November 2006 Archives
Both The Wall Street Journal and the Today show had similar stories on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively about potential problems when the same image is used by different advertisers.
Our colleagues over at About the Image published an editorial that rips the reporting of both of these organizations and their lack of either research or honesty in their reporting.
One of the lessons of this poor reporting is that Rights Managed imagery is here to stay. And while various forms of Royalty Free stock photos are growing wildly, there will always be a strong need for Rights Managed photos.
Today we launched a new Web site called bITaPlanet.com. bITa stands for "business IT alignment." We are also about to provide details about a new companion trade show which will be called bITaUSA which will be held at the Seaport Hotel in Boston this coming May.
The launch of this new bITaPlanet is the beginning of our roll out of several new sites, trade shows, Webcasts and other initiatives to further enhance the stature of our JupiterWeb division. We will also be redesigning large sections of JupiterWeb and will start to re-emphasize our Internet.com brand name.
These initiatives will ramp up at the turn of the year. I find these developments exciting and can feel the momentum building within the online media team at Jupitermedia.
Internet.com reporter Gerry Blackwell wrote an interesting piece the other day about a company called Narrowstep.
Narrowstep is doing today what was originally "promised" in the 1998-1999 Internet boom - that is the potential that the Web will bring 1 million or more TV stations to users in coming years. In those days the concept was hype and probably had lots to do with Yahoo paying $5.4 billion for Broadcast.com. Of course the idea was ahead of its time.
I love the Narrowstep idea and must confess (for a variety of reasons) that I bought a chunk of stock yesterday to back up my hunch that this company is on to something big.
I rarely if ever buy stocks anymore. Several years ago I had a decent reputation as an Internet stock picker when Internet IPOs were aborning. But these days of arcane regulations, red tape, bucket shop tort litigators, and Sarbanes-Oxley, few IPOs take place. And if regulation trends continue the idea of an Internet IPO taking place in the United States will be as rare as a Grand Slam in pro tennis or golf.
Perhaps Narrowstep will not make it big in the marketplace. But what this company is trying to do "big" is going to happen "big" in the not too distant future. People today are excited about YouTube and other video community sites, but I think the big money will be in very specific Web TV shows like the ones that Narrowstep is creating.
Our Jupiterimages division has long been the leader in providing stock photography subscriptions. And we continue to innovate. We were first to market with a full-featured premium stock photo subscription - Jupiterimages Unlimited. But users wanted more.
Customers requested that we bundle our leading Photos.com, LiguidLibary and other subscriptions together - we have done so by launching today Jupiterimages Unlimited "Essentials." The Essentials package includes all of our imagery content from Photos.com, AbleStock.com, PhotoObjects.net and LiquidLibrary.com -all are available in Web, Print and full resolution packages.
Check out the options.
Many readers have read that Universal Music Group, the world's largest recorded music publisher, has sued MySpace.com for copyright infringement.
So why is this "music" to my ears? Simple. We believe we are the largest owner of royalty-free music in the world and we are getting larger in this area. The beauty of royalty free music is that anyone can buy a track once and use it over and over again. Our royalty free music is inexpensive and the perfect complement to the type of video found on MySpace, Brightcover and all the other community video sites found on the Web.
We will make our royalty free music even more economical for wide use when we introduce our subscription plan in early 2007.
It is interesting to compare music with images. Images this year have been impacted by the rapid growth of micropayment Web sites which allow individuals -mostly non-professional photographers- to upload images to micropayment sites. These sites in turn sell these images and of course the sites have no acquisition cost for the images other than the cost of selection. Our company is in the micropayment business, but we still are faced with the commoditization of royalty free images.
Music on the other hand cannot be commoditized since very, very few individuals can create two-minute tracks of original music. And certainly there is no mechanical equivalent in music to the digital camera for photography.
We would like to believe that it is only a matter of time before video creators will start to learn of our RoyaltyFreeMusic.com. Time is on our side. This is another case in which "Who owns, Wins!"
Netcraft reports there are now over 100 million Web sites world wide and growth is accelerating. The report also mentions that there were about 20,000 back in 1995.
Our original Web site, Mecklerweb.com (now internet.com) was launched in early 1994 - at that time I imagine there were only a few hundred.
My interest in the number of Web sites in the world is related to how Web sites will promote themselves in the years to come. I believe that in 10 years there could well be one billion Web sites as the number of blogs proliferates and third world sites start to grow rapidly along with huge growth in China and India. I also think that at least 10 percent of these billion Web sites will be significant buyers of images, music, animations, clipart, flash movies and stock footage. And finally I believe (but with no guarantees) that our company will service these 100 million customers better than anyone else in the digital content space. This is what separates us from our competitors. Our competitors are good, but they do not own content. We own over 7 million digitized pieces of content and we are growing that number everyday.
Now the game for us to meld all of this content together into a Web site that emulates the Home Depot concept. In other words a one-stop shop for the digital designers worldwide. Our tech and software teams are busy working on this concept. Hopefully we will launch this enterprise within 14 months. Stay tuned.
I have had a flurry of emails about my previous post about the drop of our stock price last week after publishing our quarterly results.
Lots of questions from Fund managers and individual stockholders. I try to field all inquiries, particularly those from stockholders. I have been amazed how many individuals have been in our stock and the stock of my previous company - Mecklermedia.
There was even a post by Barron's editor Eric Savitz about my note. I had the pleasure of having lunch with Eric about 5 years ago in Mountainside, California near the Barron's office. Eric had a taste of the rise and fall of an Internet rocket magazine called The Industry Standard. Eric saw it all as one of the top editors.
But back to the emails. The big question is value and revenue. I cannot guarantee revenue or any results, but feel confident we are doing better than we did in the last quarter. As to value, I know that our image assets, music assets and related content assets are worth a heck of a lot more than our present market capitalization. I also know that our online media division should be worth at least $2.00 a share or more. Now tack on about $35 million of EBITDA (before stock compensation). This all means (to me at least) that at our present price we are cheap. However for those out there that think we are going to zero sales, then I guess our present price is exorbitant.
One of my favorite endings for posts is "we shall see." Indeed!
We had a rough week on the financial report. We reported third quarter earnings and our friends on Wall Street did not like the results.
Seeing your stock price get walloped is not fun when you are CEO and also the largest stockholder. Even worse are the numerous phone calls and emails directed my way to further explain the results.
Many Funds gave up on us last week. I am sure they will be sorry about this decision in coming months. But that is the nature of the game when you run a public company. Funds demand quarterly results in line with guidance.
My only guide in running our company is longterm success. And I am confident that we are building a company that is and will be a good longterm investment. Unfortunately we are trapped by the "Guidance" game.
I have mentioned in previous posts that I am tempted to do away with guidance. We probably will not do this, but when you have a company in transition as we do, guidance can sometimes be difficult to predict. I think all of Wall Street would be better off with no guidance from any company. Companies could still do quarterly conference calls and then analysts could make their respective predictions about the coming quarters and years. Alas no change is likely to take place. And I must admit that some of the calls mentioned above are quite interesting. Unfortunately most are not.
Turning to other matters. I was interested to see that the head of SEC, Christopher Cox commented that perhaps blogs could be acceptable to the SEC in terms of public companies using them as outlets to disseminate so-called "Regulation FD" financial information.
I have found this blog to be quite useful for both financial and public relations purposes. We used to use a PR agency. But my blog gets more exposure than any three PR agencies combined could possibly get us. I would not swear off ever using a PR agency again, but for the time being, blogs are the way to go for public relations.
I have a few more posts planned for this coming week about our new trade show strategy. I am excited about getting back to the trade show arena.
I am also excited about closing our announced deal to obtain a 90 percent interest in the micropayment site - stockxpert.com and its companion community site stock.xchng with its almost 1 million members. We have some exciting plans for these two properties and cannot wait to get started with the rapid growth process.
An "old" Internet hand (but probably only about 28 today) contacted me about my previous post about MySpace.com. Matt Ragas of "RagingBull" and "FindProfit" fame as well as a book or two, emailed me the following thought:
Does MySpace = GeoCities after being acquired by Yahoo for $3.5B stock back in 1999? Would be interesting for someone to compare the traffic/popularity of GeoCities back at its peak, which I know you remember (the craze for free webpage builders, GeoCities, Tripod, Angelfire, theglobe.com, Xoom etc.) to what has happened since. Not saying this same thing happens to MySpace, and there's much better ways to monetize traffic today, but it has happened before. Today it's MySpace, YouTube and Facebook, next year will bring a new consumer Web star.
Well put Matt. And Good Luck in your new ventures.
I have written about my doubts on the staying power of the "hot" community site rage. I have questioned the long term viability of Myspace.com.
Thus this recent article found by Keith Simonsen of Jupiterimages certainly was up my alley.
I am not rooting against the long term success Myspace or any other community site. However I do not believe that community sites such as Myspace will be able to command long term loyalty from present users. This means that users will have to be replaced and replenished. And it could also mean that when it comes time to replace a user that potential new user could easily become interested in spending time on some entrant in a particular field.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming years.