Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Print and TV Move under a Single Roof

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Print and TV Move under a Single Roof

Article excerpt

What a difference a decade can make.

Back in 1987, when Steve Friedman tried to rewrite the daily newspaper USA Today into a television show, it was a short, $50 million failed effort to mix oil and water. Says the current WCBS station manager, it was a clash of two distinct cultures with no single boss to unite them. He adds, "We never really figured out how to tap into what they did."

Things are different today. First, print and television are under a single roof in the big media giants such as Time Warner Inc. and Rupert Murdoch's empire. Now, says Mr. Friedman, "when the top bosses say let's make this work, the whole corporate culture is behind it." Next, and equally important, the culture has become more TV-reliant than even a decade ago. Today's audiences have been primed by the proliferation of newsmagazines such as "Dateline NBC" and now turn to television more than ever as a primary and secondary information source. For evidence of this trend toward an increased print-broadcast alchemy, look no further than the coming-events calendar at CNN. This spring, Ted Turner's network, which is now a Time Warner Company, is launching an ambitious slate of print-based shows under the banner of "CNNewstand." Time, Fortune, and Entertainment Weekly all will find a CNN berth. If the shows go well, two more will be added to create a print-TV partnership at CNN for every weekday. Outside the media giants, the print-video synergy is proliferating: a Learning Channel spinoff of the Science Times section from The New York Times, CNBC air time for The Wall Street Journal, and in a twist, an ESPN print version of its 24-hour sports channel - not to mention well-established lifestyle magazines from Martha Stewart Living to Field & Stream. Cross-promotion marketing is the engine driving this trend, according to PaineWebber media analyst Chris Dixon. The lifestyle publications were the first to be successful because home decorating and fly-fishing translate so well to video. News, he says, has been the final frontier for television because the rational discourse of written news analysis and the emotional world of television images "draw on such different skills. …

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