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Thursday, Aug 02

Morning Media Newsfeed 08.02.12

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Time Warner Profit Drops 33 Percent (WSJ)
Time Warner Inc.'s second-quarter earnings tumbled 33 percent as the media company's film and TV entertainment and publishing segments saw double-digit declines in adjusted profit. NYT / Media Decoder The giant media conglomerate said Wednesday that its net income for the three months that ended June 30 was $429 million, or 44 cents a share, compared with $637 million, or 59 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue decreased by 4 percent to $6.7 billion and adjusted operating income fell 5 percent to $1.2 billion. AllThingsD The best thing Jeff Bewkes and company could say about Time Inc. is that the rest of the publishing business is doing lousy, too. And that new boss Laura Lang is getting a plan together after six months on the job. Oh, and they said that the numbers won't look as bad next quarter, because they'll be going up against easier year-over-year comparisons. AllThingsD Time Warner said HBO and its sister channel Cinemax added more than seven million subscribers in the last six months. Adweek No, you still can't have HBO GO à la carte. TVNewser Bewkes led his company's quarterly earnings call Wednesday morning, and he had blunt words for CNN. Bewkes began the call by focusing on Turner Broadcasting's results, praising TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network for their strong growth, before adding "the exception this quarter was CNN." Forbes / Mixed Media Does Time Warner have a programming strategy for CNN at the ready to replace the failed one pursued by departing worldwide president Jim Walton? It sure didn't sound like it on the media conglomerate's second-quarter earnings call. The Guardian / Michael Wolff After way too many years, last week CNN got rid of its long time CEO Jim Walton. Even Walton -- who bills the leave-taking as his own decision -- seemed to acknowledge in his departing remarks CNN's lack of direction, and his own failure to alter that course. Actually, it would be hard to offer a more dismal appraisal of one's own tenure. Walton's message: you really, really need someone else. But the problem with CNN is not just uninspired leadership and lack of vision. In fact, what Walton is really saying is: good riddance, nobody can fix it.

NBC's Olympics Coverage Expected to be Close to 'Break-Even' (LA Times / Company Town)
NBC approached the London Olympics, which officially opened Friday, expecting to lose about $200 million on its coverage. But ratings for the Summer Games have been much higher than expected, which should allow the company to escape a huge financial loss. Adweek Speaking to investors during parent company Comcast's second-quarter earnings call Wednesday, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said the network is off to a "very, very successful start," adding that it now appears that "London is going to be right around break-even," given the extra $100 million in Olympic ad sales revenue NBC booked before the Games began. TVNewser NBCUniversal was expecting to lose upwards of $100 million during its coverage of the 2012 London Olympics. It paid the International Olympic Committee $1.2 billion for exclusive TV rights, and while it expected to do well, it was not expecting to recoup all of the money it spent. WSJ / AP Before the games opened, NBC said it sold more than $1 billion in ads, breaking the record of $850 million set during the Beijing Olympics in 2008. It got 10 percent more for every minute of primetime advertising compared with Beijing. It also tripled its pre-sales of online ads to $60 million, as it's streaming all events live for the first time. HuffPost / AP Here's what NBC has paid for U.S. Olympic rights over the years. Adweek Nobody can deny that the ledgers at NBC are looking mighty nice as of now, yet while the TV performance data has been easily accessible and widely disseminated since Monday, one crucial element appears to be missing: Just how are NBC's digital audience numbers shaping up? paidContent As predicted by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings last week, interest in the London Olympic Games seems to be sapping away significant viewership on his streaming service. TVNewser While Today has won each day by wide margins -- averaging a 1.3 million total viewer lead and a 732,000 demo lead on Good Morning America, and saw its Monday audience up 47 percent over the previous Monday, the show is down from its performance during the Beijing Summer games. New York Daily News On the other hand, GMA, while way behind this week, still scored a 6 percent gain in total viewers Monday from four years ago.

John Fugelsang Gets a Current TV Show (FishbowlLA)
FishbowlLA was lucky enough to be at the Pantages this past weekend for the LA stop of Stephanie Miller's Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour. Although she and radio compadre Hal Sparks were both excellent, the guy who really stole the show was another one of her radio-TV regulars, John Fugelsang. Right on cue, Fugelsang announced this morning on Miller's program broadcast live from the TCA that he is getting his own Current TV series in the fall, joining Miller, whose three-hour daily syndicated radio offering is now being broadcast. Deadline Hollywood In the meanwhile, Fugelsang will continue to appear on the network as guest host and as commentator. Mediaite Fugelsang has become a ubiquitous presence on all of the cable news networks, including Fox News, but it was as a panelist on CNN's Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien that he made his most recent big splash. It was Fugelsang who, in some kind of Jedi sound-byte mind trick, elicited the now-famous "Etch-a-Sketch" comment from Romney campaign communications director Eric Fehrnstrom. THR He has become a significant presence on the progressive cable channel already, appearing on and guest hosting shows such as Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer, The War Room with Jennifer Granholm and Talking Liberally: The Stephanie Miller Show. TheWrap / Media Alley The show is set to debut in September, and though no exact time is set, it is expected to air at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., with a late-night feel, eliminating the possibility of an afternoon timeslot.

The Bright-Young-Things Hypothesis: Jonah Lehrer's Mistakes are not our Fault (CJR / The Observatory)
The downward spiral of Jonah Lehrer's career over the last month has shocked his peers and instilled in them a visceral need to understand. Following the revelations of self-plagiarism, outright fabrication, and lying to cover his tracks, we were bewildered. How could such a seemingly talented journalist, and only 31 years old, have thrown it all away? Washington Post / Erik Wemple Here comes Paul Tullis, a former editor of Lehrer's, to fill a void in the ideas marketplace, to do that which hadn't yet been dared. A full-throated defense of Lehrer, that is. NY Observer Tullis: "The corrections and suspicious non-attributions that others have uncovered have no doubt already led some editor somewhere in Manhattan to assign a young writer to fact-check all Lehrer's work; if Michael C. Moynihan's Tablet article is just the opening of the floodgates, expect the water to rise suddenly sometime next week. Absent further revelations, though, I find it an unfair double-standard that something Lehrer falsely attributed to Bob Dylan -- which is essentially accurate, even if it isn't technically -- has cost him his job, and that his publisher is yanking his book.

Times-Picayune Retools Home Page to Deal with Complaints (Poynter / MediaWire)
The Times-Picayune has revamped its home page to deal with complaints about readability and usability, including difficulty in finding the major stories of the day. The previous version of the home page was dominated by a continuous stream of stories; the new one features certain stories like most other news sites. Here are the notable changes and a recent one you may have missed. Meanwhile, Times-Picayune sister newspaper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, has introduced the Web design used by other Advance newspapers and readers are -- of course! -- not pleased.

CQ Roll Call Lays Off Veteran D.C. Reporter (FishbowlDC)
Lingering details about CQ Roll Call's avalanche of layoffs continue to pour in. Despite the hope being that no one in editorial would be touched, among those laid off Tuesday was Richard E. Cohen, considered by many to be the dean of the congressional press corps.

Illinois Facebook Password Law Bars Employers From Asking for Social Media Logins (HuffPost / AP)
Seeking to guard the privacy rights of the social networking generation, Illinois is making it illegal for employers to ask job applicants for passwords to their online profiles. Chicago Tribune Employers can still request user names to review public posts, but would not be able to request access to restricted portions of an employee or job applicant's online profile. AllFacebook The law will go into effect in Illinois Jan. 1.

FTC Wants to Extend Rules on Child Privacy Online (The Associated Press)
Federal regulators want to update rules aimed at protecting children's online privacy to account for newer developments such as Facebook and mobile games. Reuters The Federal Trade Commission, which enforces a 1998 law called the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule, said the changes were needed to take into account the widespread use of mobile devices an d to make website owners responsible for any infractions committed by third parties, such as data brokers.

The Sunset of Si: As the Condé Nast Chairman Fades Away, His Glossy Kingdom is Losing Some Sparkle (NY Observer)
About six years ago, Tom Florio, then the publisher of Vogue, had an idea. He wanted to expand the fashion bible's brand into a new platform: online television. The magazine's discerning editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, approved and Florio found blue-chip financial investors who did too. He'd been working on the proposal for nine months when he presented it to Si Newhouse, Chuck Townsend and other top Condé Nast brass. "I hate it," Newhouse said. Encountering Newhouse at a dinner party a few days later, Florio asked the Condé Nast chairman to elaborate on his abrupt dismissal of the idea. "All that did was make money," the boss told him.

New Rock 101.9 May Hit the Road to New Jersey (FishbowlNY)
The smoke has barely cleared from the drama surrounding Merlin Media yanking FM News off the air. But there is still plenty of news emanating from the offices on Hudson Street.

Web Ads Target Based on What You Watched on TV (Ad Age / Digital)
Soon, the Internet will know what you watched on TV. In recent weeks, data company Datalogix has launched a new product that aims to let digital ad buyers target ads to people online based on the shows they watch on TV.

Is Twitter a Publisher or a Distributor? There's a Crucial Difference (GigaOM)
Twitter's decision to suspend the account of British journalist Guy Adams raises a host of questions about the company's behavior, but one of the important ones is to what extent Twitter's filtering and curation features could make it legally liable for the content flowing through the network.

So the New Digg has Relaunched -- Now Comes the Hard Part (GigaOM)
Digg holds a special place in the hearts of many Web and media geeks, since it was one of the first big "Web 2.0" success stories, at least terms of its influence. But the site lost its way and was eventually broken up and sold in pieces, with New York-based Betaworks picking up the name and the URL -- and now the incubator has relaunched the Digg site with all new code under the hood and a brand new paint job. But can it regain anything like the luster it used to have in the social-Web sphere?

Gawker Essay Experiment Brings Weekend Audience, Attention to New Writers (Poynter / Making Sense of News)
Before last weekend many people had never heard of Kiese Laymon -- until his essay, "How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: A Remembrance," appeared on Gawker's home page and went viral in a matter of hours. One hundred-thousand unique page views, 3,000 Facebook "likes," and as many tweets later, Gawker may have just repositioned itself as more than a juicy gossip site.

Apocalypse Nikki: Gavin Polone Challenges the Power of the Vengeful Finke (Vulture)
Starting about six years ago, I, like most people I know who work in the entertainment business, checked Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily first, before perusing the other trade websites for news on the industry. I preferred Nikki's site, not because of the in-depth reporting: There is very little of that, as most posts are not much more than headlines and the bare facts. Rather, I was drawn to it because I found a perverse charm in her caustic and surprisingly direct commentaries about whatever topic seemed to agitate her -- and there are many things that seem to agitate her. FishbowlLA The comments on this one are going to be well worth monitoring.

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