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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Jan. 30, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 5 (download PDF version)

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MEDIA NEWS ____________________________________________________________


Hearst Magazines has named Susan Spencer, a Time Inc. veteran, as editor-in-chief of Woman’s Day effective Feb. 6. She replaces Elizabeth Mayhew, who is leaving the company.

For the past five years, Spencer has been executive editor of All You, the value-focused magazine that covers consumer products, food, health and relationships.

From 2001 to 2007, Spencer was at Time Inc.’s content solutions unit, where she rose to deputy managing editor in charge of developing magazines for American Express, Unilever and Pfizer.

Earlier, Spencer was senior editor at Child and Diversion.

The Woman’s Day platform reaches more than 20M readers. The magazine celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.


Meredith Corp. has agreed to acquire in a $175M deal that is expected to close at the end of the quarter.

Owned by Readers Digest Assn., has a database of 500K recipes that have been downloaded by more than 11M people. Its audience is 70 percent female with a household income of $73K.

Tim Harty, president of Meredith’s national media group, says the acquisition significantly enhances the company's digital platform and reinforces its leadership in the food category.

The company says it can now offer marketers an audience of more than 100M unduplicated women.


Anne Sinclair, journalist and wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief, will edit the French version of The Huffington Post. The site is a partnership with AOL and Le Monde.

Sinclair had her own TV interview show during the `80s and `90s, but gave it up when Strauss-Kahn became France's finance minister.

She stood by him after sexual assault charges were filed by a hotel chambermaid in New York. Those charges were ultimately dismissed.


The Weather Channel has named Dave Kenney, ex-president of Akamai and former CEO of Publicis Groupe’s Digitas Inc., CEO.

He succeeds Mike Kelly, who took the helm in 2009.

Kenney says he was attracted to the post because “weather is fascinating.” He’s eager to further the integration of TWC TV, digital and mobile platforms and develop new programming.

The WTC is owned by NBC Universal, Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. The group issued a statement that praised Kenney’s “leadership experience and vision to drive global initiatives across all platforms.”

Kelly will serve as a special adviser to Kenney and Bain Capital. TWC reaches more than 160 people through its multiple offerings.


Russ Stanton, who stepped down in December as editor and executive VP at the Los Angeles Times, becomes VP-content for southern California’s KPCC public radio station on Feb. 6.

He oversaw the firing of hundreds of LAT staffers due to the collapse of the newspaper business and bankruptcy of parent company, Tribune Co.

Stanton called KPCC his favorite radio station and one that has moved “down the path of developing a sustainable business model to produce high-quality journalism.”

He joined the LAT in 1997 as an Orange County reporter.


Time Warner has opened a medialab at its New York City headquarters to gain insight into consumer behavior and industry trends that will impact its magazine, cable programming, Internet and film production units.

Jeff Bewkes, CEO of TW, says the medialab will provide the company tools “to look inside the mind of the consumer as we develop even more engaging content.”

The facility features a 50-seat theater, home-style living room, a mock retail check-out lane and gaming stations. It will use biometric monitoring devices to measure a person’s physiological responses to content.

TW Research Council is the force behind the medialab. Gary Ginsberg, executive VP/corporate marketing and communications serves on the Council.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who faces sex assault charges in Sweden, plans to launch a 10-part TV series in March featuring interviews with “key political players, thinkers from around the world,” according to statement posted on the site Jan. 23.


He sees the need to radically rethink the world.

“Upheavals and revolutions in the Middle East have commenced an era of political change that is still unfolding.

“In the West, the deterioration of the rule of law has demonstrated the bankruptcy of once leading political institutions and ideologies.

“The Internet has never been so strong, or so much under attack,” Assange wrote.

The statement calls Assange “one of the world’s most recognizable revolutionary figures.”

There is no word about where the show will air, but the statement claims initial licensing commitments are in hand covering more than “600M viewers across cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcast networks.”

Assange sees “an exciting opportunity to discuss the vision of my guests in a new style of show that examines their philosophies and struggles in a deeper and clearer way than has been done.”

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