Robert's Feed
Oct 27, 2009
via MediaFile

MySpace: Be ready to read this story twice


MySpace, the online social network (can we still call it that now that it has ducked out of the Facebook/Twitter competition?), appears to be pursuing what I’ll call the “two-pronged news strategy.” You get used to it when you cover media and technology. For those of you who don’t enjoy this privilege, it goes like this:

    Pick a news outlet that you like and whisper things to them about what you’re doing. It doesn’t have to be interesting, it just has to be exclusive. If you’re in public relations, you don’t even have to know that someone in your company is doing this. It works well for you. Let the rest of the press read the story and bombard your telephone and e-mail with messages demanding to know if it’s true. Score a big hit on the news cycle. Because you either decline to comment or only want to talk “on background,” it heightens the air of mystery — and newsworthiness. The official announcement of the news, which will always resemble 90 percent or more of what you read in the first round of anonymously sourced stories, will get just as much attention as that first round. It’s a 2-for-1 deal that is irresistible to many companies.

I don’t know that MySpace is doing this, and wouldn’t be able to confirm it if I asked. It could just be that the reporters who get the breaking news have great sources and the reporter asked smart questions that would yield good answers. I’ll let you judge.The first example comes from Kara Swisher, tech blogger at AllThingsD, which is MySpace’s cousin in the News Corp family. She reports:

Microsoft’s MSN is in preliminary talks with MySpace about using the social networking site’s music service, MySpace Music, to help power music offerings on the giant portal. …

Sources said Microsoft execs don’t think they can do as good a job as MySpace is doing and don’t see the point in striking needed but complex deals with music labels, which the News Corp. (NWS) property already has.

Oct 26, 2009
via MediaFile

Tribune365, thinking beyond newspaper circulation


Monday’s newspaper circulation numbers please no one who makes their living from selling papers. That’s evident when you look at the top 25 dailies by circulation and see that the best performance came from The Wall Street Journal, which rose less than 1 percent. Considering that advertisers use these numbers to determine where to spend their money, there is little reason to rejoice.Tribune Co’s two largest papers, the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, both posted steep declines on Monday, but the company is urging advertisers to look beyond numbers that it considers less relevant than they were before the Internet. Instead, it wants them to look at how many people they can reach through Tribune’s diverse lineup of papers, websites and television stations.To make this easier, Tribune has started “Tribune365,” a “multichannel sales solutions group providing customized marketing programs to advertisers looking to reach consumers across a variety of media platforms.” (More on what this means — in English — below.)“We want to change the conversation around both how we sell and how people perceive newspapers.” Print circulation,” said Vincent Casanova, Tribune’s senior vp of publishing operations “just doesn’t tell the whole story… The objective is to change the conversation from a narrow look at topline circulation results to a broader discussion of the power of newspaper advertising and how to deliver results.”For Tribune365, that means no longer selling ads to national buyers through a bunch of different sales teams that sell different kinds of ads for this or that part of a paper or this or that part of a website or TV station.Tribune365 President Don Meek cited a recent ad campaign for big-box retailer Target, which set up one of a 16,000 square-foot “pop-up store” in Chicago (Those are the temporary stores that spring up in cities for a few days at a time, sell a bunch of stuff, and move on):”We were able to put together an integrated program on WGN, WGN-TV, the Chicago Tribune, RedEye, Hoy… The only thing we couldn’t deliver was the outdoor bus shelter advertising on Michigan Avenue. Not only were we able to provide real estate and promotional support, it was also a fully integrated ad program. They said it was one of the most popular programs that they ever did.”Here’s another thing that ought to appeal to advertisers, thanks to AdAge’s article on Monday that includes a section on Tribune365:

Big newspaper companies are also looking at putting all their data about their readers, in print and online, to work for marketers. Tribune’s new Tribune365 unit is planning to introduce a universal registration system for all Tribune sites this year, with universal registration for mobile visitors in 2010. “We are getting such a fine degree of detail in terms of targeting that we will eventually be able to target a physical product to a household address, a digital product to the digital user in that household and a mobile product to the mobile user in that household,” said Don Meek, president of Tribune365.

That kind of project, of course, benefits from the biggest possible audience of registrants, something that charging for even unique, niche content could undermine. Mr. Meek declined to discuss prospects for pay plans at Tribune. “We’re going to try a lot of different things,” he said. “Which ones ultimately prevail, it’s too soon to tell.”

Oct 26, 2009

Newspaper circulation plunge accelerates

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The plunge in U.S. newspaper circulation is accelerating, according to the latest figures released on Monday, as more people cancel their subscriptions and publishers cut distribution and sales of discounted copies.

Average weekday circulation at 379 daily newspapers fell 10.6 percent to about 30.4 million copies for the six months that ended on September 30, 2009 from the same period last year, according to the U.S. Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Oct 26, 2009

U.S. newspaper circulation plunge accelerates

NEW YORK, Oct 26 (Reuters) – The plunge in U.S. newspaper
circulation is accelerating, according to the latest figures
released on Monday, as more people cancel their subscriptions
and publishers cut distribution and sales of discounted

Average weekday circulation at 379 daily newspapers fell
10.6 percent to about 30.4 million copies for the six months
that ended on Sept. 30, 2009 from the same period last year,
according to the U.S. Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Oct 22, 2009

Wasserstein family won’t sell New York Magazine

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Wasserstein family will not sell New York Magazine, the weekly arts, entertainment and lifestyle title owned by leading investment banker Bruce Wasserstein, who died on October 14.

A Wasserstein family trust will continue to control New York Media Holdings, the magazine’s parent company, a spokeswoman for the magazine said.

Oct 22, 2009

New York Times results beat forecasts, shares rise

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The New York Times Co beat quarterly revenue and profit forecasts because of cost cuts and higher newspaper prices even as advertising sales fell, sending shares up 19 percent on Thursday.

Ad revenue in its news media group, which includes the Times, Boston Globe and other papers, fell 30 percent, in line with declines that other U.S. newspaper owners are facing.

Oct 21, 2009

Media General posts loss,sees stronger ad spending

NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Media General Inc <MEG.N>
reported a quarterly loss on Wednesday because of a writedown
and said revenue fell 18 percent, but the newspaper publisher
also said it sees signs that ad spending is improving.

Media General, which owns U.S. papers such as the Richmond
Times-Dispatch and Tampa Tribune, reported a third-quarter net
loss of $62.5 million, or $2.80 a share, compared with
year-earlier net income of $6.1 million, or 27 cents a share.

Oct 21, 2009
via MediaFile

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 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.So why have a professional edition for a paper that is arguably already for professionals? According to Hart, it is an attempt to recognize the middle ground between “regular” readers (like my mom) and financial clients who use the super-charged “terminals” from Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg that provide news along with sophisticated and deep financial information.”It’s a response to what customers are driving us toward. Customers want the simplicity of a consumer application with the sophistication of an enterprise application,” Hart said.Robert Thomson, who edits the Journal and oversees Dow Jones’s editorial operations, offered a hypothetical example of an oil service company employee in Boise who might not be in the market for a Bloomberg or Thomson Reuters computer, but needs more information than he or she would get in the paper.”You’re interested in oil import prices, you’re interested in currencies,” Thomson said. “To be honest, it would be hard to find you as a client on the professional end.” With WSJ’s professional edition, he said, that employee could customize a feed that would send an alert when something happens in China that affects oil prices.On another level, the Journal is trying to capture readers for whom paper is not enough, while financial professional-grade data feeds offer too much at too high a price, and don’t look all that pleasing to the eye. The information that readers get would be more sophisticated, but┬ápresented in an easy-to-view way, just like the Journal or the Times or most other news outlets┬ápresent it to readers on their Web pages now.It sounds like a promising introduction and an effective way to give readers a more comprehensive look at Dow Jones’s information offerings than they might have gotten before. But how will it play? Company officials won’t share projections.It might be that Dow Jones, now part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, already has a bunch of happy customers who don’t need to be made happier. It’s hard to say how many untapped readers there might be for this new service, either through business licenses or through individual subscriptions. If nothing else, it’s an experiment done at a time when news outlets need to experiment even more than they are.(Photo: Reuters)

Oct 20, 2009

New York Times to cut 100 newsroom jobs

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The New York Times said on Monday it would cut 100 newsroom jobs through buyouts or layoffs as it tries to counter lost advertising revenue.

“Let me cut to the chase: We have been told to reduce the newsroom by 100 positions between now and the end of the year.” Times Executive Editor Bill Keller told employees in a memo obtained by Reuters.