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Wednesday, May 23

Morning Media Newsfeed 05.23.12

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CNN Hits 20-Year Weekday Primetime Low (Deadline Hollywood)
The only ratings news CNN is getting lately is bad news. THR Following last week's news of a 15-year primetime low during Piers Morgan Tonight, final Nielsen ratings give the network its lowest-rated weekday primetime showing among total viewers in more than 20 years. NYT / Media Decoder CNN averaged just 395,000 viewers in prime time for the week of May 14, a figure lower than any week of primetime programming on the network since September 1991.

Facebook IPO Raises Regulatory Concerns (NYT / DealBook)
Just days before Facebook went public, some big investors grew nervous about the company's prospects. Reuters In the run-up to Facebook's $16 billion IPO, Morgan Stanley, the lead underwriter on the deal, unexpectedly delivered some negative news to major clients: The bank's consumer Internet analyst, Scott Devitt, was reducing his revenue forecasts for the company. CNBC / Reuters The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's chairman said on Tuesday that regulators plan to review allegations that Morgan Stanley shared negative news before Facebook's initial public offering with institutional investors. Time Just what did Facebook executives tell the stock analysts at the investment banks in the days before the offering? On May 9, Facebook issued an updated prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In dense securities-legalese, Facebook said that the number of daily users was increasing faster than the number of ads the company was serving, a change it attributed to its fast-growing mobile user base. Such an updated "risk factor" may have served to satisfy regulatory requirements prior to the IPO. Yahoo! News / AP Facebook stock itself has been a disappointment. It fell $3.03 on Tuesday to close at $31 and has now fallen $7, or more than 18 percent, from its offering price of $38. It managed to add just 23 cents in its first hours of trading on Friday, then suffered a big decline on Monday. MarketWatch / Market Pulse Facebook Inc. chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has sold 30.2 million shares and director Peter Thiel has sold 16.8 million shares of the social-networking company. WSJ While Wall Street moved into crisis mode over Facebook Inc.'s fumbled initial public offering, employees at the company's Silicon Valley headquarters had an entirely different response: a shrug. Business Insider Here's the inside story of what happened on the Facebook IPO.

Court Dismisses One Complaint Against Aereo (WSJ)
A federal court in Manhattan dismissed one of the legal complaints filed by TV broadcasters against online video start-up Aereo Inc., leaving another claim still to be heard. THR / Hollywood, Esq. In March, Aereo began streaming local TV content online to New York residents for $12 a month. The major TV broadcasters -- Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC -- sued to shut the service down. TheWrap.com / Media Alley In response, Aereo has argued that it has a legal right to access broadcast signals because the airwaves are publicly owned. TVSpy According to court documents, the judge dismissed the broadcasters' unfair competition complaint, leaving Aereo to only face claims of copyright infringement in the case. Bloomberg Businessweek / AP The case is being closely watched because of the precedent it could set. Broadcasters owned by The Walt Disney Co., CBS Corp. and Comcast Corp. have deals to collect hundreds of millions of dollars annually from cable and satellite TV providers for the right to retransmit their signals to subscribers.

OMG! BuzzFeed To Open D.C. Bureau (FishbowlDC)
The buzz around BuzzFeed opening a Washington bureau is true. Political editor Ben Smith confirms to FishbowlDC that the LOL-laden site is shooting to bring on new blood by summer to get the cat pic operation up and running. FishbowlNY According to Smith, BuzzFeed's editor in chief, the D.C. operation is looking for "a talented, heavyweight player-coach as bureau chief." Poynter / MediaWire Smith says jobs at the bureau will be "some of the great jobs in D.C., because it's going to be all about original reporting."

For AOL, A Costly Gamble On Local News Draws Trouble (WSJ)
Patch said Tuesday it will cut around 20 jobs, or less than 2 percent of its workforce. The cuts will come from merging the management of its eastern and southern regional reporting operations. FishbowlNY The restructuring will allow the hyperlocal news network to dump those staffers, yet keep every one of its 850-plus sites up and running. Poynter / MediaWire AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who founded Patch, has been under pressure from Starboard Value, an AOL investor that believes Patch has a "structurally flawed business model." In its first-quarter report, AOL said "Patch grew traffic and advertisers over 40 percent year-over-year and revenue over 100 percent year-over-year." Forbes / Mixed Media Armstrong said Patch is on track to book around $40 million in advertising revenue in 2012 after taking in virtually no money last year. While that's a big change, Patch's costs last year totaled around $160 million. Street Fight The Patch layoffs Tuesday were actually a very good thing. Layoffs are always sad for the people affected. But in this case, this is an indication that the management at Patch is getting a better handle on what hyperlocal must look like in order to succeed.

Arnaud de Borchgrave Takes Leave From Washington Times (Washington Post / Erik Wemple)
The Washington Times has broken its silence on the case of Arnaud de Borchgrave, the columnist whom this blog last week cited for some dicey literary borrowing. In a story that hit the Washington Times website late last night, the paper announced that it will conduct an "internal assessment of Mr. de Borchgrave's columns." FishbowlDC Washington Post media opinion writer Erik Wemple was on the receiving end of threats Tuesday after writing about the purported plagiarism of Washington Times and United Press International columnist Arnaud de Borchgrave. Washington Post / Think Tanked De Borchgrave, director and senior adviser of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), wrote an introduction to a 2007 report ("Force Multiplier for Intelligence") that has a striking resemblance to a BBC news report published earlier that year. Other CSIS reports by de Borchgrave have similar problems.

HLN Adds Evening Express With Ryan Smith (THR)
HLN is expanding its successful morning program -- Morning Express with Robin Meade -- into the nighttime hours. Evening Express will by hosted by HLN's Ryan Smith, who rose to prominence at the network during coverage of the Casey Anthony and Conrad Murray trials. TVNewser The show will originate from Atlanta and will air from 5-7 p.m., beginning Monday, June 4. Ryan Smith will host the show, joined by Clark Howard and Ishe Sesay, who joins HLN from sister network CNN. Angie Massie will serve as EP. NY Post / Starr Report It will replace Special Report (5-6 p.m.) and Prime News (6-7 p.m.), both hosted by Vinnie Politan -- who will start a new dayside show on HLN in the coming weeks. Washington Post / The TV Column The show, HLN promises/warns, will take "an energetic, inspirational and solutions-oriented look at the day's news, accompanied by deeper discussions and reporting on stories and issues that resonate in the American household." And, by "issues that resonate in the American household," HLN said, they mean "parenting, education, health, personal finance, and relationships."

After New York Radio Deal, Early Signs Of Ratings Gains (NYT / Media Decoder)
Last month, the New York radio market was rocked by a three-way deal that merged two venerable R&B stations, WRKS and WBLS, and brought ESPN to the FM band. It may be too early to get a solid reading on ratings, but preliminary data suggests that the newly changed stations are enjoying better numbers.

Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy Sells 10 Million Copies In 6 Weeks (GalleyCat)
Vintage has sold a combined total of 10 million trade paperback, eBook and audiobook copies of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy in the last six weeks. NYT / Arts Beat The erotic novels were released by Vintage Books, part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, beginning in March in eBook format and in April in trade paperback. They were originally published by a small independent press in Australia and difficult to find in paperback form in the United States, one reason the series began months ago as a mostly underground eBook hit. New York Daily News / PageViews Rights to the book have been sold in 37 countries.

Voice of San Diego Adds Monthly Print Magazine (FishbowlLA)
Thanks to some financial assistance from The Knight Foundation and the technical transom of MagCloud, Voice of San Diego is heading in a very non-traditional digital media direction: The respected regional news source is adding a monthly print magazine.

Vocal Opera Fans Saved Opera News Met Reviews (The Atlantic Wire)
The Metropolitan Opera learned on Tuesday that censoring the press, even your in-house press, does not lead to good publicity. Just a few hours after it emerged that Opera News, which is produced by an affiliate of the Metropolitan Opera, would stop reviewing the Metropolitan Opera, the Met announced that no, actually, it was changing its mind and Opera News could keep running reviews. LA Times / Culture Monster The trouble began with Monday's news that the Met, stung by negative press in the 76-year-old classical music publication, would no longer allow reviews for its productions in the pages of Opera News, which is published by the Met's fundraising arm, the Metropolitan Opera Guild.

With Luxury On The Upswing, Shelter Magazines Are Raising The Roof (Adweek)
With luxury surging back, high-end shelter magazines once nearing extinction are riding that gilded wave back to the top.

Why Newspapers Need To Lose The 'View From Nowhere' (GigaOM)
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett may be buying newspapers -- a move that is probably as much about cash flow and real estate as it is a long-term investment thesis -- but he can't possibly buy them all, and that leaves the rest of the industry struggling to try and confront the issues that are causing their decline.

LA Times' Randy Harvey Leaves For Sports Job In Houston (LA Observed)
The Houston Chronicle announced Tuesday morning that Los Angeles Times associate editor Randy Harvey is joining the paper as sports columnist. Houston Chronicle Harvey, a Texas native, joined the Los Angeles Times in 1981 as a reporter, focusing on the Olympics and other international events before becoming a columnist in 1996. Four years later, he was named senior assistant editor. FishbowlLA The Baltimore Sun managed to lure Harvey away for a two-year stint as assistant managing editor before returning to the LAT in 2006 as sports editor.

Tribune Prepares To Spin Off Business Units (Crain's Chicago Business)
Tribune Co. is streamlining its corporate structure for the possible sale of publishing and broadcast units after its exit from bankruptcy.

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