By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 3, 2010 at 8:14AM
It's a smart move for Mail.com CEO Jay Penske to bring on trade-savvy Lynne Segall as vice president/publisher, who was unaccountably let go by the LA Times, where she launched The Envelope, among other cash cows.
I knew Segall at The Hollywood Reporter; she works the town better than anyone. That will be a prime asset for Segall as she promotes Mail.com properties, most of which are based in New York (Movieline, Hollywood Life, Deadline New York), while Deadline Hollywood is run out of the apartment of Nikki Finke, who is not a shut-in, but does not go out to see movies or socialize with the industry. Segall's other goal will be to improve Deadline and Movieline's endemic advertising, which should be better given their healthy traffic (some Oscar advertisers are leery of Finke's snarky copy).
This could prove another setback to Variety, which is still reeling from the loss of newshound Mike Fleming to Deadline. Variety editor Tim Gray seems still to be wrapping his head around what a blogger is. On the other hand, Segall adds another hefty salary to Mail.com's growing payroll.
Another power move is ex-Fine Line and Picturehouse marketing exec Marian Koltai-Levine joining PMK*BNC, which recently lost the HBH part of the company and has been losing business to rising powerhouse 42 West, co-run by ex-PMK partner Leslee Dart. Koltai-Levine will run PMK's new marketing and distribution division.
PMK will now be able to compete more effectively with 42 West in the indie sector. To that end, Koltai-Levine is bringing over eight staffers from her Zipline Entertainment, which handled PR chores on Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right and cable channel Epix. Like 42 West's Cynthia Swartz, Koltai-Levine offers strategy and marketing acumen to growing numbers of indie filmmakers who need info and expertise on how to self-release their films. Rachel Aberly will report to New Yorker Koltai-Levine from PMK's Los Angeles office.
In other media changes, new Forbes editorial director Lewis D'Vorkin (founder of True/Slant) is giving every writer on staff a blog. Smart man.
On the other hand, the news that Washington Post Co. is selling 77-year-old Newsweek for $1 to 91-year-old businessman Sidney Harman (husband of California Congresswoman Jane Harman) does not bode well for the mag's future. I don't understand why more media watchers aren't calling out departing editor Jon Meacham for his role in bringing down the magazine with stunted print strategies that were bound to fail and a lack of understanding of what readers want in print and online. I canceled my Newsweek sub long ago, but happily still read Time--along with The New Yorker and New York.