Archive

Daily Archives: October 30, 2013

lulu

* UK’s Metro issues Lou Reed correction for claiming he worked with Lulu (gigwise.com)
* Lulu is a collaborative album between Lou Reed and Metallica (wikipedia.org)
* Great voices of the ’60s: Lulu and Dusty Springfield (luluofficial.com)

h/t @stewartwood

Consumer Reports is struggling to change as it faces new competition. Can it reverse this downward trend?

A memo to Consumer Reports top managers in February of 2012 was blunt: “CR is not growing revenues or subscribers, and we are losing money. We must right the ship.”

The ship began veering off course in 2011 after many blockbuster years.

Consumer Reports and Consumers Union, the policy and action division of the magazine, showed a hefty profit of $21,414,103 for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2008. The next two years were profitable, too — $6.9 million and $912,031 — but the declines caused concern.

The bad news came in June of 2011, when Consumer Reports reported a fiscal year loss of $3,502,757. A new chief operating officer, Laurence Bunin, was brought on board five months later to try to fix things.

“He was there to shake things up,” says an employee who, like most people interviewed for this story, requested anonymity.

Jim Guest, chief executive since 2001, “realized he had real problems with the business, and for the first time, he turned the reins over to someone in a way I’d never seen him do before,” says a longtime employee. “With Bunin, he really handed over the keys to the kingdom and said, ‘Go for it!'”

“We need to get used to living with change,” Bunin wrote in a memo shortly after taking the CR job. “Change is never easy – and we don’t expect this to be easy.”

The memo, titled “Next Steps,” outlined the nonprofit company’s goals, including: “Build a more compelling and differentiated brand,” “right-size and realign staff levels across the organization,” and “return to healthy operating finances, meaning positive, growing margins.”

He warned that there would be layoffs at a place that rarely let people go.

“We are currently losing money,” Bunin wrote his senior managers. “This is not acceptable going forward and we are going to have to reduce expenses. The lion’s share of our expenses are staff.”

Consumer Reports doesn’t sell advertising and relies on print and web subscriptions ($29 and $30, respectively) and fundraising to pay the bills at its offices in Yonkers, New York. “CR magazine subscriptions [revenues] were $98 million in 2008,” Bunin’s memo reported, “and will be about $10 million less than that in 2012. In the same period, CR newsstand revenue has declined from $7.9 million to $4.5 million.”

Why the decline? “There are many more new competitors who are doing interesting things,” the memo said./CONTINUES Read More

George E. Norcross, III and William P. Hankowsky — majority owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News — are offering to pay $29 million for the shares of the newspaper company that are owned by the men who support fired Inquirer editor Bill Marimow. phil That’s “not a bad return [in] this economic environment,” they note in their release. Minority owners Lewis Katz and Gerry Lenfest recently sued the company over Marimow’s firing.

“It is time to end this impasse and litigation and return our focus to continuing the remarkable turnaround of the Inquirer, Daily News, and philly.com,” the majority owners say in a release. “It is the right thing to do for the company, our readers, our workers, and the community.”

Read the release after the jump. Read More

brands

YouGov’s latest Red, Blue and Independent Rankings survey has big-name brands falling out of the Top Ten list on the Republican side. The decliners include Fox News Channel, Chick-Fil-A, and Discovery Channel. Tool-maker Craftsman is No. 1 on the GOP list. (It’s No. 3 for Democrats.) Google and Amazon.com lead the Democrats’ list of favorite brands.

The brands that feature in the top ten for all three political affiliations seem mostly to relate to house and home. Craftsman, Clorox, Dawn, Johnson and Johnson, Home Depot and Cheerios appear in all three lists as well as online mega-retailer Amazon. Home Depot was a new entry for all three lists.

The BrandIndex score combines the average respondent scores for quality, value, general impression, satisfaction, reputation and willingness to recommend.

* Google and Craftsman top this year’s Red and Blue rankings (brandindex.com)
* Brand rankings from 2012 | …and from 2011 (brandindex.com)

saved

* “Fox & Friends” spreading misinformation about animals now (nymag.com)
* “I hope this show never goes away” and other comments on my FB wall (facebook.com)
* Earlier: Bald eagles, once almost extinct, make a comeback (usatoday.com)


* Former New York Times and Reuters journalist Jim Roberts is named Mashable executive editor. (mashable.com) | Earlier: Goodbye toast at NYT for Jim Roberts and his big boots. (twitpic.com)
* Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonist Walt Handelsman returns to New Orleans and joins the Advocate. (theadvocate.com)
* Newspaper Guild of Philadelphia says it has a potential buyer for the Inquirer and Daily News. (philly.com) | Read the union’s statement.
* PR man and Poynter fundraiser Brian Tierney loses his $25,000 a month Philadelphia Inquirer ad sales consulting gig. (bigtrial.net)
pbs* “PBS NewsHour” has lost 48 percent of its audience in eight years. (baltimoresun.com)
* Politico magazine launches in November. The print and online publication is “the company‚Äôs most ambitious expansion in years.” (politico.com)
* “I don’t think that I am that hands-on,” says Anna Wintour. (wwd.com)
* Center for Public Integrity founder Charles Lewis advises political reporters to not just cover the “horse race.” (publicintegrity.org)
* Kids-and-guns study isn’t as dire as most journalists make it out to be. (psmag.com)
* Reddit co-founder’s advice to tech startups: “Get a burrito and raise some funding.” (tennessean.com)
* Warren Buffett’s Omaha World-Herald adds a $2.75 charge for the ad-packed Thanksgiving Day paper. (wowt.com)
* Closer, a magazine that targets women over 40, hits newsstands today. (adweek.com)
* CBS is working on a streaming news channel. (buzzfeed.com) | (nytimes.com)
* FYI: Application deadline for Washington Post’s paid internships is Nov. 4. (washpost.com)
* Facebook pulls a “Cruci-Flex” comic and threatens to ban the artist. (@RobDenBleyker)