Madoff pays dividends in book deals

January 16, 2009

Not everyone in the orbit of accused mega-thief Bernard Madoff wants to give him the old pitchfork-and-torches treatment. In the past 24 hours, I received two press releases touting book deals for reporters who are going to write about the man who purportedly stole $50 billion from a variety of rich people, hedge funds, charities and universities.

Even Apple music wants to be free, sort of

January 7, 2009

The New York Times headline on Apple’s Macworld convention is so snappy that it almost frees me of the obligation to write this blog entry today:

How much are those front-page Times ads?

January 6, 2009

Don’t ask The New York Times how much its new front-page display ads cost. The paper won’t say. That didn’t stop the New York Post from asking ad buyers. Here’s the answer based on anonymous sources:

You guessed it: Viacom and Time Warner settle

January 2, 2009

Who was the big winner in the Time Warner Cable-Viacom dispute? A few newspapers, it seems, since they got a little extra holiday cash when Viacom decided to take out some advertisements and take their fight with the cable operator public.

Viacom, Time Warner Cable help get people out of the house

December 31, 2008

Viacom and Time Warner Cable are doing their best to make sure that television addicts around the country get a chance to go outside and stretch their legs come New Year’s Day. Of course, the reason they’re doing their part for physical fitness has little to do with ensuring the health of their viewers.******As Reuters reports, Viacom — the company run by financially challenged media mogul Sumner Redstone — provides programming to cable networks like Time Warner Cable for a fee. Now we’re at a time when Viacom and Time Warner Cable are renegotiating the fee, a regular occurrence. Equally regular are the disputes that arise as the negotiators try to determine what a fair price is.******The ultimate loser turns out to be you, the faithful TV watcher, because the last resort of companies like Viacom is to pull their programs off the air. The idea is that sends watchers into paroxysms of rage, usually directed at the cable company that they give all their money to every month. Eventually, the idea goes, the cable company cries Uncle! and agrees to pay more money to bring you the programming. Yes, your bill goes up too, as it always does.******Here’s a sample of what will stop being broadcast on Jan. 1: Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Hills.******And here’s a sample of the pre-packaged righteous indignation that you hear at times like this from the companies:***

Viacom: Time Warner Cable has dismissed our efforts at a fair compromise… As a result, we are sorry to say that for Time Warner Cable customers our networks will go dark as of 12:01 on January 1st.

Moody’s reads newspapers

November 24, 2008

Moody’s thumbed through the newspapers of the United States on Monday and concluded what many of us know: the outlook is negative. The summary: ad revenue falls, less money comes in, newspapers have to cut back to survive and it gets harder to pay their debt.

Crunching the New York Times numbers

November 21, 2008

The New York Times Co’s announcement on Thursday that it’s cutting its dividend by almost 75 percent is a pretty grim indicator of the fortunes of the storied newspaper publisher. It also is fraught with implications. It prompted us to put some of the numbers in perspective, but first, here’s a recap of the news:

Another gloomy week for publishing

November 21, 2008

Another dark week for the publishing business, capped by a double-barrel blow yesterday when news emerged that the New York Times was slashing its dividend and the Associated Press was slashing its workforce.

Play time is over at The New York Times

November 18, 2008

We always thought that being involved in the professional sports world was like owning your own mint… which explains why we’re not independently wealthy.

Fight on the blogs! Fight on the blogs!

November 18, 2008

There’s the story, and there’s always the side-story. The snarky, juicy, lip-smacking stuff.