• Showtime Adds Subscribers With 'Weeds,' 'Dexter'
    Original programs such as Emmy-nominated "Weeds" and "Dexter" have helped Showtime Networks retain subscribers during the recession. CBS-owned Showtime has more subscribers than it did two years ago, disproving concern that consumers would cut their premium-TV service because of the economy, says CEO Matthew Blank. Showtime benefited because more viewers stayed home instead of spending money on vacations, Blank says. To build brand awareness, the network sold shows on iTunes. "Our hope is that somebody watches "Dexter" on iTunes and then says, 'Boy, I should subscribe to Showtime,'" Blank says. Showtime currently has 16.5 million to 17 million ...
  • American Media Suspends 'Mom & Baby' Mag
    American Media is suspending publication of 5-year-old Mom & Baby magazine, which was distributed mainly at doctor's offices. Mom & Baby came out twice yearly with a rate base of 500,000. AMI is also scaling back the frequency of Natural Health magazine to eight from 10 times a year starting in 2010. Natural Health will be produced by Fit Pregnancy's staff, which used to produce Mom & Baby. Eileen Chiafair, the publisher of Natural Health, and its editor, Mary Bolster, left the company when their jobs were eliminated. It was unclear if other staffers will lose their jobs. ...
  • 'USA Today' Launches e-Edition, Weekender
    On Aug. 3, USA Today will be launching its first e-Edition as an exact page-by-page digital replica of the paper, with the addition of interactive features and exclusive content. The e-Edition will also include a Saturday-Sunday edition called USA Today Extra, the first regular weekend product from the paper. The weekend edition will be available only to print edition and e-Edition subscribers. The new e-Edition will be delivered daily by 5:30 a.m. ET. Subscribers will receive an email notification each morning alerting them to their e-Edition delivery. The e-Edition may then be read online or downloaded for later ...
  • 'NYT' Gets As Much Money From Circ as From Ads
    If current trend lines hold up, circulation revenues at The New York Times will pass ad revenues sometime this quarter for the first time ever. In the second quarter, the Times brought in $185 million in advertising revenue, while it reaped $166 million from its subscribers. It's a landmark event and points the way toward a new model. The New York Times in the second quarter pulled in from its 1.1 million daily and Sunday print readers about $151 each. That's $50 a month per reader. If the NYT went online-only and charged those print readers $15 a ...
  • Stations Set to Tackle ESPN's Local Push
    With ESPN poised to launch local sites in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, TV station executives are worried. ESPN's entry into those markets could not come at a worse time for the stations, where staffs have been downsized and sports reports have been shrinking. Local TV outlets nationwide have increasingly found their niche in high school sports. ESPN has expressed interest in boosting its teen coverage on the local sites ad is hiring about a dozen staffers for the sites, relying on its20local radio personnel. That may be a relief to station brass. "If you're going to be ...
  • Publisher Hearst Ups Stake in Fitch Ratings
    Fimalac is selling a 20% stake in its Fitch credit rating company to Hearst, which gives Hearst a total of 40% ownership. Fimalac might also consider selling another 10% in Fitch to Hearst in coming years, says Fimalac's founder. Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poor's dominate the market for credit ratings. Lawmakers and some investors have chided the agencies for giving stellar ratings to bundles of debt that actually comprised U.S. subprime mortgages at high risk of default. News organizations, such as Hearst's newspapers, have covered how losses on these high-risk mortgages helped spawn the credit crisis.
  • QVC Bets on a Part-Pitch, Part-Reality Show for Mizrahi
    Isaac Mizrahi will be selling designer cheesecakes-along with his designs for everything from potpourri to furniture-on a new program on QVC this December. QVC is currently erecting an expensive set within Mizrahi's New York studio that can capture his day-to-day life in high-definition video, a first for the network. "Once in a while you make a calculated bet," says Mike George, CEO of the Liberty Media unit. The show, called "Isaac Mizrahi Live!," will be a significant departure from the standard sell of cable shopping channels. Part pitch, part reality television, it will follow Mizrahi around as he ...
  • Reality TV Continues Its Fascination With Obesity
    The nation's obesity epidemic is now playing out in prime time. Unscripted series featuring overweight folks are popping up all over broadcast and cable, with even more to come. Next week, Fox launches "More to Love," a dating show that features zaftig contestants. That joins shows such as Oxygen's "Dance Your Ass Off," and the granddaddy of the trend, NBC's "The Biggest Loser." Next up, TLC will air "One Big Happy Family," which follows a North Carolina brood in which all four members weigh in at more than 300 pounds. "Society is looking at the issue [of obesity] ...
  • ESPN, CNN Lure Advertisers With Word-of-Mouth Data
    Today, marketers want to know not only how many saw their ads, but also what subset of that audience had a positive conversation about the ads with other people. "Media advertising clearly helps generate word-of-mouth. And the more word-of-mouth you have, the less advertising you need," says Graeme Hutton, Universal McCann director-consumer insights. CNN and ESPN are working with social-media firm Keller Fay to gauge such word of mouth. Keller Fay has been able to track 7,000 brand mentions per week and can identify the media outlets via which the commercial was viewed. For instance, CNN found that ...
  • 'Ann Arbor News' Prints Last Edition After 174 Years
    The Ann Arbor News had to write its own obituary after 174 years. The only daily newspaper in town, with a daily circulation 45,000, rolled off the presses for the last time yesterday. Its owner, Advance Publications, is replacing the paper with AnnArbor.com, an online news site that will produce a print edition on Thursdays and Sundays. Ann Arbor, 45 miles west of Detroit, is home to the University of Michigan, a highly educated population and a relatively stable economy. But publisher Laurel Champion says, "The seven-day-a-week print model just is not sustainable here. We have very low home ...
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