Washington Post Reports 69% Jump In 3Q Profit

NEW YORK — The Washington Post Co. increased its net income 69 percent in the third quarter, as the company cut costs to narrow losses at its newspapers and kept reaping profit from its cable TV and education divisions.

The company, which owns Newsweek magazine, Kaplan education services and television properties along with its namesake newspaper, said Friday it earned $17.1 million, or $1.81 per share. That compares with net income of $10.1 million, or $1.08 per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue climbed 2 percent to $1.15 billion.

The newspaper division, which includes the Post, The Daily Herald in Everett, Wash., and dozens of local weeklies, whittled its operating losses through buyouts and cost-cutting to $23.6 million, down from $82.7 million a year ago.

That happened even though advertising revenue at the flagship newspaper took a steeper dive than the quarter before, falling 28 percent. The newspaper had seen a 20 percent drop in the second quarter and a 33 percent drop in the first.

The Post's decline was comparable to what has been reported by other big publishers – which also have managed to improve earnings by cutting labor and other expenses. The New York Times Co.'s advertising revenue plunged 27 percent in the most recent quarter. Ad revenue in Gannett Co.'s publishing division, which includes USA Today and more than 80 other newspapers, dropped 28 percent.

The Post Co.'s newspaper Web revenue, which comes mainly from Washingtonpost.com, also stalled. It fell 18 percent after showing a 9 percent decline in the previous quarter.

Newsweek posted a 48 percent drop in ad revenue, contributing to a $4.3 million operating loss for the magazine division. In February, Newsweek cut the U.S. circulation it guarantees to advertisers to 1.5 million from 2.6 million.

The Post did not offer an outlook for the rest of the year and does not hold a conference call to discuss results with analysts.

The company relies increasingly on its Kaplan and cable divisions for growth. Kaplan revenue climbed 14 percent in the quarter and cable revenue was up 4 percent.

Operating income fell 10 percent at Kaplan, however, largely because of a one-time accounting charge. Cable TV operating income slid 3 percent.

Washington Post shares fell $1.04 to $450.99 in morning trading.


Flip Video Set-top Box Unearthed?

Flip video cameras are known for being stupidly simple, but the product’s migration to the big screen looks to be a pretty complicated affair, if what Dave Zatz is reporting is true. Flipping through FCC product announcements, Zatz found a “FlipShare TV” product manual.

flipsharetv

From the looks of it, the set-up has three components: a box you plug into your TV, a remote control and a USB stick. Plug the USB stick into your computer and the box into your TV (via composite or HDMI) and wirelessly stream recorded video to your television. No other details, such as a ship date or pricing, were included. When we contacted Cisco for comment, a rep emailed us with:

We do not comment on alleged products coming to market. As with all our products, we will announce through proper disclosure channels when products are ready and available to our customers.

Granted, we know next to nothing about this supposed box, but it seems clumsy for the usually elegant Flip line. And while this product appears to be targeting families that want to share video easily and may not want to upload it to the Internet, do people really want yet another box under their TV for the sole purpose of watching home movies? Plus any simplicity you gain from not uploading is essentially lost when you have to use two separate devices. It would be cool to see Flip develop its own Roku channel and eliminate the extra set-top hardware. We’ll see if a formal announcement comes in time for the holiday season.



The Daily Show Swats Both Sides Of White House/Fox News Feud

dailyshow_10-30Just as the White House vs. Fox News feud is winding down (actually, not at all), Jon Stewart and The Daily Show are weighing in.

In what was his final show of October, he addressed the ongoing feud that began heating up as the month started – and he hit both sides for different reasons.

His main point about Fox News was that, while there was a defined line between Fox “News” and Fox “Opin-utainment,” there were specific instances where the two sides fed off of and into each other. Using the Obama song in the New Jersey classroom as the jumping off point, he laid out the cycle. “Public school officials in Burlington, New Jersey are being accused of indoctrinating their students,” said Bret Baier in a clip, followed by Stewart: “Yes, they are being accused – by the guy whose show is on right before you! I’m amazed he didn’t bring it up to you, when you had lunch.”

But he also picked apart the White House arguments. After playing Valerie Jarrett’s comment, “I don’t want to just generalize that all Fox is biased or another station is biased,” during her recent interview with Campbell Brown, Stewart responded, “You don’t want to generalize? You just did! What was that the old you from eight words ago?”

MSNBC is probably not going to love Stewart’s description of them as the “Toledo Mud Hens to Fox’s Yankees” as well.

Here’s the full clip, and stay tuned to the end for the f-bomb-laden kicker about ‘truth to power’:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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Rachael Ray Offers Dinner To Jobless Ohioans

WILMINGTON, Ohio — Rachael Ray plans to serve an early Thanksgiving dinner to an Ohio community slammed by job losses.

The talk show host and cookbook author is offering people who live in Wilmington a free dinner Nov. 8 at the local convention center. The city in southwest Ohio has lost thousands of jobs due to the pullout of delivery company DHL Express.

A message to Wilmington on Ray's Web site says her show can't fix the economy but can do its part through Ray's area of expertise, food.

Ray won't be the first sympathetic celebrity to visit Wilmington. Jay Leno came to town in May to perform two free comedy shows.

Residents who want tickets to Ray's dinner must sign up online and will have to show ID proving they live in the Wilmington zip code.


Lee Clow: Apple’s “Think Different” Ad Guru Steps Down From Post As Chief Creative Officer (VIDEO)

*See video below*

Lee Clow, chief creative officer at Apple's longtime ad agency TBWA/Media Arts Lab, announced that he will be stepping down from his post as chief creative officer.

Clow contributed to some of Apple's most famous and successful advertising campaigns, including the "1984" commercial that introduced the Mac computer, Apple's "Think Different" campaign, its iPod ads, and the "Mac vs. PC" commercials. (Watch them below)

Advertising Age writes,


Media Arts Lab was founded in 2006 to serve Apple, as well as embody Mr. Clow's vision of a new type of ad agency that makes culture, rather than just commercials.


In his more than 40 years in advertising, he is best known for his work for Apple, which includes what many have called the best commercial of all time, "1984," that launched the Macintosh computer; the now iconic dancing silhouettes for the iPod; and the more recent "Mac vs. PC" campaign featuring actors John Hodgman and Justin Long.

According to Print Magazine, Clow said, "The Apple Store was probably the best ad we ever did.... Everything a brand does is advertising."

MediaPost speculates,

By relinquishing the creative lead on the account that has distinguished his storied career, Clow, 66, appears to be moving toward retirement.

See some of Apple's most iconic ads below. Vote on your favorite!


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Shelly Palmer: Netflix Bringing Watch Instantly to Nintendo Wii: MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer October 30, 2009

Netflix wll begin offering its Watch Instantly service through Nintendo's Wii. While rumors have been circulating, especially after Netflix reached a deal with Sony to include Watch Instantly with the PS3, sources say the Wii could be packaged with the service before the holiday shopping season begins. Making Watch Instantly available on all three major gaming consoles could not only help Netflix increase subscribers, but it may also give consumers more content, as Netflix is constantly working on increasing the amount of content on its instant streaming service.


Apple unveiled a software update for Apple TV that it hopes will improve its functionality.
The update includes a new interface for the product, as well as support for Apple's new iTunes LP format. While Apple TV has yet to catch on with consumers for a number of reasons, Apple hopes that making the service as easily navigable as iTunes and adding more content will make Apple TV more attractive to consumers.

" target="_blank" onClick="javascript:urchinTracker('/outgoing/2008-10-30/_nba');">The NBA is set to allow fans to stream games on mobile phones for $40 a year. The move by the National Basketball Association, which is similar to the MLB's mobile streaming service, will allow fans to stream up to 40 games a week. The service, which will be available for the iPhone and on both T-Mobile and Verizon's Android handsets, will also give users the ability to rewind 30 seconds while streaming, letting users manually control instant replay.

Two new companies are allowing people to pay for products with their cell phone numbers. Zong and Obopay give users the ability to link their credit cards to their mobile phone number through their website, through which customers can pay simply by entering their phone number. While both companies are hoping their simplified version of checking out will be attractive to users, its still too early to tell whether or not customers will gravitate towards such a service.

Shelly Palmer is a consultant and the host of MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer a daily show featuring news you can use about technology, media & entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group LLC and the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV. Shelly is also President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. You can join the MediaBytes mailing list here. Shelly can be reached at shelly@palmer.net For information about Get Digital Classes, visit www.shellypalmer.com/seminars


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If it's not bad enough that our celebrity-obsessed culture means the ascendancy of the US Weekly's of the world at the expense of serious journalism, (Y'know, that iron core of news, currently grappling with an existential crisis), now celebrities want to be journalists, too. And because they're celebrities, they can get some serious "gets." Sean Penn,...