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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - August 8, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 30 (download PDF version)

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MEDIA NEWS ____________________________________________________________


The Washington Post Co. on Aug. 5 reported a 50 percent slide in second quarter net income to $45.5M as its Kaplan education unit failed to make the profit grade. Second period revenues declined 10 percent to $1B.

Kaplan generated $628M of revenues for the period. That was down 15 percent from last year’s performance. Operating income tumbled 82 percent to $20.4M as enrollment at Kaplan University and Kaplan higher education campuses tumbled 30 percent to 78,534 students.

WPC also was hurt on the financial front with the introduction of the Kaplan Commitment program in which students get free trial periods to help determine if the program is right for them. That cut revenues $27M in tuition revenue for the first-half.

WPC expects Kaplan’s operating income will decline for the remainder of the year. A restructuring is in the works, which could result in a “material” cost for the year.

The Washington Post-led newspaper group recorded revenues of $162.8M, down six percent from `10. Operating loss dropped to $2.9M from $14.3M.

During the first-half, WP registered a daily circulation of 531,400 and Sunday circulation of 745,300. Those numbers are down 4.5 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively.


NBCUniversal’s USA Network has formed a public affairs division to handle efforts like cause marketing promotions tied to programming and build off of its successful “Characters Unite” anti-prejudice campaign.


Toby Graff, former senior VP of PA and corporate communications for Lifetime Networks and press secretary for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, has been named senior VP to oversee the new unit.

She has been consulting for USA for the past two years on the “Characters Unite” campaign, an anti-discrimination effort kicked off in 2009 which had the network partnering with non-profits.

Last year’s campaign included a documentary hosted by Tom Brokaw, digital outreach and awards.

Graff’s mandate includes oversight of on-air, digital, community, employee, press and sponsorship elements of the new endeavor, the network said.

“We saw firsthand the positive effects this program had across the country and will continue to build on its success through this new division, led by Toby with her vast experience and commitment to public service,” said a statement from USA co-presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel.

At Lifetime, Graff created its “Every Woman Counts” voter campaign and developed its “Extraordinary Women” series of profiles. She helped that network push for legislation involving backlogged DNA evidence from rape kits and anti-slavery bills geared toward women.

USA, which is 40 years old in 2011, has a potential audience of 102M homes.


Craig Robinson, general manager of KNBC in Los Angeles, takes the executive VP/chief diversity officer at NBCUniversal on August 15.


He succeeds Paula Madison, who stepped down in May.

Robinson’s role is to promote a corporate culture that values different ethnic and lifestyle backgrounds throughout NBCU and act as liaison to national and local officials. He reports to CEO Steve Burke.

Robinson worked at NBC broadcast properties in Washington and Columbus before moving to Los Angeles.

During its bid for NBCU, Comcast pledged to step up its diversity efforts.


Stuart Kuttner, former managing editor of the now-closed News of the World, was arrested by London police today as part of the investigation of the News Corp.’s hacking scandal.

Kuttner testifies before Parliament last month.

The 71-year-old Kuttner stepped down in July 2009 after a 22-year stint at the tabloid that is the focus of the hacking probe. He handled finances, according to reports in the British press.

Metro police did not name Kuttner, saying that an individual was arrested “on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications,” according to a statement.

The Guardian, which has been leading the probe of News International’s hacking story, identified the arrested man as Kuttner, who is the 11th person arrested in the probe.

In her testimony in Parliament last month, Rebekah Brooks, ex-editor of News of the World, said she may have discussed payments to outside detectives with Kuttner, but didn’t recall any specific incidents. Payments had to go through the managing editor’s office, she added.

Brooks also said News of the World, like every other Fleet Street paper, used private detectives.


David Roberson has taken the VP/director of business development & partnerships slot at Parade Publications.

He assumes responsibility for print and digital offerings of Parade and dash.

Roberson joins from Alpha Media Group. Earlier, he worked as VP/finance & operations at Rodale, senior director of finance at Sirius Satellite Radio and in various positions at Time Inc. including general manager of This Old House Ventures.

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