Media News

Thursday, Feb 21

Morning Media Newsfeed 02.21.13

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New York Times Co. Puts Boston Globe Up for Sale (Bloomberg)
The New York Times Co. is formally exploring a sale of The Boston Globe, its only remaining business outside the core New York Times media brand. The publisher is working with Evercore Partners Inc. (EVR) as an adviser for a sale, Times Co. said Wednesday in a statement. The company intends to focus its strategy and investment on the Times brand, it said. Reuters The sale, which will also include The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, is expected to come at a big loss as newspapers struggle for subscribers and advertisers in the digital age. Ad Week As far as buyers, Twitter is full of jokes that former presidential candidate Mitt Romney should buy the paper. Business Insider editor-in-chief and notorious Internet troublemaker Henry Blodget has also playfully tweeted interest in the property, one of his usual gags when media companies go up for sale. One name to keep an eye on, though: Aaron Kushner, a local guy who was spurned in his efforts to buy the Globe a couple of years ago and wound up with the Orange County Register instead.

Independent Booksellers Sue Amazon and Publishers over eBooks (NYT / Media Decoder)
Three independent, brick-and-mortar bookstores have filed a lawsuit against Amazon and the big six publishers, claiming that they are violating antitrust laws by collaborating to keep small sellers out of the eBook market. LA Times / Jacket Copy The stores involved in the complaint are hardly the nation's largest. They are Fiction Addiction of Greenville, S.C., Albany N.Y.'s Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza and Posman Books, which has three locations in New York City. They'll be going up against Amazon, Simon and Schuster, Penguin, Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins and Macmillan. HuffPost The complaint centers on digital rights management, or DRM, the technological lock that prevents consumers from transferring any eBook they buy on an Amazon Kindle onto, say, a Nook or Kobo e-reader. PC Mag The independent book sellers who brought the complaint claim that none of the Big Six publishers have entered into an agreement with any U.S.-based independent bookstore to sell eBook versions of titles they publish, essentially giving Amazon, and to a lesser extent Barnes & Noble and Apple, a monopoly position in the eBook market relative to the independents.

Sony Announces PlayStation 4, Touts Speed and Social but Media Vision Unclear (GigaOM)
Gaming consoles are still big business, especially when you consider that they also double as cord-cutting devices. But Sony's PlayStation 4 announcement was short on details and just plain long on everything else. The Verge Bizarrely, the company elected not to show any glimpse of the console hardware itself, instead focusing on internal details and a showreel of upcoming games.

Nielsen Agrees to Expand Definition of TV Viewing (THR)
The Nielsen Co. is expanding its definition of television and will introduce a comprehensive plan to capture all video viewing including broadband and Xbox and iPads, several sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

AOL's Grand Human-Heavy Local News Experiment is Coming to An End (Business Insider)
AOL seems to be radically changing its plans for Patch, its network of local news sites. We've heard from insiders that the division is pivoting away from a human editor-centric model, toward one where local sites ("Patches") are built to be content-sharing and community-organizing tools for their areas. Editors won't go away entirely, but there will be fewer of them, writing for more sites.

Bill O'Reilly's Next Book: Killing Jesus (TVNewser)
How do you follow up two New York Times best-sellers about the assassination of beloved U.S. presidents? How about a book about the assassination of Jesus himself? According to publisher Macmillan, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's next book will be Killing Jesus, which "will tell the story of Jesus of Nazareth as a beloved and controversial young revolutionary brutally killed by Roman soldiers," according to the publisher.

Publishers Opt Out of the Pageview Rat Race (Digiday)
The promise of the Internet was that anyone with a keyboard and a connection could become a publisher and make tons of money. Like many promises rooted in theory, when it comes to practicality, things are quite different.

LifeLine CEO: Beckel 'Should be Ashamed' (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Fox News co-host Bob Beckel is catching heat for suggesting that rape is not a problem on college campuses. To the shock of his co-hosts on The Five, Beckel asked, rhetorically, "When was the last time you heard about a rape on campus?" When told that it's rampant, Beckel expressed disbelief, though he acknowledged that date-rape did occur. Peter Cahill, the CEO of LifeLine Response and LifeLine Edu, a personal safety smartphone app designed to end such assaults on college campuses, called Beckel's remarks "insulting to the thousands of survivors of sexual assault on college campuses and across the country."

Times Editor Jill Abramson Opens Up About Layoffs, the Time She Almost Quit and Loneliness at the Top (Capital New York)
Several months ago, New York Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson accompanied Times executive editor Jill Abramson on a trip to California, in which she took meetings with "some important figures in Silicon Valley," she told Capital. "It was a good opportunity to get to know him."

U.S. Postal Service to Launch Clothing Line (PRNewser)
The U.S. Postal Service, currently suffering from something of a PR crisis, just announced plans to develop its own clothing line with menswear maker Wahconah Group. Before you ask, this is not a joke. The apparel and accessories line, designed to be "on the cutting edge of functional fashion," will be called "Rain, Heat and Snow" in honor of the unofficial USPS motto: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

Did Jose Canseco Just Tweet His Way into the White House Correspondents' Dinner? (NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer)
It's a big week for all-around expert Jose Canseco, the former ball player now tweeting his way to pundit stardom. Canseco appears to have weird-tweeted his way into a serious discussion about an invitation to the White House Correspondents' Dinner. From BuzzFeed, of course.

AMI's Fiscal Third Quarter Hit Hard by Hurricane Sandy (Folio:)
American Media, Inc.'s 2013 fiscal third quarter showed mixed results, according to recent company financials. Revenues dropped 3 percent in the quarter to $85 million. During its fiscal nine months ending Dec. 31, 2012, revenue fell by 8 percent, or $24 million, to $262 million.

Why No One is Talking About Yahoo!'s -- or Anyone Else's -- New Homepage (Quartz)
Yahoo! has a new homepage, but you'd be forgiven for not noticing, since fewer people than ever are visiting it. In December 2012, for example, traffic to the domain was down 24 percent from a year ago. Like other titans of another tech age, Yahoo! is facing an existential threat against which it may be defenseless: People just don't surf the Web the way they used to.

NAB to Honor CBS News' Bob Schieffer (Deadline Hollywood)
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) announced Wednesday that Bob Schieffer, renowned broadcast television journalist for CBS, will receive the NAB Distinguished Service Award (DSA) during the 2013 NAB Show. Schieffer will accept the award at the opening keynote session, sponsored by Blackmagic Design, on April 8 in Las Vegas.

New Screens Require New TV Strategy (Financial Times)
When the season finale of Downton Abbey aired on PBS last Sunday, some of the 8.2 million U.S. viewers could be forgiven for feeling let down. Not only because a favorite character was killed off, but because many of them knew that fact on Christmas Day, when British viewers saw the episode and tweeted their reaction or shared it on peer-to-peer torrent sites.

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