Media companies' merger and acquisition activity was sluggish in the first half of the year, with a 2% dip year-over-year in that period for a total of 708 deals, with $27.8 billion in aggregate value, according to Michael Rondon. "While lower than 2012, those totals still represent a significant gain over recent historical activity. First half deal value hadn't topped $25 billion since 2007 ($65.8 billion); the number of deals had never even hit 500 until last year
Time Warner Cable will move its programming onto gaming consoles with the launch of a TV app for Microsoft's Xbox 360 devices, probably in July. "TWC will bring video-on-demand to the device through the app later this year," writes Ryan Faughnder.
Fast Company is launching a Chinese version, Fast Company China, in partnership with 21st Century Media Corp., which also publishes the Chinese version of another business pub, Forbes. The new mag, "which has obtained legal approval from the Chinese government, has a target circulation of 164,000," writes Chris Roush.
Is this post about the funeral of James Gandolfini, world-famous for his iconic role as Tony Soprano. "Given what an earthy guy he was, it seems appropriate that [the funeral] was open to the public and that people started crowding the streets outside the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Harlem early in the morning to claim a seat and pay their respects," writes Matt Zoller Seitz.
Advance Publication's Newark, N.J. newspaper, The Star Ledger, "is threatening to shut down at the end of the year unless it wins major concessions from its production unions by Sept. 27," writes Keith Kelly. “If the unions provide savings to approximate the savings that could be obtained through outsourcing, this would allow us to continue to print and package in-house, preserving both union and non-union jobs here at the Star-Ledger — otherwise we would like to outsource to obtain the savings," Publisher Rich Vezza told Kelly.
Controversial startup Aereo, "which has provoked media conglomerates' ire by beaming live, local over-the-air television broadcasts over the Internet," will begin operating in as many as 19 cities by Aug. 31, writes Joan Solsman. She does not name the cities, but does note that after its initial launch in New York, "the company expanded its service to Boston in May and Atlanta this month."
it's not every day that two public figures, both seeking redemption of one kind or another, appear together on TV, but that's apparently what happened when "Today" show host Matt Lauer -- he of the faltering image and the falling ratings -- interviewed "tarnished cooking-show queen" Paula Deen yesterday, according to Alessandra Stanley. But "as performers, they both proved to be their own worst enemies," writes Stanley in her review.
The San Francisco Newspaper Company, parent of the San Francisco Examiner, sued the Hearst Corporation, "accusing its San Francisco Chronicle of illegally targeting Examiner advertisers with secret, below-cost rates in an attempt to bleed the smaller paper," writes Joe Eskenazi. "Hearst has demanded and obtained agreements from key advertising customers, which preclude those customers from purchasing any advertising space from the Examiner for a period of a year or more," according to the suit.
iPad editions of magazines saw a 24% bump in ad pages in the first quarter, according to a Kantar Media and Publishers Information Bureau report. "The report, which looked at 58 magazines with monitored print and iPad editions, found that the number of ad pages in the titles' print editions was roughly flat in the first quarter, with 10,707," wrote Michael Sebastian. "But the number of iPad ad units climbed to 5,961 in 2013 from 4,824 the year prior."
Two international editions of major pubs just launched. First, Bloomberg Businessweek
is rolling out a Chinese-language edition for Hong Kong. "The agreement builds on an existing Bloomberg Businessweek/Mainland China partnership with Modern Media," writes
Lauren Taylor. And Condé Nast's ultra-glossy mag Vanity Fair
is coming out with a French version for July, with Scarlett Johansson on the cover. "Condé Nast France president Xavier Romatet said the company was investing 15 million euros, or $19.7 million at current exchange, in the launch," writes Joelle Diderich. "It expects to break even after three years and turn profitable within …