Daily Marauder


THE FUTURE OF NEWS: FLIPBOARD VS. THE DAILY by Marauder

THE FUTURE OF NEWS: FLIPBOARD VS. THE DAILY

Taking a stance on Flipboard vs. The Daily, two iPad applications which supply news content to their audiences, highlights the friction between old media and new and distinguishes the ways two companies are bringing information to users. Flipboard is a social magazine launched in July 2010 by Mike McCue and Evan Doll touted by Apple as iPad App of the Year and one of TIME’s top 50 innovations of 2010. The Daily launched in February 2011 by News Corp., designed to be the first iPad-only newspaper.

 

To fully discuss the future of news, I’ve brought together a group of folks with different perspectives for the weigh-in. Below are the three main contributors. Along with these, there are several other powerful perspectives weaved in along the way.

 

Ashmi Dang: Digital Marketing Consultant specializing in entertainment

Caroline Giegerich: Editor of Daily Marauder, Master of whimsy

David Hayes: Digital marketer in theatrical at a studio and curator of finely wrought bytes at Stilllifewithinternet.com

 

The Secret Sauce

Flipboard

 

“Flipboard is the “platformifiication” of publishing, open to anyone who wants to publish through it. The breadth of content available trumps the quality of individual pieces of content, with the experience being different for everyone that uses it. The Daily is “magazines as medium”, and is a literal interpretation of what the future of magazines can be – a multi-dimensional interpretation of a formerly two-dimensional edited, curated document.” Ian Schafer, CEO, Deep Focus

 

A:

Flipboard allows me to be the secret sauce by giving me control over what I read. My usage is mostly concentrated on my Twitter feeds. Pulling them into Flipboard offers me a way of stepping out of the live steam to do some social listening, as well as responding and ultimately boosting my Influence Score by having dialogue with what I’ve read. An application that simplifies the process of doing all that, through a visually pleasing and unique UI, helps feed my social-networking-news-consuming-junkie needs.

 

For a newspaper, the biggest draw is the editorial content. The challenge for The Daily is convincing consumers that their version of the news is worth paying for. Right now, there are five categories, one being Sports which I don’t read. Of the remaining four, I’m already able to find most through my existing news channels, and others that are of importance to me are simply not covered. The value proposition and product differentiation don’t exist in terms of my needs with The Daily.

 

C:

In the days of the newspaper, the news editor was king, culling together a meticulously curated product from the ranks of the professional journalist. In the new era of social media, the control of content has shifted from ‘professional’ to everyone. Twitter, on the short form, and blogs on the long form have empowered the masses to become an army of content creators. Flipboard simply aggregates this new army of content creators to create a new breed of broadsheet. If my broadsheet could speak to me, what would she say? Well, she would most likely say something different minute by minute as the news developed. Flipboard fulfills this promise creating a lean back experience of news that has been curated by both the reader and their amalgamation of friends and contacts.

 

The Daily, on the other hand, is a traditional newspaper that has been re-packaged simply for an iPad product. One issue is delivered and served with the sections you’ve come to expect from a traditional newspaper. No personalization. No curation of the masses. This difference evokes the glaring friction traditional media has been battling with for so long: ceding control. Content creators no longer require journalism school or fancy degrees. Recognizing this is the secret sauce of Flipboard. Ignoring it is the Achilles Heel of The Daily.

 

D:

While The Daily is attempting to recreate the experience of reading a newspaper for lean back devices, Flipboard’s aim feels more ambitious: Create a “personalized social magazine.”

 

Quality as News Source

 

A:

Flipboard is a platform driven by my work in curating the best content for me and also offers some pretty great optional channels of aggregated content. Ultimately, I’m in charge and it comes down to my willingness to ensure that I’m reading quality information.

 

With The Daily, Caroline McCarthy, of CNET.com/CBS, made an excellent point while moderating a Social Media Week panel in NYC, “For The Daily to really establish itself as a long lasting fixture, its going to have to start breaking news and getting that exclusive Steve Jobs interview that Time would otherwise be getting.” Its uniqueness in this area is most critical to its success and right now, it’s just not there for me.

 

C:

Here Flipboard could potentially fall flat much like Twitter. If not carefully managed, a Twitter feed can become a garbage can of ridiculous comments. Flipboard allows the user to pick the inputs from Flavorpill to the NY Times. If a user selects only entertainment outlets, the experience will be limited to that information removing the possibility that the budding protests in the Middle East will make their way through. In this way, Flipboard’s ability to present information is only as good as the human programming it.

 

On the flip, The Daily is collected and published in one edition and experienced as such by all users.   Flipboard is Pandora. If you decide at some point that you no longer like the blues, some energy is required to remix. The Daily is radio. I worked in radio. We DJ’s lie to you all the time about playing requests. Doesn’t happen.

 

D:

The Daily is a better way to get the day’s news for the target customer, the type of person who walks by his front door and misses that familiar stroll onto the lawn to pick up the morning paper. The Daily is a newspaper dressed up to look like a spaceship but a newspaper nonetheless.

 

Flipboard is not a very good way to get the day’s news. Why? Flipboard is the single-most pleasurable experience I’ve encountered on a touch-screen device for…browsing, but it is not a very good app for scanning. Flipboard is both an extremely pleasurable and tiresome experience. It’s a “fifteen minute app,” both in fame and in the maximum amount of time I can stand using it.

 

Business Model

Flipboard: free. The Daily: $.99 per issue of $39.99 per year

 

A:

Being free, Flipboard is contributing to their future success. Adoption and usage provide data necessary to understand what’s working and what’s not. Once they figure this out, they have the opportunity to stake a claim in what becomes the norm furthering investment and continued growth. I’d personally like to see an algorithm that pushes the most discussed topics in my feed’s front and center.

 

As a subscription-based service, The Daily is going to have to significantly set itself apart from its free competitors. More than ever, we are curating our own news. At a Social Media Week panel, Adam Ostrow, Editor-in-Chief of Mashable said, “News Corp has been one of the few companies that’s been successful at charging for content through the Wall Street Journal, and while I think its a bit of a different audience obviously, people will pay for information that moves markets.”

 

C:

In typical Murdoch fashion, the price is immediate even before the quality of the content has been proved out. This is called ego and the central differentiating feature again between old media and the start-up community. Start-ups focus on the user experience almost with little to no focus on how they will prove out revenue-positive results. Traditional media focuses on how to glean immediate profits before asking consumers if they like the experience. There must be some middle ground here.

 

D:

If Murdoch succeeds, he’ll have proven that people willpay for the news, even if that news is so bland that it appears to have been generated by content bots. People will pay for information online and that content doesn’t have to be Wikileaks caliber. This is because many people don’t pay for the information itself, but the experience of consuming the information. (i.e. USA Today) For a very specific, very large and very deep-pocketed user base, the experience of reading a newspaper in some version of the old way is worth paying for.

 

Flipboard has gone the free route and faces that long road of gaining enough users to sell ads against eyeballs. I would have charged for Flipboard. It’s the exact type of novelty I’d pay for just as I paid for FLUD and Pulse. At its core, Flipboard isn’t a magazine. It’s a feed reader, an aggregator, be they social (Facebook), Flipboard-endorsed (FlipTech) or self-curated content. This is no different from Pulse, FLUD, Feedly, Google Reader, etc. Is Flipboard one of the more unique aggregators? Certainly. Can you make real money at aggregation? Ask Google News or Tumblr. It’s tough. Content creators will give you their feeds for free but the second you try to make money off them? Watch out.

 

 

Traditional Media vs. New Media

“I’ll bet on ‘produced’ content any day. Right now, everybody aggregates the news, but few are producing. This is where The Daily stands out. It’s early, everybody is learning, but Murdoch took the right approach…conceived from the users point of view, not trying to squeeze a newspaper onto a 9 inch screen.” Rishi Malhotra, Managing Partner 212MEDIA, a NYC-based media incubator.

 

A:

Flipboard’s approach is acknowledging consumer’s changing behaviors with the widespread adoption of both the iPad and social networking. The Daily has delivered an electronic newspaper in a medium that begs for innovation. Advantage, Flipboard. It is looking toward the future, not reinventing the past.

 

C:

Flipboard represents a revolutionary way to consume news. The simplicity of the thinking is this: extend the aggregation of news outside professional editors and customize that curation by user. The end links could be the same. For example, my friend may post a link to WSJ which would be curated through Flipboard. Same as reading the WSJ? No. In this case, the WSJ was hand-selected by my friend for some reason, elevating its status like a highlighter elevates text. No one wants to think his or her job is not specialized. Flipboard makes us all editors which empowers us all. The Daily continues with the control traditional media clings to. Control the message. Control the power. Too bad the power already ceded to the community a long time ago. Democracy isn’t just for Egypt any more kids. The news is now ours to create. Move over Wolf Blitzer…

 

D:

From its old school subscription model to its print style ads to its broad sheet page layout, The Daily is 100% about making its users feel comfortable performing an activity that doesn’t really exist in the modern world: Reading – not scanning – yesterday’s news. This is precisely why Big Media wins in this case. They get their customer’s true needs and wants and are positioning themselves for a specific group of people with a high willingness to pay. That group just might be those 76MM Baby Boomers approaching retirement and ready to unwrap their next iPad.

 

The startup loses. Flipboard will basically appeal to the exact type of person who understands that it would be ridiculous to pay for yesterday’s news because they read yesterday’s news yesterday in real-time, as it happened. This is the same type of person who has enough feeds to demand a feed reader and needs that reader to be built for scanning and not browsing.

 

 

 



ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Google users may not turn up any News Corp. articles in their searches after the company launches its paid content strategy, according to comments made by Rupert Murdoch in a Sky News interview. Murdoch complained that search engine readers hold little value for print sites’ advertisers and again held up his Wall St. Journal site as an example of what the model would look like. (Only the first paragraph of news stories would come up in search engines.) “There’s not enough advertising in the world to make all the websites profitable. We’d rather have fewer people coming to our websites but paying,” said Mr. Murdoch.

Techcrunch reported that 25% of WSJ.com’s traffic comes from Google. That’s, in essence, what we’re talking about here: 25%. It’s a bit like Kraft taking all of it’s products off of supermarket shelves. And considering that WSJ has a deal with Google to allow users to read full article content when they search through the engine, it seems a bit like an about-face no?


In a continued housecleaning at Walt Disney Co., studio distribution veteran Mark Zoradi is leaving after 29 years. The departure of Zoradi, president of Disney’s motion pictures group, follows the ousting of his former boss, Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook, in September and Miramax Films President Daniel Battsek late last month. (LA Times 11/10)

LinkedIn and Twitter have linked up. Starting immediately, users of LinkedIn and Twitter can cross-file to each other’s services, by checking a box on either Twitter or LinkedIn. (Reuters11/10)

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Comscore worldwide data says Digg, Twitter and Facebook have 32 million, 58 million and 411 million unique monthly visitors (September 2009), respectively. Google Trends says much the same thing, but the growth over time is fascinating visually. (Techcrunch11/4)

Twitter Digg Facebook

MySpace, once the centerpiece of Rupert Murdoch’s digital strategy, has fallen “significantly” short of expectations and is jeopardising a critical $900m internet search agreement with Google. (Financial Times 11/4)

Google launched Google Commerce Search, a new search engine that online retailers can install on their websites to provide Google style speed and efficiency for customers when they search for products. (Mashable11/5)

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Traditional and new-media companies are getting “creative” out of necessity, as all advertising-driven media are being hit hard by the recession. Later this summer, a major movie studio will pay celebrity blogger Perez Hilton to “tweet” for a week about a forthcoming movie. (Iwantmedia 5/18, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2009/05/17/MNH217LDF5.DTL 5/17)

Paris

MySpace is debuting six albums from major acts, including Eminem, Tori Amos, Phoenix, Busta Rhymes, Method Man & Redman, Kate Voegele and Lionel Richie All six albums will be streaming in their entirety on each artist’s respective official MySpace page days before their release. (Iwantmedia 5/18, http://music-mix.ew.com/2009/05/ew-exclusive-my.html 5/15)

MySpace Full Album

Once again, the Internet is shifting before our eyes. Information is increasingly being distributed and presented in real-time streams instead of dedicated Web pages. The shift is palpable, even if it is only in its early stages. Web companies large and small are embracing this stream. It is not just Twitter. It is Facebook and Friendfeed and AOL and Digg and Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop and Techmeme and Tweetmeme and Ustream and Qik and Kyte and blogs and Google Reader. The stream is winding its way throughout the Web and organizing it by nowness. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/17/jump-into-the-stream/ 5/17)

NBC News anchor Brian Williams and ABC News anchor Dan Harris are launching side gigs as music bloggers. Both of their blogs appear to be passion plays, rather than calculated attempts to reach younger audiences. Williams vows not to become “a tragic hipster.” (Iwantmedia 5/18, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090517/ap_en_mu/ap_on_tv_anchors__tunes 5/17)

Comscore has a fascinating post today talking about the relative decline in paid search ad clicks when compared to search query volume in the U.S. Search queries are up 68% in the last year, but paid clicks are up only 18% in the same period. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/16/longer-queries-driving-down-ad-impressions-how-about-bankrupt-advertisers/ 5/16)

Paid Search Ads

Rupert Murdoch’s plan to put News Corp. Web sites behind a pay wall is will be “like putting toothpaste back in the tube.” So says Jack Matthews, CEO at Fairfax Digital Media, the online arm of a News Corp. rival in Australia. Matthews says he is “bullish about mobile devices.” (Iwantmedia 5/18, http://edition.cnn.com/2009/BUSINESS/05/18/online.pay/ 5/16)

The FBI is willing to do just about anything when it comes to tracking down bad guys. They did the widgets thing last year. And today they announced that they’ve “set up shop in several social media websites.”  They’ve now got profiles on Facebook, Twitter class=”snap_preview_icon”> and YouTube profiles are highlighted. They even have billboards up in Second Life. (Iwantmedia 5/18, http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/15/fbi-adds-facebook-youtube-twitter-profiles-myspace-completely-dissed/ 5/15)

Facebook FBI

Epix, the online movie service being developed by MGM, Paramount and Lionsgate, has selected video-streaming systems from Akamai Technologies. EpixHD.com will use a dynamic-streaming feature from Akamai that uses Adobe Flash Media Server 3.5 and adjusts its performance based on the capabilities of a user’s computer. Multichannel News (5/18)

NBC Universal, Applebee’s and agency Starcom are working together to develop a research model that will more precisely quantify the relative effectiveness of on-air and online video ads. The test, which will play out during the next three months, will include a number of NBCU’s assets, including NBC and MSNBC. Mediaweek (5/17)

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TECHNOLOGY by Marauder

TECHNOLOGY

(Below) Um…don’t Amazon and Sony have pretty good versions of these already?

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch says his company is investing in a mobile reading device for newspaper content. Murdoch didn’t delve into details but hinted the reader might be part of a plan to increase revenues for the flailing media companies. “People are used to reading everything on the net for free, and that’s going to have to change,” Murdoch said. The Wall Street Journal (4/2)

This morning’s news about the latest unemployment statistics was dismal and quite sobering. The U.S. has lost 5 million jobs in the past 16 months, and the unemployment rate has hit a 25 year high, reaching 8.5%. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/03/dicecom-shows-45-drop-in-tech-jobs/ 4/3)

AT&T says connectivity will soon be a major component of every type of consumer-electronics device, forcing the company to look for new pricing strategies to accommodate users who want wireless service for multiple devices. AT&T President of Emerging Devices Glenn Lurie said he did not think customers would be willing to pay a flat monthly fee for most connectivity services, but might be willing to pay on a per-use basis. Computerworld (4/2) , InformationWeek (4/2) , The New York Times (free registration) (4/2)

TomTom, in the midst of building its first wireless navigation device for the U.S., has reached a deal with TrafficCast International for real-time data on traffic and weather as well as the closest low-cost fuel stop, the Dutch company said. Navigation companies are under pressure from telecoms, which increasingly are offering similar services at more convenience and a lower cost. The Wall Street Journal (4/1)

HD Radio will be optional in 11 Mercedes models for the 2010 model year. The HD Radio will be packaged with other premium features. TWICE (3/30)

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

If you haven’t heard about PlayOn, MediaMall’s PC-to-console video streaming software, you will soon. Moving to become a major player in the streaming content world, PlayOn has grabbed some huge wins lately, and it doesn’t look like they’re planning on slowing down. In a software update hitting today, PlayOn has added streaming support for Amazon’s Video on Demand service along with content from Revision3. (http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/03/06/playon-moves-to-rule-to-streaming-content-roost 3/6)

playon

MySpace is said to be falling behind rival Facebook in the all-important race to sign up new users. The social network “simply isn’t as hot as it was four years ago,” when Rupert Murdoch acquired it for $580 million. In today’s economy, MySpace “can’t afford to miss a step.” (Iwantmedia 3/6, http://money.cnn.com/2009/03/05/technology/myspace_struggles.fortune/?postversion=2009030510 3/5)

myspace


News Corp. publisher HarperCollins is launching BookArmy, a Web site offering book recommendations based on a user’s previous reads and the opinions of other users. Visitors can enter the name of a favorite book and the site will generate a list of literary suggestions. (Iwantmedia 3/6, http://www.brandrepublic.com/Discipline/Media/News/887917/HarperCollins-launches-recommendation-site-book-lovers 3/5)

Cool. Tried a few titles and the recommendation engine seemed to be working for the titles I could find.

book-army

President Obama is appointing Vivek Kundra, the District of Columbia‘s chief technology officer, as the federal government’s first chief information officer. Kundra is charged with making government data “more accessible.” Obama still plans to name a chief technology officer. (Iwantmedia 3/6, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/05/AR2009030501060.html 3/5)

kundra


Google is introducing an “expandable” advertising format across its content network as its steps up its focus on rich media ads. The new ad format expands from a standard AdSense ad size to take up most of the page, allowing marketers to include video and multiple images. (Iwantmedia 3/6, http://www.nma.co.uk/Articles/41756/Google+launches+expandable+ad+format+across+Content.html 3/5)

To boost morale and retain workers, Google is offering to lower the exercise price on stock options issued in better times. The change will give the Internet giant’s employees a better chance to profit if the stock rebounds. The adjustment opens a new moneymaking window for 17,000 staffers. (Iwantmedia 3/6, http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090306/ap_on_hi_te/google_stock_options 3/6)


Techcrunch already showed you one dirty way of re-enabling Hulu on Boxee but now there is an official work around direct from Boxee via RSS. The latest build adds support for video RSS fees and so…all you need to do is add Hulu’s public RSS feed to the app’s reader. It’s surely not as sexy as the past application, but it’s better than nothing. Plus, App Box and auto update show how fast this alpha release is maturing. (http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/03/06/boxee-adds-hulu-support-kind-of-app-box-and-auto-update 3/6)


Facebook has just announced that applications on Facebook Platform can now be able to take advantage of the site’s built-in chat functionality, which launched last spring. Developers will now be able to present users with a list of their Facebook Chat buddies, tailoring the list to best suit their application (for example, they can choose to only present friends that already have the app installed). (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/05/facebook-apps-can-now-use-chat-to-go-viral 3/5)

Amazon has been on Twitter since 2007, but recently the company has been stepping up its efforts with the micro-blogging platform. Among the new features, the company has set up accounts for its wish lists and payment services. American City Business Journals/Seattle (3/6)


ComScore estimates that 76.8% of the U.S. internet audience watched online video in Jan, watching an average of 6 hours for the month – up 15% from Dec. More than 100 million viewers watched 6.3 billion videos on YouTube during the month, or 62.6 apiece. MySpace drew 54.1 million viewers who watched 473 million clips, or 8.7 videos apiece. (Cynopsis 3/6)

Top U.S. Online Video Properties by Unique Viewers – January 2009
Property Unique Viewers (000) Average Videos per Viewer
Total Internet 147,322 100.7
Google Sites 101,870 62.5
Fox Interactive Media 62,109 8.9
Yahoo! Sites 41,859 8.9
Microsoft Sites 30,042 8.9
AOL LLC 27,198 6.8
HULU.COM 24,448 10.2
CBS Corporation 24,215 4.2
Viacom Digital 24,126 11.9
Turner Network 22,979 8.5
Disney Online 13,435 10.5
Source: comScore Video Metrix

Top U.S. Online Video Properties by Videos Viewed – January 2009
Property Videos (000) Share (%) of Videos
Total Internet 14,831,607 100.0
Google Sites 6,367,638 42.9
Fox Interactive Media 551,991 3.7
Yahoo! Sites 374,161 2.5
Viacom Digital 287,615 1.9
Microsoft Sites 267,475 1.8
HULU.COM 250,473 1.7
Turner Network 195,983 1.3
AOL LLC 184,808 1.2
Disney Online 141,452 1.0
MEGAVIDEO.COM 102,857 0.7
Source: comScore Video Metrix Rankings based on video content sites; excludes video server networks. Online video includes both streaming and progressive download video.

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BROADCAST/CABLE by Marauder

BROADCAST/CABLE

Some 36.3 million people watched this year’s Academy Awards, up about 4 million from last year’s least-watched Oscars show. Still, there are only two Oscar telecasts with fewer viewers. The largest Oscars audience was in 1998, when 55.2 million watched “Titanic” win best picture. (Iwantmedia 2/23, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090223/ap_en_tv/oscars_ratings 2/23)

oscars-hugh

Peter Chernin, the long-time president and COO of News Corp, is leaving the company after protracted negotiations over his contract could not be resolved. Chernin’s salary was $28.8 million in the last fiscal year, which was $1.3 million more than even Rupert Murdoch’s take-home pay. Chernin helped Murdoch build and oversee his vast media empire over the past 20 years, and his departure no doubt will raise all sorts of questions about the future of the company. He will be leaving when his current contract expires on June 30. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/02/23/with-chernin-out-at-news-corp-what-happens-to-fim 2/23)

chernin

Rev. Al Sharpton is calling on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to review the waiver extended to News Corp. for cross-media ownership. The move continues the protests over the political cartoon of a monkey published last week in News Corp.’s New York Post. (Iwantmedia 2/23, http://www.wpix.com/landing/?Sharpton-Calls-On-FCC-To-Investigate-New=1&blockID=220606&feedID=1404 2/23)

With expensive content-contract renegotiations to come, ESPN faces pressure in the current economic climate and last month said it would cut nearly 200 unfilled jobs, suspend new hires and freeze executive pay. However, network executive George Bodenheimer remains positive: “We feel we’re well-positioned in terms of our deals and business model.” The Wall Street Journal (2/23)

espn

Over the weekend, the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors with a vote of 73% to 27%, SAG voted against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ “last, best and final offer dated February 19, 2009.” SAG’s Board admitted they entered the negotiations last week with AMPTP by “sending an unmistakably clear message that we were ready to make a deal” and basing negotiations on the terms of the previous contract offer from AMPTP dated June 30, 2008. (Cynopsis 2/23)

NBC is selling individual thirty-second commercials in the finale episode of ER at a reported $425,000 each, cites B&C. The two-hour final episode, slated for April 2 at 9p, reunites several former cast members including George Clooney, Noah Wyle and Anthony Edwards and will be preceded by a 60m retrospective of the 15-year old series. Based on information obtained from TNS Media Intelligence, thirty-second spots in this season’s ER have been priced at $135,000 each. (Cynopsis 2/23)

CBS picked up a new comedy pilot called Ace in the Hole starring actor/comedian Adam Carolla as a husband/father who is also a driving instructor. (Cynopsis 2/23)

corolla

Jenna Elfman tries television again as she headlines CBS’ comedy pilot Accidentally on Purpose. Elfman, seen back in 2006 on the short-lived CBS comedy Courting Alex and in recent guest spots on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters and NBC’s My Name Is Earl, will portray a movie critic who gets pregnant following a one-night tryst. (Cynopsis 2/23)

elfman

“Project Runway” filmed its sixth-season finale Friday at New York’s Bryant Park during Fashion Week, as the Weinstein Co. and NBC Universal continue to fight in court over rights to the reality-TV hit. The combatants have yet to go to trial, and the outcome will be subject to appeal. (Iwantmedia 2/23, http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20090220/FREE/902209973 2/20)

Time Warner Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. are parting ways as Time Warner elected to spin-off a pro rata dividend of all TWC common stock it held to Time Warner stockholders. The two entities expect the separation will be finalized by the end of this current quarter. (Cynopsis 2/23)

A lot of things have been spelling the doom of television in recent years — DVRs, channel surfing, fragmentation, clutter, digital media — but recent analysis shows TV advertising may be as effective as ever. “We haven’t seen a significant trend in the erosion of effectiveness of TV,” said Douglas Brooks, a Media Marketing Assessment executive. Advertising Age (2/23)

Scripps Networks, which had about 9% growth in ad sales last year compared with about 3% to 4% on average among cable networks, is going into upfront with an emphasis on relevance to people going through hard times. Sales executive Jon Steinlauf told Multichannel News that the Scripps slate was “well-suited to these times because they provide skills for homeowners to help them cook and entertain, do home projects, save money.” Multichannel News (2/23)

More than 100 original movies will air on basic cable networks this year. Multichannel News reports the movies reinforce a network’s brand, are less of a financial commitment than multiyear, multiepisode scripted series, and are meeting a demand by viewers who are staying home for movie night rather than going out because they have less money in the recession. Multichannel News (2/23)

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