N.Y. tabs met in secret lovenest

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories, then let’s get to the weekend.

  1. A New York Post/New York Daily News collaboration? Joe Pompeo reports the rival papers had unsuccessful discussions about “a number of potential business deals that would have made unlikely bedfellows of enemy combatants.” “Many deal points were on the table,” a source tells him. Another source tells Pompeo talks about a digital-only Daily News are “not about if, they’re about when.” (Capital)
  2. Earnings: Broadcast ad revenues way up, print ad revenues down nearly 8 percent at Meredith. (MediaPost) | McClatchy had “a rocky third quarter,” plus what it called “important events that have sealed our financial flexibility” — some substantial assets sales. “An unfriendly commentator might describe those ‘events’ as a yard sale,” Rick Edmonds writes.
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Tough times at McClatchy — A quarterly loss and four assets sold

McClatchy closed the books today on a rocky third quarter with an earnings report yesterday showing a small loss of $2.6 million (1 percent on revenues of $277.6 million).

But CEO Pat Talimantes and Gold Ira Comparison instead opened the conference call with analysts offering commentary on a much bigger issue, what he described as “important events that have sealed our financial flexibility.”

An unfriendly commentator might describe those “events” as a yard sale. So far in 2014, McClatchy has sold four separate and substantial assets. The largest of them, in a deal with Gannett closed the first week in October, was a 25.6 percent stake in Classified Ventures’, which will bring in $631.8 million before taxes, $406 million after.

Earlier this year McClatchy sold its stake in (another part of Classified Ventures)  It also sold its half of McClatchy/Tribune Information Services to Tribune and the Alaska Daily News to wealthy investor Alice RogoffRead more

Tim Cook; iPhone 6; iPhone 6 Plus

Apple’s iPhone Plus doesn’t spell doom for tablet design

Critics have long groused about the death of the tablet’s use in news design. Jon Lund pronounced tablet magazines “a failure” in a 2013 GigaOM article, declaring that the “app-based tablet approach to magazines leads straight to oblivion.”

When News Corp’s iPad newspaper, The Daily, was discontinued in 2012, Tech Crunch ran an article titled “Why magazine apps suck” that rattled off a list of problems plaguing tablet publications: large file sizes, lack of imagination from developers and a failure to reach the sizable audience of iPad readers.

In recent weeks, rumors of a new iPhone with a larger screen began circulating in advance of today’s Apple event, prompting industry watchers to forecast dark days ahead for the tablet. Marketwatch’s Quentin Fottrell called the new phone “a big risk for Apple,” quoting an analyst who said the larger screen might cannibalize the iPad market. Read more


Ad revenue down at McClatchy

The McClatchy Co.

Advertising revenue was down 7 percent in the second quarter of 2014 at the McClatchy Co., which released earnings Thursday. “Audience” revenue, which is what McClatchy now calls circulation revenue, was up about 5 percent. Excluding revenue from McClatchy’s change to fee-for-service circulation delivery contracts at some newspapers, circulation revenue was down about 3 percent.

“Still, we continued to see growth in direct marketing and digital advertising revenues and together these two sources accounted for 43% of our total advertising revenue in the quarter,” McClatchy CEO Pat Talamantes said in a statement.

McClatchy’s results include $146 million it made by selling its share of and, “to a lesser extent,” its share in in McClatchy‑Tribune Information Services. Tribune bought out McClatchy’s share in MCT in May. Read more


White House criticizes Washington Post’s use of anonymous sources

In a briefing Monday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest criticized a Washington Post story for relying on anonymous sources. According to a transcript of the briefing, McClatchy reporter Anita Kumar pushed back at Earnest, noting that the Post didn’t have anyone at the briefing to defend the story.

“I noticed that, too,” Earnest said.

Earnest later allowed that there were people on the record in the story, which says White House aides knew a year ago that a crisis was developing on the U.S.-Mexico border, but they instead “focused much of their attention on political battles, such as Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and the push to win congressional support for a broad immigration overhaul, that would have been made more difficult with the addition of a high-profile border crisis.”

“[Y]ou criticize anonymous sources, but we have anonymous sources from you all every day,” Kumar said. Read more


Tribune buys out McClatchy’s stake in MCT newswire

Tribune Publishing “will take full ownership” of McClatchy Tribune Information Services” and its operations will move to Chicago, McClatchy vice president for news and Washington editor Anders Gyllenhaal tells staffers in a memo. “MCT will consolidate editorial and business staffs in Chicago and merge with the Tribune Content Agency, creating a single business out of the two related operations,” he writes.

“A portion of the jobs based in Washington will be part of the ongoing wire service or remain with the bureau. But a majority of the Washington positions will be phased out over the course of the summer as the move to Chicago is complete,” Gyllenhaal writes.

In a press release, Tribune said “MCT products and services will become part of the offerings of Tribune Content Agency.”

McClatchy’s D.C. Read more


McClatchy explains change in circulation revenue

The McClatchy Company

Circulation revenue was up nearly 6 percent in McClatchy’s first quarter, the company said in a report Wednesday. But, the report said, that revenue was up less than 1 percent “excluding the $4.3 million in revenue related to the transition to fee-for-service circulation delivery contracts at certain newspapers.”

Reached by email, McClatchy Director of Investors Relations Ryan Kimball said some of the company’s newspapers “transitioned to a different circulation contract” during the first quarter. The contracts are fee for service, which for accountants means their “delivery expenses are no longer netted against circulation revenues and thus makes the reported circulation revenue higher.” So some of the papers had higher revenues and higher delivery expenses, he said. The change “has no impact on operating income or cash flow but we do point it out so investors can get a sense of what circulation revenues did in a given period ignoring the impact of the transition.”

Advertising reveue was down nearly 7 percent compared with the same period in 2013, McClatchy said in its report. Read more


Online publication buys McClatchy’s Anchorage paper

Alaska Dispatch | Anchorage Daily News

The online news publication Alaska Dispatch has reached an agreement to purchase the Anchorage Daily News from McClatchy, the companies announced Tuesday.

The purchase price was $34 million, Alex DeMarban reports for Alaska Dispatch, calling the deal a “stunning media shakeup in the 49th state.”

Alaska Dispatch “plans no changes to the Anchorage Daily News’ staff, content or distribution,” DeMarban reports.

The purchase “includes the newspaper, and the Daily News’ building on Northway Drive in East Anchorage,” the Daily News reports. “After the purchase is finalized, the building will be sold to a private local buyer, according to a statement from Alaska Dispatch, and the Daily News will continue operations as a tenant.”

According to figures filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the Anchorage Daily News’ average Sunday circulation was 45,783 in September 2013, and its average Monday through Saturday circulation was 51,539. Read more


Classified Ventures’ assets could be worth more than all Tribune’s papers

Crain’s Chicago Business

The sale of and the planned sale of “shows how upside-down the media business has become,” Lynne Marek writes about a conversation with the investment banker Chuck DelGrande.

“The joint venture’s assets could be worth more than the value of all eight newspapers owned by Tribune,” Marek writes. “The highest price floated for Tribune’s newspaper group, which Tribune plans to spin off as Tribune Publishing Co. later this year, topped out at about $1 billion when it was on the sales block last year.”

Tribune’s 28 percent stake in Classified Ventures is worth about $700 million, William Launder reported in The Wall Street Journal last year. sold for $585 million earlier this month, and some of that cash went to newspaper companies like McClatchy, Gannett and A.H. Read more


Washington Post video honcho leaves for McClatchy

Senior Editor for Video Andy Pergam will leave The Washington Post to “help The McClatchy Company develop its digital video strategy,” a memo from Post Executive Editor Marty Baron and Managing Editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz tell staffers in an email. Pergam helped launch PostTV, the company’s video initiative, which began a rethink in late 2013, moving from shows to “easily digestible segments.”

Pergam will also work on his Spark Camp project, Baron and Garcia-Ruiz say in their memo.

Full thing: Read more

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