Last week, Spanning, a Google Apps backup service, announced a $6 million investment from an unnamed strategic investor. Today, Spanning and Mozy, a storage provider owned by EMC, announced a partnership to market and sell each other’s offerings.
Oh, so many questions about this very conveniently timed relationship. We do know that Google is not an investor. Last week, I reported that Spanning Founder and CEO Charlie Wood said there is a sacred trust between Spanning and its customers. Spanning backs up Google Apps data for its customers on Amazon Web Services. To back it up on Google would just not be right. Taking an investment from the search giant would not be right, either.
So, is EMC an investor? Wood reiterated he is bound to Spanning’s agreement and cannot disclose the name.
But I am free to make my own conclusions. I can’t say if EMC is the buyer or not but the timing is pretty good. The two services have a symbiotic relationship. Mozy is recognized for its storage technology, which they sell a lot into the small business market. Spanning’s back up service is also popular with SMBs. Storage and backup are staples of EMC. The storage giant has backup technology that runs the gamut from mainframes to mobile devices. Spanning gives Mozy and EMC a window to address Google Apps customers. For its part, Spanning is looking for leverage points. Both EMC and Mozy can provide that capability.
Further, who else would make a $6 million strategic investment and then stand by while Spanning goes and frolics in the storage world with Mozy and EMC?
Make your own judgment but my bet is on EMC as Spanning’s strategic investor.
Print and digital book behemoth Barnes & Noble has confirmed that Leonard Riggio, the company’s Chairman of the Board and largest stockholder, “plans to propose” a purchase of all B&N’s retail business assets, as outlined in an amendment to his Schedule 13D filed today with the SEC.
It’s worth noting here that the plans don’t include NOOK Media LLC, the subsidiary comprising of the college and digital businesses of Barnes & Noble, including its Nook ereaders and tablets. The amendment in today’s SEC filing reads:
“On February 25, 2013, Mr. Riggio notified the Board of Directors of the Company (the “Board”) he plans to propose to purchase all of the assets of the retail business of the Company. The retail business would include, among other things, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Inc. and barnesandnoble.com; and would exclude NOOK Media LLC (comprising the digital and College businesses).
“Mr. Riggio plans to make the proposal in order to facilitate the Company’s evaluation of its previously announced review of strategic options for the separation of its investment in NOOK Media LLC. The purchase price would be negotiated with the Board (and/or any committee thereof that would review and negotiate the proposal) and its advisors. The purchase price is currently contemplated to be comprised primarily of cash consideration and the assumption of certain liabilities of the Company. Mr. Riggio would provide the equity financing for the transaction and undertake to arrange any debt financing required for the transaction.”
While this is still very early doors, it seems the underlying reason for Riggio’s proposals is to make it easier to spin out ‘Nook’ as an entirely separate entity altogether. Indeed, last year we reported that Barnes & Noble was looking to split ‘Nook’ into a separate company, but nothing more has come of that yet, but Riggio’s moves look to be the next major step to enabling this.
In a press release issued today, Barnes & Noble says that the process of evaluating any proposal and negotiating the transactions will be overseen by a Strategic Committee of three independent directors: David G. Golden, David A. Wilson and Patricia L. Higgins, who is Chair of the Strategic Committee.
So, the official line for now is that things are still far from being signed and sealed – “There can be no assurance that the review of Mr. Riggio’s proposal or the consideration of any transaction will result in a sale of the retail business or in any other transaction…” – but given the previous intimations, it seems that it will be full steam ahead on this front. William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, said last year:
“We see substantial value in what we’ve built with our Nook business in only two years, and we believe it’s the right time to investigate our options to unlock that value.”
As things stand, no timeframe or timetable has been given for the review and the company won’t comment any further until something more concrete materializes.
B&N operates 689 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 US states, with its digital business offering Nook ereaders and ebooks through the online Nook store.
Remember the ‘Charlie bit my finger – Again‘ viral video? The one where a kid (Harry) sits with a baby on his knee who proceeds to bite Harry’s finger and giggle at the resulting wails? Yep, that’s set to become a series.
Viral Spiral, the management company for viral content and Rightster, the video monetisation and distribution specialist have teamed up to produce an original series based on the antics of the two boys.
‘Rightster has made a strategic investment in Viral Spiral to create Viral Studios. The new arm of the company will co-produce and finance new digital content based on one of YouTube’s most viewed viral videos. Rightster will also offer sponsorship avenues around orignal content and drive YouTube syndication for additional marketing.
‘Charlie bit my finger – Again’ was posted in 2007 and has been seen almost half a billion times. Quite how this one scene will translate into a series is unknown, but if the kids are as amusing enough to drive similar viewing figures in the rest of their activities, it’s possible that the definition of ‘child star’ might have to be rewritten.
Last year it was estimated that the family made more than £100,000 via the 57 second video. As memes tend to, the video also sparked its own blog where people can keep up with the boys adventures and even T-shirts and apps for Android and iOS. Not bad work for a video uploaded to YouTube because email would not cope with the file size.
Damian Collier, Founder and CEO of Viral Spiral commented: “We’re delighted to announce this strategic partnership with Rightster which will allow Viral Spiral to build on its expertise in developing value around hit viral properties. Today we’re at an inflection point where online content truly is king and has the ability to shape the future of the entertainment industry.”
Indeed from original viral content to the professionally created programming made by big players, finding traction online is becoming more and more important as viewers choose on-demand options and assorted content providers over traditional television scheduling.
Just this morning, BBC Worldwide announced an expansion of its partnership with YouTube to provide content for viewers in the United States and Canada. It seems that the money is clearly going to be found via advertising, marketing and presentation on the Internet.
“We’re excited to be playing such a key role in the development of original content and programming at this pivotal time in the digital entertainment industry”, added Charlie Muirhead, Founder and CEO of Rightster. “Rightster Studios enables producers of all sizes to create the next generation of engaging online video programming, and we look forward to working with Viral Spiral to successfully distribute and monetise new, original content based on the existing strength of the ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ brand.”
If for some reason, this corner of the Internet has escaped your attention, this is the original. Who knows that Charlie might get up to next and if it will cause Harry quite as much pain.
Go here to see the original: ‘Charlie bit my finger – Again’ (and again) as viral kids are set to be syndicated as an original series
It was a long-time coming, but last week we reported that UK-based second-screen app Zeebox finally launched in the US, where it has teamed up with a slew of broadcasters – 30 in total, including Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, HBO & Cinemax.
Now, however, it seems that media behemoth Viacom is also backing Zeebox for its US onslaught, joining the aforementioned companies “as strategic partners”, including investment, content and more. This is what Zeebox CEO and Co-Founder Ernesto Schmitt tweeted out earlier today:
Huge news: Viacom backs zeebox for the USA, joins NBCUniversal, Comcast and HBO as strategic partners with investment, content, promo.
— ernesto schmitt (@ErnestoSchmitt) October 4, 2012
This is a major development for Zeebox, and will go some way towards cementing itself at the forefront of the second screen space. Viacom is among the world’s largest media conglomerates, keeping company with the likes of Disney, Time Warner and News Corp. In real terms, this means that Zeebox will be able to tap content from the slew of of stations under Viacom’s remit – including Comedy Central, Logo, BET, Spike, TV Land, Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, MTV2 and more.
Zeebox also launched in Australia earlier this summer, while in the UK it recently stepped up its existing efforts with Sky, after the broadcaster integrated a number of social features from Zeebox, bringing greater interaction to its audiences.
The service has seen impressive growth this year, and Schmitt revealed that it was seeing more than 15,000 new sign-ups every hour during the first weekend after its first TV advert aired in the UK.
Zeebox is going from strength to strength, and we’ll be sure to keep tabs on the company as it announces more partnerships.
Image Credit – Thinkstock
Go here to read the rest: Zeebox adds Viacom to its repertoire of media partners, one week after US launch
Apple appears to have leaked details of what it will announce later today – via its own website search feature, and Mark Zuckerberg says what we were all thinking about the Facebook IPO. It’s all in today’s Daily Dose.
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