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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Apr. 23, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 17 (download PDF version)

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The New York Times Co. April 19 reported a $42M first-quarter net profit, bolstered by a $29M gain from the sale of its regional newspaper group.

NY Times

Operating profit slipped 24 percent to $19.6M on flat revenues of $499M.

CEO Arthur Sulzberger said in a statement the NYTC faces challenges in the advertising marketplace due to “uneven U.S. economic environment and uncertain global conditions.”

On the digital front, paid subscriptions to the New York Times and International Herald Tribune rose 16 percent to 454K from the fourth quarter. Paid subs to the Boston Globe rose 13 percent to 18K.

Sulzberger was buoyed by that performance. “Our readers have embraced our digital strategy, which has provided a successful model for the industry,” he said in a statement.

Digital ad sales slipped 10.3 percent to $71.1M, largely due to a lackluster performance from the About Group.

Sulzberger predicts a modest improvement from About during the current quarter.


Meredith Corp. has named Jon Werther, an AOL alumnus, chief strategy officer, to plot new initiatives at the publisher of women’s magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies’ Home Journal, More and Everyday with Rachel Ray.


Werner helped guide AOL’s transition from dial-up service to a web-based media company. As executive VP-integrated operations, Werther was in charge of process improvement, acquisitions, strategic development and global growth.

Most recently, he held the president position at Simulmedia, an audience-targeted TV ad network that reaches more than 100M U.S. households.

Werther will report to Stephen Lacy, Meredith’s chairman and CEO, when he joins the company April 30.


Michael Rancilio, publisher and COO at The New Republic, is joining MacNeil-Lehrer Productions on May 1 as VP-development and chief revenue officer.

He will be in charge of corporate underwriting, foundation relations and individual giving for the company and the PBS NewsHour.

Rancilio, 40, handled consumer marketing and sales at AOL and The Atlantic before joining TNR.

Bo Jones, president at MacNeil-Lehrer Productions, says Rancilio’s track record in building revenue streams and appreciation of quality journalism makes him a good fit at the company.


Scotland Yard arrested Duncan Larcombe, who covers British royalty for the Sun tabloid, as part of its investigation in the hacking scandal.

He has written extensively about Prince William, his wife Kate Middleton and her sister, Pippa.

The arrests came a week before News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and deputy COO and son James are to give further testimony in the ethics probe of the now-defunct News of the World tabloid.

Scotland Yard said the arrest of Larcombe was based on information provided to it by News Corp’s management and standards committee that was established to probe the scandal.

Police have arrested 45 people in connection with hacking at News Corp. properties.


Joe Schlosser, senior VP of communications at NBCUniversal, is moving to rival News Corp. to lead communications for its newly combined Shine America unit.

Shine, the U.K.-based TV production company led by Elisabeth Murdoch, was acquired by News Corp. last year. Shine Americas’ first CEO, Emiliano Calemzuk, stepped down in January after a year and a half. News Corp. last month merged three units – Shine Americas, Shine USA and Reville Productions – together to form Shine America under CEO Carl Fennessy. It co-produces TV series in the U.S. like “The Office,” “Ugly Betty” and “The Tudors.”

Schlosser takes the title senior VP of communications overseeing corporate branding, programming publicity, trade and consumer media relations, events and talent relations.

He joined NBC in 2002 after moving into PR a year earlier as VP of publicity for Hallmark Channel. He previously was Los Angeles bureau chief for Broadcasting & Cable.


Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson has hired PayPal veteran Sam Shrauger to run the newly created consumer commerce business unit with senior VP Mollie Spilman.


He had served as VP for PayPal’s global product and experience unit, where he helped build the nearly $80B merchant services sector and develop products to push into the traditional offline payment arena.

Shrauger joins Spilman, who was Yahoo!’s Americas marketing chief and a 22-year veteran of media companies such as Time Warner, Meredith Corp. and Discovery Networks, on Yahoo!’s executive leadership team.

Thompson, the former president of PayPal, called the duo “extremely talented and experienced leaders who bring unique and complementary skills to our tremendous commerce opportunity.

Yahoo! announced the cut of 2,000 workers as part of its most recent restructuring.

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