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Monday, Aug 27

Morning Media Newsfeed 08.27.12

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Times Co. Sells About.com for $300 Million (WSJ)
In the battle for About.com, Ask.com appears to have trumped Answers.com. New York Times Co. has agreed to sell how-to website About.com to Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp for $300 million in cash, the company announced Sunday night. THR About.com is a portfolio of sites focused on various topics -- from travel topics to world and independent film, action figures and reality TV -- curated by experts. Overall, it offers content across 90,000 topics. "The About.com acquisition is completely in line with IAC's M&A strategy of acquiring, at disciplined valuations, companies that are complementary and synergistic with both our existing businesses and our areas of expertise," said IAC CEO Greg Blatt. Reuters Times Co. has been selling non-core businesses in recent years in an effort to focus its resources around its flagship newspaper and accompanying website. Bloomberg Businessweek Times Co. sold its stake in Fenway Sports Group, owner of the Boston Red Sox, for $93 million this year and completed the sale of its regional newspaper division for $143 million. The publisher still owns the Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram & Gazette newspapers. NYT / Media Decoder For Diller, the About.com acquisition is just the latest for a longtime deal maker who built his company out of a collection of properties like Match.com, Newsweek and The Daily Beast. In making his bid, he topped an earlier $270 million offer for About.com by Answers.com, a question-and-answer website backed by two private investment firms, Summit Partners and TA Associates. FishbowlNY A wise choice by the Times. For a company that could use all the help it can get, nothing is better than straight cash, homie.

Videos to Go at YouTube (NY Post)
Google's YouTube is getting ready to say bye-bye to some losers. The search giant that kicked off an ambitious plan last February to establish dozens of professionally produced channels -- most of which received some of the $100 million in initial funding handed out by the video-streaming site -- is now looking to cut some of the less successful channels from its game plan. THR Back then, the company said it expected to pick winners and losers over time.

 YouTube, led by CEO Salar Kamangar, is gearing up to cut an unspecified number of less successful channels by year's end, the Post reported.

Convention Coverage Enters a Busy New Era (The Sacramento Bee / AP)
On the surface, television networks will cover the upcoming Republican and Democratic national conventions much like they have the past few election cycles -- a limited taste on the big broadcasters, more or less full time with the cable news networks. Below the surface, things are dramatically different. USA Today Even as broadcast networks scale back their coverage, both parties will spend millions to stage them, 15,000 credentialed members of the media will show up, and cable channels will give them wall-to-wall coverage. Why? Because people still watch. USA Today Related: As Republican convention organizers worked Sunday to assess the damage Tropical Storm Isaac had done to their prime-time proceedings, C-SPAN vice president of programming Terry Murphy held up an hour-by-hour color-coded programming schedule. Most of Monday was red, showing the afternoon and evening of gavel-to-gavel coverage C-SPAN had planned until organizers canceled the opening session. Bloomberg Tropical Storm Isaac, which is menacing the U.S. Gulf Coast, is threatening to drown out the Republican National Convention and eclipse Mitt Romney's debut as his party's nominee. That would be especially true if Isaac gathers strength and makes a devastating landfall by destroying homes and threatening lives, both of which could afford President Barack Obama the opportunity to assume the mantle of first-responder and consoler-in-chief. It would also cut into Romney's time before the television cameras. Fox News anchor Shepard Smith left Tampa yesterday for New Orleans, where Isaac might make landfall on Aug. 29. Forbes / Quantum of Content "Imagine the visuals of homes destroyed and people's lives ruined while the Republicans are having their convention," meteorologist David Epstein says. "This could end up being a no-win public relations nightmare for the Republicans even thought the storm itself won't hit that part of Florida." TVNewser This picture, tweeted by Martin Finn, the coordinating producer for Fox Report with Shepard Smith, sums up how many anchors and producers are packing their bags: to cover both the RNC in Tampa and soon-to-be Hurricane Isaac.

CNN Looks for a Boost from HBO Shows (NYT / Media Decoder)
In a bit of corporate synergy, Time Warner is planning to dip into one of its strongest cable channels, HBO, to help revive the fortunes of one of its weakest, CNN. As part of Time Warner's attempt to reinvigorate its 24-hour cable news channel, which recently suffered from its worst ratings slump in 20 years, the company said it had encouraged CNN to look for creative ways to incorporate HBO's sports and documentaries into its lineup of news programs. LA Times / Show Tracker Related: Many industry watchers say change is long overdue, but CNN sees the presidential campaign as an opportunity to prove the doubters wrong. Its new multimillion-dollar studio in Washington is arriving just in time for the President Obama versus Mitt Romney showdown, even if the convention coverage itself doesn't necessarily promise changes that will make viewers snap to attention.

On TV, a Quiet Exit for First Man on the Moon (Seattle Times / AP)
By the yardstick of history, Neil Armstrong was among the most accomplished men ever to walk on the planet that he looked upon from afar one magical week in July 1969. Television news didn't seem to fully recognize the importance of the first human to walk on the moon on the weekend he died. HuffPost "Man on the moon! Whew! Boy." That's all that Walter Cronkite could think of to say on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong, who died on Saturday, first touched down on the surface of the moon. The CBS anchor was, like everyone else in the world, rendered speechless by the scale of what he had just witnessed. He clasped his hands together and grinned boyishly, and then sat back to watch.

Arthur Brisbane, New York Times Public Editor: Progressivism 'Bleeds Through' the Paper (HuffPost)
Arthur Brisbane accused The New York Times of having a liberal bias in his last column as the New York Times public editor -- a piece that got a rebuttal from executive editor Jill Abramson. Brisbane ascended to the post two years ago, and reflected on the experience in a farewell piece published on Saturday. "What I've seen has surprised me," he wrote, referring to "the deeper changes" happening at the paper.

Facebook Measurement Chief Advocates New Standard for Gauging Reach (Ad Age / Digital)
As Facebook urges big advertisers to boost their spending, its measurement team is playing an increasingly prominent role, trying to articulate the value of paid and earned Facebook impressions in terms media buyers know, such as GRPs, or gross ratings points. But while talking about GRPs is a step in the right direction for the social network, it's not its end game.

Convention Coverage: A Network Guide on How to Follow Political Developments (New York Daily News)
PBS is the only broadcast network that will turn over all of prime-time to the Republican convention this week and the Democratic convention next week. ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox will condense matters into a one-hour mix of highlights and live coverage, on the premise that conventions now are so scripted and choreographed that no day produces more than an hour's worth of actual news.

Glamour Gets Time with President Obama (WWD / Memo Pad)
Add Glamour magazine to the list of nonpolitical publications that have scored an interview with President Barack Obama.

ESPN Journalistic Standards: The Emperor No Longer Wears Clothes (The Wrap / Kent Youngblood)
For quite some time, ESPN has been the know-all, tell-all leader in sports media. But times change and companies rise and fall. Because of missteps and competition, it looks like the king might have a rebellion on his hands.

Viacom Loads More Ads on Channels (WSJ)
Fewer people have been tuning into some of Viacom Inc.'s cable channels over the past year, so the company has turned to a timeworn but controversial method of maintaining ad revenue: adding more commercials.

Fall TV Starts Big with New Shows for Katie Couric, Jeff Probst, Ricki Lake and Anderson Cooper (New York Daily News)
Some of the hottest action on television this fall will come in the daytime, when on one day alone four big names will kick off new or overhauled talk shows. Mark down Sept. 10 as the launch date for Katie Couric, Jeff Probst, Ricki Lake and the new-look Anderson Cooper. Steve Harvey has decided to beat the pack by launching his own new talk show Sept. 4.

iPad Mini to be Released in October, Sources Say (HuffPost)
It looks like the long-rumored iPad Mini will arrive just in time for the holidays.

2016: Obama's America Goes by the Book (LA Times / Movies Now)
What has Michael Moore -- and digital technology -- wrought? Now anyone with a political agenda and low-cost digital camera can make a movie and call it a documentary. Even enterprises that at best are vanity projects and at worst badly disguised and overly long attack ads are taken seriously by audiences -- and box-office observers.

In Royal Photo Scandal, Some See Murdoch Message (Yahoo! News / AP)
By letting his top-selling U.K. tabloid run photos of a naked Prince Harry cavorting in a Las Vegas hotel room, some say media mogul Rupert Murdoch was warning Britain's establishment that he could still shake things up. THR News Corp. chairman and CEO Murdoch has taken to Twitter to defend the publication of the photos of a naked Prince Harry in his conglomerate's U.K. tabloid The Sun.

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