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Archives: May 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

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Etiquette | Sad | Drunk

PRNewser: Hey you all you boys and girls who have plans for Memorial Day Weekend that don’t involve taking an hour long train ride alone to Coney Island where you’ll probably choke and die on a hot dog without anyone noticing, here are some tips for celebrating the holiday as someone’s weekend guest, courtesy of PR guru Susan Blond!

FishbowlLA: Gary Coleman is dead. And I’ve only read one “different… strokes” joke on Twitter so far.

The Awl: Here’s a list of things you can regret by Tuesday morning. Have a great (long) weekend, everyone!

Weekly Media Stocks Roundup: Mixed Results From a Slow Week

wall_street_cover03262010.jpgShares in media companies had mixed results in a somewhat quiet week for stock-moving headlines. The broader market was also fairly flat. Over the past five days, the S&P 500 rose less than 1% to 1089.

There were some glimmers of hope for the news business. A Newspaper Association of America study revealed that although print ad revenue for newspapers had declined overall in the first quarter, online ad sales rose for the first time since 2008. Meanwhile, overall ad spending has risen 5.1% year over year for the first quarter, according to a Kantar Media Study.

A few more details emerged about the The New York Times Co.’s (NYT) plans to implement a paywall next year. A Times spokesperson said that links to from blogs and other third-party sites would count against a limited number of free visits, but outside links would still allow readers who had surpassed the limit to read Times stories. Some media pundits had floated the concern that a paywall would block inbound blog links, thus slowing traffic and perhaps display-ad revenues as a result. Shares rose 3.2% to $9.28.

An additional company joined the cohort of prospective buyers of The Washington Post Co.’s (WPO) Newsweek. Open Gate Capital, which bought TV Guide for $1 in 2008 and had been in the running for BusinessWeek last year, expressed interest in the magazine. The deadline for bids on Newsweek is June 2. Shares of The Washington Post dropped 3.8% on the week to end at $465.73.

News Corp. (NWS) unveiled a new iPad application for its UK-based Times newspaper, as the tablet made its debut in Britain. Outside the media titan’s print operations, reports emerged of the company shopping its Beliefnet social networking site and ringtone hawker Jamster. Shares dipped rose less than 1% to $15.36.

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

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At Reader’s Digest Association, A Slow In Losses

ugly_baby_5.28.10.jpgReader’s Digest Association has experienced a slow in losses through the first quarter of this year (which ended March 31 and happens to mark the company’s first quarter since reemerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy) compared to that time last year — specifically, a $27.1 million loss versus a considerably larger $499.3 million. The company believes restructuring has been the key to turning things around.

Then again, revenue for the company declined 10.2 percent to $413.9 million following a reduced base rate for Reader’s Digest magazine, as well as the shuttering of Backyard Living, Cooking for Two, Purpose Driven Connection and Selecciones.

Folio: explains some of the smarter accounting practices the company has been implementing since coming out of bankruptcy, including “the write-down of the unearned revenue liability which reduce magazine revenues after emergence from Chapter 11; an increase in depreciation and amortization expense prospectively as a consequence of the adjustment to the fair value of tangible and intangible assets; and a reduction of pension income due to the write-off of unrealized gains on pension assets.”

RDA president and CEO Mary Berner announced that the company is proud of their “improved profitability” and gains by their Lifestyle & Entertainment Direct and U.S. businesses.

A.G. Sulzberger Is The NYT‘s Kansas Bureau Chief

A.G. Sulzberger will go from metro reporter at the New York Times to the paper’s Kansas City bureau chief starting this summer, reporting to Monica Davey, the Times‘ Midwest bureau chief.

Sulzberger, whose family has long played a pivotal role in overseeing the New York Times Co, had no comment on the move.

The full memo from national editor Rick Berke about Sulzberger’s new role, via the NY Observer, appears after the jump.

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Emily Gould: And The Heart Says… Quite A Lot About Nick Denton, Actually

gould_5.28.10.jpgEmily Gould has been Emily Goulding around as of late, penning a memoir called And The Heart Says Whatever, about being a twenty-something who blogs in New York and dates horrible people and makes crappy mistakes and has some tattoos, which seems quite like what a book about the most interesting person in the world ever might be about.

While promoting her book in Washington DC, Gould shared some also-interesting insights about her former boss, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton:

It’s a hard job and you’re working for a crazy person. [...] I mean, it’s just so incredibly obvious to me what a lunatic [he is]. It’s like, not a cute look for a 40-something-year-old man.

Yeah! Good thing none of us will never be forty-somethings, or else comments like those made in our youth might come back to haunt us.

UK Times Launches iPad App

Another day, another iPad news app. This one comes from News Corp.‘s Times. It costs nine quid, 99 p (about $14.44 in real money) every four months. That’s in the same ballpark as the iPad rate for fellow News Corp. paper The Wall Street Journal, which charges $3.99 a week, or $15.96 a month for its iPad service.

In an interesting Murdochian twist, that $14.44 only buys the iPad app, so people who want to use their computers to get behind the Times‘s paywall will have to pay the same price all over again.

paidContent also points out what may be a bit of advertorializing in today’s Times:

The Times’ iPad announcement today is accompanied by a story on how the iPad “may rewrite the future of newspapers”.

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The M.I.A. Debacle, Or, When Celebrities Become Investigative Journalists

Singer / visual artist / designer / initial-haver M.I.A., née Maya Arulpragasam, evidently irritated by a recent profile that ran on the New York Times‘ website, decided to play both investigative journalist and her own personal flack by posting the author of the offending article’s phone number on Twitter, giving others the impression that it was her own number, and sitting back to see what would happen. As it turns out: Unhappiness.

The article, “M.I.A.’s Agitprop Pop,” looks at M.I.A. as an artist and as a celebrity, and included lines like “Although her publicist had a wheelchair ready and a midwife on call, Maya, who has a deep and instinctive affinity for the provocative, knew that this Grammy moment was not to be missed. It had everything: artistic credibility, high drama, a massive audience. The baby would just have to wait” and “Maya’s tirade, typical in the way it moved from the political to the personal and back again, was interrupted by a waiter, who offered her a variety of rolls. She chose the olive bread.”

The author in question was Lynn Hirschberg, who was, understandably, less than amused at having her phone number broadcast to countless strangers. Nonetheless, she has no plans to have it changed.

As she tells the New York Observer, Hirschberg doesn’t quite understand why M.I.A. would draw more attention to an article one would assume the singer wouldn’t want people to read in the first place: “I find it kind of interesting that she would cast the spotlight on the story in any way, shape or form. I can’t say what she thinks of it. But it seems you would want it to go away.”

Hirschberg adds that, while she is not surprised by M.I.A.’s reaction given that M.I.A. is, somewhat by profession, a “provocateur,” she does find it “unethical.” And she has a personal message for the artist:

The messages have mostly been from people trying to hook up with M.I.A. If she wants to get together with John at Bard next week, I have his number.

The internet has certainly weighed in on the ongoing feud, but M.I.A. will get have her say, again, soon:


Gary Coleman Dead at 42

TMZ is reporting that “Diff’rent Strokes” star and former California gubernatorial candidate Gary Coleman is dead at 42 from an intracranial hemorrhage he suffered as a result of a fall. Coleman had been on life support since Tuesday at a Utah hospital.

RIP Arnold.

TV Guide Owner Eyes Newsweek

newsweek05282010.pngWe almost made it a whole week without getting deep into the Washington Post Co.‘s efforts to sell Newsweek. Things got so bad for a while we even had to talk about nontransactional news instead, like the magazine’s Web redesign and — horrors! — its reporting on the Gulf oil spill. So it comes as something of a relief today to discover that, per the New York Post, TV Guide owner Open Gate Capital has its eye on the troubled newsweekly.

Still, the private equity firm isn’t betting on a short-term turnaround. The Post quotes Open Gate CEO Andre Nikou: “”No way is there immediate profitability. It will take a lot of heavy lifting. It’s probably two or three years away.”

Open Gate has a history with storied-but-struggling publications. It bought TV Guide for one dollar in 2008, and made a run at BusinessWeek before that magazine’s eventual sale to Bloomberg last October.

Open Gate now joins Politico, Reuters, “Power Rangers” guy Haim Saban and Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman on the list of mooted Newsweek buyers.