Sunday, April 07, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N14): Window Cleaners, Museum Stores, Goodreads, Media News + More

Confessions of a window cleaner now back in print and coming from Harpercollins. (Independent):
While the films quickly ran out of steam, the books that inspired them didn't. Written by a former advertising executive called Christopher Wood under the pseudonym Timothy Lea, they ran to 19 titles, and Wood penned a further eight under the name of Rosie Dixon. They were overwhelmingly of their time (and there can be no better excuse), but it seems they are about to have their time again. Over the next 18 months, HarperCollins imprint The Friday Project will reissue all of them as e-books.
Good god, but why?
The cast of that film might well wish to quickly forget their involvement in it, much as many associated with the Confessions… films do today. Tony Booth, who played Timothy Lea's brother-in-law, declined an interview (much, you suspect, to his daughter Cherie Blair's relief); likewise Lynda Bellingham and Jill Gascoine, both presumably reluctant to revisit their early, naked screen appearances. Robin Askwith, for whom Confessions… proved a career high point, was prepared to give us an interview, but offered us just 20 minutes of his time in exchange for £500 – a figure greater than he would ever have received for cleaning windows.
There is, however, somebody happy to talk, for free – and that is the author himself. I meet Christopher Wood on a cold Thursday morning in a chic London restaurant. Now 77, Wood, elegant in his tweed jacket and wispy white beard, is terribly well spoken (he pronounces "off" as "orf"), and emits the kind of carefree air so common in older people and so envied by younger ones.
In the not really news category - The Observer notes the success of Museum stores that are popping up everywhere selling all kinds of things. (Observer):
Some of the more creative items appear to have been thought up in several eureka moments. St Paul's Cathedral harvested some of the rubble from recent refurbishments and set it into cufflinks. For £210 owners can now decorate their shirt cuffs with marble from the starburst under its famous dome.

Over at the National Theatre shop, the success of Warhorse – turned into a film directed by Steven Spielberg – led to the offer of a £2,500 half-size replica of the geese puppets used in the stage show, created by the puppeteers who made the originals.

At the Science Museum, shoppers can buy vases shaped as Thomas Edison's iconic light bulb, made from recycled incandescent bulbs. The museum has asked its inventor in residence, Mark Champkins, to create more unique items for it to sell.

However, perhaps leading the way in terms of creativity is the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. To celebrate London Underground's 150th anniversary, the creative heads there have salvaged luggage racks from old Metropolitan line trains – selling them for £250.
At The Atlantic Jordan Weissmann opines why he thinks Goodreads is so valuable to Amazon.
So Amazon has just bought the ecosystem where many of America's most influential readers choose their books. How exactly they'll use it isn't entirely clear yet. Some have suggested they'll integrate Goodreads into the Kindle experience. Others think that, given the problems Amazon has had with writers buying friendly reviews, they might use the site as an a big cache of trustworthy opinions. As David Vinjamuri put it at Forbes, "Goodreads offers Amazon the ability to transmit the recommendations of prolific readers to the average reader." In any event, there's plenty of value for Amazon to unlock. Assuming, of course, they don't do anything to muck up their new purchase.
The Economist as a quick look at news organizations and concludes:
Where is the good news? Last year local TV stations, especially those in swing states like Florida and Ohio, got a welcome boost from the $3 billion spent on TV advertising during the election. And newspapers are now starting in large numbers to demand payment for their digital content. Pew reckons that around a third of America’s 1,380 dailies have started (or will soon launch) paywalls, inspired by the success of the New York Times, where 640,000 subscribers get the digital edition and circulation now accounts for a larger portion of revenues than advertising.

Boosting circulation revenue will help stem losses from print advertising, since it has become clear that digital advertising will not be enough. For every $16 lost in print advertising last year, newspapers made only around $1 from digital ads. The bulk of the $37.3 billion spent on digital advertising in 2012 went to five firms: Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and AOL. Not much Gandhian equality there.
From my Twitter Feed this week.

Scholarly Publishing: Project Muse and Highwire Press Announce Partnership PressRelease
In digital age, library finds difficulty attaching numbers to its value. Topeka CapitalJournal (They buried the lead).
CourseSmart Analytics Is a Bad idea | Inside Higher Ed InsideHigherEd
Amazon Takes on Dropbox With New Desktop File Syncing Wired
Rosetta Stone acquires Livemocha for $8.5m (Nick Summers/The Next Web) TNW
BBC News - Judge rules digital music cannot be sold 'second hand' BBC

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