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Week of September 25, 2017

Those who don’t remember the Sixties will be condemned to repeat them
winds of September

The Sixties were, arguably, revolutionary. Popular music changed. Attitudes toward sex changed. Wars were fought, won and lost, over old ideas and new. Television arrived full force and the world grew smaller. Millennials are completely ignorant of the Sixties, said a 2015 American Association of Retired People (AARP) report. Ancient history, to them, is the ’90’s.

Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner is putting up for sale the majority share (51%) in the magazine, reported the New York Times (September 17). Keeping editorial control he sold 49% of the publishing company 12 months ago to Singapore investor BandLab. Mr. Wenner said he’s looking for a buyer with “lots of money.”

With roots in San Francisco, Rolling Stone began as a rock music magazine, moved into culture and politics. Music reviews still make or break careers. Its journalism has ended political careers. The more culture-oriented San Francisco-based publication Berkley Barb, founded in 1965, closed in 1980.

Time Inc indicated it is putting up for sale several titles, reported The Guardian (September 22), included NME, originally known as New Musical Express. NME is older than Rolling Stone but came into prominence as a UK pop music magazine. Its heyday came in the 1970’s, moving to punk from pop music. Melody Maker, arguably the world’s first music magazine (1926), closed at the end of 2000. Time Inc is also shedding fashion magazine Marie Clare.

New York’s iconic Village Voice published it final print newspaper last week (September 21). First published in 1955, Village Voice also came of age in the Sixties as a voice to alternative culture, arts and, of course, music. It will continue online.

And then there’s Playboy. Founder/publisher Hugh Hefner passed away this week (September 27). Known around the world, Playboy was either a journal of sexual liberation or exploitation, depending on point of view. It was first published in 1953 and reach its peak circulation in the 1970’s.

Tech brands at the top, media brands not so much, media/tech on the rise
hot red cars fill the parking lots, too

Every list grabs attention, not least of which are lists enumerating value of one sort or another. Winners become more attractive. Losers are shunned. It’s the way the world works, like it or not.

Interbrand released this week it annual list of 100 brands ranked by value. The criteria is somewhat subjective: brand influence, ability to command premium prices and, of course, financial performance.

Fewer and fewer pure media brands make the Interbrand list, though arguably all brands are media brands to some respect. Film and TV producer Disney is the highest ranking pure media brand, valued at US$40.772 billion and ranked 14th, between BMW and Intel. News, information and data service Thomson Reuters is next, valued at US$7.1 billion and ranked 66th. At 78th is subscription video on demand service and producer Netflix, new to the Interbrand list, valued at US$5.592 billion. It is followed by TV brand Discovery, part of Discovery Communications (79th), valued at US$5.411 billion. Disney fell one spot in the ranking year on year. Ranking for Thomson Reuters is unchanged. Discovery fell from 79th. (See more about brands and branding here)

Technology giants, predictably, took most of the top ten; Apple and Google at 1st and 2nd for the fifth year. Microsoft is third. Samsung placed 6th. Facebook’s brand value increased most, year on year, for 8th place. IBM, purely tech, is 10th. With products and services wrapped tightly between retail and tech and second growth in brand value, Amazon ranks 5th. Between Microsoft and Amazon is Coca-Cola (4th). Salesforce, the biggest tech company you’ve never heard of, debuted at 84th.

Also new to the Interbrand list is Ferrari (88th). Automotive brands did well, as usual. Luxury brands, not so much, but hot red cars are unique.

Regulator rejects fashion statement

Ukrainian authorities remain touchy, understandably, about the Crimea, annexed by force in 2014 by the Russian Federation. Ukraine does not recognize this annexation, nor does the United Nations. Over time Ukrainian media in the Crimea has been removed as have most other vestiges of Ukrainian and Tatar life and culture.

Last week Ukrainian broadcast regulator National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council fired off an official letter to World Fashion Channel Europa, operator of the TV channel of the same name, demanding redress after a graphic on the related website showed Crimea as part of the Russian Federation, reported Ukrainian media news website Detector Media (September 22). Ukrainian authorities have notified other media outlets about showing similar maps. (See more about media in Ukraine here)

"The regulator appealed to the television company with the requirement to take all possible measures to stop the distribution of inaccurate information posted on the site as part of the territorial affiliation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” said its statement. “Otherwise, the National Council will have grounds to consider the violations of the legislation as unfriendly to Ukrainian viewers and to the state of Ukraine in general.”

World Fashion Channel shows about what one might expect; zero-size models on cat-walks, bling and gossip. It is satellite-delivered to several countries. The company lists two headquarters; Milan, naturally, and Moscow. The principal owner is Russian billionaire retailer Igor Kesaev. The company has had no comment.

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