Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Least Surprising Media Story You'll Read All Day

Mediaweak, er, Mediaweek Loses its Nameplate after Absorption into Adweek

I actually enjoyed reading Mediaweek to get some quick updates on the business behind the media business. They had some veteran writers who knew their turf, like Anthony Crupi, Lucia Moses and Mark (Mr. Television) Berman.

But those updates were the problem. They were too quick. The publication had become Biafra-thin, usually topping out at 24 pages or less. It also cut back on its publication schedule. In the summer and winter, it was Mediaweek every other week or so.

Then ex-parent Nielsen got rid of most of the staff a couple of years back and a lot of the copy was shared with sisters Adweek and Brandweek and wholly irrelevant to those interested in print and digital media. There would be perhaps 4-5 pages of unique content. Tops.

Newest owner Prometheus Global Media has finally decided to put Mediaweek and Brandweek out of their misery, consolidate them into slightly less sickly Adweek and really go mano a mano with Ad Age.

"It's time for one conversation, not separate ones," is the spin from editorial director Michael Wolff. It might make sense, ostensibly. That is if you're not one of the journalists who are now out of a job. Synergies won't make your unemployment check any bigger.

And will it make Adweek any better?

A Flip Flop

Cisco Flips the Bird to Flip Users as Smartphones Continue World Takeover

First, the Flip camcorder essentially rendered our older camcorders as space hogs in our closets. They were handy, dandy and, yes, even fun. And they took damn good videos, to boot without all those pesky tapes to keep track of, and all for a relativ pittance, digitally speaking.

Soon, the Flip will be gonzo too, after Cisco announced today it'll pull the plug on the product. Start searching eBay now for closeouts.

By flipping the bird to Flip users, Cisco is doing some big-time, white-flag-waving. It shelled out $590 million to buy the Flip business just two years ago. But that was before Android phones joined iPhones in their quest to be anything and everything to their owners. Including video cameras. Not even $129 for a 4GB HD Flip was enough to sway the fickle masses. Sigh.

No dispute, my Droid Incredible captures eminently decent video. But I still find it a tad difficult to maneuver the zoom. With my Flip HD, I'm able to follow motion a whole lot easier, and I think the sound is superior as well. Plus, shooting video is a massive battery suck for phones that are already challenged to stay charged most of the day.

Obviously, I'm in the minority as Cisco has concluded it's pointless to even try and sell the business, though it'll continue to support online video sharing. Not exactly what I call a consolation prize. Still I expect to keep the Flip in active rotation. It'll be a while before it's residing in a draw next to my Discman and iPod Mini.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Too-Early Show?

Even on the Dawn Patrol, It's All About the Details

Lots of little hiccups can add up to a big headache, especially on national TV. To wit, the Saturday version of "The Early Show" on CBS (a former employer of mine).

Suffice to say, not their best edition this morning. At the beginning of the 8 a.m. hour, co-anchor Russ Mitchell (who appears underwhelmed being back on the program he helped originate in 1997), threw to a live report from Tripoli and correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, an excellent reporter who may be getting worked a little too hard. Twice she called Mitchell "Jeff," Jeff being Jeff Glor the newsreader on the weekday "Early Show."

At the end, Mitchell simply had to say "I'll take it, thanks, Elizabeth." While reading the headlines a few minutes later, Betty Nguyen had an item about an earthquake in Chile. However, a graphic popped up with the country spelled "Chili." Must have been a spicy temblor.

About 20 minutes later, Mitchell, whose work I normally admire, was interviewing Bob and Suzanne Wright about Autism Speaks, a day after 1,000 buildings around the world were bathed in blue to mark World Autism Awareness Day. The Wrights have been prominent spokespersons for the cause since their 6-year-old grandson was diagnosed as autistic.

What Mitchell left out of the intro--presumably under strict orders--was any mention of the fact that Wright was the longtime chairman of NBC/Universal, a grievous oversight that Suzanne--a real force of nature--corrected in about three seconds to an abashed Mitchell. That wasn't what the segment was about, but it's still a part of the story.

Wright was able to use his stature in the media business as a way to elevate autism awareness and end what The New York Times called "internecine warfare" in autism research. He would not have been on the couch this morning were it not for that. It couldn't be ignored. Suzanne Wright knew better. So should CBS.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Cloudy With a Chance of Kosek

Accuweather Madman Slither Onto the Screen for a "Forecast" You know we love The Kosek. He just can't help himself. Sure, the weather is important. But let's face it, you don't need someone telling you the temperatures when they're already on the screen. Accuweather's Jim Kosek knows that. So, he delivers shtick as much as he does a forecast. Sometimes, much more than the former than the latter. It's a shame Accuweather doesn't showcase him more, or at least make it easier to find him. But he popped up a couple of days ago doing the New York forecast and delivered one of his classics, in homage to the now-captured cobra on sabbatical from his enclsoure in the Bronx Zoo. You'll never see Jim Cantore or even Al Roker do a forecast like this. And that's probably a good thing. One Kosek is more than enough. Trust me, that's high praise.