Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, August 28, 2021

not in your hands
At last check, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” was still missing, after being stolen in a daring daytime theft.

If international police sleuthing can’t track down the iconic artwork, maybe candy will. Masterfoods USA/Mars is offering 2 million dark chocolate M&M’s for the return of Munch’s opus.

If the dark stuff doesn’t get results, they should try the crispy version. That’s my favorite.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/28/2006 11:54:51 PM
Category: Food, Pop Culture
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The New York Times pokes a stick at the corpse of Knight Ridder, wondering what went wrong.

The blame is nominally laid at the feet of former KR chief P. Anthony Ridder, for not putting up more of a fight against the Bruce Sherman-led financial barbarians at the gate. It’s even suggested that the post-McClatchy sell-off of individual newspapers should have offered a blueprint to Ridder for avoiding the sale of his namesake:

Some thought that Mr. Ridder could have sold off pieces of the company in order to keep it afloat. William Dean Singleton, the chief executive of the MediaNews Group, which eventually bought four of the Knight Ridder papers from McClatchy, was one.

“In retrospect, if Tony had it in him to sell Philadelphia and Akron, as Gary has done, the company he had left would have looked good,” he said, referring to Mr. Pruitt’s sale of the Knight Ridder papers in those markets. Without those papers, Mr. Singleton said, “his financial performance would have been among the best in the industry.”

More broadly, the short-term performance prerogatives that come with being a publicly-held company are blamed for doing in KR and applying constant pressure on other newspaper conglomerates to cut operating costs. That’s nothing new — the evil spectre of the bleating shareholder has been the newspaper industry’s bogeyman even before the Web showed up as an undercutting competitor. And particularly lately, lots of public companies and analysts have been dreaming of going private, thus ditching those pesky quarterly reports.

I’m thinking we’re overdue for a historical analysis on how the last “dinosaur” media sector fared when faced with extinction: Radio. Television was supposed to kill off the AM/FM dial back in the ’60s and ’70s; I’d imagine the stock market back then reacted in a downcast manner similar to the current attitude for newspapers. Of course, radio reoriented itself and became a hugely profitable business, regaining the full confidence of Wall Street; no reason why newspapers shouldn’t be expected to turn a similar trick.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/28/2006 11:39:02 PM
Category: Business, Publishing, Radio
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The cat’s out of the bag, courtesy Business 2.0: You can quit your day job and blog full-time for a living!

Uh, well… Maybe if your blog is called TechCrunch. For the rest of us, the AdSense piggybank doesn’t fill up quite that much on a regular basis.

But then, who says you have to rely just on Google’s ad syndicate?

John Battelle… was working on a book about Google when he had an epiphany: Bloggers were building huge audiences for free. Yet even popular bloggers couldn’t make a living full-time; existing networks like Google and BlogAds weren’t paying enough.

Incidentally, those huge audiences apply not only to the most popular/well-known blogs, but also to the aggregate result of several thousand blogs being launched every day. That’s why Google bought Blogger/BlogSpot three years ago: To secure a source of ever-expanding online acreage on which to display all those AdSense ad units.

Battelle figured he could find out which bloggers were already generating heavy traffic, and then serve as a middleman between them and advertisers. He launched his startup, called Federated Media Publishing, last fall with seed money from the New York Times Co. and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Battelle compares FM’s model to a record company. He and his team are the band managers; the bloggers are the bands. The key difference is that bloggers own their content, earning 60 cents of every ad dollar.

He has signed about 75 of the most popular bloggers of various stripes, and hopes to land a few hundred in all. FM’s eight-person sales force has been aggressively approaching big marketers, armed with detailed and persuasive demographics.

The usual tenets apply for striking it rich with a blog: Plenty of regularly-updated and relevant content, fairly tight focus on topic area, and ability to build up lotsa traffic/community. I’ve got about one-and-a-half of those bases covered — the content and traffic parts. Not so much on community, and a laughable lack of focus. So I guess I shouldn’t be expecting a call or email from Federated Media anytime soon…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/28/2006 08:06:15 AM
Category: Bloggin', Business
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