Morning Media Newsfeed 01.31.13
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Time Inc. Said to Eliminate About 6 Percent of Workforce (Bloomberg)
Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the U.S., is eliminating about 500 positions, or 6 percent of its workforce, as newsstand sales and advertising continue to decline. The job cuts occurred across all divisions within Time Inc., CEO Laura Lang said in an emailed memo, obtained by Bloomberg News. FishbowlNY "With the significant and ongoing changes in our industry, we must continue to transform our company into one that is leaner, more nimble and more innately multi-platform," wrote Lang. "To make this change, we need to operate as smartly and efficiently as possible to create room for critical investments and new initiatives. These reductions are part of this important transformation process." NYT / Media Decoder Only half of the cuts are expected to come from Time Inc.'s staff in New York, according to a person in the organization familiar with the layoffs, but not authorized to speak publicly about them. Ad Age / Media Staffers had been enjoying a bit of a respite from the regular layoffs under former chairman and CEO Ann Moore, who eliminated thousands of jobs through cuts and magazines sales in the 2000s. But they also expected a large swing of the ax sooner or later under Lang, a publishing novice who joined from Digitas in January 2012. One of her first moves was to call a top-to-bottom review facilitated by consultants from Bain & Co., evaluating priorities, opportunities and trouble spots. WSJ Time Inc., the magazine group unit of Time Warner Inc., struggled in the quarter ended Sept. 30, the most recent for which earnings have been released, losing ground in general revenue, subscription revenue and ad revenue. Most strikingly, operating profit at the group fell 38 percent to $262 million for the nine-month period on a 6.2 percent decline in revenue to $2.47 billion compared with the same period a year earlier. Reuters Time Warner Inc. is considering selling its New York headquarters and has asked real estate brokers to evaluate the building's value, according to two sources familiar with the situation. The company is considering a wide range of options, including selling the midtown Manhattan building and leasing it back, moving more employees into the building and closing other New York offices, or moving out from the building entirely, one source said on Wednesday.
New York Times: Chinese Hacked Paper's Computers (USA Today / AP)
Chinese hackers repeatedly penetrated the New York Times' computer systems over the past four months, stealing reporters' passwords and hunting for files on an investigation into the wealth amassed by the family of a top Chinese leader, the newspaper reported. Security experts hired to investigate and plug the breach found that the attacks used tactics similar to ones used in previous hacking incidents traced to China, the report said. It said the hackers routed the attacks through computers at U.S. universities, installed a strain of malicious software, or malware, associated with Chinese hackers and initiated the attacks from university computers previously used to attack U.S. military contractors. NYT The timing of the attacks coincided with the reporting for a Times investigation, published online on Oct. 25, that found that the relatives of Wen Jiabao, China's prime minister, had accumulated a fortune worth several billion dollars through business dealings.
CNN: Which Shoe Will Drop Next? (FishbowlDC)
On Tuesday we broke the news that CNN contributors James Carville, Mary Matalin and RedState's Fox News-bound Erick Erickson were parting ways with the network under the direction of new sheriff Jeff Zucker. But who's next? We're hearing that CNN may look at parting ways with contributors Donna Brazile and Roland Martin, as they appear to have been slowly replaced by pundits who are known as their "black replacements": civil rights activist Van Jones, NYT's Charles Blow and democratic strategist Cornell Belcher. National Review / The Corner CNN, welcome to the reign of Zucker. First, the network parted ways with Carville, Matalin, and Erickson. Then came the news that it had snagged ABC's Chris Cuomo and planned to put him at the helm of a new morning show. Which, apparently, augured poorly for Soledad O'Brien. Wednesday, we learned that her days as the host of CNN's Starting Point are numbered. The Daily Beast CNN veteran O'Brien's fate is up in the air, though it's probable she'll receive a plum assignment. "Soledad is very important to the network and we are discussing various options with her," a CNN spokeswoman said in a terse statement. That sort of decisive leadership is exactly what Zucker was hired to bring by Time Warner chief executive Jeffrey Bewkes, who lured the former chairman of NBC Universal from his perch running Katie Couric's syndicated daytime show. HuffPost The question, of course, is whether any of it will make a difference -- whether CNN's problems stem from its personalities or whether they are more stubborn and structural. The network is partly trying to work an end-run around the trickiest issue -- whether straight news can ever compete realistically with opinion on a day-to-day basis anymore -- by adding non-news shows like Anthony Bourdain's and Morgan Spurlock's, or by bringing sports into the mix.
Katie Picked Up for Second Season (TVNewser)
Disney-ABC has renewed Katie for a second season. "Hosting, producing and launching a show from scratch has been challenging but very rewarding," said Katie Couric who also contributes to ABC News. "I'm looking forward to working with our terrific team to build on the success of our first season, and continuing to share compelling stories, explore important topics, and create entertaining television for our audience." THR / The Live Feed The news comes on the heels of an exceptionally successful launch for Katie, which entered the market during a fall crowded with other launches. Katie outperformed new offerings from Steve Harvey, Ricki Lake, Trisha Goddard and Jeff Probst and recently logged its 19th straight week on top.
For Netflix, a New Drama Begins (WSJ)
Can Netflix Inc. build something solid out of House of Cards? The political drama directed by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey as a U.S. congressman is the first original programming financed by Netflix. It debuts Friday. The question is whether House of Cards can transform Netflix's reputation as a repository for timeworn movies and children's fare and help the company muscle into territory dominated by Time Warner Inc.'s HBO and CBS Corp.'s Showtime, whose mix of original programming and recent films helps them command $10 or more per month from cable subscribers. USA Today Consumers' insatiable love affair with streaming video -- at home and on the go -- is at the heart of Netflix's rebound and the continued rise of its competition. Netflix is now used in one-fourth of U.S. homes, up from 20 percent a year ago, according to a new survey from consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates.
What Happens When Everyone Debuts Their Super Bowl Commercials Before the Game? (LostRemote)
Two years ago, Volkswagen debuted its Super Bowl spot -- the kid in the Darth Vader costume -- on YouTube several days before the big game. It served up 12.5 million views, attracted dozens of national news stories and became the most-talked-about commercial on Twitter before opening kickoff. We called the preemptive strike "a stroke of viral genius," because it one-upped all the other advertisers battling for attention. But what happens when everyone else starts doing it, too? CNN Money / Fortune In 2012, more than 60 percent of advertisers released ads or teasers on YouTube before the actual Super Bowl, says Suzie Reider, industry director at the video site. The ad campaigns that nixed the element of surprise were rewarded with more YouTube views -- by a substantial margin -- than those uploaded following the game.
MSNBC Criticized for Editing of Gun Hearing Video (Yahoo! News / AP)
MSNBC wants viewers to draw their own conclusions about whether a parent of a Newtown school shooting victim was heckled at a legislative hearing, but isn't addressing questions about whether it aired deceptive video of the event. The network has received criticism, particularly from conservative media watchdogs, about how it aired video of Neil Heslin testifying at a Connecticut hearing Monday. Heslin's 6-year-old son Jesse was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
After Scientology Debacle, The Atlantic Tightens Native Ad Guidelines (Adweek)
A little over two weeks after The Atlantic got egg on its face over a sponsored Web post by the Church of Scientology, the media brand has issued new guidelines for so-called native advertising.
The Record Offers Buyouts, Kills Recently Launched Section (JimRomenesko.com)
The Record, New Jersey's second-largest newspaper, is offering buyouts and folding its recently launched standalone Signature section. "Signature allowed so many of us to think about what we would do if we went a step further in our reporting, design, photographs and graphics," writes Martin Gottlieb, who left the International Herald Tribune to become Record editor last January. "It makes sense to me to take the best of Signature... and feature them in the regular sections of the daily paper. As we do, there will be a measurable savings in newsprint costs."
Through Ad Campaign, Muslim Activists Want to Redefine 'Jihad' (NPR / The Two-Way)
In an effort to "reclaim" the word jihad, Muslim activists launched a new ad campaign in the nation's capital this week. Commuters in the Washington, D.C., subway system will start seeing posters stamped with the "#My Jihad" hashtag.
How Brain Science Can Make You a Better Writer (Poynter / Chip on Your Shoulder)
A growing body of research reveals that different parts of the brain respond to language in unique ways. Neuroscientists learned this by observing brain scans as subjects read. Writers can take advantage of these findings to connect with readers in deep, intimate and lasting ways. And you don't have to be a brain scientist to do it -- just apply the same kind of techniques that writing teachers have been preaching for years.
Journalists on TV: Who Gets It Right? Girls, Homeland, Downton Abbey and More (Forbes / Mixed Media)
After extensive reporting, I've come to the conclusion that this year's crop of prestige television is unusually replete with characters who are journalists of one sort or another. ("Reporting," in this case, meaning my regular Sunday-night couch sessions.) Girls, Downton Abbey, Enlightened, Homeland and The Newsroom are just a few of the current shows that turn on plotlines involving reporters of one sort or another.
Facebook's Q4 Revenue Beats Analysts' Predictions (The Wrap / Media Alley)
Facebook posted $1.59 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter on Wednesday, beating analysts' $1.53 billion prediction. The world's largest social network -- with 1.06 billion active monthly users as of Dec. 30 -- has been hoping for more revenue from its mobile offerings. It delivered, with mobile revenue representing 23 percent of its ad revenue.
Al Jazeera America Has Received More Than 8,000 Applications (BuzzFeed)
Within 24 hours of posting openings for the majority of their new positions, Al Jazeera America received 5000 applications for open positions, a number that has grown to 8,063 over the past three days, a network source told BuzzFeed.
Travel Providers Embrace PR as Industry Outlook Brightens (PRNewser)
Art galleries in the air, celebrity chef TV shows filmed in exotic locales, "destination wedding" social media contests -- all illustrate the close creative bond between travel and PR. Fortunately, travel industry prospects have improved as consumers and clients move forward and the economy continues its slow recovery: travel experts and industry reports say 2013 is shaping up to be a good year.