Jan 18, 2012

Blackbaud acquires Convio

Blackbaud, a software provider for nonprofit organizations including public broadcasters, has agreed to purchase Convio, another firm that helps pubcasters with fundraising. Both boards of directors have unanimously approved the transaction, structured as a cash tender offer followed by a merger, according to an announcement on"Blackbaud noted that the acquisition of Convio will combine both companies' strengths to provide a comprehensive and compelling set of multi-channel supporter engagement solutions to nonprofit organizations of all sizes," the announcement said. Blackbaud had acquired Target Analytics, another public broadcasting station vendor, in 2007.

Vanity Fair examines NPR's "annus horribilis of 2011"

"NPR has always been a curiously insular institution," according to a long look at the network in the latest Vanity Fair, "a place where people with common backgrounds congregate, stay around forever, live near and sometimes marry one another (at one point Susan Stamberg actually kept track of how many such matches there had been)."

“It’s a self-involved and self-defining culture,” an NPR insider told writer David Margolick. “I suppose it’s only a matter of time before an NPR couple produces the first NPR baby who becomes an NPR reporter.”

As an outsider, new NPR President Gary Knell, former head of Sesame Workshop, "seems well suited to pop NPR out of its Beltway bubble," Margolick writes. "In the process, he could help it to develop the maturity and competence, confidence and toughness, to match its steadily growing influence and reach."

The story explores at length the Juan Williams firing scandal. There's also a related piece focusing on Williams himself,  including allegations of harassment of women staffers during his tenure at the Washington Post — accusations Williams has previously described as "totally false."

Could "Downton" be headed for Hollywood?

The Sun newspaper in Britain is reporting that the Masterpiece Classic hit Downton Abbey could be in for a movie treatment. After Downton's win for best mini-series at the Golden Globes on Sunday (Jan. 15), creator Julian Fellowes "was virtually mobbed at the event's after-party at the Beverly Hilton, with actors and movie bosses wanting to know whether there was a film on the cards."

"Julian was explaining he would have to give the idea a lot of thought and that lots of people have already asked him about film rights," the paper reports. "Insiders suggested any film is likely to deal with a single event that engulfs the Abbey and its characters that won't detract from the ongoing TV narrative."

Fellowes won a screenplay Oscar for the 2001 British film Gosford Park, which starred Downton's Maggie Smith.

Meanwhile, writing in Newsweek, Simon Schama, Columbia University history professor, calls Downton "cultural necrophilia." Well.

Attention RSS readers

Were Season 2 broadcast rights to Downton Abbey held up during the ongoing — and sometimes acrimonious — production contract negotiations between PBS and its largest member producing station, WGBH? Check out Current's story.