November 24, 2020

Media Decoder Blog: The Breakfast Meeting: Nielsen Buys Arbitron, and Instagram’s New Ad-Friendly Rules

Nielsen Holdings announced Tuesday morning that it would be acquiring Arbitron, the radio ratings company, for $1.26 billion, Michael de la Merced reported. The acquisition price amounts to $48 a share in cash for each outstanding share of Arbitron, or a 26 percent premium to Arbitron’s closing price on Monday. The deal was described by Nielsen as part of its effort to track how people view and listen to media programs, which can be delivered in an increasing array of formats.

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NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, was freed after being held for five days by gunmen in Syria, an ordeal he detailed on Tuesday morning on the “Today” show. He described how he and his crew were traveling with Syrian rebels and were captured by a group who emerged suddenly from behind the bushes. The release came at the hands of rebels, who stopped the kidnappers at a checkpoint — by the time he and two of his crew members appeared on “Today” they were in Turkey.

  • The kidnapping, Brian Stelter and Bill Carter write, once again highlights the perils of reporting from Syria, which is said by the Committee to Protect Journalists to be “the world’s most dangerous place for the press.” Mr. Engel has made frequent trips to Syria — on Thursday, NBC News aired a report of his from Syria’s commercial center, Aleppo, where the fighting has been intense.

While lacking a breakout hit like last year’s biography of Steven Jobs, independent bookstores are reporting that sales are up this year, Leslie Kaufman reports. Rather, they say a range of unexpectedly popular titles, including Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” and Chris Ware’s complex graphic novel “Building Stories” have made up the slack. The picture was more mixed at Barnes Noble, the nation’s largest book chain, which is investing heavily in digital books, and solid but not stellar growth in digital sales.

The photo-sharing site Instagram announced new terms of service for its users as part of its integration within Facebook, which acquired the company in April. The new terms, Jenna Wortham and Nick Bilton write, give Facebook great latitude in using pictures that are shared through the service starting Jan. 16, when they go into effect. They provide a list of the changes, which include: “Instagram can share information about its users with Facebook, its parent company, as well as outside affiliates and advertisers,” and “Ads may not be labeled as ads.” And a final term: “The only way to opt out of the new Instagram terms is to not use the service.”

  • The anger at the changes is fast growing, with Instagram users taking to Twitter to vent.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/the-breakfast-meeting-nielsen-buys-arbitron-and-instagrams-new-ad-friendly-rules/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Mass-Market Paperbacks Fading From Shelves

Recession-minded readers who might have picked up a quick novel in the supermarket or drugstore are lately resisting the impulse purchase. Shelf space in bookstores and retail chains has been turned over to more expensive editions, like hardcovers and trade paperbacks, the sleeker, more glamorous cousin to the mass-market paperback. And while mass-market paperbacks have always been prized for their cheapness and disposability, something even more convenient has come along: the e-book.

A comprehensive survey released last month by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group revealed that while the publishing industry had expanded over all, publishers’ mass-market paperback sales had fallen 14 percent since 2008.

“Five years ago, it was a robust market,” said David Gernert, a literary agent whose clients include John Grisham, a perennial best seller in mass market. “Now it’s on the wane, and e-books have bitten a big chunk out of it.”

Fading away is a format that was both inexpensive and widely accessible — thrillers and mysteries and romances by authors like James Patterson, Stephen King, Clive Cussler and Nora Roberts that were purchased not to be proudly displayed on a living room shelf (and never read), but to be addictively devoured by devoted readers.

“In those days, you could easily ship out a million copies of a book,” said Beth de Guzman, the editor in chief of paperbacks for Grand Central Publishing, part of the Hachette Book Group. “Then shelf space started decreasing and decreasing for mass market, and it has especially declined in the last several years.”

For decades, the mass-market paperback has stubbornly held on, despite the predictions of its death since the 1980s, when retail chains that edged out independent bookstores successfully introduced discounts on hardcover versions of the same books. The prices of print formats are typically separated by at least a few dollars. Michael Connelly, the best-selling mystery writer best known for “The Lincoln Lawyer,” said he worried that book buyers would not be able to discover new authors very easily if mass-market paperbacks continued to be phased out.

“Growing up and reading primarily inexpensive mass-market novels, it allows you to explore,” he said. “I bought countless novels based on the cover or based on the title, not knowing what was inside.”

The growth of the e-book has forced a conversation in the publishing industry about which print formats will survive in the long term. Publishers have begun releasing trade paperbacks sooner than the traditional one-year period after the release of the hardcover, leaving the mass-market paperback even further behind.

Cost-conscious readers who used to wait for the heavily discounted paperback have now realized that the e-book edition, available on the first day the book is published, can be about the same price. For devoted readers of novels, people who sometimes voraciously consume several books in a single week, e-books are a natural fit.

“It’s a question of, do you still want to wait for the book?” said Liate Stehlik, the publisher of William Morrow, Avon and Voyager, imprints of HarperCollins. “The people who used to wait to buy the mass-market paperback because of the price aren’t going to wait anymore.”

That could be good news for authors who make up for a loss in mass-market sales with increases in e-book sales. Generally speaking, authors make more royalties on an e-book than on a paperback.

E-book best-seller lists are packed with the genre novels that have traditionally dominated paperback best-seller lists.

“In some ways, the e-book is yesterday’s mass market,” said Matthew Shear, the executive vice president and publisher of St. Martin’s Press, which currently has books by Janet Evanovich and Lora Leigh on the paperback best-seller list in The New York Times.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=06206b56a22a6dd5fa38454b9b914277