Sunday, September 28, 2008

Media Week 39

News on the Reed Elsevier sale of the magazine group. The set-up for the deal may be unravelling. FT:

The RBI sale, one of the few live auctions in the media sector, is being watched closely as a bellwether for companies' ability to dispose of assets and private equity's ability to get deals done in tighter credit markets.

Bidders will now have to look further than the lending consortium and secure a relationship with a bank not involved in the staple to plug the shortfall. Reed, led by chief executive Sir Crispin Davis, declined to comment.

Earlier in the week G+J (Bertelsmann) declined to participate (Reuters):
The Hamburg-based publisher, owned by media group Bertelsmann [BERT.UL], withdrew its non-binding bid due to declining advertising revenue at the unit, manager magazine online said citing sources close to the negotiations.
Bloomsbury announced they have agreed to purchase Oxford International Publishers a publisher of books and journals for the academic student market in the fields of fashion, design and culture studies. RTT.
Commenting on the acquisition, Nigel Newton, chief executive of Bloomsbury, stated, "The acquisition of Berg is an important element in our strategy to increase our presence in academic publishing and take advantage of a market that is already benefiting from electronic delivery and print-on-demand. The acquisition of the very fine company that is Berg follows Bloomsbury's announcement on September 5th of the launch of Bloomsbury Academic, headed by Frances Pinter, which will publish academic books in the fields of the humanities and social sciences."
Reflections on the state of University bookstore sales of academic titles from the University of Washington (SPi):

"I can't prove it, but I suspect that some amount of the drop people are reporting is because those sales are going to Amazon," said Pat Soden, director of the UW Press.

Textbooks make up a small part of the UW Press's publishing contracts. Although the press saw a 7 percent increase in overall sales over the last fiscal year, sales at college stores dropped about $30,000 between 2007 and 2008.

At Washington State University's Press, a small publishing house that puts out just a handful of books a year, the slumping sales trend hasn't really hit home. The university's press primarily produces books that serve as supplemental classroom reading; their latest releases are a 192-page book about nuclear wastelands and a 331-page volume on the history of northern Oregon.

LA Times discovers the reprint market:
Whether the increasing number of reprints is because of reader dissatisfaction with contemporary literature or the flowering of an archivist, curatorial instinct, they are certainly part of the decentralization of literary culture. Miller says that, with space shrinking for print reviews and the Web as an overwhelming presence, people are trusting their instincts to figure out what to read. The threat this poses to the literary establishment is that whenever one of these new-old titles connects with a reader, whenever a reader wonders how Rose Macaulay's "The Towers of Trebizond" or Hamilton's "Hangover Square" could ever have been forgotten, it raises distrust in the establishment that proclaims certain books important. Especially if the reader has slogged through the pages of some highly praised snoozer.
New model newsroom Forbes:

He isn't alone. From Politico to Breaking Views to the Huffington Post to thousands upon thousands of blogs, droves of journalists have fled traditional newsrooms in the past decade looking for a way to make a living from the exploding world of digital media. So far, precious few have replicated the quality or impact--or profits--of the name-brand companies they left behind.

But Balboni thinks he can, using the lure of ownership. His site is hiring the five regional editors--for the Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East--and some 72 correspondents located around the world. None of them will be full-time employees. Instead, each is being lured by sizable equity stakes (not stock options) and a five-year guarantee of monthly fees of about $1,000. Correspondents will report to regional editors, who will report to the 15-person GNE.

Dire prediction for Ad based media companies for 2009 (Guardian):
The worsening state of the global economy will make 2009 a "horror show" for advertising-dependent newspaper and television companies, with some analysts predicting that businesses may have to wait until 2011 to see positive ad growth.

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