Articles of the Day

SEC Won’t Enforce Rule That Would Make Facebook Finances Public  — Facebook isn’t a public company and it isn’t going to have to act like one any time soon. According to BusinessWeek, the SEC agreed that it won’t enforce a rule that would require public disclosure of financial results when the number of equity holders hits 500 and the assets total more than $10 million because the only class likely to be affected covers employee equity granted through restricted stock units (RSUs). The RSUs won’t be issued unless the company changes hands or launches an IPO. The SEC’s promise of no action—the equivalent of an exemption—was issued last month following a letter from Facebook law firm Fenwick & West in anticipation that Facebook could hit the 500 mark for employees with equity. The exemption wouldn’t cover the company’s common stock or preferred stock for Series A, B, & D, which involve investors or a mix of employees and investors.

BBC Trust: BBC Must Drop $100 Million Local Video Plan; Would Hurt Commercial Rivals — The BBC has been blocked from beginning a £68 million ($101 million), four-year program to add video bulletins to its 65 local UK websites – a proposal that had been vigorously contested by concerned commercial publishers. After a five-month inquiry, the BBC Trust regulator said on Friday the plan would hurt the nascent online video efforts of struggling local newspaper publishers, many of which were forced to answer falling profits and the classified ads downturn with layoffs this week.

Kaiser Family, Other Non-Profits Launching Independent Health News Services — Sensing a void in health care policy news coverage these days, the non-profit Kaiser Foundation is jumping on a recent trend and starting its own web-based news service, NYT reports. Kaiser, which focuses almost exclusively on the subject of national health care concerns, plans to form content sharing arrangements with a variety of media outlets. The service will build on Kaiser’s existing site, which includes aggregated news reports and policy papers. That site has about 100,000 daily pageviews and 55,000 subscribers. 

With Ad Spend Still Down, Financial News Turns To Rising Readership For Revenue Boost — Although financial news providers’ audience numbers have shot up markedly since the global economic crisis erupted this fall, that hasn’t reversed the downward slide of ad dollars. Now, more financial publishers are looking for a revenue boost to come from subscriptions, while those that already primarily rely on such fees are counting on partnerships to support rising audience demand for more content. Even premium products seem poised for growth as publishers seek to tap as many alternatives to the ad model as possible, an IHT piece suggests. Surveying the burst of attraction financial content is getting from cable TV and website users—e.g.,’s uniques doubled to 40 million last month, while CNBC’s Q3 daytime viewership rose 26 percent—IHT finds publishers like Financial Times’ parent Pearson (NYSE: PSO) continuing to emphasize reducing its reliance on advertisers, as it has for the past year. So far, its plan seems to be working: less than one-third of FT Group’s revenues now come from ad dollars. 

GigaOm Network Parting Ways With Federated; Going With IDG’s Tech Ad
— Giga Omni Media (GOM), the parent company of the popular network of tech sites including GigaOm, is parting ways with its long time ad partner Federated Media, and moving to a more enterprise-focused IDG TechNetwork, IDG’s tech ad network, we have learned and confirmed from the two companies. The new deal with IDG is for all CPM-based online advertising across GOM’s network of seven sites, and the company will still sell events and online sponsorships directly on its own. While this is not a significant monetary setback for Federated, it does point to what the
John Battelle-founded online-ad company is giving up as it continues to scale: Its focus has been on large-scale national advertisers and creating
both general and custom programs with them, as opposed to the more ‘intimate” sells required for enterprise-focused vendors that GOM attracts.
FM has a big-brand focus, for most part, and beyond its early start with tech sites, it has now moved into all kinds of other verticals like parenting, food, graphic arts, small business and others.  

WSJ Targets NYT’s Luxury Advertisers; NYTCo Stock Hits New Low On Ad
— The increasingly Murdochized WSJ has been aggressively trying to lure NYT’s luxury advertisers in much the same way the financial newspaper has been trying to broaden its coverage to grab its rivals general news readership. For example, high-end retailer and long-time NYT ad client Saks Inc. has recently been promoting a new Chanel boutique and men’s suit sale in WSJ, Milton Pedraza, CEO of market researcher Luxury Institute, points out to Bloomberg. WSJ is definitely taking away luxury ad dollars from the NYT, both on the print and digital sides, Pedraza told me. Although luxury marketers are shifting more of their declining overall ad spend online, the fight over the category will become more intense he expects.

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