cityfile · 01/05/10 03:30PM

• Prepare to enter the third dimension. ESPN plans to launch a 3D channel in June. And Discovery, Imax and Sony are teaming up on a 3D channel, too.
• Has Kathy Griffin been banned from CNN following her risqué performance alongside Anderson Cooper on New Year's Eve? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Newsday is cutting pay and vacations for 1,100 of its employees. [NYP]
• Apple's buzzed-about tablet device comes out in March. [WSJ]
• Google's buzzed-about mobile phone/iPhone ripoff debuted today. [BN]
• You'll be relieved to hear that the New York Times has no plans to follow in Kim Kardashian's footsteps and begin sticking ads in its tweets. [AdAge]
• Coming soon: Publicist Kelly Cutrone's TV show and self-help book. [WWD]
• Nielsen closed Kirkus Reviews last week, but it may now have a savior. [NYT]
Conveyor of Love, the new reality show on ABC that combines dating and the latest in baggage handling technology, is off to a solid start. [Wrap]
• Will Avatar turn out to be the biggest movie ever? Maybe! [MTV]

NBC's Offensive, CNBC's Losses & The Crisis at Condé

cityfile · 08/05/09 01:06PM

• NBC is pulling out all the stops to promote Jay Leno's new show. Don't believe it? Try this out for size: "In early September, NBC will even adopt a portion of Interstate 10 in California to reiterate Mr. Leno's time slot." [NYT]
• Notwithstanding the Leno blitz, NBC is still looking to cut its budget. [NYT]
• No one cares about CNBC these days, in case you haven't noticed. [Slate]
• More on troubles at Condé Nast (revenues may fall by as much as $350 million this year), and the recent round of receptionist-purging. [NYP, NYO]
• The lobbyist scandal goes on. A couple of days after it was revealed that MSNBC's Richard Wolffe is now working for a lobbying firm comes the news that CNN's Bill Schneider has signed up with a D.C. think tank. [HuffPo]
• Related: Wolffe has another Obama-related book in the works. [TNR]
• Experts say the prognosis for BusinessWeek is not good. [DailyFinance]
• As you might expect, the mood has been very upbeat at CurrentTV today now that Laura Ling and Euna Lee have returned from North Korea. [NYT]

Magazine Award Winners, Hollywood's Best Year Ever

cityfile · 05/01/09 10:41AM

Esquire, The New Yorker, Backpacker, and Wired were all big winners at last night's National Magazine Awards, although the mood was much more subdued this year, not surprisingly. [ NYT, WWD, NYP]
Portfolio's Joanne Lipman reflects on what went wrong. [Newsweek]
• Hollywood might be on track for its best year ever at the box office. [WSJ]
• A roundup of the winners at the Tribeca Film Festival. [NYT, THR]
• White House Social Secretary Desirée Rogers appears on the cover of the new issue of WSJ. The idea of having her pose in an Oscar de la Renta gown in the First Lady's garden was vetoed by the powers-that-be, wisely. [WWD]

Wacky Discovery Founder Sues over Kindle

Owen Thomas · 03/18/09 12:26PM

Discovery Communications, the owner of cable channels like FitTV and Animal Planet, is suing, maker of the Kindle, over an electronic-books patent taken out by its founder and CEO, John Hendricks, years ago.

The fake crisis that's killing startups

Jackson West · 09/26/08 11:00AM

Ever heard of Join the club. But the Los Angeles-based social networking startup now says it's a victim of "the crisis in the economy." Investors like Discovery Communications and Universal Music Group, which sunk up to $7.6 million in the social network-turned-publishing platform, want what's left of their money back. Discovery's investment came just last May, with the company looking to use the site for its Miami Ink and LA Ink shows on TLC. But was it really the economic meltdown, or just investors coming to their senses?Artist and designer Glenn Kaino originally envisioned the site as a social network for jetset hipsters, and his cousin Scott Sassa signed on as CEO after a spell at venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins. You might remember Sassa as the CEO who presided over Friendster's slide into irrelevancy, or as a Hollywood executive managing NBC's West Coast entertainment operations. Sassa likely was the one to hustle up the investors, as well as celebritard users like Rob Lowe, Lisa Ling and Cory Kennedy. But in May, the site was drawing only half a million users a month according to Nielsen Online. (Sassa put the number at 2 million.) That's orders of magnitude smaller than similar sites like Six Apart's Vox or off-the-shelf social network Ning, either of which could have done more for Discovery with less money. Our theory: Events on Wall Street did have something to do with Uber's shutdown. But not the way Uber would like you to think — that the site was a thriving concern kneecapped by some kind of mysterious liquidity crisis. No, the market meltdown merely provided the convenient excuse to close down a stinker of a company. Expect more cash clawbacks in the months to come — from startups that should never have gotten money, in good times or bad.

eBaum's World gets a buyout with strings attached

Owen Thomas · 08/02/07 02:20PM

How much would you pay for a viral-video site which some have charged with stealing clips? Depends on who you ask. eBaum's World has just sold for $15 million. Or is it $17 million? Or $67.5 million? HandHeld Entertainment, the San Francisco-based developer of the ZVUE portable media player, has agreed to shell out $15 million in cash and $2.5 million in stock for the Rochester, N.Y.-based website. The rest will come over the next three years, if eBaum's World meets traffic targets and other conditions. The conditional nature of the deal reflects the buyer's shaky finances — and also, a growing hesitancy to splash cash on websites with uncertain futures.

Discovery splashes a green $10 million on TreeHugger

Owen Thomas · 08/01/07 01:13PM

Blogs continue to sell — but blog valuations are staying modest. Discovery Communications, the cable-and-online media company, has bought enviro blog TreeHugger for a reported $10 million. With nearly 2 million unique visitors, that means Discovery paid a very modest $5 per "eyeball" — the unpleasant online-advertising slang for a reader. Contrast that to the bubbly hopes of GigaOm's Om Malik back in 2005, when he wrote about the "return of monetized eyeballs" for Business 2.0. (Full disclosure: I helped him crunch the numbers for that story.)