Publishing Industry Soundbytes 1-30-04

Posted on January 30, 2004

Book Deals | Content Deals | Film and Television
Launches and Redesigns | Miscellaneous
Music Business | People

People

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Charles H. Townsend has been named President and C.E.O. of Conde Nast Publications, it was announced by S.I. Newhouse, Jr., Chairman of Conde Nast Publications. He will assume his new role on February 16th; he will report to Mr. Newhouse. Mr. Townsend continues as Chief Operating Officer of the Advance Magazine Group. Charles Townsend has been Chief Operating Officer of Advance Magazine Group since 2001. Advance Magazine divisions include Conde Nast Publications, Fairchild Publications, Golf Digest Companies, Parade Publications, and the Shared Services Center in Delaware. Mr. Townsend was named Executive Vice President of Conde Nast in 1995 and its Chief Operating Officer in 2000. He originally joined the company as Publisher of Glamour magazine in 1994.

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John Bellando has been named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Conde Nast Publications. He will assume his new role on February 16th, along with Mr. Townsend, to whom he will report. Mr. Bellando continues as Chief Financial Officer of the Advance Magazine Group. Mr. Bellando has been Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Advance Magazine Group since its inception in 2001. Steven T. Florio has been named Vice Chairman of the Advance Magazine Group, it was announced today by S.I. Newhouse, Jr., Chairman of Conde Nast Publications and the Advance Magazine Group. Mr. Florio will step down from his position as President and C.E.O. of Conde Nast and assume his new role on February 16th. Steven T. Florio was named President of Conde Nast Publications in January, 1994, and Chief Executive Officer in January, 1996.

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David J. Pecker, President and CEO of American Media, Inc., has announced the appointment of Stuart Zakim as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, a newly created position reporting directly to Mr. Pecker. Richard Valvo, previously AMI's spokesperson, is remaining with the company, becoming a Corporate Vice President. He will develop special projects for AMI and report to Mr. Pecker. The move to AMI will reunite Mr. Zakim with Bonnie Fuller, AMI's Editorial Director. They previously worked together at Us Weekly.

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Marvel Enterprises, a character-based entertainment licensing company, has announced that Ames Kirshen has been appointed as Manager Of Game Development, a new position at Marvel. Mr. Kirshen, who has over six years of experience in the production and management of video game projects, will lead a small group to oversee the development of all licensed video games based on Marvel characters, including the creative content, along with other members of Marvel's Publishing division. Mr. Kirshen will report to Gui Karyo, Marvel's President of Publishing, who will supervise the overall game development process. Mr. Kirshen will also work closely with Tim Rothwell, Marvel's President of Worldwide Consumer Products, to foster new licensing relationships with video game publishers. Revenues from video game licensing will continue to be reported within the licensing division.

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Christie Hefner, chairman and chief executive officer of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., has announced the election of James F. Griffiths to the newly created post of senior executive vice president. Griffiths will be responsible for business development across the company as well as for global television and location-based entertainment. Griffiths, 49, joins PEI from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) where he spent six years as president, worldwide television distribution. He oversaw the global distribution of movies and television programs and supervised MGM Networks, Inc., the company's cable and satellite channel ventures.

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Ann Richmond has been promoted to the top job running Daily Reporter Publishing Co. She becomes publisher of The Daily Reporter, the Midwest's largest construction newspaper, and vice president and top executive of Daily Reporter Publishing Co. The announcement was made at the newspaper by James P. Dolan, President and CEO of Dolan Media, and Mark Stodder, VP Newspapers. Dolan Media owns Daily Reporter Publishing. Richmond, 34, had been the company's general manager since 2000 and associate publisher since 2002. Richmond is a 12-year employee of the company, which she joined as a classified advertising sales person. She also has worked in the production department, rose to department manager, and later held editorial duties before becoming general manager.

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Acclaim Entertainment, Inc., a global video entertainment software developer and publisher, has announced the appointment of Mike Sherlock as President of International Publishing. Sherlock rejoins the Company from Sega, where he was Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for their European division. In his new role with Acclaim, Sherlock will be responsible for the management of the Company's European publishing units and will be based out of Acclaim's Knightsbridge, London office and report directly to Rod Cousens, the Company's Chief Executive Officer.

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Steven A. Hobbs, a partner with the law firm of Clifford Chance US LLP, will join Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc. in the newly created position of senior vice president, chief legal and development officer, effective January 21, 2004. He will report to David J. Barrett, Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc. president and chief executive officer, who made the announcement today. Hobbs, a partner with Clifford Chance since 1993, based in the firm's New York office, is a member of Clifford Chance's corporate and securities law practice and has served as the firm's Americas merger-and-acquisition group practice leader as well as a member of its Americas management group.

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The E. W. Scripps Company has promoted two top executives at its Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers in Florida. Thomas E. Weber Jr. has been named publisher and Mark Tomasik has been named editor. The promotions are effective immediately. Weber, 60, previously was editor and president and Tomasik, 47, was executive editor. The Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers include The Stuart News, Press Journal in Vero Beach and The Tribune in Fort Pierce. The company also publishes two weekly newspapers, the Jupiter Courier and The Sebastian Sun, and operates the TCPalm website, which serves the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County. Other publications include the Treasure Coast Business Journal and 50 Plus Lifestyles.

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MediaBay, Inc. (NASDAQ:MBAY) , a leading spoken audio content, marketing and publishing company, today announced that Carl Wolf, the Company's Chairman, has been named as the Company's interim Chief Executive Officer. Ron Celmer, MediaBay's Chief Executive Officer, has resigned to pursue other opportunities. Mr. Wolf will serve in the interim role while the Company conducts a search for a new Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Wolf has been a director of MediaBay since March 1998 and has extensive business experience, including serving as Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alpine Lace Brands, Inc.

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R.H. Donnelley Corporation, a publisher of yellow page directories, has announced that Thomas D. D'Orazio has been appointed Vice President and Controller, effective January 5, 2004. D'Orazio will replace William C. Drexler, who will be leaving the Company to pursue other opportunities, following an orderly transition. D'Orazio was previously Vice President and Corporate Controller at Pillowtex Corporatio.

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Betty Wong, currently Global Equities editor and a 14-year veteran of the Reuters New York newsroom, has been named Managing Editor and Head of Editorial Operations for the Americas effective February 1, 2004. The announcement was made by David Schlesinger, Reuters Global Managing Editor and Head of Editorial Operations. In the new role, Wong will be operationally responsible for some 650 text, television and pictures journalists in both North and South America, and for making sure the Americas runs to the quality, budget and strategic specifications set by the company. As a regional managing editor, she joins Michael Lawrence in Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Chaitanya Kalbag, in Asia. All three report to Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger, 43, appointed to his current position in October 2003.

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The New York Times announced that Lawrence Ingrassia, an assistant managing editor at The Wall Street Journal, has been named business and financial editor. Mr. Ingrassia, 51, was named assistant managing editor overseeing global coverage of financial markets at The Wall Street Journal in December 2003. Prior to that he had been editor of the Money & Investing section of the Journal since 1999.

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The New York Times has announced that Susan Chira, editorial director of book development, has been named foreign editor. She replaces Roger Cohen who will now write a regular, twice-weekly column on European and international affairs for the IHT, starting in March, while also taking on the role of New York Times international writer-at-large. Ms. Chira, 45, became editorial director of book development in 2002. Previously she was the editor of the Week in Review section at The Times since 1999 after having served as deputy foreign editor of the newspaper since 1997. She joined The Times as a trainee on the metropolitan desk in 1981 and was promoted to reporter in 1982.

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Vivendi Universal has appointed Rene Penisson Chairman and Bruce Hack Chief Executive Officer of Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games), a publisher of multi-platform interactive entertainment. Furthermore, Jean-Francois Grollemund, who has extensive corporate finance and public accounting experience in the publishing and entertainment industries, is appointed Chief Financial officer at VU Games, reporting to Bruce Hack. Rene Penisson 61, joined Vivendi Universal in September 2002 as Senior Executive Vice President, Adviser to the Chairman. He served for many years at Rhone Poulenc, now Aventis, where his posts included Chief Executive Officer of Rhone Poulenc Chemicals; Member of the Executive Committee of Rhone Poulenc supervising Human Resources, Corporate Communications, Western Europe and North Africa, and General Delegate for France. Bruce Hack has a long and successful track record in the entertainment industry, as Vice Chairman of Universal Music Group from 1998 to 2001, and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Universal Studios from 1995 to 1998.

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The Baltimore Sun announced that Timothy A. Franklin, editor of the Orlando Sentinal has been named as the new editor. William K. Marimow will be leaving The Sun where he has been editor since 2000. Franklin will join The Sun as editor and vice president from his current position as editor of the Orlando Sentinel, another Tribune Company newspaper.

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Richard Robinson, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Scholastic Corporation has appointed Heather Myers as Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning and Business Development, for the global children's publishing and media company. In her role at Scholastic, Ms. Myers will focus her attention on strategic planning for all of Scholastic's business units with particular attention to resource allocation, business development and overseeing new business ventures for the corporation. Ms. Myers led strategic business development efforts for Universal Studios, Inc. for more than six years in the television, motion picture, theme park and music businesses.

Content Deals

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iVillage, a women's media company, announced that it has expanded its relationship with Hearst Magazines, a unit of Hearst Communications, Inc., through a production and hosting agreement for a new Hearst Teen Online Network of magazine websites. iVillage was selected to provide design, production and hosting services for the new Hearst Teen Online Network comprised of the Seventeen, CosmoGIRL!, and Teen magazine websites. In addition, iVillage will serve ads on the sites and provide metric tracking and reporting such as site page views and visits. While specific financial terms of the two-year deal are not being disclosed, iVillage will receive a monthly fee for ongoing support including hosting, ad serving and resource allocation, in addition to one-time redesign and migration fees. Currently iVillage provides Hearst with website production and hosting services for magazine sites including, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, Redbook, and Town & Country, among others. The Hearst Teen Online Network of sites will not reside on or be co-branded with the iVillage Network.

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The newspaper joint operating agreement, or JOA, that has enabled publication of The Cincinnati Post and The Kentucky Post since the late 1970s won't be renewed when it expires on Dec. 31, 2007. The Post newspapers and their parent firm, The E. W. Scripps Company, have been notified by Gannett Co. Inc. -- owner of The Cincinnati Enquirer -- that the joint operating agreement will not be extended past its scheduled expiration date. Gannett and the Enquirer manage all of the business and production operations for the afternoon Post and morning Enquirer under terms of the joint operating agreement, which was signed Sept. 23, 1977. The newspapers maintain separate and competing newsrooms and editorial operations. Gannett was required to notify Scripps at least three years in advance of the expiration date if it intended not to renew the agreement. Post readers will see no immediate change in the content or delivery of their newspaper as a result of the notification Scripps received Friday from Gannett. Scripps intends to continue publishing the Post newspapers Monday through Saturday afternoons for the duration of the joint operating agreement while actively exploring all options for the future of The Post.

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Mforma Group Inc., a publisher and distributor of wireless entertainment content, has acquired rights from Universal Studios Consumer Products Group to develop wireless games based on Universal's monster movie characters and to deliver them to wireless carriers and their subscribers in the United States. Properties included in the licensing agreement are Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Mforma has already developed and published its first game based on the Universal license -- Universal Studios' Dracula -- which is now available to Sprint PCS Vision customers. Mforma's deal with Universal is the first to be announced since Mforma opened a Los Angeles office in December 2003 for the express purpose of bringing Hollywood brands to wireless.

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theglobe.com has launched a new games domain, games.theglobe.com, through a partnership with unique online game provider, Arkadium. Web surfers who go to the website will find a complete slate of Internet games provided through Arkadium including: Klondike Solitaire, Mah Jongg, Darts, Tetrax, Word Up and more. Surfers who elect to play a more enhanced version of the games can download Arkadium's Gamedek software. Once inside Arkadium's game community, users can select personalized avatars (virtual selves), talk to friends and opponents and play in one-on-one real-time games for cash prizes.

Launches and Redesigns

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The visitor publications division of Morris Communications Co. has been awarded exclusive publishing rights for Las Vegas Monorail Magazine, the official publication of the Las Vegas Monorail system. Morris currently publishes Best Read Las Vegas Guide and Nevada Hospitality magazine in the Las Vegas market. The first issue of the biweekly monorail guidebook is scheduled for March, to coincide with the opening of the 4-mile monorail route in the first quarter of the year.

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The New York Times Magazine announced that it has introduced a new full-page weekly column entitled "Consumed" that appears in the upfront "The Way We Live Now" section of The Magazine. "Consumed" premiered on January 4, 2004. Written by Rob Walker, a contributing writer, "Consumed" will profile the things we buy, and why we buy them. Part business report, part cultural anthropology, the column will cast an analytical eye on everything from home appliances to toys, jewelry to beer, cell phones to television shows -- any product whose success, failure, popularity or inconspicuousness reveals something about who we are and how we live. Each week's column will also include a product photo or illustration.

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NewspaperDirect, a technology company specializing in the digital delivery of same-day editions of newspapers from around the world, will be launching a digital newspaper service for libraries at the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting. This service enables libraries to provide their patrons with same-day editions of out-of-state and international newspapers. The company's technology provides the flexibility to print on industry standard laser printers or view replicas online in a web browser. NewspaperDirect's catalog of titles includes more than 185 newspapers from around the world.

Film and Television

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SCI FI Channel, a provider of original movies and miniseries on television, has announced the start of production on Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea. Produced by Hallmark Entertainment in association with Bender-Brown Productions, this four-hour miniseries epic will begin principle photography this spring in New Zealand. Adapted from award-winning novelist Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea book series, Earthsea is written by Gavin Scott (The Mists of Avalon) with Robert Halmi, Sr. (Dreamkeeper, Merlin), Lawrence Bender (Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction) and Kevin Brown (Roswell) executive producing. Earthsea is slated to debut on SCI FI in December 2004. Earthsea follows the tale of a reckless youth destined to become the greatest sorcerer that the mystical land of Earthsea has ever known. When the young wizard Ged discovers that he possesses infinite magical powers, he seeks to master the ancient arts. As he journeys to manhood, he will combat dragons, fall in love, cross death's threshold, and ultimately wield the power to reunite a kingdom. Earthsea is an adaptation of the first two of Le Guin's famed Earthsea trilogy novels: A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan. The stories of Earthsea have been translated into 16 languages, with millions of copies in print. Author Le Guin has won five Hugo awards and five Nebula awards. She has also earned a National Book Award, and been named a finalist for the American Book Award numerous times.

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Showtime Networks will become the campaign headquarters for American Candidate starting this summer. Unscripted and unprecedented, American Candidate is a 10-episode, one-hour reality series from Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler, executive producer Jay Roach and executive producer Tom Lassally. The announcement was made by Robert Greenblatt, President of Entertainment for Showtime Networks Inc., following the recent Federal Election Commission's positive advisory opinion that the content of the show will not violate federal election laws. In American Idol fashion, this series will attempt to identify one individual who has the qualifications and qualities to be President of the United States. The show will debut with 12 contestants from all walks of life. Over the course of the next 10 weeks, those 12 will face-off against each other in a series of challenges designed to test their presidential mettle and to show viewers what really goes on in the making of a presidential candidate. Week-by-week, the original pool of candidates will be winnowed down through audience participation and polling. The final episode will be a showdown between the remaining two candidates, and one person will emerge victorious -- by proving that he or she has what it takes to run for the highest office in the land.

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Emmett/Furla Films Productions Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Family Room Entertainment Corporation, announced that it has completed negotiations with international action star Steven Seagal to top-line an additional picture which is slated to begin principal photography on April 1st. Anthony Hickox will direct Submerged, which Emmett/Furla Films' Randall Emmett and George Furla will produce with Paul de Souza. Colin Green wrote the screenplay based on a story by himself and Paul de Souza. Following Submerged, Emmett/Furla Films will produce a second picture with Steven Seagal entitled, Repentance.

Music Business

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RealNetworks announced that Wenner Media, the owner of the music publication Rolling Stone, has selected RealNetworks as its digital music services partner for Rolling Stone as part of a seven-year global licensing agreement. As part of the agreement, RealNetworks has taken over operations of RollingStone.com. Through this relationship consumers visiting RollingStone.com will be offered the opportunity to purchase music from the music store in the new RealPlayer 10 media player. In addition, RealNetworks' partnership with Wenner Media gives the company exclusive online rights to Rolling Stone's rich archive of music news and its collection of photos.

Book Deals and News

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Reader's Digest Children's Publishing has announced the publication and distribution of its bestselling Movie Theater Storybooks in the U.S. and Canada, based on Nickelodeon cartoons. The Nickelodeon Movie Theater Storybook features five episodes of Nickelodeon's biggest hits: SpongeBob SquarePants, Rugrats, Jimmy Neutron, The Wild Thornberrys and The Fairly OddParents. Nearly two million copies of Reader's Digest's Movie Theater Storybooks have been sold worldwide. The oversized hardcover book includes a removable movie projector and ten picture disks that let readers project colorful story images on the wall as they read. The projector comes with a built-in reading light so kids can read even when the lights are dimmed.

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Iowa State Press (founded in 1924 as Collegiate Press) announced that it has changed its name to Blackwell Publishing. Blackwell Publishing Ltd., acquired Iowa State (University) Press in late 2000. The recent name change from Iowa State Press to Blackwell Publishing reflects the successful integration of their publishing strategies. Since being acquired by Blackwell Publishing, Iowa State Press has developed a greater international reach enabling it to grow its global publishing activities in veterinary medicine, agriculture, animal science, aviation, and journalism. New lines have recently been added in dentistry, aquaculture, food science and applied chemistry. Blackwell Publishing is the world's largest independent and privately owned academic publishing company. The company publishes books and journals for higher education, research and professional markets.

Miscellaneous

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MyFamily.com, Inc., an online subscription business and network for connecting families, announced that its fee-based services have surpassed the 1.5 million subscription mark. MyFamily was one of the first companies to offer paid content on the Internet. Catering to one of the most popular uses of the Web, MyFamily.com's network of websites, which includes MyFamily.com, Ancestry.com, Genealogy.com, and RootsWeb.com, serves the large and rapidly growing family history market. More than 15 million Americans go online each month to search for information on their roots.

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Periodical Publishers' Service Bureau, Inc. (PPSB), a unit of The Hearst Corporation, has announced the purchase of American Publishers, Inc. (API), a Devon, Pa.-based fund-raising company. American Publishers will offer magazines and other products to organizations for use in fund-raising campaigns. PPSB has been involved in the magazine subscription industry since 1910. PPSB's subscription sales are generated from a large national network of independent agents.