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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Apr. 16, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 16 (download PDF version)


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U.S. SUES APPLE, FIVE PUBLISHERS

Yahoo! is revamping into consumer, regions and technology groups on May 1 to improve customer experiences and increase accountability at the struggling company. In an April 9 memo, CEO Scott Thompson wrote: “It’s time for Yahoo! to move forward, and fast.”

His highest priority is “winning our core business and that will earn us the right to pursue new growth opportunities.”

Yahoo!’s key consumer division includes media, connections and commerce units that will "will provide users the uniquely relevant and personalized content and services they expect and deserve, leveraging Yahoo!’s vast consumer interest data,” according to Thompson.

On the corporate front, Penny Baldwin is interim leader of the marketing and communications team until a chief marketing officer is hired. Chief product officer Blake Irving is exiting and will work over the next few weeks to assure a smooth transition.

Earlier this month, Yahoo! announced the layoff of 2,000 people.

CBS SELLS FIVE RADIO STATIONS

CBS Corp. is selling five of its West Palm Beach stations for $50M to a group led by local broadcasting veteran Dean Goodman and Garrison Investment Group as part of its plan to focus on major markets.

The move follows the sale of CBS stations in midsize markets like Denver and Portland, Ore.

Goodman, who has been involved in south Florida radio for 35 years, said in a statement that it’s "extremely gratifying to add these excellent stations to our community-focused radio service in the Palm Beach market.” He sees radio “experiencing a renaissance in the digital age” and is pleased to be part of that effort.

His firm is Palm Beach Broadcasting.

BAY CITIZEN CUTS NYT TIE

The Bay Citizen, which has covered San Francisco for the New York Times for the past two years, has ended that relationship.

The split follows the online BC’s merger with the non-profit Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley. The union takes effect April 30.

Robert Rosenthal, executive director of the Center, said it left the Times arrangement because it did not want to be tied down to a single news outlet.

GANNETT GIVES STAHL STRATEGY POST

Saira Stahl, VP of operations and communications at Gannett Digital, has been upped to corporate-wide VP strategy post.

She takes responsibility for the newly established program management office on April 23.

CEO Gracia Martore said in a statement that Stahl is to “leverage our many competitive advances to deliver best-in-class content and services across an integrated multi-platform portfolio.”

Prior to Gannett, Stahl was director of business development at AOL and manager in Ernst & Young’s critical technologies unit.

She reports to Martore.

U.S. SUES APPLE, FIVE PUBLISHERS

The Justice Dept. April 11 filed an antitrust suit against Apple and five publishers, charging they colluded to raise prices in the e-book market.

Attorney General Eric Holder told a press conference the companies “worked together to eliminate competition among stores selling e-books, ultimately increasing prices for consumers.” He believes that collusion costs consumers millions of dollars.

The suit alleges the defendants schemed to raise prices to punish Amazon’s move in 2007 to sell their books for $9.99.

The lawsuit claims the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs orchestrated the pricing plan urging the publishers to see if “we can make a go of this to create a real mainstream e-books market at $12.99 to $14.99.”

HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster are named in the suit. A proposed settlement has been ironed out with Hachette, HC and S&S.

Under that deal, the publishers would offer Amazon and Barnes & Noble the freedom to reduce prices on their e-titles and sever their “most-favored nation” agreements with Apple’s iBookstore and other e-book retailers.

The trio also will not constrain retailers from offering discounts during the next two years and are prohibited from sharing competitive data with other for five years.

Apple, MacMillan and Penguin have denied wrongdoing. MacMillan said it had entered negotiations to settle the suit, but found the Justice Dept. demands were “too onerous.”

PARENTS EXTENDS REACH

Parents magazine on April 14 kicked off a six-week run on Sirius XM Radio to feature its editors and experts tackling child rearing issues, parental problems and family health. They will take questions from listeners via phone, Facebook and Twitter.

Parents editor-in-chief Dana Points, deputy editor Diane Debrovner and host Wesley Weissberg will provide “it worked for me advice” and deal with topics covered in the magazine that reaches 15M readers a month and attracts 4.5M unique visitors monthly.

Booked guests include Dr. Michael Thompson, author of “Raising Cain,” and Pamela Redmond Satran, a baby naming expert.

Parents is owned by Meredith Corp.

CONDE NAST GOES HOLLYWOOD

Conde Nast Entertainment Group has hired Jeremy Steckler, Fox Searchlight veteran, as executive VP-motion pictures, and Michael Klein, Sundance Channel alum, as executive VP-alternative programming.

The Los Angeles-based Steckler and New York-headquartered Klein are to develop film, TV and digital programs based on content from CN’s magazines. They also may use seed money to fund project start-ups.

Also, Conde Nast's senior VP brand communications Maurie Perl is moving to the entertainment group on April 23. She began at Conde Nast in 1992, after handling publicity duties at ABC News, PBS and MTV.

 
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