Date

Wed - 13.12.2017


November 2008

SFN Blog staffers will be taking a break Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving, and will return Monday.

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Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2008-11-26 20:44

Google said it is "significantly" reducing the number of contract workers, but currently has no plans to lay off employees, the Wall Street Journal said in a report, Reuters reported.

“We have been thinking for some time, before the acute phase of the economic crisis, about significantly reducing the number of contract workers,” said spokeswoman Jane Penner, according to the Reuters article posted on The U.S. Daily.

Google refused to specify the number of contract workers who may be cut, and Penner declined to discuss the pace of the job reductions, Reuters reported.

Google had 20,123 company employees as well as around 10,000 contractors at the end of the third quarter, according to the Reuters article, posted on The U.S. Daily.

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Author

Erina Lin

Date

2008-11-26 20:36

After being for sale for almost eight months, Lycos Europe has acknowledged that no one wants to buy the portal, and announced Wednesday it will close its Web hosting and portal activities, and begin stripping its assets and putting those on the auction block.

The company is still planning to sell its shopping sites, Danish business and domain names, and will have to pay €50 million to its shareholders this year. Between 500 and 700 people will also lose their jobs.

The plans will not be made final until approval at the Lycos shareholder meeting on December 12 in Amsterdam, the company said in a statement.

Lycos "had been losing money at a particularly chronic rate in the last two years," paidContent reported. "Emblematic of the state of affairs, Lycos Europe last year paid Lycos Inc $5.2 million to renew its license to use the brand name, while entering the U.S. itself under a completely different name, Jubii."

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Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2008-11-26 20:28

Former financial columnist for the St. Petersberg (Florida) Times took an early retirement in August and together with a former colleague has created a financial advisory firm, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reported Tuesday.

Helen Huntley and Rhonda Holifield, the Times' former business news editor, launched Holifield Huntley Financial Advisers in St. Petersburg, and after only a few months, the Huntley is managing about US$4.3 million of the firms $27 million in assets.

Holifield Huntley offers financial planning in sectors including college, retirement, income taxes and divorce settlements. Investment management services include risk management, asset allocation and quarterly portfolio reviews, according to the Herald Tribune.

Huntley is already beginning publicity for the firm, and the Herald-Tribune reported that she is scheduled to speak at a seminar in St. Petersburg titled “How Thinking Like A Reporter Can Make You A Better Investor.” Huntley wrote her personal finance column for the Times for more than 20 years.

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Author

Alexandra Zeumer

Date

2008-11-26 20:14

Three sub-editors, a librarian and other staff will likely lose their jobs at the UK South-West daily newspaper the Herald Express, in Torquay, HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk reported. Currently the newspaper has five sub-editors.

Casual staff has already been cut, including about six community reporters, and admin and sales staff have already left.

Northcliffe title the Western Morning News has two reporters based in the Torquay office, who were told they may lose their jobs or be moved to the Herald Express, according to HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk.

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Author

Alexandra Zeumer

Date

2008-11-26 20:02

As classifieds continue migrating online, Australian newspapers are likely to experience up to AU$1 billion revenue loss in the next decade, The Australian reported.

Ivor Ries, head of EL&C Bailleau stockbrokers research said at the Future of Journalism conference in Melbourne that main newspaper companies in the country had lost $450 million in classified ad revenue in the past four years. “This process has just started and in the next 10 years at least another $1 billion will be sucked out of mainstream newspapers," he added.

According to Goldman Sachs JBWere media analyst Christian Guerra, big companies, such as Fairfax Media, were impacted the most.

"The issue with a company like Fairfax is that in Australia they generate about $2 billion in revenue from sales of their newspapers and 40 to 45 percent of that comes from classifieds," Guerra said at the conference, according to The Australian. "That's $800 million to $1 billion of sales migrating to the internet and there's nothing they can do to stop that. It's unfortunate.”

The trend would also affect journalism, according to Guerra. "They are fighting this by cutting the one thing that everyone relies on -- which is content."

He pointed out that the problem has been compounded, because newspaper managers were "nowhere near exploiting the potential" of their Web sites.

Author

Erina Lin

Date

2008-11-26 19:33

Growth in Internet ad spending has greatly slowed down, according to eMarketer, which just cut its revenue expectations for 2009, Media Week reported.

Online ad spending will increase by 8.9 percent to US$25.7 billion next year, as the economy has eriously impacted all media segments. However, eMarketer predicted in August, before Wall Street's meltdown, that spending would boost by 14 percent in 2009.

The good news is that spending growth should gradually be back to a healthy level over the next several years, according to eMarketer - 10.9 percent in 2010 and 13.5 percent in 2013 - though still lower than eMarketer's recent forecast, as the ad recovery needs to take longer than expected, Media Week reported.

In recent years, search has been online's strongest spot, and it should gain a even larger share of ad dollars over the next few years as display ads suffer, according to Media Week. eMarketer predicted that in 2009 search will rise by 14.9 percent to $12.3 billion, although it's much lower than the growth rate this year of 21.4 percent.

Search will have its share of online ad revenue up from 45 percent this year to 48 percent in 2009 due to slowdown on other segments.

Display advertising is expected to increase only by 3.9 percent this year and 6.6 percent next year, to $4.9 billion, Media Week reported.

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Author

Erina Lin

Date

2008-11-26 19:08

Gannett Co. Inc.-owned USA Today will lay off 20 employees in early December, as well as cut its 2009 budget, Ken Paulson, the newspaper's senior vice president of news, and John Hillkirk, executive editor, told staffers in a memo Sunday.

“We wish this wasn't necessary, but we're facing unprecedented economic challenges and we have to cut spending,” Paulson and Hillkirk stated in the memo, posted by Romenesko.

Those being made redundant will receive severance of one week of pay for each year of service, with a minimum of two weeks and maximum of 26 weeks, the memo states. Employees may volunteer for severance, and they will receive the same package.

Earlier this month, Gannett's Chief Executive Craig Dubow announced he would take a 17 percent pay cut as the publisher planned hundreds of layoffs due to plummeting ad revenue.

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Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2008-11-26 14:27

Making data used in reporting stories available online, in addition to what appears in and alongside articles, would add value to newspapers and make them more relevant, TechDirt stated in an opinion article late Tuesday.

TechDirt states that newspapers “have access to all sorts of interesting and useful data – but traditionally, they've hoarded it and only used it as a resource for editors and reporters in creating stories.” Newspapers could argue that most, if not all, the data they have access to (such as crime statistics) comes from information and records that are open to the public – they just go to the trouble of collecting it all. What TechDirt points to is database journalism, and as newspapers aim to be online portals to their coverage areas, they are increasingly looking to incorporate databases as part of their online offerings.

Examples of database journalism from newspapers include the Los Angeles Times homicide map and the (Florida) Herald Tribune's special report on teacher misconduct.

However, the hurdle for newspapers is not whether they want to incorporate database journalism into their online offerings, the bigger problem is resources, TechDirt stated.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2008-11-26 14:25

Fairfax Media seems to be uninterested in buying stake in APN News & Media, owner of The New Zealand Herald, NZPA reported, according to the article posted on The National Business Review.

Besides the Herald, APN also publishes the Listener, a range of regional newspapers in New Zealand and Australia. It is also the half owner of NewstalkZB stable The Radio Network.

"We don't have any intentions with APN and we won't be part of the (sale) process," said Fairfax Chief Executive David Kirk, according to Fairfax paper The Dominion Post. "There were no assets (in APN) that we were particularly seeking."

Kirk also ruled out the possibility of Fairfax buying The New Zealand Herald alone. "Fairfax wanted to retain an investment grade rating and spare cash would go to pay debt as a priority," he said, according to the article posted on NBR.

Fairfax Media's shares traded at $AU1.33 ($NZ1.59) Monday, down from about $AU4.50 at the beginning of the year. "Fairfax would not be remotely interested in raising equity for an acquisition with such a low share price at present," Kirk said, according to NBR.

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Author

Erina Lin

Date

2008-11-25 23:29

More than half of the U.S. online population is made up of active online social networkers, yet advertising on these sites is still flat, according to a new report by market research firm IDC, part of International Data Group. The report calls marketers' attempts to tap into these sites' unique social nature “stillborn,” MediaWeek reported.

This report, titled “U.S. Consumer Online Attitudes Survey Results Part III,” found that more than three out of four social networking site users log on at least on a weekly basis, and 57 percent do so daily. These people also spend lots of time on the properties - more than 61 percent of users spend at least half an hour on these sites per session, and 38 percent stay for at least one hour.

“The thinking has been that the popularity of (social networking sites) will attract a big audience and generate a lot of traffic, which in turn will produce enormous amounts of user-generated content and therefore advertising inventory, without any expenses for editorial staff or content distribution deals,” according to Karsten Weide, programme director, digital Marketplace: media and advertising, IDC. “That's all proven true, except the advertising part. (These sites) have had a hard time selling this inventory,” Weide added, according to MediaWeek.

Author

Erina Lin

Date

2008-11-25 23:03

China is splitting its newspapers into two groups, public service-oriented and profit-oriented, and the government has said it will financially support the so-called public service ones, FollowtheMedia reported Tuesday.

The government will help fund newspapers that spread Marxist and Party philosophies, government and Party bulletins and newspapers targeting foreign readers, ethnic minorities and farmers, according to FTM. Meanwhile, the government will try to more heavily control so-called profit-oriented newspapers, such as metropolitan dailies, to “transform them into running as proper businesses,” and has asked local newspapers to work together.

Wang Guoqing, director general of the newspaper management department in China's General Administration of Publication and Press, said for-profit newspapers need to create better market strategies, while public newspapers have not received proper investment in the past, according to FTM.

Author

Alexandra Zeumer

Date

2008-11-25 22:42

Spain's four primary national free newspapers have decreased in circulation by 13 percent from January through October this year compared to the same period in 2007, Newspaper Innovation reported Tuesday.

Although circulation at 20 Minutos, Metro, Qué! and ADN was cut back in June and July, it was down even more in September and October (free dailies aren't published in August).

Currently, circulation is at 3.4 million, down from 3.8 million in 2007, Newspaper Innovation reported, citing data from PeriodistaDigital.

Metro is now in second place in free daily circulation, just after 20 Minutos.

Author

Alexandra Zeumer

Date

2008-11-25 22:04

A "peaceful" legal settlement was reached at a Moscow court between state-owned media holding firm All-Russia State Television and Radio Company (VGTRK) and Internet site Mail.ru, Vesti.ru reported Monday. VGTRK sued Mail.ru last month for violating copyright laws, after the site's users posted the company's rights-protected video clips online.

According to the court hearing, the agreement does not include any financial compensation to VGTRK and all negotiations are considered final. Both sides refused to comment in order to retain the confidentiality of the matter, according to Vesti.ru.

Full-length VGTRK-owned films were uploaded on Mail.ru, according to sources from the Internet industry, Vesti.ru reported.

However, the site defended itself by saying that it does not have the technical capabilities needed to control each user's actions or to authenticate a video clip's author.

Author

Alisa Zykova

Date

2008-11-25 19:21

Social networking site Facebook will not be acquiring micro-blogging utility Twitter, AFP reported Monday. Discussions between the two sides started in mid-October, but the deal fell apart almost three weeks ago after disagreements over the US$500 million that Facebook offered to pay.

Both companies said the proposal was an "all-stock offer" that was based on the $15 billion valuation that Facebook attained after Microsoft bought a 1.6 per cent stake in the firm for $240 million in October last year.

According to an article written on AllThingsD.com posted Monday, Twitter thought the figure was steep and that the shares should be valued lower in order to correspond to Facebook's true valuation, which is more likely in the $5 billion area. The venture would be priced at $150 million in that case, but would be "too low" because it would not be coming from cash but from Facebook stock, according to AllThingsD.

Twitter investors and management were "reluctant" to sell since they may have been hoping to establish a profit model for the utility, which may be popular but is still missing revenue flow, AFP reported.

"Facebook has its own revenue-generating challenges," a person close to the firm told AllThingsD. "As much as Twitter would give them a lift in the status area, it was still a worry."

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Author

Alisa Zykova

Date

2008-11-25 19:01

Trinity Mirror is asking employees at two of its Scottish titles, the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, to take voluntary redundancies, the publisher's managing director said in a statement on Friday, Journalism.co.uk reported.

“The global economic downturn is having an adverse impact on readers and advertisers,” Mark Hollinshead stated.

A deadline for redundancies is set for early December, a Trinity Mirror spokesman told Journalism.co.uk.

Last week Trinity Mirror also introduced a pay freeze for all titles and all staff.

“Due to these exceptional circumstances it is imperative to protect the business to safeguard our future health,” Hollinshead added, according to Journalism.co.uk.

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Author

Alexandra Zeumer

Date

2008-11-25 18:15

New York Times Co. shares on Friday plummeted after the company axed its quarterly dividend by 74 percent and said there will unlikely be no immediate relief in ad revenue downturns, MarketWatch reported Friday.

NYT stock fell 7 percent and on Friday closed at US$5.32, but earlier that session fell to a new 52-week low of $4.95. The stock has fallen more than 80 percent in the past three years.

The company announced on Thursday that it cut its quarterly dividend to 6 cents a share, down from 23 cents, MarketWatch reported.

“Coupled with our other actions, (the cut) will help us decrease debt and improve the liquidity of the company,” said Arthur Sulzberger, New York Times Co. chairman, according to MarketWatch.

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Author

Alexandra Zeumer

Date

2008-11-25 17:54

Telegraph Media Group may cut jobs before Christmas, as newsprint costs have continued to increase while ad revenue has gone down, and digital revenues have not been enough to make up the gap, Media Guardian reported Monday.

Staff at TMG were notified of the possible cuts on Friday, and are expected to be given more information on how many cuts will be made and which departments will be affected sometime this week, according to Media Guardian.

“Everyone, including editors, have been tasked to find meaningful savings,” a source “close to TMG” told Media Guardian. “I don't think that anyone is particularly surprised. There is not the anger (among staff) as when previous cuts were announced because of the state of the industry, everyone is having to cut back.”

A spokeswoman from TMG told Media Guardian the company would not comment on matters discussed in a private meeting.

Meanwhile, employees at the Times “are also braced for news of cost-cutting measures,” and Financial Times editor Lionel Barber “is understood to have briefed senior executives” on budget cuts of 10 percent in 2009 and 2010, according to Media Guardian.

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Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2008-11-24 19:16

Yahoo! has been looking to sell European comparison shopping service Kelkoo for some time, and has found a buyer in UK private equity firm Jamplant, paidContent reported Friday.

Yahoo! bought Kelkoo in 2004 for €475 million, and will sell it to Jamplant for less than €100 million, in a loss-making deal of at least €375 million.

Former Kelkoo CEO Pierre Chappaz stated in his blog that he would not confirm an exact price, only that it is “below 100 million euros,” paidContent reported. “The difference is the price of management incompetence that led Yahoo's (stock price to fall) below $9,” Chappaz added.

Kelkoo is located in Grenoble and London and has 270 staff. Jamplant is a new investment group created by price comparison site Uswitch, which was sold to E.W. Scripps in 2006 for £210 million, according to paidContent.

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Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2008-11-24 19:03

According to the latest data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers, online ad spending is on track to remain flat for the rest of the year. Spending in the third quarter accounted for US$5.9 billion, only 2 percent ahead of each of the previous two quarters, Media Post reported.

Although 11 percent higher than a year ago, “ad revenue in the quarter underscored how online growth has all but stalled in 2008 in the face of deepening economic uncertainty,” according to IAB. If the situation remains, online advertising could end up increasing only 10 percent to nearly $23 billion this year, much lower than last year's 26 percent growth to $21.2 billion.

There are some speculations that next year could be “the first flat-to-down year for online advertising since 2003,” according to Media Post. Borrell Associates recently predicted that online ad spending will top out in 2009, with some segments of interactive advertising marking little or no growth.

Other analysts also downgraded online ad forecasts for this year and 2009 due to the worsening economy. Mark Mahaney, Citi Internet analyst, for instance, reduced his projection from 16.1 percent to 11.4 percent growth for this year, and from 14.1 percent to 5.8 percent for 2009.

Author

Erina Lin

Date

2008-11-24 18:52

The BBC Trust has rejected the BBC's £68 million plan to add video news to its network of 65 local UK Web sites, saying on Friday that it would hurt local newspaper publishers who are also trying to compete in their local online video markets, BBC News reported

Had the local video services been launched, yearly revenues at existing providers would likely decrease by up to 4 percent, and could cause local commercial media to fall behind in online innovation, a study by broadcast watchdog Ofcom had found.

Local newspapers across the UK had rallied against the BBC's plans, saying it would hurt their services, as the BBC Trust regulator investigated the plans for five months.

The 65 video sites would likely not offer the value to the public that the BBC aims for, and instead the BBC should improve on existing services, said Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust.

“Our decision to refuse permission for local video means that local newspapers and other commercial media can invest in their online services in the knowledge that the BBC does not intend to make this new intervention in the market,” Lyons said, according to BBC News. “We also recognise the negative impact that the local video proposition could have on commercial media services which are valued by the public and are already under pressure.”

Although many at the BBC believe the ruling hurts the the outlet's ability to improve services, others found the ruling to be a relief.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2008-11-24 18:48

Mobile Web use in the United Kingdom surged by 25 percent in the third quarter of 2008, Nielsen Online research has found, PC Pro reported Monday. Since the second quarter of his year, the number of users jumped from 5.8 million to 7.3 million.

Younger users may be more likely to surf the Web from mobile platforms, as a quarter of mobile Web users are aged between 15 and 24, compared to 16 percent for PC-based browsing.

According to the study, three of the BBC's sites are on the top 10 list of most visited mobile sites in the United Kingdom. Overall, the BBC News is the most popular mobile site, as 24 percent of users access it. BBC Weather and BBC Sport rank third and sixth on the top 10 list, respectively, PC Pro reported.

Nielsen Senior Analyst Kent Ferguson stated that outlets like BBC Weather, Sky Sports and Google's e-mail service Gmail may have a larger reach across the mobile Internet.

"This highlights the advantage of mobile when it comes to immediacy; people often need fast, instant access to weather or sports news and mobile can obviously satisfy this, wherever they are," Ferguson said, according to PC Pro.

PC Pro suggested that one factor to explain the trend is the popularity of mobile rates outlining "unlimited" use. The availability of recently launched devices that have full Web browsing features may also contribute to mobile Web's growth.

Author

Alisa Zykova

Date

2008-11-24 18:30

Russian publishing house Kommersant may shut down or temporarily halt publication of Avtopilot, an automobile magazine, Lenta.ru reported Monday.

The firm's Commercial Director Pavel Filenkov said that a final decision would be made by December 1 and that the probability that Avtopilot would close is "very high.”

In 2008, the magazine had not made sufficient profits and in the beginning of next year, Avtopilot may experience financial damages, Lenta.ru reported.

Last Friday, Russian publisher Forward Media Group announced the closure of two of its magazines, Car and Empire.

Kommersant also publishes a daily newspaper under the same name, Kommersant, as well as financial magazine Dengi and business magazine Sekret Firmi.

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Author

Alisa Zykova

Date

2008-11-24 18:23

Online video game ads and blogs are gaining influence with consumers, particularly among younger users, ages 18 to 34 years old, according to a study conducted by the National Retail Federation and BIGResearch, AdAge reported.

Although the numbers for all adults are relatively small – for example, online video-game ads influence 7 percent of electronics purchases, text messages influence 3 percent of clothing purchases – they boost to significant levels among those between 18 and 34.

Online video game ads influenced 14 percent of electronics purchases among that group, and blogs influenced 11 percent, which beat outdoor billboards and satellite radio. In addition, text messaging influenced 9 percent of electronics purchases, and 6 percent of clothing purchases, the study found, according to AdAge.

"As new technology places itself on the market, (it) is diverting attention from the typical newspaper and magazine advertisements," stated Pamela Goodfellow, senior analyst at BIG Research, according to AdAge. "It's up to retailers to be nimble in knowing what the latest and greatest is to reach their customers.”

Moreover, the study found product placement particularly effective among this young demographic. Eighteen percent of them said it influenced their electronics purchase, while 16 percent said it did so for a clothing purchase.

Author

Erina Lin

Date

2008-11-24 18:21


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