Disney, whose "channels aren’t popular enough to continue to justify the nearly $8.4B a year they currently generate from program fees," has the most to lose if pay TV moves to an a la carte system, according to a study by Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett, writes David Lieberman. Other big losers could be Time Warner (not including HBO) and News Corp. (not including its regional sports networks). But remember, this is "more... a statement of potential, than an illustration of anything happening now,” according to Crockett.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia continues its unbroken record of unprofitability for the past nine years (with the exception of 2007) with a publishing division that "fell 16% to $28.8 million in the second quarter, [whose] operating loss widened as the timing of ad-sales staff changes held back growth,"writes Smart Money.
A ray of sunshine amid the constant reports of newspaper layoffs: the Ford Foundation is giving the Washington Post a half a million dollar grant to "expand its government-accountability reporting at the national and local levels," which will pay for four new hires, according to a Post memo reprinted by Andrew Beaujon. In an earlier move to “to preserve and advance high-quality journalism," the Foundation in May gave the L.A. Times a cool million-dollar grant to "focus on the Vietnamese, Korean and other immigrant communities, the California prison system, the border region and Brazil.”
In a serious and potentially costly legal challenge to The Nielsen Co., New Delhi Television Limited filed a suit in a New York court last week alleging that the "venerable ratings research company" manipulates "viewership data in favor of channels that are willing to provide bribes to its officials," writes Eriq Gardner. NDTV, the largest news channel in India, is seeking over a billion dollars in damages.
Vogue delayed the closing for its September issue ad pages, to good effect. With 658 ad pages, it's now No. 1 in the September ish ad page race among fashion books, and "has pulled into the year-to-date lead in the closely watched titles in the women’s fashion world, with 1,949 ad pages, according to Media Industry Newsletter," writes Keith Kelly.
Time Inc. plans to sells "digital products to advertisers tailored to a level of specificity not previously available," writes Amy Chozick. "Marketers hoping to reach new mothers, for instance, can incorporate messaging into an issue of People magazine (and its various app and online editions) with Jessica Simpson’s baby photos..." Chozick's interview with and profile of the company's CEO, Laura Lang, shows her speaking "in the kind of friendly, on-brand vernacular of an advertising executive in a pitch meeting," mentioning Time Inc. "not as a magazine publisher, but as a branded news and entertainment company." Lang promises "lots ...
To promote the Aug. 31 launch of the Singapore version of Esquire -- the 25th global version of the iconic men's mag -- Mongoose Publishing, which holds the license for this edition from Hearst, has released three short YouTube videos starring "a masked model dressed as Esky [the mag's mascot] — complete with a large, mustachioed head mask, dancing and posing in spots across the city’s business district," writes Kristiano Ang.
Good news for Comcast and NBC from London: The network reports record audiences for its coverage of the Olympics opening ceremonies Friday night and Saturday's coverage of the first day of competitions, according to Reuters' Jill Serjeant. And NBC's revenue for the Olympics games is approaching $1.2 billion, which means it's coming closer to breaking even, reports Bloomberg's Andy Fixmer. “It’s better than we thought," says Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts -- considering that the company paid roughly $1.8 billion for the rights. But NBC is still the usual suspect for Olympics coverage ...
The Dish-Viacom fee war may have been resolved, but Kenneth Ziffren believes that "so-called 'retrans' battles [between TV distributors and programmers' will get more heated rather than subside." Recent history bears this out, he notes: "In fact, according to industry analysts, 46% of publicized agreements this year were struck only after a signal blackout." Ziffren analyzes various proposed answers to this issue -- from a la carte pricing to abolishing "must carry" rules -- and concludes that "Complex issues do not breed simple solutions."
Google's Kansas City fiber-optic project may give consumers super-speedy Internet service, but the pay-TV part is more familiar, writes Peter Kafka. "If you were hoping that Google was going to use its fiber project to reorder the TV landscape, you’re going to be disappointed. At least in this incarnation, Google is playing by the TV establishment’s rules" -- which means bundled channels. "Which isn’t to say it won’t be cool. The TV service should offer a bunch of nifty features that will make it easier to find and watch what you want," he adds.