Publishing Industry Soundbytes 11-19-04
Posted on November 19, 2004People
The Wall Street Journal has announced the promotion of Penny Abernathy to senior vice president, international and development, from vice president, planning and business development for The Wall Street Journal. Ms. Abernathy will replace Richard J. Tofel, vice president and assistant publisher, The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Tofel is leaving the Company on Oct. 15 to become president of The International Freedom Center, constructed on the site of the former World Trade Center. In her new role, Ms. Abernathy will be responsible for the business operations of the Journal's international publications, including direct responsibility for Dow Jones International Marketing Services, which sells advertising overseas into all of the Journal's publications. In addition, Ms. Abernathy will continue her responsibilities for development at the Journal, including helping with the planning and execution of the Journal's Weekend Edition, scheduled to launch Sept. 10, 2005. Ms. Abernathy will continue to report to Karen Elliott House, senior vice president of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal. Ms. Abernathy joined Dow Jones in June 2003. Prior to joining Dow Jones, she was group publisher and general manager of Harvard Business School Publishing Company. She also has held various positions at The New York Times, including senior vice president strategic planning and human resource. Ms. Abernathy began her career more than three decades ago as a journalist in North Carolina.
Dow Jones & Company announced that it has appointed Amy L. Wolfcale vice president of corporate communications. She succeeds Brigitte Trafford, who recently left the Company to reunite with her family in England. Ms. Wolfcale will report to Peter R. Kann, the Company's chairman and chief executive officer. In this role, Ms. Wolfcale will be responsible for all areas of external communications. She will be working with all business units and departments at Dow Jones. Ms. Wolfcale has more than 16 years of experience in planning and managing strategic, multiproduct public relations programs. Most recently, she was the director of communications for Money Magazine, a unit of Time Warner Inc., where she managed publicity for the brand. Prior to that, Ms. Wolfcale was the director of public affairs for The Markle Foundation. She also has held similar positions at Consumer Reports and the Canadian Consulate General in New York.
Isaac Lee, Editor-in-Chief of Zoom Media Group, has announced the appointment of Thomas (Tigre) Wenrich as PODER magazine's new President and Executive Editor. Wenrich, former Vice President and Director in The Boston Consulting Group's (BCG) Miami office, joined the magazine effective October 1, 2004. Wenrich has also written articles for the Wall Street Journal and the Harvard Business Review, among other publications. In his new position as Executive Editor, Wenrich will oversee the editorial strategy and will be active in promoting the magazine.
Primedia Inc., a targeted media company, has announced the addition and promotion of six executives to its International Automotive Group. The new executives will work under direction of the recently appointed Group President John Rousseau. The promotions and appointments include:
- Howard Lim - Promoted to senior vice president and group publisher of the Specialty & Lifestyle Tuner Markets
- Kenneth Beach - Joins as senior vice president of National Accounts
- Chris Kobran - Joins as vice president and publisher of the Lowrider/Urban Markets
- Kenny Rudolph - Joins as vice president of sales for the Specialty & Lifestyle Tuner Markets
- Matthew Ingber - Joins as vice president and general manager of Digital Media
- Dan Bednar - Promoted to senior finance director
The New York Times Company announced that David A. Thurm, vice president for real estate development, has been named chief information officer for The New York Times Company and The New York Times newspaper. He will report to Leonard P. Forman, executive vice president and chief financial officer for the Company, and to Scott Heekin-Canedy, president and general manager for The New York Times newspaper. Mr. Thurm, 50, was named vice president, real estate development in 2000. He has been, and will continue to be, responsible for overseeing the construction and development of the company's new headquarters in Manhattan, and for other building projects. Previously he served as chief operating officer for New York Times Digital since 1999. From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Thurm was vice president of production at The New York Times newspaper, and oversaw the planning and construction of The Times's printing facility in College Point, Queens. From 1991 to 1995, he served in a number of real estate development positions. Mr. Thurm joined The New York Times Company as an attorney in 1982.
Caroline Miller, editorial director of Absolute Publishing USA, announced that Andrew Essex, executive editor of Details, has been named editor in chief of Absolute, a new New York- based luxury magazine launching in early 2005. Essex has been the executive editor of Details since 2000. He has also held editorial posts at Entertainment Weekly, Salon, Us Weekly, and The New Yorker. He has been published in many magazines, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Outside, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Food & Wine, Interview and Details. He is the author of A Very Public Offering: The Story of the Globe.com (Wiley; 2001). Essex has a BA and an MA in American Literature from New York University. He lives with his wife and son in Brooklyn Heights. Essex, who starts at Absolute October 25, joins Earnest J. Renzulli, who left The Robb Report in August to be president and publisher of the new large-format glossy.
Distinction Magazine has named Holly Palance as editor-in-chief, it was announced by Publisher Jane Dalea-Kahn. Palance had served as editor-in-chief of Santa Barbara Magazine since 2000. The magazine also announced the appointment of Mitria Di Giacomo as eastern advertising director, based in New York; and the promotion of Jo Campbell-Fujii to advertising director from advertising sales manager. Launched in 2003, Distinction magazine reaches more than 65,000 affluent, influential, socially prominent individuals living in the wealthiest communities of Southern California. It is published bi-monthly by Angeles Publications, a division of Tribune Los Angeles, Inc. Before joining Santa Barbara Magazine, Palance spent a decade as contributing editor and columnist with Buzz Magazine. Her column, "The Hills," was nominated for a Maggie Award as Columnist of the Year, and was reprinted in the New York Times and Marie Claire, among other publications. Her other freelance work has been published in the Los Angeles Times and in Cosmopolitan and Travel + Leisure magazines. Before entering journalism, Palance was an actor in Europe and the United States.
Internationally syndicated family/health columnist, and CEO, Jodie Lynn, has signed on as an expert for eDiets. Lynn lives in St. Louis, MO with her family and is the CEO (Chief Everywhere Officer) of ParentToParent and Martin-Ola Press, LLC, and is an award-winning syndicated family columnist.
Automotive journalist Kevin Smith has joined Edmunds, an online resource for In his new role, he will manage the company's growing editorial and broadband video teams. Previously, Smith served as Editorial Director of the Performance Automotive Group at Primedia Inc., responsible for the content, quality, and success of their special-interest automotive and motorcycle magazines. Prior to that assignment, he was Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. Smith reports directly to Matthew Kumin, Vice President of Consumer Services at Edmunds.com.
Media General, Inc. announced that company veteran Thomas A. Silvestri has been named president and publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, effective Jan. 1, 2005. Silvestri, 49, will succeed J. Stewart Bryan III, 66, who has served as publisher since 1978. Bryan will remain chairman and chief executive officer of Media General, Inc., owner of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Silvestri will become the first publisher outside the Bryan family since 1887. In addition, Albert T. "Tappy" August, III, 64, president and general manager of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, plans to retire at the end of 2004. August has managed the newspaper's day-to-day operations since 1994. Silvestri will assume responsibility for all operations when he becomes president and publisher, and the general manager position will not be filled. Bryan succeeded his father, D. Tennant Bryan, as publisher of The Richmond News Leader and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Media General's oldest newspaper, in 1978. A predecessor version of the newspaper, the Daily Times, originated in 1850, and it came under the ownership of the Bryan family in 1887.
Orlando Sentinel Editor and Vice President Charlotte H. Hall has announced the appointment of Mark E. Russell to the position of managing editor of the newspaper. Russell is currently assistant managing editor/metro at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, the largest newspaper in Ohio. In his new role at the Sentinel, Russell, 42, will lead all news- gathering, editing, photo, graphics and multimedia content functions for the paper. He will assume his new position in mid-October. Russell will lead a newsroom of 330 journalists covering national, foreign, metro, sports and business news, features, special projects and El Sentinel, the company's weekly Spanish-language newspaper. Prior to his current position at The Plain Dealer, Russell was its business editor for four years. He initially joined the newspaper in 1987 as a business reporter and later moved to the city desk and then served as an assistant city editor. Russell left The Plain Dealer to join The Boston Globe as assistant metropolitan editor in 1993, a position he held for two years before returning to The Plain Dealer.
Alan M. Horton, who for more than a decade has guided The E. W. Scripps Company's daily and community newspapers, will retire from his role as senior vice president of Scripps newspapers, effective Dec. 31. Horton will cap a newspaper career that began in 1965 when, fresh out of Yale University, he took a job with Scripps as a reporter for The Cincinnati Post. Horton, 61, spent all but five of the next 40 years with Scripps as a prize-winning reporter, Washington D.C. correspondent, editor, publisher, electronic publishing pioneer and newspaper management executive. Richard A. Boehne, 48, executive vice president of Scripps, will be responsible for day-to-day management of the newspaper division following Horton's retirement.
Aviation Week & Space Technology has announced that Joseph Anselmo has joined its staff as business editor. Anselmo spent seven years with the Aviation Week Group in the 1990s, first as a reporter with Aerospace Daily, then as space technology editor at AW&ST. Most recently, he was a defense reporter at Congressional Quarterly and managing editor of Washington Techway, a Washington Post Company magazine and affiliate of Washingtonpost.com that focused on technology business issues. Anselmo received two top journalism awards from the Royal Aeronautical Society, first in 1998 in the Space category for an in-depth investigation into the validity of scientific benefits of the International Space Station promised by NASA. And, in 1999 Anselmo and AW&ST senior editor Craig Covault received top honors within the Breaking News category for revealing the inside story of the loss of a $1 billion U.S spy satellite in a rocket explosion.
Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, has announced key executive appointments. Van Toffler, formerly President, MTV, MTV2 and MTV Films, has been named MTV Networks Group President, responsible for MTV, MTV2, VH1, CMT and LOGO. Brian Graden has been named President, LOGO. He is also being named President, Entertainment, MTV Networks Music Group including, MTV, MTV2, VH1, and CMT, reporting to Toffler. Graden will also serve as a creative liaison for MTV's international operations, working with them on development efforts, reporting to McGrath. Toffler will report to McGrath and joins Herb Scannell and Bill Roedy as part of McGrath's senior management team. Doug Herzog, President, Comedy Central, will also report directly to McGrath. Christina Norman, President VH1 and Brian Phillips, Executive Vice President and General Manager, CMT, will also report to Toffler.
>People en Espanol editor Richard Perez-Feria has announced the addition of three top industry experts to the People en Espanol editorial team. Music producer Emilio Estefan, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Jai Rodriguez and astrologer Walter Mercado have signed on to be contributing editors to the Spanish-language monthly. Emilio Estefan will serve as the magazine's leading music expert offering readers an insiders guide to the hottest Hispanic music, summer concerts tours and most-talked about CDs. The new section will debut in the December/Year End issue, on sale Monday, November 1. Actor, singer and dancer, Jai Rodriguez, currently starring on Bravo's hit reality program Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, also joins People en Espanol's editorial lineup in the December/Year End issue. Rodriguez will pen a monthly fashion, trend and culture page, answering dos, don'ts and dilemmas. Astrologer Walter Mercado also kicks off his People en Espanol partnership in the December/Year End issue. Mercado's forecasting will become a monthly section predicting love, fortune and success for all 12-horoscope signs.
Primedia's Performance Automotive Group announced that Hot Rod editor-in-chief David Freiburger has been promoted to the role of editor-in-chief for both Hot Rod and Car Craft magazines. As a result of that promotion, Freiburger has appointed Rob Kinnan to the post of editor at Hot Rod. Rob Kinnan was formerly the editorial director for ProMedia and editor of Race Pages for more than five years.
Haights Cross Communications, Inc. (HCC), an educational and library publisher, announced that Linda Hein has been appointed President and CEO of Buckle Down Publishing, a division of HCC's Triumph Learning. Hein reports to Kevin McAliley, Triumph Learning's President and CEO. Hein began her career as an English teacher in Iowa, and then worked in a series of sales training, analytical, and management positions before joining American Guidance Service (AGS), an educational publishing company, in 1992. She began her tenure at AGS as Tele-Sales manager and received eight promotions there, finally being named President. Hein holds a BS in Education from the University of Texas and an MBA from the University of Minnesota.
"CompuBug," a popular product profile column written by Larry Blasko for the Associated Press for two decades, is coming to Business Wire, Cathy Baron Tamraz, president, announced. More than 400 newspapers and online sites were regular users of the column, which focuses on high-tech and consumer electronics. The column has been published in leading publications, including The Miami Herald, NYTimes.com, USAToday.com, Toronto Globe & Mail, Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, CMP Media, and San Jose Mercury News. Blasko, who recently left the AP after 33 years, will have total discretion as to which products he will preview, based on submissions from Business Wire members. He will have complete editorial independence in his reviews. Business Wire will distribute "CompuBug" as a "Smart News Release," which enables media and consumers to access multimedia elements.
New York Magazine publisher Larry Burstein announced that he has created two new ad sales management positions. Denise Fierro Collins, formerly associate publisher for Marie Claire, will start on Monday, November 8 as associate publisher for New York Magazine. And Leslie Farrand, formerly director of fashion and beauty advertising for New York Magazine, has been promoted to the position of advertising manager. Collins, like Burstein, is a New York Magazine veteran, working as the magazine's advertising manager, sales development manager and sales representative from 1989-1990 and 1991-1996. In 1996, Collins left New York Magazine to become advertising manager for Vogue, from which she moved on to advertising director for Modern Bride. In 1998, Collins was named associate publisher for Mademoiselle, and in 1999, associate publisher for Marie Claire. Risa Aronson, New York Magazine's former Director of Advertising, left the magazine on Wednesday October 20 to become advertising director at Bon Appetit.
Elsevier's medical publication,The Lancet has announced the return of Dr. James Butcher to its editorial staff. James previously held the position of Editor at The Lancet Neurology before departing earlier this year to work as Senior Editor at the Public Library of Science's open access medical journal, PLoS Medicine, launched last week.
National Speed Sport News, the country's oldest weekly auto racing publication, has announced the appointment of Jim Savas as publisher. Savas most recently served as publisher for 12 Volt Group LLC, where he launched two magazines (Street News and dialD) that brought new audiences to the publishing entity. Before that, Savas worked as vice president/general manager at EMAPUSA/Petersen Publishing Automotive Group (now Primedia), where his 20-year career with the company also found him working as vice president/executive publisher, publisher, sales manager and advertising sales representative. In his new position as publisher, Savas will report directly to the National Speed Sport News Board of Directors.
Tribune Company has announced that Jack Fuller, president of the company's publishing group, will retire and also step down from the company's board of directors at the end of 2004. Scott Smith, president and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, has been named chief operating officer of the publishing group, effective Nov. 1; he will replace Fuller on Jan. 1, 2005. David Hiller, senior vice president of the publishing group, will succeed Smith at the Chicago Tribune. Fuller was named president of Tribune Publishing in 1997 and joined Tribune Company's board of directors in 2001. He started as a copyboy at the Chicago Tribune, and later served as a Tribune reporter in Chicago and Washington. Fuller was vice president and editor of the Chicago Tribune from 1989 to 1993, and won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1986. He was appointed publisher of the newspaper in 1994. Smith was named president and publisher of the Chicago Tribune in 1997. He held the same titles at Sun-Sentinel Company in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from 1993 to 1997. Prior to that he was responsible for Tribune Company strategic planning, acquisitions and new venture investments from 1991 to 1993, and served as the company's chief financial officer from 1985 to 1991. Hiller was appointed senior vice president of Tribune Publishing in February 2003, overseeing The Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, Tribune Media Services and other operations. He was president of Tribune Interactive from 2000 until March 2004, and Tribune senior vice president/development from 1993 to 2000. Hiller joined the company in 1988 as vice president/general counsel, serving in that role until 1993.
Harold Clarke has been named President and Publisher, Trade Publishing / Special Markets for The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., it was announced by Robert E. Raymond, President of RDA's Consumer Businesses division. Clarke has been Vice President and Publisher, New Market Development, since joining RDA in 2000. Before coming to RDA, Clarke founded and ran Brainsong.com, a business development consulting practice. Prior to that, he was at Random House, from 1992 to 1998. Previously, for eight years, he was with Dell Publishing Co., where he was President and Publisher, BDD Promotional Book Col, Inc., and President and Publisher, Dell Magazines. Clarke has a B.A. from S.U.N.Y. at Binghamton and completed the Wharton Advanced Management Program.
MGM Studios, a unit of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., has promoted two theatrical distribution executives to senior vice president, announced President of Distribution Erik Lomis, to whom the executives report. Brett Fellman has been named senior vice president, exhibitor relations, where he will continue to oversee the placement of trailers and advertising materials in theatres in the United States and Canada and will oversee in-theater promotions. He most recently was vice president, exhibitor relations. Derek McLay has been promoted to senior vice president, domestic distribution, and will continue to oversee all box-office projections and gross estimates. He previously was vice president, domestic distribution, and among other tasks managed the challenging transition to a new package of computer software used in making those projections and estimates. McLay started his 27-year career in entertainment as an usher, working his way up to film buyer for 14 years for United Artists Theaters and Mann Theaters. He joined MGM as a sales manager 10 years ago, and became vice president five years ago. He also served eight years as an instructor in exhibition and distribution in the Peter Stark producers training program at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-TV. Fellman joined MGM in 2001 as a district manager handling domestic sales before being promoted in 2003 to vice president of exhibitor relations. He previously worked for five years with DreamWorks SKG in theatrical distribution sales. Fellman received a Bachelor's of Arts degree in film studies in 1995 from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is an active member of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation and the Variety Children's Charity of Southern California.
Ebooks Corporation announced it has entered into a five-year distribution agreement with Nokia Corporation of Finland to distribute a growing range of popular books via a new generation of Nokia smart phones. The deal means that users of Nokia mobile devices will be able to find, buy, download and read books directly from their handsets. Under the agreement, Ebooks Corporation will supply a range of book excerpts that will be installed on Nokia phones. The phones will also include key elements of the eBooks.com website.
The new blog community JoeUser has been officially launched. JoeUser.com is a website that allows individuals to sign up for free web pages that include tools for adding user-created articles to their pages (blogs). Blogging, short for web logs, has grown in popularity as users from around the world to write down their thoughts and views about any number of issues.
PhotoWorks, Inc., a provider of digital and film photography services (formerly known as Seattle FilmWorks), has unveiled a new line of Custom Photo Books that can be created online at PhotoWorks.com and allow people to showcase pictures in a printed and bound book.
HCPro announced it has completed its fifth acquisition of the year, purchasing the healthcare publications of Brownstone Publishers, Inc. The deal brings to HCPro various healthcare-related publications, including nine monthly newsletters and six loose-leaf products. In addition to providing further penetration and additional products in HCPro's existing markets, the Brownstone acquisition vaults HCPro into three new markets: laboratory, radiology and managed care compliance. The Brownstone acquisition is HCPro's largest since the management-led buyout of the company's founders in December, 2002. In that transaction, The Riverside Company assumed a majority interest of HCPro. The acquired newsletters are HIPAA Security & Privacy Staff Trainer, Health Information Compliance Insider, HIPAA Security Compliance Insider, Laboratory Compliance Insider, Managed Care Contracting & Reimbursement Insider, Ophthalmology Contracting & Reimbursement Insider, Radiology Administrator's Compliance and Reimbursement Insider, Credentialing & Peer Review Legal Insider, and Ambulatory Surgery Compliance and Reimbursement Insider.
Journal Register Company Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Robert M. Jelenic announced the Company's acquisition of the assets of Berks-Mont Newspapers, Inc., a non-daily newspaper group based in Boyertown, Pennsylvania that traces its roots back to 1857. This group of newspapers has total circulation of approximately 168,000 serving the growing areas of Boyertown, Kutztown, Hamburg, Quakertown and surrounding communities. The acquisition includes the paid weeklies The Boyertown Area Times, The Kutztown Area Patriot and The Hamburg Area Item, as well as The Southern Berks News, The Saucon News, The Free Press, The Berks-Mont Saver, The Oley Valley Sentinel, Destinations and The Community Connection.
Ziff Davis Media Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of Connexus Media Inc (CMI), a business-to-business online publishing company based in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Ziff Davis Media will acquire CMI's portfolio of 25 business-to-business, vertical and technology-specific websites, 10 weekly eNewsletters, 25 list rental databases and other ancillary paid content programs. Ziff Davis will incorporate all of CMI's assets and resources into its online division, Ziff Davis Internet. The acquisition is effective immediately. Connexus Media's roster of websites and eNewsletters is targeted at primary and specialty business-to-business and vertical technology segments. Each property includes a uniquely branded website with relevant content and marketing services.
The E. W. Scripps Company, parent of Scripps Networks and its growing portfolio of national lifestyle television networks, has reached a definitive agreement to acquire the Great American Country (GAC) network from Jones Media Networks, Ltd., for $140 million in cash. GAC, a 24-hour country music video network launched in 1996, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jones Media, a privately owned company based in Denver. GAC is distributed via cable and satellite television systems nationwide to about 34 million Nielsen rated households. When the transaction is completed, GAC will become the fifth national programming network operated by Scripps Networks. Other Scripps Networks brands include Home & Garden Television, Food Network, the DIY -- Do It Yourself Network and Fine Living. Scripps also operates a national electronic commerce business, the Shop at Home Network and its website, shopathometv.com.
Jessica's Biscuit/ecookbooks, a cookbook catalog and ecommerce website, announced that it has entered into an alliance with Cooking.com, an online retailer of cooking products. Through this relationship, a Jessica's Biscuit/ecookbooks.com cookbook store has been created on the Cooking.com website, in which Cooking.com visitors can preview, browse through and/or select from the Jessica's Biscuit/ecookbooks inventory of 9,000 titles.
Launches and Redesigns
Houghton Mifflin Company's Electronic Publishing unit in the Trade & Reference Division today announced the official launch of its eReference download reference software and website, eReference. eReference is a tool for all PC and Mac users that includes the full print-version texts of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition and Roget's II: The New Thesaurus. Text-to-speech technology has also been added. Complete definitions are read aloud from The American Heritage Dictionary, helping many eReference users gain confidence in their spoken communication. The interactive software also includes full-color images, real-voice spoken pronunciations, and powerful on-line features that enable users to look up words on webpages, in Microsoft Office documents, or within the text of the definition entries simply by clicking on them.
The New York Times Photo Archives has announced the launch of a new website. The new site evolved from the popularity of the hand-printed, framed photographs featured on The New York Times's online store. The Photo Archives extends the reach of the collection to design possibilities that include custom wall murals, acrylic room dividers, aluminum and copper prints, stretched canvases, fabric backdrops and carpets. Archived in their original format, the Times says the photographs can be reproduced in extremely large sizes without compromising image quality.
Key decisions and actions by New York City's various land use agencies will be reported each month in a new publication, CityLand, published by the Center for New York City Law at New York Law School. Launching October 15, CityLand is a source of information for developers, contractors, architects, lawyers, neighborhood associations, and concerned citizen. Published on the 15th of the month, each issue will cover the prior month's activity by the major land use agencies of New York City, including the City Planning Commission, Board of Standards and Appeals, Landmarks Preservation Commission, New York City Council, and the Department of Buildings. CityLand features detailed maps, photographs, and comprehensive charts, reporting decisions on projects both small and large. Decisions and issues will be followed, annotated and explained. Subscribers will learn what concerns have been raised by the city and the public on a myriad of projects, and read feature stories on everything from small proposed developments to comprehensive rezonings which highlight the city's vision of its future. Charts list every project currently underway in the city, including newly filed applications and certification. Complementing CityLand, the Center will make available at no cost on its website each agency's decisions in a searchable format. The webite currently contains 20,000 decisions from fifteen city agencies, including all four of the land use agencies covered by CityLand, and new decisions are added daily.
The first trade publication for the mold prevention and abatement industry, Mold & Moisture Management magazine will present its debut issue beginning of the new year, January/February 2005. Mold & Moisture Management magazine is a quarterly publication created to address industry needs concerning the rising influx in legal cases, building concerns and repairs required to solve the ever-increasing caseload within these fields.
Lycos, Inc., a network of Internet brands, has announced the beta release of Lycos Circles. Lycos Circles focuses on helping users to stay connected, share content and manage relationships with features like sharing topics, articles, photos, invitations, movie and audio clips, group greeting cards, polls and websites.
Lulu, an on-demand publishing tool for books, ebooks, and other digital content, has added services targeting comic book creators. Lulu's newly expanded comic book capabilities offer artists the option of publishing comic book size (6.75"x 10.375") books in addition to the trade paperback and textbook sizes previously available. All comics are published on high quality paper with the option of vibrant color or black and white. Publishing a comic on Lulu is free. Individual copies can be purchased for under $10 and bulk discounts are available. Authors set their own royalties.
Netweed relaunched this week, with a redesign of the core site and web directory, a new special project called The Orphan by David Wilson, and a hip hop album review marathon at Hip Hop Logic. In addition, netweed is putting out a call for bloggers to become a part of netweed. While hosted projects were the initial focus at netweed, such as Smith's hip hop projects as well as Clay Richard's Postmodern Anarchist and John Dancy-Jones' The Paper Plant, the site is gradually building the directory by categories, such as Anarchy links. All sites in the netweed directory are handpicked and annotated, and the majority of categories include headline newsfeeds from relevant news outlet and blogs.
CountryMusicAlive.com, a free country music enewsletter and website, has announced several new content additions and features to their site, including a redesign. The new site is available now and includes archives of each newsletter, starting with the August 2004 issue. The site and newsletter includes news, album reviews, commentary, information on the Grand Ole Opry, new release dates, album reviews, and other content designed for country music fans.
New Civilisation Magazine is a new quarterly publication providing insight into Islamic political thinking. It has been initiated as a unique forum to debate and discuss issues relating to Islamic political discourse, a critical and urgent task in a post 9/11 world. New Civilisation seeks to do away with the labels of fundamentalist or moderate and instead engage with people holding a concerted rational opinion on these matters from all shades of the political spectrum: left, right and center. The inaugural issues covers topics such as globalization, the War on Terrorism and Abu Ghraib.
Collegiate Presswire, an electronic distributor of press materials to the nation's college media, has announced the launch of a business newsletter, Collegiate Reporter. The newsletter, available by paid subscription, offers marketers and communicators a weekly summary of headlines and stories of interest from campuses across the country in an email format. In addition to capsule summaries of up to 10 stories of interest, Collegiate Reporter offers a weekly review of Op/Ed stories from campus papers, and topic-specific commentaries from the newsletter's editorial staff. The publication also features periodic guest columns on college themes and surveys taken from a panel of college editors.
Film and Television
MGA Entertainment, has joined forces with leading youth-oriented entertainment company 4Kids Entertainment to bring its new boys' action property Alien Racers to Saturday morning television starting in spring of 2005 during the Fox Box lineup on the Fox television network. The Computer Graphic (CG) series will be produced by SD Entertainment, in concert with MGA's Alien Racers creative team, led by MGA VP of Entertainment Jay Fukuto. To prevent an all-out intergalactic war over the most powerful energy source in existence, Xeno-Energy, Alien civilizations from across the cosmos put forth their most skilled champions to compete in an epic race at the center of the universe.
Marvel Enterprises, Inc. has announced that it has entered into an agreement with acclaimed France-based Antefilms Productions, to produce a brand new animated television series based on Marvel's popular property, The Fantastic Four. Antefilms will commence production immediately on 26, thirty-minute 2D/3D animated episodes. The initial episodes are expected to be completed for worldwide distribution in late-2006. The announcement was made by Avi Arad, Chairman and CEO Marvel Studios and Christophe Di Sabatino, Chairman of Antefilms Productions. Under the terms of the agreement, Antefilms Productions will fund all of the development costs for the Series. Antefilms will produce the content while both companies will oversee the overall creative direction. Marvel will control the U.S. television and subsequent DVD distribution rights, while Moonscoop (Antefilms' distribution brand) will handle sales in the rest of the world.
Beverly Hills Film Studios, Inc. has announced the acquisition the latest work from top Hollywood screenwriter, Larry Gross. An original screenplay, Nothing Compares To You, will also be directed by Gross. Principal photography is set to begin in early 2005. Larry Gross wrote We Don't Live Here Anymore released this past summer by Fox Searchlight, starring Mark Ruffalo, Laura Dern and Naomi Watts. We Don't Live Here Anymore was the winner of this year's prestigious Waldo Salt Screenwriter's Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and was hailed by the New Yorker as "easily the best American movie so far this year." Larry's first film as a writer 48 Hours, was directed by Walter Hill, which placed in the top five at the box office on release, effectively launched Eddie Murphy as major film star. Nothing Compares to You will be produced by Beverly Hills Film Studios' Stephen Eckleberry and Kimberley Kates.
Warner Bros. Pictures has announced that Brandon Routh, a 25-year-old native of Iowa with television and film acting experience, has been cast as The Man of Steel in the Studio's upcoming Superman epic, to be directed by Bryan Singer. The announcement was made by Jeff Robinov, President of Production for Warner Bros. Pictures. The untitled Superman movie is expected to begin principal photography in Australia early next year for release in summer, 2006. It is produced by Jon Peters, Bryan Singer and Gilbert Adler from a screenplay by Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris. No other casting has been announced.
Akimbo Systems has rolled its Internet-to-TV video-on-demand (VOD) service and announced an alliance with Amazon.com to sell its Akimbo Player. The Akimbo Service provides access to thousands of programs, allowing consumers to choose content and view it on-demand. Consumers select programs that are downloaded to the Akimbo Player through a broadband-Internet connection, and view them on their televisions. Akimbo has agreed to make Amazon.com its exclusive retailer for the 2004 holiday season. The service offers consumers 50 categories of content, including mainstream, classic and independent films, foreign language, news, health and fitness, sports, children's programs, education and more.
PassAlong Networks has announced the debut of its digital music download service and sharing network, marked by the company's launch of a music store on eBay to feature music catalogs from the major labels. Simultaneously, PassAlong Networks launched its own digital music store at passalong.com. On both sites, consumers can choose from more than 200,000 songs from major labels. By the end of the month, both sites will include the complete digital catalogs from Warner Music Group, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group and EMI, for a total of over 500,000 titles.
XM Satellite Radio, a provider of satellite radio, announced that it finished the third quarter 2004 with more than 2,500,000 subscribers. XM added more than 415,000 net new subscribers in the quarter and is on pace to exceed 3,100,000 subscribers by year's end. The XM subscriber gain during the quarter is 75% higher than the 237,000 net new subscribers added in the third quarter of 2003.
Yahoo! Inc., a global Internet company, and Musicmatch Inc., a provider of personalized music software and services, announced the completion of Yahoo!'s acquisition of Musicmatch. Musicmatch's assets include Musicmatch Jukebox software, which allows consumers to play, burn, download, discover, and organize an entire music collection; the online Musicmatch Radio network; and the Musicmatch Music Store, an a la carte song download service, which offers access to more than 700,000 tracks. Most recently, the company introduced the Musicmatch On Demand streaming music subscription servic. The merger was completed on October 18, 2004. Musicmatch was acquired for a purchase price of approximately $160 million in cash.
Book Deals and News
Scholastic, a publisher and distributor of children's books, announced that it has expanded its partnership with Cartoon Network to be the exclusive U.S. publisher of TV tie-in books based on four new original series. Scholastic plans to publish books, beginning in Fall 2005, targeted at young readers age 4-11. The new agreement between Scholastic and Cartoon Network includes publishing rights for Codename: Kids Next Door, targeting boys and girls ages 5-11; Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, targeting boys and girls ages 4-8; Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi and The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, targeting tween girls ages 7-11. The relationship between Scholastic and the Cartoon Network began in 1999 with the publication of books based on The Powerpuff Girls. From 2000-2004, Scholastic published over one hundred Powerpuff Girls books and has sold over 6.6 million copies in formats ranging from 8x8 storybooks to chapter books to novelty formats such as sticker books, lift-the-flaps, and pop-ups.
iUniverse, a provider of publishing services, has expanded its menu of services by adding two new publishing packages-Fast Track and Premier Plus. At a price of $299, Fast Track is a basic package that enables authors to have a book in their hands in 30 days or less. iUniverse says its Fast Track option is a good choice for authors who are not concerned with full retail distribution and simply want the satisfaction of having a printed version of their work. In contrast to Fast Track's no-frills approach, iUniverse.com says its Premier Plus, priced at $748, is designed for authors who want to present their most professional product to the marketplace, or who want to make their book a serious contender in today's competitive publishing environment. Books published through the Premier Plus package receive a custom cover, an editorial review, and professionally written back-cover copy. With more than 14,000 titles in its backlist, iUniverse is one of the largest publishing services providers in the United States. iUniverse helps authors self-publish approximately 400 new fiction and nonfiction titles each month. The company also partners with leading industry author organizations, including the Authors Guild, and the ASJA, to bring innovative publishing programs to their members.
Scholastic has announced that it was going back to press for 100,000 copies of Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, bringing the total to 250,000 copies in print. Scholastic released Dragon Rider in mid-August with an initial print run of 150,000 copies. In less than a month the book hit #1 on The New York Times bestseller list as well as the Book Sense bestseller list. In the two short years since Funke's debut in America, there are currently 2,000,000 copies of her books in print in the U.S. and Canada. Scholastic is supporting Dragon Rider with a $150,000 marketing campaign including distributing thousands of advanced reading copies, a national print and radio advertising campaign and a national publicity campaign. Cornelia Funke will be touring to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in October, as well as to Boston where she will be a speaker at the New England Booksellers Association regional convention and Detroit where she will speak at the Great Lakes Booksellers Association regional convention.
Webshots announced that it now has over 14 million unique monthly visitors and boasts a collection of more than 100 million photos in its publicly shared library. A free Basic membership allows members to download millions of Webshots photos for use as desktop wallpaper and screensavers as well as to upload and share their own personal photos. A subscription to Webshots Premium membership offers additional benefits such as high-resolution and widescreen photos, exclusive professional images and increased personal photo storage capacity, and much more. Webshots is part of CNET Networks, a technology media company.
Apple announced that music fans have purchased and downloaded more than 150 million songs from the iTunes Music Store. The 150 millionth song was "Ex-Factor" by Lauryn Hill and was purchased by Beth Santisteven from Ignacio, Colorado. iTunes users are now downloading more than 4 million songs per week, a rate of over 200 million songs per year.
2004 marks a second consecutive year of growth for Wired magazine, which has announced a new rate base of 575,000 for January 2005. Advertising pages for 2004, January through October, have increased by 11 percent in a year-over-year comparison and newsstand sales increased by 10 percent over the same period. Most recently, September advertising pages were up 50 percent over the previous year, October was up 30 percent and November increased by 26 percent. Wired magazine expects its rate base to grow to nearly 600,000 in the first six months of 2005.