Articles of the Day


Freefalling Lycos Europe Plans Cost Cuts; Clock Ticking On Sale — This one slipped through the cracks amid our crazy conference week last week… Lycos Europe has recorded another big loss, and there is no buyer in sight for the ailing portal. The site lost EUR 17.1 million ($21.5 million) in the nine months to September 30; that’s against a EUR 44.1 million ($55.5 million) profit in the same period last year. The portal says ”cost management will be further tightened in the fourth quarter” – and no wonder: overall income dipped, too, but only from EUR 58.4 million ($73.4 million) to EUR 46.9 million ($59 million), so operating costs are proving to be a big drain.

Marvel Investing $10 Million In Digital Media; First Real Returns Expected In 2011 — Marvel’s investment in digital media, including digital publication of its comic books, is costing some profit on the publishing side, Peter Cuneo, vice chairman of the board, told analysts in today’s Q3 earnings call. According to the transcript (via Seeking Alpha), Cuneo answered a question about lower publishing growth by reminding: “Remember also that we are making a substantial investment in our digital publishing effort and we’ve noted in our press release today that the out-of-pocket in 2009 we anticipate will be around $6 million for that effort. So when you look at the publishing segment as a whole, you will see a decline in the profitability.” The company has invested $2.5 million to $3 million so far this year and plans to finish at $4 million. That would bring the total digital media inv*stm*nt for 2008-09 to about $10 million.

Reed Elsevier Picks Smith For CEO; $5.8M Possible Salary, RBI Sale Top Of To-Do List — Science and business publisher Reed Elsevier has announced who will lead the company following CEO Sir Crispin Davis’ planned retirement. Ian Smith starts as CEO-designate on January 1 until Davis finally leaves in March after nine years in charge. Smith comes with chief executive pedigree – he was formerly CEO of building group Taylor Woodrow and General Healthcare Group. He will get a $1.4 million (£900,000) annual salary but, as the release says, through the company’s incentive and bonus scheme he could get an extra sum worth three times his salary – $5.8 million (£3.6 million) overall.

EA’s Troubles Could Present An Acquisition Opportunity For Big Media — Would Disney consider buying Electronic Arts? That’s the suggestion being floated by Heard on the Street’s Martin Peers at the WSJ. With EA’s stock at its lowest point in more than seven years, competitors and other media giants may decide that now is the time to try to grab the games maker. Any suitor would also gain an immediate upper-hand in the mobile space, with EA becoming the No. 1 mobile game publisher soon after it acquired Jamdat in 2006. Peers argues that Disney makes the most sense because EA’s largest assets include sports titles that would fit nicely with Disney’s ESPN cable network. It would also allow Disney to save the $200 million that it spends each year to develop its own games. Peers: “Disney would be gutsy to step up during the current economic uncertainty. But it might be better than waiting for better times and paying top dollar.”

New Yorker Launches Digital Edition; Free To Print Subscribers — At first I thought the ad in last week’s New Yorker was a mirage, a promise of a digital edition that would arrive when the magazine was published—not a week later like the print edition. And when the post-registration response was a promise to let me know when the first edition was ready, let’s say I didn’t hold my breath. Turns out the wait was much shorter than expected: the first web-based digital edition arrived in my inbox late yesterday and I finally had the chance to open it today. Exactly as promised, it’s the complete print New Yorker in digital format. (Yes, I know some of you are anti-replica but some people want the magazine experience online.) Much of the magazine already appears online but timing varies to encourage newsstand and subscription sales; the cartoons are all online via CartoonBank.com.

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