Media Insider: Interview Magazine Shuts Down, CBS Sues Redstone Family, Mark Zuckerberg Apologizes
Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media stories from the week.
WWD | KALI HAYS
Interview Magazine Shutting Down, Heads for Liquidation
Interview magazine is no more. The iconic magazine, founded in 1969 by Andy Warhol, is shutting down. A representative of Brant Publications confirmed the closure and that the magazine, along with its two holding companies, has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy. According to a spokeswoman for Brant, “the company has been operating at a financial loss and had been funding its losses and costs of its operation through loans obtained from its secured lender. The losses continued to mount, and the company did not believe its financial condition would improve in the foreseeable future.” She added that all of Interview’s assets “will be liquidated and distributed to its creditors in accordance with the law.”
Interview had been embroiled in legal drama as of late, with claims of unpaid wages and sexual misconduct.
NEW YORK POST | KEITH J. KELLY
Bidding for Time, Fortune and Money Surprisingly Strong
Selloff activities and employee purges continued at Meredith this week. Citigroup is lining up management presentations for next week for potential suitors interested in buying Time, Fortune, and Money, according to sources. Bidding for the three has been surprisingly strong, with the Fortune/Money combo and Time drawing bids close to $200 million each. Fortune, with its big Fortune 500 issue and growing conference business, was seen as the jewel among the trio.
Another former Meredith Corp. publication, Time Inc. U.K., announced it has axed the local edition of InStyle.
REUTERS | JESSICA TOONKEL AND TOM HALS
CBS Sues Controlling Redstone Family in Bid for Independence
CBS Corp filed a lawsuit on Monday to reduce the voting power of controlling shareholder National Amusements Inc, the movie theater company owned by Sumner and Shari Redstone, in an act of defiance aimed at thwarting the Redstones’ plan to merge CBS with Viacom Inc. CBS said in its lawsuit that it is seeking to prevent the Redstones from ousting any directors or changing the company’s bylaws before its full board meets to consider issuing a dividend that would curb National Amusements’ voting power. If the dividend is approved, National Amusements’ voting rights in CBS would shrink from about 80 percent to about 17 percent, more in line with National Amusements’ economic stake in CBS of 10.3 percent. Legal experts said the lawsuit was a rare example of a company attempting to use a “nuclear option” to free itself from its controlling shareholder, setting the stage for a high-stakes legal battle over the future of one of the biggest U.S. entertainment companies.
Another wrinkle in a possible CBS-Viacom merger: Verizon has expressed interest in buying CBS, according to several news outlets.
COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW | MATHEW INGRAM
Backlash After Facebook Says It Plans to Lump News Stories With Political Ads
Facebook is trying to be more transparent about political ads as a way of dealing with the outrage over Russian trolls using the network to try and influence the 2016 election, but its attempts are causing friction with news outlets. Facebook’s new policy would require any advertising of a political nature to be verified and placed in a public database, including ads used by publishers trying to promote their news stories. In most cases, these ads are just regular posts linking to news stories, which publishers pay to promote or boost so that they appear in the feeds of users. The News Media Alliance, an industry lobby group formerly known as the Newspaper Association of America, sent the social network a letter last week complaining that its move would amount to a “fundamental mischaracterization of journalism” and that lumping the news in with advertising from political groups would have the effect of “dangerously blurring the line between real reporting and propaganda.” Since the initial statement from Facebook, the social network has backtracked somewhat, with Head of News Campbell Brown saying that the company “recognizes that news stories about politics are different” and the company is working with publishers to develop the right approach.
In other Facebook news, during questioning at the European Parliament, Mark Zuckerberg apologized to EU officials for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
DIGIDAY | TIM PETERSON
Twitter Looks to Woo Smaller, Facebook-Frustrated Publishers With New Site
Twitter plans to roll out a website in the next couple weeks to teach smaller publishers how to produce content for Twitter, including live and on-demand videos, and make money from the content. The move comes as publishers are looking for options to move away from Facebook. Twitter’s initiative is similar to how platforms introduce self-serve ad-buying tools to accommodate smaller advertisers. Since Twitter can’t work with every publisher — at least not directly — the new site will let Twitter support the smaller publishers to whom it can’t dedicate partner managers.
Also helping Twitter’s standing with publishers: video view counts on the social network are increasing, according to multiple publishers.
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Maria Perez is Director, Web Experience & Operations at PR Newswire. An animal lover, she curates content for @PRNPets – that is, when she’s not busy cuddling with her 10-year-old blind Maltese, Toody.