Sadly, the debut issue of Food Network Magazine doesn't tout "Paula Deen's 137 creative ways to use government cheese!" on its premiere cover. The announcement by Hearst Corporation and Food Network that they will test-launch the new magazine - set to hit newsstands this month with a trial run of 300,000 copies and a follow-up in January - might seem to come at an odd time, what with Wall Street pushing up more daisies than House and Garden (also dead).
Don't be surprised to see homemakers and female golfers huddled en masse at your local newsstand, mourning the latest glossy casualties. As the publishing industry grapples with an economic recession and sinking ad pages (down 3.1 percent during the first half of this year compared to 2007,per the Publishers Information Bureau), it's not just big-name mags that are shaking in their boots, it's the niche pubs, too.
Which 13-year-old girl is more rebellious: the brunette in a miniskirt and 3-inch heels who lost her virginity in middle school, or the blonde wearing a long-sleeve shirt and an ankle-length dress who is freaked out by the condom demonstration in health class? Some might say the latter girl has more gall. After all, that 13-year-old keeps her arms and thighs covered in the era of kiddie thongs and Vanessa Hudgens's topless shots. She not only defies her generation's dress code - she spits in the face of societal norms.
Pity the Parents Television Council. The group, whose mission is to "ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television," fulfilled its policing obligation last year by slamming the debut of The CW Television Network show Gossip Girl. The council singled out the show as its "Worst TV Show of the Week" and described the behavior of rich, designer-clad, over-sexed Upper East Side teenagers as "mind-blowingly inappropriate."
Attach your product to a recognizable enough commodity - say, a celebrity politician who's running for president - then kick back and watch the money flood in. Maybe: Not all ideas are created equal, but we do live in a capitalist democracy, so that's for you to decide. After all, the only votes that really count are those made with the almighty dollar, and marketers are hoping to enjoy some economic stimulus, Obama-style.
Think of ridicule - the blowtorch of rhetoric, the scimitar of political life - as a self-styled member of a dysfunctional family. Ridicule is the one who blasts pretension, demolishes artifice, scorches phoniness. As a family member, Ridicule would be particularly annoying. A smartmouth. A pest. Occasionally a wit. Occasionally a monster.
Few have ever accused the media of slanting conservative. Fewer still have ever suspected Sesame Street as a breeding ground for tiny neocons, though some family-values watchdogs have accused Bert and Ernie of threatening the American way of life. But consider the brief reign of Kenneth Tomlinson. Tomlinson served a controversial two-year term as chairman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, during which time the Bush political appointee embarked on an aggressive quest to hire employees with a "conservative viewpoint," an investigator said, and "balance" the pubcaster's programming.
It's no secret that HBO has been in the vanguard of storytelling for the past decade - but not only in its programming. The pay-TV giant has been revolutionizing its category, marketing itself not just as a network but as an entertainment property.
When ValueClick announced its second-quarter earnings and lowered revenue estimates for the balance of the year, it blamed the weak economy and speculated that other online media companies will soon do the same. With performance-oriented media (search marketing, and cost per action) suffering less than brand-oriented media (branded publisher-based display), they are probably right, and that is a shame.
Eulogizing old media is a favorite pastime for pundits nowadays. Not so fast. Sure, things may look bleak. Newspaper advertising seems to have hit its long-anticipated tipping point and is in record declines. The network upfronts held their own this year, but only because advertisers bought more spots to offset declining audiences, so networks sold more inventory. Magazine advertising is taking an extra hit this year because of the slow economy.