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News : International Last Updated: Nov 11, 2009 - 6:30:10 AM

Wednesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - November 11, 2009
By Finfacts Team
Nov 11, 2009 - 6:16:39 AM

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The Irish Independent reports that Shelbourne Development, the property group headed by Irishman Garrett Kelleher that hopes to build one of the world's tallest buildings in Chicago, has countersued Bank of America, claiming the financial institution "willfully and wantonly" engaged in a systematic pattern of deception and unfairness in its dealings with it.

Bank of America initiated legal action against the developer and his company during the summer, alleging failure by Shelbourne to make repayments to loans that were to be partly used to progress ambitious plans for the $2bn (€1.3bn) Spire building in the 'Windy City'. Although, foundation work started on the 150-storey, 2,000-feet-high building, construction was halted last year following the downturn. Some of the development work had been part-financed by now nationalised Anglo Irish Bank.

In court documents filed in the US and seen by the Irish Independent, Shelbourne Development has retaliated against Bank of America, accusing the financial institution of attempting to profiteer by incorrectly calculating the interest rate it applied to loans and credit facilities totaling up to $10m granted to the firm.

It also denies Bank of America's claim that no interest repayments on the loans and facilities were made between November 2008 and August this year.

Bank of America has alleged that Shelbourne Development breached the loan agreement when it failed to provide, by November 1 last year, evidence of the availability of a facility for the purposes of financing its development and construction of the Spire.

Shelbourne has conceded in court documents it did not secure that commitment, but argues that Bank of America should be temporarily barred from relying on a single alleged failure to comply with a non-monetary covenant as a basis to declare default or accelerate the loan, as well as from seeking judgments or remedies of any kind against Shelbourne.

Shelbourne has said that its failure to secure the necessary financial facility by last November was a direct result of the "unforeseeable and unprecedented economic downturn and recession", and points to the fact that Bank of America itself required $45bn in Federal funding to maintain its business.

The Irish Independent also reports that an upturn in the English property market may spell good news for NAMA as up to €5.9bn of bank loans secured against UK buildings are expected to be transferred to NAMA.

In recent weeks, a number of UK agents have reported a rapid recovery in UK property values. According to Colliers CRE, increasing investor demand has boosted the values of retail, offices and industrial properties and wiped out the losses seen in the first half of the year.

If the trend continues, and there is a serious risk that it won't, then the €10.3bn in UK development land loans earmarked for NAMA could also benefit, as a major portion of this development land is likely to be sold or developed.


Colliers has upgraded its forecast for this year when it expects total returns on UK property investment to end on a positive 0.4pc.

This contrasts with its previous forecast of minus 7.3pc for 2009.

Another agent, CB Richard Ellis, estimates that the capital values of UK property rose by 2pc in October and total returns, which also include rental income, rose 2.7pc. This was the fourth consecutive month of growth.

Nevertheless, prices are still about 40pc below their peak. Some Irish investors have already sought to cash in on the improved demand.

For instance, Bank of Ireland recently achieved a gross profit of £7m for an Irish investor client by selling a London office block, Windsor House, in London SW1, for more than £116m.

The 146,000 sq ft office block, which was let to the UK government, was purchased by the London & Oriental investment fund for a far eastern investor.

Anglo-Irish Bank has also agreed a deal to sell off a half-built shopping centre in Wakefields Yorkshire for an undisclosed sum.

The 550,000 sq ft Trinity Walk shopping centre had been placed in administration.

The purchasers include the contractor on the project, Shepherd Construction, and investors Sovereign Land and AREA Property Partners.

The Irish Times reports that the Government's Pre-Budget Outlook to be published tomorrow will forecast a contraction in the economy of 1.5 per cent next year and for unemployment rates to rise slightly to 13.75 per cent.

The Government also expects that if the intended €4 billion cuts in public sector costs is achieved, the overall budgetary deficit in 2010 will amount to 12 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Without the austerity measures being taken, it says that the deficit could rise to some 14.5 per cent of GDP.

The outlook also confirms that the economy will contract by 7.5 per cent this year. The figures are broadly in line with recent forecasts, including the ESRI’s latest quarterly economic forecast.

However, they are more optimistic than the comparable figures presented in the supplementary budget in April. At that time, the Department of Finance was predicting an economic contraction next year of 2.9 per cent (almost twice the current forecast) and for unemployment to rise to 15.5 per cent.

The economic data was contained in a memo presented by Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan to the Cabinet at its weekly meeting yesterday. The Department of Finance last night confirmed that the figures were accurate but said that they may be subject to some minor adjustments before tomorrow’s publication.

The Pre-Budget Outlook will update economic and fiscal projections for 2010 and also includes detailed pre-budget estimates of the resources that will be required next year by each department to provide its services.

Government sources said that the figures were slightly more optimistic than earlier this year but also sounded a note of caution about them being over-interpreted in terms of recovery.

They pointed out that the slightly lower unemployment rate could be attributed to many foreign national workers returning to their home countries in 2010 (the ESRI has estimated a net outflow of at least 40,000 next year).

More people have returned to education and have also joined work training programmes.

The sources said that figures in the first three months of 2009 were “horrendous” but have abated since then, a little more than was expected. They added that the only predictions that have not been stable this year have been in the area of tax revenue and receipts, with a shortfall of some €2 billion.

“None of that will have an effect of reducing what has to be done in the budget. The figures are contingent on doing what we have set out to do. The adjustment has to happen,”said one senior Government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Opposition parties honed in on the unemployment rate. The predicted 13.75 per cent next year is more than one percentage point up on the current rate of 12 per cent.

Fine Gael deputy finance spokesman Kieran O’Donnell said the figures could only be interpreted as an indictment of a Government which had no proper jobs strategy to combat growing unemployment.

“The budget must have a proper jobs strategy so that we do not have a rampant growth in unemployment next year. But unfortunately there is no sign of a coherent plan being in place,”he said.

Labour deputy leader Joan Burton said the figures were an “appalling reflection” of the record of economic mismanagement by the Government.

“The figures are terrible. They reflect the fact that the cost of servicing Irish debt has increased because of the collapse of the Irish banking system,” said Ms Burton.

Meanwhile, it emerged that lower levels of child benefit will be paid to high-income earners under proposals being considered by the Department of Social and Family Affairs in advance of the budget.

Although no plan has been presented to Government as yet, it would be likely to involve an across-the-board cut in the basic rate of child benefit but with a “top-up” for those on social welfare and recipients of the family income supplement.

The Irish Times also reports that record numbers of students are enrolling in third-level colleges amid continuing uncertainty about employment prospects.

The surge brings the number of full-time undergraduate students in Ireland to over 110,000, more than the total number engaged in farming and related activities.

The current academic year has seen unprecedented demand at the Central Applications Office (CAO), with applications up over 8 per cent to 45,582. This compares with 42,117 last year and 39,915 two years ago.

In addition, growing numbers are also returning to higher education or accessing college through routes other than the CAO.

About two-thirds of 18-year-olds proceed to higher education, one of the highest participation rates in the OECD. The increase is expected to place fresh strains on Irish universities which are poorly funded compared to other OECD states. Between them, University College Dublin and University College Cork have accumulated debts of over €30 million.

Last night, Michael Kelly, Higher Education Authority (HEA) chairman, acknowledged the third-level sector will be “under significant pressure as we expect that demand to continue to grow”.

Mike Jennings, of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, said colleges “cannot provide the required high level of education for an ever-increasing number of entrants when recruitment and promotions are banned, wages and resources are being slashed, and even maternity leave vacancies cannot be filled.”

The HEA figures also show a steep decline in students taking technology-related courses in the past decade.

This year, only 23 per cent of higher-level degree students are taking technology courses, down from 32 per cent in 2000. Only 4 per cent are taking higher or level 8 degree courses in computing, compared to over 8 per cent in 2000.

Engineering has also seen a sharp decline in interest. Only 4 per cent are taking Level 8 engineering courses this year, compared to double that figure in 2000.

The trends will confirm the view of former Intel chief executive Craig Barrett, who told the recent Farmleigh summit that Ireland needed to “raise its game” significantly in producing top-class science graduates.

His address has been widely seen as a wake-up call for the education service. Next week – partly in response to Mr Barrett’s concern – the Government is expected to unveil a major new programme for information technology in schools.

The Government will point to the increase in numbers taking science and technology courses in the past year. But critics say this progress is coming from a very low base: 11 per cent of higher-level students (3,500) opted for science this year, up from 10 per cent last year.

For the first time, students accepting places in the institutes of technology (46.5 per cent) have outstripped those commencing in the seven universities (44.5 per cent).

According to figures compiled by Dr Vivienne Patterson of the HEA, some 32 per cent of higher-level degree students are taking arts and humanities courses. Among all those accepting places at third level, some 62 per cent were offered and accepted their first-choice course.

The Irish Examiner reports that a pledge by mortgage lenders to help struggling customers are useless without legal backing and the inclusion of subprime lenders, organisations aiding those in financial difficulty have claimed.

The 10 major banks and building societies have vowed not to take immediate legal action against hard-pressed homeowners – but only if they can work out a deal on repayments.

In a so-called statement of intent, the Irish Banking Federation (IBF) said it was looking to help customers who were facing genuine difficulties due to "changed economic circumstances".

But it said any agreement would have to be "mutually acceptable" and would be reviewed every six months.

Under the plan, those unable to meet repayments are asked to talk to their lender as soon as possible to prevent repossessions.

Last night Start Mortgages, the country’s largest "subprime" lender stated it was "fully committed to the ethos of this pledge".

However, the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC), which advises those in financial difficultly, said the majority of people whose homes are being seized have mortgages with subprime lenders and without statutory backing the guidelines may have little real influence.

FLAC director General Noeline Blackwell said subprime lenders not being fully signed up amounted to "a huge gap" in the new guidelines.

She added that the courts also needed statutory powers to reschedule mortgage repayments in situations were lenders were unwilling to agree reasonable terms.

It is estimated as many as 25,000 mortgage customers have a mortgage with subprime lenders. As many as 50% are in arrears.

In its statement last night Start mortgages claimed it believed its "current policies and procedures are in line with those described in this new pledge".

The subprime lender is currently involved in nearly 40% of repossession cases going through the High Court.

Aoife Walsh, spokeswoman for housing charity Respond, said laws were needed to make all financial institutions, including subprime lenders, comply with industry regulations.

"We are calling for a statutory code of conduct to be imposed on these lenders as they are slow to show any compassion to those in difficulty," she said.

Labour housing spokesman Ciarán Lynch said the IBF announcement did not represent a realistic attempt to address the problem.

He said subprime lenders had proven to be "trigger happy" when it comes to initiating repossession proceedings and a "comprehensive statutory framework," was needed.

The IBF claims a low level of repossessions exists in Ireland, with main mortgage lenders seizing 70 homes in the first half of this year. It said 49 of these were voluntary repossessions.

However, these figures do not include those homes seized by subprime mortgage lenders.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said he welcomed the IBF pledge and called for continued
"engagement between lender and borrower".

The Financial Times reports that the International Energy Agency has warned that the price of carbon credits will have to more than double from the levels they now trade at in Europe to make high-tech solutions to climate change economically attractive.

In its annual World Energy Outlook report released on Tuesday, the rich countries’ watchdog also warns that the world’s use of fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – will have to peak by the early 2020s.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, argues the world needs a “revolution” in the energy and vehicle industries.

“We need a deal in Copenhagen [at the climate talks]. We need a signal for the energy industry. Without that, nothing will move,” he says.

In industrialised countries the price of a permit to emit a tonne of carbon dioxide will need to reach $50 by 2020 and $110 by 2030. In developing countries the price would need to reach $30 a tonne by 2020 and $50 by 2030.

Carbon permits now trade at $21 a tonne in the European Union. In the US a carbon trading scheme is still being negotiated. The Senate, which is unlikely to pass any bill before next year, has set $48 as the maximum that carbon prices would be allowed to rise to by 2020. By 2030 that ceiling increases to about $90.

But the IEA argues that important technology, such as carbon capture and storage, and widespread use of electric and hybrid cars would be economic only if a high price for carbon penalised those extracting and using dirtier energy sources, such as coal and petrol.

Mr Birol says the IEA’s recommendation “is much higher than the current EU price and higher than the discussions taking place in the US and elsewhere. But to encourage the investment and make the substantial change that is necessary, we need this price”.

Better energy efficiency, especially in power use, rapid growth in renewable energy, and increased use of nuclear power will also be critical to move the world away from fossil fuels, the IEA believes. Second-generation biofuel, which uses plant waste rather than crops, will only make a small contribution, it says.

The greatest responsibility to reduce emissions and help others to do so lies with the US, the IEA says. But China has the largest potential to make an impact. If it meets its own targets, China will be responsible for more than a quarter of the emissions reductions the IEA says are needed to avoid the worst climate change risk.

The IEA warns that a quick rebound in global economic growth could again lead to an energy supply crunch similar to the one that helped tip the world into recession in July last year, as supply is constrained by political barriers and the recent drop in investment.

Mr Birol is optimistic that the world will pass energy legislation that will keep atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at 450 parts per million – the level that scientists believe gives the world a 50 per cent chance of keeping the increase in global temperatures within limits thought to be safe.

The FT also reports that surges in industrial production in France, Italy and Germany appeared on Tuesday to have put the eurozone on track to report robust economic growth for the third quarter.

France and Italy reported unexpectedly sharp falls in industrial output in September, but production in the third quarter was about 3 per cent and 4 per cent higher, respectively, than in the previous three months.

Earlier this week, Germany, the area’s largest economy, reported a 3.5 per cent third-quarter rise in industrial production.

Robert Barrie, European economist at Credit Suisse, said: “That sets the stage for quite a strong growth number at the end of the week.” Economists reckon Friday’s figures could show eurozone gross domestic product expanded by at least 0.5 per cent in the third quarter – and may even have grown faster than the 0.9 per cent increase reported by the US. The UK, in contrast, remained in recession in the third quarter.

Industrial companies, hit by the collapse in global confidence after Lehman Brothers failed last year, have largely determined the trajectory of eurozone economic growth.

Commenting on the French data, Christine Lagarde, finance minister, said they gave“evidence of a dynamic recovery of industrial output after a historic fall at the beginning of the year”.

Eurozone industry has been boosted by government “cash for clunkers” schemes to boost car sales, less aggressive destocking and a pick-up in global demand for exports.

France and Germany – which make up about half of eurozone GDP – came out of recession in the second quarter, although weaker performances in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands meant eurozone GDP fell by 0.2 per cent compared with the previous three months.

Thanks to its large public sector and resilient consumer spending, France’s economy proved relatively crisis-resistant compared with the dramatic falls in GDP reported by other industrial countries, including Germany. But recently Germany appears to have benefited more than others from the improved global outlook, including in China.

Even if the third quarter saw a strong rebound, the 16-country eurozone’s reliance on government and central bank emergency measures has made policymakers cautious about the sustainability of recovery.

The strength of the euro, which this week has risen back above the $1.50 level, is also expected to act as a brake on growth in 2010.

In a possible harbinger of slow expansion, Germany’s ZEW economic institute said its “economic sentiment” survey of investors had fallen for a second consecutive month, from 56.0 in October to 51.1 in November. But the index remained well above its historical average of 26.9 points.

The New York Times reports that the chairman of the Senate banking committee proposed a financial overhaul on Tuesday that included consolidating bank regulators, creating a consumer financial protection agency and imposing new restraints on exotic financial instruments and credit rating agencies.

The 1,136-page plan by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, differs in major respects from both the White House and House plans. Even before it was made public, it had encountered sharp resistance from Republicans and powerful business interests in Washington. With fewer than 20 days left in the legislative session, it is all but certain that Congress will not deliver on President Obama’s request to repair the financial regulatory system by the end of the year.

Still, the long-awaited Senate plan is significant as a starting point for lawmakers who are increasingly talking about trying to complete legislation in the first three months of 2010. While the measure will inevitably be revised, it lays down the first marker by Mr. Dodd and other senior Democrats on the banking committee.

Mr. Dodd has said he hopes to move the bill through the banking committee quickly, with votes beginning in three weeks. In recent days he has been rewriting major portions to gain support from more Democrats on the committee.

“The financial crisis exposed a financial regulatory structure that was the product of historic accident created piece by piece over decades with little thought given to how it would function as a whole, and unable to prevent threats to our economic security,”Mr. Dodd said at a Capitol Hill news conference where he was joined by seven Democrats on the banking committee who also spoke in support of the plan. “I will not stand for attempts to protect a broken status quo, particularly when those attempts are made by some of the same special interests who caused this mess in the first place.”

In the House, Representative Barney Frank has guided the Financial Services Committee through meetings that could lead to passage of a comprehensive bill by the full House as early as next month. His committee has already approved a host of major regulatory changes and is expected to complete work soon on a measure that would give the government greater authority to seize large and troubled financial companies.

But in the Senate, where 60 votes are required to move contentious legislation through the chamber, Mr. Dodd has considerable work ahead of him.

Senior administration officials said the Dodd plan was a good starting point that, while different from the White House plan in major ways, embraced its core principles and addressed many of the problems that had been identified as causes of the financial crisis.

TreasurySecretary Timothy F. Geithner said that the legislation “moves us one step closer toward comprehensive financial reform.”

Mr. Dodd and his staff had held regular meetings with Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the banking committee, but those talks recently broke down. Mr. Shelby is opposed to several central provisions of Mr. Dodd’s bill, most notably the creation of an agency to protect consumers from abusive and deceptive mortgages and credit cards. Mr. Dodd has yet to get a Republican to support his plan. Moreover, several provisions will probably be opposed by moderate and conservative Democrats with ties to industry groups that have raised objections to the measure.

Edward L. Yingling, president of the American Bankers Association, said the proposal “would tear apart the existing regulatory structure only to create a new one that would produce conflicts among regulators, undermine the state-chartered banking system and impose extensive new regulatory burdens on those banks that had nothing to do with creating the financial crisis.”

Officials at the Consumer Federation of America issued a statement that applauded the proposed new consumer protection agency and the provisions protecting investors.

The Dodd proposal would create an agency to monitor and address systemic risks posed by large financial companies. It would give the agency the authority to write tougher capital standards and to break up companies if they posed a threat to the financial stability of the nation.

The proposal would merge the current federal supervisory oversight of the banking system from four agencies into one new agency. It would create a separate division within that agency to regulate smaller banks. The biggest losers under such a plan would be the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, two of the bank agencies that would go out of the business of day-to-day supervision of thousands of institutions.

Both the White House and the House plan do not go that far in consolidating agencies. Rather, they would merge the four bank agencies into three by combining the Office of the Comptroller, which regulates federally chartered banks, with the Office of Thrift Supervision, which supervises savings and loans. They would not change the authority of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to regulate banks.

One big winner under Mr. Dodd’s plan is the Securities and Exchange Commission, which would get greater authority and more resources.

Adopting a proposal by Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, the plan would permit the commission to retain the fees it charges Wall Street. By being self-financed, the commission would not only have a larger budget, but also be free of the political constraints of relying on Congressional appropriations. Last year the commission received about $1.5 billion, which it turned over to the Treasury, while it received about $880 million in appropriations, Mr. Schumer said. Democratic and Republican leaders of the commission have sought such authority for decades, but Congress, which prefers to use the power of the purse as a tool to supervise the agency, has never agreed.

Mr. Dodd’s plan would impose tighter restrictions on the largely unregulated derivatives market. It would require many derivatives to be traded through clearinghouses where they could be monitored.

The measure would require that hedge funds with more than $100 million in assets be registered with the S.E.C. and disclose financial information.

The NYT also reports that news Web sites are starting to look a lot less like newspapers and a lot more like television.

CNN.comand ESPN.com are featuring video much more prominently on their home pages, often prompting visitors to press play before they begin to read. Even The Wall Street Journal has moved its video player front and center with a twice-a-day live newscast on WSJ.com.

A major reason is commercial. At a time when other categories of advertising dollars are shrinking, video ads are booming. News sites are adding more video inventory to keep pace with the demands of advertisers, and benefiting from the higher cost-per-thousands, or C.P.M.’s, that ads on those videos command.

The attention to video mirrors changes in how consumers are experiencing news. Major events — be it the presidential election or the death of Michael Jackson — bring a surge in video stream viewings by new users, and each time some of them stick around.

“Every watershed event leaves video more popular than before,” said Charles W. Tillinghast, the president of MSNBC.com, a joint venture between NBC Universal and Microsoft.

K. C. Estenson, the general manager of CNN.com, a unit of Time Warner, said that “people are using the Internet in a different way now.” He added, “With broadband penetration becoming ubiquitous and more and more sites having this easy capability, people are expecting video to be there.”

Media companies typically do not break out figures for video advertising, and certainly the video revenue pales next to search and display advertising. But the growth has spurred investment and interest in video production.

Among Web sites operated by newspapers, The New York Times, Gannett and Tribune each reach more than a million viewers a month with video streams, comScore says. The home page of The Times sometimes streams live video of events; it carried a news conference Friday about the shootings Thursday at Fort Hood, Tex.

But video can be costly to produce, hindering some sites’ efforts to expand and leading people like Mr. Tillinghast to predict that access to television film (like a bounty of NBC News video) is an advantage.

Beyond news sites, video is now the fastest-growing segment of the Internet advertising market. Digital video amounted to $477 million in revenue in the first half of 2009, up 38 percent from the same time period in 2008, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

With an estimated $5 billion in revenue in the first half of 2009, search remains the dominant segment of online advertising, but it is expected to grow only marginally this year.

Augmenting the increase in video spending is the growing acceptance of pre-roll — the once-derided ads that appear before a video plays.

“It actually works really well,” said Brian Quinn, the vice president and general manager of digital ad sales for The Journal’s digital network. A 15-second pre-roll “followed by two to five minutes of high-quality content is a fair-value exchange,” Mr. Quinn said.

Analysts say they expect the flow of online advertising dollars to video to continue. The research firm eMarketer projects 35 to 45 percent growth for the segment for each of the next five years, topping out at $5.2 billion in 2014. (Even then, it would hardly rival search advertising, which is projected to be a $16 billion business.)

In the five-year outlook it released last month, eMarketer said that video ads would be the “main channel” for major advertisers seeking to increase their online spending. Already, ads for companies like Johnson & Johnson and Unilever pop up often on sites like MSNBC.com.

“More and more advertisers are starting to play in the online video space,” said Jeremy Steinberg, the vice president of digital sales and business development for the Fox News Channel.

News sites account for only a small portion of the 25 billion video streams counted by comScore on an average month. The firm reported almost 500 million video streams in its news and information category in September — still a substantial figure. Most of the streams occurred on MSNBC.com (162 million, according to comScore) and CNN.com (148 million).

Advertising dollars have not always kept pace with the growing view counts, but Mr. Quinn said video was currently the strongest ad format for WSJ.com.

“I wish we had more, since we’re sold out,”Mr. Quinn said.

In September the site introduced “The News Hub,” a live Webcast from The Journal’s newsroom at 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. each weekday. When “Hub” is shown live on the WSJ.com home page, it includes a sponsorship mention and a companion display ad. When it is replayed, it includes a pre-roll ad. Sponsorships are sold monthly, with Charles Schwab being the current one.

The rate card for WSJ.com lists pre-rolls for a $75 C.P.M. before advertiser discounts. Mr. Quinn said the C.P.M. was around $50 last fall.

FoxNews.com, which like WSJ.com is a unit of the News Corporation, now sells sponsorships of its daytime Web show, “Strategy Room.”

When the show had its debut in its current form earlier this year, it included only an occasional remnant pre-roll ad. This month, as viewership increased, the show started to include TV-style commercial breaks and advertiser logos in the corner of the video screen. Fox says the 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. show gets an average of 35,000 streams per weekday.

Web executives say some clients think of online video as an extension of TV, and others think of it as an enhancement — one that allows for interactive messages and instant feedback from viewers. They acknowledge that the medium is still in many ways immature. Sites continue to disagree about the legitimacy of “autoplay,” a setting that starts videos automatically when a Web page loads, increasing the number of streams without necessarily knowing that the Web user is watching.

Web executives say that ads next to dispatches from Afghanistan normally cannot draw the same C.P.M.’s as lighter fare. MSNBC.com has found success with lifestyle segments that are sold as a package between TV and the Web. Last month it introduced TodayMoms, a section for mothers sponsored by Wal-Mart with a TV connection on the “Today” show.

“The Web is fulfilling this promise of being a medium where you can enjoy video as much as you can see it on TV,” Mr. Tillinghast said. “The difference online is, if you want to do something with it — share it, stick it on a blog, post it on a Facebook page, or mark it and save it — you can do all that. And that was never possible before.”

© Copyright 2009 by Finfacts.com

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