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Best of the Blogs, Media: Microsoft to Leave MSNBC

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Plus, Tumblr struggles to avoid "selling out."

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MINYANVILLE MEDIA This column highlights the most interesting and useful financial commentary on media from around the Web every Monday.

Mashable
Link: Microsoft Pulls Out of MSNBC
"Microsoft (MSFT) has cut its last ties with MSNBC, dissolving its affiliation with the brand's website.

"The breakup, announced Sunday night, comes after a 16-year partnership between the company and NBC (GE). The latter is buying back its 50% share of the site for an undisclosed sum, according to numerous reports. The website will now move its headquarters from Redmond, Wash., to New York."

The New York Times: Bits
Link: Can Tumblr's David Karp Embrace Ads Without Selling Out?
"The trick is making page views equal money. 'Pretty much every large tech company today,' Karp said, is essentially 'metrics driven.' Google (GOOG), Twitter, Facebook (FB): they're obsessed with 'optimizing' services, design, functionality and aesthetics through constant testing and tweaking. That ability to optimize and (not incidentally) monetize user experiences by reacting to microlevel data is the essence of Web-business magic, as it is generally understood.

"Karp chose not to operate that way. Rather than monetizing clicks, he wants advertisers to view Tumblr as a place to promote particularly creative campaigns to an audience whose attention is worth paying for. It's an approach that may or may not guide Tumblr into the black. But Karp isn't worried. His nice-young-man aspect makes it easy to miss the brashness of what he is saying: he isn't interested in competing, but not because he doesn't like competition. He just feels that he sees something everyone else has missed."

The New York Times: Media Decoder
Link: Ads for Skyy Vodka Come to TV
"Skyy, sold by the Campari America unit of Davide Campari-Milano and Grouppo Campari, is to start running its first commercial on Monday. Until now, the brand's ads have appeared in print and online.

"The commercial is to appear on cable channels like Bravo, Comedy Central (VIA), E!, ESPN, ESPN2 and TBS. Plans also call for the spot to run on Web sites that include Facebook (FB), Hulu and YouTube (GOOG)."

The Hollywood Reporter
Link: BBC Cuts Star Costs, Keeps U.K. Creative Industry Spending Flat in Latest Year
"The BBC spent £489 million ($761 million) on independent producers during 2011/2012, up from £467 million ($727 million) the previous year.

"The BBC also said it has shrunk its star pay by 4.5 percent to £9.5 million ($14.8 million), spending just north of £203 million ($315 million) in the last financial year on salaries for its presenters and 'talent,' as director general Mark Thompson defended the BBC amid criticism about star pay and presenters' fees, including those of Graham Norton and Chris Evans."

Wired
Link: Creative Destruction: How Advertising Is Swallowing the Creative Class
"Advertising rhetoric is notable in that it uses the language of art to describe the activities of business. I interpret this as the purest sort of propaganda, though it could more generously be interpreted as a sort of subconscious maneuver to invest a dreary business activity-selling things-with a more noble and attractive sheen. The panelists talked endlessly about the "culture" of their various agencies, an interesting word choice to replace 'H.R. activities.' Talk of advertising agency employees coming up with ideas for advertisements to help make money for clients is verboten; the process is one of 'creatives' manifesting 'creativity.' In this world, that creativity exists in a bubble, allowing it to be admired and marveled at by peers without making the dreary connection to its actual societal function. The Most Interesting Man In The World, yes; the fluctuations in the market cap of Heineken International (HEIA.AS), no."
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