Ratings are in for the first three months of Esquire Network, the pub's cable TV channel, and the figures are less-than impressive: "Although NBC said Esquire would be available in 75 million homes, the channel has had trouble luring in even a fraction of that audience, amassing an average household viewership of 55,000 during prime time, according to data supplied by Nielsen," writes Alexandra Steigrad.
What cord-cutting? Despite the growth of on-demand video streaming, cable TV also had some impressive gains: "Viewers spent a record 17.2 hours per week watching ad-supported cable networks in 2013, rebounding from a slight dip last year, while the big four networks claimed a combined 7.5 hours, another low," writes Gary Levin. Still, "half of the top cable networks saw prime-time audience declines."
This week's New York magazine features a cover photo of the pub's food critic, Adam Platt, who abandons "the myth of anonymity" with a thoughtfully written piece that skewers "this dated charade" in a "crowdsourced age, [when] no one’s really anonymous anymore.""A couple of months back, the proprietors of the clam shack ZZ’s Clam Bar sent a bouncer over to boot me from their restaurant, presumably in retribution for an unflattering review," Platt writes. "Now that the great anonymity charade is over, maybe the bouncers will recognize me before I walk in the door."
Niche and hobby magazines have "become the darlings of the struggling magazine industry," building circulation and ad sales while general interest pubs fade "as readers increasingly turn to the Internet for news and information," writes Christine Haughney. "Some high-end hobby magazines like Wine Spectator and Cigar Aficionado have not only experienced steady circulation growth, but have also brought in big revenue by staging special events for subscribers."
"Will local TV become 2014’s hot medium?" asks David Lieberman in this roundup of trends for the new year. "Tribune, Gannett, and Sinclair bet that it will when they committed billions this year to buy stations," he writes. "The dealmaking could continue in 2014, especially if the FCC raises its ownership caps."
Rdio is shuttering Vdio less than a year after launching the "spin-off service that sold and rented streaming movies and TV shows," writes Jacob Kastrenakes.
Celebrities continued their reign as top-selling magazine cover stars for magazines this year for the most part, according to trends tracked by Emma Bazilian. One surprise: "People’s biggest sellers this year turned out to be cover stories about 'real' people," writes Bazilian. "People managing editor Larry Hackett said the success of reality star (and real-life) stories over traditional celebrities speaks to readers’ need for a juicy story above anything else."
Satellite broadcaster DirecTV "has quietly started distributing a network called WeatherNation just as its deal to carry the Weather Channel is set to expire," writes Joe Flint. "Although talks between the two companies are ongoing, DirecTV's decision to add WeatherNation is seen as a not-so-subtle threat that it is willing to drop the Weather Channel."
It's not easy to be on camera, as this reel of bloopers from TV newscasts shows, a testament to human (and sometimes animal, like the monkey caught "copping a feel") frailty in 2013. Lots of pratfalls, mispronunciations ("poop" for "pope," "sex" for "success"), and misbehavior from regular folks standing behind newscasters. Enjoy.
Morale is low at The Washington Times newsroom, recently hit by layoffs during what staffers describe as a very confusing reorganization. Patrick Tutwiler goes behind the scenes, interviewing "current and former employees -all of whom requested anonymity to speak freely."