While Time Inc. has not yet finalized its print plan for next year, the total number of SI issues "will likely shrink again, potentially to as few as 24, turning the magazine into a bi-weekly," according to sources cited by Daniel Roberts of YAHOO FINANCE. As Time has "shifted its focus to video, print issue counts have shrunk." As recently as '15, SI "put out 51 issues." That "went to 45 issues" last year, and this year, SI will "put out just 38 issues" (FINANCE.YAHOO.com, 7/13). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jeffrey Trachtenberg notes Time will try to "lure paying subscribers" for the upcoming SI video service it "expects to launch" in Q4. Time Head of Programming Ian Orefice "believes passionate sports fans will be willing to pay for the service, even though it won’t have live sports programming at launch." Instead, subscribers will "get a blend of expert commentary, documentaries and swimsuit features." Orefice said that Time is "still working on price points and distribution partners." The publisher is "learning how to program for a digital audience." Traditionally, Time would have "treated its search for a new model" for the next SI swimsuit issue as a "closely guarded secret." Instead, Orefice noted that this year, the publisher "live-streamed a three-day open casting call on Instagram." The company "came up with the concept too late to sell advertising against the event." Meanwhile, publishing conglomerate Condé Nast also is "building up its long-form video." Its digital unit "sold a behind-the-scenes sports series, 'Last Chance U,' to Netflix" in '15 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/17).
With the ACC Network expected to launch in '19, the Florida State staffer in charge of the department's production capabilities believes the school is "ahead of the curve," as Seminole Productions "already handles various game-day operations and multiple shows featuring coaches," according to Jordan Culver of the TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT. FSU has "already spent" about $3M in upgrades to its control rooms in the Moore Athletic Center. FSU Exec Dir of Seminole Productions & Specialized Faculty Mark Rodin said that there is still about $3.5M more that "needs to be spent." More control rooms "need to be built and fiber optic cables need to be run from each venue." The control rooms will cost about $2M and running the cables will cost around $1.5M. Rodin: "Over the next 12 months, we’re trying to get two more control rooms built. That’s our next phase, to get our final control rooms built and the rest of the equipment we need for the network so that by next August, when ESPN wants us ready, we’re ready to train, we’re ready to go." Rodin added, "They would like us to be doing linear productions as quickly as we can. (The network is) a revenue split between ESPN and athletics. The more they can save on production costs, with being comfortable with the universities doing their own productions, then the more revenue there is to split." Culver noted students will be "key components to the success" of the ACC Net. Rodin said that a typical football game production "takes 35 to 40 people." Other events "take about 20 people." Rodin said that he has a staff of "about 14 full-time people." Students "make up the difference" (TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT, 7/16).
REAL STEEL: Pitt AD Heather Lyke said preparing for the ACC Net is a "massive undertaking, and also incredibly exciting." Lyke: "We have a major investment. There's infrastructure costs, there's infrastructure pieces to it, there's personnel pieces to it." While the channel is slated to debut in fall '19, each individual school "must be ready to go" by fall '18. Lyke said that she "doesn’t yet have an exact number in terms of the financial commitment needed." However, she said it is a "significant investment" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/15).
In N.Y., Juliet Macur wrote if someone asks NBC's Mike Tirico "deeper questions about his background, or about his being one of the most prominent broadcasters of African-American lineage on television, he doesn’t want to engage." He has been "dealing with questions about his race for years, most of the time wearily." Tirico describes himself as "mixed race." Tirico: "Why do I have to check any box? If we live in a world where we’re not supposed to judge, why should anyone care about identifying?" He added, “The race question in America is one that probably never produces a satisfactory answer for those who are asking the questions” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/16).
SEARCHING FOR TALENT: SPORTING NEWS' Michael McCarthy cited sources as saying that FS1 "may add a female co-host to its new national morning show," as it has "been in talks to add former 'Today' correspondent/anchor Jenna Wolfe, among others." Sources added that Wolfe is "described as a 'finalist' for the job after she 'killed' her audition to join Cris Carter and Nick Wright on FS1's planned 'First Things First.'" The "funny, vivacious Wolfe could be a big addition" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/16). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Bob Raissman reported months before he was fired, former Fox Sports National Networks President Jamie Horowitz attempted to make Fox Sports radio’s Clay Travis the "next 'star' of the network by giving him his own television show." But there "was a catch: All Travis had to do to land the gig was ditch" talk of politics on his show (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/16).
MAKING A RACQUET: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes ESPN’s analyst "overkill" at Wimbledon was a "smack in face to those" recently laid off. Mushnick: "Imagine being among the estimated 100 ESPN employees laid off this year for cost cutting, then seeing and hearing from seven ... pre-match analysts who were in England to comment on Saturday’s Venus Williams-Garbine Muguruza Wimbledon final." Then "add the in-match commentators, Chris Fowler and Chris Evert, and there were nine ESPN people heard on just one match played between just two women" (N.Y. POST, 7/17).