Today's Headlines
Wednesday, 10/8/14

Media Giants Pressed for Details in Big Merger Reviews
Wall Street Journal
The Federal Communications Commission has forced media companies to hand over details of their contracts with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T; and DirecTV as part of its review of two major mergers. But some firms have pushed back, fearing rivals could access confidential data.

Comcast Said to Get Man Fired for Contesting Charges
Comcast allegedly pulled strings to get one of its customers fired from his job at an accounting firm after he complained about billing issues and false charges. The cable giant admits that the company did contact the man's employer. "Our customers deserve the best experience."

DreamWorks Animation Sale Described as Long Shot
Jeffrey Katzenberg's long-time desire to sell the studio he founded has been described as Hollywood's worst-kept secret. So why can't he make a deal? Unlike bigger media conglomerates, DreamWorks Animation lacks cable networks to help offset misses at the box office.

Netflix Says Film Release Plan Isn't Anti-Movie Theater
Movie theaters have come out swinging against Netflix's plan to simultaneously release originals in IMAX theaters. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said: "Movie theatres are upset with us because they see that if everyone gets the choice they might actually enjoy it at home."

CBS, Viacom Stock Sale by Redstone Seen Possible
Sumner Redstone's National Amusements movie-theater chain faces a possible downgrade of its debt due to declining box-office receipts. Redstone could sell some of the $5.1 billion in CBS and Viacom stock the company owns to ensure continued liquidity, said Standard & Poor's.

Viacom to Roll Out Spike TV in International Markets
Hollywood Reporter
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said that the company will launch the Spike network in the U.K. as the first step in the brand's international expansion. The U.K. "is a second home for us, a hub for international expansion." Spike, he added, "will become one of our major global brands."

CBS, NBC, ABC Show Ratings Growth; Fox in Trouble
Associated Press
For three of the four biggest U.S. television networks, the ratings report card has offered encouraging news for the second straight week. Fox is the one exception, and it looks to be in trouble. It has already cut back on airings of "Utopia," the reality show it hoped would become a big draw.

NBCUniversal Names Chief for Ventures on Broadway
Just a few weeks after Disney roared that "The Lion King" had become the highest-grossing entertainment of all time, NBCUniversal announced that Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, will oversee the company's live-theater division, Universal Stage Productions.

NBC Seeks to Hook Big Ad Dollars for Live 'Peter Pan'
NBC has sprinkled a little pixie dust around its coming broadcast of "Peter Pan Live," reminding potential advertisers that viewers won't be able to skip past the ads. The network is said to be asking up to $400,000 for a 30-second spot — one of the highest prices on broadcast TV this fall.

IHeartMedia Secures $200 Million Deal with Omnicom
Wall Street Journal
Omnicom Media Group has inked a deal to spend $200 million annually with iHeartMedia, the country's largest radio broadcaster, marking the media agency's most significant investment yet with a single radio partner. Said Omnicom: "Radio is still a really important medium."

Hearst: We Benefit from Investing in Vice, BuzzFeed
World Screen
Steve Swartz, CEO of Hearst, has admitted that the media business is getting "tougher," due to disruption from new technology. However, his company benefits from its stakes in upstarts like Vice Media, BuzzFeed and Roku. "We find that our venture arm is a good way to learn."

Scripps Networks Interactive Offers Early Retirement
Scripps Networks Interactive has begun an early retirement program, as the owner of HGTV and Food Network looks to reduce costs. "There are significant headwinds for the industry at large," said CEO Ken Lowe. Changes in consumer behavior are creating "unpredictability."

CNN: Why Layoffs Amid Forecasts of $1 Billion Profit?
New York
CNN employees are said to be responding with frustration to planned job reductions of about 300, since the cable news network is having a record year of profits. CNN is on track to generate a $1 billion profit by 2017. The cuts "are a reminder that chief Jeff Zucker doesn't have free reign."

ABC News' Muir Breaks NBC's Five-Year Winning Streak
USA Today
Looks like the evening news wars have seriously heated up — thanks to new kid on the block David Muir. For the first time in more than five years, ABC's "World News Tonight" has bested NBC's "Nightly News." Muir took over the anchor job from Diane Sawyer on Sept. 2.

Fox Acquires Seattle TV Station Eyeing Value from NFL
Wall Street Journal
21st Century Fox plans to buy KBCB, a Seattle-area station, as part of a strategy to own TV stations where there is a National Football League franchise. Acquiring the station may help Fox gain leverage to get what it really wants: Tribune Seattle station KCPQ, which airs the Seahawks.

Fusion Hires Atlantic Web Editor to Bolster Coverage
New York Times
Alexis Madrigal, deputy editor of and a prominent online voice on technology and culture, will join the cable network Fusion as Silicon Valley bureau chief and anchor of a TV show. Madrigal said he will cover broader issues "across television, live events and digital."

Hulu CEO Mulls Cutting Number of Ads on Pay Service
New York Post
Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins is said to be considering cutting back the number of ads that appear on Hulu Plus, the $7.99-a-month paid tier of the online streaming service. Hulu and its media partners are "always looking at a variety of ways to create the best possible experience."

YouTube Today Is Like Google 10 Years Ago, CEO Says
YouTube has emerged as the springboard for a new generation of digital video creators. Some have audiences that surpass those of popular cable programs. CEO Susan Wojcicki said she first learned about that world through her children. "My son was following 100 different channels."

Google Reads Emailed Bills, Reminds Users to Pay Up
Wall Street Journal
Google already scans Gmail accounts to show more relevant ads. Now the Internet giant is scouring emails for bills. Its Google Search mobile app has begun reminding users when payments are due by spotting emailed bills in their Gmail accounts and automatically reading the details.

Facebook to Release Mobile App Allowing Anonymity
New York Times
Facebook is said to be working on a mobile app that will allow users to interact without having to use their real names. The app is expected to be released in the coming weeks. There are many unknowns as to how the new app will interact, if at all, with Facebook's main website.

Twitter Sues US Government Over Surveillance Rules
Washington Post
Twitter has sued the U.S. government, alleging that Justice Department restrictions on what the company can say publicly about national security requests for user data violate its First Amendment rights. Twitter’s lawsuit was filed after months of effort to reach an out-of-court agreement.

Yahoo Cuts 400 Jobs in India, About 3% of Global Staff
Yahoo is said to have laid off 400 employees in Bangalore, India, in what may have been the largest staff reduction under CEO Marissa Mayer. The layoffs eliminate nearly one-third of the company's staff in Bangalore. Yahoo said it is "looking at ways to achieve greater efficiency."

Apple Wins Patent for Display Called 'Digital Periodical'
Business Insider
Apple has been granted a patent for a flexible display that can be used as a self-updating digital newspaper. The company refers to it as a "digital periodical," and said it can be used for both reading and advertising. Apple files many patents, most of which do not become products.

Evolve Media to Acquire AfterEllen Website from Viacom
Los Angeles Times
Evolve Media, which owns and operates about 45 "enthusiast" websites, has announced the purchase of from Viacom Media Networks. The lesbian-focused community has a slate of contributors that is "very engaged." AfterEllen is "the most influential site of its kind."

Scripps Acquires Weather App Publisher WeatherSphere
WeatherSphere, the company behind the No. 1 paid weather app on iOS, has been acquired by E.W. Scripps. WeatherSphere's portfolio of apps will complement Scripps' existing StormShield paid weather app. Combined, WeatherSphere's apps attract a total of 3 million users.

TheStreet to Acquire Owner of BoardEx for $21 Million
TheStreet has agreed to pay $21 million for Management Diagnostics, a London-based developer of a relationship capital management service used by law firms, investment banks and consultancies. The company's main product is BoardEx, a proprietary people database.

Conde Nast Mag Merger Creates Food Innovation Group
This past summer, Conde Nast announced that it was handing over control of Epicurious to Bon Appetit. Now, VP-publisher Pamela Drucker Mann is cementing that merger with the launch of the Food Innovation Group — the first group within the company to sell across multiple brands.

Time Inc CEO Sees Conferences as Key to Turnaround
Conferences like Fortune magazine's standing-room-only Most Powerful Women Summit — which charges $8,500 a head — are a key part of CEO Joe Ripp's strategy to grow Time Inc. "Being able to create products and services that cut across our brands really does help."

Vanity Fair Kicks Off Conference for 'New Establishment'
New York Post
Mike Bloomberg and Jony Ive will be among the speakers at Vanity Fair's first-ever New Establishment Summit. The two-day event, kicking off today in San Francisco, is based on the magazine's annual list of the same name. VF is the latest magazine to expand into conferences.

Travel + Leisure Editor Redefines Team with Dismissals
New Travel + Leisure editor in chief Nathan Lump has put his stamp on the Time Inc.-owned glossy. Lump is said to have dismissed five people on the edit side, including a web editor. A Time Inc. spokeswoman said: "Nathan is redefining the roles of his team. Change is inevitable."

Men's Health Announces the 'Ultimate Men's Health Guy'
Daily News
An inspiring U.S. Army veteran who battled depression after a life-changing injury has made Men's Health history. Retired Sgt. Noah Galloway won the Rodale title's inaugural Ultimate Men's Health Guy contest and appears on the November cover. He is the first reader to double as a cover star.

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Postmedia Buys Canadian Titles Including Toronto Sun
National Post
Canada's Postmedia Network said it is buying 175 English-language newspapers, including the Toronto Sun, from Sun Media, in a $316 million deal. "This acquisition brings together an impressive stable of brands that collectively create a stronger Canadian media platform."

Axel Springer Invests $20 Million in News Startup Ozy
USA Today
Ozy, the online news website founded by former MSNBC anchor Carlos Watson, said that German publisher Axel Springer has invested $20 million to raise its stake in the startup. With the investment, Axel Springer, which publishes the German tabloid Bild, becomes Ozy's largest investor.

Time, Real Simple Join Glut of Women's Conferences
New York Times
Conferences promoting women's empowerment are on the rise and haven't had this kind of cachet since the feminist movement in the 1970s. This time, however, the booster sessions are being run by media companies, with corporate sponsors. "We're reaching kind of a saturation point."

In Touch Uses Drone to Cover George Clooney Wedding
Daily News
In Touch Weekly is said to have used a drone to cover the festivities surrounding George Clooney's wedding to Amal Alamuddin in Venice. The magazine reportedly used the hovering gadget as an "eye in the sky," with an editor watching a live feed from its video camera.

Men's Health Blasted After 'Misogynistic' Sports Tweet
Los Angeles Times
A tweet from Men's Health magazine advising men how to talk to women about sports has prompted a quick, and furious, backlash on social media. The tweet, "She sees the game differently than you," came with a link to a story titled, "The Secret to Talking Sports with Any Woman."

Forbes Magazine Name Removed from Office Building
New York Post
Forbes Media employees were surprised last week to find workers ripping down the iconic letters spelling out "Forbes Magazine" that had graced the entrance to the eight-story Greenwich Village building for 52 years. Forbes sold the building to New York University in January 2010.

Survey: 57 Print Magazines Shuttered So Far in 2014
Crain's New York
In the first nine months of the year, 113 print magazines launched — and 57 shut down, according to That compares to 114 print launches in the same period a year ago, and 40 closures. Also, 29 digital-only magazines launched this year, while eight online titles folded.

Politico Sees Big Money in Expanding Labor Coverage
Huffington Post
Politico Pro, home to the news outlet's 13 subscription-based verticals, plans to launch a newsletter called "Morning Shift," as well as a labor and employment section. Politico research suggests that there is an audience that wants the "nitty gritty" details of labor policy.

BuzzFeed, Daily News Team Up to Produce News Article
Capital New York
Readers of New York's Daily News happened upon a curious sight in Monday's newspaper: The BuzzFeed logo plopped down in the center of an article that was produced with the viral website. "It was fun to extend our reach into the platform known as print," said BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith.

Drudge Thanks Readers for Nearly 20 Years of Support
Back in May, Matt Drudge deleted all of the tweets in his Twitter account but one. Even that tweet has gone missing now, but it has been replaced by a tweet thanking readers for nearly 20 years of the Drudge Report. "It has been a joy to update the Drudge Report. Going on nearly 20 years!"

Bloomberg Named Honorary Knight by Britain's Queen
New York Times
Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, has named an honorary knight by Queen Elizabeth II. The announcement cited Bloomberg's "prodigious entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors, and the many ways in which they have benefited the United Kingdom."

New York Times Articles Removed From Google Results
New York Times
Google has notified the New York Times that links to five articles have been removed from some search results on European versions of its search engine to comply with Europe's "right to be forgotten." Europe views an individual's privacy and freedom of expression as almost equal rights.

Washington Post Finds Confidence Under Owner Bezos
New York Times
Jeff Bezos's willingness to finance hiring new employees — over 100 so far this year — is said to have created an atmosphere of confidence and financial stability at the Washington Post. "Reporters need to know that they can do their job without being worried all the time about losing it."

Financial Times Plans Morning E-Mail Product 'FirstFT'
Capital New York
The Financial Times last week inadvertently blasted out a mock-up of a new morning e-mail product, still in beta, called "FirstFT." The dummy newsletter looks very much like a morning tip-sheet. "FirstFT is an exciting new product, still in beta. More news coming soon."

Reuters to Try Reinventing News with Digital TV Service
Advertising Age
Reuters plans to introduce Reuters.TV, a digital service that will allow subscribers to receive personalized video content. The service will charge a monthly fee and will be supported by advertising. Due to debut early next year, Reuters.TV will initially be available on iPhones and iPads.

Bloomberg Unveils Politics Vertical with 'Fresher Feel'
Bloomberg's politics vertical, helmed by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, has kicked off with a splashy new website. The online offering has a fresher feel from Bloomberg's otherwise stodgy-looking site, with bright pastel colors, large graphics and extra-large video players.

Politico Hires Veteran of Boston Globe Editorial Page
Peter Canellos has been named executive editor of Politico. Canellos until September was the editorial page editor of the Boston Globe. During his 26 years at the Globe he also served as Washington bureau chief. His hiring will be one of "many moves in the coming weeks and months."

Martha Stewart Ex-Chief Nabbed by Paltrow to Run Goop
Is Gwyneth Paltrow setting herself up to become the next Martha Stewart? The well-known actress has hired Lisa Gersh, former CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, to be the new CEO of Goop, her growing lifestyle startup. Gersh left Stewart's company early last year.

Forbes Website Cuts Contributors Following Frat Fracas
Capital New York is said to have terminated a number of contributors in the wake of public outrage over a contributing writer's online column describing drunk party girls as the "gravest threats" to the survival of fraternities. Forbes said it declines to comment on "personnel matters."

BuzzFeed Adds Click-to-Buy Button to Sponsored Posts
Wall Street Journal
BuzzFeed has debuted its first foray into e-commerce-enabled branded content with a L'Oreal sponsored post that features a click-to-buy button for readers to purchase referenced products from the cosmetics company. Below each GIF or illustration is a button that says "Love it? Buy It!"

Gawker Media's Denton Says There Is No Online Privacy
Gawker Media chief Nick Denton: "Every single e-mail I write, I expect that it's going to get shared publicly. I'm glad I've been gossiped about. It's liberating. People are talking about you anyway. So you might as well get out ahead of the story. Own your own narrative, before you can be outed."

Conde Nast Names Exec for Digital Video Channels
Conde Nast Entertainment has named Joe Sabia as head of digital development for its digital video channels. Sabia, who will be responsible for developing digital video featured throughout CNE's brand channels, is credited with the popular digital series "73 Questions" for Vogue.

Bloomberg Hires Exec for Digital Growth in Europe
Bloomberg Media in London has hired the Telegraph's Ben Clissitt as director of digital content to spearhead a major European expansion. Clissitt will have responsibility for Bloomberg's activities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He will "play a critical role."

News Corp Ex-Editor Pleads Guilty to Phone Hacking
Wall Street Journal
Former News Corp. editor Ian Edmondson has pleaded guilty to illegally intercepting voice-mail messages between 2000 and 2006. The guilty plea is one of the last stages in a long-running scandal involving Britain's one-time best-selling Sunday newspaper, the News of the World.

New York Times Eliminates Jobs on Business Side
Capital New York
While New York Times journalists brace for voluntary buyouts that aim to shave dozens of salaries from the newsroom, the business side has said farewell to staffers who have been told that their positions have been eliminated. One source puts the pink slips at between 20 and 25.

Washington Post Writers Protest Cuts Under Bezos
Washington City Paper
Nearly 50 Washington Post employees have staged a protest outside the newspaper's headquarters. "Race to the top, not the bottom, is this the Washington Post or Walmart?" one of the chanters said. In late September, the Post announced steep cuts to employee retirement benefits.

USA Today Enters Casual Gaming with 'Bingo Cruise'
USA Today has teamed up with social gaming developer OpenWager to launch "USA Today Bingo Cruise," the news organization's first major step into the games market. The game is free to download and uses a cruise ship theme. USA Today is "excited to elevate its games presence."

Report: Can Billionaires Save American Newspapers?
Despite the doom and gloom in the newspaper business, savvy investors — Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, John Henry — are buying in. Why? Beat-up papers are relatively cheap to buy and, with their newfound financial stability and some tweaks, can still make a modest profit.

New York Times to Cut 100 Jobs, Shutter Opinion App
New York Times
The New York Times plans to eliminate about 100 newsroom jobs, as well as a smaller number of positions from its editorial and business operations, the newspaper announced. Also, NYT Opinion, a new mobile app, will shut down because it is not attracting enough subscribers.

Financial Times Editor Seeking Vibrant Future in Print
Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times: "Print is actually profitable — even before advertising. We're not including editorial costs, but in terms of the printing and the distribution and the subscription and cover price, we're not making millions, but it's profitable."


IHeartMedia to Unveil IHeartRadio Latin Music Spinoff
With Hispanic audiences growing rapidly and Latin music becoming increasingly popular in the mainstream, iHeartMedia aims to capitalize on the genre's momentum with its latest iHeartRadio Music Festival spinoff, the iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina. The concert is slated for Nov. 22.

CBS' Showtime to Revive Cult Favorite 'Twin Peaks'
"Twin Peaks," the murder mystery TV series that drew audiences and critical praise in the 1990s, will return with creators David Lynch and Mark Frost on premium cable channel Showtime in 2016. The new limited series will be set in present day and will tackle "long-awaited answers."

Bravo Said to Pay Up for 'Real Housewives' Interview
TMZ: "Teresa and Joe Giudice scored a huge payday before shipping off to prison ... a deal so sweet the restitution they owe to the government has almost been whittled down to nothing. The two 'Real Housewives' stars snagged $325,000 for an interview with Bravo honcho Andy Cohen."

CNN Sued by Former Staffer for Race, Age Discrimination
CNN has had better Mondays. The same day parent Turner Broadcasting said the cable news network will lose nearly 10% of its workforce, CNN was named in a $5 million wrongful-termination and discrimination lawsuit by longtime employee Stanley Wilson, who was let go in January.

ESPN, NBA Creating Web Venture to Stream Games
Wall Street Journal
The National Basketball Association is said to have reached media rights deals with ESPN owner Disney and Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting. The league also has made plans with ESPN for a new online video service that will be open to people who aren't pay-TV customers.

CNN Chief Zucker Expected to Announce 150 Layoffs
New York
Zeff Zucker is under pressure to cut costs. This fall, CNN is expected to announce more than 150 layoffs. The news network chief recently told execs they would have to "do less with less." Zucker also admits that "it's a reasonable assumption" to say this would be his last job in TV.

NBC's New Thursday Prime-Time Comedies Fall Flat
Wall Street Journal
NBC's effort to revitalize its Thursday night comedy lineup with shows such as "Bad Judge" and "A to Z" hasn't gone as planned. The broadcaster, which used to own Thursday for years, has struggled in its efforts to boost ratings on that night. Advertisers spend heavily on Thursday.

TV's Saturday Morning Cartoons Quietly Disappear
Yahoo TV
Last Saturday was the first weekend in 50 years with no morning cartoons on U.S. broadcast networks. The Federal Communication Commission's rules requiring educational programming played a part: "Networks found it easiest to cram this programming in the weekend morning slot."

CNN Former Staffer Settles Discrimination Lawsuit
Daily News
The former CNN employee who claimed he was fired because he is gay and wore bright colored mariachi outfits and track suits in the newsroom has settled his $60 million discrimination lawsuit against the cable news network. William Kane "is pleased with the resolution."

ESPN Suspended Personality Stirs Industry Gossip
Business Insider
CBS and Fox are said to be considering making offers to ESPN's Bill Simmons, after the news broke of the suspension of the sports network personality. Meanwhile, ESPN execs are "griping that Simmons's pet project brands on the web aren't doing very well."

TV Broadcasters Anticipate High Spectrum Valuations
Wall Street Journal
Broadcast-station owners are said to be anticipating that the Federal Communications Commission's valuations of their stations' spectrum could be much higher than what they had thought. The auction could bring in some $45 billion. Some are saying, "Do I need this station at all?"

CBS to Trade Radio Stations with Broadcaster Beasley
New York Times
CBS chief Les Moonves has said that he wants to reduce the number of radio stations the company owns. The radio business has talked about a possible sale. But CBS has just announced a different kind of reduction, through a trade with the Beasley Broadcast Group.

NBC News Freelancer in Africa Diagnosed with Ebola
NBC News
An American freelance cameraman working for NBC News in Liberia has tested positive for Ebola and will be flown back to the U.S. for treatment. The freelancer, Ashoka Mukpo, was hired as a cameraman for NBC News chief medical editor and correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman.

Bravo 'Real Housewives' Stars Become Real Convicts
Associated Press
Two stars of the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" will be trading the drama of reality TV for prison. Teresa Giudice has been sentenced to 15 months in prison on conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud charges while her husband, Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice, has been sentenced to 41 months.

Weather Channel Sheds 40 Workers in Creating Division
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Weather Channel has reduced its staff by about 40 employees across several cities after consolidating some operations to create a product and technology division. The new division will be responsible for providing "the latest weather-centered products and technologies."

Tribune Media: Gracenote Acquires Australia's HWW
Chicago Tribune
Tribune Media's Gracenote has acquired HWW, an Australian provider of TV and movie data, in a deal worth $19 million. The deal is expected to broaden Gracenote’s global reach. Gracenote is best known for providing information on music tracks for Apple's iTunes and other apps.

Vice News Develops Live Video Talk Shows with Skype
Advertising Age
Vice News has a struck a deal with Skype to use the Microsoft-owned messaging service to stream live video broadcasts on its YouTube channel. Eventually that will include the news organization's first live scheduled programs. "We're in development on multiple formats."

DirecTV, NFL Extend Deal for Sunday Ticket Package
The National Football League has entered a new long-term deal with DirecTV for it to carry "Sunday Ticket." The current four-year deal was set to expire. The new deal will expand DirecTV's rights to stream "Sunday Ticket" programming live on mobile devices and through broadband.

ABC, NBC Website Viewers Drop Amid Rise of Netflix
Hollywood Reporter
TV network websites are in decline as subscription streaming services attract more users, according to a new survey from RBC Capital Markets. Of those polled in September, 42% used Netflix to watch movies or TV during the past year, second only to YouTube with 44%.


Google Fiber Impeded by Costs of TV Programming
Washington Post
Laying down high-speed fiber is expensive. But it turns out that it's a fraction of the cost of offering TV programming, according to Google Fiber chief Milo Medin. Video "is the single biggest impediment" to Google Fiber's deployment. "It is the single biggest piece of our cost structure."

Survey: Kids Love Apple's iPad More Than Disney
Apple's iPad is the No. 1 brand among children 6-12, beating out Disney, Nickelodeon, YouTube, Netflix, Toys 'R' Us, McDonald's, and multiple snack-food brands, according to a new survey. "Kids increasingly turn to iPad for games, TV shows, videos, books, homework help" and more.

AOL Hires Viacom Exec as President of Video Division
AOL has tapped Viacom exec Dermot McCormack as president of its video division, replacing Ran Harnevo, who is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. "Dermot is a game-changing talent with experience exactly where we need it," said AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.

YouTube Moves Closer to Model of Hollywood Studio
Video Ink
YouTube has restructured its content division under the leadership of Alex Carloss, head of originals for the Google-owned video website. This content group will be in charge of overseeing scripted, non-scripted and special projects that will receive funding from YouTube.

Facebook Closes $19 Billion Acquisition of WhatsApp
Facebook now officially owns messaging app WhatsApp. The social network confirmed the closing of the deal in a document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The document confirms that WhatsApp will live on as a wholly owned subsidiary of Facebook.

Google to Launch Mobile Chat App Similar to WhatsApp
Economic Times
After losing WhatsApp to Facebook, Google is said to be planning to launch its own mobile messaging app. The search giant is likely to test the app in India and other emerging markets. The messaging app "is in early stages of development and is likely to be launched in 2015."

Pinterest Preps Push of New Editorial Product Pin Picks
Advertising Age
Pinterest has begun rolling out its first co-marketing campaign to promote a new editorial product called Pin Picks. The social scrapbooking service has partnered with roughly 10 media companies, including eHow and Funny or Die, as well as YouTube star Michelle Phan.

Amazon Tablet to Feature App from Washington Post
The Washington Post has been working on a new app that will offer a selection of news from the daily newspaper. The app is expected to come preinstalled on Amazon's newly updated Kindle Fire tablet, likely to be launched later this fall with a larger 8.9-inch screen.

YouTube's Biggest Star May Start His Own Network
Hollywood Reporter
Maker Studios client Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg is YouTube's biggest star, with more than 31 million subscribers. But the Swedish gamer said he is thinking about taking those subscribers and creating an independent network with his friends. "I'd rather not talk too much about it."

Google Lab Developing a Large-Scale Video Screen
Wall Street Journal
Google's products lab is said to be developing a display composed of smaller screens that plug together to create a large, seamless image. In theory, such a large screen might be used to watch TV or movies, browse the Internet and read email, perhaps simultaneously.

Netflix Streaming Rival Redbox Instant to Shut Down
Redbox Instant, the streaming video service from Redbox and Verizon, plans to shut down Tuesday, a year and a half after its official launch. Subscribers were informed via email of the shutdown. "The service had not been as successful as either partner hoped it would be."

Yahoo Investors Fume Over Possible Snapchat Stake
New York Post
Yahoo shareholders are said to be fuming over the news that CEO Marissa Mayer is looking to spend some of company's proceeds from the sale of its stake in Alibaba on messaging startup Snapchat. The potential investment adds to the scrutiny of Mayer's strategy of pursuing acquisitions.

Facebook Plans Web Groups for Move Into Healthcare
Facebook is said to be plotting its first steps into healthcare, exploring creating online "support communities" that would connect the social network's users suffering from various ailments. A small team is also believed to be considering new "preventative care" apps.

Apple to Unveil New IPad Tablets at Event Next Week
Apple is expected to unveil new iPads at an event on Oct. 16, as the company seeks to kick-start slowing sales of its tablet computers. The company will likely unveil a new version of its 9.7-inch iPad and the smaller iPad mini. Apple hasn't introduced a new iPad since last October.

Yahoo Reaches Out to Agencies for New Ad Campaign
Advertising Age
Yahoo is said to have reached out to agencies to create a consumer brand campaign. The company was once known for being a significant TV spender, complete with a signature yodel at the end of its spots. Yahoo is reportedly considering all media, including TV, for the new push.

Google Removes 'Tens of Thousands' Hacked Pictures
ZD Net
Google has responded to accusations it was slow to react to "celebgate" photos on its websites, saying it removed "tens of thousands" of the leaked images. The company was threatened with a $100 million lawsuit by lawyers for some of the celebrities whose photos were stolen.

Netflix: What's Next After 'Crouching Tiger,' Sandler?
USA Today
Martial-arts epic one day, Adam Sandler the next. Only Netflix knows what other big moves await in its new march on Hollywood. "Down the road, people will see these as the benchmarks. This is change; it's happening right now. ... Serious Oscar-bait movies could be produced on Netflix."

Rovio 'Angry Birds' Game Developer to Cut 130 Jobs
USA Today
"Angry Birds" maker Rovio plans to cut some 130 jobs, more than one month after detailing a change in leadership at the mobile-game developer. CEO Mikael Hed said the cuts will represent about 16% of the company's workforce. "We are in a good place to reignite growth."

Apple Asks Music Labels for Price Cut on Streaming
Apple is said to be talking to the big music labels about a new set of rights and features it would like to include in a revamped version of the Beats Music service it bought earlier this year. Apple wants a new pricing structure that would allow it to sell the service for less.

Groupon Pays Users to Shop with Launch of Snap App
Groupon's plan to evolve from an online daily deals giant into a wider e-commerce player have continued with the launch of Snap. The app provides iOS and Android users with a list of products, and gives money back after purchasing via a photographed and uploaded receipt.

Pandora Faces Lawsuit After Sirius XM Smackdown
Hollywood Reporter
About a week ago, Sirius XM suffered a crushing courtroom loss to the Turtles over the rights to perform pre-1972 recordings. Next up is Pandora, the most popular U.S. Internet radio service. The new action against Pandora seeks at least $25 million. More lawsuits are expected.

Google: No App? No Problem for Connected Devices
Google plans to let people interacted with "smart" things — from cars to vending machines to toys — without having to download an app. The search giant has unveiled a project called "Physical Web," which aims to create a common standard that ties together web-enabled devices.

Facebook Vows Stricter Guidelines for User Research
Facebook has set up a formal review process for pre-approving research on its users. The move comes after a study on whether emotional manipulation in its news feed could make people sad turned into a public-relations disaster. "We were unprepared for the reaction."

AOL's Armstrong Dismisses Talk of Merger with Yahoo
Speculation about AOL has been just a "sideshow" to questions about Yahoo's strategy, said AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. "I haven't given it much thought. We are super busy doing what we're doing and we're really excited about it. There's been a lot of press speculation."

Yahoo's Mayer Bullish on Digital Magazines, Web Video
Wall Street Journal
The audience at Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's keynote interview at Advertising Week heard the familiar themes: She's bullish on native ads, the company's digital magazines, mobile and web video. "For us, display is really about brands storytelling, and display 2.0 is video."


Publicis Exec Says Live TV Top Draw for Advertisers
While advertisers have cut spending on TV spots this year, media companies have turned the spotlight on sports and other live programming to draw ad dollars, according to a top exec with Publicis. "The emphasis on sports and live programming is the highest I have ever seen it."

BuzzFeed, Mashable Execs Sound Off on Native Ads
New York Post
Native advertising is one of the biggest trends on Madison Avenue, but some believe it's time to retire the buzzword. "Native sounds deceptive," Mashable's Seth Rogin said during an Advertising Week panel. BuzzFeed's Andy Wiedlin agreed: "I'm with you on the jihad, Seth."

WPP's Sorrell: Google, Facebook Are Media Owners
WPP CEO Martin Sorrell: "Google and Facebook are media owners. They like to say they're technology companies but they're masquerading as technology companies. They're media owners. They have a platform that drives volume and traffic to their own media properties."

Study: Programmatic Ad Buying to Reach $21 Billion
Wall Street Journal
Automated ad buying, in which marketers use computerized systems to target users based on consumer data and Web-browsing histories, is expected to jump 52% this year to $21 billion globally, according to a study scheduled to be released by Interpublic Group's Magna Global.

Traditional Media to Lose More Ads, Forecaster Says
Global advertising spending is on a healthy expansion track, with much of it coming from the rapid consumer adoption of digital media, according to the new forecast from ZenithOptimedia. The big losers in terms of ad market share will be the major traditional media, including TV.

WPP Increases Investment in Ad Tech Firm AppNexus
Wall Street Journal
WPP has agreed to invest $25 million in AppNexus in a deal that will raise its stake in the ad tech company to nearly 15%. The deal highlights the ad holding company's support for "independent" solutions. "The only alternative to AppNexus is to align with Facebook or Google."

Procter & Gamble Cancels On-Field Promo with NFL
Associated Press
Procter & Gamble has canceled an on-field breast cancer awareness promotion it had planned with the National Football League. The consumer products maker is the latest major sponsor to show concern over the NFL's handling of domestic abuse charges against several players.

Report: Digital Ad Spending to Surpass TV by 2017
Digital advertising expenditures will surpass TV spending by 2017 — and the phenomenon is already occurring in some of the world's largest ad markets. One-third of all ad expenditures are currently allocated to digital, according to Interpublic Group CEO Michael Roth.

Publicis CEO to Go After Decades at French Ad Giant
Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy will step down after 2016 following a failed $35 billion merger with Omnicom Group and more than 40 years at the French advertising company. No successor was named in today's statement. Publicis is the world's third-largest ad company.

Amazon Tops List of Google's US Search Advertisers
Advertising Age
Amazon spent $157.7 million on Google U.S. search ads in 2013, by far the most by any company. It may raise a few eyebrows to see Amazon atop the list. Over the past few years Amazon has ramped up its business of selling search and display ads on its own and others' sites.

Nielsen's Addition of Handhelds to Boost TV Ratings
New York Post
For the first time, the Nielsen ratings that are the lynchpin of the TV business will start counting viewers who watch shows via mobile apps on tablets, phones and other handheld devices. Folding in mobile viewing is expected to add hundreds of thousands of new viewers overnight.

The Economist: Surveillance Is New Biz Model for Ads
The Economist
Surveillance is the advertising industry's new business model, according to a special report on ads and technology in the new issue of The Economist. "As people spend ever more time online, thousands of firms are invisibly gathering intelligence about them, as our special report explains."


Time Warner's Turner Unit to Eliminate 1,475 Positions
Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting will cut 1,475 positions, about 10% of its global workforce, as part of a broader initiative to improve profitability. Turner operates CNN, TNT and TBS, and has about 14,000 employees. The company aims to become "more nimble and streamlined."

Fox: BSkyB Shareholders OK Sky Europe Takeover
BSkyB shareholders have approved the company's plan to buy Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox. Fox owns 39% of BSkyB so it did not get a say in the vote at a company general meeting. The deal was almost unanimously approved anyway.

Sony Expected to Set High Price Bar for Internet TV
New York Post
Sony's upcoming Internet-delivered TV service is expected to carry 100 channels and a surprisingly high price tag of as much as $80 a month. "We hear it's going to be competitive with a traditional basic cable package at between $60 to $65." The service is set to launch before year's end.

Time Warner CEO Says He Would Like to Buy Netflix
Despite talk of the benefits of spinning off properties, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has conceded there is one company he wouldn't mind acquiring — Netflix. "Since it's worth what, 20 or 30 billion dollars, yeah, I wish I owned it personally." He added: "We do own a Netflix, we own HBO."

Live Nation in Talks for Majority Stake in C3 Presents
New York Times
Live Nation Entertainment is said to be in advanced talks to buy a majority stake in C3 Presents, the country's largest independent promoter, whose portfolio includes the popular Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits festivals. The prospective deal would value C3 at around $250 million.

Fox: Murdoch Daughter Following Rupert Into Divorce
Daily Mail
Elisabeth Murdoch and Matthew Freud have ended their 13-year marriage, less than a year after a Murdoch family feud over Tony Blair's relationship with Rupert Murdoch's ex-wife, Wendi Deng. A long-running row between Freud and his media CEO father-in-law was said to be a factor in the split.

Disney's Iger May Land Retention Bonus of $60 Million
New York Times
Disney has agreed to pay CEO Bob Iger a cash bonus of up to $60 million. To receive that bonus, the company's cumulative adjusted operating income over the five-year period ending with fiscal 2018 must reach $78.31 billion — roughly doubling what it has been over the last five years.

Time Warner's Bewkes Possible Successors at Turner
USA Today
John Martin, CEO of Turner Broadcasting, and Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, have been described as the top contenders to one day succeed Jeff Bewkes as CEO of Time Warner. While Bewkes, 62, may extend his retirement past 65, "he will surely have to have a successor in place."

DreamWorks' Katzenberg to Host Clinton at Fundraiser
Los Angeles Times
Jeffrey Katzenberg hasn't retreated from his role as Hollywood's chief fundraiser for the Democratic Party while he negotiates the possible sale of his studio. The CEO of DreamWorks Animation will co-host a fundraiser for Senate Democrats on Oct. 20. Hillary Clinton will be the headliner.

Viacom, Google Create Innovative Hub for 'Interstellar'
Los Angeles Times
Viacom's Paramount Pictures and Google have used the upcoming release "Interstellar" to explore a new frontier in movie marketing. A new campaign will bring Christopher Nolan's film and Google platforms together for an "Interstellar Space Hub." "It's like a playground of innovation."

Sony's Movie on Apple's Steve Jobs Loses DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio is said to have ended talks to star as Steve Jobs in the Sony movie based on the biography by Walter Isaacson. The project is set to bring together some of the industry's top talent — including Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin — making it a widely anticipated film.

Fox's 'Gone Girl' Narrowly Defeats Warner's 'Annabelle'
Associated Press
"Gone Girl" wasn't scared off by "Annabelle" at the weekend box office. The Fox thriller starring Ben Affleck as a man whose wife goes missing overcame the Warner Bros. possessed doll film with a $38 million debut. "It was virtually a photo finish," with "Annabelle" at $37.2 million.

Disney to Bail Out Euro Disney as Visitor Numbers Fall
Disney has come to the rescue of its loss-making subsidiary Euro Disney with a $1.3 billion funding deal, which could give the U.S. group total control over Europe's biggest tourist attraction. Euro Disney is currently 40% owned by Disney and 10% by Saudi prince AlWaleed bin Talal.

Bertelsmann Buys Out German Publisher Gruner & Jahr
Bertelsmann has agreed to acquire full control of German publisher Gruner & Jahr, ending a 45-year-old partnership with the Jahr family as part of an acceleration of its digital strategy. "The key is to maintain high cover prices in an environment when a lot of information is free online."

Comcast's Mega Merger Review Put on Hold by FCC
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has paused its "shot-clock" on the review of the proposed $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The agency said that some of the submissions made by the two largest U.S. cable providers were "incomplete."

Liberty Interactive Splits Into QVC, Digital Commerce
Liberty Interactive's board has approved splitting into two stocks, one for its cable shopping business QVC and the other for its digital commerce. Liberty Ventures will receive $1 billion in cash while Liberty Interactive shareholders will receive about 67.7 million Liberty Ventures shares.

Media's Future: New Dimension for Movies, TV, Social
Today's delineations between different media will soon look archaic, according to industry experts and futurists. Why? New technology will make media and entertainment more immersive, interactive and customized. Also: "New business models for paid content will emerge."

Disney Extends Iger's Contract, Plans to Name COO
Disney has extended Bob Iger's contract as chairman and CEO to June 2018, giving more time to a manager who has seen the company's stock more than triple under his tenure. Also, Disney is expected to name a COO next year. The exec will be considered Iger's heir apparent.

Vivendi Hunts for Deals to Reenter US Media Business
New York Post
Vivendi, the French media company, is said to be looking to get back in the U.S. media business five years after it sold its 20% stake in NBCUniversal. Now under the control of activist shareholder Vincent Bollore, Vivendi is reportedly shopping for "tech and digital assets."

Legendary Nabs $250 Million Investment from SoftBank
Japan's SoftBank has invested $250 million in Legendary Entertainment, producer of the "Godzilla" film, gaining some online rights to the independent studio's film, TV and merchandise businesses. The companies plan to form a venture to develop online and mobile services.

Fox Bets Big on Scott's Biblical Movie Epic 'Exodus'
Ridley Scott's "Exodus: Gods and Kings," the big Christmas motion picture starring Christian Bale as Moses, is large-scale biblical drama of the kind film studios used to thrive on. According to 20th Century Fox chief Jim Gianopulos: "There is nothing out there remotely like this."

Disney Expands 'Star Wars' Galaxy to New TV Series
Wall Street Journal
Disney's new animated TV show "Star Wars Rebels" will debut Friday, ushering in a flood of new material — including six new movies in the works — related to the 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm. "There is pressure because it's 'Star Wars' and all 'Star Wars' needs to be fantastic."

21st Century Fox, BSkyB Make Investments in Roku
Hollywood Reporter
Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and U.K. pay-TV giant BSkyB, in which it holds a 39% stake, have made further investments in Internet streaming device maker Roku. BSkyB said that it has put another $700,000 into the provider of over-the-top video services.

Comcast Security Head Named to US Secret Service
Washington Post
Joseph Clancy, the new acting interim director of the U.S. Secret Service, served as head of the presidential protection division until 2011, when he became director of corporate security for Comcast. He was named to the Secret Service post after the resignation of Julia Pierson.

Viacom Blocks Suddenlink Online Access to Shows
Multichannel News
Viacom has blocked Suddenlink customer access to its online content in the wake of a failure to reach a carriage renewal agreement with the pay-TV provider. Suddenlink is directing its customers to other websites like Hulu and Amazon to view Viacom network shows online.

Fox: Murdoch Daughter to Step Down from TV Group
Financial Times
Elisabeth Murdoch will step down as chairman of Shine when it merges with Endemol and Core Media, ending a 13-year relationship with the TV production group. The daughter of Rupert Murdoch, who founded Shine in 2001, was at one stage seen as a potential successor to her father.

Disney Accused of Stealing 'Frozen' in New Lawsuit
You might have thought Disney's "Frozen" was about an ice princess — but it's actually someone's true-life story, according to a new $250 million lawsuit. Isabella Tanikumi has claimed that the highest grossing animated film of all time was based on her 2010 autobiography.




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