Media Companies
Recent Headlines

Sinclair Raises $1.1 Million in Debt to Fund Acquisition
A unit of Sinclair Broadcast Group is raising $1.05 billion in the junk-bond and loan markets to finance its acquisition of TV stations owned by the Allbritton family. The company plans to raise $500 million of new term loans maturing in July 2021, according to a statement Wednesday.

Weinstein Adds TV Projects Amid Possible Stake Sale
Weinstein Co. is clinching deals to expand TV production as founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein consider selling a stake in the division. Weinstein has signed with Discovery for a third season of the reality series "Trailer Park: Welcome to Myrtle Manor," among other projects.

Tribune Digital Ventures Buys TV E-Guide What's-ON
Multichannel News
Tribune's technology arm has acquired What's-ON, a TV search and electronic program guide data provider for India and the Middle East. Tribune said the deal expands its TV listings and video metadata footprint to 50 countries and its reach to 600 million TV subscribers.

Fox's Murdoch Goes Eerily Silent on Twitter Account
Sydney Morning Herald
Rupert Murdoch's account on Twitter has been among the most scrutinized. Yet, the normally combative feed has been mostly silent in recent months. The 83-year-old media mogul didn't mutter a word after the conviction of Andy Coulson and the acquittal of golden-girl Rebekah Brooks.

Disney Halts Movie Sales on Apple iTunes in Japan
Disney has stopped on-demand sales of new movies through Apple's online store in Japan after the two companies couldn't reach an agreement on sales. Sales through iTunes of films, including "Frozen" and "Thor: The Dark World," have halted and the company is trying to restart the service.

FCC Names Lawyers to Lead Big Media Deal Reviews
A Federal Communications Commission lawyer will lead the U.S. agency's review of the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, while an external lawyer will head up the review of AT&T's bid for DirecTV. Members of the office of FCC chief Tom Wheeler will be involved.

Disney's Iger Sees Tech-Enabled Future for Leisure
Wall Street Journal
Bob Iger, CEO of Disney: "What will that future look like? I'm hesitant to make predictions. But a few things seem certain to me. In short, we are creating what I like to call technology-enabled leisure. Mobile storytelling, and mobile entertainment, will dominate our lives."

Sports Leagues, Team Owners Eye New Media Profits
Major League Baseball Advanced Media began streaming live video in 2002. It currently has 3 million paid subscribers to its digital products, and is projected to have more than $800 million in revenue this year. "There's a whole generation of people who don't consider this new media."

Comcast Adds Mobile-Ad Prowess, Worrying Rivals
Wall Street Journal
Comcast's recent purchase of FreeWheel Media, a mobile-advertising tech firm, has stoked fear among rivals that the cable giant is gathering too much influence over the digital-TV business. "Do you really want a competitor to have access to what's going on in your digital backyard?"

Disney Chooses 11 Startups for Accelerator Program
Los Angeles Business
Disney has selected 11 companies for the first round of its tech accelerator program. The Disney Accelerator is a 15-week immersive project that gives companies top Disney execs as mentors, up to $120,000 in investment capital and access to the entertainment giant's resources.

New Media Landscape to Shift the Talk in Sun Valley
Wall Street Journal
Allen & Co.'s annual gathering of media and tech execs kicks off Tuesday in Sun Valley, Idaho, against a business landscape that has shifted radically since last year. Deal makers said they wouldn't be surprised to see Apple, Google or Amazon make a bid for a media company.

Old Media Circling YouTube Multichannel Networks
New York Post
YouTube multichannel networks have been getting a lot of calls from traditional media companies looking to invest. "The real question is how do these companies become profitable? Google takes 50% of your revenue and you have to split the other 50% with the talent."

Viacom's 'Transformers' Tops Weak July 4 Weekend
Associated Press
The Fourth of July went off like a dud at the box office, as the Michael Bay sequel "Transformers: Age of Extinction" and the Melisa McCarthy comedy "Tammy" led the weakest summer holiday weekend in at least a decade. Hollywood "simply didn't aim for big fireworks this year."

News Corp Seen as Suitor for Australia's Ten Network
Ten Network is said to be weighing a possible sale, after a string of programming flops and two years of losses. The Australian TV channel "is so cheap that acquirers can buy it for less than the value of its broadcasting license." Suitors might include Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Big Media to Enjoy Boost from Sequels, Superheroes
Hollywood is likely to produce more sequels, animated films and superhero flicks. Nomura analyst Anthony DiClemente has raised his forecasts for Disney, Fox, and Time Warner, arguing that their efforts to make films in genres popular with overseas audiences should bring profits.

Viacom's 'Transformers' Bigger in China Than in U.S.
"Transformers: Age of Extinction," widely expected to be the top-grossing film in U.S. theaters this summer, is proving an even bigger hit in China. Sales in the No. 2 film market behind the U.S. have totaled $134.5 million since Viacom's Paramount Pictures released the film on June 27.

Time Warner's 'Tammy' Ready to Fight Optimus Prime
Los Angeles Times
The Fourth of July weekend brings no new big-budget blockbusters, leaving room for "Transformers: Age of Extinction" to continue to dominate the box office. But there could be room for comic star Melissa McCarthy to deliver a hit. Her "Tammy" is likely to see a solid second-place finish.

Fox's Murdoch Takes Family on Holiday to Mykonos
Mail Online
Rupert Murdoch may be one of the world's most powerful media figures, but he showed he still keeps his feet on ground when he was seen boarding a boat barefoot in Mykonos. The billionaire is holidaying in Greece with his family, including sons James and Lachlan.

Viacom's MTV Sees Millennials Redefining Patriotism
In time for the Fourth of July, MTV has taken a look at patriotism among young people in a new research study, "Millennials & #Merica." The results tell a positive story, with 86% stating they are "proud to be American." Yet, millennials are "redefining patriotism" with "acts of questioning."

Time Warner CEO: On-Demand to Fuel TV's Fortunes
Jeff Bewkes has predicted that the growing availability of content on an on-demand basis will help media companies flourish. "You have demand for the programming beginning on demand, not just here but around the world, which is bringing billions more viewers into the process."

Comcast CEO Extends Employment Contract to 2015
Philadelphia Business
Brian Roberts has renewed his contract as CEO of Comcast until June 30, 2015. Since 2005, the company has reportedly practiced one-year extensions as part of an employment pact. Not surprisingly, Roberts has been deemed the highest-paid CEO in the Philadelphia region.

Dish Network Chief Courted DirecTV Amid AT&T Talks
Denver Business
Charlie Ergen's Dish Network talked with DirecTV about a merger at least twice since 2011, and the most recent round of discussion ended in May, when Ergen concluded AT&T's looming offer for DirecTV would be too rich for Dish. Ultimately, AT&T won the contest for DirecTV.

AT&T, Comcast Mega Pay-TV Deals Driven by Sports
AT&T's bid for DirecTV and Comcast's merger with Time Warner Cable are tied together by a thread that is driving many decisions in pay-TV. The two deals are prime examples of how sports programming's immense popularity has become the solution to pay-TV's slowdown.

Fox's Murdoch Ready for Dealmaking in Sun Valley
Rupert Murdoch is due to jet into Idaho's Sun Valley next week for investment bank Allen & Co.'s tech and media conference, armed with both the money and the appetite for a major deal. Murdoch's interest in Time Warner has been the subject of industry speculation.

Disney, Time Warner Surpass Media Rivals at Midyear
Hollywood Reporter
At the halfway mark of 2014, the major media conglomerates are underperforming the broader markets with two notable exceptions — Disney and Time Warner. All of Disney's and Time Warner's big-media rivals either fell or rose less than the S&P 500. Sony was the worst.

Time Warner to Expand UK Film Studio Operations
Time Warner's Warner Bros. is expanding its U.K. operations, taking advantage of government subsidies and official strategies to promote the film, animation and video-game industries. The studio plans to build three new stages, bringing its number in the U.K. to 13 by year end.

Fox, Time Warner Chiefs on Guest List for Sun Valley
Hollywood Reporter
About 250 guests are expected at this year's Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, including Rupert Murdoch, Jeff Bewkes, Philippe Dauman, Les Moonves and Jeffrey Katzenberg. The annual off-the-record gathering attracts many of the nation's most powerful media and tech execs.

Viacom's 'Transformers' Breaks Box Office Records
"Transformers: Age of Extinction," the summer blockbuster from Paramount Pictures, opened with weekend sales of $100 million to mark the biggest domestic debut of the year. The film, which pulled in $300 million worldwide, may end up drawing significant sales from Asia.

Comcast CEO Roberts Bulks Up Company for Future
Los Angeles Times
Comcast has faced more opposition to its planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable than it did when it took control of NBCUniversal. Consumer advocates fear that a bulked-up Comcast will be too powerful an Internet gatekeeper. "It all comes back to broadband Internet."

NBC Former Exec Ancier Countersues Abuse Accuser
NBC News
Garth Ancier, who was sued by a former child actor alleging abuse, has filed a lawsuit of his own. The suit accuses Michael Egan III and his lawyers of malicious prosecution — just two days after they dropped the legal action against him. Also: Egan has dropped a third abuse lawsuit.

Fox's Murdoch Sells Aussie Property for $10 Million
Mail Online
Lachlan Murdoch and his wife Sarah have sold their five-bedroom beachside home in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, Australia, for about $10 million. The Murdochs moved out of the property five years ago and it is believed the house was once rented to Australian actress Toni Collette.

Disney's Maker Studios to Embrace Marvel, ESPN
Disney, which bought Maker Studios earlier this year, plans to connect its entertainment brands — Marvel, ESPN, ABC and others — with the online multi-channel network's thousands of video creators. Maker is bringing Disney "into the YouTube ecosystem," said CEO Ynon Kreiz.

DreamWorks CEO Says YouTube Still In Its Infancy
Hollywood Reporter
DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said it is still difficult for creators to monetize on YouTube because a small percentage of the overall community is creating the majority of the value. But he believes that will change: "The opportunities ahead are significant."

Sony to Acquire UK TV Networks Group CSC Media
Hollywood Reporter
Sony Pictures Television has agreed to acquire U.K. TV networks group CSC Media. The deal, which comes after the recent Viacom agreement to acquire U.K. broadcaster Channel 5, will add 16 channels in the kids, music and general entertainment space to Sony's portfolio.

Viacom's 'Transformers' Courts Audiences in China
Wall Street Journal
Paramount's new "Transformers: Age of Extinction," which opens Friday, pulled out all the stops to appeal to audiences in China, the world's second-largest movie market. Four of the movie's actors were cast through a Chinese reality TV show, and crews spent weeks filming in Beijing.

Viacom-CBS Chief's Personal Life Probed in Litigation
Hollywood Reporter
Sumner Redstone's business decisions and private life have been dragged into a heated legal war that pits his live-in companion against the star of a former MTV reality series. Now the star's lawyer is probing highly personal details about the Viacom and CBS executive chairman.

News Corp: Hacking Charges Could Be 'Apocalyptic'
Daily News
A lawyer for News Corp. has pleaded with British officials not to file corporate charges in a phone-hacking scandal, arguing it would be "apocalyptic" for the company and put 46,000 jobs at risk. Also: Rupert Murdoch has jetted to London to speak with News UK staff.

CBS, Media Stocks Jump on Court Ruling Over Aereo
USA Today
CBS and other broadcasting and media stocks surged after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that web TV startup Aereo could no longer capture their signals and stream them over the Internet. Reflecting the big win for broadcasters, CBS rose $3.65; 21st Century Fox surged $4.70.

Yahoo's Mayer Among Invited Guests to Sun Valley
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is said to be among the invited guests at this year's Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. Yahoo has a 23% stake in Alibaba, whose planned IPO in August is likely to be a major topic of discussion at the retreat of media, entertainment and tech execs.

Disney, Fox Not in Pursuit of Bidding for Vice Media
Hollywood Reporter
Reports suggesting that Disney and 21st Century Fox were interested in paying big money for a stake in Vice Media are said to be overblown. "An interested party is obviously trying to drum up a bidding war." Time Warner is still considered to be a suitor for the media company.

Apple Takeover of Disney Seen as Logical, Obvious
Washington Post
Francis McInerney, a consultant at North River Ventures, has an idea for how Apple can keep revenues growing — Why not acquire Disney? "The logic is so great this could happen tomorrow." Apple-Disney "would be a powerhouse." The combition would produce a "Netflix on steroids."

NBC Former Head Ancier's Abuse Lawsuit Dropped
Michael Egan, who in April accused "X-Men" director Bryan Singer and three others of assaulting him when he was underage, has dismissed his lawsuit against TV exec Garth Ancier. "Ancier was undeserving of the stain to his reputation caused by the reckless complaint," his attorney said.

Time Warner Invests in Social Video Startup Epoxy
Epoxy, a startup whose platform is designed to help content creators distribute and track video across social websites, has raised $6.5 million in funding led by Time Warner and Upfront Ventures. "Their product, team and vision are the best we have seen in the space."

Disney Powers New Infinity Video Game with Marvel
The marriage of Disney and Marvel will be realized across video-game consoles this September with the launch of "Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes." The sequel to Disney Interactive's Infinity game will give Disney and Marvel a new platform to cross-promote theatrical releases.

AT&T, DirecTV Pitch Proposed Merger to Congress
Washington Business
The CEOs of AT&T and DirecTV have testified at two congressional hearings, in an attempt to convince Congress that their proposed merger would be good for the TV and telecommunications industries. "This is not Comcast/Time Warner," said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.

News Corp: Coulson Found Guilty of Phone Hacking
Wall Street Journal
A British jury has found Andy Coulson, a former spokesman for Britain's prime minister and a former senior News Corp. editor, guilty of conspiracy to intercept phone voice-mail messages. But the jury cleared Rebekah Brooks, a former senior News Corp exec, who also stood trial.

Time Warner, Amazon Near Resolution in DVD Dispute
Wall Street Journal
Amazon is said to have reversed a halt on preorders of movie discs from Time Warner's Warner Bros. studio as the two sides near a resolution to a pricing dispute. Preorders of forthcoming Warner DVD and Blu-ray releases are again being offered on Amazon.

Viacom Resolves Spat Over 'Transformers' in China
Viacom's Paramount Pictures has reached an agreement with Chinese investment firm Pangu, which had threatened to delay Friday's release of the new "Transformers" film in the world's most-populous nation. Paramount and Pangu "resolved the issues that led to a misunderstanding."

Fox's Murdoch Meets Italian Prime Minister About TV
Hollywood Reporter
21st Century Fox co-COO James Murdoch has met with Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi to outline a $55 million plan to develop new Italian TV series and increase the use of Rome's historic studios. Italy's TV industry has "big unexpressed potential," said Murdoch.

WPP Chief Says 'Watch Out' for a Focused Murdoch
WPP chief Martin Sorrell has warned News Corp.'s rivals to "watch out," as the media company becomes more focused a year after Rupert Murdoch separated it from 21st Century Fox. "A focused Murdoch is a much more dangerous beast than an unfocused one," said Sorrell.

21st Century Fox, Viacom Could End Up Together
Viacom's eventual sale has been described as an open secret in the media industry. And 21st Century Fox, which is twice as large as Viacom, could easily afford to buy its big-media rival. "Stranger things have happened." Fox's absorption of Viacom would be "relatively clean."

Disney, Fox Among Media Giants Salivating for Vice
New York Times
Vice Media has been reported to be negotiating to sell a large stake to Time Warner. But 21st Century Fox, which owns a small stake in Vice, is also discussing a deal. So is Disney. Any agreement is likely to value the edgy, Gen Y media company at $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion.

Time Warner Former Film Chief Finds Chinese Investor
Wall Street Journal
Former Warner Bros. film chief Jeff Robinov has found a new investor for his planned independent studio. Chinese conglomerate Fosun International said it plans to invest in Robinov's Studio 8. Robinov left Warner Bros. last year after losing an internal competition to become its CEO.

Sony's 'Man' Bests Warner's 'Boys' with $30 Million
Associated Press
Sony's Kevin Hart-led comedy "Think Like a Man Too" topped a slow weekend at the summer box office with $30 million, besting blockbuster holdovers from last week, as well as Warner Bros.' new Four Seasons musical "Jersey Boys." Sony's "22 Jump Street" was No. 2.

Viacom Loses Bid to Dismiss Cablevision Lawsuit
A federal judge has rejected Viacom's effort to dismiss Cablevision's lawsuit accusing it of forcing cable providers and subscribers to buy channels they do not want. Cablevision had accused Viacom of coercing it into paying for obscure channels if it also wanted "core networks."

Univision Sees Value in Holding Off on Potential Sale
Univision has held several informal sale talks in the past year. But the company's board could take a year or longer to decide on a potential deal, as the U.S. Spanish-language media outfit seeks to boost profits and pay down debt ahead of a possible IPO or sale in 2015.

Comcast to Break Ground on New Philadelphia Tower
Comcast disclosed plans for a new $1.2 billion Philadelphia high-rise in January, saying it hired leading architect Norman Foster to design it. Since then, the cable-TV giant's proposed deal to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion has overshadowed the construction project.

Viacom-Twitter Talk Raises Question: What Is Twitter?
WPP's Martin Sorrell, moderating a talk between Twitter's Dick Costolo and Viacom's Philippe Dauman at Cannes Lions, said he was "a little confused" about what Twitter actually is. Costolo responded that his company is "amplifying" content produced by the likes of Viacom.

Vivendi Seeks Media Future with Former Hearst Exec
France's Vivendi, with a new focus on media, has up to $13.6 billion to remake itself. Bankers are honing pitches to buy U.S.-based TV companies like AMC, Starz and Scripps Networks Interactive. Future CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine joined Vivendi from Hearst in January.

Relativity Media Plans to Raise Capital Ahead of IPO
Relativity Media, the company that helped fund "The Social Network," is working with Jefferies Group to raise money ahead of a planned IPO, according to CEO Ryan Kavanaugh. The independent film and TV studio is targeting a public offering within the next 18 months, he added.

Comcast Wins Approval to Place Logo Atop 30 Rock
A New York City panel has approved placing the Comcast logo with the NBC peacock atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, one of the world's most famous properties. The Comcast logo will replace lighted "GE" signs, for former NBC owner General Electric, atop the 70-story 30 Rock.

Fox-News Corp's Murdoch Urges Immigration Reform
Rupert Murdoch has penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which he strongly advocates for immigration reform. Murdoch makes the case that immigrants "enrich" U.S. culture and add to economic prosperity. "I don't believe that people come to America to sit on their hands."

News Corp Board Extends Provision for Poison Pill
News Corp.'s board of directors has extended a poison pill provision it put in place to prevent hostile takeovers when the company controlled by Rupert Murdoch and his family split from its cable and entertainment properties last year. The provision now lasts until June 18, 2015.

Time Warner Deal 'Won't Screw Up' Vice Media Brand
Vice Media creative officer Eddy Moretti has insisted any prospective deal with Time Warner will not be at the expense of "selling out" the company's hard-won edgy image that has drawn youth audiences to its digital media brand. "If we screw that up we have nothing."

Sony: No Plans to Spin Off Entertainment Business
CEO Kazuo Hirai, in response to a question at Sony's annual meeting, said the company was not thinking of splitting off or listing its entertainment business. Sony rebuffed a proposal last year by investor Daniel Loeb to partially spin off its entertainment assets.

Comcast Turning Home Routers Into Wi-Fi Hotspots
If you're a Comcast cable customer, your home's private Wi-Fi router is being turned into a public hotspot. So far, the company has turned 3 million home devices into public ones. By year's end it plans to activate the feature on another 5 million. The upside is "Internet everywhere."

Viacom, 60 Cable Firms Part Ways in Middle America
Wall Street Journal
About 60 small cable companies in middle America said they — and their customers — are surviving fine without Viacom after a fee dispute. "Quite frankly, I can't say I did notice," said one customer, adding that he hadn't watched Viacom channels in at least a dozen years.

Disney's Maker Studios, Stiller to Revive Web Series
Wall Street Journal
Maker Studios, looking for content for its planned new video site, has turned to Ben Stiller for help. The Disney-owned multichannel YouTube network is enlisting Stiller's Red Hour Digital to help revive "Next Time on Lonny," one of the web's odder cult video series.

T-Mobile Jumps Into Music Streaming with 'unRadio'
Associated Press
T-Mobile have moved into music streaming with a package of features that sets it apart. At its "Un-carrier" event, the mobile carrier said customers of its Simple Choice plan will be able to stream music from services like Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio and iTunes Radio.

Axel Springer Acquires Stake in Search Engine Qwant
Axel Springer, the German publisher leading a campaign to curb Google's influence in Europe, has acquired a 20% stake in Qwant, a Paris-based search engine that focuses on data privacy. The investment will help Qwant develop new features such as encrypted e-mail.

Bertelsmann to Shutter German Book Club Operation
Associated Press
Bertelsmann said it will shut down its book club business in the German-speaking world at the end of next year, closing a business that was once a driver of the media giant's growth. "The club's business model no longer has a sustainable economic perspective."

Disney's Defunct Game Remade by Unsanctioned Teen
Toontown Online, based on the Disney film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," was an Internet game introduced in 2003. Disney shut it down amid a shift away from subscription games. Now, it's getting a second life thanks to fans who created a knockoff version without Disney's permission.

21st Century Fox Eyes Windfall in European Pay TV
Sunday Times
21st Century Fox expects a substantial payout from BSkyB's plan to build a pan-European pay-TV business. The British satellite broadcaster has hired investment banks Morgan Stanley and Barclays to help arrange the complex takeover of its sister companies in Germany and Italy.

Tribune Ready to Make News Again as a Broadcaster
Tribune shares could be worth 25% more once it hives off its publishing, if it can realize more of the value in its various assets. Upcoming strategic shifts will turn the company into a "pure play broadcaster." And CEO Peter Liguori has other moves underway that could boost valuation.

Scripps Grows with Acquisitions of Two TV Stations
Cincinnati Business
E.W. Scripps has completed the acquisition of two TV stations. The Cincinnati-based company purchased WMYD-TV, a MyNetwork affiliate in Detroit, and WKBW-TV, the ABC affiliate in Buffalo. Scripps paid $110 million to Granite Broadcasting in a deal financed with cash on hand.

Comcast, Charter Name Financial Officer for Spinoff
Wall Street Journal
Charter and Comcast said Time Warner Cable treasurer Matthew Siegel will be the chief financial officer of their planned cable-company spinoff. The spinoff is expected after Comcast's planned $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable, along with related divestitures and other moves.

DreamWorks Animation Launches YouTube Channel
USA Today
Shrek now has a video blog on YouTube. DreamWorks Animation has officially launched DreamWorksTV, a family oriented YouTube channel. The channel combines short-form content from the familiar faces of the DreamWorks movies with new reality and animated programming.

Media Giants Scout Deals as Merger Talk Heats Up
Wall Street Journal
U.S. media companies are priming themselves for what many industry execs believe will be a major round of consolidation. Univision and AMC Networks are seen as among potential takeover targets. One possible mammoth deal — a 21st Century Fox acquisition of Time Warner.

CBS, Viacom Should Look at Merging, Investors Say
Wall Street Journal
Amid consolidation in pay TV, speculation has been mounting over whether content companies will follow suit. For CBS, a logical deal may be to merge with former sibling Viacom. While there is no sign that such a deal is being considered, investors are considering the possibility.

Univision Acquisition Eyed by Mexico's Carlos Slim
New York Post
Haim Saban's efforts to sell Univision are said to have included talks with billionaire investor Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico-based Slim is said to be weighing a bid for the leading U.S. Spanish-language TV network. "Carlos Slim could just come in and buy the whole thing."

Vice Media Founder Builds a $2 Billion Media Brand
Financial Times
Shane Smith has turned Vice Media into a global brand but says he plans to keep expanding. "I want us to be the next MTV, ESPN and CNN rolled into one," he once said. Smith will be a step closer if he completes a reported possible deal with Time Warner that values Vice at $2 billion.

Time Warner CEO Fields Questions on Succession
Los Angeles Times
CEO Jeff Bewkes' contract isn't up until 2017, but succession issues were raised by shareholders at Time Warner's annual meeting on Friday. The company has a "deep bench of potential successors," said Bewkes. He also fielded questions about CNN and DC Comics.

Viacom, Time Warner Reap New York State Windfall
Crain's New York
U.S. entertainment giants rake in hundreds of millions in incentives designed in 2004 to foster filming in New York state. The incentives have been greatly expanded, from $25 million to $420 million annually, making them the most generous of their kind in the country.

Sony's 'Jump Street' Slays DreamWorks' 'Dragon'
"22 Jump Street," the cop comedy starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, topped the box office in its debut, marking the second straight weekend in which a less costly film outsold a big-budget production. The Sony sequel beat DreamWorks Animation's new "How to Train Your Dragon 2."

Fox Has Much Riding on Three Sequels to 'Avatar'
New York Times
James Cameron is expected to have the long-awaited screenplays for three "Avatar" sequels ready within weeks. Billions of dollars are riding on the effort. The effects-heavy sequels will be expensive: The director has said their combined production costs will be "less than $1 billion."

Disney Mulls Gay Take for Next 'Father of the Bride'
Disney and Warner Bros. "are sorting out the rights" to "Father of the Bride 3," with Steve Martin returning. "The twist in this threequel is that Little Matty is now 29 and gay and getting married to a Navy SEAL's son. Father of the bride George is 'thunderstruck and speechless.'"

Comcast Seeks to Replace GE Initials Atop 30 Rock
New York Times
Comcast, which last year bought General Electric's remaining 49% stake in NBCUniversal, has applied with New York City's landmarks commission to replace GE's 24-foot-high initials on top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Whether another name change will be embraced by the public is arguable.

Viacom, Twitter CEOs to Debate at Cannes Ad Fest
The Cannes Lions international advertising festival kicks off in France this weekend. One of the week's highlights is expected to be the debate next Friday featuring two of the media world's most influential leaders: Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.

Disney CEO Iger Expected to Announce Successor
CEO Bob Iger is said to have "finally" made a decision on his heir apparent at Disney. The leading candidates are believed to be parks and resorts head Tom Staggs and CFO Jay Rasulo. "People are canvassing and campaigning for this like an election," said one insider.

CBS, Time Warner Eyeing Acquisition of Univision
Wall Street Journal
Univision's owners are said to have held preliminary discussions in recent weeks with several media companies, including CBS and Time Warner. The dominant U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster is controlled by a consortium of investors including billionaire Haim Saban.

Liberty Global, Discovery Seek Stake in Formula One
Liberty Global and Discovery are said to be working to bridge a $1 billion valuation gap with the owners of Formula One, as they seek to buy a 49% stake in the auto-racing series. A deal would give Liberty and Discovery sports content to go along with their European cable-TV assets.

21st Century Fox Has 'No Plans' to Exit Vice Media
Time Warner is said to be seeking to take a stake in Vice Media. Meanwhile, 21st Century Fox, which already holds a 5% stake in the hipster media company, reportedly has no plans to exit Vice. Such a move is "not on the table." Fox has "proved how hot Vice is as a media company."

Time Warner's CNN Faces Harsh Truth on Birthday
Associated Press
CNN faces a harsh truth as it marks its 34th birthday — There simply isn't enough news to fill 24 hours of airtime, at least not enough to keep viewers tuned in. The news network is said to be in danger of diluting its signature role as a news provider with its new emphasis on "docu-fare."

CBS to Feel Impact If Aereo Wins at Supreme Court
Shares of CBS and broadcast companies likely will take a hit if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds Aereo's right to stream TV signals without paying, according to Wells Fargo Securities' Marci Ryvicker. Supreme Court justices are expected to make their decision before June 30.

Vice Media: 'We're Talking to Everybody' About Deals
CEO Shane Smith said Vice Media has doubled in value since the company was valued at $1.4 billion last year. And while he wouldn't confirm Vice is in talks about Time Warner acquiring a stake, he did say the media outfit is "talking to everybody" about potential deals.

Disney Sees Infinity Game Sales Reaching $1 Billion
Disney expects global retail sales from its Infinity video game to reach $1 billion, even as rivals also combine physical toys with video games, said company interactive head Jimmy Pitaro. Disney launched Infinity in August to help turn around its interactive gaming unit.

U.S. Media Getting Ready as World Cup Kicks Off
Associated Press
The world's most popular sporting event kicks off Thursday in Brazil. All 64 World Cup soccer matches will air in English in the U.S. on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. Will the event be profitable for ESPN? "Media pundits are going to be surprised at how big the World Cup is going to be."

Study: Teen Media Use Sees Rise in Digital Screens
Associated Press
American teens are texting behind the wheel and spending a lot of time on video games and computers, according to a new U.S. government study. In a big survey jump, kids are spending three or more hours on an average school day on recreational screen time that doesn't include TV.

Media Industry Faces 'Second Apocalypse' in Mobile
Low revenues from mobile advertising are said to be "killing" digital media companies. And traditional media, struggling with online ads producing one-tenth the revenue of print, now must cross an incredible chasm — $1,000 dollars in print advertising becomes $10 on mobile.

Comcast to Live Stream World Cup Across Devices
Multichannel News
Comcast will allow customers to live stream matches from the 2014 World Cup in multiple languages via its Xfinity TV microsites and the Xfinity TV Go app. All 64 matches will be offered for live streaming in English, Spanish and Portuguese, with select matches streamed in Korean.

Time Warner Cable Former CEO Britt Dies at Age 65
Glenn Britt, who joined Time Inc. in 1972 right out of business school and worked his way up to CEO of Time Warner Cable, has passed away after a long battle with melanoma. Under his watch, the U.S. cable giant's share price more than quadrupled in the years after the recession.

Fox's Murdoch to Deliver Media Mastermind Keynote
World Screen
James Murdoch, co-COO of 21st Century Fox, is slated to open the Media Mastermind keynote series at this year's MIPCOM trade show in October. "We are extremely honored to welcome James Murdoch. James represents one of the world's global content powerhouses."

CBS Ready for Deals After Outdoor Unit Stake Sale
CBS has taken the final step in the spinoff of its billboard business following CBS Outdoor Americas' initial public offering, with a plan to fully divest its 81% ownership. For CBS, the IPO will help provide about $5 billion for share buybacks and possible acquisitions.

Time Warner-Vice Media Deal Valuation Questioned
Wall Street Journal
Ad buyers see a great fit between Time Warner and Vice Media, should the two companies figure out how to work together. As for whether Vice warrants a multi-billion dollar valuation, that is open to serious debate. "Vice charges a premium for the cool factor they bring."

AT&T Defends Deal for DirecTV to U.S. Regulators
AT&T has told U.S. regulators that its acquisition of DirecTV would offer consumers access to video in a variety of media and give the company scale to compete with larger cable competitors. "Each company cannot provide on its own what consumers increasingly demand."

Sony Unveils First Original TV Series for PlayStation
The first original TV show for the Sony PlayStation is coming. "Powers," based on the graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis, debuts in December. Every PlayStation Network customer will get the first episode for free. PlayStation Plus subscribers will have access to the entire series.

Time Warner Seeks Vice to 'Solve Problem' of HLN
Time Warner isn't so much buying into Vice Media as getting rid of HLN. The media giant is "very close" to an agreement to take a roughly 45% stake in the hipster media company. Time Warner hopes a deal will "solve its perpetual problem" with struggling news channel HLN.

Fox, News Corp's Murdoch Eyes Stake in SocietyOne
Financial Review
Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer could join the rush into "disruptive" financial services through a stake in peer-to-peer lender SocietyOne. The two Australian moguls are said to be eyeing an investment worth in the millions of dollars in the Sydney-based startup.

Comcast Merger Should Be Blocked, Tech Giants Say
A group representing Google, Facebook, Yahoo and other tech giants wants U.S. regulators to block the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The Computer and Communications Industry Association fears the deal would increase Comcast's "bottleneck market power."

Guggenheim Digital Media Chief Levinsohn Departs
Ross Levinsohn has left his latest gig as CEO of Guggenheim Digital Media. The former interim CEO of Yahoo, who also was president of News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Group, joined the investment firm in January last year, focused in part on investing in digital properties.

Vice Media CEO Shares Thoughts on Media's Future
The future of media is the convergence of talent and technology, according to Vice Media CEO Shane Smith. He spoke last month on a panel entitled "The Future of Media," hosted by the website I Want Media. "There's going to be a correction online," Smith warned. "Only the strong will survive."

Time Warner in Talks to Acquire Stake in Vice Media
Sky News
Time Warner is said to be in talks to buy a major stake in Vice Media, the global youth media company. In one potential deal, Time Warner could "inject" cable network HLN into Vice in return for about half of the enlarged company. A deal could value Vice at more than $2 billion.

Viacom Trades Game Websites for Stake in Defy Media
Viacom has agreed to acquire a stake in Defy Media, a conglomerate of websites and online video properties aimed at young men. Defy is perhaps best known as the home for YouTube comedy act Smosh, which will become a corporate cousin to SpongeBob and MTV's Teen Moms.

21st Century Fox Extends Contract of Chief Carey
Wall Street Journal
Chase Carey, president and COO of 21st Century Fox, has agreed to a two-year employment contract extension, ensuring the company will retain an experienced exec during a period of industry change. Carey has been the No. 2 exec at Rupert Murdoch's media company since 2009.

Comcast Tests 'MyMedia' App for Personal Sharing
Multichannel News
Comcast has begun to test a new app called MyMedia that enables customers on the X1 platform with access to a cloud-based storage system to upload personal videos and photos from their mobile devices and play them back across a variety of platforms, including set-top boxes.

Fox's Female-Led 'Fault' Trumps Cruise at Box Office
"The Fault in Our Stars," a female-led, emotional drama about two young cancer patients who fall in love, bested the latest Tom Cruise movie, "Edge of Tomorrow," to open in first place over the weekend for 21st Century Fox. "Never underestimate the box office clout of young women."

AT&T Floats NFL Sunday Ticket for Wireless Users
Wall Street Journal
AT&T is said to be floating the possibility of offering DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket programming to all its wireless phone customers, as the telephone giant seeks to convince Wall Street of the strategic value of its $49 billion planned acquisition of the satellite-TV company.

Fox, News Corp Raise Concerns Over '22 World Cup
News Corp.'s Sunday Times has published stories claiming that bribes were paid to secure the 2022 World Cup for Qatar. U.S. broadcaster Fox, which paid $425 million for rights to the next two World Cups, was already unhappy with plans to switch the dates of the Qatar games.

Clear Channel's Pittman Rises to $5 Million Challenge
Financial Times
Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman has set about talking up radio's value to an advertising industry still loyal to TV and more excited by digital music. The $5 million investment he made in the company's equity — worthless unless he can wrestle its debts — means he has much at stake.

Azoff Joint Venture Invests in Levity Entertainment
New York Post
Irving Azoff, through a joint venture with Madison Square Garden, is expected to announce a 50% stake in Los Angeles-based Levity Entertainment, which owns or operates a U.S. chain of comedy venues and represents comedians such as Jeff Dunham and Amy Schumer.

Analyst: Time Warner, 21st Century Fox Should Merge
Los Angeles Times
A report by media analyst Tony Wible of Janney Capital Markets suggests that a merger between media giants 21st Century Fox and Time Warner would make a lot of sense. "However improbable it may seem, one cannot overlook this mega deal given its immense financial benefits."

Gannett Breakup Seen Likely as Media Splits Pay Off
A breakup of Gannett "is really just a matter of Time." The $6.6 billion owner of USA Today and other newspapers "isn't getting much credit for its TV transformation." As Time Warner sets free its publishing arm this week, an analysis suggests Gannett should do the same.

Time Warner's Time Inc Spinoff Faces Test in Digital
Time Inc. debuts Friday as the only U.S. public company focused just on magazines, putting more pressure on the publisher to adapt quickly to the Internet. The company won't have the help of other business lines that might shore up its still-falling advertising and circulation revenue.

Disney's 'Frozen' Phenom Puts Families in a Frenzy
Associated Press
"Frozen" has become the fifth-highest grossing film of all time, raking in $1.2 billion worldwide. The huge demand for anything "Frozen" has created a shortage of Disney merchandise across North America. It has also led to hours-long waits to see the film's characters at Disney parks.

Viacom's Product Licenses Expected to Pad Profits
A "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie is coming in August; a "Dora the Explorer" spinoff is also due in August; and a "SpongeBob SquarePants" movie is slated for February 2015. All three popular Viacom properties are expected to provide rich opportunities for product licensing.

Disney Former TV Exec's Abuse Lawsuit Dropped
New York Times
Michael Egan, the accuser in a series of Hollywood abuse lawsuits, has dropped his complaint against David Neuman, a former Disney TV exec. A voluntary motion to dismiss came as lawyers for Neuman and for three defendants in separate suits fiercely contested Egan's assertions.

Time Warner Eyes Fox's Reilly for Turner Networks
Kevin Reilly, the departing head of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting, is said to be among the execs Time Warner is considering to be president of Turner Entertainment Networks. Reilly said last week he would leave the 21st Century Fox unit by the end of June, following a drop in ratings.

Warner Bros Postpones Big Summer Movie to 2015
Associated Press
Just six weeks ahead of its planned release, the Wachowskis' space thriller "Jupiter Ascending" has been postponed to 2015. The $150 million movie, starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, will now open Feb. 6 instead of July 18. It's a stunning and unusual move for a high-profile film.

Forecast: Internet Costs to Sap Spending on Media
Financial Times
Consumers' willingness to pay for digital content is in danger of being held back by their rising spending on Internet access, according to a forecast from consultancy PwC. The report raises questions about the media industry's hopes for streaming music and video subscriptions.

Fox-News Corp's Murdoch Touts Print, Disruption
Lachlan Murdoch has demanded rivals stop "talking down" print media in a clarion call for stronger leadership in publishing. The 21st Century Fox and News Corp. exec also urged "disruption," in remarks at a media forum in Sydney. "Find opportunities — don't settle for the status quo."

Comcast to Encrypt Email for Customers' Security
Wall Street Journal
Comcast, the nation's largest Internet provider, said it will begin scrambling customer email to protect it from prying eyes. A Comcast spokesman said the company will begin using encryption on customer email "within a matter of weeks." Comcast will be "very aggressive about this."

AT&T Says DirecTV Deal Will Boost Internet Speeds
Associated Press
In an attempt to curry favor with regulators, AT&T said that if it is allowed to buy DirecTV, it will be able to afford an expansion of fiber connections into more homes to boost their Internet connection speeds. Expanding broadband access and raising speeds is a federal policy goal.

Disney's Maker Studios Due for Employee Lay Offs
Layoffs are said to be coming to Maker Studios, the multichannel network recently acquired by Disney. Approximately 10% of the 380 employees are expected to be pink-slipped as early as this week. A rep for Maker issued a statement: "Maker's business is constantly evolving ..."

Sony to Stop Selling PlayStation Portable After 10 Years
Associated Press
Sony plans to pull the plug on its hand-held PlayStation Portable video game machine after 10 years. The company has been pushing the successor machine, PlayStation Vita. Machines devoted to games are struggling against the popularity of smartphones and other devices.

Disney's 'Maleficent' Feeds Video Craze on YouTube
Dozens of video bloggers have posted make-up tutorials helping to sell out products tied to Disney's "Maleficent," which opened in theaters this weekend at No. 1. MAC Cosmetics, the studio's marketing partner, developed a "Maleficent" line and worked with web personalities.

Fox's 'X-Men' Reaches Franchise Best at $500 Million
Hollywood Reporter
In only its second weekend in release, "X-Men: Days of Future Past" has become the top-grossing title in the 20th Century Fox and Marvel superhero franchise. The film took in $128.2 million globally in its second weekend for a world total of $500.2 million through Sunday.

Viacom Investor Loses Appeal Challenging Chief's Pay
A Viacom investor has lost a bid to revive a lawsuit claiming chairman Sumner Redstone and two top execs were overpaid, when a U.S. appeals court refused to "second guess" the judgment of the company's board. "Courts rarely involve themselves in compensation disputes."

AT&T, DirecTV Hit with Lawsuit Over Proposed Merger
Less than two weeks after AT&T and DirecTV sealed their $48 billion-plus tie-up, a shareholder has filed a class action objecting to the deal. In the lawsuit, Teresa Silvestri claimed the purchase price for the satcaster was too low considering its long-term potential.

Gannett's Shares Could Rise 40% on Local Gambit
Gannett's media outlets are spread across the country, with TV stations in 22 states and newspapers in 30 states. Local is seen as a key ingredient by both company management and investors. "Gannett has a set of toll bridges that you have to cross to get to 35% of the U.S."

Time Inc Prepares for Life on Its Own with Digital Push
Wall Street Journal
Time Inc. will become a stand-alone company on Friday. In preparation, CEO Joe Ripp has cut the staff, added digital experts and plans more online video. The company's plans include a digital streaming network called 120 Sports that is intended for younger viewers.

Time Warner CEO: Mergers Could Lead to Problems
The U.S. government may have to insist on conditions before approving deals such as Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, according to Jeff Bewkes. The Time Warner CEO wants assurance that such mergers won't close doors for consumers who want his company's content.

Liberty Media's Moves Spark Talk of Big Media Deals
New York Post
Liberty Media chief John Malone appears to want to snatch his cable crown back from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Malone's plans to spin off Liberty's cable broadband holdings into a separate company has set off talk that he is seeking to emulate Roberts at empire building.

Disney's 'Maleficent' to Stare Down 'A Million Ways'
Angelina Jolie and her threatening cheekbones will face off against Seth MacFarlane and his comedy empire this weekend, as "Maleficent" debuts against "A Million Ways to Die in the West." MacFarlane's Universal flick is expected to wither in the face of Disney's vengeful fairy.

Fox's 'Avatar' to Become a Live 'Cirque' Production
Director James Cameron plans to develop an "Avatar" live production with Cirque du Soleil. 20th Century Fox, the financier and distributor of the epic sci-fi film and its planned sequels, will act as a partner. "Avatar," the highest grossing film of all time, "remains a phenomenon."

Sony Creates President Role for Entertainment Unit
Sony has appointed for the first time a president for its U.S.-based entertainment business, the latest in a series of management changes. Nicole Seligman, current head of U.S. operations, has been named to the new post, which reports to Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton.

Viacom India Partner Network 18 Acquired by Reliance
Reliance Industries has agreed to buy the Indian partner of Viacom for $678 million to gain news and entertainment content for its new mobile phone company. Network 18 broadcasts TV channels from Comedy Central to MTV and publishes Forbes magazine's India edition.

Fox's Murdoch Eyeing 'Big' Content That Matters
Hollywood Reporter
James Murdoch has discussed the outlook for 21st Century Fox's film business, possible deals in European pay TV and his thinking on content investments. The Fox co-COO emphasized that the media giant is looking to spend money on "content that is big and matters."

Comcast CEO Defends Deal for Time Warner Cable
Brian Roberts has defended Comcast's $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable, saying the deal would make it more competitive in video and improve its broadband offerings for customers. "It's truly an antiquated notion to say there's not competition in video," the CEO said.

Sony to Screen Press Conference in Movie Theaters
Sony really wants you to watch its PlayStation E3 press conference slated for June 9. For the first time ever, the company's massive show will be available for viewing at more than 40 movie theaters across the U.S. and Canada. The event free to attend, and space is limited.

Report: How the World Consumes Media, in Charts
The Atlantic
Mary Meeker's annual State of the Internet presentation this year included data on how nations around the world consume media. Various charts showed which countries watch the most TV, stare longest at their tablets, and get lost most reliably in the glassy glares of their smartphones.

Fox, News Corp Return Felt Right, Murdoch Says
Lachlan Murdoch has explained the reasons behind his decision to rejoin his father Rupert at the helm of News Corp. and 21st Century Fox, and revealed the return "felt right emotionally" after a nine-year absence. "We have an aggressive digital expansion plan, as well as new initiatives."

Media: Five Reasons Why Execs Top CEO Pay Lists
Associated Press
Once again, media company CEOs are among the highest paid execs in the nation, occupying six of the top 10 earning spots, according to an Associated Press/Equilar study. Experts see a variety of factors at play — including the control of shareholder power in very few hands.

Viacom Off to Slow Start in Deal-Making at Upfronts
Advertising Age
Viacom has been an early mover in upfront negotiations with ad buyers for the past several seasons. But this year, it appears deal-making at the cable network group, which owns Nickelodeon, MTV and VH1, has gotten off to a slow start. Overall, the upfront marketplace has been quiet.

Disney's Acquisition Returns 'Obscured' by ESPN
Big profits from ESPN have obscured mediocre returns on Disney's recent major acquisitions, suggests Cowen and Co. analyst Doug Creutz. ESPN remains the media giant's "growth driver," while CEO Bob Iger's big deals and investments "may have retarded Disney's improvement."

Disney, Sony Sell U.K. Video Joint Venture FilmFlex
Sony and Disney have agreed to sell FilmFlex, a London-based video-on-demand service, to U.S.-based company Vubiquity, which also supplies on-demand services. Vubiquity plans to combine FilmFlex's digital store and technical platform with its own digital video offering.

Viacom: Users of TV Everywhere Watch More TV
Viacom has unveiled the results of a study exploring consumer experiences around TV Everywhere apps and sites. The findings reveal an increase in TV viewing among users of TV Everywhere, as well as greater customer loyalty towards pay-TV providers that offer such services.

Comcast, NBCUniversal Team to Hold Hackathon
Multichannel News
Comcast and NBCUniversal plan to host an inaugural "hackathon" next month that will focus on "the future of media and technology." Participants will go after $15,000 in cash prizes, including a $5,000 grand prize, and the opportunity to pitch their ideas to Comcast and NBCU.

Media Execs Dominate List of Highest-Paid CEOs
Associated Press
The top 10 highest-paid CEOs of 2013, as calculated by the Associated Press and executive-pay researcher Equilar, are mostly in media and entertainment. CBS's Les Moonves comes in at No. 2 at $65.6 million. Viacom's Philippe Dauman, at $37.2 million, is ranked No. 5.

Viacom, CBS Chief Redstone Cashes In at Age 91
Wall Street Journal
Sumner Redstone, who turns 91 on Tuesday, has recently raised more than $200 million selling stock in Viacom and CBS. The media mogul is said to be clearing up his estate to take advantage of tax benefits. Redstone "has taken more of a back-seat role" at the two companies.

Fox's 'X-Men' Sequel Tops 'Avatar' in Global Debut
"X-Men: Days of Future Past" powered to $302 million in worldwide ticket sales through the U.S. Memorial Day holiday, capping a weekend in which it surpassed "Avatar" as the biggest global debut for film studio 20th Century Fox. The movie "broadened out to a general audience."

Disney: No More Copyright Worries After 'Frozen'
For years, Disney was notoriously heavy-handed in defense of its intellectual property. Then along came the animated hit "Frozen." There is now an entire economy of independent YouTube channels synergistically thriving in concert with the media giant's official output.

Sony to Form Ventures in China for Video Games
Dow Jones
Sony plans to form joint ventures in China to re-enter the country's market for game consoles, as it bets on PlayStation sales to help turn around its troubled consumer-electronics division. Sony's bid to enter China follows the lifting of a decade-long ban on sales of game consoles.

Comcast's Big Deal Should Be Blocked, Times Says
New York Times
The New York Times's editorial board: "There are good reasons the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission should block Comcast's $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The merger will concentrate too much market power in the hands of one company."

Time Warner CEO Sees TV Taking Over the Internet
Jeff Bewkes: "Today, there's a screen for everybody. There's not only TVs across every room, but now television is taking over the Internet. Every channel on television — the whole TV dial — is going to work the same way that YouTube works or that Netflix works."

I Want Media Forum: Media Pros Offer Notable Quotes
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes proclaimed his distaste for the term "media" at an I Want Media-sponsored "Future of Media" panel discussion. Given the many formats and delivery mechanisms media come in, it may be understandable to not want to lump them all together.

Thomson Reuters Adds Former FDIC Chief to Board
Thomson Reuters has elected former FDIC chairman Sheila Bair to its board, adding an outspoken advocate of greater transparency from banks. Bair is joining the board along with former IBM exec Mike Daniels and Open Text Corp. chairman Tom Jenkins.

Fox's Murdoch Raises Profile with Screening of 'X-Men'
Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch hosted a glittering array of media and movie stars for a private screening of "X-Men: Days of Future Past" in New York City. The 21st Century Fox event offered up further indication of the younger Murdoch's rising profile in his father's media empire.

Disney, LucasFilm Prep Annual Spinoffs of 'Star Wars'
"Godzilla" director Gareth Edwards has been selected to helm the first of a series of annual "Star Wars" movies that will start hitting theaters in late 2016. The movies, spinoffs on "Star Wars" characters, are meant to stand apart from the forthcoming trilogy of "Star Wars" films.

Viacom Delays New 'Transformers' to Avoid World Cup
The World Cup coincides with the peak of the movie industry's big-budget summer season. Viacom's Paramount Pictures plans to delay the launch date of "Transformers: Age of Extinction" in many soccer-crazed countries until after the tournament ends to avoid a dent in the box office.

Time Warner Continues to See 'Shawshank' Residuals
Wall Street Journal
"The Shawshank Redemption" was an underwhelming box-office performer when it hit theaters 20 years ago. But then it found an audience on home video and later became a fixture on cable TV. The film — which has taken a near-mystical hold on viewers — isn't available on Netflix.

Comcast Goes for 'Shock and Awe' to Win Cable Deal
Comcast is waging a campaign of "shock and awe" for its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable by fielding one of the biggest lobbying teams ever seen in Washington, D.C. The company has added seven lobbying firms to its roster since first proposing the deal earlier this year.

Time Warner Magazine Unit to Exit Time-Life Building
New York publishing appears to be moving to lower Manhattan. Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp has emailed his staff: "I am delighted to share the news that we have signed a lease on a new corporate headquarters at 225 Liberty Street." The move brings Time Inc. near Conde Nast's new offices.

Disney's Iger Favored for New Baseball Commissioner
New York Post
Page Six: "Bob Iger is in Major League Baseball's potential lineup of new commissioner candidates. The Disney chairman and CEO — who oversees ABC and ESPN — is a favorite of the league's succession committee, which is trying to find a replacement for Bud Selig."

Twenty-First Century Fox Seeks a Rescue with 'X-Men'
Fox is pinning a lot on "X-Men: Days of Future Past." With an estimated budget of $250 million, the latest film in the "X-Men" franchise could be the most expensive movie the company has ever produced. "It needs to be one of the top five films of the summer. It has to succeed on a major level."

Disney Family in 'Weird' Feud Over $400 Million Fortune
Hollywood Reporter
A caveat in the will of Walt Disney's youngest daughter had a catastrophic impact on the Lund branch of the Disney family. Its interpretation led to accusations of conspiracy and mental incompetence, and culminated in ugly depositions ahead of a battle of a trial in Los Angeles.

Report: Media Execs Plan to Make Deals, Cut Jobs
Only 21% of media and entertainment industry execs expect to create jobs or hire talent in the next 12 months — down significantly from a year ago, according to a survey from Ernst & Young. Even worse, 21% plan to reduce employee numbers. Meanwhile, 34% plan to make an acquisition.

Sony to Make Painful Job Cuts After $9 Billion Loss
Sony will cut costs by at least 20% and start a new TV business as CEO Kazuo Hirai tries to revive a company that has lost some $9 billion in the past six years. The company has announced 706 job cuts in California, including 216 at Sony Pictures. "They've got a lot of dead wood."

Time Warner Reveals Title of Superman-Batman Movie
Time Warner's Warner Bros. studio has unveiled the title of director Zack Snyder's anticipated superhero sequel, in which legendary DC Comics characters Superman and Batman will face off. The film, scheduled for release in summer 2016, is the follow-up to last year's "Man of Steel."

Disney 'Star Wars' Fans to Get Chance at Film Cameo
Associated Press
"Star Wars: Episode VII" director J.J. Abrams is giving fans a shot at a cameo in the film that is set to be released next year. Disney, Lucasfilm and Bad Robot have teamed up for a campaign to raise funds for UNICEF. Abrams announced the initiative from the movie's set in Abu Dhabi.

Vivendi to Sell Half of Stake in Game Maker Activision
Dow Jones
Vivendi plans to sell about half of its stake in video-game maker Activision ahead of a leadership change next month. The slimmed-down Vivendi will hand over chairmanship to French industrialist Vincent Bollore, while former Hearst exec Arnaud de Puyfontaine takes over as CEO.

Comcast Annual Meeting Largely Quiet Despite Protest
Philadelphia Inquirer
Comcast held an uneventful shareholders meeting, during which CEO Brian Roberts reiterated his excitement about a proposed merger with Time Warner Cable. After the meeting, about 50 antimerger protesters chanted: "Comcast has the tower and the people have the power."

Viacom Touts Financial Strength with Dividend Boost
Broadcasting & Cable
Viacom said it has increased its dividend by 10%. The media giant and its rivals have been returning billions of dollars to stockholders through increased dividends and share buybacks. Such moves make stock more attractive. "Viacom's financial strength allows us to deliver."

Dish Network Mulls Options After AT&T Deal for DirecTV
Financial Times
When AT&T announced its bid for DirecTV, the deal appeared to leave Dish Network and chairman Charlie Ergen out in the cold. But could Ergen still come out ahead in the restructuring of the U.S. video, broadband and mobile markets? Dish has built a sizeable spectrum portfolio.

Chernin Seen as Pivotal to AT&T's Deal with DirecTV
Last month AT&T announced that it forged a partnership with former News Corp. COO Peter Chernin, valued at $500 million, to either buy or build an over-the-top online video service. That is now potentially the biggest new opportunity for AT&T, if it completes its acquisition of DirecTV.

DirecTV Investor Sues to Block $48 Billion Takeover
A DirecTV investor has sued to block AT&T's $48 billion takeover of the largest U.S. satellite-TV company, calling the offer inadequate. "Given the fact that the company was poised for significant future growth and success, the value of DTV stock is being significantly undervalued."

Tribune in Push to Maximize Holdings in Real Estate
Baltimore Sun
Tribune, owner of the Baltimore Sun, wants to find partners to develop about 37 acres of unused land next to the newspaper's printing plant. The plan is part of a push by the company to make more money from its real estate. Tribune owns "some great sites ripe for monetization."

Disney Analyzes Pay-TV Deals for Business Impact
Disney is evaluating how the planned merger of AT&T and DirecTV will affect its business, said CFO Jay Rasulo. "Whether it's that merger or Comcast-Time Warner Cable, it's no surprise that there is consolidation. We have strong relationships with all of those companies."

AT&T-DirecTV Expected to Win Regulatory Approval
Associated Press
Antitrust experts say AT&T's bid for DirecTV could reap immediate regulatory rewards. Coming on the heels of the pairing of Comcast and Time Warner Cable makes it easier for regulators to approve both deals because they create two counterbalanced giants in pay TV.

Verizon Dismisses Talk of Possible Merger with Dish
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has shot down rumors that the company is in potential merger talks with satellite operator Dish Network, days after AT&T announced plans to buy rival satellite giant DirecTV. "I don't think owning a satellite company is something I'm interested in."

Disney Exec Who Led MyMagic+ to Leave Company
Orlando Sentinel
Nick Franklin, the senior Disney parks exec who oversaw development of the billion-dollar "MyMagic+" technology project, is said to be leaving the company in July. "Nick let us know that after 17 successful years with Disney, he wanted to help other companies innovate."

Comcast Preps Launch of Internet Delivery Service
The Information
Comcast is preparing a new service for web content companies that will enable them to bypass middlemen and deliver their offerings directly to the media giant's Internet customers. The initiative could have implications for hundreds of websites, from video services to software providers.

Liberty Media Seeking a Bigger Stake in Live Nation
Denver Business
John Malone's Liberty Media has announced its intention to buy up to 3.7 million shares of concert and entertainment promoter Live Nation Entertainment. Liberty said it would buy the shares from investors participating in Live Nation's previously announced offering.

AT&T-DirecTV Deal Contingent on NFL 'Sunday Ticket'
Dow Jones
AT&T can walk away from its $49 billion merger with DirecTV if the satellite-TV provider isn't able to renew its prize "Sunday Ticket" offering with the National Football League on "substantially the terms discussed between the parties," the company said in a filing with U.S. regulators.

Comcast-Time Warner Merger Eyed by New York State
Albany Times Union
The New York State Public Service Commission is getting its hands into the cable TV industry to a greater extent than ever before, looking into the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. The state is interested in examining the merger's impact on broadband access across New York.

AT&T-DirecTV Deal to Put Pressure on Dish, Verizon
Wall Street Journal
Big communications companies are again starting to pair up, putting pressure on the ones that don't have a partner. In the latest move, AT&T agreed to buy DirecTV for $49 billion to create a pay-TV and wireless-phone giant with about $160 billion in combined revenue.

Time Warner Eyes 'Godzilla' Franchise After Hit Debut
"Godzilla," a remake of the classic Japanese monster movie, crushed its box office competitors over the weekend, devouring $93.2 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters for the year's second-biggest debut. Warner Bros. said the new "Godzilla" was on its way to becoming a franchise.

Sony Breakup 'Long Overdue' as Market Value Declines
One year and about $2 billion in lost market value later, it may be time for Sony to take Daniel Loeb's advice about breaking up. Even after attempts at restructuring, Sony remained 12% lower as of last week than when investor Loeb first urged a split of the entertainment business.

AT&T Agrees to Buy DirecTV for Nearly $50 Billion
New York Times
AT&T has formally agreed to buy DirecTV for about $48.5 billion, striking another transaction meant to overhaul the American telecommunications landscape. Including debt, the takeover is valued at about $67 billion. The deal will face scrutiny by federal regulators.

Report: Media Mergers Booming Amid Shift to Digital
A series of big-ticket, high-profile deals have been announced this year that could alter the U.S. media landscape. Some $74 billion in M&A activity was announced in the first quarter, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. "It's a very dynamic marketplace with the shift to digital."

Fox, Apollo Near Deal to Form TV Production Giant
Los Angeles Times
Twenty-First Century Fox and private equity's Apollo Global Management have entered a preliminary deal to create a joint venture combining TV production firms. The tie-up would create a global juggernaut with shows ranging from "American Idol" to "The Biggest Loser."

Disney Film Chief Gets Contract Extension Into 2018
Los Angeles Times
Walt Disney Studios has extended the contract of chairman Alan Horn into 2018. Horn, who previously was president of Warner Bros., joined Disney in 2012. During his tenure, the studio released such hits as "Iron Man 3," "Frozen" and this year's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

FCC Moves Forward on Proposal for Net Neutrality
Associated Press
The Federal Communications Commission has taken the first step toward adopting new regulations that could create fast lanes for Internet traffic. The recommendation moves the proposed rules governing net neutrality into a public comment period. Then, the FCC will vote on the final rules.

Comcast Spinoff Names Insight Co-Founder as CEO
Comcast and Charter have named Michael Willner, co-founder of Insight, one of the 10 biggest U.S. cable operators, as CEO of the new cable carrier they are creating. Comcast plans to spin off operations serving 2.5 million customers after completing its buy of Time Warner Cable.

Participant Media Joins $350 Million Investment Fund
LA Biz
Participant Media, the do-good film and TV company behind "An Inconvenient Truth" and the Pivot network, has expanded its investment portfolio. The company has invested in Evolution Media, a venture to back growth-stage media, entertainment and sports companies.

Big Media Likely to Win, With or Without Net Neutrality
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission will begin hearings on net neutrality. Time Warner, Disney, Fox, Viacom and CBS are likely to negotiate any new broadband connectivity charges with retransmission contracts. The cost to big media may be negligible.

Comcast's Bid for Growth May Spur $170 Billion in Deals
Comcast's effort to buy Time Warner Cable may be the opening act for a festival of deals that could alter U.S. Internet, phone and TV services. "A slow macro economy, new competitors, shifts in technology and consumer habits all come together and force the need for more scale."

Time Warner, Comcast Want to Make You Watch Ads
Time Warner will start offering complete seasons of some of its shows on Comcast's Xfinity TV and digital VOD platforms. That will give customers greater access to even more programming — but they will also have to watch more advertising, because fast-forwarding will be disabled.

Disney Veteran Raises $2.25 Million for Tech Startup
Wall Street Journal
A startup called Click With Me Now has raised $2.25 million from undisclosed angel investors. Click With Me Now offers a "co-browsing" technology that lets users "share their online experience" in real time. CEO Bud Albers previously worked as chief technology officer for Disney.

Warner, Universal Acquire Stakes in Music App Shazam
Wall Street Journal
Shazam, the music-identification app, is said to have landed investments from the world's biggest record companies. Warner Music Group owner Access Industries, Vivendi's Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment are each taking $3 million stakes.

Sony Pictures Buys Film Rights to Book on Snowden
New York Times
The film rights to Glenn Greenwald's book, "No Place to Hide," about Edward Snowden and his revelations about electronic surveillance by U.S. security officials, have found a home at Sony Pictures. Greenwald's book had been in consideration around Hollywood since fall.

Tribune Poised to Become Comeback Story in TV, Print
Tribune is on the verge of turning its "sleepy assets into big moneymakers." The company's WGN may soon have more appeal to cable companies, thanks to its new original series. Also, its print business, while not likely to grow much, could provide a surprise windfall.

Gannett Buys Six TV Stations in Move Away from Print
USA Today
Gannett plans to buy six TV stations from Dallas-based London Broadcasting for $215 million, deepening its presence in Texas. Once the deal closes, the company will own or operate 46 stations, reflecting the corporate strategy of reducing its dependence on print media.

Sony Execs Take Pay Cuts Amid Turnaround Struggle
Associated Press
Sony sank to a $1.3 billion quarterly loss and is forecasting more red ink as the company struggles to execute a long-promised turnaround. CEO Kazuo Hirai and some 40 other senior execs are returning their entire bonuses, reducing their annual pay by some 40 to 50%.

CBS's Moonves Cash Pay Trounces Chief Exec Peers
CBS paid CEO Les Moonves $32 million in cash last year, 19 times higher than what a compensation expert said a chief exec running that size company should receive. Moonves's cash bonus last year included $20 million for "the successes in his role as president and CEO."

AT&T in Talks to Buy DirecTV for About $50 Billion
AT&T is said to be in advanced talks to acquire DirecTV for about $100 a share. The purchase would give AT&T a national satellite-TV provider to combine with its wireless, phone and high-speed broadband Internet services. "With DirecTV they are getting a national TV presence."

Disney Closes $500 Million Deal for Maker Studios
Disney has closed its previously announced deal to buy Maker Studios. The media giant paid $500 million for the YouTube network, and may end up spending up to $450 million more. Disney CEO Bob Iger has described Maker as "first and foremost ... a successful distribution platform."

Time Warner Passes on Possibly Buy of Fullscreen
Time Warner is said to have explored the possibility of buying Fullscreen, but determined that the deal did not make sense given the high price tag the YouTube network was seeking. The media giant held talks with Fullscreen after Disney announced its deal to acquire Maker.

Bertelsmann, Maker Studios Invest in Jukin Media
Online video network Jukin Media has raised $1 million from a consortium of investors including Bertelsmann Digital Media and Maker Studios. Jukin operates a variety of popular channels on YouTube and licenses thousands of viral videos to TV networks including CNN, MTV and NBC.

Time Warner Eyes Acquisition of Fullscreen Network
Time Warner is said to have held talks to acquire Fullscreen, one of the popular YouTube video networks. Fullscreen is the latest online video network to arouse the interest of big media. The upstarts draw younger audiences that the major TV networks struggle to reach.

21st Century Fox, BSkyB in Talks Over Pay TV Deal
Dow Jones
British Sky Broadcasting has confirmed it is in preliminary discussions with 21st Century Fox over a multibillion-dollar acquisition of its pay-TV assets in Germany and Italy, as the U.K. broadcaster looks to bulk up in Europe amid consolidation across the region's cable and TV industry.

Comcast's 'Neighbors' Defeats Sony's 'Spider-Man 2'
USA Today
"Neighbors" turned the box office into a block party this weekend, stunning "Spider-Man 2" to take the top spot at theaters. While analysts anticipated a drop from Spidey's No. 1 opening last week, most expected the film to keep the top position. But moviegoers were in the mood for a laugh.

Disney's Pixar Chief Authors Latest Hollywood Bible
New York Times
"Creativity Inc." by Ed Catmull, the longtime president of Pixar Animation Studios, is quickly becoming the latest bible for the show business crowd. Visit certain divisions of Disney, which owns Pixar, and you will see the New York Times best-seller on almost every desk.

Time Warner Veteran Named Interim CEO of LA Clippers
Dick Parsons, the former CEO of Time Warner, has been named the interim CEO of Los Angeles Clippers by the National Basketball Association. "Like most Americans, I have been deeply troubled by the pain the Clippers' team, fans and partners have endured," Parsons said.

Samsung Chairman Lee Hospitalized After Heart Attack
Associated Press
Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee was hospitalized in stable condition at a Seoul hospital Sunday after suffering a heart attack. Lee, 72, was rushed to a hospital in central Seoul late Saturday after experiencing breathing problems. "He is in a very stable condition and is resting."

Time Warner to Spin Off Time Inc Magazines in June
Time Warner's spin-off of its publishing unit Time Inc. will take effect on June 6, when shares in the new company are distributed to investors. The spin-off details were disclosed in a filing with U.S. regulators. Time Inc. will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "TIME."

CBS Chief Says Aereo Won't Impact Company Growth
CBS News
CBS has set a goal of $2 billion in annual fees for retransmitting its content by 2020. Hitting that target will be more difficult if TV broadcasters lose a legal challenge against Aereo. "Regardless of the outcome," said CEO Les Moonves, "our growth outlook will be unaffected."

Comcast Plots Big Push Into Web Video Ad Business
The Information
Comcast is said to be quietly planning a major foray into the web advertising business. The cable industry leader will aim to help premium video producers manage and sell ad space on web-based video services. To do so, it will develop a marketplace for premium ad inventory.

Liberty Media to Spin Off Assets in Cable Broadband
Liberty Media is spinning off its cable assets into a new publicly traded company called Liberty Broadband. Chairman John Malone is famous for complicated stock structures designed to be tax-efficient. Liberty Media will continue to hold stakes in Sirius XM, among other companies.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable Defend Merger in House
USA Today
Comcast and Time Warner Cable execs were on the hot seat Thursday in Congress. While much of the focus has been on the post-merger company's pay-TV footprint, some legislators wondered whether the broadband reach of the company might be more important.

21st Century Fox Scores from Super Bowl Broadcast
Dow Jones
21st Century Fox posted solid profit growth for the quarter, driven by its cable networks and advertising revenue from the Fox network's airing of the Super Bowl. Also, president Chase Carey said he has an "understanding" with chief Rupert Murdoch for a renewal of his contract.

Comcast Said to 'Deliberately Harm' Its Own Services
Level 3, a tier 1 Internet service provider, has called out Comcast, Charter, Time Warner Cable and other top U.S. ISPs for "deliberately harming the service they deliver to their paying customers." Level 3 claims that certain companies are refusing to find a solution to congestion.

Viacom's 'Retaliatory' Internet Move Raises Concerns
Broadcasting & Cable
American Cable Association president Matt Polka has said that Viacom's denial of access to its websites by broadband Internet subscribers of Cable One and others should raise warning flags in Washington. The company's actions "are a flagrant attack on Internet openness."

Comcast Enters Deal to Air Olympics Through 2032
Philadelphia Inquirer
Comcast and the International Olympic Committee have entered an unprecedented $7.75 billion contract extension to keep the Olympic Games on NBC and affiliated cable networks through 2032. It is "hard to overstate what an exciting day this is," said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

Disney's Iger: We're Crawling Out of a Soft Ad Cycle
The television advertising business remains a challenging environment, according to Disney CEO Bob Iger, though it does not amount to a long-term concern at the media giant. "The environment for advertising isn't great right now. It's not terrible — but it's not great."

Disney Income Up on Strength of Film Studio, 'Frozen'
Los Angeles Times
Disney has reported a 27% increase in net income for its fiscal second quarter, lifted by the strong performance of its film studio. The animated hit "Frozen" has grossed $1.175 billion worldwide. Several divisions, including media networks, saw double-digit operating income growth.

CBS's Moonves Pitches FCC on Maintaining Retrans
Broadcasting & Cable
On the eve of the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington, CBS head Les Moonves stopped by the Federal Communications Commission to meet with chief Tom Wheeler. The chief topic: why the U.S. regulator should not tinker with retrans.

Tribune: Liguori Sees TV Shows as Company's Future
Peter Liguori has opted for a strategy that comes naturally to the former TV programmer: more original content. As Tribune prepares to shed its print business, the CEO sees the media company's future resting on new TV shows. Tribune is now the largest owner of local U.S. broadcasters.

China Joins List of World's Biggest Media Companies
For the first time, Chinese companies have placed on ZenithOptimedia's list of the top-30 global media owners, ranked by revenue. China's state television company, CCTV, joined at 23rd place, ahead of Facebook. Chinese search engine Baidu placed 28th, ahead of Microsoft.

Sony, Televisa in Partnership for TV Production Deal
Financial Times
Sony Pictures Television has struck a five-year agreement to produce 840 hours of programming with Televisa, the Mexican broadcaster, in a deal that ranks among the biggest in Latin America by a Hollywood studio. Sony and Televisa's programming will be distributed around the world.

Time Warner's Turner Gets Ad Help from Tom Cruise
Turner Broadcasting hopes it can prove its value to advertisers by giving publicity to a squadron of aliens hell-bent on taking over Earth. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt will appear in promotions for their new Warner Bros. sci-fi movie "Edge of Tomorrow," running across Turner properties.

National CineMedia In-Theater Ad Network Buys Rival
National CineMedia, the largest supplier of commercials in movie theaters, has agreed to buy its closest competitor, Screenvision, for $375 million in cash and stock. The merger will create a company with a presence in 210 markets and more than 3,900 theaters.

DirecTV Subscriber Growth Slows Amid M&A Talk
Investor's Business Daily
DirecTV has reported quarterly revenue below estimates. The satellite-TV firm said subscriber growth has slowed in the United States and Latin America. There is speculation that AT&T will bid for DirecTV, though some analysts say DirecTV could gain more by merging with Dish Network.

Discovery Sees Ad Growth in International Networks
Discovery Communications has reported a 22% rise in quarterly revenue, helped by strong advertising growth in its international networks. Media companies such as Discovery make money from advertising on their cable networks and from fees paid by companies to carry their channels.

Martha Stewart Reports Losses in Media Operations
Dow Jones
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia said its first-quarter loss narrowed, though weakness in its publishing and broadcasting divisions continued. The company has posted a long string of annual losses, as a weak advertising market has stung its media operations.

Vice CEO Aims to Become The Next Rupert Murdoch
New York Business
Edgy, controversial, loved-or- hated Vice Media is eyeing viewership numbers in the billions. For founder-CEO Shane Smith, that doesn't mean going mainstream — it means redefining the mainstream. "We won't be the next CNN, or ESPN or MTV. We'll be 10 times that size."

Comcast, Electronic Arts Near Deal to Stream Games
Comcast and Electronic Arts are said to be close to reaching an agreement to stream video games into the living rooms of some of the cable giant's 22 million U.S. customers. Such a deal would come as Comcast seeks to protect its turf against new challengers.

Sony's 'Spider-Man 2' Not So Amazing at Box Office
Los Angeles Times
Pre-release surveys indicated "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" would debut with around $95 million, putting it in a tight race for the top opening of 2014. However, that title still went to Disney's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Still, at $92 million, Spidey is off to a great start.

Fox's 'X-Men' Director Faces Another Assault Lawsuit
Daily Beast
Bryan Singer, director of "X-Men" and other Hollywood blockbusters, has been hit by another lawsuit alleging he assaulted a minor. The new suit claims that Singer and a Broadway producer assaulted a British teenager. Singer's attorney said the charges are "completely false."

News Corp's Murdoch Attends Derby with Paul Rand
New York Times
Rupert Murdoch attended the Kentucky Derby on Saturday as an invited guest of Rand Paul, the state's junior Republican senator and likely presidential candidate. The day at the races marked a potential turn in the race for U.S. president. Said Murdoch: "I'm very open minded."

Comcast Deal Could Result In Media Merger Mania
USA Today
Comcast's move to acquire Time Warner Cable is creating a ripple effect that could transform the pay-TV industry. The latest undulation: The floating of a possible purchase of DirecTV by AT&T. Among other possible moves, DirecTV and Dish Network have talked about merging.

Disney Keeps Focus on 'Star Wars' with New Apps
New York Times
Disney's steady trickle of "Star Wars" announcements has continued as the company and its Lucasfilm unit unveiled a line of apps aimed at helping moviegoers catch up with the story line ahead of the 2015 release of "Star Wars: Episode VII." The film's cast was revealed on Tuesday.

Sony's 'Spider-Man 2' Will Swing to a Big Opening
Los Angeles Times
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2," the sequel to the 2012 franchise reboot, is expected to gross at least $95 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada through Sunday. The new film from Sony Pictures has a chance to be the biggest domestic opening of the year so far.

Viacom Explores New Territory with Channel 5 Buy
Financial Times
Viacom's acquisition of Channel 5 marks the first time that a U.S. company will control a public service broadcaster in the U.K. market. "Original programming is our lifeblood," said Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. "We have capabilities in that regard that Channel 5 did not have."

News Corp Buys Romance Novel Publisher Harlequin
Torstar, the Canadian newspaper publisher, said it plans to sell romance novel business Harlequin to News Corp. for $415 million. News Corp. will run Harlequin as a division of HarperCollins. Torstar, owner of the Toronto Star, said it will use a portion of the proceeds to repay debt.

Viacom Buys Channel 5 Broadcasting for $757 Million
Associated Press
Viacom is buying Britain's Channel 5 Broadcasting for 450 million euros (about $757 million), increasing its investment in U.K-produced content. The media company said that the commercial public service broadcaster is watched by more than 80% of the U.K. population monthly.

AT&T Approaches DirecTV About Possible Acquisition
Wall Street Journal
AT&T is said to have approached DirecTV about a possible acquisition of the satellite-TV company. A combination of AT&T with DirecTV would create a pay-TV giant close in size to where Comcast will be if it completes its pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

Oprah, Geffen, Ellison Eye Bid to Acquire LA Clippers
Oprah Winfrey, David Geffen and Larry Ellison are said to be joining together in a bid to buy the Los Angeles Clippers if the NBA's board of governors votes to force Donald Sterling to sell the team. Geffen said he and Ellison would run the team, while Winfrey would be an investor.

Disney Adding Marvel Superheros to 'Infinity' Game
Associated Press
Disney is adding several Marvel superheros to its toys-meets-games series "Disney Infinity." The company plans to add more than 20 such characters — beginning with Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor and Hulk — in a new installment of the franchise.

Time Warner's CEO Seeks a 'Breaking Bad' for TNT
Ratings at Turner Broadcasting's TNT "can and will do better," said Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes. "The younger viewership has become more important, and the advertiser interest in more younger skewing, a little edgier programming has become pretty pronounced."

Comcast: We Have Fewer Subscribers Than Netflix
Comcast continues to paint Netflix as a competitor, as the cable giant tries to make the case that it needs to swallow Time Warner Cable to have a presence on a national scale. The merger will give "the industry a better opportunity to have a footprint regionally and hopefully nationally."

Viacom Study Says TV Must Be More Social, Mobile
Television remains the king of media, according to a new global research project by Viacom. "But it needs to be SMART — social, mobile, accessible, relevant and tailored. More opportunities to watch content on multiple devices increases the amount of time spent viewing."

DreamWorks to Put Short-Form Content on YouTube
Dow Jones
DreamWorks Animation plans to advance its business to YouTube, with short-form content created for its DreamWorksTV channel. The new-content effort will be run by Brian Robbins, creator of AwesomenessTV, a web video company that DreamWorks acquired last year.

Disney Unveils Cast Members of New 'Star Wars' Movie
Hollywood Reporter
John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of "Star Wars" in the forthcoming "Star Wars: Episode VII," the much-anticipated relaunch of the George Lucas sci-fi franchise now owned by Disney.

Time Warner Boosted by HBO, Lego, March Madness
Time Warner has reported a first-quarter profit of $1.3 billion, up sharply from a year ago. The company's HBO unit posted a 9% revenue increase. But the fastest growing segment was the Warner Bros. unit, where revenues were up 14%. This was thanks largely to "The Lego Movie."

News Corp's Murdoch Hints at Media Acquisitions
Capital New York
News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch is keen on making some additions to the publishing side of his media empire, which was formally split in half nearly a year ago. "News Corp. is in the first sort of, transformational year. There'll be some interesting deals. Print and web."

Time Warner's TMZ Slam-Dunks LA Clippers Owner
Fox News
TMZ has struck again, and the rest of the mainstream media are in hot pursuit. The gossip website broke one of its biggest stories — a stunning racist rant allegedly made by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers that even drew negative comment from President Obama.

Disney Eyes BuzzFeed, Expansion in Chinese Market
Disney had conversations with BuzzFeed but is not currently in active talks, said CEO Bob Iger, commenting on a report that his company was in discussions this year to acquire the entertainment website. "I like BuzzFeed a lot." Also, Disney is boosting its investment in its Shanghai park.

DreamWorks: Movie Viewers Will Pay by Screen Size
Wall Street Journal
DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has predicted that a decade from now, movies will become available to watch anywhere after completing their run in theaters. And consumers will pay on a sliding scale based on the screen size. "You will pay by the inch you watch."

Viacom Sued for Defamation by Former TLC Manager
Associated Press
The former manager of TLC is suing Viacom for defamation, saying the biopic on the R&B group made her seem "unethical and dishonest." Perri "Pebbles" Reid accuses Viacom of making false and defamatory statements about her in VH1's "Crazysexycool: The TLC Story."

CBS: Craig Ferguson to Leave Network at Year End
New York Times
Late-night television has one more opening: Craig Ferguson announced on his CBS show Monday night that he will leave "The Late Late Show" at the end of the year. Ferguson, whose contract was scheduled to end at that time, said in a statement: "CBS and I are ‘consciously uncoupling.'"

Comcast Losing 3.9 Million Subscribers to Charter
Associated Press
Comcast plans to shed about 3.9 million subscribers in a deal with cable competitor Charter Communications to help its acquisition of Time Warner Cable clear regulatory hurdles. Once the Comcast-TWC deal closes, Charter will acquire about 1.4 million existing TWC subscribers.

Hollywood Eyes China Streaming Deal to Beat Piracy
Financial Times
Hollywood's biggest film studios are working with Chinese Internet firm Tencent on a Netflix-style streaming service that aims to beat piracy by delivering new films to homes in China just two weeks after their U.S. release. "This new model could be applicable for other markets."

U.S. TV Shows Yanked from Chinese Video Websites
Associated Press
Chinese authorities have ordered video streaming websites in the country to stop showing four popular U.S. TV shows: "The Big Bang Theory, "The Good Wife," NCIS" and "The Practice." The move suggests government attention is intensifying on the online streaming industry.

Fox's 'Other Woman' Overpowers 'Captain America'
USA Today
With a canny ad campaign calling for women to unite behind it, "The Other Woman" swept to a win at theaters this weekend, unseating "Captain America" after a three-week stint at No. 1. Distributor 20th Century Fox advertised heavily for the film, calling for a "girls night out."

Time Warner Studio on Caped Crusade for DC Comics
Wall Street Journal
Warner Bros. has put renewed focus on reinvigorating its DC Comics characters, aiming to catch up to Disney-owned Marvel Comics. Warner has entrusted its core superheroes to director Zack Snyder, who will helm "Superman vs. Batman" and then "Justice League."

Disney, Partner to Launch Book Line for 'Star Wars'
Hollywood Reporter
On the heels of Lucasfilm's announcement of a coordinated approach between "Star Wars" movies, animated series and spinoff material, Disney Publishing has unveiled a new line of "Star Wars" prose, to be published with Del Rey Books. Four launch titles have been announced.

Viacom Studio, MGM to Remake Classic 'Ben-Hur'
Associated Press
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey will produce a new version of the historical epic "Ben-Hur," as the faith-based film revival continues on the big screen. Paramount Pictures and MGM will co-produce "Ben-Hur" with Burnett and Downey, who also made the recent miniseries "The Bible."

Fox Developing Event Series on Jesus's 'Lost Years'
With popularity of Bible-themed projects showing no signs of subsiding, Fox has put in development "Nazareth," an event series following the formative years of Jesus of Nazareth. There has been a lot of interest in Jesus's so-called "lost years," from the age of 13 to age 30.

Time Warner Studio Buys Stake in Digital Startup TV4
Warner Bros. has taken a minority stake in TV4 Entertainment, a startup building a portfolio of special-interest broadband television networks. TV4 was founded in 2012 by Jon Cody, previously senior VP of digital for Fox Digital Media and general manager of Hulu's launch in 2007.

Fox Chief Murdoch's Tweet Questions Google Ethics
Rupert Murdoch is not one to shy away from expressing an unpopular opinion. The media mogul is sort of a natural at Twitter, using its 140 characters as digital media Op-Eds. In one of his latest tweets, Murdoch questioned whether or not Google is an ethical company.

Comcast, Netflix in War of Words Over Internet Traffic
The war of words between Comcast and Netflix has continued, and it's getting personal. The companies, which have a partnership but also a very public ongoing feud, have taken to their respective blogs to argue over traffic, paid peering connections and the future of the Internet.

FCC's Proposed Net Neutrality Rules Spark Furor
USA Today
A battle has erupted over the Federal Communication Commission chairman's new proposal for net neutrality rules that would allow content providers to pay for Internet express lanes. Critics asserted that fast lanes are a form of discrimination that could leave some at a disadvantage.

News Corp, Facebook Team for Newswire Service
New York Post
Social news agency Storyful, a division of News Corp., has partnered with Facebook to launch FB Newswire, a resource that will make it easier for journalists and newsrooms to find, share and embed newsworthy content from the social networking giant in the media they produce.

Hearst to Acquire Software Maker for Health Network
Hearst has acquired CareInSync, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company, for its new Health Network division. CareInSync's flagship product is Carebook, a real-time mobile care collaboration software. Carebook helps track patient transitions from admission to discharge.

Report: Americans Now Use Digital More Than TV
Media Life
Last year Americans spent more time with digital media than any other medium, for the first time ever. A new report from eMarketer found that U.S. adults spent 43.4% of their major media time with digital devices in 2013. Digital outpaced TV, which declined in percentage of media time.

News Corp Digital Exec Snapped Up by Snapchat
Nick Bell, SVP for digital product at News Corp., has confirmed that he is joining Snapchat in a new role. The move comes after Bell has been piloting the media giant's smartest moves in digital for the last four years. It is not yet clear where Bell and his new colleagues will take the app.

Sony, Mattel Plan Live-Action Film Based on Barbie
Sony Pictures has found what it believes will be its next franchise. The studio has entered a partnership with Mattel on a live-action comedy based on Barbie, the top-selling doll. "This is no development deal, it's moving very quickly." Studio chief Amy Pascal oversaw the deal herself.

Disney Theme Park's Homeless Families Struggle
Associated Press
A growing number of families are living in cheap motels in Florida's tourist corridor because they can't afford housing. While tourists pay nearly $100 apiece to enter Orlando's theme parks, they may be waited on by the homeless. Starting pay at Walt Disney World is $8.03 an hour.

Old Media's Bubble Bursts Amid Modest Outlook
The likes of Viacom, Time Warner and 21st Century Fox all posted phenomenal share-price performances during 2013. But so far this year, most of the major media stocks remain underwater while the S&P 500 has risen. Higher prices have become "harder to justify."

Time Warner Reveals Board of Publishing Spinoff
New York Post
Time Warner has revealed the full 10-member board of Time Inc. ahead of the planned spinoff of the publishing unit. In addition to chairman and CEO Joe Ripp, the headliners include Howard Stringer, former CEO of Sony, and Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Networks.

IAC's Diller Talks Murdoch, Aereo, Internet's Future
Hollywood Reporter
Barry Diller: "Unless you get doused in the Internet — which is such an iterative process — it's unlikely that you'll ever understand it in a way to make use of it. The converse is true: I've not seen one [technology-based] entity make that bridge to 'programming entertainment.'"

Disney's 'Star Wars' Film Production Under Way
The first "Star Wars" movie to be made under Disney has begun shooting in Abu Dhabi, according to Alan Horn, chairman of the company's film division, who said the casting will be announced soon. Filming thus far has involved secondary scenes. The movie is due out in 2015.

Fox Plans Movie Based on Hearst's 'Flash Gordon'
Hollywood Reporter
Flash Gordon could be rocketing back to the big screen. Twentieth Century Fox has closed a deal to pick up the screen rights to the pulp comic-strip hero in a package that has John Davis ("Chronicle") producing. Davis spent more than a year nailing down the rights from Hearst.

AT&T, Chernin Invest $500 Million to Take On Netflix
AT&T and media investment firm the Chernin Group are putting up $500 million for the creation and development of video streaming services. The companies will look "to acquire, invest in and launch" so-called over-the-top services that provide consumers with online content.

Comcast Adds Cable Customers, Bucking Industry
Comcast added video customers for a second straight quarter, bucking the industry trend of losing TV subscribers. Subscriber growth and the Winter Olympics helped first-quarter profit. Comcast is about to get bigger if its proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable is approved.

Time Warner's Bewkes Gets 27 Percent Pay Bump
USA Today
Jeff Bewkes's 2013 compensation was valued at $32.5 million, up about 27% from 2012, Time Warner said in its annual proxy. The CEO's pay package and equity gains trailed several media barons. Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman received compensation valued at $37.2 million.

Disney, Fox Veteran Execs Face Abuse Charges
The man who has sued "X-Men" director Bryan Singer over claims he was abused when he was age 15 has filed lawsuits against three other Hollywood bigwigs, also charging assault. The men named in the new suit were Garth Ancier, David Neuman and Gary Goddard.

Sony's Steve Jobs Movie Eyes Leonardo DiCaprio
Hollywood Reporter
Moving fast to replace David Fincher on its highly anticipated Steve Jobs movie, Sony Pictures is in talks with Danny Boyle to direct the biopic of the late Apple co-founder. Boyle is said to have approached Leonardo DiCaprio to star. Sources caution that deals are not done.

Disney's 'Captain America' in Historic Brand Building
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier," was No. 1 for a third weekend in the U.S. and Canada, with sales of $26.6 million. "This is historic brand building. Since the release of 'Avengers,' we're seeing this trickle-down effect where every movie that comes out after is benefiting."

Fox's 'X-Men' Unlikely to Be Hurt By Director Scandal
Daily News
Just how much the salacious lawsuit filed against "X-Men: Days of Future Past" director Bryan Singer will taint his movie at the box office remains an X-factor. But Industry insiders say they think few movie-goers will associate the scandal with one of the biggest popcorn flicks of the summer.

Disney Says Online Offerings Boost ESPN Audience
Disney execs said consumers who listen to ESPN radio and interact with the sports channel's websites spend triple the amount of time with the company as those who just watch the TV network. "It's exploded the misconception that digital media would cannibalize TV."

Comcast: Binge Watching Helps Ratings of Live TV
The best way to hook someone into an existing series of stories is to make sure they can start from the beginning. The same is also true of TV shows, and Comcast has the data to back it up. Time-shifted content "is beneficial to the industry-standard TV ratings for new episode premieres."

Vodafone, Netflix in Talks Over Access to Movies, TV
Vodafone, the world's second-largest mobile carrier, is said to be in talks with Netflix to offer subscribers access to streaming movies and TV shows. A deal would give Vodafone customers free access to Netflix content for a period of time. Talks are believed to be at an early stage.

Fox Chief Murdoch Tries Out Virtual Reality Headset
According to the "Murdoch Here" Tumblr account, the media mogul and his team visited interactive advertising agency Framestore in New York this week. While there, the octogenarian chairman tried out the "Game of Thrones" virtual reality experience on the Oculus Rift.

Disney-Maker: New Lawsuit Seeks to Unwind Merger
Hollywood Reporter
Former Maker Studios employee Andy Faberlle has hit the digital studio with a new lawsuit that demands a rescission of the Disney merger. His suit makes many of the same fraud claims made by ex-CEO Danny Zappin. Members of Maker's board "orchestrated a scheme," he said.

Fox, News Corp's Murdoch in $40 Million Settlement
Sydney Morning Herald
The final chapter of long-running legal action over failed Australian telecom One.Tel has come to an end, with one-time directors James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch agreeing to a $40 million settlement with liquidators. Packer and Murdoch blew up $1 billion on the investments.

Fox 'X-Men' Franchise Director Accused of Abuse
Daily News
Bryan Singer has been slapped with a shocking lawsuit, but denies the allegations. The film director's lawyer said "it is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity," given that the newest installment of the "X-Men" franchise is due to arrive in theaters next month.

Disney: Man to Plead Guilty in Insider Trading Case
Associated Press
A man will plead guilty to securities fraud and pay regulators $801,000 for using insider information to profit from Disney's $4 billion acquisition of Marvel in 2009. Toby Scammell learned from his Disney-employee girlfriend that the company would buy a well-known firm.

Warner Bros Taps White House Veteran for PR Post
Dee Dee Myers, the first woman to serve as White House press secretary, has been named EVP of corporate communications and public affairs at Warner Bros., producer of the Washington TV drama "West Wing." Myers replaces Sue Fleishman, who is leaving the studio.

Disney Wins Backing of Maker Studios Over Relativity
Disney's $950 million agreement by buy Maker Studios was reaffirmed by the online video company, putting a quick end to a last-minute offer from Relativity Media. Maker said its board and a majority of shareholders approved the sale, which should close in a few weeks.

Hollywood Reporter Names 'Most Powerful' in Media
Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter's fourth annual list of influencers honors the men and women who shape the media message and interpret the sweep of the culture. New entries this year — BuzzFeed's Jonah Peretti and Ben Smith, Vice Media's Shane Smith and Gawker's Nick Denton.

Fox's James Murdoch to Join Board of Ad Startup
New York Times
James Murdoch, co-chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, has joined the board of True[X] Media, an advertising company based in New York. The appointment comes as the venture capital-backed startup refreshes its board, bringing in industry expertise as it grows.

Martha Stewart Pet Products Lawsuit to Advance
A lawsuit claiming Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia tried to undercut business partner Age Group's relationship with pet products retailer PetSmart can proceed, a New York state judge has ruled. Age Group sued MSLO last year for breach of contract and other claims.

Lions Gate Partners with Online Outfit RocketJump
Associated Press
Another Hollywood studio has tied up with a video creator that has made it big on YouTube. Lions Gate Entertainment has announced a multi-year partnership with RocketJump Studios, maker of hit online show "Video Game High School," which is now in its third season.

Sony: Fincher Out of Steve Jobs Movie in Fee Fight
Hollywood Reporter
Sony Pictures is looking to replace David Fincher as director of its highly anticipated Steve Jobs movie due to his aggressive demands for compensation and control. Fincher is said to be seeking a hefty $10 million up front in fees, as well as control over marketing.

Disney's 'Captain America' Outguns 'Rio 2' from Fox
Disney's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" led ticket sales for a second week, holding off Fox's "Rio 2," as audiences rewarded Hollywood studios for releasing their biggest films early. "The key takeaway is this is turning into a huge month and bodes well for the industry."

Viacom Scrambles to Find a Successor to Colbert
Wall Street Journal
Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" has helped define the channel's brand and has become a key part of its schedule. The Viacom network is now scrambling to figure out a replacement for Stephen Colbert. The new host will need to appeal to the channel's 18-34 audience.

Comcast Takeover Bad for America, Senator Says
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.): "The danger in allowing Comcast to accrue even more power is not purely hypothetical. The company is already using its dominant position to dictate terms to content providers. Content not owned by Comcast could become harder to find online."

Disney's Iger Ranks as Second Highest-Paid CEO
New York Times
Oracle's Larry Ellison had the highest total compensation among CEOs in 2013, according to a pay study from Equilar. At $78.4 million, Ellison's pay was more than double that of the second-ranked exec, Bob Iger of Disney, and triple that of the third-place finisher, Rupert Murdoch.

Fox, News Corp's Murdoch Talks Ex-Wife, Facebook
In a wide-ranging interview with Fortune, media mogul Rupert Murdoch talked extensively about social media, and admitted that News Corp.'s decision to not hire Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was a mistake. He also discussed his ex-wife and his 2016 presidential pick.

CBS's Moonves Buys Mansion on 'Billionaires Beach'
New York Post
CBS chief Les Moonves has bought Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's home on Malibu's prestigious Carbon Beach for $28 million. Carbon is dubbed "Billionaires Beach" because it is also home to the likes of Larry Ellison, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Disney's Maker Studios Buy Threatened by Ex-CEO
Wall Street Journal
Maker Studios former CEO Danny Zappin and three other former execs have filed a lawsuit aiming to prevent a shareholder vote to approve a takeover bid by Disney. The group claims some Maker directors had issued shares to themselves to dilute Zappin's ownership.

Viacom to Offer Advertisers Social Media Guarantees
Advertising Age
Viacom has begun taking steps toward offering advertisers guarantees for the social media impact it can give them. The company plans to underpin the guarantees with data on social activity across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Google + and YouTube in real time.

Sony, Warner Music Labels Gang Up on MegaUpload
The Recording Industry Association of America has filed a lawsuit against MegaUpload just three days after the Motion Picture Association of America filed a similar suit against the defunct file-sharing service. The suit accuses MegaUpload of "massive copyright infringement."

Big Media Won't Stand Up to Comcast's Big Merger
CBS, Time Warner, Viacom and other media giants weren't at Comcast's U.S. Senate panel hearing regarding the merger with Time Warner Cable. Comcast paid out $9.1 billion on programming last year. The bulk of that money went to the companies that suddenly lost their tongues.

Comcast Says It Represents the American Dream
Philadelphia Inquirer
Comcast EVP David Cohen told U.S. senators at a hearing on the merger with Time Warner Cable that his company represented the "American dream." Acquiring TWC will provide "the scale to innovate." However, the proposed deal faced "a high degree of skepticism."

21st Century Fox Enters Internet-TV Deal in Italy
Telecom Italia, the country's largest phone company, is teaming with Rupert Murdoch's Sky Italia for an Internet-TV service to attract broadband subscriptions. Starting next year, Telecom Italia clients with a My Sky HD decoder will have access to Sky's TV programs over the web.

Hearst CEO Swartz Shares Vision of Media Future
Fox Business
Hearst CEO Steve Swartz: "We love the magazine business; we love the newspaper business; cable TV is obviously our biggest business. But, for us, our second biggest source of profits is business information. Technology enables business information to be even stronger."

Time Warner Dumps $1.4 Billion Debt on Time Inc
New York Post
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has revealed that the $1.4 billion in debt and loans that will be assigned to Time Inc. in its spinoff will be used in large part to pay the parent company for IPC Media, a British publishing subsidiary. IPC is still carried on Time Warner's books.

Comcast: We Need Merger to Compete with Google
Ars Technica
Comcast, attempting to explain why its proposed $45.2 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable would be good for consumers, said it needs extra scale to compete against Google, Netflix and other companies in broadband and video. "The point is, Google is coming."

Disney, Time Warner on Superhero Collision Course
Disney has thrown down the gauntlet at Warner Bros. by scheduling the next Captain America film to open on May 6, 2016 — the same day its competitor releases a combined Superman-Batman movie. The move suggests competition for top dates remains fierce.

Disney 'Infinity' Game to Add Marvel Superheroes
It was only a matter of time before Disney added Marvel's superheroes to its "Disney Infinity" game, which involves collectible physical figures to play. Disney sees the game as a platform through which it can prominently feature its characters in ways that a film or TV show can't allow.

Universal Music Expands in Video with Acquisition
Financial Times
Universal Music has acquired Eagle Rock Entertainment, a U.K.-based distributor of DVDs of concerts and rock-band documentaries. The deal highlights how Universal is seeking to increase its exposure to video. Eagle Rock will help Universal create "artist-based bundles."

Fox, Disney, Viacom Film Studios Sue MegaUpload
MegaUpload has been sued again, but this time it's not the feds going after the file-sharing service. Six of the top U.S. movie studios have filed a complaint alleging that a handful of MegaUpload's administrators knowingly infringed on the copyrights of movies and TV shows.

Viacom, BET Sued Over Awards Show Party Shooting
A man who was shot in the leg at the 2011 BET Awards after-party has claimed that the club — as well as BET and parent Viacom — made a near fatal mistake with security. Antwon Black said in a new lawsuit that Viacom, BET and the club's owners failed to keep the venue safe.

Comcast Hearing: No Disney, Viacom Execs on List
Philadelphia Inquirer
Six witnesses are slated to testify Wednesday at the Senate committee hearing on Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Absent from the list were top execs of Disney, Viacom or other content giants, who could testify to the buying power of the combined Comcast-TWC.

Disney's 'Captain America' Sets Box-Office Record
USA Today
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" sprang to the largest April debut on record, decimating box-office competition, at $96.2 million. The debut met most analysts' lofty expectations. "Disney ran another Marvel movie up the flagpole. And the entirety of North America saluted."

Viacom CEO Dauman: The Best Years Still Ahead
Philippe Dauman has returned Paramount Pictures to profitability and raised Viacom's cable-TV ratings. The CEO has been described as a shrewd negotiator and even a math whiz. "The best years for Viacom and Philippe are still ahead," said chief Sumner Redstone.

Comcast's Merger Hearing Comes Amid Concerns
Philadelphia Inquirer
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold the first public hearing on Comcast's proposed deal for Time Warner Cable on Wednesday, amid concerns about merging the No. 1 and No. 2 cable-TV companies. Comcast said the deal will not give it "monopsony power."

CBS Gets Chance to 'Rebrand' with Letterman Exit
David Letterman's retirement gives CBS a chance to lure younger viewers to his late-night TV time slot, matching the recent elevation of Jimmy Fallon that reenergized rival NBC's "Tonight Show," according to media execs. The late-night host creates a "brand" for the entire network.

Liberty Media to Slash Investment in Barnes & Noble
Liberty Media, which once considered buying Barnes & Noble, plans to reduce its stake and sell a majority of its investment in the struggling bookseller. Liberty will cut its 17% stake to a roughly 2% holding. Liberty's reduced ownership will give B&N "greater flexibility."

Sony's Crackle Enters Pact for NBCUniversal Films
Crackle, the free streaming video platform backed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, has signed a deal with NBCUniversal for the exclusive rights to more than 140 movies over the next three years. "We acquire content like a true network. We're not like a Hulu or a YouTube."

Disney's 'Captain America' Kicks Off Sequel Season
Hollywood will pack 13 sequels into movie theaters over the next 20 weeks. The parade begins Friday, with the debut of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," and continues through summer. What mostly drives the studio top brass is that audiences keep buying tickets for sequels.

Viacom's Nickelodeon Opens Retail Store in Panama
Hollywood Reporter
Kids who can't get enough of SpongeBob or Dora the Explorer can now visit the Nickelodeon Store ... in Panama. Unlike Disney, which has some 340 stores mostly in North America, Viacom has no plans for Nick stores in the U.S., as it instead focuses on emerging markets.

Comcast Seeks Kathie Lee's Help in Takeover Deal
Associated Press
Kathie Lee Gifford, co-host of the fourth hour of the "Today" show, said NBC has asked her not to plug her new branded wine line on the air. "We're in the middle of the big takeover. They're under great scrutiny." NBC owner Comcast is trying to buy Time Warner Cable.

Discovery Joins Howard, Grazer in New Digital Studio
Discovery plans to join Hollywood producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer to start a studio called New Form that will make short videos for online viewers. YouTube veteran Kathleen Grace will serve as chief creative officer. Other investors include CAA and Jim Wiatt.

Disney's Maker Buy May Stir More YouTube Deals
Disney's acquisition of Maker Studios is expected to motivate other media giants to look into buying up similar YouTube networks. Many media companies now view YouTube as "a critical part" of their programming mix. "It's hard to believe Viacom isn't looking at something."

Viacom, Small Cable Distributors Ink Carriage Deal
Multichannel News
After their contract expired at midnight, Viacom and the National Cable Television Cooperative have reached a carriage renewal for the programmer's networks. The agreement means that 800 NCTC members can now sign onto the co-op's master deal with Viacom.

Fox, News Corp: Murdoch Son Has Mixed Record
Wall Street Journal
The ascension of Lachlan Murdoch to the co-chairmanship of the media empire built by his father was said to be propelled in part by a good investment call to hold on to a real-estate listings website in Australia. Other investments Lachlan proposed "haven't ended well."

Report Says Traditional Media Still a Great Business
Data released by SNL Kagan highlights the fact that, despite all of the ink bemoaning the Internet-driven demise of traditional media, such businesses remain very, very profitable. A common thread among the top media companies — they produce and sell TV shows and movies.

Comcast's Stock Drop May Complicate TWC Deal
Wall Street Journal
A 10% drop in Comcast's share price has reduced the value of its all-stock offer for Time Warner Cable to $143.55 a share from $158.82 a share — possibly creating an opening for Charter, TWC's erstwhile suitor. TWC shareholders could seek "a sweetener from Comcast."

Hearst Chief Bennack Reveals Secrets of Success
Yale Daily News
Frank Bennack Jr., executive vice chairman of Hearst, said he was able to navigate the company by having a flexible definition of success. "Every time you do something, it's going to be a part of your record. Don't ever think no one will remember if you do something unethical."

FCC Tightens Ownership Rules on Media Companies
The Federal Communications Commission has voted to crack down on cooperation between U.S. broadcasters. Following the agency's contentious vote, a broadcast company that sells 15% or more of a station's advertising will be considered as owning that station.

Comcast Plans $2.5 Billion More in Stock Buybacks
Comcast plans to increase its share buyback program by more than 80% if investors approve its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Comcast will add $2.5 billion to the current plan for $3 billion in 2014 buybacks if shareholders vote for the deal.

Time Warner Cable Dismisses Call to Reject Merger
Time Warner Cable said it is committed to a deal reached with larger cable operator Comcast in response to calls by Charter that shareholders reject the $45 billion merger. "We are fully committed to our merger with Comcast." Charter was rebuffed in its own bid for TWC

Viacom CEO's Son Joins Twitter in Commerce Role
Twitter has hired Philippe Dauman Jr. away from Google to lead commerce partnerships. Dauman, who was at Google for more than six years, announced the news on Twitter and LinkedIn. Adding in a commerce platform will give Twitter an additional revenue source.

Viacom's 'Noah' Sails to Top Amid Mixed Responses
Los Angeles Times
Director Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic "Noah" sailed at the weekend box office as the Paramount film opened at No. 1 with an estimated $44 million in ticket sales. "At first I thought maybe we walked into the wrong movie," said one moviegoer. "It was a little cheesy of a start."

Disney's 'Frozen' Is Highest-Grossing Animated Film
Hollywood Reporter
Disney's Oscar-winning "Frozen" has become the top-grossing animated film of all time. "Frozen" is also the first billion-dollar title from Disney Animation Studios. The movie has earned $398.4 million domestically and $674 million internationally for a total $1.072 billion.

Time Warner Film Chief Bullish on Big-Screen Future
New York Times
Kevin Tsujihara, CEO of Warner Bros., has a quiet, courteous style that he describes as "behaving like a human being." The exec has already made bold moves that belie his nice-guy demeanor. This summer, Warner Bros. will release eight movies — the most of any studio.

Fox, News Corp: Murdoch Son to Stay Down Under
Sydney Morning Herald
Lachlan Murdoch was re-crowned last week as the heir to the Murdoch media empire, appointed his father's co-chairman at both News Corp. and 21st Century Fox. He insisted on non-executive roles so he can continue to reside in Sydney with his wife and three young children.

Comcast: We're a Tech Company Like Google, Apple
New York Times
Brian Roberts, Comcast's chief executive, sees his company's major competitors as the media companies of the future, like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. "Cable is a relic of an antiquated model," he said. "We want to be a tech company, not a wire company."

Tribune: Car Crashes at Front Door of Headquarters
Chicago Tribune
Authorities are looking for an apparent drunken driver who crashed a car into a concrete wall and jumped the sidewalk coming to rest outside the front doors of Tribune Tower in Chicago, home of the Tribune Co. "I just heard a big bang," said a Tribune Tower doorman.

Viacom 'Colbert Show' Twitter Account Stirs Anger
USA Today
On Twitter, Stephen Colbert wrote that an offending tweet sent from his Comedy Central show's verified Twitter account was not written by him. He also said he is unaware who wrote it. "The Colbert Show" Twitter account also sent tweets denying Colbert had anything to do with the tweet.

Comcast-Time Warner Cable Contested by Charter
Hollywood Reporter
Charter has urged shareholders of Time Warner Cable to vote against the proposed acquisition by Comcast. After failing to seal a deal itself, the cable firm, in which Liberty Media owns 27%, also demands "that the TWC board engage in a full review of its strategic opportunities."

CBS Outdoor Seeks to Buy Smaller Rivals After IPO
CBS Outdoor Americas will seek to buy smaller U.S. billboard companies following its $560 million initial public offering, ramping up competition with Lamar Advertising and Clear Channel Outdoor. The billboard industry is ripe for consolidation, said CBS Outdoor CEO Jeremy Male.

Disney's Maker Studios Sends Content to Cable TV
Maker Studios, which is being acquired by Disney, has cut a content-licensing deal with cable music-video service Music Choice for more than 500 hours of the YouTube multichannel network's clips. The deal will bring Maker content to pay-TV services for the first time.

Fox's Carey Still Steering Ship as Murdoch Sons Rise
Los Angeles Times
Chase Carey continues to steer the day-to-day operations of 21st Century Fox, as watchers of Rupert Murdoch's empire scrutinize the new roles of his children Lachlan and James. Carey, described by the elder Murdoch as his "partner," is negotiating a new contract with the company.

Discovery, Fox Stocks Due for 20% Pops, Analyst Says
The market under-appreciates Discovery Communications and 21st Century Fox, said Nomura Securities' Anthony DiClemente, who has put both stocks in a tier above other media options. "When you look at everything that's going on with digital media, content is king."

Comcast Talks Spinoff with Time Warner Cable Execs
New York Post
Comcast has pledged to sell 3 million cable subscribers to keep the Time Warner Cable-combined customer base under 30% of the U.S. pay-TV market. One scenario under discussion is spinning out the subscribers to form a new pay-TV company run by TWC veterans.

Viacom's Rates 'Out of Whack' for Small Distributors
Los Angeles Times
The National Cable Television Cooperative, which represents primarily rural cable operators, has charged that Viacom wants to dramatically increase the fees to carry its channels to prices that are 40 times greater than the rate of inflation. Viacom's rates are "out of whack."

Disney's Maker Studios Losing Millions Ahead of Sale
The Information
Disney's $500 million buyout of Maker Studios has been described as an endorsement of the YouTube economy. What it isn't, though, is the acquisition of a great standalone business. Maker is said to have been losing $2 million to $3 million a month in the run-up to the sale.

Fox, News Corp Announce Return of Murdoch Son
Wall Street Journal
21st Century Fox and News Corp. have named Lachlan Murdoch as nonexecutive co-chairman, marking his re-emergence as a force at the businesses nine years after he resigned his positions at the old News Corp. "Lachlan is a talented executive," said Rupert Murdoch.

Media Industry CEOs Still Paid Really, Really Well
The CEOs of the top 15 traditional media companies have a median take-home pay of $25 million — which is $10 million more than the median at the 200 largest S&P companies, according to a survey by Equilar. "Of the 15 highest-paid CEOs last year, one-third were in media."

Tribune Reports Double-Digit Decline in Revenue
Chicago Tribune
Tribune closed out 2013 with a double-digit revenue decline during the fourth quarter. The company, which plans to spin off its legacy newspapers, saw broadcasting revenue decline more steeply that publishing. Broadcasting revenue trends "were disappointing."

ProSiebenSat.1 Buys Stake in YouTube Video Maker
German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 is buying a 20% stake in U.S.-based online video company Collective Digital Studios to gain more viewers on sites such as YouTube. Media companies are shifting from traditional broadcasting to videos that can be accessed at any time.

Dish Network Said to Approach DirecTV About Merger
Dish Network's Charlie Ergen is said to have recently contacted DirecTV's Mike White to discuss a merger of the two satellite-TV companies. Ergen reportedly made the approach in response to Comcast's $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable announced in mid-February.

Time Warner's Turner, CNN Overhaul Ad Oversight
Time Warner's Turner unit has shaken up the structure of its advertising-sales staff. The move resulted in the elevation of top sales exec Donna Speciale and the departure of Greg D'Alba, a 27-year veteran who has supervised ad sales for CNN and the company's digital assets.

Viacom to Air Live TV Ads with Show Characters
New York Times
TV Land, a Viacom cable channel, will run live commercials with the characters from both "Hot in Cleveland" and "The Soul Man," during special live broadcasts of the two series on Wednesday night. "Hot in Cleveland" will also feature live branded integration of eHarmony.

Comcast: Senate Panel Delays Hearing on Merger
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed a hearing on Comcast's $45.2 billion plan to merge with Time Warner Cable until April 9, the committee announced. The hearing had previously been scheduled for April 2. The committee gave no reason for the delay.

Disney Bets $1 Billion on High-Tech Wristbands
Disney's new MyMagic+ electronic wristbands could change the way people play — and spend — at the company's theme parks. If the data-collection system works, it could be copied by other venues, including museums, zoos, airports and malls. "It's a complete game changer."

Fox's Murdoch Says He Wears Computing Device
Sydney Morning Herald
Rupert Murdoch revealed during public remarks that he now wears a Jawbone smart bracelet. "This is a bracelet that keeps track of how I sleep, move and eat — transmitting that information to the cloud," Murdoch said. "It allows me to track and maintain my health much better."

Time Warner's Slim Down Not the End of Big Media
Financial Times
Time Warner has slimmed down to a pure TV and film company. Is this the end of the "big media" era? CEO Jeff Bewkes demurs. "Big media is us," he said. The media giant is exploring a move to a new Manhattan building and will make "a gigantic pile of cash" if it sells its current digs.

Fox's Murdoch Says He Wears Computing Device
Sydney Morning Herald
Rupert Murdoch revealed during public remarks that he now wears a Jawbone smart bracelet. "This is a bracelet that keeps track of how I sleep, move and eat — transmitting that information to the cloud," Murdoch said. "It allows me to track and maintain my health much better."

Hearst Seeks Momentum After Big CEO Handoff
CEO Frank Bennack Jr. remade Hearst by pushing into new businesses. Successor Steve Swartz aims keep it going. Today Hearst's assets include stakes in the likes of BuzzFeed. Meanwhile, the company is shedding businesses that underperform. "Nothing is sacrosanct."

Vice Media: 'We're the Time Warner of the Street'
Vice Media CEO Shane Smith has described his irreverent digital media company as the "Time Warner of the street." Time Warner "is a media conglomerate that does magazines, TV, movies, music, books," he said. "And so are we. We are the changing of the guard."

Media Professionals Using Less Traditional Media
Media professionals are much more likely to be heavy users of digital media — particularly mobile and social — and are much less likely to use traditional media than average consumers, according to a study by the Media Behavior Institute. Print, however, "bucked the trend."



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