Comcast just got a lot bigger. Its NBCUniversal division has agreed to acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion. The animation company was previously valued at $2.3 billion.
When the deal closes at the end of the year, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg will become chairman of DreamWorks New Media and a consultant to NBCUniversal.
“Having spent the past two decades working together with our team to build DreamWorks Animation into one of the world’s most beloved brands, I am proud to say that NBCUniversal is the perfect home for our company; a home that will embrace the legacy of our storytelling and grow our businesses to their fullest potential,” said Katzenberg, in a statement.
A couple Revolving Door items for you this morning, involving Sony Pictures Television and Quartz. Details are below.Sheraton Kalouria has been promoted to president and chief marketing officer for Sony Pictures Television. He previously served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer for SPT, since 2011. Quartz has named Brian Dell creative director, client services. He previously worked as a partner and director of GMD Studios.
The May/June issue of Politico magazine has a fun set of pieces about Donald Trump. One, by Campbell Brown, examines the culpability of cable news channels in building up the Trump celebrity brand. Another, by Page Six and Newsday vet Susan Mulcahy, looks back at what it was like to cover Trump in the 1980s.
An interesting bit of hindsight from Mulcahy involves Trump’s dealings with a huge piece of Manhattan real estate. She writes that the events now feel like a telling prelude to The Donald’s political bickering:
Lincoln West was the largest piece of undeveloped land in Manhattan when Trump took it over in the mid-1980s. The property, which stretched from 59th to 72nd streets, for a time had been known as Television City, when it looked as though NBC would be the anchor tenant in an enormous new complex. To entice the TV network, which had been making rumblings about moving from Rockefeller Center to New Jersey, Trump needed to offer below-market rents, and for that he required tax abatements. He didn’t get them.
Trump and Mayor Ed Koch engaged in a public shouting match that offered a preview of the Trump now running for president. Calling Koch a “moron” and “a horrible manager,” Trump said the mayor should resign. Koch countered by labeling Trump “greedy, greedy, greedy” and saying that if Trump was “squealing like a stuck pig, I must have done something right.”
Mulcahy also recalls how Trump stonewalled her and Richard Johnson about the Lincoln West deal during a face-to-face encounter one day, promising to give the Post the scoop but spoon-feeding it instead to The the New York Times. In the late 1980s, Trump was on the front page of the Post eight days in a row thanks to Marla Maples. Politico has a fun gallery of Post-Trump covers through the years, cheekily headlined “Shameless Mogul Found in Breathless Tabs!“
Where else but Michael’s could you expect to find the patron saint of the St. Tropez suntan George Hamilton, Patty Hearst-Shaw and Lady Gaga’s mother, Cynthia Germanotta dining and dishing among the media mob? It’s a good thing that my date, Pauline Brown, the former CEO of LVMH North America, who exchanged the board room for a classroom at Harvard Business School, was so interesting. Our far-ranging conversation ran the gamut from the lessons she learned in her first semester as an HBS professor to her take on why the Apple Watch was a marketing misfire. “Unlike prior Apple launches, it offered no element of surprise” she told me. “They spent a fortune building anticipation but [it] failed to live up to expectations. Instead of being delighted [about the watch], customers were embarrassed.”
When LAK PR CEO Lisa Linden suggested we get together, I knew we’d have plenty to talk about. Pauline’s CV reads like a ‘How to Succeed in Business’ primer. Prior to joining HBS this year, she had a very successful track record in the luxury market, most recently at LVMH, (comprised of Moët, Hennessy and Louis Vuitton), where she was responsible for 70 brands including fashion, fragrance, cosmetics, watches and jewelry, as well as wines and spirits and selective retailing. She also sat on the board of L Capital, a private equity fund backed by LVMH, was a managing director at the private equity firm The Carlyle Group, and held senior positions at Avon and The Estée Lauder Companies.
Pauline arrived at noon on the dot looking every inch the luxury maven. She was, of course, impeccably dressed, enveloped in a camel Rochas coat and carrying a similarly hued Marc Jacobs handbag. My mother always told me you can tell a lot about a woman by the way she accessorizes — and Pauline’s carefully curated accouterments from Hermès, Dior, Urban Zen and a dazzling Fred ring with a huge removable stone — spoke volumes. This is a woman who knows about the power of aesthetics.
Clearly Pauline could have scored another top spot within the fashion industry, which has been engaged in an accelerated game of C-Suite musical chairs in recent years. Why swap corporate life for academia? “At this stage of my life, it’s more desirable to be a thought leader than an operational leader. I don’t know too many corporate chieftains who are genuinely happy,” she told me. “People think the more powerful you are, the more empowered you are. I found the higher up you go, the more imprisoned you become. It’s hard to be on top in big companies.” And then there’s the gender bias. “The [corporate] structure is not kind to women. Women’s identities and possibilities have evolved dramatically in the last two generations, whereas corporate structures are still stuck in the 1950s model of operation.”
The idea for the Aesthetics course was “spontaneous,” said Pauline. When she and HBS’ Frances Frei first began talking about the kind of course Pauline could teach, Ms. Frei encouraged Pauline to “go deep” in designing the type of class that would best leverage her experience.
“I wanted to find a way to redefine marketing practices for a new generation of consumers and an entirely new marketplace.”
As a professor at HBS, Pauline commutes between Boston and Manhasset, N.Y., where she and her husband, Marshall Brown live with their two children. Fresh off her last class of her first semester, she has already committed to teaching The Business of Aesthetics “into 2017 and possibly beyond.” Due to high demand, the school has added a second section of the course for next year’s MBA students.
Using materials from a wide variety of resources, including an article from Wired about Disney’s Imagineering labs, which served as basis of exploring “the happiness halo” (More on that later) as well chapters from two books, The Substance of Style and The Experience Economy, Pauline was thrilled by her students’ level of “engagement and openness to a new curriculum.” Students also studied “iconic leadership models” including Steve Jobs, Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s and Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz (“He went away for eight years and the business was tanking. Now he’s back and the business is back on track.”) Pauline also required student to watch the online TED talk, Designing for Trust, which explored how the visual elements of a brand, most notably a logo, is essential in developing consumer confidence.
I thought it might be interesting to have Pauline give me a crash course in millennial marketing, so I asked her to weigh in on what she thought about a random array of high-profile brands. We already know her thoughts on the Apple Watch. But Pauline thinks Google Glass has also been a dismal failure, which even the geekiest techs have abandoned. “There was a lack of aesthetic empathy.” Why has such a utilitarian product like Fitbit garnered cache among such a crowded field? “They’ve never pretended to be more than a fitness device.” What about upstart Nespresso, whose commercials with Sofia Vergara grate on the nerves? “They can’t sustain [interest.] They’re owned by Nestle which is not an experiential company.”
The companies that earn top marks from Pauline for experiential excellence: Ritz Carlton (“They do it well”) and Disney, which is “gifted in creating happiness” which, noted Pauline is achieved by the consumer in equal parts by the actual experience and the anticipation and memory of it. Makes sense.
Inevitably, the conversation turned to millennials. Pauline had a front row seat thanks to her students, who shared their very high aspirations. “There’s a lot more individualism. Nobody wants to work for Goldman Sachs,” she told me between bites of roast chicken. “The idealization of starting their own thing is off the charts.” We all agreed that despite Gen Y’s tech savvy, the proliferation of startups, blogs and lower salaries have made it much more difficult to break through — let alone rise to the top — than it was 10 years ago. “They’re confident but they have a lot of anxiety.” Exactly what are they afraid of? “The future and being able to stay on top of everything,” said Pauline as we said our goodbyes. “The quest for perfection is killing them.”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Felicia Taylor with a table full of gal pals we didn’t get to meet
2. Music man Lyor Cohen
3. Producer Terry Allen Kramer and actor-turned-reality star George Hamilton
4. Mitch Kanner
5. William Lauder
6. Fashionista Fern Mallis celebrating her belated birthday with her manager Heidi Kim, Paula Friedman and designer-turned-cake couturier Charlotte Neuville, who is now baking custom creations for her brand, The Fashion Chef. If her chocolate cake for Fern tasted as good as it looked.
7. The Wall Street Journal’s Anthony Cenname
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia and Sandra Lee
9. Estee Lauder’s Alexandra Trower
10. HollywoodLife.com’s and former Chanel’s former chairman Arie Kopelman. Just asking but could Arie’s son, Will Kopelman, have come up in conversation with clever Bonnie, since he’s just spilt from Drew Barrymore? Probably not but ….
11. Deborah Norville and producer Meryl Poster
12. Oh to have a seat at this table: Sharon Bush (mother of Lauren Bush Lauren), Patty Hearst and her sister Anne Hearst (who, I must add, is the first person I’ve ever seen at Michael’s drinking a beer) and — wait for it — Cynthia Germanotta, mother of Lady Gaga. On the way out, Pauline introduced me to Cynthia who seemed to be channeling her daughter with her platinum hair extensions. She was absolutely lovely and dressed impeccably. Just thought you’d like to know.
14. Maureen Reidy
15. Jonathan Wald and Michael Braun
16. 48 Hours Mystery’s Erin Moriarty
17. The Daily Beast Lloyd Grove and Rose Hartman
18. Randy Jones
20. Frederica Friedman
21. Patrick Murphy and Diane Soloway
23. Gerry Byrne (Happy Birthday!) and his daughter Megan Byrne
27. Pauline Brown, Lisa Linden and yours truly
Faces in the crowd: Jay McInerney chatting with proprietor Michael McCarty, producer Beverly Camhe in the lounge and the ‘Bar-ettes’ Kira Semler and Vi Huse toasting spring at the bar.
Diane Clehane is a FishbowlNY contributor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.
Ken Li jumps to Newsweek as managing editor. Li was the founding editor of Re/code and previously worked at a number of familiar publications, including Reuters, The Financial Times and the New York Daily News. “Ken’s background includes a great mix of writing, editing and strong newsroom leadership that are critical for the managing editor role,” Newsweek editor Jim Impoco said in a statement. The managing editor position opened up because Kira Bindrim left the role to join Quartz to head up the site’s new talent lab. “Some of us have had the pleasure of working with Kira in the past, and have learned to appreciate her energy, humor, and astonishing ability to get things done,” Xana Antunes, editor of new initiatives at Quartz, wrote in a memo. Elsewhere at Newsweek, Kevin Dolak is the new national editor, Margarita Noriega moves up to executive editor of digital and Iva Dixit scores a promotion to social media editor…
Guy Vidra is the latest big name to leave The New Republic. The CEO steps down, moving into “advisory role” for the publication. He follows former editor in chief Gabriel Snyder out the door. Vidra’s tenure won’t be remembered fondly… Dana Schwartz joins the New York Observer as arts and entertainment writer. She had been a staff writer at Mental Floss and assistant cartoon editor at The New Yorker, which sounds like a fascinating gig and more…
Tristan Jean used a fake name and espoused a made-up profession. But before all that, he was very clear with the journalists he ran into after voting in the recent New York primary.
From Jean’s piece on Salon:
After voting for Bernie Sanders at the polling station inside the Brooklyn Museum, I noticed a man with a video camera and a woman with a microphone milling around outside. I approached them, asking them if they were journalists. The woman, who had a Russian accent, said that she worked for “international TV” and asked me if I had anything to say. I couldn’t really think of any grand statements to make, so they asked me who I voted for, and I said, “Bernie.”
“That’s too bad,” the woman with the microphone said, “because we are looking for supporters of Donald Trump.”
“I could pretend!” I offered. Much to my surprise, the woman said, “Great!” and her companion started filming me.
Jean, a graduate student, posted about the wacky April 19 incident on Facebook right after it happened, and to his amazement, the interview ran on St. Petersburg’s Channel 5. From there, a Russian blogger picked up on both the report and the Facebook post. The comment that blogger got from the TV station is crazier than the original incident.
Photo of reporter NinaVishneva and her cameraman via: Facebook
At 9:30 p.m. this Wednesday night in Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation made available on its iView service six specially commissioned TV pilots. One of them, Ronny Chieng: International Student, is by The Daily Show correspondent of the same name. It will be competing for the public’s votes along with five others, with the most popular entry to be turned into a full series.
From a report by The Guardian’s Elle Hunt:
International Student is Chieng’s first production as co-creator, co-writer and star and is informed by his years as a student from Malaysia at the University of Melbourne, where part of the show was filmed.
“We all came here for a few years, we studied, then all my friends left – they went back to Singapore, Malaysia. It almost feels like a dream. I wanted to capture that moment for the record…”
Chieng himself existed at the intersection of international students and nerds: “I crossed over a little bit to the Australians, but I could never blend in as well as, like, a local student. But no one fits in at university, right?”
The other TV pilots are The Future Is Expensive (Eddie Perfect); Bleak (Kate McLennan, Kate McCartney); Moonman (Lawrence Mooney); The Letdown (Alison Bell); and The Legend of Gavin Tanner (Mad Kids). More info about the shows here.
Screen grab via: abc.net.au
One of the earliest newspaper uses of the phrase “How do you like them apples?” was in 1928. In the Princeton Alumni Review, future New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther wrote:
Arrayed in “beer suits,” the Class of 1928 stepped forth after the holiday to tell the world that they are actually Seniors. The design on the back this year – which is the only part of the outfit which is materially altered from year to year – portrays an ebullient student chopping off the head of a terrified and bewhiskered professor. Twenty-seven guesses what this means! Give up? Well, this, people, is supposed to denote unlimited cuts. How do you like them apples?
Today, an abbreviated form of that apples sentence, made popular in the modern age of course by Matt Damon in 1997’s Good Will Hunting, is on the front page of the San Francisco Examiner. The editors went with this “wood” because of how Mayor Ed Lee has characterized some racist text messages sent by a former SFPD officer:
Lee on Tuesday reiterated that the texts were sent by a few “bad apples,” and that he still has “great confidence” in the chief.
“This chief is still a very good chief, and [in] my mind, he’s doing the best we can,” Lee told reporters at a news conference on housing for the homeless Tuesday. “We need to get rid of those bad apples real quickly and [make] sure we respect the other officers who are not engaging…[and] that want to be part of a really good police force.”
We imagine today’s Examiner headline did the trick and caught the attention of a lot of commuters today in the Bay Area.
Vice has named five-time Emmy award winner Madeleine Haeringer as executive producer for its HBO nightly news program. Haeringer most recently worked for MSNBC as executive producer for news coverage.
Haeringer previously served as NBC News’ executive producer of international news.
“Madeleine is pretty much what you’d expect from her resume—smart, tough, funny, profane, intrigued by our free beer, and eager to cover important global stories in surprising ways,” wrote Josh Tyrangiel, in a a memo.
Hearst Magazines has named Maury Postal executive creative director for The Blend Line, the branded content studio for Car and Driver and Road & Track.
Postal comes to Hearst from Social@Ogilvy, where he most served as group creative director. He had been with Ogilvy since 2011.
“Maury has a great creative mind and a passion for all things automotive,” said Felix DiFilippo, publisher and chief revenue officer of Car and Driver and Road & Track, in a statement. “His expertise in the auto space will be instrumental at The Blend Line as we continue to grow and deliver high-quality content for our partners and our readers.”
In an effort to appease our robot overlords, Bloomberg Media wants to expand its use of automated content.
“Done properly, automated journalism has the potential to make all our jobs more interesting,” wrote Bloomberg editor in chief John Micklethwait, in a memo. “I have written before about journalism moving from covering what has happened to covering why it did. The time spent laboriously trying to chase down facts can be spent trying to explain them. We can impose order, transparency and rigor in a field which is something of a wild west at the moment.”
Micklethwait has tapped Brad Skillman to lead the automation initiative from the editorial side. He’ll work closely with “automation czarina” Monique White on the project.
ESPN The Magazine’s latest Fame issue tackles (no pun intended) what it means to be famous in sports during the social media era.
Tiger Woods is the cover star, and the accompanying profile of him—by Wright Thompson—is fantastic.
The Fame issue hits newsstands April 29.
Time Inc. has named Brad Elders group publisher of its Sports Illustrated Group, which includes SI, Golf, SI Kids, FanSided and 120 Sports.
Elders joins Time Inc. from AOL, where he served as general manager of Partner Studio by AOL. He previously served as AOL’s senior vp of sales, overseeing the East region.
“As the SI Group continues to aggressively develop its brands, products and services across the multimedia and multi-platform landscape, Brad is the perfect person to lead our sales and marketing efforts during these dynamic times,” wrote Rich Battista, president of Time Inc.’s video and entertainment and sports group, in a memo.
Elders is succeeding Brendan Ripp, who was recently promoted to president, technology and telecommunications, for Time Inc. Sales and Marketing.
Skip Bayless, co-host of ESPN’s yelling match First Take, is leaving the network to join Fox Sports.
Bayless will leave ESPN when his contract expires at the end of August. He has been with the network for the past 12 years.
Bayless’ departure is just the latest big name—and big contract—to leave ESPN. In the past 10 months, Colin Cowherd, Bill Simmons, Mike Tirico, Jason Whitlock and Keith Oldbermann have all departed. That’s a lot of talent, and even more money saved.
For the latest issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine, Kate Beckinsale was photographed on the West Coast at the home of photographer James White. By White.
The Roman bust, made out of marble and dated circa-100 A.D., was purchased by White from Christie’s New York. Like Beckinsale, it’s a one-of-a-kind. The rest of what is on display is not and can be had, but – as the caption makes clear – at a price:
Dress, Jonathan Simkhai ($795). Neiman Marcus, 9700 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-550-5900. 18k gold Tiffany T chain bracelet ($5,600), Schlumberger Cooper diamond bracelet ($135,000), 18k gold and white-ceramic Tiffany T cutout ring ($1,500), and 18k rose-gold, 30.52-carat oval cabochon orange tourmaline and pink sapphire ring ($43,000), Tiffany & Co. 210 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-273-8880
We absolutely love this photo, partly because the bust suggests there may have been a Roman Empire version of Chinatown’s Jake Gittes, nosing his way to the truth about the Aqueduct. Embedded in the cover story by Scott Huver is some behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot.
Photo, by White, used with permission
Bill Simmons fans rejoice — the former ESPN vet/current ESPN hater finally has a date for his HBO show. Any Given Wednesday, a 30-minute show, will debut June 22 and feature sports and pop culture content.
For Wednesday, Simmons will interview newsmakers, showcase special segments and deliver some of his signature commentary. Also, he’ll swear.
“I’m excited about the show, I’m excited about the title and I’m really, really excited to drop my first F-bomb on TV,” said Simmons, in an announcement. “We are going to figure out nudity down the road, as long as it’s tasteful.”
The short article by Ricardo Bilton in the debut issue of Digiday’s new quarterly media magazine Pulse is specifically about video views. Under the headline “WTF Is a View?” and the sub-headline “A view is a view view – except when it isn’t,” some basic primer information laid out in FAQ form.
One of the problems is that different platforms consider a video viewed when different times of viewing have elapsed, anywhere from three seconds (comScore, Facebook) to 30 seconds (YouTube). But for the true definition, it’s perhaps best to turn to those who pay for those “views:”
Facebook gave advertisers the option to only pay for video ads if users watched them for more than 10 seconds. Previously, advertisers were charged as soon as videos started playing. Twitter has also yielded to advertisers by only charging when videos were 100 percent in-view and watched for 30 seconds.
There’s plenty more to page through in the Spring Issue of Pulse, including a profile of Choire Sicha. In the welcome letter, senior editor Lucia Moses offers this rather intriguing framing: ‘While Digiday is at its core a digital media company, we thought the printed format was ideal for exploring these critical issues in a thoughtful way.’ E.g., print still has a pulse, albeit one that beats at a once-every-three-months pace.
Today marks the release of an updated version of Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, first published in the spring of 2007. When author Charles J. Shields (pictured) spoke with The New York Times’ Alexandra Alter about his research process, he touched on a fascinating result of those efforts.
The author was able to uncover an article which, though written by Lee, did not carry her byline. It was about the murders that inspired In Cold Blood:
“I went back to look at newspapers in Garden City, Kan., and I stumbled across a little mention in a column that said, our visitor Harper Lee will be writing about what’s been happening on the case for the FBI magazine The Grapevine. Then I contacted The Grapevine. They said, ‘Yeah, there’s been a reference to that over the years but we can’t find anything.'”
“I told them to look in the spring of 1960. There indeed was an article than only Lee could have written because it was so full of info that would later appear in In Cold Blood. I speculate that there was no byline because she really didn’t want to tread on Truman Capote’s story. It’s a long flattering article about the great work chief investigator Alvin Dewey is doing on the case and how Truman is going to get to the bottom of it. It was an unselfish act from a friend.”
Other documents unearthed by Shields reveal that Lee appeared to have quite the crush on the “drop-dead handsome” Dewey.
Shields has also written a Young Adult version of his Lee biography, crafted portraits of Kurt Vonnegut and a more obscure novelist, John Williams, and in 2009 he co-founded Biographers International Organization (BIO) with fellow biographers Nigel Hamilton, James McGrath Morris and Debby Applegate. Read the rest of his conversation with Alter here and check out the agenda for BIO’s forthcoming annual conference here.
Photo of Shields via: Amazon