Murdoch Bids $5 Billion for Dow Jones

Scary and unsolicited — are newspapers suddenly worth something again? (more to follow)…

Dow Jones owns the Wall Street Journal, among other things, and Murdoch’s News Corp. bends the rules of media ownership with it’s massive stable of multiple media in practically every English speaking market worldwide. Just who does that include? It’s all on this list.

The Bancroft family (which controls Dow Jones), along with practically the entire staff of the Wall Street Journal, currently oppose News Corp.’s offer, while others — like analyst Mort Zuckerman — are calling Murdoch “brilliant.”

Shares of Dow Jones jumped over 50% to just shy of Murdoch’s offering price of $60/share in Tuesday trading. Other publicly traded newspaper company’s saw prices surge as well.

But the offer raises numerous red flags, writes Mark @ News Corpse including News Corp.’s plans to launch a Fox Business Channel to compete with the likes of CNBC.

It may seem insulting to WSJ writers to be threatened with ownership by the likes of the mogul who has turned the likes of the New York Post into practically a supermarket tabloid. But more important and influential could be the residual effect of Murdoch’s lofty valuation of Dow Jones on the struggling (by Wall Street standards) newspaper industry.

Yahoo to Buy Ad Company for $680M

Yahoo announced the acquisition of RightMedia — it had already been a “strategic 20 percent investment” — a wise, counterplay to Google’s recent $3.1B acquisition of DoubleClick. Doesn’t seem to be a hasty reactionary move as Right Media’s Exchange system could be a boon to Yahoo’s publisher network and it’s new Adwords-like search advertising platform code-named Panama. Yahoo CEO Terry Semel’s optimistic blog post is here. New York Times gets a jump on the story here. A conference call will take place Monday morning and surely the industry-watchers will have more deets and analysis.

Blogging EconSM

I’m blogging today at the inaugural EconSM conference, produced by Rafat Ali’s ContentNext Media Network (parent of PaidContent).

This conference sold out to 500 + weeksk ago and features a day of panels featuring industry heavies (see list). Currently a panel including Jimmy Guterman and John Battelle are discussing branding, marketing and Web content, involking that marketing is meant to be a conversation which is why it’s a natural for social media.

My reports will be posted at LAist. I’ll be interviewing Mike Davidson, CEO of Newsvine (which re-launched this week) momentarily. Live flickr photostream from the event below.

UPDATE: several videos at LAist via Revver.

The Newsroom That Spends More, Earns More

The first good news story about the newspaper industry that I’ve read in a while and I sure hope it ends up on the desk of editors and publishers of the country’s finest newsrags.

My colleagues and feel acutely futile arguing that rampant job-cutting at newspapers not only lowers the quality of the rag, but shrinks profits in the long run (we’re months from graduating, J-school, so give us a break), Finally, there’s a study to back us up.

The upside for papers to hire, hire, hire:

“If you invest in the newsroom, do you make more money? The answer is yes,” Esther Thorson, an advertising professor and associate dean for graduate studies at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, said in a statement.

Reuters discloses the ugliness of the recent management of the news media industry that is (I pray) at its nadir.

According to job outplacement tracking firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the number of planned job cuts in the U.S. media sector surged 88 percent to 17,809 last year.

Since the start of 2007, Time Warner Inc.’s Time Inc. said it would cut 289 jobs, and the New York Times Co. announced plans to shed 125 jobs and close foreign bureaus for its Boston Globe newspaper.

“Until recently, people have been doing it because the results looked good to investors on Wall Street, but it’s… ignoring the long-term aspects,” said marketing professor and study co-author Murali Mantrala.

The study (which I can find no mention of on the Missouri site) will be published in April’s Journal of Marketing

Geffen Sells Painting for $140M, Will He Spring for LA Times?

Enquiring minds want to know!

David Geffen netted a record $140 million for the sale of Jackson Pollock’s “No. 5, 1948,” according to the New York Times.

Uber-wealthy Mexican, David Martinez laid down the biggest wad of cash ever paid for a painting in history.

So, as suggested in Crain’s Chicago Business, is Geffen gonna make a move to save the increasingly more affordable Los Angeles Times?

Hmmmm…