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A roundup of the latest high-tech news from The Associated Press:
• Online ad revenue up 2.6 pct in 4Q to $6.3 bln
NEW YORK — Online advertising revenue grew by 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter, the first year-over-year increase in more than 12 months as companies became more comfortable with spending on marketing, according to report issued Wednesday.
The and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP said fourth-quarter ad revenue rose to a record $6.3 billion. It was up by 13.8 percent from the third quarter.
"The worst of the economic impact on Internet advertising is over and that the seeds of growth have been planted," said David Silverman, Assurance partner at Pricewaterhousecoopers, in a statement.
Retailers were the biggest spenders, capturing 20 percent of revenue. They were followed by telecom companies, with 16 percent, and financial services firms at 12 percent.
For the year, online ad revenue fell by 3.4 percent to $22.7 billion, as the drag from the first three quarters of the year more than offset an upbeat fourth quarter.
Revenue from search ads took up nearly half of online ad revenue in 2009 while display ads comprised 35 percent. The fastest growth came in ads that appeared alongside online video, whose revenue increased 38 percent to $1 billion.
The Internet now attracts 17 percent of overall ad revenue that includes those from TV, radio, newspapers, consumer magazines. That’s up from 8 percent in 2005, the report said.
• 25 World Cup matches set for 3D broadcasts
LONDON — The World Cup final at Soccer City in Johannesburg will be among 25 matches at this year’s tournament broadcast in 3-D.
Twenty-five of the 64 matches in South Africa will be filmed by at least seven pairs of cameras, with record five-time World Cup winner Brazil the most featured team. All three of its group matches are among the 15 first-round games scheduled for broadcast.
The United States’ only scheduled 3-D match is against Slovenia on June 18 in Johannesburg.
Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Argentina, South Korea and Nigeria will each appear twice, with England and France among the 10 sides which must advance to stand a chance of their matches being shown in the format.
The first World Cup match broadcast in 3-D will be the opening game between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City. Four more of the 10 World Cup venues will participate in the venture: Ellis Park in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.
"We wanted to make sure the key matches would be in the production schedule," FIFA director of TV Niclas Ericson said. "There was a lot of other reasons such as production constraints and other issues such as space."
The 3-D footage will be broadcast live to home viewers in 26 countries and at dedicated public events.
Home viewers pair the necessary 3-D television with so-called active shutter glasses, which are battery-powered and work by stopping the image to each eye alternately at a high rate.
The image quality is superior to that possible on cinema screens. Cinema audiences will wear the same passive polarizing glasses used for 3-D screenings of movies such as "Avatar."
But an exhibition of both systems at Thursday’s announcement using action from last year’s Confederations Cup showed that the bigger cinema screen compensates for any lower quality.
There is little difference to traditional images in wide shots, but close-up images leap from the screen as players tussle for the ball or run toward camera.
• AT&T to sell European Wi-Fi operator to Swisscom
DALLAS — AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) said Thursday it is selling the European operations of its Wayport Inc. subsidiary to the Swiss telecommunications company Swisscom AG.
Wayport operates Wi-Fi hotspots in McDonald’s restaurants and hotels. AT&T bought the company in 2008 for $275 million and will continue to operate the U.S. business.
Financial terms were not disclosed.