Archive for July, 2012

Zadan and Meron pact with Universal TV, NBCU Int’l

July 31, 2012  |  Variety  |  No Comments

TV News: Peacock sets first-look deal with prolific 'Smash' producers

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PaidContent Founder Takes on Travel Biz

PaidContent Founder Takes on Travel Biz

July 31, 2012  |  Blog  |  No Comments

Is the travel category in need of a digital media disruption? Rafat Ali believes so. Ali, who in the early 2000s founded PaidContent, has unveiled Skift, a Web property targeted at the travel industry and business travelers. Initially focused on news for folks in the hotel, cruise and tourism businesses, Skift.com aims to revolutionize the travel world with data. "That is where the real opportunity lies,” said Ali. According to Ali, there is loads of publicly available data from different sectors of the travel world, such as delay and lost luggage information from the over 600 U.S. airports, or tourism growth stats for

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Olympics powers BBC online traffic

July 31, 2012  |  Variety  |  No Comments

International News: Site attracts 9.7 million visitors on one day

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Ross Levinsohn Exits Yahoo

Ross Levinsohn Exits Yahoo

July 31, 2012  |  Blog  |  No Comments

Ross Levinsohn, one of Yahoo Inc.'s YHOO -0.81% top executives, said Monday he is leaving the Internet company after the board chose longtime Google Inc. GOOG -0.42% executive Marissa Mayer to become CEO. Mr. Levinsohn, an executive vice president, had been Yahoo's interim chief executive since May. His exit was anticipated after the hiring of Ms. Mayer two weeks ago. The 49-year-old said in a statement on Monday that "it is time for me to look for the next challenge." He didn't say where he might go next. Yahoo awarded Mr. Levinsohn 67,000 restricted stock units, which are worth about $1 million, and 250,000 stock

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As Ewanick's GM Reign Ends, Fate of Commonwealth Questioned

As Ewanick’s GM Reign Ends, Fate of Commonwealth Questioned

July 31, 2012  |  Blog  |  No Comments

Two weeks ago, Joel Ewanick was sitting through a day of press meetings to introduce an ad campaign for the launch of the Cadillac ATS, General Motors' long-in-the-making attempt to take on BMW's 3-series. Flanked by Cadillac Ad Director Molly Peck and a few PR people, Mr. Ewanick proudly showed off the new work. It seemed like business as usual -- as usual as it ever is for the controversial chief marketing officer. Today, he's gone from the automaker's top marketing job after a tumultuous two-year reign during which he completely overhauled GM's longstanding agency relationships, dueled with Facebook and announced

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Republic Wireless Adds a Higher-End Android Phone to its Cut-Rate Cellular Service

July 31, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Republic Wireless, one of several start-ups aiming to change the game when it comes to monthly cell phone costs, is adding a higher-end phone to its lineup. The carrier, which offers $19 a month service for talk, text and Web , plans to announce later on Monday that it will carry the Motorola Defy XT. It will be the first US carrier to offer the device. Republic aims to offer the low price by shifting a significant amount of its overall traffic onto Wi-Fi networks, using capacity on Sprint’s network only as a back-up when no Wi-Fi is available. The carrier had initially planned to limit how much cellular data its users could consume, but quickly changed its terms to say that unlimited service would be truly that . With the new phone, which will sell for $249, Republic said it will be able to start letting in more of the hundreds of thousands of people waiting for it to expand its beta testing

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New comics crack up Just for Laughs

July 31, 2012  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Vpage: Variety's 10 Comics to Watch event sponsored by Cohen Gardner

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Ahead of Earnings: Can Electronic Arts Escape the Drag of Zynga’s Losses?

July 30, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

As the Olympics play out this week in London, there’s another pretty big games competition worth watching right at home. Electronic Arts and Zynga are duking it out for top honors among the best game companies in the world. However, neither of them are close to winning a gold at the moment. At last count, Zynga wildly missed analyst expectations for its second quarter, leading to a drop of more than 40 percent in its stock, sending it to an all-time low. The next day, EA’s shares came tumbling after, posting a new low for the year. Tomorrow, EA has a chance to regain investor confidence as it reports results for its fiscal first quarter. And while it may be easy to assume that if one company has a hard quarter, the other will too, that’s not what all the analysts are saying. Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities said he isn’t revising his expectations based on Zynga’s poor performance. ”Zynga’s losses are other people’s gains,” he said. Pachter reasoned that since Facebook’s revenues from payments, which are used to make purchases inside social games, were up slightly in the second quarter vs. the previous period, it’s likely Zynga’s quarter had more to do with Zynga itself than any broad trend. Specifically, Zynga said it suffered after Facebook made changes to its network, which consequently led to a drop in bookings for the company’s older games. Wall Street analysts will be looking for EA to report a loss of 42 cents a share on revenues of $501 million, excluding some expenses. Based on the company’s internal guidance using the same non-GAAP metrics, it is expecting to lose between 40 to 45 cents a share on revenues of $500 million.

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Divorce at eHarmony: Founder Takes Back CEO Job from former Zynga Exec Verba

July 30, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The founder and chairman of eHarmony, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, is returning to the job of CEO at the well-known and oftimes controversial matchmaking site, according to an internal memo I obtained. He replaces Jeremy Verba, the former Zynga exec who was named to the job a year ago at the Southern California-based eHarmony. Prior to Zynga, Verba was president and CEO for online teen community Piczo and he also had worked at AOL and CNET. It’s not clear why the sudden breakup at the dating service — whose motto is, “Fall in love for all the right reasons” — but in the memo Verba sent to staff today, he noted: “The Company’s Board and I agreed upon this mutual separation on Friday. Our visions of the future of the business are not entirely aligned and we decided that this step is the best course of action.” I get it: Not compatible. The company recently lost its CTO , Joseph Essas, to OpenTable. Verba had no comment when I contacted him. Here’s the full Verba memo: To the eHarmony Team: I wanted to announce to you that I am leaving eHarmony Inc. The Company’s Board and I agreed upon this mutual separation on Friday. Our visions of the future of the business are not entirely aligned and we decided that this step is the best course of action. Dr. Neil Warren, eHarmony’s Chairman, has assumed the CEO role and will be outlining more details concerning the path forward very soon. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in the time that I’ve been here. We have a site redesign in beta and improving every day; we are on our way to a new creative campaign scheduled to launch later this quarter; our mobile apps and development continue to evolve and capture more share of our users’ time; we continue to diversify our acquisition channels (mobile, social, digital video); and we’ve both welcomed several new executives to the company and promoted several from within the ranks. This is a great team of people, driven by a belief in the mission laid out by Dr. Warren many years ago to reduce the divorce rate in America and create more love in the world. Our recent research studies have shown that we are succeeding at that and much more. I have confidence in your abilities and future success. I wish you all the best and thank you for a great year

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Exclusive: As Expected, Ross Levinsohn Departs Yahoo

July 30, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

As I previously reported he likely would, top Yahoo exec Ross Levinsohn — who lost the CEO race to former Google exec Marissa Mayer — is leaving the company, according to several sources. Mayer also just sent a note to the company about the departure, added other sources across the company. Levinsohn, who took over as interim CEO in the wake of the ouster of Scott Thompson earlier this year, had been running the Americas unit of the Silicon Valley Internet giant. That put him in charge of key Yahoo businesses, including its media and advertising sales units. The pair have been negotiating his exit for several days, sources said, which is not surprising given the awkward circumstance between them. While Mayer might have benefited from Levinsohn’s close ties with key marketing players and his content experience, her intense focus on products and not on media likely mean that she will likely rely on a more tech-heavy leadership team going forward. Levinsohn does not apparently have any current plans for another gig, but as an experienced and very well-liked online media exec will likely have many options. He came to Yahoo in late 2010 , replacing Hilary Schneider, in the regime of Carol Bartz, who was later fired. Levinsohn arrived at Yahoo from Fuse Capital, where he worked with Jon Miller — now chief digital officer at News Corp

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