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Posts Tagged ‘Dan Abrams’

OWN: A Test of the Oprah Brand, An Opportunity for Other Brands

Despite a launch that the AP calls “rather quiet” Oprah‘s new OWN cable network launched this weekend with an average of one million viewers on its first two nights, the New York Post reports. While that’s a much smaller audience than the one Oprah normally enjoys during her daytime talk show, it may be part of the plan.

“The strategy seemed that of a soft opening, aimed at whetting viewers’ appetites so they regularly come back and sample the network’s expanding menu of new shows as they roll out,” says an AP story.

Among all of Oprah Winfrey’s triumphs, those with a long memory will recall a few flops, such as her ABC program The Big Give. After the jump, an MSNBC segment analyzes the power of the Oprah brand and what she stands to lose if the network doesn’t live up to the high standard that has been set for it. The clip says she’s “one of the most influential tastemakers in the world” while also quoting analysts who say her “entire brand is on the line.”

Still, the safe bet is on OWN’s success.

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Dan Abrams, NBC Chief Legal Analyst, Blog Publisher, Digital Strategy Firm Owner

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As one can tell from this headline, Dan Abrams wears many hats. PRNewser has been covering Abrams for a few years now, ever since the former MSNBC general manager launched his own digital strategy firm, Abrams Research, which counsels brands on their digital/social media efforts.

In this interview, Abrams talks about what he enjoys more, being on the reporting side versus the business/strategy side, how Abrams Research has changed over the past 18 months, and whether he thinks “PR firm” has a negative connotation for his firm.

You launched your consultancy, Abrams Research, in November 2008. What are some of the biggest milestones from your first 18 months in business?

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Dan Abrams On His Agency: Don’t Call Us A PR Firm

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NBC chief legal analyst Dan Abrams — who has also launched a blog network and digital consulting firm in the last year — spoke with CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” hosted by Howard Kurtz in an interview that aired this weekend.

Kurtz asked Abrams about a number of topics in regards to his career and the media industry, including the launch of Abrams Research, his consulting firm. Abrams was quick to point out that it’s not a PR firm, exactly. From the transcript:

KURTZ: You also have a public relations firm. And now you’re advising big corporate giants like Coke and GE on social media.

ABRAMS: Yes. It’s not really a PR firm. What it is –

KURTZ: I don’t want to be charged for this advice. What do you tell them?

ABRAMS: Yes. No, I understand. I understand. What it is, it is a digital media firm.

ABRAMS: So, basically, we’ve seen that we know how to build traffic, for example, on the Web sites. How do you get people to stick around?

There are little tricks of the trade, et cetera.

We’re just applying those tricks now for businesses and saying to them, hey, you want to keep people in your universe online? Here are some things you can do.

You want to build traffic on your Web site? You want to keep people there? Here are some things that we think that you should do.

So that’s now the exclusive foray of Abrams Research.

In a brief discussion with an Abrams Research consultant this past fall, this PRNewser called the company a PR agency, and was quick to be corrected that Abrams Research is a “media strategy” firm.

It’s not surprising that the agency faces the challenge many other digital shops do these days, in terms of defining where they fit into the marketing landscape and what they actually do. Watch Abrams on “Reliable Sources” here.

Cataloging Hacks-Turned-Flack

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Journalists leaving their posts to take up careers in public relations is not a new thing, though it seems to be accelerating lately with the doom and gloom hitting the media business.

My co-editor Joe Ciarallo recently asked “Do Former Journalists Make Good PR Pros?” Most of the numerous comments offered a resounding yes, though most were in fact, former journalists. The writing, research, adherence to deadlines, dealing with a variety of people, are all important skills. Though, one agency head who requested anonymity said, “never ends well.” “Journalists would prefer to hang up on difficult clients. You can’t do that on this side of the fence.”

Moving from one side to another is both an interesting topic for PRNewser, and firmly fits mediabistro’s M.O. to help media people retrain, reinvent, and find the jobs they want.

Without further adieu, we’re adding a “hack turned flack” category to keep track of those who make the leap. I won’t go in to depth about the word “flack” though I don’t believe it’s pejorative, and hack-turned-flack is a lot catchier than journalist-turned-strategic comm consultant.

Here’s an alphabetical list of a few of the hacks-turned-flacks who have made the jump recently:

Dan Abrams, MSNBC anchor and general manager to found Abrams Research, then starting his own content play Mediaite with mediabistro’s Glynnis MacNicol & Steve Krakauer joining HuffoPo’s Rachel Sklar and the Daily Show’s Colby Hall on the masthead.

Chris Gaither from the Los Angeles Times, to Google corporate comm

Mike Hegedus, CNBC correspondent to McKinley Reserve

Keith O’Brien, PRWeek editor-in-chief to Attention

David Patton, WSJ.com to Waggener Edstrom’s Studio D division

Blake Robinson, founder of Crunchgear to MWW Group, on to Attention


Richard Wolff
, Newsweek to Public Strategies, Inc.

Photo credit: Me, wearing a fedora.

Abrams Research’s Mediaite Launches Today

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Howard Kurtz published the first MSM look at Mediaite last night in his Media Notes column. Mediaite, the editorial venture that’s part of business image consultancy Abrams Research has drawn fire for lack of church-and-state separation, most recently by Jeff Jarvis, Buzzmachine blogger.

Though the Manhattan media scene knew the launch was impending (by way of Abrams’s Twitter feed and other sources), questions remain unanswered by both Dan Abrams, and his Editor at Large Rachel Sklar. Both have been responding to criticism with somewhat conflicting information, begging the question: is the controversy cultivated to bring in business? Sklar, the former HuffPo blogger, with her considerable connections has been acting as both publicist and editor thus far.

Abrams Research’s proposition is to use working journalists–clarified as freelancers and former journalists in Kurtz’s column–to focus-group and hone clients’ messages. Abrams and Sklar maintain that the Research division and Mediaite venture are completely separate. I spoke to Skar shortly after her scathing “dick move” rebuttal to Jarvis’s slam came out, and didn’t learn anything new about the consultancy, other than she denied the fuss was generated as linkbait, and that presumably the editorial staffers will be paid with ad dollars from Mediaite. Dan Abrams says virtually the opposite in a mediabistro Media Menu podcast interview with Steve Krakauer. If you haven’t followed this particular swim in the fishbowl, Krakauer recently jumped ship from mediabistro’s TVNewser over to Mediaite along with former Fishbowl NY blogger Glynnis MacNicol.

I explained to Sklar during our discussion that these issues don’t matter much in terms of Abrams as a public relations venture. Their clients will be satisfied if they get what they pay for, and their coverage is devoid of mentions of Mediaite, Abrams Research, and the names of people who work at either. However, if Sklar and Abrams bristle at being categorized as a PR firm, then are they offering enough services to attract enough business to pay for both ventures–assuming it takes time for the ad dollars to roll from red to black? Getting at solid messaging through the perspectives through real journalists is a new thing but may be a service fishing for only a fraction of what corporations are paying in monthly retainers. If Abrams continues to keep costs down and continues to generate sizzle with Mediaite, he could do just fine.

PS: Mediaite has been periodically down today, currently serving the message “Error establishing a database connection”.

Dan Abrams at Media Relations Summit: Bullish on Social Media, Still Mum on Clients

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Yesterday was Rather, today is Abrams. Dan Abrams, that is, CEO of Abrams Research and Chief Legal Analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. In his keynote at Media Relations Summit today, titled “The Future of Media Relations: Engaging Journalists as Media Strategy Advisors,” Abrams told the audience, “PR folk and journalists have many similarities. And the reality of our world right now is that we cannot put ourselves in a box, nor should we want to. With that said many of the same goals and ethical issues apply as well. But how we define and execute that is the real issue.”

Speaking with PRNewser after the keynote, Abrams said, “The main point I was trying to make, is that you can’t look at the media as just mainstream media journalists. A lot of what we’re [Abrams Research] doing is social media strategy. With social media changing, literally every month there are major new developments that you have to understand. Anyone who can’t tap into the cutting edge are at a distinct disadvantage.”

When asked specifically about Abrams Research’s current business momentum, Abrams would only say, “business is going great.” He also wouldn’t mention any clients by name. “I’m not going to get into that yet. We will in the relatively near future,” he said. Another thing coming in the future? Abram’s media aggregation-blog site, Mediaite, which he said the company is “still planning on launching in June.”

RELATED: Dan Abrams and the Rise of the “Journalist-Consultant”

Jon Fine Examines Dan Abrams and the Rise of the “Journalist-Consultant”

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It’s been about five months since former MSNBC anchor and general manager Dan Abrams launched Abrams Research, a media strategy firm. The controversial part, from the start, has been the firm’s stance that it will use a stable of both former and current journalists to advise its clients.

As you can imagine, many media properties would not be all too happy to find out reporters are making extra money on the side by advising companies they could potentially cover. Abrams insists that current journalists will not be able to advise companies in their areas of coverage.

BusinessWeek media columnist Jon Fine dug into all of this in his column last week, which drew a response from Abrams when he appeared on mediabistro’s Morning Media Menu podcast on Tuesday.

Said Abrams:

It is interesting to me the timing [of the column]…Jon suddenly takes an interest in criticizing my business four and a half months in, for the same issues that you point out that people mentioned in the beginning, when lo and behold, there’s rumors that I could be creating a content producing site about media, that lo and behold, might compete–might, according to Jon–with mediabistro.

Well, isn’t that coincidental, that suddenly Jon is publishing his concerns about my business?

The site in question is a “media blogging and aggregation” site, potentilly akin to Ariana Huffington‘s Huffington Post or Michael Wolff‘s Newser. Fine goes on to clarify in a blog post: “the potential launch of a media site is not what I found troubling about Abrams Research. It’s the situation with working journalists serving as corporate consultants…”

One thing seems clear – the company doesn’t want to be labeled a PR firm. In a brief discussion with an Abrams Research consultant, this PRNewser called the company by that name and was quick to be corrected that they are a “media strategy” firm.

That being said, there are PR people who also report – the editors of this blog included, but you know who we are, and where to find us. As Fine states, “There’s much more muddiness in Abrams’ new venture.”

UPDATE: WebNewser has their take on the back and forth here.