Monday, February 10, 2014

Media Spotlight--February 10

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, show business, and the publishing business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.) And, of course, I'll also keep tabs on Chicago's media.

Chicago Media

~The River's GM is let go
Scott Kozak was the general manager of The River (in Naperville) for the past 2 1/2 years, but The River (and the rest of the company) was sold, and he is out of a job. From the RAMP Newsletter this morning...
RAMP spoke with Kosak, who told us, "I'm proud to have been at the helm of The River during a 2 1/2-year period of revenue growth while overseeing the complete rebuilding of the station into a modern, digital facility. Brian Foster, who will succeed me at WERV, is a friend of mine who I know has the talent and knowledge to take it further down The River as a Digity property."

~Tribune Newspaper Spin-off Likely At Mid-Year
Once the newspapers are spun off into their own company, which this article from Crain's says could happen by mid-year, the broadcasting operations will be free to purchase new properties in certain markets without running afoul of the FCC's cross-ownership rules. The article says that News Corp is one of the potential suitors of the newspaper business.

~Rick Vaughn
The former program director of Kiss-FM in Chicago has a new gig. According to Tom Taylor's NOW newsletter...
Rick Vaughn starts next week as the newest PD in Philadelphia, taking on Beasley’s rhythmic “Wired 96.5” WRDW. Rick most recently programmed in Atlanta at Clear Channel’s CHR “Power 96.1” WWPW and alt-rocker “Radio 105.7” WRDA. He previously programmed in Chicago (“Kiss” WKSC), Hartford (WKSS) and San Diego (KHTS-FM) – and from 2006 to 2008, he was based in Philadelphia, just down City Line Avenue from “Wired,” doing Clear Channel CHR “Q102” WIOQ.

The Moguls

~Amazon Prime Was Too Good to Be True
The whole "free two-day shipping" thing is a goner. As it should be. There's no such thing as free shipping. From the article...
Even if Amazon does raise Prime’s price to cover those increased costs, it may still lose money. Shipping losses are growing by a rate of nearly one-quarter year-over-year, and Amazon is spending almost twice as much on shipping as it charges, writes Colin W. Gillis, director of research at BGC Financial. The proposed Prime price hike won’t cover that deficit, Gillis predicts. “While raising Prime pricing and pitching ‘drone delivery‘ solutions make good headlines, shipping losses remain a burden on profits.”
Bezos is trying to crush the competition and make insanely low-cost shipping standard for all businesses, but if you play that game, you will lose money, and he will get your business.

~Where's Rupert?
For the longest time he was a compulsive tweeter, but he's gone into media silence. What's the reason for that? Showbiz 411 speculates.

~Media CEOs are Confident of the Future
From the article at "A large majority—93 percent—of the CEOs of media and entertainment companies surveyed by PwC are somewhat or very confident about how their companies will fare in the global economy over the next three years." And, if they're wrong, they'll walk away with millions anyway.

~Mark Zuckerberg is the Biggest Giver of 2013
He gave $970 million. The AP has the story.

Broadcast News

~The Story Behind ESPN Scoring the Story of the First Openly Gay NFL Player
This is the story behind the story of Michael Sam, the Mizzou player who will be drafted by the NFL in the upcoming draft. He has come out of the closet, and ESPN got the story first (along with the New York Times)

~NBC Edits Out Anti-Discrimination Speech from Opening Ceremony
This one is a headscratcher. I have no idea why they edited it out based on several factors, not the least of which is its newsworthiness.

~HLN Goes For the Social Media Generation
It's worth a shot. Headline News is going for a younger audience because the other cable news networks own the older audience.

The Publishing Business

~Sony Shutters E-Book Store
They were among the first e-readers, but have now been officially crushed by amazon. I'm not surprised based on the sales figures I've been seeing on my company's e-books. 90% of the e-book sales are coming from amazon.