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Media Audit

If You’re CNN, Which Do You Choose? The Brand or Ratings?

CNN MH370 coverageCNN‘s ratings got a boost from coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight that has been called both “breathless” and “speculative.” In the process, its reputation has taken a hit.

The AP noted in mid-May — the point when CNN’s round-the-clock reporting of MH370 was hitting a fever pitch — that various shows on the news network had seen a spike in viewership. One Thursday, programming reached 588,000 viewers where they usually reach 320,000. And Anderson Cooper, who would usually have 444,000 people watching his program, was reaching numbers closer to one million.

However, YouGov BrandIndex data shows that perception of the network (and HLN) had dropped in the first three months of this year after reaching near highs at the end of 2013.

So to get those bumps in eyeballs, the network had to sacrifice a piece of the brand’s perceived quality. The question is whether it’s worth it.

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Mediabistro Course

Storytelling for Media Professionals

Storytelling for Media ProfessionalsStarting April 22, this in-person workshop will teach you the specific ways to incorporate storytelling into your personal and professional life. Students will examine the role of storytelling in business and put their newfound skills into practice with a series of improvisation, writing, and presentation exercises designed to help them uncover personal stories. Register now! 

Yikes… Will the Kimye Cover Vanquish Vogue?! (Answer: No.)

kimye coverSo that escalated quickly. One minute we were all gasping at Anna Wintour‘s decision to put Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on the cover of the April edition of Vogue. The next, we’ve got bilious backlash, musings about the downfall of Vogue magazine and Billy Bush asking whether this is going to mean the ouster of Wintour.

Upon closer reflection, while it’s not the ideal public response, the duo are living up to the #WorldsMostTalkedAboutCouple hashtag written at the bottom of the page. This situation, in many ways, is good for Vogue. And in some other ways, will mean nothing much in a few weeks.

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The Dodo, A New Site Focused on Animals, Taps Into Our Love For Our Fuzzy Friends

the dodo tweetThe Dodo is back from extinction. At least in digital form.

The new site, The Dodo has launched, “a community-driven destination that’s committed to understanding, celebrating and helping animals.” For this site, “anyone can be a contributor,” though there is also an editorial staff. According to the press release we received, contributors will have the power to create content, pull things from social media, and add items with the hashtag #thedodo.

And based on a glance at the site’s homepage, we’re talking about more than just cat videos and baby animal webcam footage. Topics covered include SeaWorld’s non-reaction to a dolphin hunt in Japan, issues with an Animal Planet program, and an oil spill in Trinidad.

OK, there is one cat video. But it’s a white tiger, so slightly different.

The site has got some big name backers, including Lerer Ventures and Sterling Equities, and counts among its contributors Arianna Huffington and the Dog Whisperer himself Cesar Millan.

But the question is whether there’s enough passion out there to sustain a site with an animal focus. We’ve seen fervor over animal rights wax and wane over the years. Dodo EIC and CEO Kerry Lauerman addressed that issue in an email to us.

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Conde Nast Traveler Is ‘Redefining’ Its Motto ‘Truth In Travel’

conde nast travelerDetails are still TBD, but Conde Nast Traveler is reportedly in the midst of a tagline revamp, going from “Truth In Travel” to perhaps “Taste In Travel.” The former has been the mag’s tagline for 26 years, since its beginnings.

“I can tell you that Truth in Travel will always be an essential part of our DNA,” a spokesperson told CapitalNewYork. “We will just be redefining what it means.”

Dangerous proposition to try and redefine “truth.” Either it’s a fact or it’s not, and anything else verges into that old Stephen Colbert idea of truthiness. For Traveler, the tagline change might have something to do with cost-cutting measures. Where the magazine previously didn’t accept discounts or special treatment at the destinations they were headed to, now it could start accepting “media rates.”

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STUDY: Digital Media to Average 15.5 Hours Daily by 2015

rise-of-social-mediaSo, is this awareness…or addiction?

As you see from the headline, and we read from the Los Angeles Times, Americans are getting more and more attached to our smartphones, tablets and computers. Call it voyeurism, narcissism or get-a-damn-job-ism, but this study shows that the average American will soon spend 15.5 hours on digital media each day.

The study, “How Much Media? 2013 Report on American Consumers,” was produced by the Institute for Communication Technology Management at the USC Marshall School of Business.

By 2015, data indicate that Americans will consume media for more than 1.7 trillion hours, an average of 15.5 hours per person per day. Mobile messaging hours, which last year accounted for about 9% of voice call hours, will double to more than 18% of voice hours, a year-over-year growth rate of more than 27%, the report said.

A bulk of this online staring into nothingness is viewing video via the Internet. In 2008, that viewing was three hours each month. In 2011, it increased to six hours each month. By 2015, that number will skyrocket to 11 hours each month for the average American.

In case you are missing the high-tech speak, how about this excerpt from ScienceDaily.com after the jump (take that, intellectuals):

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Happy Birthday to The Onion

Happy 25th birthday, America’s Finest News Source. Now get a job and move out of your parents’ basement.

To the delight of Area Men everywhere, the weekly newspaper-turned Internet phenomenon has survived and flourished by speaking truth to bullshit since 1988.

Modeled on the classic daily paper, The Onion‘s mastery of reporting, opinion, factoids, news-you-can-use, sourcing, quotes, and photography makes it a must-read for PR pros. Why?  Because we all need to level our judgement with a bit of satire from time to time, the tone is always perfect, and it makes for a highly entertaining teaching aid for new executives looking to tighten their writing.

Here are a few of my favorites:

It’s also with pride that the Onion’s content marketing arm Onion Labs uses a PRNewser quote on its site for promotion. Hat tip to my colleague Patrick Coffee for writing it.

Peel back the layers further and listen to NPR’s interview this morning with Onion Editor-In-Chief Will Tracy:

Newsweek Got Sold And No One Really Paid Attention

For a minute, we were all paying attention to Newsweek again. But just as quickly as our heads whipped around when we heard that the title had been sold to IBT Media, the company that owns International Business Times, our heads whipped back the other way because Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post.

Newsweek, which was meant to be revived by its association with Tina Brown’s site The Daily Beast, instead seems to be even more of a shell of the notable newsweekly it once was. For one, it stopped printing seven months ago and went all digital. Then, a number of notable staff left, including CEO Baba Shetty and editor Tunku Varadarajan. Finally, you had Newsweek owner Barry Diller saying publicly, “I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek, it was a mistake.” Diller’s point was that a newsweekly’s time had passed at the rise of Twitter and other instant news. Sales pitching at its finest!

But the companies involved here would have us believe that this is a great sale and a great brand.

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The Latest News on Recently Launched DOGTV, Cable Channel for Canines

While Time Warner Cable and CBS continue their dogfight in a few major metro markets, a new cable channel, DOGTV, made its nationwide debut last weekend. The subscription-based network is designed for dogs, to keep them busy during the day when their owners are out. The 24/7 programming is available on DirecTV, via Roku boxes and online streaming. PRNewser learned the latest on the unique channel from Ron Levi, DOGTV’s founder.

Pet experts and animal trainers developed the content, aimed at entertaining, stimulating and relaxing dogs. They’re using real-world sounds, music, objects and animated movements, in three-to-five minute video segments. (about the same attention span as for human online video viewing). The goal is for canines who watch DOGTV to be less stressed, bored, depressed, and not as likely to experience separation anxiety. Plus, their owners will feel less guilty about leaving them behind. DOGTV employees can bring their dogs to work, though. As Levi noted, “They assist us with quality control.”

Levi commissioned extensive research to arrive at the right programming balance. Testing included monitoring dogs watching DOGTV at home. As a result, they eliminated barking sounds and shouting, which agitated canine viewers. Instead, they opted for stimuli to acclimate dogs to everyday life, such as car noises. Levi said “programs are all filmed according to dogs’ unique senses of vision and hearing. While all content is produced in-house, we’re open to ideas for future shows for dog parents.”

DOGTV’s popularity has exceeded expectations, Levi reported. While the channel doesn’t show ads, they have various partners. “For our pre-sale we partnered with Dog Is Good, Pet Best, Rover.com, and Pet Product Advisor to deliver a welcome kit to early subscribers”. He also noted the network’s involvement with animal charities. “Every time your dog enjoys DOGTV, pets in need are helped. DOGTV supports HSUS’ (Humane Society of the U.S.) Pets for Life program to extend the reach of animal services, resources and information to under-served areas.”

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The Return On Jeff Bezos’ Investment In “The Washington Post” Could Be Huge

Jeff Bezos‘ purchase of The Washington Post reconfirms that the newspaper industry is hurting, that the media industry is still in a state of flux, and that no matter how digital content gets, we still have a soft spot for ink. A venerable, old school newspaper that was founded in 1877 was bought by someone who has made their fortune in e-commerce and the news took over Twitter, with “WaPo,” “Washington Post,” and “Jeff Bezos” all trending at some point in the past 24 hours. It truly shows how mixed up and tremendous the media is right now.

As with any change at a media outlet, we wait to see if there will be shifts in the newsroom. Publicists who pitch WaPo are likely preparing for any changes to their media relations strategy. And we can’t forget that there are other properties impacted by this sale. The Root, Slate, and a number of other newspapers and properties are being separated from their anchor, which could also affect their futures. Though we can’t forget that the anchor lost 44 percent of its operating revenue in the past six years.

Clearly, this deal gives The Washington Post the opportunity to not just hover on the edge of survival, but to actually thrive. For Bezos, the paper’s success would reap more than just monetary fortunes.

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‘GMA’ Winning This Week’s Ratings Battle With ‘Today’

This was Savannah Guthrie‘s first week as co-host of the Today show, but it may not be an overall ratings winner.

According to preliminary numbers, Good Morning America is winning the week so far by 360,000 total viewers and 40,000 in the 25 to 54-year-old age range.

Ratings for the new show Good Afternoon America are also doing pretty well, with the program getting 1.92 million total viewers on Monday and 2.04 million on Tuesday.

Today is preparing to bring its A-game to the London Olympics, which kick off in a couple of weeks. Any thoughts about Guthrie’s co-hosting skill or Good Afternoon America? The comments section is open.

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