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Mike Taylor

Weekly Media Stocks Roundup: Small Moves, Slow Week

wall_street_cover03262010.jpgHoo boy! It has not been a rapid-fire news week for the media sphere. In keeping with the glacial pace of news flow, shares in media companies made modest moves to end the week with mixed results, as the broader market shed a few points here and there. Over the past five days, the S&P 500 lost less than 1% to 1071.69.

News Corp. (NWS), the behemoth media outfit run by noted conservative Rupert Murdoch, made headlines this week after it was revealed that the company had given — like straight-up given — $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. In response, Jon Stewart made some jokes on “The Daily Show,” some other people fretted about whether this damages News Corp. outlets’ integrity, and the stock slipped 2.3% to $14.18.

Concerns over The Washington Post Co.’s (WPO), Kaplan education business continued to hinder the company. Standard & Poor’s on Wednesday cut its credit-rating outlook on the company. Moody’s also warned it may downgrade the company’s rating. After a horrendous selloff last week, shares ticked up 1.2% to $347.68.

The New York Times Co. (NYT), meanwhile, began its foray into metered-paywall territory by setting up an online subscription system for its Worcester Telegram & Gazette newspaper. The company expects its flagship paper to roll out a metered pay model in early 2011. Shares added one penny to $7.72.

Weekly stock results for Time Warner, AOL and more after the jump.

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Cygnus Business Media Sells Three Industrial Titles

Cygnus Communications today announced that it had sold trade titles Fabricating & Metalworking, Industrial Machinery Digest and Total Industrial Plant Solutions. All three titles will now be owned by their publishers.

Fabricating & Metalworking goes to Alliance Communications, while the other two titles go to Source360 Media.

“I grew up on the shop floor,” said Tony Morrison, leader of Alliance Communications and founding member of Fabricating & Metalworking.. “Fabricating & Metalworking has one of the industry’s strongest communities with the largest circulation of any publication covering metalforming, welding, metalcutting, tooling and workholding, inspection and safety in every issue. I’m looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for the brand and Alliance Communications.”

Source360 Media’s William Strickland, said, “I have enjoyed working at Cygnus Business Media, but as the affinity groups were being created, we recognized an opportunity. Tony and I approached management about the possibility of our purchasing the brands rather than allowing them to possibly be acquired by another company. “There are enormous possibilities for Tony and me to grow these brands and I feel fortunate to be given this opportunity.”

NYT Mag Still Hunting for Replacement EIC

nytmag08202010.pngHere’s some semi-news about one of New York media’s favorite things to gossip about — The New York Times Magazine. Courtesy Women’s Wear Daily: The top-editor spot is still vacant following Gerry Marzorati’s move to oversee new Times digital products, but executive editor Bill Keller is — surprise! — looking for replacements.

WWD reports:

Keller said he would be accepting applications for the plum job via e-mail through July 31 and that Marzorati would stay on as editor of the Magazine and T through the end of the summer. Now — nearly three weeks after the executive editor’s July 31 deadline — sources told WWD that Keller and Co. haven’t begun to meet with editor candidates in earnest and are hoping to name a successor by the end of next month.

You read that correctly. Keller is not yet meeting with editor candidtates, and a successor will hopefully be named soon. You know you’re in for a riveting read when your eyes clap on a headline like “No News at the New York Times Magazine.”

Report: Every Day With Rachel Ray Editor Steps Down

silvana08202010.pngThere’s a bit of an editorial shakeup at Every Day With Rachel Ray, the magazine devoted to quotidian recipe-guru affiliation. Editor in chief Silvana Nardone and creative director Tracy Everding will no longer be spending every day with Ray; they’re both leaving the publication, according to the New York Post:

Nardone had started as the food editor on the magazine, but very early on displaced launch editor Kitty Morgan and was one of the few magazine people invited to Ray’s wedding in Italy several years ago.

So the loss of the top editor with no replacement did raise eyebrows. As one source close to the magazine said, “Nothing happens at that magazine without Rachael Ray signing off on it.”

Nardone is also proprietress of gluten-free cooking site Dish Towel Diaries and author of Cooking for Isiah and Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian. Everding had been with Every Day since June of 2007.

FishbowlNY Newsstand: Your Morning at a Glance

People iPad App Now Available

people08192010.pngSo, The Hollywood Reporter reported yesterday that People‘s iPad app had been subject to delays because paparazzi photo agencies have banded together to demand more money out of celeb-pic-happy People. A spokesperson for People promptly denied the THR report, saying “the People iPad application launch date has absolutely nothing to do with photo agencies.”

Today, whatever drama had accompanied the magazine’s mobile-device transition appears to have concluded. Women’s Wear Daily reported that the app was set to launch today, despite rumors of paparazzi-related delays. And, lo and behold, here it is, in the iTunes store, free
for print subscribers and $3.99 an issue for non-subscribers.

(h/t Romenesko) Publisher Jeff Webber to Retire

webber08192010.jpgJeff Webber, publisher of USA Today‘s website, is set to retire on Nov. 1, the Associated Press reports:

Webber, who declined to provide his age, has been working at USA Today for the past 25 years. He has spent the past decade overseeing the newspaper’s website.

From 2006 to 2008, Webber was also senior vice president for advertising and sales at USA Today. He has also been vice president of circulation for USA Today‘s eastern region.

(h/t Romenesko)

Hugs All Around: Newsweek‘s Statements on Zakaria’s Defection

zakaria08192010.jpgThe departure of big-time Newsweek editor and columnist Fareed Zakaria for archrival Time has not resulted in any hard feelings, at least according to statements released by Newsweek.

Following the parting of ways, a spokesperson for Newsweek has issued a series of prepared remarks from managing director Ann McDaniel, new Newsweek owner Sidney Harman and Zakaria himself. According to these sound bytes, all is hunky dory!

Said McDaniel:

Fareed Zakaria has been an outstanding editor of Newsweek International, and a terrific commentator and host on CNN’s GPS. We’re saddened that he’s chosen to consolidate his many roles under the Time Warner banner, but we understand his desire to have one home. Fareed leaves a strong legacy and a talented team at Newsweek International. We know the magazine will continue to prosper after Fareed departs in late September.

Harman was similarly gracious about Zakaria’s departure, even though Harman reportedly wanted Zakaria to replace outgoing editor in chief Jon Meacham:

Fareed and I have long been friends and will continue to be so. I wish him well in his future endeavors. Tom Ascheim, Newsweek’s CEO, and I will select new editors soon. Many great journalists inside and outside Newsweek are eager to be a part of our future.

Finally, Zakaria:

I’ve had a wonderful, eventful, and productive decade at Newsweek. I will leave the magazine with great memories and many friends. I think that Sidney Harman is a superb owner for the magazine and the management team headed by Tom Ascheim is dynamic and inventive. For me, the opportunity to bring together my work on TV, print and the web was compelling and that is the reason I’m moving on. I am confident that Newsweek will continue to be one of the most important voices in the world, and one I will read with devotion every week.

Nice to see everyone involved handle the departure of a key player from a struggling magazine franchise with such poise, calm and professionalism.

Departures EIC Named Senior VP of AmEx Publishing

story08192010.jpgRichard David Story, editor in chief of AmEx’s Departures, has been promoted to senior vice president of American Express Publishing, the company announced today. He will retain his duties as Departures editor.

“Richard’s dynamic vision and enormous talent have contributed to making Departures the world-class brand that it is today. With unbridled passion and skill, Richard has led an award-winning team in securing Departures’ prestigious place in a category all its own,” said American Express Publishing president and CEO Ed Kelly in a statement.

Story has been at the company for ten years and is also the editorial director at fellow AmEx publication Black Ink. Before joining AmEx, he has worked at Vogue, In Style and New York, among other places.

Cosmopolitan Unveils Sex-Position App for Android

cosmo08192010.pngFans of sex positions — especially sex positions sanctioned by popular Hearst publication Cosmopolitan — now have yet another means by which to receive daily updates on lovemaking. Having conquered the iPhone, the Web (Warning: “Hot Tub Hug”) and print, the frisky feature is now available on the Android mobile device.

For $2.99, users get a catalog of 77 what the magazine says are tastefully illustrated sex positions, plus 17 positions from Cosmo‘s Red Hot Sex Guide and 25 from the magazine’s Aqua Sutra. Each position sports a “Carnal Challenge Rating” — more flames means more difficulty.