Morning Media Newsfeed 04.08.13
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CNN's Crossfire Back in June (Deadline Hollywood)
After the failed week-long experiment of (Get To) The Point and the unsteady The Lead With Jake Tapper, Jeff Zucker is looking for a blast from the past to revive CNN. The ratings-struggling cable news network is bringing back Crossfire in June, network insiders tell me. No hosts have been chosen yet, the sources say. TVNewser The long-running political debate show was canceled in 2005. It isn't entirely clear what time the program would air, though we hear it would likely be a 30-minute format. During its original run from 1982-2005, Crossfire aired in both the afternoons and primetime, in addition to weekend editions. Aside from a brief 60-minute experiment, it was always 30 minutes. CNN declined to comment. HuffPost Jon Stewart famously despised the show, often lampooning Crossfire on The Daily Show and harshly criticizing its existence on a news network. He went on the program in 2004 to confront the hosts in what became one of the most talked-about moments in cable news history.
Former News Corp. President Chernin Bids $500 Million for Hulu (Reuters)
Former News Corp. president Peter Chernin has bid around $500 million for Hulu, the online video streaming service he helped create in 2007, according to two sources with knowledge of Hulu's sale process. AllThingsD A source familiar with the bid says Reuters' $500 million number is low. In any case, it's likely to be the starting point for a negotiation, which would hinge on the licensing rights News Corp., Disney and Comcast would provide for the money-losing site, as well as what happens to the $300 million debt its owners have taken on in the last year. The Verge It's important to note that Reuters doesn't state that the deal is done, but the move would make sense. As Reuters points out, The Chernin Group has holdings in several high-profile technology companies, including Pandora. As president of News Corp. at the time Hulu was founded, Chernin was also an outspoken advocate for the venture, calling it a "game changer for Internet video."
Jeff Bezos Invests in Business Insider (Business Insider)
Jeff Bezos has invested in Business Insider, according to an internal memo we have just obtained. Says CEO Henry Blodget: "Jeff's investment grew out of a dinner he and I had about a year ago. We talked about the business, and he was excited about it. (He sees some parallels with Amazon). A few months later, he expressed an interest in investing. My reaction was basically 'Hell, yeah!'" The Guardian The $5 million investment will help develop the site's technology and product teams, editorial operations, sales and marketing and subscription and events, and brings the site's total funding to $18.6 million over the past five years. Reuters / Felix Salmon Frankly, there are quite a lot of things that Blodget could use the money for, if he is really focused on the reader experience -- indeed, there are so many things that he could probably spend all that money quite a few times over, if he wanted.
WikiLeaks Publishes 1.7 Million U.S. Records As It Launches New 'PlusD' Searchable Repository (The Next Web)
WikiLeaks published more than 1.7 million U.S. diplomatic records from the 1970s Monday, coined the Kissinger Cables, to coincide with the launch of a new searchable database for all of its released materials. The Verge In total, the release is around 700 million words long, and contains what WikiLeaks describes as "significant revelations about U.S. involvements with fascist dictatorships, particularly in Latin America, under Franco's Spain (including about the Spanish royal family) and in Greece under the regime of the Colonels." Wired However, these are not "new" documents, leaked without the U.S. government's knowledge -- they come from the National Archives and Records Association, which is tasked with routinely assessing and releasing government documents into the public domain 25 years after their first appearance.
Cuts at The New York Observer (WWD / Memo Pad)
The New York Observer laid off 11 people from the business side of its overall media group on Friday, it said, as part of a reorganization of its sales team. They are the most significant cuts at the weekly since June 2009, when about 15 employees were let go, including at least 10 in the newsroom. NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer While there were no indications that editorial cuts will follow, "the reorganization is intended to eliminate redundancies and create a clear understanding of individual focus," according to new CEO Joseph Meyer. Editor Ken Kurson reportedly told staff, "It's still a good news Friday."
Reporters Say Exxon Is Impeding Spill Coverage in Arkansas (Mother Jones / Blue Marble)
Reporters covering the oil spill from ExxonMobil's Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower, Ark. are reporting that they've been blocked from the site and threatened with arrest.
Running Out of Time: The Slow, Sad Demise of A Great American Magazine (The Atlantic)
Why has Time never been able to fully reach its potential online? And more specifically why wasn't the Web an amazing opportunity for Time magazine in particular to grow the brand around the world? It's a baffling question on many levels: Not only was Time among the first magazines online, but it was also constantly innovating with blogs, video and graphic animation -- and much more.
Roger Ebert As A Builder of An Empire (NYT)
Roger Ebert was, in retrospect, a very modern figure. Long before the media world became cluttered with search optimization consultants, social media experts and brand-management gurus, Ebert used all available technologies and platforms to advance both his love of film and his own professional interests. He clearly loved newspapers, but he wasn't a weepy nostalgist either. He was an early adopter on the Web, with a CompuServe account he was very proud of, and unlike so many of his ink-splattered brethren, he grabbed new gadgets with both hands.
The Tonight Show Battle Between Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon Proves Late Night TV Is Still A White Men's Club (HuffPost / AP)
The role of female talk show hosts in late-night TV broadcast network history, all 50-plus years of it, can be summed up in two words: Joan Rivers. It takes just another two -- Arsenio Hall -- to do the same for minorities.
European Commission Approves Penguin Random House Merger (GalleyCat)
The European Commission has approved the merger of Penguin and Random House. The Commission ruled that they were not concerned with unfair competition, "because the merged entity will continue to face several strong competitors." TechCrunch The two owners Pearson and Bertelsmann announced the new venture back in October. As it is seeking "new digital publishing models," the merger has been widely commented on as a way to counter Amazon's influence on the eBook market.
Who's Afraid of Michael Arrington? (The Atlantic Wire)
The reason the press has stayed mostly silent in the wake of sexual assault allegations connected to Silicon Valley big-wig Michael Arrington is not because, as several have suggested, the tech world is scared of the TechCrunch founder.
No TV? No Subscription? No Problem (NYT)
Last Sunday afternoon, some friends and I were hanging out in a local bar, talking about what we'd be doing that evening. It turned out that we all had the same plan: to watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones. But only one person in our group had a cable television subscription to HBO, where it is shown. The rest of us had a crafty workaround.
Kathy Griffin Doesn't Have Jokes or A Show (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Kathy Griffin told the crowd that the day before the Taft concert she learned that Kathy, her late-night talk show on Bravo, would not be renewed. The crowd booed when they heard, but Griffin made light of it, predicting the demise of Bravo.
BitTorrent Taps A Bigger Role for Books in Its Content Push (TechCrunch)
Last year, author Tim Ferriss turned to BitTorrent to market his newest book, The Four-Hour Chef, when the biggest bookseller in the U.S., Barnes & Noble, refused to stock the Amazon-published title. Ferriss' campaign proved a success, with the book selling 250,000 copies on the back of some 2 million promotional content bundles -- chapters of the book and supplementary materials -- downloaded on BitTorrent. Now BitTorrent is banking on that success to try to get more authors on to its site.
Fake Twitter Followers Become Multimillion-Dollar Business (NYT / Bits)
Far from slowing, the market for fake Twitter followers seems to be taking off. The fake Twitter follower phenomenon made headlines last summer after Mitt Romney's Twitter following jumped by 100,000 in a matter of days. That news inspired a number of social media management companies like StatusPeople and SocialBakers to develop Web tools that try to determine what percent of a person's Twitter followers is fake.