Publishing Industry Soundbytes 11-21-03

Posted on November 21, 2003

People

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The Social Page, a new weekly feature in the Chicago Tribune's Tempo section covers an array of events that reflect the cultural diversity of the city and suburbs. The centerpiece: Lucinda Hahn's "Toast of the Town" column, which will report on happenings ranging from community fundraisers to society soirees. A Chicago native, Hahn is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She previously penned a social events column for Chicago magazine, where she spent five years as a senior editor. Hahn began her career as associate editor of Tennis magazine.

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PennWell Corporation, publisher of Oil & Gas Journal, Offshore and other publications for the petroleum industry, has appointed Roy Markum as Vice President Business Development for its Houston- based Petroleum Group. Markum, most recently director of business development at Hart Publications, is a senior publishing executive with over 30 years publishing and advertising experience in the petroleum industry. Based in PennWell's Houston Galleria office, Markum will develop and market business and technology supplements for PennWell's Petroleum Group, to include single-sponsor publications and other custom publishing projects covering exploration, production, advanced technologies, and other aspects of the industry. Markum will report to Bill Pryor, president of PennWell's Petroleum Group, which includes industry publications Oil & Gas Journal, Oil & Gas Journal Online, Offshore, Oil & Gas Journal Latinoamerica and Oil, Gas & Petrochem Equipment, along with 18 conferences and exhibitions serving the global oil and gas industry.

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Jon Titus, former editor of EDN and Test & Measurement World magazines has joined the staff of ECN magazine as its new Senior Technical Editor. Titus' responsibilities consist of writing technical features for each issue, including a "How To" tutorial series, as well as articles on Embedded Systems, two new sections added as part of a complete redesign of the magazine. Additionally, Titus will support Editor-in-Chief Aimee Kalnoskas by developing content for a number of Webcasts to be produced by the magazine and creating programs and panels for ECN's online conference and trade show, the EOEM Design Expo. ECN is a product and technology-focused magazine serving more than 126,000 EOEM design engineers and engineering managers. ECN is owned by Reed Business Information.

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Marvel Enterprises, Inc. announced that Bruno Maglione, a senior entertainment, brand management and licensing executive has been named President of Marvel International - a newly created entity whose purpose will be to develop the company's overall presence, business operations and profile in key international markets. Maglione will be based in London and report to Allen Lipson, Marvel's CEO for all activities other than Consumer Products where Maglione will report to Tim Rothwell, Marvel's recently appointed President of Worldwide Consumer Products. For the last five years Maglione has been Managing Director and Senior Vice President of Universal Studios Consumer Products Europe & MEA. At Marvel, Mr. Maglione will be charged with establishing the Marvel franchise and business model internationally, and will oversee all the company's activities with a view to developing them synergistically.

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American Lawyer Media, Inc. (ALM), a legal journalism and information company, announced the promotion of Eric Lundberg to the position of Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective January 1 2004. Mr. Lundberg, currently Vice President, Finance for ALM, will replace Stephen C. Jacobs, who will leave the company at the end of December to pursue other business interests. During his tenure at ALM, Mr. Jacobs also served as General Counsel; Vice President, Corporate Affairs; and head of ALM's VerdictSearch Division. Mr. Lundberg was named Vice President, Finance for ALM in 2001. He joined ALM in 1995 and held a variety of financial positions at the company, including Corporate Controller and Director of Financial Planning. Mr. Lundberg served as Publisher of ALM's Texas Lawyer Division from 2000 to 2001. Prior to joining ALM, Mr. Lundberg worked for First Fidelity Bank and Price Waterhouse. He graduated from Lehigh University with a B.S. degree in accounting in 1980.

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4Kids Entertainment, Inc. announced that it has appointed Simon Philips to the position of Managing Director of 4Kids Entertainment International Limited, which is responsible for managing the international licensing programs for Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Philips, who was appointed to the LIMA Board of Directors as the International Representative in 2003, was formally CEO of Licensing Dynamics International (LDI), a consumer products and media agency covering the Middle East and Mediterranean Basin. He succeeds Clive Hill, who has announced his retirement.

Digital Publishing

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OverDrive, Inc., a vendor of ebooks to retailers and libraries, announced broad support for Mobipocket, a software format that allows users to download and read ebooks on popular smartphones, all PDA systems, and personal computers. Over 10,000 commercial titles in Mobipocket format from 150 leading publishers such as Random House, McGraw-Hill, Time Warner, Oxford University Press and others will be available through OverDrive's Content Reserve for resale to global retailers and libraries.

Content Deals

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Tickle Inc., formerly Emode.com, Inc., has announced the acquisition of Ringo, Inc., a social networking company. The acquisition integrates Ringo's 350,000 members with Tickle's newly-launched social networking services. The company has also announced the appointment of industry veteran Samir Arora as chairman of the board and its name change to Tickle Inc.

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Ziff Davis Media has announced the launch of a series of technology-related books. Ziff Davis joined with John Wiley & Sons to produce a book series under the PC Magazine and ExtremeTech.com brand names. The consumer-related technology books are hands-on guides providing product reviews, analysis and tips and tricks. The titles include commentary and analysis from many of the editors from PC Magazine, PCMag.com and ExtremeTech.com including: Michael J. Miller, Editor-in-Chief; and contributing Editors Jan Ozer, Les Freed and Don Willmott.

Launches and Redesigns

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iReadNet has launched a video news service exclusively for people who read. The launch was announced by company president and founder, Kurt Aldag. The new web-based video news service, called PubBuzz, recently began streaming 60 videos of author news and book events, which can be accessed for free from the iReadNet homepage or directly at pubbuzz.com.

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MusicNow Inc., developer of a legal online music store and service, and Best Buy, a retailer of consumer electronics and entertainment products, have announced the launch of the MusicNow Download Store, which will be available only through Best Buy for the month of November. The new store lets music lovers download songs directly to more than 40 portable digital music players, giving them more options to enjoy their music than any other digital music site.

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GameSpot and Download.com, both CNET Networks, Inc. properties, have jointly introduced GameSpot DLX. GameSpot DLX is a download service that offers gamers free and secure access to their favorite game-related files, as well as the ability to automatically receive new game files as soon as they are released. The same service is also available in the "Games" section of Download.com.

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R.R. Bowker, a provider of bibliographic information in North America, has announced the debut of Bowker Library Support, a Web-based resource designed to provide support exclusively to library professionals who use Bowker's databases in their libraries. The new Web-based resource is accessible at bowkersupport.com and features links to special pages created to support librarians who use the following Bowker bibliographic databases: BooksInPrint.com; GlobalBooksInPrint.com; SpanishBooksInPrint.com; ChildrensBooksInPrint.com; Ulrichsweb.com; and the Ulrich's Serials Analysis System for managers of library serials collections.

Film and Television

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On the heels of Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment having announced the upcoming animated film version of Curious George, Universal Home Entertainment Productions (UHEP) announced that an animated preschool series based on the children's classic is also in development with Imagine Entertainment and WGBH Boston. Targeted to launch in early 2006, the show, which will incorporate early childhood science and math educational content, will draw upon George's curiosity-driven adventures to tell stories that encourage kids to explore their own environments, and the way people and animals interact with objects and machines.

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Universal Pictures has announced the start of principal photography on the espionage thriller The Bourne Supremacy, the second installment of bestselling author Robert Ludlum's Bourne series with Matt Damon returning as trained assassin Jason Bourne. The rest of the cast includes Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban and Franka Potente. The film is produced by Frank Marshall, Pat Crowley and Paul L. Sandberg and is directed by Paul Greengrass (writer/director of Bloody Sunday) from a screenplay by Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Identity), based on Ludlum's book.

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Disney Channel takes silliness back to the Middle Ages with the new animated comedy series Disney's Dave the Barbarian, from Walt Disney Television Animation, scheduled to premiere in January 2004. Created by Doug Langdale, Disney's Dave the Barbarian follows the title character's comedic adventures with his offbeat family -- including his primping older sister Candy and his fierce younger sister Fang -- as they protect themselves and their kingdom from a world of hilariously odd foes. Complicating matters is brawny Dave's non-barbarian demeanor -- he prefers the finer things in life, like origami, bird watching and gourmet cooking. But with a combination of Dave's brute strength and his fine art skills, villains don't stand a chance. The majority of the episodes are split into 11-minute cartoons with two comedic adventures per episode. Twice nominated for Emmy Awards, Langdale created and executive-produced the popular series Disney's The Weekenders. He also co-created and co-executive-produced the Saturday morning cartoon Project Geeker, and served as executive producer and writer on The Mr. Potato Head Show.

The cast includes Estelle Harris as Lula, Dave's magical talking -- well, nagging -- sword; Tress MacNeille as Fang, Dave's small- yet-fierce little sister; Erica Luttrell as Candy, Dave's medieval "material girl" big sister; Kevin Michael Richardson as Uncle Oswidge, a curmudgeonly sorcerer and the kids' misguided guardian; Frank Welker as Faffy, the family's miniature, lightning-spitting pet dragon; and Jeff Bennett as the stately narrator. Recurring episodic voice cast members include Joan and Melissa Rivers as an evil empress and princess; and Paul Rugg as Dave's chief foe, The Dark Lord Chuckles, the Silly Piggy. Metallica's James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich make their animation debut in a single episode as rogue teenage dragons.

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DreamWorks SKG and Vivendi Universal Entertainment announced an extension of their distribution and fulfillment agreements for film and home video to October 2010. Concurrently, DreamWorks SKG and Universal Music Group (UMG) announced an agreement for UMG to acquire DreamWorks Records. The agreement, which was established in 1995 and extended once before in 2001, grants Universal international theatrical distribution rights to live action and animated DreamWorks motion pictures, and worldwide home video. In addition, UMG has reached an agreement to acquire DreamWorks Records.

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National Lampoon announced that the company has partnered with Delfino Entertainment to release a new film comedy, National Lampoon's Lady Killers. National Lampoon's Lady Killers stars Will Friedle (Boy Meets World) and Chris Owen (American Pie and American Wedding) as down-on-their-luck losers who court and marry two wealthy, elderly sisters. The scheming young grooms hope to inherit the sisters' Beverly Hills estate, but the sisters -- played by veteran comedic actresses Renee Taylor and Louise Lasser -- have an agenda of their own. Nikki Ziering also is featured as the guys' dream girl. Written and directed by Gary Preisler and produced by Delfino principles Don Ashley and Preisler, National Lampoon's Lady Killers is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters in Spring, 2004. Preisler, whose producing credits include Eight Days a Week starring Keri Russell, is currently developing several new comedies and recently completed his first novel.

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Matrix fans around the globe turned out in record numbers to experience Warner Bros. Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' The Matrix Revolutions, the final explosive chapter in the blockbuster Matrix trilogy. The combined five-day opening weekend box office receipts for The Matrix Revolutions totaled a staggering $204 million, charting the biggest consecutive five-day opening in motion picture history. In an unprecedented global release distribution scenario, Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures unveiled The Matrix Revolutions to fans in every major city around the world at the exact same moment in time on November 5.

Music Business

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Berklee College of Music, an independent music college has announced the launch of Berklee Shares. This new program provides free music lessons and encourages musicians to share and distribute these music lessons online. The Berklee Shares lessons are available at no charge and are made up of a growing catalog of MP3s, QuickTime movies and PDF files derived from curriculum developed at the college by its world-renowned faculty. The lessons are available for free download on berkleeshares.com, affiliate partner sites and peer-to-peer networks including Limewire and Kazaa.

Book Deals

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Loren Long, illustrator of Madonna's second book for children, Mr. Peabody's Apples, has signed a five-book deal with Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group. The deal was made directly with the illustrator by Doug Whiteman, President of Penguin Young Readers Group. All five books will be illustrated by Loren Long and he may write one or more of them. Patricia Gauch, who has worked with such legends as Eric Carle and Patricia Polacco, will be his editor. The first book is slated for publication in 2005.

Miscellaneous

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Americana Publishing, Inc. said it has launched a marketing campaign to more than 2,000 trucking companies to distribute its inventory to the truck driver through these firms. The program was launched last week. Truckers will be able to purchase titles directly from Americana at a 20 percent discount to the retail price. According to Americana, these 2,000 trucking companies being contacted represent about a half million drivers.

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The Boston Globe and Boston Newspaper Printing Pressmen's Union No. 3 jointly announced the ratification of a new nine-year labor agreement. The Pressmen's Union, which represents some 190 pressmen, voted yesterday afternoon in favor of the agreement covering the years 2002 through 2010. The parties' agreement is the result of several months of intensive negotiations by the Globe and the Union, and assisted by federal mediation.