an understanding of the growing threat. The clichéd faith in the possibility of placating the beast is replaying over and over again. The blindness and loyalty of European political and business elites gives reason for concern. But there is nothing that releases us—intellectuals active in culture, scholarship, and media—from the duty to say clearly, stubbornly, and emphatically: This is very dangerous. We are not allowed to repeat the naiveté once displayed by intellectual elites toward Hitler and Stalin. And back then we were not allowed to close our eyes to the annexation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and the Baltic States. ”

“ A friend of mine, who is an actress, told me that when the casting for her recent movie came down to two actresses, the casting director chose the actress with more Twitter followers. I see this becoming a trend in the music industry. For me, this dates back to 2005 when I walked into my first record-label meetings, explaining to them that I had been communicating directly with my fans on this new site called Myspace. In the future, artists will get record deals because they have fans—not the other way around. ”

I think forming a bond with fans in the future will come in the form of constantly providing them with the element of surprise. No, I did not say “shock”; I said “surprise.” I believe couples can stay in love for decades if they just continue to surprise each other, so why can’t this love affair exist between an artist and their fans?

In the YouTube generation we live in, I walked out onstage every night of my stadium tour last year knowing almost every fan had already seen the show online. To continue to show them something they had never seen before, I brought out dozens of special guest performers to sing their hits with me. My generation was raised being able to flip channels if we got bored, and we read the last page of the book when we got impatient. We want to be caught off guard, delighted, left in awe. I hope the next generation’s artists will continue to think of inventive ways of keeping their audiences on their toes, as challenging as that might be.

Getting bigger for bigness’s sake makes sense for a sumo wrestler. But does that apply to a media conglomerate?

Although Fox’s proposed purchase of TimeWarner sounds like a film-studio deal, the film units are secondary at both companies, with cable networks producing the greatest revenues at both — and Disney and Viacom as well. The screen at home eclipsed the screen at the multiplex long ago, and is still growing, which is a main reason Murdoch covets TimeWarner’s cable channels (HBO, TBS, TNT) which out-earn those of the other media conglomerates.

Yo !.


I am excited to announce that betaworks is participating in the seed round of Yo. I wanted to share a few thoughts on how I see Yo fitting into the ecosystem of services on, and beyond, phones.

Over the past year, year and a half, we at betaworks have become increasingly interested in the…

“ When everything – every object surrounding us – has an IP address, when our car can talk to our home, our phone, our TV – when all these objects connect and form part of what Dr. Canton calls a ‘blended reality’; where the physical and digital realities merge and converge to form part of our lifestyle – boom. ”