Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Little Of The old In And Out

In: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Is this then finally her "Iron Lady moment"? This blogger has a little parlor game going as to how long it will take for the last-standing-newsweeklies -- Newsweek, Time, The Economist -- to have a cover story of Hillary Clinton as "The Iron Lady." It is inevitable, isn't it? As someone who has observed the American -- particularly New York -- media world and also, ancillary to that, seen the Clinton narrative play itself out, it just seems logical.

Yesterday was a strong day for Madame Secretary. As I wrote at my side job, Kenneth Cole's AWEARNESS blog:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was greeted in Islamabad at the start of her 3-day mission on Wednesday by a massive car bomb which killed at least 90 people in a crowded market. "These attacks on innocent people are cowardly; they are not courageous; they are cowardly," Clinton, showing visible anger, told reporters, emphasizing that last word. Later in the day, Clinton initiated U.S. assistance program for Pakistan's energy sector -- strikingly contrasted against the nihilism of the bomb attack -- aimed at reducing electricity shortages. It is a perfect articulation of "smart power"; as one side seeks to annihilate, the other seeks to build Pakistan's economy. The Secretary has signalled that her foreign policy focus will be on women and children, the unsung victims of wars (and the majority of the planet's population). The first phase of Clinton's program, the centerpiece of the Secretary's first day in Pakistan, involves $125 million of American funding to Pakistan's beleaguered power sector.

That flash of moral anger by Hillary Clinton, not seen since those hot Tuesdays last summer in the thick of the 2008 Democrat primaries, reminds us that the standstill in Pakistan pending the outcome of the recent military actions and the President's plans for Afghanistan notwithsatnding, the United States is still capable of expressing moral anger at the murder of innocents.

Out: Quincy Smith. Quincy Smith, CEO of CBS Interactive is going starting an advisory buiness. From Paidcontent:

Smith’s mission at CBS was to grow online fast and the checkbook was open. Not blank, mind you, but if Smith could justify it, Moonves was likely to spend it from start through CNET. “We had to make acquisitions,” Smith said following the announcement. (The interviews were separate.) The biggest was $1.8 billion for CNET last year, a deal other media companies walked away from but Smith saw as a major complement to what CBS already had as well as a way to push CBS towards the top in traffic and video. (While I was typing this, CBSi sent out a press release saying it had jumped three spots to #4 in unique video viewers, according to comScore Videometrix.) Along the way Smith and CBS spent $280 million on UK music discovery service, $43 million on MaxPreps (Moonves calls it a “tuck in), and a few million here and there on smaller acquisitions and investments. They were buying ahead of the crash, when valuations were higher and money was flowing more easily.

It didn’t take Moonves long when I told him I was working on an estimate of how much CBS has spent on interactive—Smith prefers the term “investment”—in the last three years. I suggested $2.5 billion; no, maybe $2.2 billion is more like it, replied the CBS CEO. Was it worth it? “Absolutely. How would a media company look if they weren’t a major player online with their content?'

Quincy's first job in his start up will be advising CBS on their Web video strategy.

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