Boston.com(merce) Shmushes Advertising & Editorial

June 7, 2017

From our State of the Cuisinart Marketing desk

In response to the hardreading staff’s post the other day about the Boston Herald auctioning off its editorial content to advertisers (and in the process conscripting its freelance writers into some sort of lend-lease program), splendid reader MM sent us this.

 

 

The Boston.com article in question: 

15 can’t-miss concerts in Boston this June

From Kiss Concert to Dead & Company, Hall & Oates to Megadeth.

An annual summer pop staple and pioneering jam band at Fenway are just two great music events hitting Boston in June.

Guitar gods

Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Flamenco guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela is celebrating 10 years of performing together with a U.S. tour that will stop in Boston. The Mexico City natives are acoustic guitar virtuosos, and bring intricate soloing and and an unrivaled dynamic to a genre that’s not often given the spotlight. The two have collaborated with many famous composers and have even performed at the White House for President Barack Obama. (Tuesday, June 6 at 7 p.m.; House of Blues; $39.50-$59.50; all ages; tickets available here)

 

And etc. – for 14 more events.

Every tickets available here links to a ticket-buying site such as the House of Blues or MLB.com or AXS.com.

And what MM points out as “the italicized line at the end”?

Boston.com will receive payment if a purchase is made through the article.

 

As MM notes, that might be the first such partnership for Boston.com, but it’s emblematic of the monetizing efforts newspaper companies like Boston Globe Media are scrambling to initiate as they battle dwindling circulation numbers and plummeting ad revenues.

(The New York Times Co. has been the hands-down leader in this mash for cash, as our kissin’ cousins at Campaign Outsider have dutifully chronicled.)

But Globe Media has been ramping up the money chase as well. In addition to the Boston.commerce gambit, there’s the Globe Live storytelling event last month, the ongoing Boston Globe Travel Show, and who knows what else to come.

(To be sure graf goes here.)

To be sure, the hardrooting staff is all for anything that keeps newspapers alive and well – and keeps the separation between advertising and editorial alive and well at the same time.

‘Nuf sed.

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Boston Globe Herald Hostage (‘More Higher Bid’ Edition)

August 4, 2013

As you’d expect, the Boston Herald is on John Henry’s purchase of its crosstown rival like Brown on Williamson. Here’s today’s double-barreled shot at the Globe (don’t ask about the little green numbers – dunno):

Picture 5

 

To get a sense of the first runner-up in the Boston Globe’s automatic markdown sale, check out the lead story:

San Diego PublisherSan Diego bidder questions Globe buy

A losing Boston Globe contender is claiming his San Diego media company outbid Red Sox owner John Henry — and would have gone even higher — a bombshell allegation that he says could delay the deal and leave the New York Times Co. open to shareholder backlash.
“We bid significantly more than Henry,” said John Lynch, the CEO of U-T San Diego, one of the Globe finalists. “At the end of the day, I’m certain our bid was higher and could have been a lot more higher if they had just asked. I’m just stunned. I thought this was a public company that had a fiduciary duty to get the most by its stockholders. … From the beginning, I don’t think they wanted to sell to us.”

 

Maybe they had grammatical objections. Or maybe it was U-T San Diego owner Douglas Manchester’s reputation for “aggressively influencing his paper’s editorial content.”

Regardless, Lynch added that “there are going to be ramifications to it because we spent a lot of money that we didn’t need to spend or are interested in spending if there wasn’t going to be a fair auction.”

Speaking of unfair, here’s Howie Carr’s contribution to the rumpus (and by unfair we don’t mean to the Globe, but to Herald readers who pay good money for this recycled slop):

2STU7713.JPGFriendly advice for new media mogul

There’s a sucker born every minute.

That’s the first thought that comes to mind about John Henry’s purchase of The Boston Globe and other assorted media dinosaurs for $70 million in cash. In other words, as someone noted yesterday, John Henry’s 164-foot yacht may well be worth more than his crumbling newspaper empire . . .

We’ll know John Henry’s gone native if he shows up on Morrissey Boulevard tomorrow wearing a bow tie.

Speaking of which, the Globe’s rumpswabs are surely in a dither this morning. So many new rear-ends to kiss, as Alexander Cockburn once said when his newspaper changed hands. Don’t worry though — they don’t call them bow-tied bumkissers for nothing.

 

What, is there some hackbot that assembles this crap? Get some new material, man.

The Globe, for its part, tries to play it straight with this front-page splash:

 

Picture 8

 

And this may be the reason the U-T San Diego more higher bid didn’t cut it with the Times Co.

henry-big-4766Adding the Globe to his Boston constellation

Red Sox owner had two advantages in his bid: a local profile and a cash offer

Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry, who early Saturday signed a deal to buy The Boston Globe from the New York Times Co., prevailed over a half-dozen rival bidders for two main reasons: He was rooted in Boston and had plenty of cash.

Henry agreed to pay $70 million for the 141-year-old Globe, its websites, and affiliated properties, the Times Co. said. The deal followed weeks of negotiations that culminated in a marathon session Friday night, with Henry and his lawyers ensconced in his suite at Fenway Park, trading calls and messages with Times Co. officials as the Arizona Diamondbacks edged out the Red Sox.

 

Regarding the other bidders, the Globe piece says this:

[Henry’s] was not the highest bid for the Globe, according to people involved in the process. But his offer was appealing to the Times Co. because it was cash, unencumbered by financing issues or a bevy of investment partners. One executive working for the Times Co. said the key was who was best able to get the financing together and close the deal relatively quickly.

 

Not surprisingly, both papers have stories about the potential conflict of interest the sale creates (Globe here, Herald here).

As the Big J journalists say, time will tell.


Globe Herald Hostage (Lowball Edition)

July 13, 2013

Once again the Boston Herald is a day late, but it’s the dollar short that’s interesting.

Yesterday’s Boston Globe featured this update on the sale of the paper:

Field of bidders for Globe reportedly narrows

Groups with local ties – Taylor family Henry, equity group – remain in contention

At least three investor groups with local ties apparently remain in contention to buy The Boston Globe and its related businesses, according to people briefed on the matter.

The narrowed field of bidders includes members of the Taylor family that formerly owned the Globe; Boston Red Sox owner John Henry; and Robert Loring, a Massachusetts native who owns the Tampa Tribune, said people briefed on the process.

The owner of the U-T San Diego newspaper is a possible fourth finalist, but the status of the bid could not be confirmed Thursday.

 

And then the money quote: “The competing bids range from $65 million to $80 million, according to the people briefed on the matter.”

Here’s how that translates into Heraldese:

Boston GlobeBids in for Globe – and they’re low

With bids reportedly at a disappointing $65 million to 
$80 million, The Boston Globe’s impending sale is shaping up as more of a real estate deal than a newspaper buy, experts said yesterday, even as one of the four purported finalists told the Herald they’ve lost interest in the broadsheet.

“The implication is kind of obvious that the Globe as a straight business venture is not very highly valued on the market right now because clearly that amount is probably — at least the majority of it, maybe more — is valued land and the building,” said Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst for the Poynter Institute.

 

Ouch. It’s true that estimates of the New York Times Co.’s local media group – the Globe, its websites boston.com and bostonglobe.com, and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette – were running between $70 million and $120 million, so the current bids aren’t good news. It just hurts twice as much coming from the Globe’s crosstown rival.

And the feisty local tabloid had even more bad news for the Globeniks: “U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch told the Herald they’re out of the running.”

And then there were three.


Boston Globe Herald Hostage, Day 4

February 24, 2013

The Schadenfreude Gazette is so desperate for new ways every day to bash the Globe over its impending sale, the feisty local tabloid is willfully ignoring reality just to get in some cheap shots. Today’s case in point (no idea why the “1” is upper right, but couldn’t get rid of it):

Picture 1

 

Let’s skip over Howie Carr’s bulk-mail offering (“I have next to nothing in common with the pampered pukes of Morrissey Boulevard — I went to a state college, I’m not in the Social Register, I don’t have a trust fund, I wasn’t born and raised on Park Avenue, I never summered in the Hamptons” blah blah blah) and go right to the alleged news report.

121611globemh01.1Murdoch, Times have mutual interest in bid

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, reported to be on The New York Times Co.’s shortlist of suitors for its Boston Globe, would be a bargain hunter looking to get the Hub newspaper on the cheap from his archrival at the Times, who in turn could use the News Corp. chairman’s bid to drive up the price of other offers, according to media analysts.

“The perception is that Rupert is the leading buyer of newspapers in the country if not, I suppose, the world. So obviously … if you are selling a newspaper, you certainly want him in the action,” said Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Wolff, author of “The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch.”

 

This is just refried slop from yesterday’s edition, complete with quotes from the reptilian Michael Wolff. It also recycles this piece from the Wall Street Journal:

The Wall Street Journal, which Murdoch’s company bought from the Bancroft family for $5 billion in 2007, cited sources in reporting Friday that the Times Co. is “hoping to draw a bid” from Murdoch — even as the Times has been in talks with another potential buyer who submitted a 
$100 million bid last month.

 

Problem is, they forgot to crib the most important part:

News Corp.’s ownership of a television station in Boston would rule out purchase of the Globe, given regulatory rules that prohibit companies owning a newspaper and a TV station in the same market, said a person familiar with the situation.

 

But hey – why let facts get in the way of a good poke in the competition’s eye, eh?


Boston Globe Herald Hostage, Day Three (Volume 2)

February 23, 2013

The print edition of The Schadenfreude Gazette has arrived at the Global Worldwide Headquarters of Two-Daily Town, so here’s a better look at today’s offerings:

Picture 1

 

The hardreading staff previously noted the feature story. A taste of the others:

As it went down on Twitter …

Globe reporter Mark Shanahan — @MarkAShanahan — tweeted yesterday’s town hall gathering, where New York Times. Co. vice chairman Mark Golden discussed plans to sell the broadsheet with Globe employees. Here is Shanahan’s report:

‘Sorry for the way this unfolded. It was not our intention,’ says @nytimes about being scooped on its plan to sell @bostonglobe . . .

 

And:

Herald’s commenters plot future for broadsheet

With a for-sale sign planted outside the Boston Globe, would-be media moguls of every stripe were set free this week to sketch their plans for a bold entry into the New England media landscape.

All they needed was $100 million, give or take.

“I would buy the Globe in a heartbeat if I had the money,” said George during yesterday’s Friday Throwdown news chat. “And I would take the editorial page from far left to common-sense middle of the road.” . . .

 

And – THIS JUST IN from the feisty local tabloid’s website (picked up from the Wall Street Journal):

STON7943.JPGReport: Times gets $100M Globe bid, wants Murdoch deal

The New York Times Co. is pushing for a deal for the Boston Globe with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, but has also received a bid for the beleaguered broadsheet for more than $100 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The bid came from Rick Daniels, a former Gatehouse Media New England president and ex-Globe executive, and private equity firm Boston Post Partners, represented by managing director Heberden Ryan, the Journal said. The Herald first reported that Boston Post Partners has long been a key player in the sale of the Globe.

 

Of course, current FCC regulations prohibit cross-ownership of a TV station and newspaper in the same market, and it’s unlikely Murdoch would trade Fox 25 for the Globe.

Meanwhile, crosstown at the stately local broadsheet, there’s this in today’s print edition, back on Metro B5:

Michael Golden_1Globe staff briefed on plans to sell paper

Executive vows responsible handover

New York Times Co. vice chairman Michael Golden told Boston Globe employees Friday that the company has a duty to seek the highest bidder in a sale but aims to leave the newspaper in responsible hands.

“We have no intention to send the New England Media Group to the slaughterhouse,” he said in one of three town-hall style meetings with employees.

Golden came to Boston to discuss the Times Co.’s plan to sell the Globe, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and their related websites. In the meetings, he made no promises about what kind of suitors the Times Co. would consider.

 

When asked by the staff whether the Times Co. has a duty to find “a good steward of New England’s largest newspaper,” he replied “we will take what we consider to be the best bid.”

Uh-oh.


Boston Globe Herald Hostage, Day Three

February 23, 2013

Another day, another dolor for the Boston Globe.

As gleefully recorded by The Schadenfreude Gazette:

STON1787.JPGTimes sidesteps Globe layoff question

A top New York Times Co. official reportedly didn’t rule out layoffs at the Boston Globe but assured a swift sale during tense meetings with employees yesterday, while the first potential bidder for the 141-year-old broadsheet emerged — Bay State auto magnate Ernie Boch Jr.

“I grew up not only reading the Boston Globe but doing business with the Boston Globe,” Boch told the Herald yesterday after throwing his hat in the ring. “I feel it has lost its way over the last few years. I feel I have the right recipe to put it back on track.”

Last night, Boch tweeted: “Print is not dead!”

 

C’mon down, Ernie Jr.!

But – to stick with the automotive theme – it’s just as likely the Times Co. will sell to a private equity firm that will strip the Globe for parts like a car left overnight on the Cross Bronx Expressway.

Stay tuned for further details.


Boston Globe Herald Hostage, Day Two

February 22, 2013

The Schadenfreude Gazette is at it again today:

Picture 1

 

Obligatory two-page spread:

Picture 2

 

Helpful chart:

Picture 4

 

Oh, yes – don’t forget Jerry Holbert’s editorial cartoon:
holberts 02-22 cartoon

 

Highlight of the Herald’s coverage: Jessica Heslam’s interview with the reptilian Michael Wolff about News Corp. Dark Knight Rupert Murdoch as a potential buyer:

“Rupert would be terrifically interested in the Boston Globe,” said Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Wolff, author of “The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch.” “Rupert is now in the process of shopping for American newspapers but doing that in the context of that this is the bottom of the market.”

So what would be the right price for Murdoch?

“Practically free,” Wolff told me. “Assuming that there is cash flow, he would buy it on a heavily, heavily, heavily, heavily discounted basis. Rupert, at this point, is an economic buyer.”

 

But an unlikely one, says old friend Mark Jurkowitz, associate director of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. “The prospect of Rupert going head-to-head with the Boston Herald seems somehow un-American. That’s his baby. … That would surprise me.”

Crosstown at the stately local broadsheet meanwhile, Globe columnist Kevin Cullen has a message for the Heraldniks:

The change that is coming is about business, not journalism. As for the delight fully delusional people who see a change of ownership as a death sentence, the natural consequence of the Globe being part of the vast left-wing conspiracy, please, sit back, crack another cold one and adjust your tinfoil hats. Ask Sal DiMasi, John Tierney, and Mike McLaughlin, just recent examples, if they think the Globe goes easy on Democrats.

The Globe isn’t going anywhere. It’s changing owners.

 

Message: Stick that in your pipe, Howie.