• U.S. Postal Service Passes Rate Increase On Xmas Eve
    In a Scrooge-like move, "the U.S. Postal Service passed [a] 4.3 percent exigent rate increase on Christmas Eve," which will hurt  magazines, newspapers and direct mailers, writes Katy Bachman. "This rate increase does not fix what is wrong with the Postal Service, will further depress mail volume, and will worsen the Postal Service's financial woes," was the quote from "a coalition of mailing industry organizations, including MPA—The Association of Magazine Media and the Direct Marketing Association."
  • Super Bowl Music Events Evolve
    The musical connection to the Super Bowl is evolving, from the choice of a halftime performer (changing from iconic musical legends like Paul McCartney to this year's Bruno Mars) to "a wave of public and private concerts around the big game," with such corporate sponsors as Citibank and Bud Light, writes Ben Sisario.
  • Revamped 'Time' Mag Site To Debut In January
    The relaunch of Time magazine's website, delayed several times in the past year, is now pretty definitely set for "the next couple of weeks," reports Joe Pompeo. "On the homepage, paywalled magazine articles will mingle with free content," and "there will be new advertising units as well, including an innovation that will allow brands to purchase separate columns that communicate with one another."
  • Govt. Regulators Expected To Green-Light Potential Cable Deals
    Unlike with wireless, the cable TV industry seems set for little government interference in potential deals such as the acquisition of Time Warner Cable, "the second-largest U.S. cable operator, by any of its three largest competitors, communications and antitrust lawyers" told Todd Shields and David McLaughlin. “'There is a ripe opportunity for cable transactions,' Andrew Lipman, a Washington-based communications attorney with Bingham McCutchen, said in an interview."
  • Still Early Times For Native Ads
    "The sell side and the buy side [of native advertising] are not in sync yet," notes Steve Rubel, chief content strategist, Edelman, in this post of quick predictions about this space.  Though Rubel foresees the beginning of a larger marketplace next year, Joe McCambley, co-founder, creative director, The Wonderfactory, is pessimistic about the actual qualiy of most executions: "Demand for native content will outstrip the supply of creative talent. As a result, most native experiences will be unremarkable."
  • Conde Nast Chairman Newhouse's Retirement Confirmed Officially
    Condé Nast Chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr. quietly retired a year ago, a fact officially confirmed only last week, writes Keith Kelly. "It is... the first time since the company was purchased by Si’s father, Samuel Newhouse, in 1959 for $5 million — supposedly as a gift to his wife, Mitzi — that no Newhouse is involved in day-to-day operations."
  • Tribune Company Spinoff Threatens 'L.A. Times'
    The future of the Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune (and six other newspapers) could be in jeopardy due to their planned spinoff from their parent, the Tribune Company,  according to "staff members, industry analysts and a congressman" quoted by Ravi Somaiya. "Under the proposal, outlined in a recent securities filing, the newspaper business will pay rent to its former parent company, as well as a dividend."
  • Native Ads Fail To Generate Social Buzz
    "Are we so sure that all this sponsored content is worth the trouble?" asks Mike Shields in a piece on the top-10 native ad stories of 2013, which notes that the "not a single brand (at least among those tracked by Sharethrough) could crack a million shares or likes."
  • NBC To Broadcast Record Number Of Hours Of Winter Olympics
    NBC plans a record 539 hours of straight coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia. "That’s 103 hours more than for the 2010 Games, even though NBC’s total of 185 spanning three dayparts is slightly less than the 193.5 hours the Peacock, then owned by General Electric, presented from Vancouver," writes Mike Reynolds.
  • 'NY Times' Explains Branded Content Move To Staff
    Parsing an internal memo from New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. about the paper's launching of branded content, Felix Gillette notes "a tone of reluctant acceptance, coming across more like a capitulation to the realities of a challenging business climate (' … something we need to do to support our investment in the journalism of The New York Times'), rather than as an exciting leap forward in the newspaper’s evolution." Among the "visual clues [that] will be used to distinguish the branded content from the traditional articles": a blue border.
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