Media and Money

Archive for December 2009

In 2009, 275 new magazines were launched while 428 ceased publication, according to– the largest online database of U.S. and Canadian publications. Regional magazines topped the list of new launches with 21 new titles, such as Maine Magazine and B-metro Birmingham, while it also topped the list of ceased publications (34), with titles such Atlanta Life and Denver Living.

The next largest category for new magazine launches in 2009 was Health, with 15 new titles, including Scottsdale Health and Natural Awakenings (Port Charlotte, FL). Another top category for new magazine launches was Food, with 14 new magazines such as Food Network Magazine, Edible Queens, and Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade.

“Despite the difficult year for the magazine industry, more than 275 magazines launched in 2009 – showing there is still strength in the regional, health, and food categories, with Food Network Magazine reporting more than 1 million readers,” said Trish Hagood, President of Oxbridge Communications, publishers of

“Yet, at the same time, Gourmet Magazine, with a circulation of 977,000, founded in 1941, folded. And, sadly, many magazines were forced to abandon their print products, including Blender, Vibe, Purpose Driven Connection, and Giant.”

MediaFinder also reported the top categories for ceased publications in 2009. In addition to regional magazines, business magazines lead the list of ceased publications, with 16 publications including BusinessWeek Small Biz, Conde Nast Portfolio, and Fortune Small Business. Other large categories for ceased magazines include lifestyle and real estate magazines, with 14 ceased titles. The Home magazine category also experienced a decline with Country Home, Southern Accents, and Metropolitan Home folding in 2009.

The Comcast boss, Brian Roberts, said buying control of NBC Universal, General Electric’s media business, made him and his cable group “strategically complete.” This was code to his shareholders, who have worried about him building a media empire ever since he tried to buy Walt Disney, that he’s done shopping, Reuters Breakingviews says.

But to fully complete the deal, Comcast needs to buy the 49 percent of NBC that is still in G.E.’s hands. And if NBC’s core cable businesses continue growing, the conglomerate’s remaining stake could be worth some $20 billion by the time Mr. Roberts can buy it, Reuters Breakingviews calculates.

That’s a big chunk of change for Comcast shareholders. But here’s where Comcast’s financial engineers may deserve applause, Reuters Breakingviews says: The deal looks to have been structured in a way that should, if Comcast is willing to be patient and NBC performs, pay for itself.

Read the full article from the New York Times.

The research, which covers the period between December 4th and 7th 2009, indicates that 13 per cent of respondents read a consumer product review on a social media portal that had an affect on their festive purchasing.

Some 11 per cent suggested that an expert product review influenced what they bought, while seven per cent revealed they have followed a fan page on Facebook to take advantage of deals on offer.

Microblogging website Twitter has also had an impact on this year’s Christmas shopping trends, with five per cent of respondents saying they have followed a company on the service in order to get their hands on special offers.

Figures from comScore also indicate that e-commerce spending is up year on year.

The first 36 days of the November to December 2009 holiday season has seen nearly $16 billion (£9.81 billion) spent online – a three per cent increase on the same period in 2008.

Meanwhile, the week ending December 6th saw $4.6 billion spent on the web, which was a larger figure than any individual spending week last year.

In the UK, it has been predicted that Monday December 7th will have been the busiest online shopping day on record once results have been published.

Comcast Corp. announced plans to buy a majority stake in NBC Universal for $13.75 billion, giving the nation’s largest cable TV operator control of the Peacock network, an array of cable channels and a major movie studio.

Although the deal could mean that movies could reach cable more quickly after showing in theaters, and that TV shows could appear faster on cell phones and other devices, it was already raising concerns that Comcast would wield too much power over entertainment.

Indeed, if the deal clears regulatory and other hurdles, Comcast would rival the heft of The Walt Disney Co. – which Comcast CEO Brian Roberts already tried to buy.

Comcast, which already serves a quarter of all U.S. households that pay for TV, would gain control of the NBC broadcast network, the Spanish-language Telemundo and about two dozen cable channels, including USA, Bravo and Syfy. It also would have regional sports networks, Universal Pictures and theme parks.

The deal is a major turning point for Comcast, catapulting the Philadelphia-based company to a media conglomerate and above the pack of cable operators that remain content to run their regional cable systems.

“Does the world ever stand still?” Roberts said. Bringing NBC Universal into the Comcast family is “pro-consumer” and would allow the company to more quickly deliver “what consumers want, which is access to all different types of content on different platforms and different times.”

In agreeing to buy 51 percent of NBC Universal from General Electric Co., which has controlled NBC since 1986, Comcast hopes to succeed in marrying distribution and content in a way Time Warner Inc. could not. AOL and Time Warner are undoing their ill-fated marriage Dec. 9. Time Warner has already shed its cable TV operations.

Three-quarters (74%) of U.S. adults, or nearly 171 million people, read a newspaper — in print or online — during the past week. This is according to the latest Integrated Newspaper Audience (INA)* finding from Scarborough Research, the audience ratings measurement service for the newspaper industry. The company examined newspaper readership in its recently released Scarborough USA+ Study, which captures media patterns and other consumer behaviors of adults across the country. The data analysis indicates that newspapers are still read in print or online by a critical mass of adults in the U.S. on a daily and weekly basis.

“While our data does show that print newspaper readership is slowly declining, it also illustrates that reports about the pending death of the newspaper industry are not supported by audience data,” said Gary Meo, Scarborough Research’s Senior Vice President of Print and Digital Media Services. “Given the fragmentation of media choices, printed newspapers are holding onto their audiences relatively well and this is refreshing news.”
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According to the BBC, the concession follows claims from some media companies that the search engine is profiting from online news pages.

Under the First Click Free program, publishers can now prevent unrestricted access to subscription websites.

Users who click on more than five articles in a day may be routed to payment or registration pages.

“Previously, each click from a user would be treated as free,” Google senior business product manager Josh Cohen said in a blog post.

Google users may start seeing registration pages appear when they click for a sixth time on any given day at websites of publishers using the programme, according to Mr Cohen.

This will only affect websites that currently charge for content.

‘Significant move’

The announcement is seen as a reaction to concerns in the newspaper industry that Google is using newspaper content unfairly.

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of Newscorp, has accused firms such as Google of profiting from journalism by generating advertising revenue by linking readers to newspaper articles.

Some readers have discovered they can avoid paying subscription fees to newspaper websites by calling up their pages via Google.

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