Media News

Wednesday, Dec 28

Morning Media Newsfeed 12.28.11

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New York Times Staffers Express 'Profound Dismay' With Management (HuffPost)
New York Times staffers unhappy with management are letting publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. know it. In recent days, more than 270 current and former Times employees have signed an open letter expressing their "profound dismay" with recent company decisions. NYT / Media Decoder: The New York Times Co. announced Tuesday that it had reached an agreement to sell the its regional media group to Halifax Media Holdings of Daytona Beach, Fla., for $143 million in cash. paidContent: In its 8K filing, NYT said, "The transaction is expected to close within a few weeks, and upon completion of the sale, the company will record an after-tax gain on the sale in the first quarter of 2012. The company intends to use the net sale proceeds for general corporate purposes. The company estimates that the net after-tax proceeds from the sale will be approximately $150 million." NY Post: The imminent sale means the group's boss, the influential Michael Golden, is temporarily without a portfolio. A first cousin of Times chairman and publisher Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr., Golden is also vice chair and a board member of NYT Co. NY Observer: The regional media group consists of 16 regional newspapers including titles like the News Chief of Winter Haven, Fla., and the Thibodaux, La.-based Daily Comet. The back-of-the-envelope math suggests that each paper is worth just shy of $9 million apiece, or about two years of consulting work from outgoing Times CEO Janet Robinson. WWD / Memo Pad: Following the sale of the regional group, the Times Co. will own its namesake newspaper, The Boston Globe,, the International Herald Tribune, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and the About Group. It continues to have a 7 percent stake in the Fenway Sports Group, owner of the Boston Red Sox, after selling more than one-half of its share earlier this year. FishbowlNY: The New York Times has promoted Tom Bodkin to deputy managing editor.

Was WaPo's Flock Forced On Vacation? (FishbowlDC)
Like some reporters, the Washington Post's Elizabeth Flock was off last week, conceivably for the holidays. But FishbowlDC sources are insisting that Flock was suspended for writing that post on GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's using a KKK slogan in his speeches.

Rachel Maddow On Ron Paul: It's Hard To Win The Nomination 'Without Having Fox News On Your Side' (Mediaite)
Rachel Maddow has been following the roller-coaster ups and downs of the Republican primary campaigns and seen a pattern of bubbles -- from Donald Trump to Herman Cain to Newt Gingrich and, now, Ron Paul. And while Paul is under siege for his checkered past with newsletters while the establishment cries out for a new candidate, Maddow believes the problem isn't just the establishment, but "Republican Party TV" -- Fox News, and its opposition to the front-runner. Adweek: After an unusually slow start at the end of 2011, political ad spending is likely to ramp up rapidly in 2012. AdAge / Campaign Trail: After a slow start, the Republican presidential hopefuls and the political-action committees that support them are saturating Iowa TV with mostly negative ads. AllFacebook: With exactly one week before voting gets underway in the Republican presidential primary contest, new polling and the Inside Facebook 2012 Election Tracker convey a fluid field before next Tuesday's Iowa caucus.

Yahoo! News Hires Steve Chaggaris As Executive Producer, Elections (Yahoo! News / The Cutline)
In the latest move to bolster Yahoo!'s original coverage of the 2012 presidential election, Yahoo! News has hired Steve Chaggaris, former political director of CBS News, as executive producer, elections.

Facebook: A Year In Review (Inside Facebook)
Facebook's "move fast and break things" mantra was put into action again this year as the company overhauled a number of its products, introduced many new features, and eliminated old functionality.

Twitter Ignored Request To Keep Subpoena Under Wraps (ReadWriteWeb)
Twitter appears to have forwarded a subpoena requesting user information to at least one of the owners of the accounts in question, despite a request from the Suffolk Massachusetts District Attorney's office that the request not be disclosed "to protect the confidentiality and integrity of the ongoing criminal action" regarding hackitivist group Anonymous and events surrounding the Occupy Boston protest.

Rutledge Pay Package Could Top $90 Million (Multichannel News)
New Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge inked a pay package that could be worth more than $90 million over the next four years, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week.

Turcotte Takes A Hike At Freebie AM New York (NY Post / Media Ink)
Newsday-owned AM New York, a freebie paper distributed primarily in Manhattan five days per week, is now without a publisher, amid continuing upheaval at the paper.

Unhappy Holidays For Netflix, Says Study (CNET)
The old year certainly wasn't a happy one for Netflix, and the new year may not be, either, if the results of a just-published survey are any indication. GigaOM / NewTeeVee: Netflix had a rough year, for sure: The company has taken its lumps from users, analysts, and investors ever since it announced a major price hike and an ill-advised plan to spin off its DVD-by-mail service into a separate business called Qwikster. All of that has led to a massive decline in customer satisfaction, as the once high-flying company saw its rating drop to their lowest ever, according to ratings company ForeSee. LA Times / Company Town: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is taking a 33 percent pay cut after a dismal year for the company, leaving chief content officer Ted Sarandos as the highest-paid executive at the company.

How Hulu's 'Steamboat' Ads Recommend New Shows To Users (GigaOM / NewTeeVee)
Hulu, like all video services, has long been focused on growing its viewership, but also on keeping those viewers watching more and more shows. While it's mostly been building that audience by featuring popular new programming, it's also building out a recommendations system to introduce viewers to new content.

Clock Ticking On Retrans Contract Between Verizon, Media General (TVSpy)
Two Media General-owned local stations are warning viewers that "it appears unlikely" that a new retransmission agreement will be reached with Verizon FiOS before the Jan. 1 deadline.

Google+ Launches Three New TV Ads Featuring Muppets, Bill Walton, And Some Engaged Chick (TechCrunch)
What do you do when your viral growth starts to taper off? Advertise! That strategy has seemingly been working well for the Google Chrome Web browser (now with one-quarter of worldwide browser market share), so Google may as well give it a shot with Google+. Wired / Epicenter: You get a sense of Google's culture -- and who the people of Google are -- by the choice of the Muppets as the stars of the commercial.

How The Long Tail Cripples Bonus Content/Multimedia (paidContent)
Well, the long tail has hit the book business, and hard. The number of e-books published in 2012 is going to exceed 1 million, easily. That's more than eight times as many books as were published to the public a year ago, and many times the number 20 years ago.

LA Times Adds More Games To Website, Hoping To Boost Revenue ( / Media Alley)
In a bid to boost its digital revenue, the Los Angeles Times has struck a deal with Arkadium, a major online game developer, to add more than two-dozen games to that section of its website. FishbowlLA: The LAT is hoping to boost its advertising revenue while its 17 million unique visitors waste time at work and home playing Sparks, Monkey Gems, and Mahjongg.

Twitter Feels The Brees (FishbowlDC)
We don't usually cover sports here in the Fishbowl, but Monday night, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees broke the record held by Hall of Famer Dan Marino for single-season passing yards. That pass -- which was a touchdown, by the way -- set off a flurry of well wishes from media types and politicos. Mashable: Brees broke the National Football League's 27-year-old single-season passing record Monday night, and the feat immediately attracted a flurry of congratulatory tweets, including one from previous record-holder Dan Marino and another from rap star Lil Wayne.

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