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Content & Consolidation 2: Bing, Project Canvass, Newspass, and Disney’s Facebook App for tix

Microsoft’s Bing has been around for just over a year, trying to cause a revolution in the search and location services market. But it hasn’t got the market share that I expected. So it was with great interest that Microsoft this week rolled out Bing Entertainment, a dedicated hub within Bing that hosts film clips and trailers, music videos, TV clips and games Bing Entertainment is only live in the US at the moment, but it has already been met with praise from many within the search sector.

Bing senior VP Yusuf Mehdi says there is demand:
“In the field of entertainment, 76% of people use search to help find and navigate their entertainment options online, but only 10% say they have a trusted place to go,” he said. [Source: New Media Age]

Some are assuming that this move of developing Bing entertainment is because MS want to develop a new portal (why? they already have MSN?), but I think that something more exciting may be afoot. Think socialized location-based services like FourSquare. Think virtual 3D location services like Bing maps. Bring rich digital content into the [almost real, 3D] picture , and you have an augmented reality context for consuming digital content that is highly interactive and participative.

On the consolidation front, the BBC Trust has approved Project Canvas, the IPTV joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Arqiva, BT and TalkTalk. The BBC must comply with certain conditions: users must always be able to access Canvas for free, although they may be charged for additional services from third parties, such as video on demand and broadband subscription.
Project director Richard Halton said, “Project Canvas will safeguard the future of the UK’s free-to-air TV platforms and allow new business models to thrive through an open, internet-connected, TV platform. This brings the benefits of next-generation TV to all consumers, including those who choose not to subscribe to pay-TV. We look forward to rising to that challenge.” [Source: New Media Age].

Google have joined the race to protect news content behind paywalls, following on from Murdoch’s decision with The Times. In Italy, they’ve developed the Newspass system (platform) that gives participating papers one-click access to whatever form of payment they choose (with a share for Google – of course). This seems like a better idea: a platform with lots of news content from different sources makes more sense to me as an end user than having to surf lots of unique pay walls. Despite inflicting us with millions of blogs, it seems Google could yet be the saviour of journalism 🙂

Finally, there’s also the news that May 2010 was the first time that social networks have overtaken search engines in UK internet traffic. As the social networks grow, so do the business opportunities that rely on the recommendation activities they auto generate. Disney’s Tickets Together facebook app lets you and your friends buy movie passes to Toy Story 3 without leaving Facebook! Imagine this for cultural events…