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Media Watch: HitFix Raises $1.6 Million, Conde Nast and NYT Changes, Cantor Exits Futures Exchange

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood June 30, 2010 at 1:00AM

When New York Times Magazine editor Gerry Marzorati leaves his post at the end of the summer, he will re-post as assistant managing editor responsible for amping up new projects jumping off the New York Times Co. NYT editor Bill Keller's memo to the staff stated the need for:
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Thompson on Hollywood

When New York Times Magazine editor Gerry Marzorati leaves his post at the end of the summer, he will re-post as assistant managing editor responsible for amping up new projects jumping off the New York Times Co. NYT editor Bill Keller's memo to the staff stated the need for:

"someone who can be our eyes and ears, focused fulltime on the next wave of new projects, to assure that our creative energy gets channeled where it’s needed and to help assure that these new products and services live up to Time standards."

Marzorati's duties will include "monitoring new ventures" and offering "newsroom perspective." Keller assured staff that filling Mazorati's shoes at the Magazine ("one of the best jobs in journalism) would not be rushed, and invited anyone with a great vision for the magazine and an "ability to execute" to step forward via a memo.

-Entertainment start-up HitFix has raised $1.6 million from investment network Tech Coast Angels. The site differentiates itself by offering "insider entertainment news without the pesky gossip." The investment will help the news site, which covers film, awards, TV, and music, compete with larger sites and grow what its million-plus-and-growing following.

-Conde Nast's group president, David Carey, is defecting to become president of competitor Hearst Magazines. Cathie Black, after 15 years as president, is now chairman of Hearst. Conde Nast also recently announced the departure of exec Tom Florio, whose titles included Vogue, at the end of this month. While at Conde Nast, Carey improved The New Yorker's profitability, oversaw Wired, Golf Digest and the birth and death of Portfolio. As the two houses compete, Hearst seems more apt to adjust to the times; they offer all 14 magazines in digital app format, whereas Conde Nast offers only a few, including Wired, for iPad users.

-The Cantor Futures exchange, despite winning approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for offering its first products (intended first for The Expendables), will not go ahead because of pending legislation that would ban the box office derivatives trading. The approval granted by the CFTC was given only after Cantor made amendments that would guard against "manipulation or any other abusive conduct in the trading of any contract by knowledgeable and informed sources within the studio." The CFTC's commissioner Bart Chilton previously said that box office receipts were not 'commodities,' writing that "If movie futures are traded we could also have terrorism contracts or death pool contracts. None are good ideas."

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.