Tuesday, June 15, 2010

GCI said in content-sharing talks with News Corp.

Regarding a new plan to centralize digital content contracting, the well-known Gannett Blog poster known as "My Boss" says representatives of Gannett, USA Today and News Corp. have been discussing a possible combination of news, advertising and other content operations. News Corp.'s properties include The Wall Street Journal.

I have now confirmed that these talks have, indeed, been underway. I do not know their current status, however. (Updated at 3:54 p.m. ET to reflect my source's belief that these talks cover subjects beyond news content development.) Following are key portions of My Boss' post:

"This is the first step in the eventual News Corp. and Gannett/USA Today paid content agreement. There are some big implications for digital sales for newspapers and USATJack Williams has been meeting with Jon Miller at News Corp. to discuss one delivery mechanism for all local content and for USAT to combine news operations within WSJ and sales within News Corp."

Some context: Any such deal with News Corp. would come amid USA Today's flagging circulation and advertising sales, which have lagged other Gannett newspapers as the U.S. economy struggles to regain its footing after the Great Recession.

Know about a reported USA Today staff meeting on Thursday? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.

[Image: today's paper, Newseum]


  1. The combination of the two Republican mouthpiece arms of the mainstream media will solidify the right-wing shift America is about to experience... great ushers for fascism.

  2. Umm, could this be the prelude to a general merger, with divestment of the Gannett non-FOX TV stations as part of the way to pay for it?

  3. I am not aware of who Myboss is but I am a pretty knowledgeable boss myself at USA TODAY and this sounds only partially true.

    It may very well be that there are talks under way to combine the sales of content in some joint plan to offer advertisers digital ads in USA TODAY and WSJ together.

    But joining the two newsrooms? No, not true. In fact, ludicrous.

    Sharing ad revenue? Could be.

  4. Perhaps News Corp plan to bid to buy USAT?

  5. I don't know that it makes a ton of sense to own USAT if you don't have that backbone of local presence to draw news from.

    USAT selling content to WSJ doesn't sound likely either, nor vice versa --too much sleeping with the competition there.

    One company with two differently pitched products, WSJ to the more pure business executive traveller, and USAT to the more vacation traveller and lower-end business traveller --that I could see making sense.

    The two of them co-marketing their combined news product to other third parties. . . yeah, I could see that if they could agree on how they each get paid. At that point they are almost their own news service (and not a bad one at that).

  6. News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch has had a long-standing interest in USA Today.

    From a Sept. 5, 2007, post on Jim Romenesko's blog: "John Hartman, who has written two books about USA Today, says Rupert Murdoch reportedly offered to buy USA Today a decade ago for $1 billion."

  7. I think we may be going a little overboard on this report of a GCI-News Corp. alliance. A merger is not in the cards, but cooperation of GCI and other media companies with Murdoch is.
    Here is a WSJ story today that indicates what is going on, although it doesn't mention Gannett's involvement:

  8. I see you will need a subscription to the WSJ to read that entire article. What it says is that News Corp. has purchased the Skiff e-reader software and IP site from Hearst, which has been trying to develop a Kindle-like newspaper reader. The purchase did not include the hardware, which Hearst still owns. It was software News Corp. was interested in because it can be read across all platforms, from Kindle, to IPad to mobile phones. Now News Corp. hopes to turn it into some sort of subscription service, like cable TV or subscription radio, where users can get a variety of newspapers at a set monthly price.
    The Skiff software has another advantage since it gives newspaper management leverage they don't have by just using an Apple APP or going through Kindle. That advantage is that newspapers can funnel their ads alongside the stories or other content, thus leveraging ad readership. You can understand why this is causing some excitement.
    The article does not specifically mention Gannett, but says that other news organizations are being approached to see if they want to participate in the Skiff project.

  9. Looks like we need another "MyBoss" update...

  10. I wonder who 'MyBoss' actually works for!

    What is actually happening at USA Today is so different from what is being reported here.

    Thursday's newspaper-wide meeting with Dave Hunke hopefully will remove some of the confusion and dispel the lies or diversions being foisted upon us daily here.

  11. Thursday's meeting is USAT-wide to update everyone on verticals. It was announced weeks ago. A note went out last week soliciting confidential questions ahead of the meeting.

    Much ado about nothing?


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