SEC Watch: Washington Post’s Graham’s Compensation Cut In Half Last Year; Weymouth Gets Big Bonus

Washington Post CEO Don Graham @ UBS

In contrast to senior executives at the NYTCo (NYSE: NYT) and Gannett (NYSE: GCI), who took home more money in ‘09 than the year before, Washington Post Co. (NYSE: WPO) chairman and CEO Donald Graham saw his compensation cut nearly in half last year. Graham’s total ‘09 compensation was $472,997, a 41 percent drop from $811,960 the year before, according to an SEC filing. The executive’s base salary of $400,000 has remained the same year in, year out since he took the CEO post in 1991. Graham was granted $72,387 in retirement benefits this past year. The big difference between last year and the one before was that in ‘08, Graham took in another $400,000 tied to performance-based pay, as well as $11,960 in 401(k) retirement contributions. That said, in another sign of restraint, Graham has not accepted grants of restricted stock in the company since 2004.

The publisher of WaPo newspaper Katherine Weymouth had a slightly better 2009 than her uncle: she was paid $500K in base salary and received a bonus of $33,263 based on the achievement of pre-established 2008 performance goals. Effective April 1, 2010, Weymouth’s base salary is being upped to $550,000 and she received a bonus of $462,630 based on “the achievement of pre-established 2009 performance goals.”

Meanwhile, still keeping it in the Graham family, Laura Graham, the daughter of Don Graham, was hired in October 2009 and is employed full time as the Director of Product Development at Slate; she was was paid $30,000 in 2009 and her base salary for 2010 is $130,000.

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CTIA: Hearst’s Skiff Has Deals With Simon & Schuster, Random House

Gil Fuchsberg speaking at the Samsung event at CTIA.

Tucked inside the presentation by Skiff CEO Gil Fuchsberg during Wednesday’s Samsung Unpacked session at CTIA; a batch of content partners for the upcoming e-reading platform, including book publishers Simon & Schuester and Random House. Others include the New York Times, Esquire, the Financial Times, Forbes. and, appropriate for a company incubated by Hearst, its Popular Mechanics. Skiff has already said Hearst newspapers will be included. MocoNews Editor Tricia Duryee reported earlier that Skiff will be a featured e-reading partner across Samsung devices. As is the case with Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) and Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS), Skiff wants to be known as a platform, a distributor and a device maker. In a transcript provided by Skiff, Fuchsberg promised to optimize content for wireless delivery to smartphones. More as warranted

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New Y Combinator Video Startups: Zencoder, Embedster, NowMov, Embedly

OK, so let’s just get this one thing out of the way. There are startups named both “Embedster” and “Embedly” in the current batch of Y Combinator companies, which gave demos this week for investors and press after participating in the Mountain View, Calif.-based startup incubator program for the last three months.

Embarrassingly similar names aside, here are quick blurbs on the four video-related companies out of 26 that presented, both Embedster and Embedly among them.

Zencoder: This startup pitches itself as Amazon Web Services for video, with cloud-based on-demand transcoding. Like competitors such as Encoding.com, Zencoder actually uses AWS to power its service. Customers include Posterous and On2, which before it was bought by Google used Zencoder to build a cloud-based encoding service, Flix Cloud. The companies maintain a tight relationship. Zencoder is launching this week and currently seeking funding. Zencoder thinks video transcoding is a $500 million market, but eventually also plans to tackle powering video delivery and advertising.

Embedster: This startup, which has already raised a “small angel round,” promises to monetize any embedded video or link to a video on a site. So if you’re someone like Perez Hilton, who drives an enormous amount of traffic to videos embedded on his blog, you could derive some value from generating all those views. Embedster will add a pre-roll to any videos on your page with a line of JavaScript. The problem is, Embedster users aren’t getting a cut of revenue from the content creator or the content host — this is additional advertising layered on separately — so I can imagine hosts like YouTube and their partners might get a little testy. It’s a tricky issue (remember the Dutch music publishers instituting an “embed tax” last year).

Nowmov: This company is trying to create an “easy lean-back TV experience” by using real-time data about what people are sharing to create a video playlist (kind of in the vein of ffwd’s Twitmatic). Given the iPad’s about to be released, Nowmov could have pretty good timing, but I’m not quite sure there’s much there yet. Core this company’s pitch is the fact that two of its founders were former Apple engineers on iTunes and H.264 projects.

Embedly: This company is a search engine for embed codes — so if you search for “Will Ferrell” you see all his videos available on sites across the web — which sounds terribly useful for a person like Liz Shannon Miller, but I’m not sure exactly who else. “We feel that embeds are the future, and we can embed anything,” was the pitch.

Related content on GigaOm Pro: Why Startups Aren’t Changing the World (subscription required)

David Shuster Pleads With Congressmen: Stop The Incendiary Rhetoric! (VIDEO)

David Shuster issued a rare commentary Wednesday afternoon, calling on members of Congress -- in particular Senator Tom Coburn -- to cut the sort of incendiary rhetoric that could inspire violence.

In particular, Shuster reacted to Coburn's statement that the health care reform legislation is
"the greatest assault on liberty this country has ever had."

"Health care reform is a greater assault on liberty than slavery? Good grief!" Shuster said. "Coburn is a medical doctor, he's not just some right-wing radio host or paid political provocateur....America's greatest freedoms include the right to free speech, a right we are all blessed to enjoy. However, incendiary rhetoric from members of Congress, while intended to energize the base, can also have an unintended reaction. And that reaction could endanger members of our society, including the President of the United States."

Shuster acknowledged that Coburn has the freedom to say whatever he wants, but he also said that "our freedoms include the right to label your statement as the kind of rhetoric that inspires lunatics."

He ended with a plea to members of Congress to stop the incendiary rhetoric.

"I'm begging you and every member of Congress for the safety of everybody in this capital: please, please stop!" he said.

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Inside the White House Press Corps: HuffPo’s Sam Stein

The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein made history last year by becoming the first blogger to ask a question at a presidential news conference. Since then, he has burnished a fine journalistic reputation with hard work and honest reporting.

In this installment of Inside the White House Press Corps, Sam talks about that first presser, the Nico Pitney-Dana Milbank dustup, covering the White House, and really delivers the goods on embarrassing TV habits. I also learned that Sam needs a boost to his Twitter follower count, so get on his feed and start tweeting him.


Daily Obsession: Biden’s Blunder


There’s nothing more that the 24-hour news cycle loves more than a good F-bomb on live television. (Look no further than Jenny Slate’s SNL debut for the most recent example.) Combine that with Joe Biden’s history of goof-ups and public misspeaks, and you have created the perfect storm for yesterday’s historic health bill signing, where our vice president whispered to Barack Obama while still wearing his mic, “This is a big f*cking deal.” And here’s everyone on TV talking about it, with the word bleeped out, care of Newsweek.com.




Unlike some of Biden’s other gaffe’s though (asking a wheel-chaired man to stand, forgetting which parent was still alive), at least this time he was speaking correctly. No matter what your political slant, signing this bill into a law was a big f*cking deal.