Morning Media Newsfeed 07.27.12
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Facebook's First Post-IPO Earnings, in Line with Estimates: Q2 Revenue $1.18 Billion, $295 Million Net Income (TechCrunch)
If you keep tabs on tech news, financial news, or simply haven't been living on a deserted island, you may have noticed that Facebook held an initial public offering of its stock and started trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange a few months ago. Thursday afternoon, its shareholders got their first official update on how things have been going for the social network since its much-buzzed-about IPO. LA Times / Tech Now Facebook's first-ever earnings came in on target Thursday, with revenue of $1.18 billion on profit of 12 cents a share. GigaOM This was an increase in revenue of 32 percent over the same period last year. The average estimate from Wall Street analysts was $1.15 billion. Facebook also reported non-GAAP earnings of $295 million, or $0.12 per share, which was what analysts projected. As was expected, the company reported a GAAP net loss for the quarter of $157 million, compared to income of $240 million in the second quarter of 2011. But the loss was due to one-time stock-expense charges related to its IPO. Wired Still, Facebook's ad revenue growth of 28 percent underscores that the company, whose stock is down 30 percent from its May debut, is not exactly a growth rocket at the moment. By comparison, 14-year-old Google, a massive company, grew its ad revenue 21 percent in the most recent quarter from a much larger base. AppNewser Advertising is still the major money-maker for Facebook. AllFacebook The company took in $992 million in advertising revenue, representing a 28 percent increase from the second quarter of 2011. However, chief financial officer David Ebersman noted that the number of ads delivered in the U.S. decreased 2 percent, despite a 10 percent increase in daily users. Adweek Marketers have long questioned the value of advertising on Facebook, so the company used its earnings release to respond, at least in part. In looking at ROI data from more than 60 ad campaigns, Facebook said 70 percent of the campaigns returned three times what brands spent to run the campaign and for 49 percent of the campaigns the return was fivefold. Forbes / The Jungle Investors almost immediately dumped Facebook shares, which tumbled in after-market trading by 8 percent. NYT / DealBook So. Facebook has reported its first earnings report as a public company. And investors apparently didn't like what they saw. What gives? AllFacebook Facebook is up to 955 monthly average users, after reporting 901 million as of March 31, according to information released shortly before the start of its second-quarter earnings call, its first ever as a public company. NYT The company said 543 million people looked at Facebook on their mobile devices at the end of June, a 67 percent jump from last year. NYT / Bits Not long after Facebook filed its first earnings report as a public company on Thursday, a report that failed to impress investors, Mark Zuckerberg and a few other Facebook executives spoke at length with analysts and reporters on a conference call. Here are some of the more interesting bits. The New Yorker / The Borowitz Report After Facebook's shares plummeted in after-hours trading Thursday, Zuckerberg issued the following personal letter to all nine hundred million Facebook users.
Benson Offers to Buy Times-Picayune; Paper Not for Sale, Say Advance Officials (WWLTV.com)
In a letter to Times-Picayune owner Steven Newhouse, New Orleans Saints and Hornets owner Tom Benson has made his strongest statement yet that he is interested in purchasing the newspaper. NOLA.com In a July 25 letter to Newhouse, Benson seeks a meeting to discuss purchasing the paper. "If this is something that is an option, we can initiate this at your earliest convenience," Benson says in his letter. Poynter / MediaWire A handwritten note at the bottom of the letter reads, "In 1985, the Saints were leaving, I would hate for this to happen with our paper." Politico / Dylan Byers On Media Louisiana Sen. David Vitter is urging Newhouse to sell the struggling paper and step away from a business model that, he argues, has no chance whatsoever of working. JimRomenesko.com Vitter: "Maybe you truly believe that your new model for The Times-Picayune will serve the region well. I do not. More importantly, no citizen of the region whom I've spoken to about this does. And I literally mean no one. This includes everyone at The Times-Picayune itself that I've spoken to." WSJ National Public Radio, the University of New Orleans, and a group of business and community leaders will announce Friday the creation of a nonprofit newsroom to compete against the city's for-profit newspaper, The Times-Picayune.
New York Times Co. Q2 Earnings: Caught Between Past and Future (Forbes / Mixed Media)
The New York Times Co.'s second-quarter earnings, announced Thursday, contained hints of a promising business model to come, built on a foundation of paid digital subscriptions. But they also contained a painful reminder of an expensive blunder, its foray into content farming. Reuters The publisher of The New York Times and The Boston Globe said Thursday second-quarter revenue grew almost 1 percent to $515.2 million as circulation revenue climbed 8 percent. That exceeded analysts' average expectation of revenue of $510.9 million. Poynter / MediaWire Circulation revenues at The New York Times Co. rose 8 percent in the second quarter, fueled by a 13 percent rise in the number of digital subscriptions at The New York Times and The Boston Globe. WSJ The company reported a loss of $88.15 million for the quarter, or 60 cents a share, compared with $119 million loss a year earlier, or 79 cents a share, when the publisher took a write-down on its regional newspapers. paidContent For a time, About.com, acquired for $410 million in 2005, was the bright spot in New York Times Co.'s earnings season. Those days are a blur in the rearview mirror, reflected in the second-quarter earnings released Thursday with a $194.5 million writedown of good will. Washington Post / AP The Times Co. continued to see growth in digital subscriptions, thanks to a so-called electronic paywall system it erected in March of 2011. Under the system, the Times charges readers for monthly access to an unlimited number of articles. The strategy, closely watched by executives in the industry, has helped to boost the Times' circulation and is being adopted at other newspapers. In April, the Times cut the number of articles readers can access for free from 20 to 10 per month.
Google Unveils Superfast Internet in Kansas City, Mo. (NYT / Bits)
Encouraging residents here to rally each other, Google on Thursday unveiled the highly anticipated details of its new ultrahigh-speed Internet network, which is supposed to run 100 times faster than typical broadband connections. TechCrunch The network will deliver symmetric 1 gigabit connections to households across the city. There will be no monthly caps or overage charges. Google Fiber will also come with 1 terabyte of cloud storage and HD TV service. CNET Google is charging every home that gets the fiber service $300 for the construction of the fiber link. But the company is waiving that fee for people who sign up initially for the service. Google is offering three different packages. AllThingsD But if you were hoping that Google was going to use its fiber project to reorder the TV landscape, you're going to be disappointed. At least in this incarnation, Google is playing by the TV establishment's rules. CNET Google has blown the pants off the competition when it comes to offering broadband service, but can its new Google Fiber TV service gain traction when the company still lacks popular content?
Norah O'Donnell Replacing Erica Hill on CBS This Morning (TVNewser)
Six months into its run, CBS This Morning is making an anchor change. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Norah O'Donnell, chief White House correspondent for CBS News, will join Charlie Rose and Gayle King as co-host of CBS This Morning, the network announced Thursday, replacing co-host Erica Hill. HuffPost Meanwhile, the network is still working out the details of Hill's future role at CBS. NYT / Media Decoder The casting change came as a surprise to staff members of CBS This Morning, the network's latest effort to create a competitive morning show. The CBS News executives who orchestrated the change said they felt that O'Donnell was a perfect fit for the co-host role, particularly given the current busy period of political news. TVNewser CBS News president David Rhodes said the move has been in the works for a little while. "This has been an ongoing discussion, we look at every one of these broadcasts very closely, always looking for things that can be improved," Rhodes told TVNewser. "We have had a couple of different people at the table since we launched in January, and Norah just stood out."
Amazon Q2 Sales Up 29 Percent, but Earnings Just Miss (Forbes / Social Markets)
Amazon.com reported earnings and revenue in the second quarter of 2012 that slightly missed analysts expectations, sending the stock down in after hours trading. WSJ / MarketBeat For the second-quarter, the company reported earnings fell 96 percent to $7 million, or 1 cent a share, from $191 million, or 41 cents a share a year ago amid a big spending spree as it builds out its operations. AllThingsD The company said net sales increased 29 percent to $12.83 billion in the second quarter, compared with $9.91 billion in the same period a year ago. When you take away the impact from foreign exchange, Amazon said revenues would have increased 32 percent. GalleyCat The company noted that Kindle Direct Publishing authors had scored 20 spots on Amazon's list of the top 100 bestselling Kindle titles. The quarter also included an estimated loss of $65 million as the company acquired Kiva Systems. CNET The third quarter outlook, however, clearly is off the mark for Amazon. The company projects an operating loss for the third quarter between $350 million and $50 million. Wall Street was looking for an operating profit of $164 million. Amazon also said its sales for the third quarter would be $12.9 billion to $14.3 billion. Wall Street was expecting $14.09 billion. AppNewser In the earnings report, Amazon was quick to point out that the Kindle Fire tablet remains the No. 1 bestselling product on Amazon.com since launch. The company also highlighted the expansion of its app store in Europe. TechCrunch In the company's earnings statement today, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos tried to paint a positive picture of the second quarter earnings, focusing instead on the bargain value of Amazon Prime compared to competitors and the consistency in pricing over the years. Publishers Weekly In some other numbers it threw out, the Kindle Owners' Lending Library now has more than 170,000 titles. Bloomberg The company also is spending money on digital content, pushing sales of music, books and movies on the tablet. LoveFilm U.K. Ltd., Amazon's European online video streaming service, struck a deal with Universal Pictures Ltd. for rights to films such as Bridesmaids and Despicable Me in May.
Public Radio International Acquired by Boston's WGBH (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Public Radio International, the Minneapolis-based broadcaster, was acquired Thursday by Boston media company WGBH. Current.Org Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the sale will help to stabilize the nonprofit program distributor PRI, which ran an operating deficit of $2 million in 2011, according to PRI spokesperson Julia Yager. Poynter / MediaWire WGBH is much larger than PRI, which has less than 10 percent of WGBH's employes and 15 percent of its revenue. The Associated Press WGBH Radio programming is heard across New England. The company is also the largest content producer for PBS television, with shows also including Masterpiece and American Experience, and it has won numerous Emmy and Peabody awards. NYT / Media Decoder This year, PRI lost American distribution rights to one of its biggest programs, the BBC's World Service. WGBH, according to its most recent annual report, raised $166.8 million last year and had $314.5 million in net assets.
Chicago Tribune Staff Demands Answers from Editor over Journatic (Chicago Sun-Times)
The editorial staff of the Chicago Tribune has written to its editor, Gerould Kern, demanding answers about the company's continued relationship with under-fire content provider Journatic. JimRomenesko.com The letter says the paper's code of ethics "makes it clear that it is a firing offense to engage in the kinds of practices that Journatic has engaged in again and again. Why then is Tribune seeking to salvage its relationship with Journatic when as a matter of policy it declares zero tolerance for such behavior?" Chicago Sun-Times Here is the full text of the letter sent to Kern. Poynter / MediaWire Last week, Kern said the paper was bringing in a consultant "to conduct a rigorous review of editorial procedures, policies and practices of Journatic to determine if and how it can meet Chicago Tribune standards" and that "we will not consider reinstating the use of Journatic until we are 100 percent confident in its ability to meet our professional and ethical standards."
How BuzzFeed Wants to Reinvent Wire Stories for Social Media (Nieman Journalism Lab)
The wire story is an atomic element of news: It's the basic material upon which more journalism can be built. But wire stories, as a compact unit for getting out the basics of an updating story, are also a commodity. Thanks to the speed of information and the glut of channels we can access it on, it's not uncommon to get flooded with the same story when major news breaks. If you were on Twitter or Facebook the day the Supreme Court issued its decision on the Affordable Care Act, you know the signal-to-noise ratio was high on the noise side. A torrent of repetitive news updates is a problem for readers, and for editors, like BuzzFeed's Ben Smith, it's a frustration.
New Result in Today and Good Morning America Rivalry: Too Close to Call (NYT / Media Decoder)
The increasingly intense competition between NBC's Today show and ABC's Good Morning America took its latest twist last week when the shows produced -- in the Nielsen rating sample anyway -- a flat-footed, photo-finish tie in the audience measure that counts the most among advertisers. THR / The Live Feed For the week of July 16, the ABC News show won its fourth consecutive week among total viewers while also tying dominant Today among adults 25-54 for the first time in 17 years. Nielsen gives GMA 4.598 million viewers for that five-day period, edging out Today by more than 300,000 viewers (Today pulled in 4.245 million viewers). The two shows tied in the key demo, each earning 1.737 million viewers among adults 25-54. TVNewser Today, which began broadcasting from London this week ahead of the Summer Olympics, continues to struggle. Compared to the same week last year the show is down 12 percent in total viewers and down 20 percent in the younger demo. GMA is up 4 percent in total viewers and up 4 percent in younger viewers. CBS This Morning continues to show consistent growth: up 7 percent in total viewers and up 6 percent in younger viewers.
Twitter Dorsey Becomes Billionaire as Square Value Soars (Bloomberg)
Twitter Inc. co-founder Jack Dorsey, 35, has joined the ranks of the world's billionaires. AllTwitter Dorsey is one of those people who works all the time. Seriously. He has two full-time jobs: one at Twitter (of course) and one at his other startup, Square. Forbes / The .0000001% At Square's post-money valuation of $3.2 billion, Dorsey's stake in Square will be worth about $845 million. Dorsey also has a stake in Twitter, which private company research expert PrivCo calls "relatively modest" and Forbes estimates as worth more than $200 million. The combination of the two equity stakes -- should the reporting new funding Square be successfully completed -- will make the Twitter chairman and Square CEO eligible to join the ranks of American billionaires.
Loop21 Names Lisa Armstrong Editor-in-Chief (FishbowlLA)
Lisa Armstrong has been named the new editor-in-chief of the Sherman Oaks-based African American news site Loop21.com. Armstrong is a veteran freelancer with a wealth of international reporting experience. She spent a year in Haiti reporting on the aftermath of the tragic 2010 eatherquake, under a grant from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
Ann Friedman Tumblr Morphs into Weekly CJR Column (FishbowlLA)
Here's some welcome news. As the laid off gang from GOOD continues their transition to the crowd-funded pages of Tomorrow magazine, former executive editor Ann Friedman has found a new home for her signature Tumblr blog #RealTalk. CJR / The Kicker This weekly column was inspired by my now-defunct Tumblr blog, but it's going to be more than one-liners and animated gifs (though there will be plenty of those). It's going to be a place for super practical conversation about working in media.
How Journalists can do a Better Job of Correcting Errors on Social Media (Poynter / Regret the Error)
Earlier this month I was in London to participate in the news:rewired journalism conference put on by Journalism.co.uk. My panel was about rumors, verification and corrections, and I was there to help provide some suggestions for handling corrections in the networked world.
The Guardian Announces it's the Third Most-Read Newspaper Site in the World (Capital New York)
The Guardian announced Thursday that its website is now the world's third most-read newspaper website, with 30.4 million users in June of 2012, according to the latest data from metrics firm comScore.