Publishing Industry Soundbytes for 2-13-04

Posted on February 13, 2004

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

People

  • Gruner + Jahr announced that Daniel B. Brewster Jr., President and CEO of Gruner + Jahr USA since June 2000, has left the Company. Effective immediately, Axel Ganz, President of Gruner + Jahr's International Magazine Division, will oversee activities at G+J USA along with the senior management team of Gruner + Jahr USA. A search for a successor to Brewster has begun.

  • Harcourt, Inc., a K-12 education company and a part of Reed Elsevier Group plc, announced that it has hired Raymond Fagan as its Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Fagan will have responsibility for the financial and accounting functions of all the Harcourt businesses, worldwide, and will report to Harcourt, Inc. President and CEO Patrick Tierney. Mr. Fagan's appointment becomes effective on February 1. Prior to joining Harcourt, Fagan was with Interpublic Group, a global marketing communications and marketing services company, where he served most recently as Executive Vice President and CFO for the Lowe+Draft Partnership, an advertising and marketing service group with $1 billion annual revenues. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President, Finance and CFO for Thomson Scientific, Reference and Healthcare and for Thomson Financial, both major operating units of the Thomson Corporation.

  • Louis Sito, publisher of Hoy and Tribune Publishing vice president/Hispanic media, has announced that veteran journalist Reynaldo Mena has been appointed editor in chief of Hoy's Los Angeles edition, which will debut in March. Publishing executive Juan Arango has been appointed general manager. Mena is a native of Mexico and joins Hoy from Excelsior, a Spanish language weekly published by the Orange County Register, where he was editor from 1999 to 2003. Arango, a native of Colombia, has been appointed general manager for the Los Angeles edition, and will retain his title and responsibilities as senior vice president/editorial and operation for Hoy nationally. Arango joined Hoy in January 1999 as editor in chief and was later promoted to vice president of operations and general manager in 2000.

  • PennWell Corporation, a global business-to-business publisher and organizer of conferences and exhibitions, has elected Mark C. Wilmoth as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President. An executive with 21 years financial management experience, Wilmoth will report to PennWell President and Chief Executive Officer Robert F. Biolchini at PennWell's corporate offices in Tulsa. Wilmoth joins PennWell following a four-year career as Senior Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer of California-based Thales Navigation, S.A., a French-owned Company that provides Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology for consumer, commercial and automotive markets.

  • David J. Pecker, Chairman, CEO and President of American Media, Inc., has announced that Tom Rogers has agreed to work with AMI as a senior advisor (on a non-exclusive basis) for purposes of developing a video strategy for AMI's many print properties. Mr. Rogers formerly was Chairman and CEO of Primedia, Inc., and prior to that President of NBC Cable and Executive Vice President of NBC. Working with Mr. Pecker, Mr. Rogers will develop strategies for the AMI magazine titles, such as Star, in all forms of television, including plans for cable, broadcast, satellite and other possible forms of video distribution, all focused on the potential of the American Media brands in the television industry. Rogers will also work with AMI on developing ideas for a health television outlet that would utilize the magazines from AMI's Active Lifestyle Group, including Men's Fitness, Shape, Natural Health and others.

  • Christina Norman has been appointed to President, VH1, it was announced by Judy McGrath, President, MTV Networks Group President. Norman will continue to be based in New York and report to McGrath. In her new role Norman will continue to partner with Entertainment President, Brian Graden, in overseeing the content and business of VH1 and its digital services including VH1 Classic, Megahits, VHUno, VH1 Country and VH1 Soul. Christina joined MTV Networks in 1991 as a Production Manager.

  • Sync magazine, a Ziff Davis Media publication, has announced the appointment of Tony Romando as Editor-in-Chief. Sync is the company's new men's lifestyle magazine designed to give readers a stylish ook at how consumers can use digital products in the context of everyday life. Sync's first issue will debut in summer 2004 and will publish bimonthly. Most recently, Romando was Executive Editor of Men's Fitness where he was responsible for helping to re-launch the magazine. Romando was also Deputy Editor of FHM, which he helped launch in the U.S., and Jane magazine, which he also launched and served as a Senior Editor.

  • Linda Burbank has been named the new travel problem-solver on USATODAY.com Travel, a website designed for frequent travelers. Burbank is an experienced consumer travel journalist. She launched the "Consumer Power" ombudsman's column for the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, obtaining results for readers writing in with travel complaints. She is also a contributing editor to National Geographic Traveler. Burbank's column will debut in March.

  • Tom Ascheim has been named to the newly created position of Executive Vice President, General Manager, Nickelodeon Digital Television, it was announced today by Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon Television. Formerly General Manager of Noggin and The N, Ascheim will now oversee all four of Nick's premiere digital television channels, which include Noggin, The N, Nickelodeon Games and Sports (GAS) and Nicktoons, as well as Nickelodeon Video on Demand (VOD) offerings. Nick GAS General Manager Mark Offitzer and Nicktoons General Manager Keith Dawkins will report to Ascheim. A 13-year veteran of Nickelodeon and Viacom, Ascheim joined Nickelodeon as its first business development executive in 1990.

  • Peter Glawatz has been promoted to vice president, business affairs, Universal Network Television, it was announced by Neil Strum, executive vice president, business & legal affairs, to whom he reports. Glawatz became the primary business affairs negotiator for the Law & Order franchise series in 2003, including Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Glawatz joined Universal TV predecessor Studios USA as director of business affairs in 1999. Prior to that, he was at Columbia TriStar Television, as director of business affairs from 1994-1999.

  • Warner Music Group (WMG) has announced that Lyor Cohen will join the Company as Chairman and CEO of U.S. Recorded Music after the purchase of WMG by the investor group led by Thomas H. Lee Partners, Edgar Bronfman, Jr.'s Lexa Partners, Bain Capital and Providence Equity Partners closes. Cohen has been Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group's Island Def Jam Music Group. In his new position he will be responsible for all aspects of WMG's recorded music operations in the United States. He will be based in New York City. Known for developing and guiding the careers of many early pioneers of rap music, including LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Run DMC, Kurtis Blow and the Beastie Boys, Cohen is also widely credited with expanding Island Def Jam beyond its hip-hop roots to include a wider range of musical genres.

  • Darrell Denny, president of the Penton Media's IT Media Group, announced the promotion of Kim Paulsen, publisher of Windows & .NET Magazine Network, to group publisher of the Penton IT Media's Windows Group, headquartered in Loveland, Colo. In addition to the management of the Windows & .NET Magazine Network, Paulsen's new responsibilities will include oversight of SQL Server Magazine and Connected Home, as well as partnering with Shirley Brothers on TCI (Technology Conferences Inc.) events, a business that produces major technology events, including the Windows & .NET Magazine Connections conference series. Paulsen came to Windows & .NET Magazine after six years at New Hope Natural Media, another unit of Penton Media located in Boulder, Colo. Her experience includes over 20 years in the publishing industry.

  • Torstar Corporation has announced that John Honderich will step down as Publisher of the Toronto Star effective May 5, 2004, the date of Torstar's Annual General Meeting. Mr. Honderich has served as Publisher of the Toronto Star for a decade, the third longest record of leadership in the newspaper's 110-year history. He was previously Editor for six years and has worked at the Toronto Star since 1976 when he first joined the paper as a reporter. Torstar expects to announce the appointment of the next Publisher of the Toronto Star prior to May 5, 2004.

  • Marvel Enterprises, Inc. announced the hiring of David Maisel as President and Chief Operating Officer of Marvel Studios. Mr. Maisel will report directly to Avi Arad, Chairman and CEO of Marvel Studios. Marvel Studios' mission is to maximize the financial and creative success from each entertainment project that is based on Marvel's vast universe of over 4,700 characters. Mr. Maisel has over 15 years of diverse entertainment industry experience. For the past two years, he has headed Endeavor Agency's Corporate Strategy and Business Development. Mr. Maisel began his agency career at Creative Artists Agency in 1994, working closely with CAA founder Michael Ovitz to facilitate deals like Matsushita's sale of MCA Universal to Seagram in 1995. He later joined The Walt Disney Company, as Director of Corporate Development and Strategic Planning. Following his time at Disney, Mr. Maisel was named President of Livent, Inc., a publicly traded live theatrical production company, where he successfully piloted the company's restructuring and sale to SFX Entertainment, now part of Clear Channel. Mr. Maisel is a graduate of Harvard Business School.

    Content Deals

  • RealNetworks, Inc. announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Seattle-based GameHouse, Inc. a top developer, publisher and distributor of downloadable PC games, in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $35.6 million. The acquisition bringes together RealArcade, a downloadable games distribution platform and GameHouse, a developer and publisher of downloadable games.

  • STATS, Inc., a sports information provider, and SI.com announced that SI.com will use STATS, Inc.'s industry in-game scoring and box scores across multiple sports. By expanding its existing relationship with STATS, Inc. to include in-game coverage SI.com will receive up to the minute updates for MLB, NHL and NFL as well as contests involving the big six conferences and AP Top 25 for NCAA football and NCAA men's basketball. STATS, Inc. will also furnish full in-progress and complete post-match results for the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour.

  • SEGA of America, Inc. announced that Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have awarded it the license to publish a console game based on the Cartoon Network series Samurai Jack. The videogame developed by Amaze Entertainment, named Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku, will be available on Microsoft Xbox, PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, and Nintendo GameCube in March 2004. Samurai Jack is the an Emmy-winning action cartoon from Genndy Tartakovsky, the creator of Dexter's Laboratory and the director of the popular new animated epic micro series, Star Wars: Clone Wars.

  • IDT Entertainment and Archie Comics Entertainment, LLC have announced IDT Entertainment's acquisition of a five per cent (5%) equity interest in Archie Comics Entertainment, LLC. The agreement provides IDT the rights to co-develop and co-produce select animated properties based upon Archie Comics Entertainment characters. IDT Entertainment is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation a multinational carrier, telephone and technology company. Archie Comics Entertainment LLC is the entertainment and licensing arm of Archie Comic Publications Inc. The Archie Comics Entertainment character properties include: Archie, Jughead, Veronica, Betty and their Riverdale friends, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Josie and the Pussycats, Katy Keene, Cheryl Blossom, as well as super hero properties from the Mighty Crusaders library.

    Launches and Redesigns

  • Dr. Dobb's Journal magazine has recently launched a new e-newsletter written for software developers. "Programmer's Bookshelf Newsletter," which is an online companion to the magazine's long-running "Programmer's Bookshelf" column, will include reviews of the most important computer books, updates on recent releases, recommendations from DDJ's resident experts, and excerpts from new and important books that belong on every programmer's bookshelf.

  • CMP Media's TechWeb Network has launched IT Utility Pipeline, a website devoted to helping IT executives and practitioners make decisions and optimize their investments in products and services that facilitate utility computing and on-demand computing. Part of the TechWeb Network's new Pipeline series of topical sites, IT Utility Pipeline covers products and services that allow organizations to buy, consume and plan their IT strategy with computing and infrastructure resources delivered as pay per usage processing and as highly scalable hosted services. The website also covers many hardware and software elements that are used in delivering computing power and resources in a utility-like model. Specifically, IT Utility Pipeline's editorial will focus on utility and on-demand computing, grid computing, utility services and enterprise software and hardware.

  • After five years as a weekly must-read print magazine for public relations professionals and students alike, PRWeek announced today the launch of its first daily online edition. The retooled website will now offer PR pros timely information about the fast-paced world of corporate communications, public affairs, media relations and other critical topics in public relations. PRWeek.com will now provide daily updates, original online content and online polls, interviews and Q&As with leading figures in the PR industry. The site will also continue to host the full contents of the weekly print publication, as well as a fully searchable archive of editorials, news, features, and industry research and special reports from the past five years, many of which are available for download in PDF format. Eric Arnold, a former section editor for the print issue, has been named editor of PRWeek.com and will be responsible for coordinating editorial content for the site.

  • Online Travel Selection is a new interactive travel magazine designed exclusively for those looking for great prices to great places and "must-see" travel deals when planning a vacation. The site features a Consumer News Center with a variety of travel articles, as well as travel advertisements from various travel vendors in one central location on the internet and convenient links directly to these vendors' websites. onlinetravelsection.com is published by Vickie Hopkins, a 15-year seasoned travel professional.

  • Denise Austin, fitness authority and member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness, has announced the launch of her new online site, DeniseAustin.com. Working with online publisher, Agora Media, Inc., the new site will promote Denise's sensible, realistic and enthusiastic approach to fitness and eating.

  • Tribune Publishing announced that it will introduce Hoy in Los Angeles in March, providing daily news and features of interest in Spanish to the nearly 8 million Hispanics in the Los Angeles area. Hoy debuted in New York in November 1998 and became the No. 1 Spanish- language newspaper in the NY DMA in March 2001; Hoy's Chicago edition was launched in September 2003. Nationwide, Hoy is the fastest growing Spanish-language daily newspaper. Hoy will provide local news and features-including coverage of important issues impacting many Hispanic communities throughout the Los Angeles area. Hoy will devote pages each day to news from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Each Friday, readers can follow the latest trends in music, food, movies and local events in Vida Hoy, a weekend supplement highlighting Hispanic culture.

  • theglobe.com, has expanded its magazine holding, the veteran Computer Games Magazine, to include a new pop culture magazine within its covers to be led by Eric Moro, former executive editor of Cinescape Magazine. Now Playing will offer both the computer game enthusiast and the casual gamer a look inside the expansive world of pop culture entertainment with behind the scenes features, exclusive previews and reviews. Now Playing will cover stories about movies, television, console games, music, DVD, comics, anime and "grownup" toys like PDAs, MP3 players and collectibles. Consumers will get a first look at the new title through a 16-page insert in Computer Games Magazine's April issue.

  • Red Hat, Inc., a provider of open source solutions to the enterprise, announced the availability of Wide Open Magazine, a technical magazine focused on a professional and non-professional audiences interested in open source and how to use it. Each magazine issue will feature the latest version of the Fedora project for subscribers to have access to current Linux technologies under development. Content will include technical how-to articles, news on certified applications and hardware, and pieces covering a range of current open source topics. Each issue will include 3 CDs and 96+ pages of editorial.

  • Journal Register Company announced that on March 3, 2004, its flagship New Haven Register> will launch Play, a new, free weekly publication aimed at readers 18 to 34 years old. The full-color tabloid will primarily cover a range of lifestyle topics, including entertainment and nightlife, cultural issues, recreation, careers, health and relationships. Initial distribution will be 25,000, and Play will be distributed free at over 500 locations throughout New Haven and its surrounding areas.

    Film and Television

  • Columbia Pictures' thriller Secret Window starring Johnny Depp has been moved up six weeks to March 12, 2004, it was announced by Jeff Blake, Vice Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and President of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution. Columbia Pictures plans to kick-off its media campaign to launch Secret Window with a Super-Bowl TV spot on Sunday, February 1. Secret Window, based on a novella by Steven King, was originally set to debut on April 23. Directed and written by David Koepp, Secret Window focuses on a writer Mort Rainey (Depp) who is in the midst of a painful divorce. He is stalked by a psychotic stranger (John Turturro) who claims that Rainey stole his story and demands restitution. Secret Window also stars Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton and Charles S. Dutton. Gavin Polone is producer of the film.

  • USA Network has ordered production for Dean Koontz's Frankenstein it was announced by Jeff Wachtel, USA's executive vice president, series and longform. Pre-production has commenced on the two-hour pilot for an event series. Frankenstein is written and executive produced by international bestselling author Dean Koontz (Odd Thomas, The Face, Sole Survivor) who has sold nearly three hundred million books over the course of his career. Six time Academy(R) Award nominee Martin Scorsese (Gangs of New York, Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver), will executive produce along with Tony Krantz's Flame Television (24, Sports Night, Wonderland, Felicity). Marcus Nispel will direct the project. Nispel's re-make of the cult classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a number-one box office hit. He will soon direct the upcoming feature film Need starring Diane Lane. Principal photography is scheduled to begin in April in Los Angeles. The project was packaged by Endeavor, who represent Dean Koontz, Martin Scorsese and Marcus Nispel.

  • Fox Searchlight Pictures and Miramax Films have aligned with one another to create a Sundance joint acquisitions agreement for the worldwide distribution rights to Garden State, the directorial debut feature from Zach Braff (television's Scrubs), who also wrote the screenplay and stars in the film along with Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard and a strong ensemble cast. The film is produced by Camelot Pictures' partners Gary Gilbert and Dan Halsted, along with Pamela Abdy and Rich Klubeck. The film was executive produced by Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher. The announcement was made today by Fox Searchlight Pictures president Peter Rice and Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. Garden State, which premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, stars Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Jean Smart, Method Man, Ian Holm and Rob Leibman. The film is a romantic comedy about a guy who returns to his hometown for the first time in ten years to attend the funeral of his clinically depressed mother, a journey of self-discovery that reconnects him with the world he left behind and gives him a chance to find love in an unexpected place.

  • Pixar has elected to conclude its discussions to extend a long-term partnership with The Walt Disney Company following the delivery of two more animated features, The Incredibles expected in 2004 and Cars expected in 2005. Tom Staggs, Disney senior executive vice president and chief financial officer, said Disney management could not accept Pixar's final offer because it would have cost Disney hundreds of millions of dollars it is already entitled to under the existing agreement, while not providing sufficient incremental returns on new collaborations to justify the changes to the existing deal. In addition to Pixar's delivery of two more feature films, under the current agreement, Disney maintains the rights to develop and produce sequels to all films created through this partnership. Disney said it also owns the entire Disney/Pixar film library, which includes Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life, Monster's Inc., and Finding Nemo, in addition to the two pictures yet to be completed.

  • Fox Searchlight Pictures has acquired worldwide rights for the comedy Napoleon Dynamite, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film marks the directorial debut of Jared Hess, a 24-year-old Utah resident who wrote the film with his 23-year-old wife Jerusha Hess, an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University. From the rural town of Preston, Idaho comes Napoleon Dynamite., With a tight red 'fro, some sweet moon boots, and illegal government ninja moves, he is a new kind of hero. Napoleon's family consists of fragile brother Kip, who's seeking his soulmate in online chat rooms; Uncle Rico, who is stuck in his "glory" days of high school football; and Grandma, who enjoys going out to the dunes on her quad-runner. Napoleon spends his days drawing magical beasts, working on his computer hacking skills to impress the chicks, and begrudgingly feeding his grandma's pet llama, "Tina." When his friend Pedro decides to run for class president, they must rely on their knowledge of cows, pinatas, and a surprise special talent if they are to defeat the stuck-up Summer Wheatley. Napoleon Dynamite was produced by Jeremy Coon, Sean Covel and Chris Wyatt and executive produced by Jeremy Coon and Jory Weitz. The film was shot by Munn Powell, cut by Jeremy Coon and production designed by Cory Lorenzen. The cast consists of Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Efren Ramirez, Aaron Ruell, Tina Majorino, Haylie Duff, Diedrich Bader.

    Music Business

  • Index, a multi-national leading content provider based in Japan launched their "Raijin" project to cultivate the mobile music industry in alliance with Solstice Music. Solstice has a solid foothold in the electronic music scene and will collaborate with Index Music Publishing and Haiku SAS, aiming to create a new business model that incorporates CDs and ringtones. The first CD scheduled for release, a compilation called V.A/Raijin, is due to debut in the spring of 2004. Compiled by French DJ Xavier Morel and produced by Solstice Music, a wide-range of artists are represented. CD distributors have yet to be decided. Index is Japan's leading wireless content provider, serving every major carrier, including NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Vodafone K.K.