RealTime IT News

eMailbag Monday: Web Site Debuts, MarketWatch IPO, Broadcast.com On Air?

First reader up writes:

"Do you know if anyone is planning on offering a mutual fund based in the ISDEX?"

Reply: We're in discussions now with several different entities. And we're also taking votes at Internet.com's Slam The Boards. Click here to add yours!

BBQ Pickings

"Everybody is looking for the next company to announce a new Web-store, and I am no exception. It seems that the most popular, in terms of run-ups on these announcements, are the book, music, movie, apparel, and computer related retailers.

But how about some other undeveloped niches? What are some of the things about the companies that make these announcements that make them surge or bust? They don't all skyrocket after all. Is it purely the product or are market cap, the way they announce it, and/or other factors important?

Consider this if you will: BBQs Galore (NASDAQ:BBQZY) is in the process of redesigning its Web page and plans to begin doing sales from its site within about 60 days. No official announcement has been released, but I have confirmed this with the company. Presumably there will be gas grills and accessories and probably sauces and gift baskets, etc. They are the largest specialty chain of BBQ stores in the USA and Australia. Is this the type of thing that could do well on the announcement or is something missing?"

Reply: For now it's a novelty to see specialty retailers beefing up their sites. Opening a Web site is not a ticket to automatic earnings growth though. It is a necessary step in the new world e-commerce/e-tail order. In short, we recommend avoiding hype and looking for how these changes can improve operating results. Investors, as opposed to speculators, must still ask themselves, 'where's the beef?'

CBS MarketWatch IPO

"I'm looking for MarketWatch.com IPO. Price range $10.00 to $12.00 per share. Thoughts?"

Reply: We did our report December 8 on MarketWatch's IPO, Click here for a look. The short answer: we like what the MarketWatch team has put together with the site and think it may be a valuable financial news provider if it continues the path its on. Few Internet-based financial content producer sites are public, that could favor MarketWatch's IPO.

On the risk side, there's a plethora of financial content on the Web and a lot of competition for ad dollars. The online brokers seem to be closer to the e-commerce action here also than content providers.

Casting Call

"Steve: I own 100 shares of Broadcast.com purchased in July at 69. What do you think I should do? Sell or hold?"

Reply: I don't give buy or sell advice. I believe Broadcast.com (NASDAQ:BCST) may be in an enviable position as a multimedia content aggregator. Like the early days of search, I think Broadcast.com enjoys a lead and almost owns the audio-video content aggregation and distribution category to itself. RealNetworks (NASDAQ:RNWK) also has a presence here.

The real question for me is 'when does Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), AOL (NYSE:AOL), MSN pounce?' Or the larger threat: CNN.com holds a tremendous advantage, as does its parent Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) in general.

Further, all the broadcasters and large cable operators/programmers have deeper pockets than Broadcast.com and I think they may eventually start outbidding Broadcast.com on broadcast rights to pro sports, events, etc. It's very easy for an NBC, for example, to acquire all media rights to a sports event. Until now the Internet broadcast angle has been more of a side show that the 'traditional broadcaster' ignored. Less so soon we suspect. Stand by for station identification.