• 'Hartford Courant,' TV Stations Combine News Gathering
    Tribune Company will move its two Hartford, Conn. television stations into the building occupied by The Hartford Courant newspaper to form a new combined news-gathering entity. The plan is that WTIC-TV and WTXX-TV will broadcast news from a new studio located in the Courant's newsroom. Courant Publisher Steve Carver is also being replaced with Richard Graziano, general manager of WTIC-TV and WTXX-TV "effective immediately," say Tribune executives. With the new arrangement, WTIC-TV will be able to add two half-hour news broadcasts, one at noon and another at 6 p.m. "This is the future of media," says Randy ...
  • Fox's Van Susteren Vulnerable to Beck's Success, Palin Ties
    Greta Van Susteren, a Fox News prime-time host, is being scrutinized for a questionably close relationship to Sarah Palin. It seems that Van Susteren's husband, John Coates, is a political adviser to the Alaska governor. Questions about the Palin link, combined with the overnight success of Glenn Beck at Fox News, makes observers wonder if Beck might soon get Van Susteren's spot. Insiders say Beck has already been viewed as a possible replacement for Van Susteren, who represents the weakest link in Fox's otherwise indomitable lineup. Van Susteren's ratings are getting smashed by Beck, whose show, despite airing in ...
  • New 'Esquire' Cover Stunt: A Flip Book
    The cover of the May issue of Esquire, on sale April 10, will be perforated to split into a flip book that lets readers mix and match the facial features of President Barack Obama, George Clooney and Justin Timberlake. The inside front covers and following page belong to ads for the History Channel's new series "Life After People." The cover innovation comes from top editor David Granger, who is determined to push the boundaries of print. Esquire's October issue came with a battery-powered cover that blinked and flashed. The February issue had a flap on the cover with an ...
  • TV Execs Worry as DVD Sales Dwindle
    Ancillary revenue from DVDs plays a significant part in modeling many television program budgets. DVDs had become a nice back-end profit driver for television in recent years. But that is quickly changing, as consumer spending cutbacks are hurting DVD sales. The softness in the DVD space is now affecting profit projections. Adams Media Research projects that consumer spending on DVDs and Blu-ray discs, will fall from $14.5 billion to $13.4 billion in 2009. Merrill Lynch projects that sales will be down 5% overall in 2009. Viacom's chief executive Philippe Dauman says his concern is to what extent the ...
  • CNN Slips To Third Place In Prime Time
    For the first time, CNN will be finishing third in monthly prime-time weeknight ratings behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC. CNN is suffering more audience erosion than its rivals since the peak days of the presidential election. The March ratings suggest that the more opinionated prime-time shows on Fox and MSNBC have greater audience loyalty.,br> CNN's weekday prime-time ratings are up 1% from March 2008, per Nielsen. Fox's ratings have jumped 30% and MSNBC, the new No. 2, is up 24%. The biggest growth in cable news is for CNN's partner, HLN, formerly Headline News, which is up 62%. ...
  • Dylan Ratigan Off the Air at CNBC
    After six years at CNBC, anchor Dylan Ratigan left the network March 27. His contract negotiations broke down because "he wanted things from NBC in addition to CNBC," says an insider. CNBC stars Maria Bartiromo and Erin Burnett have deals which ensure exposure on other NBCU platforms. At least one other network, ABC, is reportedly interested in Ratigan. While ABC does not have the cable breadth of NBCU, the network could provide Ratigan with opportunities beyond business news. Ratigan is telling friends he chose to leave because he wants to continue pursuing a story which began on his ...
  • AMA Seeks Probe of Its Journal
    In a situation that could have ramifications for ad-supported health media in the digital age, the American Medical Association has asked an oversight committee to investigate charges against the top editors of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. JAMA editors have been charged with threatening a researcher who publicly faulted a study in the publication. Researcher Jonathan Leo, a professor of neuroanatomy at Lincoln Memorial University, says the editors threatened him and his dean for an online letter he wrote in the British journal BMJ. The letter said JAMA didn't disclose that the author of a ...
  • MediaVest Cross-Trains Its Buyers
    MediaVest is quietly rolling out a restructure of its investment arm as part of its move to de-silo its company. The overall goal is for the agency to more closely buy and plan media based on consumers' habits. Under the prior structure, the agency's print buying group handled a given client's print spend, the out-of-home group handled the client's outdoor business, and so on, and the groups would collaborate with each other. Now, clients are being reassigned to single buying groups based on where the client's spending is concentrated. The agency has also begun the process of cross-training its ...
  • 'Popular Science', Science Channel Join For Content, Ads
    A new TV series from Popular Science magazine and The Science Channel offers a good example of how the media partnership model is evolving. The Bonnier monthly magazine and the Discovery's Science Channel will team up for "Popular Science: The Future of," a 10-part series making its debut in June on Science Channel and Science Channel HD. While Popular Science editors and researchers will work with Science Channel producers on the episodes, the arrangement goes far beyond editorial. On the back-end, Popular Science and Science Channel will share all ad sales and marketing duties, with each company's sales ...
  • Ad Holding Companies Face Credit Crunch
    Credit ratings agencies are voicing new concerns about ad agency holding companies. The credit ratings are very important because of the large amount of client money that flows through agencies, instilling a need for client confidence and conservative management of debt. Last week, Standard & Poor's revised its outlook on WPP Group and Publicis Groupe to "negative" from "stable." S&P also lowered WPP's short-term ratings to A-3 from A-2. S&P already has Omnicom on a negative "Creditwatch," meaning a change in investment grade could occur within 90 days. "These companies are definitely going to shrink this year, ...
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