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media meltdown

Tina Brown Abandons Ship for new Venture, Leaving The Daily Beast in Limbo

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 12, 2013 03:52 PM

The second wheel just fell off the Newsweek/The Daily Beast wagon as Editor in Chief Tina Brown has announced she's leaving to start her own events company. 

Her successful stewardship of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker was not replicated in her run with Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp, who she partnered with in 2008 to found The Daily Beast

Her new venture, Tina Brown Live Media, will focus on building the Women in the World conference brand that she has run for several years with Diller's wife, Diane von Furstenberg, and Meryl Streep. It “is really a marriage of her commitment to journalism and story telling, its going to be really event orientated," according to a source, Slate reports

Though now, the future of The Daily Beast is less clear, with Diller already floating the idea of a sale—or worse, a shutdown.Continue reading...

brand history

Vanity Fair Celebrates 100 with New Logo, Retro Cover

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 6, 2013 01:42 PM

Yahoo isn't the only one to debut a new logo this week, as Vanity Fair, celebrating its 100th anniversary, has released a tweaked version of its iconic typeface. 

Gracing the cover of its commemorative October issue is model of the year Kate Upton, who was captured by famous photographer Annie Leibovitz blowing out a celebratory candle—a pose that mimics the original cover of Dress & Vanity Fair's first issue in October, 1913.

“In an age when nothing seems to last—not convictions, not even cities—a centennial, like the one Vanity Fair celebrates this year, makes me marvel at the simple fact of longevity,” Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter commented.Continue reading...

brand revival

Newsweek Finds New Life Abroad

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 2, 2013 03:25 PM

Newsweek has been dying a slow, painful death now for years, but a pair of thirty-something media magnates think they have what it takes to salvage the venerable brand.

Etienne Uzac, CEO of IBT Media, and his business partner, Jonathan Davis, “aspire to leadership of the digital media revolution,” according to CNN. The pair is already well on their way as the owners and co-founders of the International Business Times, among the top .02 percent of global URLs with an audience of over 7 million in the US and 13 million worldwide. IBT Media’s portfolio includes 10 international online news properties such as Medical Daily, Latin Times and iDigitalTimes and publishes in seven languages.

After being sold multiple times, the latest owners acquired Newsweek from Barry Diller's IAC in early August, after a failed merger between The Daily Beast and the once-venerable weekly news magazine saw just about every last supporter abandon the brand.

Even though Diller called his acquisition of Newsweek a "mistake" in a recent interview with Bloomberg, Uzac sees potential beyond the US to grow the Newsweek brand internationally. "We plan on deepening the current relationships and potentially adding more global partners," he told Ad Age.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Penguin Random House Expands Diversification Effort with TV Series

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 19, 2013 04:47 PM

Following its July merger, which formed the most dominant publishing house in the business, Penguin Random House has continued to looking beyond books into opportunities in TV and film—agendas that the once competing companies pursued individually prior to coming under the same roof.  

The newly-formed company's first co-produced TV project, Heartland Table, will debut on the Food Network on Sept. 14, featuring up-and-coming chef Amy Theilen, whose debut cookbook, "The New Midwestern Table," will be released 10 days later. 

The move towards content diversification began in 2005 when Random House formed a film unit, which was followed up last year with the creation of a TV division. Random House Studio has so far produced two feature films: 2007's Reservation Road and 2011's One Day. While Reservation Road was a loss, and One Day is yet to be profitable, the films spurred book sales, with Nicholls' "One Day" selling over one million copies each in the US and Germany. 

"It launched David Nicholls as a major commercial novelist—which will, of course, help us now with his future novels," Peter Gethers, editor at large for Random House, told the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...

brand revival

Borders Bookstore is Reborn in Singapore

Posted by Adeline Chong on August 14, 2013 04:49 PM

Just like the beloved snack cake Twinkies was rescued from the depths of its owner's bankruptcy, Borders, a longtime staple among US retail bookstores, is getting a new chance at life thanks to a few global bookstore lovers that snatched up trademarks and intellectual property rights at auction after the brand went bust in 2011. 

When it was announced recently that Borders would resurface in Singapore before the year's end, book lovers and sellers alike greeted the news with cautious optimism. After all, Borders Singapore—which had operated under the independent Borders Asia Pacific—quickly became one of Singapore's most iconic and loved bookstores when it opened in 1997—even emerging as the group's best performing outlet in 2006—but it quickly met its demise in September 2011 after its owner, Australia's Redgroup Retail, fell to a similar fate as its US counterpart. 

In Singapore, the store's demise then seemed inevitable, bankruptcy or not, as loyal customers became disgruntled at the deep discounts offered to non-members and customers at large were baffled by the store's poor book selection and foray into non-book items like toys and cookware. The frequent sales also created a discount mentality amongst customers, eating into margins. Globally, the group's late foray into e-books and its big push into sunset product categories such as music CDs were also cited for its demise.Continue reading...

media triage

Jeff Bezos Buys The Washington Post, Stuns Media World

Posted by Dale Buss on August 5, 2013 06:06 PM

Jeff Bezos revolutionized the internet, e-commerce and bookselling (and then all retail) when he founded Amazon.com. Now he may want to do the same with newspapers, becoming the latest non-news-media figure to invest in a fading American print icon by buying The Washington Post.

It's difficult to believe that the e-tailing magnate will be able to do anything better with the Post than it already has in the traditional world of newsprint and ink, since that business model has become even more decrepit than the brick-and-mortar retail stores supplanted by Amazon's huge digital impact.

Another death knell for newspapers and their traditional ownership was sounded just a few days ago when Boston Red Sox owner and billionaire John Henry rescued the Boston Globe and other local print properties from the hands of the New York Times Co. by buying the once-proud publisher for a measly $70 million. There also remain rumors that the conservative industrialist Koch Brothers, along with several other non-media moguls, harbor a desire to buy Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.Continue reading...

brand challenges

After Layoffs, Lonely Planet Looks to be Traveling Down a Dark Road

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 23, 2013 12:15 PM

Lonely Planet, the world’s largest publisher of travel guides recently laid off several dozen top editors and publishing staff from its Australian headquarters in a move that has caused further speculation about the brand's future—and the very future of travel and guide books altogether. 

“It’s like a plane hitting the building,” said a long-term Lonely Planet author, Forbes reports. With the departures goes a large bank of institutional knowlege—a benchmark of the brand. 

Since the the BBC sold the brand to NC2 Media in March, morale has been low. The company, which got its start in the 1970s, is a sitting duck at the crossroads of print and digital. “With this acquisition comes a global footprint, not only in the travel guide business, but also in magazine publishing and the digital space,” said a hopeful Daniel Houghton, NC2's executive director and Lonely Planet's COO at the time of the sale. 

“The challenge and promise before us is to marry the world’s greatest travel information and guidebook company with the limitless potential of 21st century digital technology. If we can do this, and I believe we can, we can build a business that, while remaining true to the things that made Lonely Planet great in the past, promises to make it even greater in the future.”Continue reading...


Content Meets Commerce: How Thrillist and Refinery29 Turn Brand Loyalty into Sales

Posted by Kristen Van Nest on July 5, 2013 01:16 PM

Founded in 2004, Thrillist started as a guide to New York City for recent male graduates. Today, Thrillist Media Group generates over $40 million in revenue , 45 percent of which comes from its e-commerce site, JackThreads, which it acquired in 2010 to complement its content offeringson its Thrillist and Crosby Press sites.  

Unlike most media companies, Thrillist has over half a million credit card numbers on hand. The seamless shopping experience, where men can discover and purchase product on the same site, means that the user is more engaged and more likely to have intent to buy. “They’ve got their wallet in hand. They’re looking for recommendations and what to do and what to buy,” Eric Ashman, Thrillist Media Group's strategic advisor told brandchannel. “Reading GQ, your feet are up on the coffee table, you’re leaning back. And when you’re [on Thrillist], you’re leaning forward and looking for ideas and looking for recommendations and things to share with your friends.” 

Refinery29, like Thrillist, is also at the forefront of seamlessly joining content and commerce. With 5 million visitors per month, Refinery29 focuses on building brand loyalty for the brands advertised on its site, but without a major complementary online store.

Whether it's driving sales or driving loyalty, both sites utilize and prioritize content over commerce.Continue reading...

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