Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Amanda Congdon Goes From Rocketboom To ABC News Now - Business Week

From Rocketboom to ABC
Video blogger Amanda Congdon is the latest "cewebrity" to jump to mainstream media; an industry is forming to help others follow her lead

by Catherine Holahan

Internet celebrity Amanda Congdon just finished broadcasting her cross-country relocation from New York to L.A. on the World Wide Web. Now she is making another move—this one from online to on air. The former host of Rocketboom, one of the most popular video blogs on the Web, with roughly 211,000 daily viewers, has a new gig as a contributor for Disney's (DIS) ABC network.

Congdon will regularly appear on the network's 24-hour digital channel ABC News Now and occasionally appear as a correspondent on the network's TV news broadcasts. She will also host a weekly video blog, or "vlog," on abcnews.com focusing on topics such as new media, politics, and the environment. "She certainly has the eyes and ears of a great many people who may have only trafficked in Internet information," says Michael Clemente, executive producer of ABC News Digital Media. "I would love to see her talking to [Illinois Senator] Barack Obama, new people with new products, and all sorts of things."

In addition, Congdon is developing a comedy for Time Warner's (TWX) HBO, which itself has plans to beef up online programming (see BusinessWeek.com, 11/2/06, "HBO's Bold Broadband Plans"). Congdon will star in the show, which will appear both online and on air in different forms. The subject matter has yet to be determined.

Talent Search
The new ABC role may make Congdon the first video blogger to make the jump to a major network. For the 25-year-old actress, the new job sounds like a dream. "What really excites me is the concept of bridging the gap between old and new media," says Congdon. "I am just so excited that these networks are open enough to let me do all these different projects."

Congdon, however, is not the first "cewebrity" to parlay fame on the Web into a real-world job. Joe Eigo, a 26-year-old martial artist and gymnast, was relatively unknown until he uploaded video clips of his acrobatic fighting style to the Internet. Since then, Eigo's clips have been downloaded millions of times and he was scouted to join Jackie Chan's stunt team. He also landed an appearance in the movie Around the World in 80 Days. Several other online video personalities have used their notoriety to sign with prominent talent agencies and further careers in comedy, media, and entertainment (see BusinessWeek.com, 10/30/06, "Don't I Know You from the Internet?").

In fact, major movie and TV studios are increasingly looking to the Web for new talent for both on- and offline projects. IQ Films and Steelyard Pictures used Yahoo's (YHOO) Jumpcut.com to conduct an online casting call for their latest movie, The Power of Few.

Agencies on the Lookout
Dina Kaplan is chief operating officer and cofounder of blip.tv, which features Congdon's AmandaAcrossAmerica blog. Kaplan says she is regularly approached by traditional media outlets that see her online vlog hosting site as a place to mine new talent. "We have had meetings with a bunch of Hollywood agencies," says Kaplan. "They see us as a farm team for them."

Talent agencies also see the Net's potential. United Talent Agency, which represents actors including Vince Vaughn, has created a Digital Media Dept. to bring online stars into traditional media. UTA counts video blogger Hosea "Ze" Frank, host of The Show with Ze Frank, and Kent Nichols, co-creator of the Ask a Ninja video blog, among its clients.

Music companies are also looking online for new talent. This month, Music Nation will start letting musicians upload music videos to its site as part of a record deal contest with Epic Records. Universal and EMI also plan to sponsor online star searches (see BusinessWeek.com, 10/30/06, "American E-Idol").

Looking to Profit Online
In many cases, traditional media companies are more interested in keeping Internet stars online than putting them on air. The idea is reaching a new and, in many cases, younger audience. "When you have conversations with traditional platforms, often the biggest interest is not to leverage whatever buzz you have online to move to a traditional platform," says Frank. "They are trying to figure out how to make this model work in the online space."

Traditional media have a big incentive to court Internet stars. Online advertising is expected to grow to $25.2 billion in 2010, consuming 8.9% of all advertising spending, says research firm eMarketer. That's up from $15.9 billion—or roughly 5.7% of total ad spending—this year.

ABC has been particularly deliberate about expanding on the Web. While other news programs, such as those at CBS (CBS) and NBC (GE), have Web simulcasts and video blogs, ABC News has a 15-minute daily newscast just for Internet audiences. Most major networks have also been moving their new programs online to create more buzz and wrap in new audiences (see BusinessWeek.com, 10/11/06, "Click Here to Catch Up on CSI"). ABC is no exception, making episodes of such shows as Lost, Grey's Anatomy, and Desperate Housewives available free online.

Awards and Advertisers
Kaplan has no qualms sharing talent such as Congdon with TV. As more people become famous for vlogs, more people are likely to begin producing better blogs to attract mainstream media attention. The better their blogs, the more audiences and advertisers will want to associate themselves with online content and brokers like blip.tv.

To help market their talent, PodTech, blip.tv, Yahoo Video, Intel (INTC), Guba, Revver, and others helped arrange the first ever "Vloggies," an Oscar-like black-tie ceremony for video bloggers. The awards were handed out on Nov. 4 in San Francisco. Winning top honors were Ask a Ninja, Frank, and the crew that develops Alive in Baghdad, a series of video blogs by Iraqis.

As vlogs have become more mainstream, advertisers have also begun taking notice. They have experimented with ads on videos shown on user-generated video site Revver. They are also working with companies such as AOL and News Corp.'s (NWS) MySpace to incorporate advertising on user-generated video sites.

The Copyright Effect
However, these deals have been slow to take off because of concerns about the kinds of content on user-generated video sites. The difficulty of filtering copyrighted material from millions of user-produced videos has also given some advertisers pause, according to Metacafe CEO Arik Czerniak. To allay those concerns, Metacafe has begun paying users for licenses and uses both human video reviewers and technology to ferret out copyrighted content. MySpace has also begun aggressively removing copyrighted content (see BusinessWeek.com, 10/31/06, "Music Downloading's New Deal").

With sites moving to make user-generated content safer for advertisers, online celebrities and their videos are likely to become even more appealing for major networks and others. That means more cewebrities could turn into genuine celebrities. "The first time I ever put a video on the Net, I didn't know it would have such a great effect," says Eigo. "Now I know it can make dreams come true."

Holahan is a writer for BusinessWeek.com in New York.

Reggie Bush Fires Mike Ornstein - Yahoo! Sports

This was something Reggie should have done a while ago. But this is just as well. Mike's -- pictured on the left in the photo -- made some money so he should not be totally negatively impacted. It's just that he could have ran a cleaner business.

Bush drops Ornstein as marketing agent
By Josh Peter and Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports
November 12, 2006

Reggie Bush has parted ways with his marketing agent, Mike Ornstein, a controversial figure who helped Bush land about $50 million in endorsement deals before the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner even signed his rookie contract with the New Orleans Saints, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

Ornstein revealed his split with Bush when he called a New Orleans-area businessman last week and canceled a $5,000 order for 120 turkeys that Bush planned to give to Saints players and team officials for Thanksgiving, said Glenn Mistich, owner of the Gourmet Butcher Block that filled the order.

"He told me, 'Reggie and I aren't working together anymore,' " Mistich said Sunday. "I don't know what happened. I don't know if Reggie even knows about [the canceled order]."

A second source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Bush had fired Ornstein.

Ornstein hung up the phone when a reporter identified himself, and he did not return a subsequent phone message. Bush declined to comment after the Saints' game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

In addition to losing his marquee client, Ornstein recently was subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney's office to answer questions before a grand jury in Ohio. Ornstein received the summons on the opening week of the season, when New Orleans played at Cleveland on Sept. 10.

Four sources confirmed that Ornstein received the subpoena, and one said Ornstein was served in clear view of several witnesses. The subpoena is said to be related to Ornstein receiving Super Bowl tickets from the Cleveland Browns several years ago in exchange for the use of cars.

Ornstein was convicted – along with two others – of defrauding the NFL while he was a league employee in 1995.

In September, a Yahoo! Sports investigation showed that Bush and his family appear to have accepted improper cash and benefits from Ornstein, in potential violation of NCAA rules. The Pacific-10 Conference and NCAA are investigating the matter.

Ornstein was instrumental in helping Bush amass a fortune in endorsements and ingratiate himself to a New Orleans community still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Negotiating on Bush's behalf, Ornstein secured deals with adidas, Pepsi and Hummer. He also hooked up with Subway and EA Sports video games in an unprecedented windfall for an NFL rookie. The deals were signed well before Bush agreed to a contract with the Saints that included a $26-million guaranteed bonus.

Ornstein also played a prominent role in helping Bush carve out a favorable image in New Orleans. Following the April 28 NFL draft, Bush and his sponsors donated more than $50,000 to Holy Rosary Academy to help keep the special-needs school operational, funded an $86,000 installation of a new playing surface at a stadium used by many of the area's high school football programs and arranged for Hummer to donate a dozen of its vehicles to the police department in a city adjacent to New Orleans.

Bush's charitable efforts also have included partnering with the international hunger relief organization Feed The Children, the NFL Players Association and Urban Impact Ministries to help deliver food and toiletries to needy families in New Orleans.

Y! Sports NFL writer Charles Robinson also contributed to this report

No Bay Area Olympics; No Bay Area Super Bowl - Anatomy Of A Loser Region

Yesterday, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that the effort to bring the 2016 Olympics to San Francisco was over. As the head of the Oakland Super Bowl XVIV Bidding Committee, which from 1999 to 2001 worked to bring the Super Bowl to Oakland, I hated to witness that event. I thought San Francisco had its best chance yet to land the Olympic Games because it had a large set of people who seemed to be equally committeed to doing it.

The SF 2012 Olympic effort was the largely the story of the work and energy of one person, Anne Cribbs, whereas this time the heavy lifting was spread out more to others. In the case of Oakland's Super Bowl that effort was totally the story of my work and enthusiasm. But in all three cases, one element of Bay Area society came forward again and again: the selfish action of one key player, perfectly timed to wreck the chances of winning. What makes the Bay Area a great place to live is also that which keeps it from really growing as a society: the insistance of individuals that they "do their thing" and sometimes at the expense of everyone else.

In the matter of the Oakland Super Bowl, it was Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown who threw the monkey wrench into our bid effort by not following our specific instructions and by not totally endorsing the effort, even as his city manager, Robert Bobb, was Oakland's executive pushing for the Super Bowl, and I was the point person. It wasn't the Oakland Raiders, who were very supportive behind the scenes and of me.

But in the Super Bowl-Oakland effort, it wasn't just Jerry, but also the San Francisco Chronicle, who's op-ed page editor John Diaz first supported, and then for terrible and tempermental reasons didn't back our effort. If we had both elements in place, everything else would have worked and the 2005 Super Bowl would have been here, and not in Jacksonville. We had a terrific plan.

In the case of the first Olympics effort, Anne had almost all of the elements in place, except a clear financial package. That was the fault of the State of California and other municipalities, which didn't really want to fiscally back the effort. Anne also didn't have all of the key players behind her that were in place for the 2016 project. Many people did not think she would get as far as she did, and so kind of sat back and watched but never helped -- then they were surprised when she got as far as she did.

That was exactly what happened in my case with Oakland's Super Bowl Bid. Oakland City Councilmember Jane Brunner once told me "You know, we were all surprised and didnt think you would get as far as you did." But there were a lot of people who thought that, and I had to ignore them. Even Ralph Barbieri of KNBR, who promissed to have me on his radio show to talk about the Oakland Super Bowl Bid, but never followed up on his promise. In fact, KNBR as a whole seemed almost hostile to the idea and for no reason other than they knew they could damage the effort.

It seems in the Bay Area for any one person that wants to do something, there's several who don't want it to succeed because either it's not there idea or doens't benefit them. The same elements of behavior that cause more than one new Bay Area resident to complain that "friends here are not really friends but acquaintences" or that they only have friends via the work place are the same factors that work to prevent the area from joining together to draw large scale sports events, and even seem to be hampering the timely construction of the East Side Of The Bay Bridge.

One may ask if this is the case, how did we land the 1984 Super Bowl, where the 49ers beat the Miami Dolphins 38 - 19? During that time, the way the NFL selected Super Bowl Host Cities was completely different than it is today. First, there was no official set of guidelines. Second, there were no contracts, everything was done via handshake. Thus, it was easy for then-San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein to go to then-NFL Commissioner the Late Pete Rozelle, and work a deal to bring the Super Bowl to the San Francisco Bay Area, where it was played at Stanford. The entire San Francisco bid book was just 20 pages.

By contrast, bidding for the Super Bowl today is a massive effort, where there are over 25 contract sets that must be distributed to almost 1,000 different people and organizations -- and signed, and returned to the bid organization. That alone is a huge undertaking which takes over a year to do. I know because we did it. That's on top of negotiations to use faciltiies, political issues, and so on. That's a lot to do and it requires community coorperation.

With the exception of contracts, the San Francisco Olympics Bid has the same complex set of elements and people. All it takes is one person or organization to decide it doesn't want to do something, and the entire work of many people is trashed. Here, the San Francisco 49ers played the role of "heavy" and all of this was John York's fault. He could have handled all of this in a behind-the-scenes way, but he's acting like he's angry with someone over something. Moreover, I'll bet the issue he's upset about not only could have been handled without involving the media, it was a misunderstanding to begin with.

Look, it wasn't just the configuration of the proposed stadium -- he could have worked that out -- I'll bet it was someone talking to him in a way he didn't like, and so he decided to pull and go to the media. In other words he dropped a bomb on someone, and the person may have been Gavin Newsom and Kofi Bonner of Lennar. My instincts and information tell me this, and I'm seldom wrong in this matter.

Regardless of the details, other cities have faced similar problems of politics, from Atlanta to Miami, Houston and Jackonville -- all cities have landed Super Bowls. In other words, individuals worked out their problems behind the scenes and maintained the progress of the bid effort. Butn in the Bay Area, when individuals are unhappy with the smallest matter, they tend to work to destroy things for everyone else.

This happens again and again and again. I've never seen a part of a country where people are so jealous and critical of each other for the smallest and dumbest of reasons. It's that dynamic which makes poor friendships here and the same one that consistently wrecks efforts to bring Super Bowls and Olympics to our region. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area think that because our land is pretty anyone should want to come here. That's not always true. We Bay Area residents have got to put our collective narcissisum aside if we expect to improve our society, let alone land the Super Bowl and the Olympics.

Monday Night Football - Carolina Panthers 24, Tampa Bay Bucs 10

Second-half surge lifts Panthers, 24-10

NFL.com wire reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Nov. 13, 2006) -- After a 15-day layover to stew about their fourth-quarter meltdown against Dallas, the Carolina Panthers came out so flat on offense that the crowd booed them off the field at halftime.

Steve Smith was feeling sick, Keyshawn Johnson fumbled, Jake Delhomme threw an interception and punter Jason Baker was awfully busy the rest of the time.

In the second half, the bumbling Tampa Bay Buccaneers bailed them out.

Delhomme threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Johnson for the go-ahead score in the third quarter and Julius Peppers had three sacks and recovered a fumble as the Panthers beat the Buccaneers 24-10 to end a two-game losing streak.

Smith was seen repeatedly vomiting into a garbage can on the sidelines, once after a long catch early in the second half. But he stayed in the game, catching eight passes for 149 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter that sealed it.

"My little girl was sick," Smith said, "and so, she's a daddy's girl, kissing on me and so -- I got the flu. What happens in the house just goes around the parents."

Smith said he fought through the wooziness, because "this is how I feed my family."

Rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski threw two interceptions and lost a fumble for the Buccaneers (2-7), who committed turnovers on four of five possessions in the second and third quarters to blow a 7-0 halftime lead in their third straight loss.

"I'm just sick about the outcome of the game," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "Carolina is a good football team. We turned the ball over and missed some opportunities to make some big plays."

The Panthers, who had said they couldn't wait to play again after being outscored 25-0 in the final quarter against the Cowboys, managed only three first downs and 98 yards in the first half. Their drives in that half went: punt, fumble, punt, punt, punt, interception.

"The first half we didn't run it well enough, we didn't throw it well enough," Delhomme said. "It was an embarrassment in the first half. Second half we answered. The defense forced turnovers and we made more plays. We did enough things to win in the second half."

Fans, upset with the play-calling and the Panthers inability to run, showed their displeasure early and saved the loudest boos as the Panthers walked off the field at halftime with only three first downs against a team missing three defensive starters to injury, including Simeon Rice.

Despite feeling ill, Steve Smith had eight catches for 149 yards and touchdown.
Carolina scored on four of their first six drives in the second half -- but then, the Buccaneers made it easy for the Panthers to come back. Gradkowski's third turnover of the game, a fumble forced by Chris Draft and recovered by Peppers, gave Carolina the ball at the Tampa Bay 44.

Delhomme then found Smith for a 21-yard catch-and-run, setting up Delhomme's 4-yard TD pass to Johnson. It gave Carolina its first lead, 10-7 midway through the third quarter.

Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, held to 44 yards on 15 carries, fumbled on the next possession and Mike Minter recovered at the Tampa Bay 16. Four plays later Brad Hoover's 5-yard touchdown run put Carolina up 17-7.

"I got careless with the ball," Williams said. "I think my turnover created momentum for Carolina."

It marked the eighth time in nine games the Panthers held the lead going into the fourth quarter, unlike on three previous occasions, the Panthers held on with Peppers, who took over the league lead with 11 sacks, making life difficult for Gradkowski.

Coming into the game with only one interception in 186 pass attempts, an NFL record for most attempts without two picks, Gradkowski struggled with his accuracy. He overthrew open Joey Galloway for what would have been a touchdown in the first quarter.

"I have to go out there and not try to do to much," said Gradkowski, who became the starter when Chris Simms suffered a ruptured spleen in the first meeting with Carolina. "I feel like I was competing. Sometimes you just try to do too much."

Gradkowski later underthrew two passes near the end zone, resulting in interceptions for Ken Lucas and Shaun Williams. He even bounced a pass off Peppers' helmet and Gruden started screaming at him in the first half.

"I think the first series, we had Galloway wide open. You've got to make those plays," Gruden said. "Then we had (Michael) Clayton at the end of the half and we didn't make that play. It's a turnover. We fumbled the ball in successive series to start the second half. That's a big reason why we lost."

Gradkowski, who was 17 of 32 for 173 yards, did take advantage when Ronde Barber ripped the ball away from the ex-Buccaneer Johnson near midfield late in the first quarter. Five plays later Gradkowski tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Ike Hilliard.

That was enough to take a halftime lead on the Panthers. The boos started early when offensive coordinator Dan Henning called for a running play on third-and-11 and DeShaun Foster gained only five yards.

By the end, everyone in Carolina -- even Smith -- was feeling better with the win.

"It means in the second half of the season," Smith said, "we're 1-0."

Tom Walsh - Vince Carlucci Reports Andrew Walter Unhappy With Raiders Deep Passing Obsession

It's right here in black and white and from Vince Carlucci's column in NFL.com:

"The Oakland Raiders insisting on having quarterback Andrew Walter take deep drops on his throws against Denver's strong defense on the way to a 17-13 loss to the Broncos. Walter sounded off to reporters after the game that he was unhappy that pass plays continue to have him taking five- and seven-step drops, which makes him an easy target for pass rushers, and that the Raiders' offense is too predictable. The Broncos sacked him three times and pounded him repeatedly, which had plenty to do with the fact the Raiders gained only 77 yards and three first downs in the second half after producing 167 yards and 10 first downs in the first two quarters. Walter also lost two fumbles on a day when the Raiders seemed too quick to abandon their running game, which only added to Walter's problems. I'm never in favor of finger-pointing by a player or a coach, although it should be noted that Walter said he had gone to Raiders offensive coordinator Tom Walsh "numerous times" with plays he would rather run. Walter's preference is to throw more short passes -- such as swing and flat routes -- that he can get out of his hand quickly."

It's clear to many that Tom Walsh's offense does not work at all. It's to the point that the Raiders are two teams - a great defense, hampered by one of the worst offenses in league history.

I tried to tell everyone in pre-season, but they didn't listen.

SF 49ERS Owner John York - Video On Olympics Bid

San Francisco 49ers owner John York explains that he made it clear to SF Mayor Gavin Newsom not to base the region's Olympic Bid on their stadium. If that's the case, the 49ers should not have made a presentation to the SF Chamber of Commerce with the idea that the stadium would be part of the Olympics Bid.

John's really pissed off a lot of people. Oh and KNBR's Ralph Barberi's totally wrong about this matter -- the Olympics are important to the region and the 49ers screwed up.