Saturday, June 19, 2010

Week in Review

Short reads on a Saturday morning:

• Rupert Murdoch made some new media moves which will either position News Corp. well in his goal to increase paid content, or will be be equivalent of Marc Teren's purchase of eLogic (OK, I'm sure it can't turn out that badly).

News Corp. acquired the Skiff platform from Hearst, but not the much heralded, but never seen, e-reader. The company also invested in Steven Brill's Journalism Online. Consider me a bit skeptical.

• Starbucks has decided that paid Wi-Fi has no future, especially when their rivals are offering the service for free. So starting on July 1 the coffee giant will be offering free Wi-Fi in all its U.S. stores -- still through AT&T.

The company also announced that it would be offering many paid websites through its Digital Ventures unit. What this means for Starbucks customers is that you can now load up on caffeine and browse the New York Times and WSJ for free (once the Times launches its metered paywall).
• Apple started accepting pre-orders on its new iPhone, selling more than 600,000 units immediately. But things did not go completely as planned, either thanks to Apple servers, or AT&T's system. Many customers simply could not complete their transactions as the pre-order service bogged down.

And if you want to order a new iPhone now forget about getting it on the launch date of June 24. Any orders taken now won't be received until July 14th, according to the Apple website.

• Are Tony Mancini and Rick Blesi trying to flip their recently acquired RBI construction magazines? That's what Folio: says. But Crain's says that the publishers are denying the story -- well, sort of.
MB Media, the new entity created by Mancini and Blesi, have recently relaunched websites for their magazines, but the sites are really just placeholders where the new company can announced that the magazines will reappear later in the year.

Depending on the deal the two publishers struck with Reed we could see a sale to another B2B soon. But the deal has too many strings attached, say a minimum sales price, or a payout amount, then things could get complicated. In any case, the books, some of which used to be dominate in their fields, have been allowed to rot a bit, so it will be interesting to see who steps forward.