• Cable Operators Dispute FCC's Claims
    Responding to claims by the Federal Communications Commission that tiering of channels is fundamentally unfair to consumers and is responsible for inflated bills, the nation's cable operators have gone on the offensive, countering that dismantling the current system would hurt customers and the industry alike. Geraldine Laybourne, CEO of Oxygen Media Inc., which owns the Oxygen channel, said an a la carte pricing structure, if it were imposed on the industry, would put her company "out of business. Unless we had the total possibility of widespread distribution, we could never have raised the money we raised," said Laybourne, a ...
  • Girls "Get" Multimedia Better Than Boys Do
    Jim Geoghegan, president of the media-planning agency Media Head, says a study of how young boys and girls use media reveals that girls are notably more skillful at multitasking--that is, surfing the Net, text messaging, watching TV, and so forth, all at the same time. Advertisers and marketers who want to reach this 12- to 17-year-old demo should strive to take advantage of this tendency among girls. Says Geoghegan: "You need to think beyond targeted print or TV, and think about how these mediums influence each other. For creatives, particularly, there are opportunities to create advertising where these mediums intersect ...
  • Yet Another Defense Of Newspapers' Importance
    Perturbed by the incessant clang of funeral bells for the newspaper business, the Chicago Tribune's Charles M. Madigan has written an impassioned defense of his profession. "Some Things About 'Old Media' Never Change" is the headline above his column, and the point Madigan makes is that what newspapers have always done--report the news, generally in more depth than any other medium--is more valuable now than ever: "Once the competition between old media and new media works itself out, it will become clear that well-processed, well-presented content collected by professionals is the gold standard." Madigan acknowledges that "papers will be changing" ...
  • AmEx Publishing Names Whitney To Head New Online Division
    American Express Publishing has named Philip Whitney to head a new division, Online Media and International. The unit was formed as a result of yesterday's reorganization, which grouped AmEx's online and international operations into a single unit. Whitney, who was formerly general manager of the company's international operations, will report to Mark Stanich, chief marketing officer, and Paul Francis, chief financial officer. Ed Kelly, CEO of American Express Publishing, said, "By bringing these nontraditional areas together, we will be able to develop these profit centers more strategically and at a more accelerated pace."  Whitney began his career at Time ...
  • Air America Radio Rejiggers Its Morning Schedule
    New York-based Air America Radio, which has been struggling to find a strong, consistent lineup, said yesterday that it was implementing major changes in its morning programming, beginning Jan. 2. The network, which launched in March of 2004, will replace its 5-9 a.m. "Morning Sedition" program with "Air America Mornings," hosted by Mark Riley and Rachel Maddow. Marc Maron, the West Coast comedian who has been with Air America since its founding, will lose his early-morning perch but, according to the company, may come back on a syndicated program being developed especially for him. "Historically, AAR hasn't done well in ...
  • The World Is... Litigious
    Editor & Publisher reports that the dispute over cover art on Thomas L. Friedman's best-selling book The World Is Flat has not been resolved, and that a lawsuit filed this week by the cover artist against Farrar, Straus and Giroux, the publisher, expresses the artist's anger over the entire matter. "Mr. Friedman's representatives implied that [painter Ed Miracle] should be grateful that a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer 'chose' his work," Rose van Perbandt, Miracle's agent, told E&P.  "Some benefit--removing his name from the image" on the book's cover. Moreover, said the agent, not only had the original, now-familiar painting (of ...
  • Herro Endorses Bollore For Aegis Takeover
    David Herro, chief invesetment officer of Harris Investments in London, is quoted in the Financial Times as saying that Vincent Bollore is "Aegis' best hope. He is needed there." Any expression of sentiment on this subject by Herro--known for leading the shareholder revolt that ousted the Saatchi brothers from Saatchi & Saatchi a decade ago--is regarded as important because Harris Investments was Aegis' largest shareholder until August, when Bollore began to buy stock in the company. Bollore now owns 25 percent of Aegis. Last Friday, WPP Group and Hellman & Friedman announced that they were not intending to make an ...
  • FCC Opinion May Shake Cable Industry
    The Federal Communications Commission is expected to issue a report indicating that, contrary to its earlier opinion, a la carte pricing in the cable industry could be in the best interest of cable customers. "By suggesting that consumers won't necessarily pay more for individual channels, the report calls into question the revenue model for cable companies," reports the Wall Street Journal. The cable industry has long relied on the tier approach to persuade customers to purchase packages of channels, although consumer groups have complained all along that the system was fundamentally unfair, forcing customers to buy channels that they did ...
  • Newspaper Readership Decline Rethought
    In a long, detailed explanation of how newspaper readership needs to be rethought, Jennifer Saba writes in Editor & Publisher that readers are still there, they simply have migrated to reading the papers' content on alternate platforms. Getting one's hands filthy by picking up an actual paper is clearly going out of style. On the other hand, she says, newspaper content remains of value, as demonstrated by the rise in online readership. Saba quotes Jay Smith, chairman of the Newspaper Association of America, as saying, "We have for years allowed ourselves to be held hostage to one metric only {i.e., ...
  • Erwin Ephron's Take On Engagement
    In his latest newsletter, noted media consultant Erwin Ephron tackles the very notion of engagement, saying it is "not one thing." It is, in fact, a series of things. "What audience measurement tells us about measuring engagement is that we need to redefine it as something that helps us predict viewer response and can be measured. Otherwise," says Ephron, "engagement is just a feel-good word without substance." He goes on to point out that, in his view, "engagement is not just about content. It's also about the mechanics of message delivery."
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