September 21, 2015 Last Updated 4:04 pm

Tribune Publishing looks to tell its side of the story after much publicized leadership changes

Morning Brief: Time Inc. UK relaunches NME as a free weekly magazine and updates its UK and North American digital edition apps; Amazon Web Services (and TNM) outages

Tribune Publishing this weekend faced the prospect that The New York Times would be writing about their troubles in Los Angeles, and focusing on their sinking stock price. So, whether it was coincidence or not, it granted its own media and tech reporters interviews with the company’s CEO, Jack Griffin, in order to get its side of the story out. (No links as the company uses pop-up ads.)

LAT-front-400The company recently fired its publisher in Los Angeles, raising its own profile at a time when it didn’t need any bad publicity. Its stock, which debuted last summer at just above $24 a share, has been sliding of late on earnings reports that have proved disappointing. The last thing the company needed was to become a soap opera.

[Update: TPUB stock fell hard on Monday, losing over 17 percent in value. If the goal was to lessen the worries of investors it didn’t work. The company has scheduled a investor conference call for Tuesday.]

It is strange, though, that media observers have chosen now to start raising doubts about the future of the company as it was apparent at the time of the spin-off that Tribune Publishing would be a long shot to succeed. It is now almost exclusively a print company, and one not conceived with a bank account loaded with cash (unlike Rupert Murdoch that spun-off his newspapers with a stipend of $2.6 billion in cash).

Despite being born with some disadvantages, Tribune has pulled off probably the most important recent newspaper acquisition, the purchase of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Looking at the industry from the outside, one can see that Tribune Publishing owns a pretty formidable line-up of titles, despite not being in the New York market.

But investors are skeptical about these new print-oriented spin-offs, and for good reason. If the future is supposedly digital, then it looks bad when – as at Gannett – the valuable digital assets get assigned to the new broadcast company rather than the print side. Some wonder if Tribune Publishing may be the canary in the coal mine for newspaper spin-offs.

Of course, these spin-offs are not exclusive to newspapers. Time Inc. was separated from Time Warner, and the recent sale of Meredith to Media General have some wondering if the magazine properties will either be sold off or spun-off, as well.

AWS-chartAmazon Web Services had a bit of a meltdown on Sunday, causing such web properties as Netflix to experience outages. The timing was likely about as good as it might have been as the outage only got a small bit of attention in the media (I didn’t know about due to traveling).

Amazon, though, is not the only company that has recently experienced some up-time troubles.

This site, if you have noticed, has been down frequently of late. The cause may be redirects, but it I really cannot be sure as the plug-in that may be causing the problem was deactivated this morning, yet the site crashed for a time before I noticed it had immediately fixed the file that is constantly being corrupted.

If you notice the site down, it would be appreciated if you could Tweet the problem to TNM (here).

NME-300Time Inc. UK has relaunched NME (formerly known as New Musical Express). The struggling title has relaunched as a free weekly magazine. Time Inc UK said the relaunch issue “generated the biggest advertising revenue in 15 years and features five times the volume of advertising compared with the corresponding issue last year.”

“We are launching an exciting new NME magazine with great commercial appeal into the free market with the benefit of it already being an iconic media brand. The launch cover star speaks volumes about NME’s access to the biggest artists in the world,” said Paul Cheal, managing director of Innovation, Time Inc. UK.

In addition to the change in business model – paid to free – the magazine has also updated its digital edition apps. The publisher has both UK and North American versions available inside iTunes.

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