April 15, 2021

Media Decoder Blog: The Breakfast Meeting: Rethinking the Nook and Woodward vs. the White House

Barnes Noble said that it would rein in ambitions for its Nook tablets after a sharp drop in their sales, Leslie Kaufman writes. William Lynch, the company’s chief executive, told analysts that though Barnes Noble remained devoted to the Nook it would cut advertising and manufacturing of devices. Mr. Lynch said the reformulated Nook strategy would focus more on digital content, sales of which increased 6.8 percent last quarter, and digital education. Barnes Noble shares rose 3.4 percent to close at $15.74.

Bob Woodward, long a scourge of the right wing and a hero of the news media for breaking the Watergate scandal, reversed those roles somewhat this week after he publicly criticized the White House, Christine Haughney and Brian Stelter report. Politico, which broke the story, wrote that Mr. Woodward said he felt threatened by an e-mail from a White House official who had yelled at him for half an hour because of an op-ed article he published in The Washington Post last Friday. The news drew cheers from the conservative establishment, but White House reporters said that arguments and shouting were part of the job description — Politico published the e-mail exchange on Thursday, which appeared cordial. Mr. Woodward said in an interview Thursday that he never felt threatened, but was still concerned about how the Obama White House handles criticism. Dylan Byers, of Politico, also writes about the story.

The Chrysler Group has joined with “Motown: The Musical” to invigorate its “Imported from Detroit” advertising theme, Stuart Elliott writes. The commercial features Berry Gordy, famed record producer and subject of the musical, leaving the Motown headquarters in Detroit riding in a Motown Edition of a Chrysler 300C sedan, and then arriving at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater on Broadway, where the musical opens April 14, as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” plays. When he arrives an altered Chrysler slogan, “Imported from Motown,” appears, followed by the words “ ‘Motown: The Musical’ on Broadway March 2013.” The commercial is believed to be the first time that a Broadway show has had such paid national television exposure before it opens in New York.

A Bloomberg Businessweek cover about the housing rebound in the United States that featured artwork showing cartoonish minorities clutching fistfuls of money has drawn accusations of racism, Tanzina Vega writes. Writers for Slate and the Columbia Journalism Review found the cover inappropriate, and Josh Tyrangiel, the magazine’s editor, said “If we had to do it over again we’d do it differently.” Andres Guzman, the artist who produced the cover, said he based it on an assignment about housing and that no racism was intended. “I am Latino and grew up around plenty of mixed families,” Mr. Guzman said. “I simply drew the family like that because those are the kind of families I know.”

The Jonathan Levin High School for Media and Communications in the South Bronx, named after the son of the Time Warner chairman who was murdered by a former student he had taught in the same building, may be closed by the city, Al Baker reports. In the last few years a number of factors, like the increasing number of students who speak no English, have driven down the school’s graduation rate, and money for extras, including a scholarship in Mr. Levin’s name and baseball field maintenance, has dried up. The school, originally intended to help at-risk students get a start in the fields of media and media studies, would be the latest casualty of the Bloomberg administration’s policy of shuttering schools and replacing them with new ones, critics say.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/the-breakfast-meeting-rethinking-the-nook-and-woodward-vs-the-white-house/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: The Breakfast Meeting: The Tech Industry Looks to Online Gambling and Business Insider Appoints an Executive Editor

Developers across the technology industry are focusing on online gambling as their next billion-dollar business, David Streitfeld reports. Online poker and sports betting are certainly nothing new, but developers from giants like Zynga to specialists like Betable are creating more casual games on which users can bet, from casino staples like slots and roulette to considerably more creative diversions. Developers are currently aiming their products at foreign markets while trying to make inroads in the United States, where online gambling is still largely illegal. Legislation to legalize the practice is slow, facing headwinds from brick-and-mortar casinos and traditional antigambling factions.

Business Insider, the nearly six-year-old online news site, has named Joe Weisenthal, the site’s lead financial blogger, as its executive editor. Mr. Weisenthal, who begins his day at 4 a.m. and maintains a frenetic Twitter presence, was an obvious choice for the position because of his nervous energy and obvious love of his subject matter, Brian Stelter writes. Henry Blodget, who founded the site and remains its editor in chief, said the Business Insider will turn a meaningful profit during this quarter.

One reporter’s decision to authenticate an amateurish iPhone photo of an exploding manhole in Omaha involved shoe leather, not photo analytics or a careful examination of metadata, David Carr writes. Matthew Hansen, a columnist at the Omaha World-Herald, eventually traced the photo to Stephanie Sands, a graduate student the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and got a column out of it. The story may not be a scoop for the ages, but it does reinforce the point that local newspapers still play an interesting role even in the digital age and that reporters generally benefit from turning off their computers and physically exploring a story.

Winners of the 2012 George Polk Awards uncovered corruption at the highest levels of the Chinese government, exposed abuses at New Jersey’s halfway houses and delved deep into the Syrian civil war, Marc Santora reports. The New York Times won three awards and Bloomberg News won two, and other winners included California Watch, CBS News, Frontline, GlobalPost, The Maine Sunday Telegram, McClatchy Newspapers, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The New Yorker and The Washington Post.

The death of a high-profile character on the season finale of “Downton Abbey” may have left fans of the show angry and mourning, but killing off characters generally fails to alienate audiences, Bill Carter writes. (Fans, have no fear of spoilers — specifics will appear in the interview description below.) Important deaths have played a part in shows from “M*A*S*H” to “Dallas,” but now audiences use social media to protest more vociferously than they could in the past, as the creators of shows like “Lost” and even “Boardwalk Empire” have found. Both shows remained popular despite an outpouring of outrage.

Julian Fellowes, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter and the creator and writer of PBS smash “Downton Abbey,” sat down for a spoiler-laden interview with Dave Itzkoff about the comings and goings on “Abbey” and his own possible departure from the show. (Read no further if you’re catching up.) The deaths of Sybil and Matthew, Mr. Fellowes revealed, were not necessarily his choice — the actors playing those characters decided to leave the show to pursue other opportunities. Mr. Fellowes would say little about the next season, except that one of the main themes will be the rebuilding of Mary. He is working on a possible period drama for NBC called “The Gilded Age” which, if it is picked up, would mean he would leave “Abbey.” As much as Mr. Fellowes would like to end the hit on his own terms, “the business of life is learning that you can’t lay down the terms,” he said.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/the-breakfast-meeting-the-tech-industry-looks-to-online-gambling-and-business-insider-appoints-an-executive-editor/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: The Breakfast Meeting: Liberty Global Buys Virgin Media and How to Talk About "House of Cards," Sans Spoilers

The international cable company Liberty Global agreed on Tuesday to buy the British cable company Virgin Media for about $16 billion, Mark Scott and Eric Pfanner write in The Times. The deal gives Liberty Global access to Europe’s largest cable market and pits Liberty Global’s owner, the American billionaire John C. Malone, against Rupert Murdoch, the biggest shareholder in Britain’s pay-TV provider British Sky Broadcasting. The takeover ranks as one of the 10 largest cable deals of all time, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Netflix released all 13 episodes of its new political thriller series “House of Cards” simultaneously, raising thorny questions about how best to communicate about a show that allows viewers to immediately devour an entire season. The show, which stars Kevin Spacey and has received largely positive reviews, creates problems for viewers who hope to discuss it on social media without becoming spoilers, Brian Stelter writes. Fans of the show have worked out several methods for talking about it safely, like starting their Facebook posts or Tweets by saying “I’m in No. 5″ or titling a blog post with the warning “If You’ve Seen All of House of Cards, Let’s Discuss.” One thing’s for certain: with more original shows in production for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, this conundrum is not going away soon.

The Church of Scientology ran an advertisement promoting a gentler, mildly individualistic view of the religion during the Super Bowl, Tanzina Vega and Michael Cieply report. It called on “the curious, the inquisitive, the seekers of knowledge” to “dare to think for yourself, to look for yourself, to make up your own mind.” The commercial appeared after several months of mounting accusations against the church, including an article in Vanity Fair about Katie Holmes’s experience and Lawrence Wright’s investigative book “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood the Prison of Belief.” Karin Pouw, a spokeswoman for the church, said the ad was not a direct response to Mr. Wright’s book.

Luna, a nutrition bar marketed for women, has released a new web series called “Debunking the Diet” in an effort to promote their brand in a more engaging manner than a straightforward advertisement, Andrew Adam Newman reports. The spots are two to three minutes long and feature the Funny or Die comedian Erin Gibson questioning women about their dietary needs before detailing the correct requirements in a lab. Luna has focused more on event sponsorship, social media promotion and branded content like “Debunking the Diet” than on traditional commercials. In 2011 the brand earned $180.1 million, a 9.6 percent share of the energy and nutrition bar category.

A Calvin Klein ad featuring the ludicrously-toned male model Matthew Terry during the Super Bowl may have caused more social media uproar than any other. Stuart Emmrich collects some of the best responses. Chris Kluwe, the Minnesota Vikings punter who stood up for same sex marriage during the season, Tweeted: And yes, the Calvin Klein one objectified men just as much as GoDaddy did women. I guess we’re equal now? Hooray?

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/the-breakfast-meeting-liberty-global-buys-virgin-media-and-how-to-talk-about-house-of-cards-sans-spoilers/?partner=rss&emc=rss