TODAY

– April 18, 2014

Twitter tunes in to TV partnerships ahead of IPO

(AP) — People don't just watch TV anymore; they talk about it on Twitter. From the comfort of couches, they share reactions to touchdowns and nail-biting season finales — and advertisers and networks are taking note.

Examples of Twitter's influence abound. The recent finale of "Breaking Bad" generated a record 1.24 million tweets. The conversation peaked at 22,373 tweets per minute according to analytics firm SocialGuide. People used the hashtag "GoodbyeBreakingBad" nearly 500,000 times. During this year's Super Bowl, sports fans generated 24 million tweets about the competition and nearly half of the game's nationally televised commercials contained hashtags that encouraged viewers to tweet.

Twitter, says Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at research firm eMarketer, "creates a community, a bond between people that doesn't really exist without Twitter."

As Twitter prepares for its initial public offering, the San Francisco-based company is also working hard to insert itself into the TV advertising economy. In recent months, the social networking company has forged partnerships with television content owners such as CBS, MTV and the NFL through a program it calls Amplify. The platform lets content owners beam real-time video clips to Twitter users who may have seen —or could be interested in — their TV programming. It also allows marketers to communicate with viewers who saw their TV ads, extending commercial pitches to consumers' smartphones and tablets.

TV tie-ins allow Twitter to diversify its revenue stream beyond the relatively small niche of digital advertising campaigns, a move that should appeal to potential investors. On Thursday, Twitter unsealed documents for a Wall Street debut that could take place before Thanksgiving. While the company did not reveal how much money it makes from its TV partnerships, it touted its own "strength as a second screen for television programming."

Twitter wrote in its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that "45% of television ads shown during the Super Bowl used a hashtag to invite viewers to engage in conversation about those television ads on Twitter."

Twitter's public nature makes it an especially attractive platform for tracking live-TV conversations. So much so that Nielsen recently began using Twitter's data to measure online social activity around TV programming, starting with this fall's TV season.

Nielsen will release its first "Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings" report on Monday. The study measures TV-related conversations on the social network. Nielsen found that in the second quarter of this year, 19 million people wrote 263 million tweets about live TV events, up 38 percent from a year earlier.

Some 19 million people tweet about TV shows, a 24 percent increase from last year. The audience measurement firm also found that many people read tweets about TV shows while they watch them — even if they don't post anything themselves. As a result, Nielsen says the Twitter TV audience for an average episode is 50 times larger than the number of people who are Tweeting about a show.

Separately, Nielsen found that the "Breaking Bad" finale was by far the most tweeted-about program last week.

On Sunday, the NFL showed just how Twitter-enabled promotions work. Minutes after Cincinnati cornerback Adam Jones intercepted New England's Tom Brady, ending the quarterback's streak of 52 games with a touchdown pass, the NFL posted a video clip on Twitter. The clip shows Jones bobbling, and then snagging the ball before it hits the ground.

The 32-second clip was prefaced by an 8-second video ad for a Verizon Droid mobile phone. "Adam Jones ends the Pats undefeated season, Brady's TD streak AND a rainstorm. With 1 INT," the league tweeted.

By inserting itself into the online buzz, the NFL was able to remind people the game was going on live at its NFL Network channel. Meanwhile, it earned new revenue from Verizon, a longtime sponsor that wanted to showcase its NFL Mobile app.

The NFL has more than 5.1 million followers on Twitter. But its new partnership with Twitter means the tweet also went out to millions of other users who might be interested.

Hans Schroeder, the NFL's senior vice president of media strategy and development, says he expects promoted tweets will eventually reach tens of millions of fans, multiplying its reach.

"We think it'll drive tune-in to our games and drive more people into the experience through NFL Mobile," Schroeder says.

As part of the deal, Twitter shares some of the revenue from Verizon's advertising spend when the phone company pays for "promoted tweets." Previously, the money might have gone only to the league itself.

Twitter's projected 2013 revenue is about $582 million, according to research firm eMarketer. At the moment, the company generates tens of millions of dollars of revenue from all of its TV deals, including those with ESPN, Turner networks, CBS and others, according to Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research Group.

That's not huge. However, says Wieser: "This year, it's about getting the foot in the door."

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter estimates that Twitter gets just a small fraction of its revenue from the TV deals — around 1 percent. But by next year, the deals could amount to 5 percent, and 15 percent the year after, he says.

Twitter isn't alone in its quest to befriend TV content companies. Facebook, too, is recognizing the value of live TV chatter. Because of its sheer size — nearly 1.2 billion users versus Twitter's 218 million — Facebook has more conversations than any other social network. During the "Breaking Bad" finale, more than 3 million people generated 5.5 million "interactions," that is, status updates, comments or "likes."

For now, Facebook's TV partnerships are not intended to generate revenue, the company says. Rather, they are "focused on helping people discover great content," says Justin Osofsky, Facebook's vice president of media partnerships.

Over the past few months, Facebook has rolled out more Twitter-like features as competition between the world's leading social networks heats up. There are now hashtags on Facebook, and the company is encouraging celebrities to use its site to interact with fans — just as many of them do on Twitter.

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Written on 04/18/2014, 11:26 am by Business Journal staff
United Security Bancshares, parent of Fresno-based United Security Bank, announced net income of $908,000 for the first quarter, down from $1.075...
Written on 04/18/2014, 11:12 am by gabrieldillard
Sierra Bancorp, parent company of Porterville's Bank of the Sierra, announced a regular quarterly cash dividend of 8 cents per share to be paid on May 15. The dividend will be paid to shareholders of record as of May 1. Bank of the Sierra has paid regular cash dividends to shareholders every year since 1987. The dividend reflects "capital strength, robust net income, and a favorable trend in nonperforming assets" for the quarter ended March 31, according to a news release.
Written on 04/18/2014, 9:40 am by Business Journal staff
Fresno developer and property manager Lance-Kashian & Co. has earned LEED Platinum certification for the second time for the Offices at Palm Crossing in north Fresno. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, established by the U.S. Green Building Council in 1998, recognizes buildings with features that reduce energy consumption, offset waste and accomplish other eco-minded goals.   Earning platinum certification under its new construction rating system, the Offices at Palm Crossing scored more than 80 points out of a possible 110—84 total—for a number of built in strategies related to water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.   Located at 677 W. Palmdon Drive at the corner of Palm and Herndon avenues in Fresno, the 40,000 square-foot building was constructed using local materials, much of them from recycled sources.   Low-impact paints and coatings were applied to the walls, while large windows and a number of other day-light strategies help cut down on energy use.   Motion sensors in all the offices reduce energy usage by turning lights on and off automatically and a solar array over the parking lot generates power for all common areas of the building.   An extremely efficient air conditioning system was installed as well and a water conserving fixture installation results in a dramatic reduction in water use in the building, which also reduces the burden placed on the local water treatment facility.   Lance-Kashian also purchases power from a wind farm, earning carbon credits to offset some of the building’s environmental footprint.   "Lance Kashian & Company has always been concerned about the environment and its tenants, so it only made sense to pursue Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification for our office building and reduce our overall impact", said Tracy Kashian, vice president of marketing and public relations for Lance-Kashian, in a release.   The latest certification follows another LEED Platinum award to the company for the Tower in The Village at River Park office building last July under the existing building: operation and maintenance rating system.   Fresno’s Tutelian & Company also earned LEED Platinum certification under the commercial interiors rating system last April for the General Services Administration center housed in the Park Place office building in north Fresno.
Written on 04/18/2014, 8:33 am by MARTHA MENDOZA, AP National Writer
(AP) — A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether tirades or tributes, are in the open domain. "Information you choose to share with the White House (directly and via third party sites) may be treated as public information," the new policy says. The Obama administration also promises not to sell the data of online visitors. But it cannot make the same assurances for users who go to third-party White House sites on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus. There will be no significant changes in actual practices under the new policy. But legal jargon and bureaucratic language has been stripped out, making it easier for readers to now understand that the White House stores the date, time and duration of online visits; the originating Internet Protocol address; how much data users transmit from WhiteHouse.gov to their computers; and more. The administration also tracks whether emails from the White House are opened, forwarded or printed. The updates were needed because "Our old privacy policy was just that - old," blogged Obama's digital director Nathaniel Lubin. After coming to office in a campaign lauded for its online savvy, President Barack Obama's White House has quickly adapted to online engagement since taking office in 2008, embracing using the Internet in all of its manifestations. The first administration with an Office of Digital Strategy, Obama's online strategy now includes a We the People petitions platform, live online chats and more than a dozen social media sites including Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, MySpace and seven different Facebook pages including La Casa Blanca and Education to Innovate. Visitors who link to those social media sites are advised: "Your activity on those sites is governed by the third-party website's security and privacy policies," which frequently allow those companies to sell users' data. In addition, the White House archives Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus content to comply with the Presidential Records Act. The policy says Obama will keep some information — automatically generated email data, Mobile App use data and some cookie data — until the end of the current administration. 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"Within the White House, we restrict access to personally identifiable information to employees, contractors, and vendors subject to non-disclosure requirements who require access to this information in order to perform their official duties and exercise controls to limit what data they can view based on the specific needs of their position," the policy says. For example, if someone gives the White House a telephone number or email address, staffers might respond to the message or petition, providing information or even services if appropriate. They might also take messages, comments, Twitter replies and Facebook comments to use for public advocacy, like promoting Obama's health care overhaul. If a user asks the White House a question that is really about homeland security, the user's information may be shared with that agency. And if someone is trying to report a federal crime, or threatening someone, that person's information may be passed on to law enforcement. Lehrich said that when people share comments or sign online petitions through the We the People platform, it's with the understanding that it is public information. Reviews from privacy experts — who have been watching the privacy-policy revisions closely — were mixed. The biggest problem, said Jeramie Scott, national security counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C., is not what happens when users are on WhiteHouse.gov, but when they click onto the White House's third-party social media sites that don't abide by Obama's own privacy rules and may sell personal data they glean from users. "Interacting with the White House and its different sites is inherently political, and that type of thing shouldn't be used for commercial gain," Scott said. Mark Jaycox, a legislative analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, said the new policy underscores the administration's ongoing interest in collecting data. "You see it across the board. 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Written on 04/18/2014, 8:28 am by FENIT NIRAPPIL, 
JUSTIN PRITCHARD, Associated Press
(AP) — Most of the 911 calls from witnesses to last week's fiery truck-bus collision that killed 10 were matter of fact. Then there was the one from a passenger: With shrieks in the background, the student struggled to recount how a truck came roaring toward them. "What did the bus hit?" the dispatcher asked. The student who had just escaped from the bus started to explain that the truck smashed into its left side. The dispatcher tried to refocus the student: "Just with one or two words, tell me what the bus hit." "The bus hit a FedEx truck," the student replied. "The FedEx truck came into us." "Was it head on?" "Yes, head on." The California Highway Patrol released the recordings Thursday as investigators returned to the scene about 100 miles north of Sacramento to reconstruct aspects of the crash. The bus was on an approximately 700 mile trek to Humboldt State University. Many of the students on board stood to be the first in their family to attend college. Dozens escaped through windows before the bus exploded into towering flames just before 6 p.m. on April 10. Five students and three adult chaperones died, along with the truck and bus drivers. As the CHP released the recordings, the agency's investigators were reconstructing how the bus driver might have reacted to the sight of the big rig, which sideswiped a car before hitting the bus. The CHP briefly closed the stretch of interstate where the crash happened, and drove the same model Serta 2014 bus northbound at about 70 mph. The driver braked so investigators could gauge how its speed would have dropped. On the southbound side, a driver in the same model 2007 Volvo truck released the accelerator, in a similar effort to understand how its speed might have changed. Video cameras on both vehicles recorded what each driver could have seen before the crash. The reconstruction did not involve any collision. Investigators will use what they learned to calculate how fast each vehicle was traveling before the wreck. The truck's data recorder was destroyed in the explosion and fire, but investigators said they may be able to recover some data about its speed and maneuvering by other forensic analysis. Investigators are working through a three-inch-thick stack of records including the truck's maintenance history and its driver's recent shifts, CHP Capt. Todd Morrison said. The FedEx driver had no prior moving violations, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. It is too early to say whether mechanical failure or driver error caused the truck to careen out of control, Morrison said. That determination by the CHP, and by a parallel investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, will take months. The driver of the car struck first by the truck told investigators the truck was in flames before the crash, but Morrison said the CHP has found no evidence to corroborate that account. NTSB investigators also found no physical evidence of a pre-impact fire or other witnesses relating the same story. Glenn County coroner Larry Jones said all but two victims have been identified. He said that initially, his office was looking for one student believed to be among the dead, but it turned out the student had never boarded in the first place.
Written on 04/17/2014, 4:38 pm by Business Journal staff
For the third consecutive year, Fresno State was named by the Princeton Review as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada. The Princeton Review's Guide to 332 Green Colleges is based on a survey of colleges on sustainable initiatives  like recycling, renewable energy and conservation programs when profiling colleges. Fresno State, one of 332 colleges included in the annual publication, scored points for its 1.1 megawatt solar system installed on parking structures to provide 20 percent of power needs for the campus. Another distinction came from a new water conservation plan announced recently that includes measures like micro-sprinklers, drought-tolerant plants and non-potable water systems in new buildings to reduce campus water usage by 59.8 million gallons next year. Next year, Fresno State will unveil the Valley's newest electric vehicle charging station with two stalls delivering a full charge in two to three hours and two rapid charge stalls that can do the same job in under 30 minutes. Now in its fifth edition, the 216-page guide can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.aspx.
Written on 04/17/2014, 2:08 pm by MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer
(AP) — The government's latest report card on food poisoning shows a dip in salmonella cases but an increase in illnesses from bacteria in raw shellfish. The report counts cases in only 10 states for some of the most common causes of foodborne illness, but is believed to be a good indicator of national food poisoning trends. Highlights from Thursday's report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: WHAT'S MAKING US SICK? Salmonella remains at the top of the chart, far ahead of most other foodborne germs. Only campylobacter (camp-ee-loh-bak-tur) — a bacteria commonly linked to raw milk and poultry — comes close. Other causes, listeria, shigella (shih-GEHL'-uh) and E. coli, trail behind. IS FOOD POISONING GETTING WORSE? Overall, no. Last year, there were no significant changes in most kinds of food poisoning, compared to the previous three years. The new report tallied about 20,000 illnesses and 80 deaths in the 10 states, similar to previous years. The CDC estimates that 1 in 6 Americans get sick from contaminated food each year, though most cases are not reported. ANY GOOD NEWS? Yes, for salmonella. The rate of new cases dropped 9 percent — the biggest drop in about a decade. But officials are cautious about making too much of it, since it was compared to a time period that included a big outbreak linked to eggs in 2010. Last year's rate is similar to what it was about five years ago. CDC officials hope new regulatory proposals, like one to prevent salmonella in chicken parts, will keep pushing rates down. WHAT ABOUT BAD NEWS?There was in increase in infections from vibrio (VIB'-ree-oh) bacteria found in raw shellfish, like oysters. Last year, cases were up 32 percent from the previous three years and 75 percent from about five years ago. But the numbers remain very small — only 242 of the 20,000 illnesses recorded in the 10 states. Climate change is warming coastal waters in some places, and that may be helping spread some vibrio strains to new locations, said Dr. Robert Tauxe, a CDC food-germ expert. "The warmer the water, the more vibrio," he said. A strain traditionally found in the Pacific Northwest, is now showing up along the East Coast. Tauxe said it might have been spread through water in ships' ballast tanks. CAN YOU PREVENT FOOD POISONING? Carefully wash and clean food, and cook meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Avoid raw milk and unpasteurized juices. Promptly refrigerate leftovers. A government report last year showed leafy greens like lettuce and spinach were the leading source of food poisoning, and produce in general accounted for nearly half of all illnesses. There were slightly more deaths attributed to poultry than to vegetables in the decade studied.___Online:Food safety: http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/
Written on 04/17/2014, 2:06 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — Stocks are mostly higher on Wall Street as upbeat earnings news from several big U.S. companies encouraged investors. General Electric, Morgan Stanley and PepsiCo all moved higher after reporting their first-quarter results Thursday.The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 1,864. A drop in IBM's stock pulled the Dow Jones industrial average lower. UnitedHealth Group also weighed on the Dow. The Dow fell 16 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,408. The Nasdaq composite rose nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,095.Three stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.72 percent from 2.63 percent late Wednesday.U.S. markets will be closed for Good Friday.
Written on 04/17/2014, 2:03 pm by Business Journal staff
Homes sales increased throughout the San Joaquin Valley in March although activity was still sluggish compared to last year. According to a new report from the California Association of Realtors, home sales increased 16.6 percent in Fresno County during the month but dropped 19.1 percent year-over-year. The price of a median home in Fresno County stood at $202,100 in March, up 10.9 percent from $182,270 the prior month and 25.9 percent from $160,510 a year ago. Sales in Tulare County climbed 30.5 percent in the month but fell 15.1 percent compared to last year. The county's median home price inched up 1.3 percent to $165,380 over January's $163,330. That's also up 20.2 percent over $137,560 a year ago. Kings County made even more progress. Sales grew 38.6 percent in March but slipped 4.8 percent from last year. The median home price in the county stood at $179,230 in the month, down 1.8 percent from $182,500 in February but up 22.8 percent from $146,000 a year ago. Madera County saw its sales drop by 18.5 percent in March and 21.4 percent from last year. However, home prices in the county picked up in the month to $190,000, up 28.8 percent from February's median price of $147,500 and 39.7 percent from $136,000 in March 2013. Fresno County's unsold inventory index, or number of months to deplete the supply of homes at the current sales rate, stood at 5.2 months in March, down from 5.8 months in February but up from 3.8 months a year ago. Tulare County's index dropped to 4.7 months compared to 5.9 months in February but picked up from 3.2 months in March 2013. Kings County's inventory stood at 3.2 months in March, down from 4.4 months in February but a little better than 2.7 months a year ago, while Madera County home supply improved from 3.9 months in February and 3.5 months a year ago to 4.3 months in March. Statewide, home sales totaled 367,000 units in March, up 1.4 percent from 361,790 in February but down 12.3 percent from 418,310 a year ago. "While the demand for housing was up from February, the market is taking a hit from lower housing affordability compared to a year ago, which led to a decline in home sales from last year," said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown. "Moreover, concerns over tighter lending standards and increased borrowing costs are also contributing factors to the sluggish market as they both negatively impact the bottom line of home buyers who obtain financing through mortgages."
Written on 04/17/2014, 1:58 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — Tens of thousands of spring-run Chinook salmon are being released into the San Joaquin River, marking a major milestone in the federal plan to restore native fish populations to the state's second-longest river. The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released 54,000 hatchery-produced salmon into the river from a site near Fresno on Thursday. Though environmentalists are celebrating the release, federal water managers say the state's drought means not all of the fish will return to spawn. The San Joaquin River carried the continent's southernmost salmon run until the Friant Dam was built above Fresno to capture its water for crops. The restoration effort is the result of a 2006 legal settlement that ended a decades-long legal tussle between farmers, environmentalists and the federal government.

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Written on 04/18/2014, 8:28 am by FENIT NIRAPPIL, 
JUSTIN PRITCHARD, Associated Press
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Written on 04/18/2014, 8:33 am by MARTHA MENDOZA, AP National Writer
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