February 9, 2017 Last Updated 10:12 am

Twitter stock sinks as company posts $167M fourth quarter loss; Nor’easter to shutdown much of New England, NYC

Morning Brief: New Meredith-Time rumors as investor group may provide the financial power to make a deal possible to buy entire company, though separate asset sales still likely

The sick man of social media, Twitter, today reported disappointing earnings. Despite the general election, where more and more politicians put their money in social media, Twitter revenue grew only 1 percent during the final quarter of 2016.

“2016 was a transformative year as we reset and focused on why people use Twitter: it’s the fastest way to see what’s happening and what everyone’s talking about,” said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “We overcame the toughest challenge for any consumer service at scale by reversing declining audience trends and re-accelerating usage. As a result, in the fourth quarter, daily active usage accelerated for the third consecutive quarter, and we see this strong growth continuing. While revenue growth continues to lag audience growth, we are applying the same focused approach that drove audience growth to our revenue product portfolio, focusing on our strengths and the real-time nature of our service. This will take time, but we’re moving fast to show results.”

Quarterly GAAP net loss was $167 million.

Mobile advertising accounted for 89 percent of total revenue, but overall ad revenue was down slightly.

“We’re hearing positive feedback from our ad partners about our continued acceleration in audience growth andengagement,” said Twitter COO said Anthony Noto. “That said, revenue growth will continue to lag audience growth due to the sales cycle, and could be further impacted by the escalating competition for digital advertising spending and our efforts to re-evaluate our revenue product feature portfolio.”

Twitter chose not to give guidance for the first quarter of 2017, which may explain why investors are hammering the stock so badly in pre-market trading. Twitter stock is down over 10 percent before the bell.

“Just like Myspace perhaps Twitter does not what to ‘change the formula’ for fear of losing its unique simple user experience, but the shareholders and CEO Jack Dorsey are running out of time. These figures will make it a target for a takeover if this slide continues,” said Mark Skilton of Warwick Business School.

If today feels like a slow day in media it might be because the Northeast is getting hit by a major winter storm. Forecasters predict that Boston and New York City could get 8 to 12 inches of snow, with most schools closed.

Fox News, Travis Fedschun:

Northeast braces for up to a foot of snow from winter storm

This is going to be a big punch,” said Benjamin Sipprell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts, told the Associated Press. “It’s originating in the Ohio River Valley and starts cranking as it comes across Appalachia.”

In New York City, the Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Department of Sanitation, announced that Alternate Side Parking regulations will be suspended citywide for the day due to the weather, according to FOX 5 New York…

…Officials in the Boston area have advised motorists to avoid the roads Thursday, FOX 25 Boston reported.

“The weather forecast is calling for snow to begin before the morning commute on Thursday, become heavy quickly, and continue throughout the day, decreasing visibility and braking time,” Massachusetts Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin said in a statement. “Safety is our greatest priority, and as this snow storm is expected to create potentially hazardous conditions for the morning and evening commutes, we encourage all travelers to make safe and smart decisions and avoid heading out onto the roadways if they are able to.”

It’s the rumor that won’t die: Meredith is looking to acquire Time Inc. But this time, the rumor is that an investor group is looking to back the deal, that might be all that is necessary to make it happen this time.

What has held back a deal in the past is the fact that magazine publishers such as Meredith or Hearst really were more interested in select titles that would fit in well with their current portfolios. Magazines such Southern Living, InStyle, Real Simple, Cooking Light and Food & Wine would seem to be a natural fit. But then there are those weeklies.

Dow Jones:

Meredith, Bronfman Move Forward in Effort to Acquire Time Inc

Meredith and an investor group led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. have advanced in their pursuit of Time Inc. as the publisher explores a possible sale, according to people familiar with the situation…

…It wasn’t clear where Meredith and Mr. Bronfman’s group stand in the race to acquire Time Inc., which publishes such magazines as Sports Illustrated, People and Fortune. Other parties have also signed nondisclosure agreements, the people said.

Besides selling outright, Time Inc. has others options, including taking on a large investor as a partner or selling off some assets. The company may also decide not to strike a deal.

At trade industry events who are the headliners: the heads of the major publishing companies, old men usually, who I am sure get up each day and open up their copy of The New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Why in God’s name anyone is interested in hearing from them, then eating rubber chicken, is a mystery to me.

No, the future of digital media can be seen on the train as young people read the news on their phones, or in libraries where print magazines are being replaced by digital services. All those “print is back” stories get read on digital devices.

The future can also be seen in the reading habits of college student…

IowasWatch.org, Madison Coates:

Iowa’s College-Based Newspapers Adapt To Digital Readers

Student-run college newspapers across Iowa are feeling familiar newspaper industry trend repercussions, reporting fewer print readers but increased online readership as young readers increasingly get their news from digital sources.

“I honestly don’t think any students on our campus read our newspaper, especially the physical copy,” said Ashley Smith, The Simpsonian’s senior editor in chief…

Christian Hindt, 20, a Mount Mercy University junior from Cedar Rapids, said he goes online because he has an overloaded schedule.

“I occasionally read the school newspaper but when I do it comes down to having the free time, where I am caught up on everything else both in school and at home,” Hindt said. “But I do prefer to get my news online for the fact that its easier access with always being on the go with our current generation. We are always on the move.”

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