MediaFile

Howard Stern’s TV judging stint a boost for Sirius XM

Howard Stern is going to be a judge on the NBC show “America’s Got Talent,” this summer and Wall Street is already betting this is going to benefit the shock  jock’s satellite radio home, SiriusXM Radio.

Stern, who will replace the less potty mouthed Piers Morgan, will raise the profile of his radio show and drive new subscribers, at least one analyst said on Thursday.

“We see this as a positive for Sirius, holding potential for free on air-promotion, positive for awareness and sub growth, depending on how the TV show fares,” said Lazard analyst Barton Crockett in a research note.

His new gig won’t effect his current job, where he is locked down until 2015. What’s more, the show is even moving its production to New York from Los Angeles, so the east coaster Stern can have an easy commute.

Stern inked a five-year deal Sirius XM last December that nets him about $80 million a year, according to analysts.  He brought an estimated 1.2 million subscribers to Sirius when he joined the fledgling satellite radio company in 2006.

Clear Channel’s Pittman: iHeartRadio app is not about Pandora, kinda

When Pandora shares took a dive last week several people pointed out that its dip came soon after the number one U.S. radio company Clear Channel Inc launched a customized radio application announced with a press release which didn’t shy away from drawing comparisons with Pandora.

Of course those comparisons essentially said “look our service is waaay better  than Pandora” and Clear Channel’s chairman of media and entertainment platforms Bob Pittman, couldn’t help but damn Pandora with faint praise in our interview.

Here are highlights of our chat with Pittman, a well -known AOL and MTV alum. (By the way, Pandora shares were back up 5 percent on Tuesday morning to $10.38).

Census Bureau: Newspapers, radio had a really bad 2008

Newspapers

People say you shouldn’t trust the government, but their news about the declining health of the newspaper and radio business is hard to dispute.  Read the Census Bureau’s press release, out on Wednesday,  about the tough times hitting the business in 2008, the most recent year for which comprehensive data has been compiled:

Newspaper Publishers Revenues Decline in 2008

Newspaper publishers experienced a single-year decline in total revenue of 8.3 percent — from $47.9 billion in 2007 to $43.9 billion in 2008. This followed a more modest decline of 2.7 percent in 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

A major contributor to the overall loss in revenues for the industry was the decline in advertising space revenue for general newspapers, which dropped 10.2 percent — from $30.9 billion in 2007 to $27.8 billion in 2008. Revenue from newspaper subscriptions remained largely unchanged over the period, from $8.3 billion in 2007 to $8.2 billion in 2008.

Ad spending down 14 percent – but it’s not getting worse!

Over the last few days executives at Goldman Sachs’ Communicopia have talked about a stabilizing — or even improving — advertising market.

It’s not the only time they’ve talked about stabilization. It was the watchword of investors calls as far back as last spring. And it appears they were right. New figures out from TNS Media Intelligence show the advertising market wasn’t any worse in the second quarter than it was in the first.

That’s cold comfort considering the data show that advertising spending in the second quarter sank 13.9 percent from a year ago. For the first six months of 2009, spending is down some 14.3 percent from a year ago, or more than $10 billion in lost TV spots, print ads and radio jingles.

Tuesday media highlights

Here are some of the day’s top stories in the media industry:

Verizon Planning Its Own App Store (Business Insider)
Preethi Dumpala writes: “The main idea: Verizon wants to be the company connecting its customers with apps — not necessarily its handset partners. And it wants to avoid becoming an even dumber pipe. Depending on how it’s set up, this could clash with gadget makers’ plans.”

McGraw-Hill might ‘give away’ Business Week for nominal $1 (FT)
“McGraw-Hill might reap only a nominal $1 by selling Business Week, according to people familiar with the 80-year-old financial magazine’s record of losses. The publisher has appointed Evercore, a boutique investment bank, to sell the title after deciding it was non-core to a group that owns the Standard & Poor’s rating agency and an educational publisher, two people familiar with the decision said,” writes Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson.

Sinclair says it might consider bankruptcy (Baltimore Sun)
“The Hunt Valley-based owner of television stations, which depends heavily on automotive advertisers for revenue, said it might be obligated to pay $488.5 million of its total outstanding debt within the next 18 months. The company said it had $1.3 billion in total debt outstanding as of March 31,” writes Lorraine Mirabella.

CBS, Clear Channel do some radio dealing

In case you hadn’t noticed, this isn’t exactly a great environment for wheeling and dealing. That only compounds the challenge CBS CEO Les Moonves faces in trying to reshape his radio division — it’s not like there was a thriving market for radio station M&A before this whole credit crisis.

But give CBS credit. Seems like they came up with an innovative way to swap a handful of their smaller stations for a couple of  larger stations in markets that CBS wants to be in. They struck the deal with Clear Channel, which needed to get something done to satisfy regulators looking at their buyout by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital.  

Here’s what the deal boils down to, courtesy of the press release:

In the trade, Clear Channel will obtain CBS RADIO’s KBKS-FM (Seattle), WQSR-FM (Baltimore), KXJM-FM and KLTH-FM (Portland, Ore.), and KQJK-FM (Sacramento, Calif.). In return, CBS RADIO will acquire two stations in Houston, the country’s 6th-largest radio market, KLOL-FM (Mega 101.1) and KHMX-FM (Mix 96.5).

MySpace Music finds conductor

Meet News Corp’s latest cool dude: Courtney Holt, president of MySpace Music. They say he’s not only talented, but he’s hip as well — and reports of his arrival were, to say the least, plentiful.

Here is his history, as outlined by MySpace’s press release:

Holt previously served as Executive Vice President of Digital Music for the MTV Networks Music and Logo Group where he oversaw several initiatives for the company’s digital music group, including working with the MTV, VH1 and CMT brands… Prior to joining MTV, Holt was Senior Vice President of New Media, Creative and Strategic Marketing at Interscope Geffen A&M.

It couldn’t hurt that he used MySpace to tout new albums from well-known pop acts such as Weezer, Nine Inch Nails, Beck, Black Eyed Peas, and Audioslave.

Sell NBC Universal? You gotta be kidding!

NBC is once again stuck in last place in prime-time ratings; its much-hyped Olympic coverage is over, so are the elections; advertising across media is under pressure; and dishing out $67 to hang at the Universal Studios theme park probably isn’t as appealing when you could soon lose your job, house, car, etc.

Still, NBC Universal would seem more secure within parent General Electric than it has been for some time. Indeed, most of the talk about a possible sale has faded away. Here’s what analysts told us for a recent article.

“I’ve struggled with it forever, in terms of why GE has it, especially now in a situation like this where ad revenues are down,” says Mike Gandrud, senior analyst at Optique Capital Management. 
“I’d love to see them do something with it … Do I expect it to happen? No.”