November 10, 2015 Last Updated 12:17 pm

Newspapers may be experiencing falling ad revenue, but few want to put ad veterans in charge of reversing the trend

Morning Brief: Apple releases first tvOS update for the new Apple TV; Apple also releases its holiday schedule for book publishers submitting new books and updating prices through iTunes Connect

The latest batch of newspaper earnings reports were not out of the ordinary. In general, ad revenue fell between 1 percent to over 10 percent. Those media companies with more diversified revenue streams, such as News Corp that has both book and digital real estate services to offset falling newspaper ad revenue, did better.

Bloomberg columnist Justin Fox is amused that newspaper executives always want to say they “are making progress” with turning around falling ad revenue, as he cannot see any progress:

The biggest publicly traded newspaper companies in the U.S. reported earnings during the past couple of weeks, and the tone on the earnings calls was moderately upbeat. Executives at McClatchy, Tribune Publishing, News Corp. and the New York Times all made multiple mentions of the “progress” their companies had made recently. Nobody at Gannett went quite that far — understandable at a company where revenue dropped 4.5 percent from the same quarter a year before — but Chief Executive Officer Robert J. Dickey did say that it had been “a very solid third quarter, our first since becoming a standalone public company in terms of both operating performance and cash flows.”

What the column fails to point out, though, is that most newspaper companies are not run by executives with backgrounds in advertising. The one exception seems to be Bob Dickey at Gannett who started his career at the company as the Retail Advertising Manager in Reno. His predecessor, Gracia Martore, who is now CEO of the split off broadcast company TEGNA, came to newspapers from banking.

In the eighties it used to be the case that some on the editorial side of the business would complain that it was hard for a journalist to make it up the corporate ladder as those corporate offices seemed to be reserved for the ad folk (and sometimes the accountants). But things have certainly changed.

But that is not to say that an ad background is necessarily the answer, either. But it does help explain why so many newspaper executives can continue to report such poor revenue numbers without fear of losing their jobs: few got those jobs with any expectation that they knew much about the ad business.

Apple has released the first official update for the new Apple TV. The software will be identified as tvOS 9.0.1 and most will see it as a minor bug fix update.

AppleTV-updateApple gave no details of what can be found inside the update, but some are observing that the update fixes an authentication bug.

Additional problems are being discovered now that the new model of the Apple TV is in more hands. For instance, a number of owners are finding that they can no longer play movies that are on their Macs. Files that used to play on older Apple TV models will not stream through their new Apple TV. The issue seems to be that the movie files contain audio that is not supported by the new Apple TV – an oversight by the Apple developers and I’m sure one that will eventually be fixed.

Others continue to have issues with Home Sharing.

One of the biggest complaints owners have is that Apple did not update its own Remote app to make it work with the new Apple TV. The reason for this may be that the old Remote app did not use Siri.

Because of this Apple recently added a note to the app description:

Note: Remote is only compatible with Apple TV (3rd generation or earlier)

But users are not happy, to say the least. While the app currently has 133 5-star reviews, it now has 909 1-star reviews, making it one of the least popular apps Apple has released.

My own experience with the new Apple TV is that the hardware and connectivity is far superior to the old model (and no wonder, that 3rd generation Apple TV was getting quite old). But I have found more bugs, apps that crash, and the like. But, in general, I am now using the Apple TV more than the Roku – though I still have a Roku 3 as the new Roku 4 sent to me was dead on arrival and shipped back.

Apple also recently notified book publishers of their holiday deadlines.

For books scheduled to be released between December 18 and 31 publishers should have their books submitted by Monday, December 14. For books publishers want released between January 1 to 8, 2016 they should have them in by Friday, December 18, 2015.

They also warn publishers to not make wholesale changes inside the iTunes Connect system between December 22 and the 29th as they may not make it through the system.

Publisher support will remain available every day during the holidays except on the holidays themselves, November 26 (Thanksgiving) and Christmas and New Year’s Day.

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