The Morning Lowdown 01-27-11

»  What could have been… Demand Media (NYSE: DMD) priced its IPO on Wednesday and saw its stock rise 33 percent its first day. But four years, ago, the New York Times (NYSE: NYT) came close to buying it til the decision was nixed by CEO Janet Robinson, paidContent founder Rafat Ali tweeted earlier. WSJ’s Russell Adam added some other details to the tweet, including that the deal would have been for a 49 percent stake in a company that combined Demand and NYTCo’s About. [WSJ]

»  In 2010, magazines appeared to be crawling out of the giant gaping ad hole they were after two years, but now that packaged goods marketers like Kraft and Unilever have begun pulling back on ad spending. [Mediaweek]

»  AOL (NYSE: AOL) hyperlocal network Patch’s doubters are legion. But Nick Carlson points out that the real challenges it faces to driving traffic is the sense that Facebook already provides all the local news users need, while Groupon informs them of local things to buy and do. [Business Insider]

»  As its revenue model takes shape, Twitter has begun testing a self-serve ad platform with marketers and agencies. The microblog expects to it sometime before June. [Mediapost]

»  Okay, Tribune Company is still bankrupt. But at least it’s making more money. Consolidated operating cash flow in 2010 was roughly $635 million – that’s a $140 million gain over full-year 2009. But this is Tribune and there will be no celebrating, so it warned staffers this year looks still looks “challenging,” given the lack of major political ad spend for broadcast and continued pressure on print. [Romenesko]

»  The TED conferences have long been streamed online. Now they can be read. The conference business is getting into e-book publishing. The e-books will be longer than an article and shorter than an average print book. And they will be cheap, about $2.99 each via Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN). Chris Anderson, Wired editor and TED curator, says the conference plans to publish one e-book each month. [NYT Media Decoder]