Monday, October 23, 2006

William Spain, October 23, 2006, 11:30 AM
  • No Time For Mags To Brag Ad Age

    The magazine business has done itself a lot of good since its last annual meeting, notes the trade magazine in its annual industry report card. But there is no time to brag; magazines need to find ways to win through their unavoidable struggles.

    "Everyone is going through a lot of change," says Nina Link, president-CEO of the Magazine Publishers of America. "It's kind of messy. It's very exciting. There's not a lot of rules. People are going to make mistakes. But in the past year, magazine publishers have been in the game and been in the game pretty deeply." The trade mag offered several ways to improve viability, including turning a pub into a brand and reconsidering rate-base. PricewaterhouseCoopers projects that U.S. magazines will collect $37 billion in revenue this year. Read the whole story...

  • Nothing New About Nasty Campaigns Ann Arbor News

    As the Michigan gubernatorial campaign between Democrat Jennifer Granholm and Republican Dick DeVos gets nastier by the day, Eastern Michigan University professor Edward Sidlow, who studies American politics, notes that negative campaigns are as old as the Republic--and they can often be very effective.

    There are plenty of studies showing that this works, and "the negative messages simply make for better theater. Everybody gets some sort of perverse pleasure about hearing something gossipy or nasty about someone else," he says.

    Sidlow adds that we've lost sight of the fact that it is not new. In the presidential election of 1860, "Lincoln was called an ugly wretch and a baboon. Earlier, James Madison was referred to as Thomas Jefferson's "political pimp." Newspapers of the day, he notes, suggested that Alexander Hamilton was of mixed-race parentage, and mocked him as "a common bastard." Read the whole story...

  • Do Cross-Ownership Rules Protect Democracy? The Hollywood Reporter

    Easing rules that bar a single company from owning a newspaper and broadcast outlet in the same market would allow just a few individuals to dominate news coverage in many communities across the nation, according to a new study.

    The Media and Democracy Coalition research found that eliminating the restriction could enable one company to increase its market power beyond the limit antitrust rules allowed when they decide whether to permit mergers. But while consumer groups are calling on the Federal Communications Commission to keep the cross-ownership bars, an industry think tank urges it to throw them out.

    In the Media and Democracy Coalition study, authors applied the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index to media markets to give what they say is a truer picture of what happens when one company owns print and broadcast properties in the same market. And "that is not a marketplace where ideas can develop and have antagonism," said Consumer Federation of America Research Director Mark Cooper. "That is a disaster for American democracy." Read the whole story...

  • New Media Rules In Australia Are 'Wild Ride' The Age

    While the Australian media scramble continues, the biggest question is what the landscape will be for the next 20 years. Changes in the '80s established laws that determined the past 20 years. The new rules will settle the next 20.

    "The Australian media and the companies involved are all in for a wild ride, a tumultuous time, perhaps even greater than the upsets of the '80s when every major media company changed hands and, ultimately, the big got even bigger--not at all what [the rules] had anticipated," notes the newspaper. And this time, the Internet has brought new dimensions and new players. Just like the '80s, a number of owners won't go away. Packer, Stokes and Murdoch are long-term, and will exploit the changes to their advantage. After all, the paper notes, that is what the free market is. Read the whole story...

  • Sitcoms Squeezed At NBC Media Life

    The sitcom is ailing, and for NBC it's probably dead in the first hour of prime time under a directive from network boss Jeff Zucker. With rising costs and sinking ratings, NBC says it will fill the first hour of prime time with reality and game shows, saving the more expensive scripted drama and comedy series for the 9-to-11 p.m. block. The logic: 8 p.m. is too early to attract decent audiences, as people come home from work later and spend a lot of time online.

    Zucker seems inspired by the success of "Deal or No Deal," the game show that airs at 8 on Mondays and has done well on other nights in the same slot. Syndicated game shows like "Jeopardy" have also done well in the transition leading into prime time. And reality shows often air earlier in the evening as well.

    Jordan Breslow, manager of national broadcast research at MediaCom, thinks it's a smart move for NBC. "It's good economics," he says. "Concentrate the high-cost shows at 10 p.m. and the inexpensive game and reality shows at 8 p.m., and you won't need to air as many expensive shows." Read the whole story...

  • 'Phone Sex' Ad Riles Congressional Race Associated Press via Los Angeles Times

    Both candidates in a congressional race have declaimed a TV spot sponsored by the National Republican Congressional Committee that accuses the Democrat of billing taxpayers for a call to a phone-sex line. The ad, which started running Friday, shows Michael Arcuri leering at the silhouette of a dancing woman who says: "Hi, sexy. You've reached the live, one-on-one fantasy line."

    But Arcuri's campaign says an associate mistakenly dialed the line from Arcuri's New York City hotel room, and notes that the number shares the last seven digits of the state Department of Criminal Justice Services, which was dialed right after the first call was made. Arcuri, the district attorney in Oneida County, New York, says the ad is libelous and threatens to file a lawsuit--while his GOP opponent, state Sen. Ray Meier, describes it as "way over the line." Read the whole story...