Posted on June 4, 2004
Axel Ganz, President of Gruner + Jahr's
International Magazine Division announced the appointment of J. Russell Denson,
as President and CEO of Gruner + Jahr USA.
Denson was most recently president and
CEO of the Reiman Media Group, a subsidiary of The Reader's Digest Association.
Denson, age 53, will start on June 14, and report directly to Ganz.
Prior to running the Reiman Media Group, Denson was President, Chief Executive
Officer and Director of Weider Publications and was responsible for the strategic
direction and management of the company with titles including Muscle and Fitness,
Men's Fitness, Shape, Fit Pregnancy
and Natural Health
Denson, who rides a Harley Softail Duece and restored a Triumph TR6, is a recent former
Board member of the Magazine Publishers of America, and holds a B.B.A. from the
University of Houston.
Meredith Corporation has appointed John
S. Zieser Vice President/Corporate Development, effective immediately. In this expanded
role, Zieser will lead a newly-created area focused on growing the company's footprint
in and adjacent to its current media business. Zieser cited Meredith's acquisition of
the American Baby Group and its start-up of a CBS affiliate in Springfield, MA as two
recent conventional examples of the company increasing its media presence.
Zieser is currently Meredith's General Counsel and Vice President/Corporate Services
with responsibilities for the Legal, Human Resources, Corporate Communications and
Government Relations functions. He will retain oversight of those areas in addition
to his new duties. Prior to joining Meredith, Zieser spent six years with First Data
Corporation where he held senior business development positions, including Group
President, First Data Merchant Services. Prior to that, Zieser spent several years
with Sullivan & Cromwell working on a wide-range of transactions both in the U.S.
Emmy Award-winning programmer Ian Valentine has been named Senior Vice President of Programming for GSN, a network for games,
announced Rich Cronin, President and CEO, GSN, to whom he will report.
Valentine will be located in the company's Santa Monica headquarters.
Valentine's responsibilities for the Sony Pictures Entertainment and Liberty Media
owned cable network will include overseeing GSN's production, development, acquisitions
and program planning for the 54 million home network. He will be charged with managing
the programming staff as well as the company's casting and production departments. His
mandate will be to produce and acquire game/competition-related programming in a
variety of genres, including reality series, casino/gaming programs, game shows,
video game programs, specials and documentaries. Among his first projects will be to
oversee the network's horse racing reality series, American Dream Derby
. He will also
work closely with GSN's industry-leading interactive television team to provide
programs with iTV enhancements.
Judith Princz, Publisher of
, has announced the appointment of Stephen Dowdell as the Editor-in-Chief of Progressive Grocer
magazine. Dowdell comes to Progressive Grocer
from a career
at Fairchild Publications. For 11 years he worked on Supermarket News
beginning as a reporter and working up to senior editor. He served in Fairchild's New Media division as Editor-in-Chief of Fairchild Internet. And most recently, he was managing editor of Footwear News
John McGuire has joined The
Jim Henson Company as Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs. The announcement
was made by Peter Schube, President and COO of The Jim Henson Company, to whom
he will report. In this position, Mr. McGuire will have day-to-day supervisory
responsibility for the business and legal affairs of all U.S. film, television and
ancillary businesses for The Jim Henson Company. Previously, Mr. McGuire was Vice
President, Business Affairs and Co-Productions at Starz Encore Group, LLC. Before
that, he was Vice President of Business Affairs at ABC, Inc. and then Head of
Business and Legal Affairs at UFA International Film & TV Production.
Mr. McGuire is a graduate of New York University School of Law. He also received a
Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Columbia University.
Living Omnimedia, Inc. announced it has nominated four new board members for
election to the Board of Directors at the Company's annual stockholders' meeting on
June 21, 2004. Their election would expand the board to nine members from its current five.
The proposed new board members are: Rick Boyko, Managing Director of the Virginia
Commonwealth University Adcenter and former Co-President and Chief Creative Officer
of Ogilvy & Mather; Michael Goldstein, Former Chairman and CEO of Toys "R" Us; Susan
Lyne, former President of ABC Entertainment; and Wenda Harris Millard, Chief Sales
Officer of Yahoo! Inc. The Nominating Committee of the Company's Board of Directors,
with the input of Martha Stewart, MSO's Founding Editorial Director and majority
shareholder, identified these candidates.
Meredith Corporation has announced a
realignment of its publishing operations that includes the creation of seven senior
positions to oversee all operations. The new organization will become effective
July 1, 2004, coinciding with Jack Griffin's previously-announced promotion to Meredith
Publishing Group President. The new positions are:
- Susan Baron - Senior Vice President in charge of Better Homes and
Gardens and the American Baby Group
- Michael Brownstein - Senior Vice President in charge of Country Home,
Traditional Home and Midwest Living
- Jeannine Shao Collins - Senior Vice President in charge of Ladies' Home
Journal and More
- Bob Mate - Senior Vice President in charge of Meredith Books;
Newsstand; Better Homes and Gardens' Special Interest Publications and
Creative Collection; WOOD Magazine; Successful Farming; Meredith
- Bill Murphy - Senior Vice President in charge of Strategic Marketing,
Retail Marketing and Advertising Category Development
- Tom Harty - Vice President and General Manager in charge of Meredith
Corporate Solutions, Direct Response Marketing; Travel Marketing;
- Max Runciman - Vice President in charge of Consumer Marketing;
Publishing Finance; Production; Meredith Interactive Media; Product Sales;
Several executives will assume additional responsibilities:
- Doug Guendel, 51, currently Vice President/General Manager of Meredith
Books, will add responsibility for Newsstand Sales.
- Karla Jeffries, 39, currently Vice President/Consumer Marketing, is
adding Publishing Finance to her responsibilities.
- Doug Olson, 38, currently Vice President/General Manager of Meredith
Interactive Media; Brand Licensing; Product Sales and Information
Technology, is adding Publishing Group Production to his
- Matt Petersen, 39, currently Vice President/Executive Director of
Meredith Integrated Marketing, will add oversight of Integrated
Marketing's editorial area to his current sales and marketing duties.
Ziff Davis Media Inc. has announced the promotion
of Bart W. Catalane to President of the Company. He will retain the title of COO. Mr.
Catalane who joined the Company in 2001 as COO and CFO will continue to report to Robert
F. Callahan, Chairman and CEO of Ziff Davis Media. Mr. Callahan previously held the title
of President. As President of Ziff Davis,
Mr. Catalane will oversee all activities relating to the day-to-day operations of the
Company. He will also focus on the strategic direction for Ziff Davis and play a
pivotal role leading the management team.
Mr. Catalane joined Capital Cities/ABC in 1984 and held various senior- level positions
in the Corporate Finance division, which oversaw the acquisition of ABC, Inc. In 1989,
Mr. Catalane joined the ABC Radio Networks as Vice President and CFO and was
promoted twice, first, to Senior Vice President and then to Executive Vice President,
In 1996, Mr. Catalane was promoted to Executive Vice President and CFO
of the ABC Radio Division and served in this capacity for
three years. In 1999, Mr. Catalane was promoted to Executive Vice
President and CFO of the ABC Broadcast Division. Prior to joining Ziff Davis,
Mr. Catalane was Senior Vice President and CFO
at TMP Worldwide Inc.
Friendster announced that it has named
former NBC Entertainment president, Scott Sassa, as CEO, effective immediately. Scott
will be responsible for leading all areas of the company.
Scott held several top executive positions at NBC from 1997-2003.
Scott spent three years as president, NBC West Coast, responsible for overseeing all of
NBC's entertainment-related businesses. During that time, he oversaw the development
and production of such shows as The West Wing, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
. Scott originally joined NBC as president of the NBC Television Stations
division and later became president of NBC Entertainment before becoming president, NBC
West Coast. Before NBC, he spent nine years at Turner Broadcasting System in various
executive roles, most recently as president of Turner Entertainment Group and a member
of the Turner Board of Directors and the TBS Executive Committee.
Scholastic, a K-12 educational publisher
and children's publishing and media company, has announced the appointment of
Frank White to Director, New York City for Scholastic Education. White, who began his
career 20 years ago as a 4th grade teacher in New York City, will bring his
experience in education technology and publishing as well as his knowledge of educational
needs in the New York City area, to pursue opportunities in the region for Scholastic
programs and classroom materials. In this newly created position, Frank White will
report to Scott Bowker, Vice President of Sales, Scholastic Education.
Frank White will help expand the reach of
a wide range of Scholastic programs and classroom materials as well as professional
development tools and resources for teachers.
Prior to joining Scholastic, Frank White was President of The E2 Consulting Group in
New York City, focusing on market analysis and concept development services for
information and instructional technology companies. He spent several years handling
assessment and technology sales in New York City and the northeast for ACTV, Inc.,
and Kaplan Learning. Previously, Mr. White worked as regional marketing manager for
Jostens, Inc. and as a sales representative with major publishers in New York City.
Universal Studios has announced the creation of
Universal Studios Partnerships (USP), an agency-inspired entity designed to oversee
multi-divisional corporate alliances as well as theatrical and home entertainment
promotions. USP expands upon and renames Universal Partnership Development, a group
currently overseeing long term corporate alliances. Stephanie Sperber, Senior Vice
President, Universal Partnership Development, has been promoted to Executive Vice
President, USP, reporting to Universal Pictures Vice Chairman Marc Shmuger.
USP will service the needs of both Universal Studios internal business units and its
external partners. The new structure includes an account management function that
will serve as a single, point of contact for all brands once they have
joined Universal as a corporate or single-property partner.
Brenda Smith has been named to the position of
Group Managing Director of Ascent Media Group United Kingdom, it was announced
by Kenneth S. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer,
Ascent Media Group. In her new role, Ms. Smith will be responsible for leading the management and staff (1200+ employees) of Ascent Media UK's businesses; oversight of the UK Creative Services
and Media Management operations; coordination of the UK Network Services and UK Creative
Sound Services operations with Ascent Media's global business strategy; and developing
the UK corporate team to grow core businesses and advance key services for the creative
post-production, management and distribution of digital media.
Most recently, Ms. Smith served as Managing Director of Granada Television, a position
she held for the past seven years of her 20-plus-year career at the British broadcasting
organisation, with responsibility for meeting broadcast license obligations, including
delivery of news and regional programming, program compliance, regional affairs,
diversity, equal opportunities and training. Concurrently, she held the position of
Managing Director of Granada Studios.
Viacom Inc. announced that Jonathan Dolgen, Chairman of the Viacom Entertainment Group, is resigning, effective July 15.
The Board of Directors of Viacom Inc. announced
that Tom Freston and Leslie Moonves have been appointed Co-Presidents and Co-Chief
Operating Officers, effective immediately. Mr. Freston and Mr. Moonves succeed Mel
Karmazin, who has resigned. Mr. Freston is currently the Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer of Viacom's MTV Networks unit, a position he has held since 1987. Mr. Moonves
is currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CBS, a position he has held since
2003. He joined CBS in 1995 as President, CBS Entertainment.
In their new roles, Messrs. Freston and Moonves will jointly oversee all of the operations
of Viacom, as directed by Mr. Redstone. The Company's corporate staff will report directly
to Mr. Redstone. In addition to MTV Networks, Mr. Freston will be responsible for
overseeing the operations of Showtime, BET, Paramount Parks, Simon & Schuster and the
motion picture operations of Paramount Pictures. In addition to overseeing Viacom's
broadcast television businesses, Mr. Moonves will be responsible for the operations of
Paramount TV, Infinity Broadcasting and Viacom Outdoor.
The appointments are part of a corporate succession plan, which will provide for the
orderly transition to the next generation of senior management for Viacom. In connection
with this plan, Mr. Redstone has indicated that he will relinquish his role as Chief
Executive Officer within three years.
McGraw-Hill Higher Education said it is offering 900
etextbooks at reduced prices. In addition to its etextbooks
that span all disciplines, McGraw-Hill is also offering over 9,000 case studies and
more than 5,000 readings and articles in a digital format.
College costs have risen across the country due to many factors, including state budget
cuts in education. McGraw-Hill sais its electronic content is one solution
addressing that issue.
McGraw-Hill estimates that its etextbooks, offered through its Primis Online service,
can result in savings up to 50 percent off traditional print textbooks. Students have
the option to purchase a downloadable file or access their etextbook through an
Internet connection. With etextbooks McGraw-Hill's 1.5
million pages of textbook content, case studies and other materials can be mixed and
matched according to an instructor's specifications. McGraw-Hill says the
entire process, from the initial concept
to the printed textbook, can be completed in less than eight weeks.
The Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C. announced that it has purchased the Daily Racing Form
from Alpine Equity Partners. The Daily
("DRF") is a publication for the thoroughbred horse racing
industry. The Daily Racing Form
was founded in 1894 and has served the news and
information needs of racing enthusiasts, owners and breeders for 110 years.
DRF also publishes an online edition and provides
interactive handicapping tools and products for horseplayers, along with
National Simulcast Weekly
, a weekly racing charts publication. DRF Press publishes
books on the horse racing industry.
Ridder announced that Northwest Publications, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary
of Knight Ridder, has acquired the assets of four
community newspapers and three shopper publications previously owned by Superior
Publishing Corporation, through its wholly owned subsidiary Murphy McGinnis Media,
Inc., and several of its affiliates. Superior Publishing Corporation is a wholly owned
portfolio investment of MCG Capital Corporation.
The acquired newspapers include the (Duluth) Budgeteer News
, The (Cloquet) Pine Journal,
The Daily Telegram
in Superior, Wis., and the Lake County News-Chronicle
Harbors, Minn. The purchase also includes the Manney's Shopper zones in Superior,
Cloquet and Two Harbors.
Launches and Redesigns
A Place for Mom, an eldercare
referral service, has announced the publication of the second edition of The Family
magazine, a guide to eldercare resources for families concerned about
their loved one's care and housing. The magazine includes articles about alzheimer's
disease, incontinence, arthritis and other information relevant to seniors and their
well-being. There is also information about how to find and select the best long
term care options for your loved ones. Over 250,000 free copies are now available at
healthcare and long-term care providers throughout the US or directly from A Place for
Zagat Survey, a provider of consumer survey-based leisure content, has released its first-ever U.S. Family Travel Guide in association with Time Inc.'s Parenting
, a magazine for moms. The guide integrates everything a parent
needs to plan a U.S. vacation, with family-oriented ratings and reviews for more than
1000 sites and attractions, including amusement parks, ballparks, historic sites &
monuments, national parks, zoos and more. The guide also covers family-friendly hotels
and restaurants. Together, Zagat Survey and Parenting
surveyed over 11,000
travelers to rate family-oriented attractions across the United States, ranging
from New York's Museum of Natural History (the #3 most popular U.S. destination)
to Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii. Sites and attractions were rated by
Child Appeal, Adult Appeal, Public Facilities
and Service. Cost estimates are also included.
Integrated communications provider SureWest
Communications and The Sacramento Bee
, the second-largest newspaper in
Northern California, have announced an agreement to make SureWest Directories the
exclusive online yellow pages provider for Sacramento.com, a website of
The Sacramento Bee
. Sacramento.com is now live as a
local search destination. Users can search phone book listings and advertisements
for Sacramento, Yolo, Placer and El Dorado counties to find local businesses, stores
and restaurants in seconds. At launch, the searches will provide business and residential
listings, display ads, and coupons contained in the SureWest print directories. The site
will be enhanced in the coming months with Sacramento Bee
content including advertisements,
links to related stories, reviews, shopping tips and more.
The technology and content integration behind Sacramento.com is being provided by
PremierGuide Inc., of Palo Alto, CA. Sacramento.com's local search capability will also
be featured on Sacbee.com, the Sacramento Bee's
RB Publishing, a Madison, Wisconsin-based publishing
company, has announced its latest magazine, Inside Wisconsin Sports
Inside Wisconsin Sports
will cover all of Wisconsin's sports,
from prep to college to professional. With an emphasis on team spectator sports such as
football, basketball, baseball and hockey, Inside Wisconsin Sports
will also cover
Wisconsin athletes involved in golf, soccer, Special Olympics, volleyball, NASCAR and
more. The premiere issue of Inside Wisconsin Sports
will hit newsstands this fall and
will begin regular circulation in January, 2005, with 9 issues per year. Mike
Heller of ESPN radio will be guest editor of the new magazine.
Inside Wisconsin Sports
is published by RB Publishing, Inc., a Madison,
Wisconsin-based firm, established in 1988. RB Publishing produces national and regional consumer and
business publications in a variety of topics. The company has also published custom
magazines for Bally Total Fitness, Xerox Corporation, U.S. Postal Service and
Film and Television
Principal photography recently began on Universal
Pictures' The Skeleton Key
, a contemporary supernatural thriller, that stars
Kate Hudson and Peter Sarsgaard. Iain Softley directs and produces the motion picture, which is written by Ehren Kruger. Daniel Bobker and Double Feature Films' partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher serve as producers. The cast also includes Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, and Joy Bryant.
The Skeleton Key
began production on April 12, 2004, in Vacherie, Louisiana, and
will be utilizing various locations in New Orleans and rural Louisiana prior to
returning to Los Angeles to continue shooting on the soundstages at Universal Studios.
Set largely in the dark atmospheric backwoods just outside of New Orleans,
The Skeleton Key
stars Hudson as Caroline, a live-in nurse hired to care
for an elderly woman's (Rowlands) ailing husband (Hurt) in their home ... a foreboding and decrepit
Gothic mansion in the Louisiana delta. Intrigued by the enigmatic couple, their
mysterious and secretive ways and their rambling house, Caroline beings to explore
the old mansion. Armed with a skeleton key that unlocks every door, she discovers a
hidden attic room that holds a deadly and terrifying secret. Peter Sarsgaard portrays
Luke, the local attorney working on the couple's estate, and Joy Bryant plays Jill,
Caroline's best friend. Joining Softley behind-the-camera of The Skeleton Key
director of photography Dan Mindel, editor Joe Hutshing, production
designer John Beard and costume designer Louise Frogley. The film is
executive-produced by Clayton Townsend.
Screenwriter Ehren Kruger's most recent original screenplay to have been filmed is
The Brothers Grimm
. His other credits include
, Reindeer Games,
Scream 3, Arlington Road
. His upcoming projects include The Ring 2
and the adaptation of The Talisman
, authored by
Stephen King and Peter Straub. Producer Daniel Bobker is an independent film producer
based in Los Angeles with strong ties to the New York literary world. The Skeleton Key
marks the second film with screenwriter Ehren Kruger, who also teamed with the producer
on Terry Gilliam's upcoming The Brothers Grimm
. Bobker started his career in book
publishing, where he cultivated relationships with numerous book and magazine editors
and writers in both New York and London.
Sundance Channel, founded in 1996 by Robert Redford,
has just crossed the 20 million subcriber mark, becoming the third premium cable &
satellite network in history to hit this important industry milestone. The announcement
was made by Larry Aidem, President and CEO, Sundance Channel L.L.C.
Sundance Channel stands behind HBO and Encore, which hit 20 million in 1995 and 2002,
Napster, a division of Roxio, Inc.,
announced that the Napster 2.0 legal online digital music service went
live at napster.ca for music fans in Canada. Napster offers Canadian members an online collection of music, featuring more than 300,000 tracks from the five major labels (BMG, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Canada, and Warner Music Canada) as well as scores of independent labels, and offers such Canadian acts as Alanis Morrissette, Avril Lavigne, Diana Krall, Nickelback,
Melissa Auf Der Maur and Thornley. Napster and Molson, one of the world's largest and North America's oldest brewers,
simultaneously announced a multi-year mutually exclusive strategic marketing alliance.
As Molson's exclusive music service, Napster will provide limited free access to the
service for Molson Insiders.
Klipsch Audio Technologies has reached an agreement
with GarageBand.com, a legal source
of free music on the Internet, that
includes offering 75 free song downloads every week at klipsch.com.
The agreement also allows Klipsch to promote its home, commercial and home-recording
products to GarageBand.com's 400,000 registered members.
ROO Group, Inc. announced that it has completed the purchase of the business and business assets of Undercover Media Pty Ltd (Undercover).
Undercover is a provider of music content, including photos, articles and interviews,
to websites worldwide. Its clients include Telstra Corporation, AAP and Coca Cola,
and its distribution partners include Google, VH1, Nova, Artist Direct and News Now.
In addition, Undercover has a strategic online partnership with HMV for online music sales.
Included in the purchase is the undercover.com.au website, which currently
serves approximately 500,000 visitors per mont.
Undercover will operate as an independent business subdivision of ROO Group and the
management of Undercover will all be
MySpace.com, a social networking
website which claims an audience of 2 million users, has launched a new music
service, MySpace Music. The site offers music lovers and musicians capabilities
such as downloads, direct connects with bands through social networking profiles,
user testimonials and ratings and networking and mobilization capabilities.
Book Deals and News
Zondervan has signed bestselling author and
international Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz to an exclusive, four-book contract. Lotz,
the daughter of evangelist Billy Graham and president of AnGeL Ministries, will release
her first book with Zondervan in the spring of 2006. Anne Graham Lotz launched Just Give
Me Jesus in 2000, a series of life-changing revivals held in arenas throughout the United
States and around the world. Anne is the wife of Dr. Danny Lotz and has three
children and two grandchildren.
Alibris, Inc., a marketplace for used, new, hard-to-find and out-of-print books, announced that it has signed the 200th publisher, Randall International, to the
company's small publisher and press program.
Alibris also announced it recently passed the $5 million mark in new-book sales. Alibris
started its new books program in June 2002.
Alibris sells its inventory of new and used books through its own websites as well as
through business partners including Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, Borders, Books-A-Million
and other retailers.
Abebooks, an online marketplace for
books, will announce at the opening of BookExpo America on Friday June 4th, that new
books are now officially welcome to be bought and sold on Abebooks' four international
websites, Abebooks.com, Abebooks.co.uk, Abebooks.de, Abebooks.fr.
The official expansion of the Abebooks platform to new books makes it possible for
book retailers, publishers and authors to begin selling new books directly to customers
online. Abebooks.com began as a site for used, rare and out-of-print books.
Abebooks estimates that over the past three years, 50 independent publishers
and 100 new book retailers have started listing new books and backlist titles for sale
on Abebooks.com, and that 10% of all books currently for sale on Abebooks are new. The
company believes that new books will account for one third of all books listed on
Abebooks websites within the next three years.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo's (E3Expo) consumer
website, E3Insider.com, was one of the fastest growing Web sites in the world for the
week ending May 15, 2004, registering over 100 million hits, 6.5 million page views and
over 700,000 unique users, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), announced.
According to Internet traffic site ranking company Alexa, E3Insider.com was the fifth
fastest growing website in the world during the week of the E3Expo event, rising from
a position of below 138,000 to one of the top 2,500 visited sites on the Net.