Razorfish Suitors May Have to Offer More Than Dollars


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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- There are a lot of players talking to Microsoft about Razorfish, among them Publicis, Dentsu, WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic and AKQA's private-equity investor, General Atlantic. But to best the field, the winning suitor will likely have to fork over more than money to the agency's owner, which is looking for "strategic assets," such as a commitment to buy its advertising offerings or use its technologies.


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paidContent Quick Hits 7.12.09

»  The old Thomson Reuters (NSDQ: TRIN) structure [image] vs the new proposed simplified structure [image]. You (read shareholders) decide. [SEC filing]

»  The new Olympics channel by USOC and Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) may offer equity to other players who want to join. [Multichannel]

»  Harvard Business Review reorganizes as industry struggles. [Boston Globe]

»  As Hollywood deals with recession, the message has been dispatched to Tinseltown: spend less money, and do not do anything risky. [Economist]

»  Hundreds of small blue-collar businesses that sustain Southern California’s entertainment industry are struggling badly. [LAT]

»  Augmented reality and the new digital media startups in the sector. [NYT]


Michael Shaw: Reading the Pictures: Malia, Peace Signs and Bottom Feeders (Political as well as Journalistic)

2009-07-13-MaliaGiolitti.jpg

I hope you’ll permit me a little finger wagging in tracking how things like this get started.

First, shame on the Daily Mail for posting images of Malia Obama on Thursday claiming that her wearing this t-shirt (and then one other with a peace sign) while her Dad was negotiating arms control with the Russians meant she was somehow fronting for the anti-nuke movement and the CND. (Other sites, such as Newsday, also took a cut.) This young woman is growing with intense public attention and, along the way, learning to express herself as she develops her own sense of style, along with a political and social consciousness. The best advice to the media in this case is, either keep it to the fashion section, or move on.

Second, double shame on the Vancouver Sun for elevating the photo, along with mindless racist utterances about Malia at the typically paleo-site, the Free Republic into something the media twitterati is now trying to escalate into something, based on this one trashy story, that is supposedly already in the media sphere.

Third, shame on Mediaite, a slick new online media gossip rag for packaging the Freeper trash, the VS story, and the otherwise earth-shattering news of the election of a new hate-loving head of the young Republicans to further escalate the Malia/Freeper “story.”

Fourth, shame on more supposedly respectable journos/tweeters like Matt Cooper and David Shuster for further fueling this non-sense, with Shuster doing three tweets on it today (1, 2, 3) , the last one a promise/threat to elevate the story to the network tomorrow. (Yeah, the Freepers are loving that.)

But overall, someone please save us from a conflict-hungry and gossip-starved media forced to enter this week with no Michael Jackson to pick over and faced with the not-so-juicy prospects of a slam-dunk Sotomayor confirmation. It is arid conditions like these that draw professionals and bottom-feeders alike to elevate their 24/7 circulation, ego and ideological needs at the expense of The First Daughter.

(h/t: KH)

(image: Remo Casilli/Reuters. caption: U.S. President Barack Obama’s eldest daughter Malia, 11, leaves the Giolitti gelato (ice cream) parlour in central Rome July 8, 2009. Leaders of G8 and G5 countries are attending a summit in the city of L’Aquila July 8-10.)


Sluggish TV Upfront Doesn’t Benefit Online

The TV upfront negotiations between agencies and networks appears to be moving forward after a period of paralysis, but you can dismiss any thought of online video benefiting from the recent impasse or from the sudden spurt of deal-making. For one things, sources say, the current system, whether spending is up or down, still tends to view online video as an after-thought or an experiment. And when budgets are tight, experiments are the last thing to be funded.

In particular, cross-platform deals are expected to remain more sidelined than in previous years. Total dollars are down, says Carrie Drinkwater, director of national broadcast for Havas media buyer MPG, and TV/online ad tie-ups aren’t attractive enough to get advertisers to up their spending. “While the slowness of this year’s upfront process gives advertisers and networks gives the parties involved more time to create something above and beyond the traditional banner ad, it’s simply not viewed as crucial,” Drinkwater told paidContent.

“Even though there is not going to be as big a push in terms of spending, I think there will be more creativity. I would expect more branded integration deals on TV and that will certainly be extended to online, as well as the use of sweepstakes and similar promotions. But these deals will not be raising the needle in an perceptive way.”

Bottleneck: Web video is still one of the stronger advertising categories when it comes to spending growth. Some may have thought that the indifference to striking a TV deal could lead to more consideration for online video but that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, the bottleneck in TV deals the past few weeks only highlighted the real impediments the space has in terms of doing bigger deals. Even though average CPMs for online videos tend to be lower than what’s offered in primetime, agencies and advertisers are still reluctant to take a chance and invest more of their budgets in digital, said Jordan Levin, the former WB CEO who went on to co-found the multi-platform video production and talent management firm Generate. While Generate’s broadband series The Lake debuts on TheWB.com next month with the backing of what Levin calls a “major sponsor” he says he has agreed not to identify, such deals are not being tied to the upfront season. Levin: “More money should be moving to digital, given that audiences are shifting. But there’s so much legacy investment, coupled with fear and uncertainty, there’s a greater emphasis in the industry in talking up the effectiveness of TV versus online video.”

No upfront for online video: One thing online video doesn’t have going for it is an organizational structure to promote sales—like an upfront market. Every once in a while, someone floats the idea for a marketplace around online advertising, especially for video, which in the minds of many traditional ad industry professionals feels more familiar. Despite individual attempts like Microsoft’s upfront-like presentations for its online programming, Levin doubts that a comparable system can be established for the web. “The upfront was always an artificial marketplace intended to force buying during a specific period of time. Because marketers were more engaged in reach and frequency strategy, as opposed to an efficiency strategy that’s associated with the web, the idea that there are ‘must-buys’ is becoming less and less relevant. There’s no brand marketer screaming at their buyer that they’re going to be shut out.” In general, there are a nearly infinite set of options for advertisers right now. Therefore, the worry of not getting your message out doesn’t exist, and that will continue to degrade the value of an upfront—for both TV and online.



(click to enlarge)


Industry Moves: Twitter Hires Google Lawyer As General Counsel

The latest established executive to fall for Twitter’s luster: Google’s Alexander Macgillivray, who is joining the company as general counsel, according to the NYT Bits blog. As deputy general counsel for products and intellectual property at Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Macgillivray played a prominent role in Google’s $125 million settlement with authors over the scanning of books. The state of that settlement, of course, is now in question since the U.S. Justice Department has launched a formal inquiry into whether it violates antitrust law.

Twitter has legal issues of a different sort, although they also are related to intellectual property. St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa, as well as some other parties, have sued the company for allowing people to hold accounts in their names. Twitter also said recently it was trying to trademark the word “Tweet.”

Macgillivray isn’t the first Googler to head to Twitter. Others include Douglas Bowman, the Google design lead, who joined Twitter in April, after saying his former employer had become too dependent on data in making design decisions. On his blog, Macgillivray is more positive about his experience at Google, describing it as a “dream job.” He does not, however, say why he’s leaving. We’ve reached out to both Google and Twitter for comment.


Number Of Teens Illegally Sharing Music Falls Dramatically

They are the record companies’ bogeyman: the 15-year-old in their bedroom ripping off a star’s latest album and sharing it with their friends has been blamed for bringing an industry to its knees.


James Warren: This Week in Magazines: Eric Holder Mulls Investigating Alleged Bush-Era Torture

Let’s call it survival of the feeblest.

Just as one shouldn’t be
shocked if Dick Cheney did order the CIA to hide a secret intelligence
project, don’t do a double-take if Cheney’s generation openly approves
of online dating. In fact, an academic paper on the latter may be more
interesting than the former allegation, especially if the Cheney flap
inspires revelation of just another unimpressive clandestine effort
by the CIA.

“Partner Preferences Across
the Life Span: Online Dating by Older Adults” is found in Vol. 24,
No. 2 of Psychology and Aging. There, University of California-Berkeley
psychologist Sheyna Sears-Roberts Alterovitz and Gerald Mendelsohn,
assert that stereotypes of older Americans as withdrawn or asexual “fail
to recognize that romantic relationships in later life are increasingly
common.”

I’m not sure if this dramatically
advances Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection but, at minimum,
it is one of the first academic dissections of Yahoo! Personals. The
professors looked at ads supposedly placed by 600 mostly non-Hispanic
Caucasian heterosexual men and women from four different age groups.
Ultimately, they found that as men age, they seek women increasingly
younger than themselves, while providing more data about themselves
than women at every age. Men were more likely than women to request
physical attractiveness but women are more selective across all age
groups.

“We found that evolutionary predictions
about partner preferences held true for men throughout the life span,”
they conclude.

At all ages, men sought physical attractiveness and
offered more status-related information than did women. As they aged,
men desired women who were increasingly younger than themselves. Whether
this indicates that the age of maximum fertility exerts a downward pull
on the slope, that men are compromising between their fantasies and
their sense of reality, or that this is another example of age segregation,
we cannot say. However, the finding that there is no maximum age at
which women cease to be desirable is interesting in light of the current
cultural emphasis on the connection between youth and beauty. Many women
experience a negative transition to later life that is related to concerns
about their age (Barrett, 2004); it would be valuable to study how older
women’s perceptions of their own aging relate to their sense of desirability
as a mate.”

“For women, predictions from
evolutionary theory did not always hold true in later life. As predicted,
women at all ages sought status-related information more often than
men. However, we found that across the life span, women did not offer
physical attractiveness more than men did. Perhaps the online format
of personal ads, which encourages the ad writer to include up to five
photographs, obviates verbal descriptions.”

—In Newsweek’s
Independent’s Day” cover, Dan Klaidman raises the possibility
that Attorney General Eric Holder might not heed what seems to be the
White House preference not to look back and investigate allegations
of Bush-approved torture of detainees and enemy combatants. One might
just be in for a clash between seeming historical necessity and political
expedience. He writes:

“Holder, 58, may be on the verge of
asserting his independence in a profound way. Four knowledgeable sources
tell NEWSWEEK that he is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor
to investigate the Bush administration's brutal interrogation practices,
something the president has been reluctant to do. While no final decision
has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say
these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement
matter. Such a decision would roil the country, would likely plunge
Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil
Obama's domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform.
Holder knows all this, and he has been wrestling with the question for
months. ‘I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative
impact on the president's agenda,’ he says. ‘But that can't be a
part of my decision.’"

—August Architectural
Digest
may generate some vicarious pleasure to those who cannot
afford “Exotic Homes Around the World,” with some stunners in Kenya,
Costa Rica, Ecuador, Morocco, Hong Kong, Bali, Mexico, Croatia, Panama
and Egypt. My personal fave is recounted in the estimable writer Susan
Sheehan’s “Living Green amid the Blue,” an account of the home
built in Bali by movie director Rob Cohen and his wife. In case you
missed The Fast and the Furious or Dragonheart, they’re
his handiworks.

He asked his designer for “oversize
and comfortable” and he got it on his seven acres, mostly via a main
residence with three traditional Minang rumah gadang (big houses), with
thatch roofs and multitiered upswept gables. The various guest pavilions
on the location are placed around “a continuously flowing and oxygenating
lake created by diverting water” from the nearby river. The homes
sit about 10 feet above ground on huge stones, apparently making them
less vulnerable to earthquakes. Whatever, it’s pretty snazzy, with
a nice view of an active volcano from their “commodious tented bed
in the master bedroom pavilion.”

–In July 2-27 Nation,
Erick Alterman, discussing “How Bold Is Barack?” notes some of the
imprecision in the frequently analogies to Franklin Roosevelt. “FDR
did not face an army of lobbyists seeking to thwart his every move.
Perhaps more important, he did not have to succeed in today’s media
environment, in which nut cases like Limbaugh/O’Reilly/Hannity manage
to set the terms of debate.”

—As the sun will rise in
the east, Michelle Obama fronts July-August Ebony’s “The
It Factor” cover, or 25 women “who make us sit up and take notice.”
It’s mostly usual suspects from a female elite including Tina Turner,
Aretha Franklin, Condoleezza Rice, Oprah, Diana Ross and Beyoncé (interesting
that the pioneering African American publication doesn’t find “It”
in any doctors, lawyers, ministers or social workers). Unrelated, “The
Cash Sta$h” focuses on a study indicating that “29 percent of people
say that they lied to their partners about finances and approximately
25 percent withheld financial information about personal spending or
spending on children.”

—In National Review,
editor Rich Lowry clearly doesn’t buy into the notion of a second
stimulus.

Confronted by the inadequacies of the current program,
its advocates have a predictable solution — a new one. Since the worthiest
projects were presumably already covered in the first stimulus, a second
stimulus would have to fund even more marginal priorities, and it would
get into the economy even later. In other words, it would replicate
rather than rectify the failures of the first stimulus.

August Kiplinger’s Personal
Finance
offers “Stocks that Pay Rising Dividends,” led by politically
incorrect tobacco giant Philip Morris International; food distributor
Sysco Corp.; health care biggies Abbott Laboratories and Becton, Dickinson;
consultant Accenture; and French energy giant Total. Elsewhere, it sizes
up potential profits in investing in coffee companies and opts for Green
Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), which it tabs “the big winner in
the coffee wars” since its share price has doubled in the past year.
As for goliath Starbucks, it notes the impact of the recession on the
company and says that despite big cost-cutting, it needs a new source
of growth.

—August Bon
Appétit
is loads of culinary fun, first with “Happy Birthday,
Julia
,” a reminder of some of Julia Child’s greatest recipes on
the event of a movie inspired by her life and commemoration of her birthday
in mid-August. But there’s also, “A Week of No-Cook Dinners,”
namely a week’s worth of food without a need for a grill or oven.
The pretty easy-to-make fare includes summer tomato and bell pepper
soup; a meze platter with hummus and shrimp and cucumber salads; Chinese
egg noodles with smoked duck and snow peas; and roast chicken and mango
salad with yogurt. And if you’re not initially motivated, some of
the photos of the end results may steer you away from your microwave
popcorn or soggy, takeout sushi.

Slate.com’sLogo
on Steroids
” touts Microsoft’s new video game, Kodu, for those nine
years old and up and will help teach a child to think and even, alas,
think like a computer programmer in a fun way.

—June 9 Economist
does a nice, succinct job contrasting the currently dramatic differences
in California and Texas, with the former starting to pay creditors with
IOUs and the latter coping far better than most states with the recession.
And while noting that “American conservatives have seized on this
reversal of fortune,” especially when it comes to lower taxes and
less business regulation in Texas, “the truth is that both states
could learn from each other.”

“Texas still lacks California’s
great universities and lags in terms of culture. California could adopt
not just Texas’s leaner state, but also its more bipartisan approach
to politics and its more welcoming attitude towards Mexico.”

—Much was written about Former
Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s errant oversight of the Vietnam
War after his death last week. But July 20 Time

is still worth the recollection of Leslie Gelb, who way back when directed
the Pentagon Papers study.

And as I now contemplate
the departure of a life so central to my own and that of my country
as Bob McNamara’s, one overriding lesson bombards my mind: nationalist
wars, civil wars, tribal and religious wars—-they can never be won
by Americans. As long as we’re there and willing to fight and die,
we won’t lose. But in the end, we can’t win either unless we realize
that it must be their war—a war for the South Vietnamese to fight
for their freedom and a war for Afghans to fight for theirs. We can
help, but it must be theirs.

—August Popular Mechanics
treads into territory you wouldn’t necessarily associate with it via
“The Truth About Forensics,” a fine primer on all the reasons to
doubt the metaphysical certitude of fingerprinting, fiber analysis and
ballistics analysis, among other staples of criminal “evidence.”
As newspapers like the Chicago Tribune have helped to reveals in recent
years, more than 200 people have had convictions overturned as a result
of DNA testing, with lousy forensic work initially contributing to wrongful
imprisonment in many cases.

Bite marks, blood-splatter
patterns, ballistics, and hair, fiber and handwriting analysis sounds
compelling in the courtroom but m much of the ‘science’ behind forensic
science rests on surprisingly shaky foundations,” as this explains.
For example, “Fingerprints are believed to be unique, but the process
of matching prints has no statistically valid model.

And as the 40th anniversary of his historic walk on the Moon with Neil Armstrong approaches,
long-retired Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin vents about the state of our
space program, bashes a “myopic” NASA and argues that we’re wasting
our time with getting back there and should instead focus on getting
to Mars. He argues that a human presence there “will maintain U.S.
leadership in human spaceflight, avoid a counterproductive space race
with China to be second back to the moon, and lead to a permanent American-led
presence on Mars by 2035 at the latest.”

—Finally, kudos to Eric Effron,
an executive editor at The Week, for noting how the rest of the
country need not gloat over California’s current fiscal and governmental
disarray. That’s especially true if you live in New York, where state
government confronts an epic, self-inflicted mess amid partisan bickering
in the legislature. “It has gotten so ridiculous that at one point
Democrats and Republicans staged rival sessions; Democrats even remained
seated during the GOP-led Pledge of Allegiance, standing only during
their own rendition. The crises in New York and California have distinct
homegrown origins, but in both cases, the public interest has been sacrificed
to petty, entrenched partisanship.” Yup, yup, yup.

It makes Illinois — remember
Rod Blagojevich? — look vaguely sane and honest.


Jim Jaffe: Why Is the Post Sorry Now?

I’m at a loss over the fuss about the aborted Washington Post salons. It seems to be taking place in a parallel universe that’s totally unfamiliar to me.

In my world, politicians and lobbyists who are successful have symbiotic relationships. They regularly visit to discuss how to advance shared goals. This upsets goo-goos who think that only they should enjoy such links to legislators, but there’s little they can do about it except fume, which they’ve become quite expert at.

The media is constantly trying to take the measure of the lobbyist-legislator relationship,but has links of its own to both sides that allow it to report the process. It floats trial balloons suggesting the Senate Finance Committee may lower the boom on non-profit hospitals and then reports on the devastation the hospitals claim would result.

Any interest group that’s a serious player in the process has ongoing links to legislators with power over their industry, irrespective of how supportive those politicians may be. Access trumps ignorant enmity. So it’s a given that any serious player in the health reform debate or their agent can quickly get to any senior legislator making the decisions or their agent.

Such contacts may ultimately be reported in the media. Many go unreported, either because the participants view them as private or the media view them as uninteresting. These conversations would continue at the same pace, with only a slightly different structure perhaps, if the media simply disappeared.

A good health reporter at a good newspaper like the Washington Post knows all the serious players in the current debate and talks with them regularly. Which raises, for me, at least, the question as to what harm would be done if the Post staged a fund-raising dinner of its own where the interest groups involved continued their ongoing conversations in the publisher’s dining room.

One could argue that they’d be renting a venue that they otherwise have free access to, but the cost would be quite modest and could be written off as a public relations expense.

If the reporters and editors involved were good, they’d meet no one and encounter no argument they weren’t already familiar with. And if they weren’t good, they’d hardly be worth the time and dollars invested by the paid guests at the event.

So it seems that the Post was proposing to make a little extra money by imposing a modest transaction cost on a process that already occurs. If good desserts were served, the salons could be seen as icing on the political cake.

What’s the problem with that?


Dean Baker: The Washington Post (a.k.a. Fox on 15th Street) Wants 15 Million People to Be Unemployed

The Washington Post, which gained worldwide fame for its effort to sell corporate lobbyists access to its reporters and Obama administration officials, wants 15 million workers in the United States to be unemployed. Of course that is not exactly what they said — the Post argued against another stimulus package. But 15 plus million unemployed workers is the certain effect of the Post‘s preferred policy.

We will go through the Post‘s logic, but the simple fact that the Post opposes the policy should pretty well establish its usefulness. After all, the Post has a near perfect track record of being completely wrong on the economy at every turn.

Remember back in January of 2008 when the Post told readers that: “There is not yet any proof of a recession, …. Nor is there any consensus that a recession, if one comes, will be severe.”

And then one week later we got the line: “timely, targeted and temporary.” This is a paper that had no space for those warning of the dangers of the stock bubble in the 90s and the housing bubble in the current decade.

In short, given its near perfect track record of being 180 degrees wrong on the economy, the Post‘s opposition to more stimulus makes a compelling case for its merits. But, let’s look at the argument.

The Post argues that most of the stimulus has not yet gone out the door, so we should wait to see its full effect. The point that we have not yet seen most of the spending misses the point that it is the rate of spending that matters, not the amount.

The stimulus is currently being spent out at a rate of close to $30 billion a month. This is pretty much its maximum speed. The fact that we will continue to spend out at this rate for the next year and a half doesn’t mean that the impact will be greater in 6 months or 1 year.

Suppose that we would spend out at this rate for the next 10 years. By the Post‘s warped logic, we would want to wait 5 years or so to see the impact. Argghhhhhh, can’t the Post find anyone who understands some basic economics?

The Post is also worried about the deficit, telling readers that there is a limited supply of capital in the world and that we are borrowing too much. Actually, for practical purposes there is not a limited supply of capital in the world when the United States and most of the other wealthy countries are seeing double-digit unemployment. We can pretty much spend whatever we want without coming up against resource constraints. (Unemployment means excess labor supply, get it?)

There is also a really great measure that economists use to determine the relative scarcity of capital. It’s called “interest rates.” At the moment, the interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds is about 3.25 percent. That’s more than 2 percentage points lower than during the days of budget surpluses at the start of the millennium. In other words, the evidence suggests that we have an enormous glut of capital right now, not a shortage.

It is truly a shame that the Post‘s editorial writers and so many other people responsible for this entirely preventable economic disaster still have their jobs at a time when millions of hard-working and competent people are unemployed. It will be a great day when this situation is reversed.


TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads


This post is by The Huffington Post News Team from Media on HuffingtonPost.com


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Hello, everyone. My name is Jason and welcome to your Sunday Morning liveblog of the flickering images that befuddle and bemuse the political class this weekend morning. Today, announcement! We have started up a special blog post on these pages dedicated to monitoring the wooly world of lobbying. The guy who is writing it is a bit in over hid head but charming enough, so go bookmark that and watch for stories on the most vulgar side of politics.

As with the Sunday liveblog, we welcome tips, insights, and information. And as you all have been some of our site's most dedicated (and most fun) readers, we'd be remiss if we didn't invite your contributions to this new project.

But right now, we have this Sunday to worry about. So, as always, send emails, leave comments, throw away what's left of your attention span by agreeing to follow me on twitter. And enjoy. First up is the always fresh and innovative ICE ROAD FOX NEWS SUNDAY TRUCKERS.

FOX NEWS SUNDAY



Alan M. Webber: Washington Post Salons: Right Church, Wrong Pew

It’s official as any papal encyclical: Katharine Weymouth has been led to the front of the church by the moral authorities of journalism and made to recant her ill-conceived notion that the Washington Post should be in the salon business. Next up, an admission from Ms. Weymouth that the sun does actually revolve around the Earth (or is it The Globe?).

From where I sit, Ms. Weymouth was in the right church, she just occupied the wrong pew. These days it would take the most orthodox journalist to cling to the belief that newspapers are actually in the newspaper business. In fact, if I worked at a daily newspaper in the United States, and my publisher insisted that we were going to continue to hold on to the old view of the world that said we were going to make a business out of publishing newspapers, I would be outraged! In this day and age, with newspapers folding along with car companies, banks, old time retail chains, and more, a business leader could be crucified for ignoring the new managerial facts of life.

To her credit, Ms. Weymouth is trying to be what business desperately needs–a leader who rethinks the old rules and comes up with new ones that fit a time of enormous, unpredictable change. Memo to Ms. Weymouth’s critics: She’s right, you’re wrong.

The newspaper business as it has existed in the United States is dead. The challenge is to build bridges to the new model, which is only beginning to emerge. That’s why the right question for Ms. Weymouth to be asking is, “What business are we really in?” The answer is, the context business. The Washington Post has terrific journalists who can offer an informed point of view to a public that is hungry to understand what’s really going on–not the news, but how to make sense of the news.

To make this work, Ms. Weymouth needs to convert subscribers, who’ve bought the paper, into members, who join the paper. With membership comes privileges, like, oh, I don’t know–salons.

So Ms. Weymouth was in the right church in thinking about a new way to define her company’s business. She just messed up the execution. Instead of starting small and democratic, she went big and exclusive. Right church, wrong pew.

If she wants to try again, here’s what I’d recommend: Offer Washington Post subscribers a chance to participate in an experiment. For a nominal sum, say $100, anyone can become a member of The Washington Post Conversation. The first conversation will be in a month; it will take the shape of a small town hall forum, with, say, 200 people attending. Names will be drawn from a hat from those who join the Conversation. No linen tablecloths, no china, no wine, no sit down dinner. Think soft drinks, chips and dip. Marcus Brauchli and his staff will provide the insight, those lucky enough to have their numbers drawn will ask the questions. It will all be recorded on video and posted on YouTube. Once she gets it working smoothly, Ms. Weymouth can build on the model, adding more benefits for those who increase their membership fee, expanding her repertoire to include conferences, podcasts, and a host of services, all provided to the members of the Washington Post Conversation. Over time, maybe even sponsorships can be added, provided there are clear ground rules. Gradually, the business model will emerge, the community will form, the economics will develop, and maybe, just maybe, The Washington Post will evolve into a profitable business that offers its perspective and wisdom to its members.

If I were a journalist at the Washington Post, I’d be rooting for Ms. Weymouth to succeed. I don’t think she’s trying to produce an article of faith, but her new business model for her newspaper could be a new rule of thumb for newspapers everywhere.


Alan M. Webber is co-founding editor of Fast Company magazine and author of Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Your Self.


Web Series Advertising Hits the Streets for In The Moment

Say what you want about Dr. Horrible’s success — but did it ever get a bus stop ad? Three months ago, when I reviewed the gay soap opera In the Moment, produced in part by the city of West Hollywood, Calif., I commented that the series and accompanying social networking site were heavily targeted to the gay community that resides here. But I didn’t ever think I’d see posters for the show while jogging along Santa Monica Blvd.

DSCF0879

The strategy, to me, works because it’s a way of reaching out to people who may not spend a lot of time seeking out online video content but would enjoy the show. (Billboards and posters in this area are often focused in this way — currently, at the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Fairfax Ave., the In the Moment bus stop ads are alternated with posters for Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno.)

But is this the first ever outdoor advertising campaign for a web series? And is it something we’ll see more of in the future? Discuss in the comments.



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4 Minute Roundup: NYTimes.com Charging?; AP’s Sotomayor Blog


This post is by MediaShift from MediaShift


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Here's the latest 4MR audio report from MediaShift. In this week's edition, I look at the latest move by the New York Times to survey print subscribers to see if they will pay for access to the website -- on top of what they're paying for the print edition. Plus, the Associated Press launched a Twitter feed and blog with Yahoo News to cover the upcoming Sotomayor confirmation hearings Monday. It's a departure for the wire service to include reader questions, feedback and input while covering a live event.

Check it out:

4MR podcast 7-10-09 final.mp3

Background music is "What the World Needs" by the The Ukelele Hipster Kings via PodSafe Music Network

Here are some links to related sites and stories mentioned in the podcast:

New York Times to decide how to charge for its website by August at the Telegraph

New York Times Asks Subscribers: Is It Wrong to Charge for Online Content? at Poynter

NYT Tests Online Pay Scenarios On Print Subscribers; Decision By August? at PaidContent

The New York Times Asks Readers If They'd Pay For Online Version at Mashable

AP_Courtside Twitter feed

The Supreme Court and You at Yahoo News

The Associated Press tries courtside crowdsourcing Sotomayor coverage at Nieman Journalism Lab

Gannett Blog's Hopkins Ends Run Today at E&P

Here's a graphical view of last week's MediaShift survey results. The question was "When did you believe Michael Jackson really died?"

survey grab MJ.jpg

Also, be sure to vote in our poll about what you would pay (if anything) to access NYTimes.com.

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

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Emma Coleman Jordan: Have TV Talkers been Fair to Judge Sotomayor?


This post is by Emma Coleman Jordan from Media on HuffingtonPost.com


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




We have all read and heard the repetitive discussion of the "wise Latina" quote. But what many have not paid attention to is the unfair name-calling, and cultural and racial attacks that Judge Sotomayor's candidacy.

The Women's Media Center (WMC) of New York City has compiled a compelling video that shows some of the TV talkers distasteful, mocking, caricatures of Judge Sotomayor. Take a look at this video.

The WMC has an online petition campaign to express your reaction to what you see in the video.

I encourage you to follow the link and participate in the campaign, if you are offended about what TV talkers have been saying leading up to the confirmation hearings.

click here

Watch the hearings, on Monday, July 13th. Form your own opinion, don't let TV Talkers mislead you.


Sun Valley Media Conference Photos: Mogulmania Day 3!

The Allen & Company retreat in Sun Valley wound down Friday, but not before we were able to catch glimpses of several moguls for the first time this year.

Familiar names like Jeff Zucker, Brad Grey, Jerry Yang, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Mike Ovitz, James Murdoch and Charlie Rose were all on display Friday, while wives like Diane von Furstenberg and Wendi Murdoch were snapped for the first time by the AP.

VIEW PHOTOS FROM DAY 1 HERE

VIEW PHOTOS FROM DAY 2 HERE

READ ALL SUN VALLEY 2009 COVERAGE

Below, check out the photos from the last day of the annual moguls’ retreat.


ManiaTV Founder Tries Bringing Studio Back From The Dead

You couldn’t ask for a more soap opera-inspired storyline. After infighting, layoffs and a failed fire sale attempt, digital content studio ManiaTV finally went belly up in March. But now founder Drew Massey is trying to resurrect it—albeit leaner, meaner and backed by far less venture capital. The NYT reports that Massey bought the ManiaTV brand and some of its old content back for a “small fraction” of the $26 million it had raised from investors since 2004.

The deal didn’t include the LA production studio ManiaTV relocated to last year, but Massey still plans to put out new series starting this fall—believing that he can fund production through small product placement deals and a “few million” in the bank. He tells the NYT that he will focus on “building a big branded business,” as opposed to the online video “platforms and networks” favored by ManiaTV’s previous backers (and most recent senior management).

Former CEO Peter Hoskins disagrees (what else would you expect, though?)—telling the NYT that the way Massey wanted to run things was “too expensive.” But Massey has managed to get the buy-in from some experienced media industry vets: Canoe Ventures CEO David Verklin and former NBC Entertainment exec Warran Littlefield, who have both joined ManiaTV’s board.