Today's layoff bulletin puts two companies in the spotlight. The first: In its latest round of staff axings, Clear Channel, the nation's biggest radio station, said good-bye to employees at stations in Nashville, Milwaukee, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville and several other cities, according to Radio Ink
. And men's mag Maxim
minimized its staff, letting go of six members from "the editors, web, and photo teams," Josh Constine writes. The cuts are at least partly due to competition from the Internet and social media, Constine theorizes: "There’s just more places for men to look at gadgets, guns, and girls than …
Lots of companies are rushing into "social TV" -- to the tune of perhaps $270 million, or more -- but The ROI from that money spent will probably be underwhelming, according to Peter Kafka. However, don't discount "the chance to create a next-generation TV Guide, or a next-generation Nielsen ratings service," which "would inspire entrepreneurs and check-writers to be even more aggressive," writes Kafka.
Cable TV will evolve into a "Pandora-like model," with a viewer's personalized favorites playing sequentially, predicts Peter Stern, Time Warner Cable executive vice president and chief strategy officer. In the future, "customers can consume television in a passive way, so they don't have to plan ahead like they do with the DVR model." And hooray, sounds like Stern is suggesting a future where one's cable bill might actually go down: "You don't have to subscribe to as big a package, once we put the tools in place to target the TV to you based on your interests," is his quote, …
Ad sales for Web streaming of NCAA tournament games this year equaled around $60 million for CBSsports.com and Turner, according to sources cited by Jason Del Rey. That figure -- nearly double that of sales for the 2009 games -- "is a sign of progress," though it fails to "convince many that a long-awaited reallocation of TV dollars to digital has arrived," writes Del Rey.
"What are the odds that two male journalists, in senior roles at newspapers in two different countries, both will be serial plagiarists of humor columns?" asks Craig Silverman in this post analyzing the hot-button -- and very timely -- topic. Silverman provides details of the current cases as well as other recent examples, both at print and online pubs, and then sets out to profile these serial offenders, much the way law enforcement profiles perps.
Coming onboard in April: a whole host of TV specials commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, April 15, 1912. They will appear on the channels you would think, from NatGeo to the History Channel to PBS. There's also ABC's "Titanic," a miniseries by "Downton Abbey" creator Julian Fellowes. This post by Diane Werts also includes a host of reasons for the continuing appeal of the Titanic story -- from its class conflict theme to how pop culture like film keeps exploring it for new generations.
News Corp. execs are considering the launch of a cable TV U.S. sports channel -- probably by converting its 24-hour action sports Fuel network, according to anonymous sources cited in this post. "News Corp. is assembling the required rights from pay-TV carriers and sports organizations," according to those sources.
Providing a way for publishers to monetize content without erecting paywalls, Google has signed up about 20 publishers for its new Google Consumer Surveys program, which pays partners 5 cents for each response to "microsurveys" completed by users. Advertisers and small businesses looking for inexpensive market research actually foot that bill, Google product manager Paul McDonald told Laura Hazard Owen.
While magazines increased their digital circulation by 125% in the second half of 2011, "digital remains about 1% of magazines' total paid and verified circulation," writes Nat Ives, reporting on a new analysis by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. In fact, much digital circulation was actually "paid for by businesses for promotional purposes" so readers could sample the product, according to Ives."Individually paid circulation was just 24% of Maxim magazine's digital total in the second half, for example, and 25% of Seventeen's digital total." So despite magazines appearing on tablets and e-books, "it appears that print will remain publishers' core …
iPad users spend a total of $70,000 a day on the newsstand, according to a report from Distimo. So how full is that glass? "The newsstand has only been a part of Apple's mobile software for 6 months," writes Jay Yarrow. "Its early success is a good sign for publishers." However, Yarrow also discusses a negative side to those stats, "considering the fact that Apple has sold [more than] 65 million iPads at this point."