The BizBeat – October 20, 2016

Each Thursday, MediaFile’s Business section publishes The BizBeat, an overview of the past week’s news in media organizations and industry. Have a tip, see something we missed, or want to put something on our radar? E-mail Shiplett@Mediafiledc.com.

Making Headlines

  • Among this election cycle’s many startling revelations and dramatic twists, the recent sexual assault allegations againsts republican presidential candidate Donald Trump have hit especially close to home for People Magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff, who recently published her own “harrowing” story of being sexually attacked by Trump in 2005. The shocking narrative details how Trump isolated Stoynoff during an interview for the magazine on his then-upcoming marriage to Melania, then pushed her “against a wall and [forced] his tongue down [her] throat.” After Donald Trump called any claims of sexual assault against him “totally and absolutely false”, People’s editor-in-chief published a statement standing by Stoynoff’s story. Since the story’s publishing, at least six witnesses have stepped forward to corroborate Stoynoff’s account of the interaction.

  • This week, press freedom prevailed when riot charges against Amy Goodman, a Democracy Now! reporter, were dropped. District Judge John Grinsteiner declined to sign the charging document against Goodman, who was originally charged with criminal trespassing in early September after reporting on a violent conflict between security guards and people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Though the original trespassing charges were dropped, they were soon after replaced with charges of engaging in a riot.  “The important role of a journalist is to go to where the silence is,” Goodman said during an address after hearing of the dropped charges,  adding “we certainly will continue to cover this struggle.”
  • The Pulitzer Prizes opened all of its journalism award categories to submissions from print and online magazines, per an announcement Wednesday. The decision was made after what the Pulitzer Prize Board refers to as “two years of experimentation”, and is in part a response to the growing overlap of types of news outlets thanks to digital journalism. The Board states that it will continue to place its focus on text-based journalism, but will also recognize the contribution of digital opportunities for audio and visual elements in reporting.

    Getting Down to Business

  • After reporting earnings per share much stronger than expected, video streaming site Netflix’s stock surged 19 percent during after hours trading on Monday. The company reported a net income of $51.5 million, which equates to 12 cents a share, versus  the $29 million, or 7 cents a share, in the same period last year. With this surge, Netflix is up 32 percent in September and up 71 percent over a year. Analysts have hinted at a number of reasons for the boom, including successful original programming that has driven subscriptions and expansion in overseas markets. However, others have also predicted that Netflix’s recent surge is an over-reach, and may not last long.
  • Time, Inc.’s CEO Rich Battista announced a slew of leadership and organization changes this week, including the replacement of executive vice president and CFO Jeff Baristow with Sue D’Emic and other increased responsibilities for three additional executives. D’Emic most recently served as Time Inc.’s senior vice president and controller, and will assume her new role on November 7. Greg Giangrande, executive vice president and chief human resources officer, will also take a new role, as will Jaison Blair, Time Inc.’s senior vice president of investor relations and corporate communications. Fishbowl NY has the complete list of changes.
  • Texas Monthly, a magazine “covering Texas news, politics, food, history, crime, music, and everything in between,” has been sold to Texas businessman Paul Hobby for $25 million. Hobby, a founder of private equity fund Genesis Park, is part of a family that once owned the Houston Post and boasted a six-term Lieutenant Governor of Texas in its ranks. Emmis Communications, who originally owned Texas Monthly, has transitioned into focusing on radio broadcasting, and has been under pressure to reduce its debt. Under Emmis, Texas Monthly has won five National Magazine Awards, and have launched the reporting careers of many famous reporters, like New York Times Magazine Editor Jake Silverstein.

On the Radar

  • The libel lawsuit against Rolling Stone had its first day in court on Tuesday. The suit comes from Nicole Eramo, former associate dean of students at the University of Virginia, who claims that Rolling Stone defamed her in the magazine’s notoriously defunct piece, “A Rape on Campus.” Even though the magazine retracted the story in 2015, Eramo is seeking $7.9 million in damages as she claims the piece ruined her reputation. Eramo testified in court Wednesday, with the author of the piece, Sabrina Rubin Erdley, testifying soon after. “This case is about a journalistic failure,” Eramo’s attorney, Thomas Clare, said in his opening statement.
  • Stephen Colbert, host of CBS’ “The Late Show,” will be hosting an election night special on Showtime titled “Stephen Colbert’s Live Election Night – Democracy’s Series Finale: Who’s Going to Clean Up This S***.”  The placement on Showtime is for a number of reasons: not only is it a sister network to CBS, where Colbert regularly appears, but as a premium cable network, Showtime won’t censor the program. “It’ll be all the political comedy you love from my CBS show, with all the swearing and nudity you love from Showtime,” Colbert said in a recent report. The special will air at 11 PM EST on November 8th.

Arrivals

  • According to The Hollywood Reporter, Vox Media has named “Tonight Show” producer Gavin Purcell its new head of video. Purcell is known for helping to transition The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’s clips to interactive and digital formats, driving the show’s online popularity and billions of views. Prior to coming to The Tonight Show, Purcell worked as a supervising producer and writer for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and was an executive producer for G4’s Attack of the Show. At Vox, Purcell will head digital video strategy for Vox’s eight brands, as well as Vox’s YouTube network and its numerous digital video series.
  • The New York Times has named Arthur Gregg “A.G.” Sulzberger its new deputy publisher, continuing the Sulzberger family’s lengthy history in Times leadership. Sulzberger has previously worked in a variety of roles at the Times, including reporting and editing positions at the national and metro desks, as well as on the business side of the newsroom. Sulzberger is well-known in the newsroom for leading the team that drafted the Times’ famed 2014 innovation report, and has pioneered digital strategy for the outlet.
  • Voactiv Editor-in-Chief Jessica Cohen has been appointed Mashable’s new executive editor. Cohen’s work experience prior to Voactiv includes Vanity Fair, Gawker, and New York. In her new role at Mashable, Cohen will lead the outlet’s global editorial team and its “smart and obsessive coverage of culture, entertainment, technology, science and business,” per a press release. The appointment comes after Mashable announced a mass staff reorganization in March.

Departures

  • It was only a matter of time until Billy Bush was ousted from his anchoring role at NBC after being caught discussing degrading and sexually assaulting women on an audio recording with republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. This week, Bush officially parted ways with NBC after reaching a settlement, and, thanks to the absence of a “non-compete” clause in the settlement, may be back out on the job market soon. During Wednesday’s iteration of the Today Show, on which Bush was an anchor, host Matt Lauer said the program’s official goodbyes and wished Bush the best of luck.
  • After only 13 months at his post, New York Daily News editor-in-chief Jim Rich abruptly departed the outlet and was quickly replaced by editorial page editor Arthur Browne. According to an internal e-mail from Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman, Browne will assume the role “following a short transition”. A number of media observers and those in the Daily News newsroom have speculated on the causes of the ousting. Some suspect that the tabloid’s failure to quickly confirm and follow up after receiving a copy of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns may not have only lost the scoop to the New York Times’ blockbuster report, but may have also played a role in Rich’s ousting.

Taking Stock

The following stocks are for companies that were in media news, influencing media news, or affected by media news in the past week. Indicated changes identify noteworthy variations in price from the previous week’s report.

  • Netflix, Inc. (NFLX): $121.87
  • Twitter, Inc. (TWTR): $17.07
  • Viacom (VIA): $40.70 (up $5.58 from last week)
  • Time, Inc. (TIME): $13.25
  • New York Time Co. (NYT): $11.55

In Other News

  • In adding to its Journeys travel programming, The New York Times has debuted an exciting new offering for those wanting to venture the world – and those who can afford the $135,000 price tag. The Times’ new Around the World by Private Jet 26-day global tour “combines high-luxury with educational travel” in a trip to nine countries that features engagement with “local experts” and a variety of Times reporters at every stop of the way. The Times has partnered with luxury adventure travel firm Abercrombie & Kent to craft the program’s inaugural journey, which will depart in February 2018. More information on the trip, and the Times’ Journeys program, can be found here.
  • Notorious documentarian and liberal activist Michael Moore revealed a “surprise” film titled “Michael Moore in TrumpLand” that screened in Los Angeles and New York City beginning Wednesday. While Moore has been an outspoken critic of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, a number of reviews claim that the film doesn’t throw that many sharp jabs at Trump himself; rather, it seems to be more of what The New York Times calls a “not very entertaining pro-Clinton campaign film”. Moore’s film will screen at the IFC Center in New York City for a week, but will be available digitally to the public soon.

 

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