• Old Media Grabbing Onto New Media In Fight For Survival?
    Paul R. La Monica, who writes for CNNMoney.com, says industry observers are seeing a heating up of the M&A market this year, resulting in higher share prices for companies in the sector. The recent acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios by the Walt Disney Company and the merger of UPN and The WB are just the beginning. Rik Toulon, a partner in the entertainment practice of law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman, tells La Monica, "The industry is so fiercely competitive. Everyone is focused on how to maximize profits and best use assets. It's pretty frenetic out there." The upcoming spate of ...
  • Report: DirecTV And EchoStar Cooperating On Broadband
    Responding to pressure from cable companies, which have had significant success delivering broadband access to residential customers, DirecTV and EchoStar Communications--the country's two leading satellite service providers--are reportedly cooperating on a plan to deliver high-speed wireless broadband. The report was published yesterday at TheStreet.com under Sandy Brown's byline. According to the story, the initiative comes from DirecTV, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. "If News Corp. is able to build out a wireless data service through DirecTV, it could mark a large change in the competitive landscape," writes Brown. For the first time, it would allow the satellite ...
  • Rumors Still Swirl Concerning a CBS-CNN Alliance
    In the wake of the recent marriage of UPN and The WB--the result of which is The CW, which pundits are happily punishing for both its name and its do-nothing logo--a number of analysts are predicting some sort of tie-up between other CBS Corp. and Time Warner units.  In particular, they see a possible merger between CBS News and CNN.  This is not the first time there's been chatter about a CBS-CNN connection.  The two have openly discussed cooperative efforts in the past.  Many observers "expect merger talks to resume," according to a report in Mediaweek. "It's a good ...
  • Wikipedia Will Be Published As 8000-Page Book--In Germany
    It seems totally counterintuitive, not to mention ridiculously challenging, but a German publishing company plans to publish a hardbound edition of Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia that is written and fact-checked (sometimes not well) by its users. It will take four years to publish the 8000-page encyclopedia, reports MediaGuardian, the London newspaper. An independent scientific advisor will be brought onto the project "to examine content," says the story. MediaGuardian's Grainger Laffan makes the point that seems obvious: "Observers believe the public contribution nature of the Wikipedia database, where updates and additions occur daily, makes it outdated as a printed ...
  • Magna Global: Idol Could Help Fox To First Place
    Simon Cowell's seemingly unstoppable ratings phenom, “American Idol,” may well help Fox pass ratings leaders ABC and CBS by March, according to research from Magna Global. In the 18-to-49 age category, Fox has already bolted past NBC. Magna sees the momentum from “Idol” carrying Fox to heights it has not previously attained.  The remainder of the season is somewhat dicey to predict, however, because of the upcoming Olympics, which will be carried by NBC; the games will interfere with normal scheduling for two weeks, disrupting normal prime-time viewing patterns. According to a story at Ad Age, "TV networks are ...
  • Auto Advertising Continues Drive Away From Newspapers
    As if the newspaper industry didn't already have enough to worry about. The Wall Street Journal reports that automotive classifieds, which historically have been an important advertising category for newspapers, are slipping badly.  Indeed, writes Joseph T. Hallinan, "the slippage may be turning into a landslide."  The explanation is twofold:  the Internet (of course) and structural changes within the auto industry itself. How so? Auto dealerships are consolidating, and mega dealerships devote a smaller percentage of their ad budgets to newspapers than do less formidable ones.  Also--and this is critical--the rise of Japanese auto competition has had a significant ...
  • Amazon May Begin Selling Content Online
    After announcing just days ago that it was preparing to launch a streamed show featuring TV host/comedian Bill Maher, Amazon.com, the online retailer, has indicated that it has plans to make available a full roster of products that can be downloaded for a price. Details of the plan have not been announced, but Red Herring, citing a report in Variety.com, says that Amazon "is in talks with various studios, such as Image Enertainment... and First Look Entertainment, to get digital content for the service. It will launch the service with at least two major names as partners." It's thought that ...
  • Maurice Levy Says He's Still In Love With Aegis
    Maurice Levy, the colorful chief executive of Publicis, says his adoration of Aegis, the British-based buyer of advertising space, remains undiminished. Although Publicis abandoned its attempt last fall to acquire Aegis, Levy remains undeterred. "We Frenchmen have a relationship to love which is very special," he joked to a reporter of The Times of London.  "The flame is never off.  We have burning fire under the ice."  Mindful that Publics has three main rivals on the world agency stage--WPP, Ominicom, and Interpublic--the company's CEO told The Times that he will not enter into a contest with his competitors that ...
  • Product Placements Undermine The Media In Which They're Placed
    John Greenwald, writing for the Republican-American of Waterbury, Connecticut, decries the rise of product placement as standard practice in mainstream media.  Actually, he seems more fascinated than angered. "Product placement has become so important there are companies that hook up advertisers and products," says Greenwald.  "One, Media Matchmaker, has a Web site where Madison Avenue and Hollywood execs fill out appropriate computer forms.  The computer merges and purges the data, listing product placement opportunities for both."  This should be offensive to audiences, in Greenwald's view, because it generally works to the detriment of the creative process.  Storyline, dialogue, and ...
  • Newspapers Challenge Identity Of Book Author
    Yet another black eye for the book-publishing industry. On the heels of Oprah Winfrey's public flogging of memoirist James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces, two newspapers appear to have revealed that the award-winning author of an Esquire magazine story and several acclaimed books is not in fact who he says he is. LA Weekly and The Charlotte News and Observer have both reported that Nasdijj, who said he was a Navajo Indian who had suffered a series of indignities and tragedies in his community, was in all likelihood a fake. They traced the writer's Social Security number to ...
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