MediaFile

GlobalMedia-ABC News in talks with Bloomberg

MEDIA-SUMMIT/DISNEYThe news divisions at the big networks have been in a world of hurt lately as advertisers seek out younger consumers and viewers. This has lead to big cutbacks in staffing and resources over the years as the networks strive to keep profit margins from deteroirating even further.

ABC is certainly no expectation and has experienced managment upheaval when ABC News president David Westin announced in September his departure partly due to the financial situation and the pressure to increase profit margins.  

Speculation has persisted that ABC News parent company, Walt Disney, has been seeking to untie itself from the division– rumors that similary dog CBS.

Anne Sweeney, president of Disney/ABC Television Group, flatly denied that the company was looking to offload the news or TV divisions but also confirmed that ABC News has been in talks with Bloomberg in forming a partnership. “We’ve had a lot of conversatoins with Bloomberg over the past couple of years,” she said during Reuters Media Global Summit.

Sweeney also said they are currently searching for Westin’s replacement though she was coy on when and who that might be. “We certainly have a lot of talent in ABC,” she said.

Layoffs hit The Washington Post after BusinessWeek, AP

Several media reporters wrote on Twitter on Thursday that this was one of the worst weeks in journalism, and it’s hard to argue with them. BusinessWeek is canning a third of its staff as Bloomberg gets ready to buy the magazine. The Associated Press is laying off 90 people as part of its effort to cut payroll costs by 10 percent this year.

And now The Washington Post is laying off staff, sources told me on Friday, and a spokeswoman confirmed.

The Post has cut an unknown number of washingtonpost.com workers, the website folks who until now have worked separately at the dot-com headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, across the river from the Post’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. One source told me up to 10 are going. That’s not as big a number as other places you’ve read about lately, but it’s still a painful cut. (Disclosure: I worked for The Washington Post Co. from 1998 to 2005)

Talking with Thomson Reuters chief about print

Covering Thomson Reuters Corp for almost two years has taught me that people like to cast my company in a recurring role in media deal parlor games. Now that the company’s arch-rival Bloomberg LP will buy BusinessWeek magazine from McGraw-Hill, lots of my pals in the media world are wondering: Will Thomson Reuters buy a mainstream news or business news magazine? Or newspaper? Why not Forbes? Why not the Financial Times?

Keep in mind that Thomson Reuters likes to remind people when they ask these questions that Thomson Corp, before buying Reuters, got out of its Canadian newspaper empire for a reason. (See below)

I asked our chief executive, Tom Glocer, a question along these lines on a Thursday phone call he had with reporters to discuss the company’s third-quarter financial results.

The Wall Street Journal — now for ‘professionals’

The Wall Street Journal, ever on the hunt for new ways to please its readers and new ways to make money (and what, we ask, is wrong with that?), will launch a new, pricier version this November. Called “The Wall Street Journal Professional Edition,” it is designed for business readers who want more than what the daily newspaper and website provide on their own.

Essentially, it is the Journal’s daily offering, with reports from Dow Jones Newswires and a reservoir of news and information from Factiva, the news archive that Dow Jones owns — and a bunch more stuff:

    Information from more than 17,000 global sources, some of which are not available to the public. A one-year archive of Factiva’s global business sources and a two-year archive of wsj.com content. More than 30 industry pages, managed by Dow Jones editors Six industry sections managed by Journal editors who select news and information for readers on pharmaceuticals, healthcare, energy, media and marketing, telecommunications and technology. Personalized homepages and news alerts for when things break.

Dow Jones plans to sell the edition to businesses, which would make it available to employees through “site licenses” (ie, your business buys a license that makes the professional edition available to X number of people for a price to be determined). In January, it will be available to people for $49 a month, or just under $600 a year, said Clare Hart, head of Dow Jones’s Enterprise Media Group, which oversees Dow Jones Newswires, Factiva and Dow Jones Indexes.

Welcome to Turkey, Bloomberg ‘efendim’

It always makes me happy when one of the companies on my beat reminds me that I study Turkish for at least one practical reason. In this case, it’s our rival wire service Bloomberg, which will start broadcasting news in Turkey through local partner Ciner Media. Pronounced, more or less, “Jiner Media,” the company also publishes magazines in Turkey that include Marie Claire, Newsweek Turkey, OK! and GEO.The service will be called BloombergHT for “Haber Turk,” which translates to, “Turkish News.” The service will be a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week Turkish language financial news and business channel that will broadcast on cable and satellite in Turkey and “Turkish Republics.” I have to find out what that means, but I’m guessing it means parts of Central Asia where Turkic languages are spoken.The launch will come later this year, Bloomberg said in a statement on Tuesday. It also said that Bloomberg will retain editorial control over the channel’s business content and will provide Ciner Media with access to the Bloomberg news service and that a website will follow.This news comes months after Bloomberg held a rare round of layoffs and laid out plans to shut down some of its non-English-language TV operations around the world. Bloomberg, as we and others have reported, has been working to broaden its worldwide reach. The company, I have heard from people familiar with its thinking and also from employees, wants to raise its profile outside its hardcore financial industry subscribers and is trying to offer more news to a bigger audience to do it. Pursuing BusinessWeek is one way to do it. Another would be forging more deals like the one in Turkey — let someone else handle the distribution, and you just focus on the news. We might see more of these deals soon.UPDATE: While I’ve been obsessing over whether I’ll get to play Peter Ustinov’s part in a remake of Topkapi, Business Insider noticed some substantial changes on Bloomberg TV’s presentation for the rest of the world. In the world of financial journalism, less really is more, apparently.PS: Efendi = “lord” or “master” or a general “sir” might even do these days. “Efendim” = “My lord,” etc. and is a common form of address. For example, you might call me “Robert efendim.” Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.(Reuters Photo: Istanbul)

Sniper-blogger grills Taiwan reporters

“Even Reuters’ Ralph Jennings — of whom I’ve been extremely critical for getting the story very wrong when it comes to Taiwan — tells us that ‘half a million’ attended the protest,” a blogger wrote in October after seeing the Reuters’s write-up of an opposition-led demonstration in Taipei against President Ma Ying-jeou.

China claims sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan. Ma, Taiwan’s president, likes China. The opposition and the blogger don’t like either.

I poured a beer to celebrate because I had it right, up from a score of “lies” that the same blogger gave me on a story earlier that year.

Google redefines time (From the UAL files)

Here’s something funny that I found at the bottom of a Google News search results page the other day:

The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program. The time or date displayed reflects when an article was added to Google News.

That sounds like another way of saying that the time and date the story showed up there do not necessarily match the time and date that the story was first published.

Relaxin’ at Bloomberg

fenwick1.jpgIs Bloomberg chilling out? The news and financial data provider (and our competitor) looks like it’s trying to make life at the hard-driving news and information provider a little less crazy.

“Starting August 1, employees can request schedules better suited to their personal lives — including flexible hours, a shorter work week and working from home,” writes Reuters reporter Robert MacMillan, who obtained a copy of the plans. “The new work schedule system may be Bloomberg’s first public acknowledgment of the need to accommodate an employee’s personal life — and that the changes would help the business.”

It’s not clear whether there’s a connection, but the new policy comes as Bloomberg is getting ready to defend itself against a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charging discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers.

The drama builds in Hollywood

hollywood.jpg

We’re once again wondering who will blink first in Hollywood.

The Screen Actors Guild and the major firm and television studios are having another pow-wow today, and the subject is an ominous sounding “final offer” that management has presented to the union.

As we have seen, the talks so far haven’t gotten around the same sticky issues that prompted a strike this winter by the Writers Guild of America strike. So a take-it-or-leave-it offer by the studios doesn’t sound too promising if the entertainment biz is to avoid another strike.

But wait! SAG executive director and chief negotiator, Doug Allen, suggested on the eve of his union’s formal response that the door to further deal-making remained open. He had this to say in an interview with Reuters:

Neither wind, rain nor a classroom will keep iPhone fans away

iphone.jpgHere we go…

Two days before the iPhone’s launch, fans around Asia are queuing up to buy Apple’s latest offering. They don’t seem to care that it’s raining or freezing cold or if lining up early means missing work or school.

The July 11 launch will be the first chance, after all,  for Asian consumers to own an iPhone.

“I’ve told my professor I was going to go buy an iPhone, and he gave me permission,” said Hiroyuki Sano, a 24-year-old graduate student who early on Tuesday arrived in rainy Tokyo from Nagoya to be first in line. Sano, speaking to Reuters, and incidentally wearing a T-shirt with an Apple logo, described his professor as an equally big Apple fan. “He sent me off cheerfully.”