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Morning Media Newsfeed: Netflix to Up Prices | NBC Evaluates Gregory | Slate Plus Launches

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Netflix Plans Price Raise as Streaming Subscribers Grow (Reuters)
Video streaming service Netflix Inc. said it intends to raise its subscription price for new customers by $1 or $2 a month to help the company buy more movies and TV shows and improve service for its 48 million global subscribers. WSJ Netflix said the price increase for the $7.99 a month service, the first since 2011, would help pay for its continued investment in original programs, including series such as House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black. Netflix has committed to spend billions of dollars in programming in the past few years as it has grown to become the biggest stand-alone subscription programming service in the U.S., passing some long-standing traditional TV outlets like HBO in terms of subscribers. Mashable Current subscribers would stay at the $7.99 price for a “generous time period,” the company wrote in a statement to investors. “Our current view is to do a one or two dollar increase, depending on the country, later this quarter for new members only,” the company wrote. The news came as Netflix announced that it added 4 million new members in the first quarter of 2014, as the company beat revenue and profit expectations. Variety In after-hours trading Monday, Netflix’s stock climbed as much as 7 percent to $372.05 per share, after closing up 0.8 percent for the day at $348.49. Netflix also said that in the second quarter of 2014, it will launch the first pay-TV integration of its service in the U.S. That’s after lining up deals with European providers including the U.K.’s Virgin Media to provide access to the unlimited streaming-video service through operator-supplied boxes. Deadline New York The company generated $53.1 million in net income in the first quarter of 2014, up from $2.7 million in the same period in 2013, on revenues of $1.27 billion, up 24 percent.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: GMA Ups Spencer | Everest Special Nixed | Journalists Freed in Syria

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Lara Spencer Named Co-Host of Good Morning America (TVNewser)
Lara Spencer has been promoted to co-host of Good Morning America, joining George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts, ABC News president James Goldston announced Friday. FishbowlDC Goldston sent a memo to staff with the announcement, highlighting Spencer’s “style, humor, sunny confidence, wonderful journalism and storytelling” and the two-year anniversary of GMA breaking “Today’s 852-week winning streak.” Mediaite Spencer rejoined ABC News three years ago as the lifestyle anchor on GMA after an extended stint in syndication and on CBS’ Early Show. Variety The move comes as GMA has been in the midst of change, with two members of the on-air staff that helped the show pass NBC’s Today in both total viewers as well as those between 25 and 54, the demo most coveted by advertisers, departed. Spencer is also now a veteran presence on the program, which has two new faces after the departures of meteorologist Sam Champion and news anchor Josh Elliott. ABC recently enlisted Michael Strahan, the former football player who has added new momentum to the company’s syndicated morning Live With Kelly And Michael, to take part in occasional GMA segments. The Associated Press The other current members of the GMA family are Amy Robach and Ginger Zee. Spencer was the show’s national correspondent from 1999 to 2004. Then, for seven years, she was a host of The Insider.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: García Márquez Dead at 87 | Whoopi Gets New Gig | Wallace Re-Signs

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Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel Laureate, Dies at 87 (GalleyCat)
Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez passed away Thursday. He was 87 years old. Time The Nobel Prize-winning author was hospitalized for nine days in late March for an infection in his lungs and urinary tract. He had been recovering in his home in Mexico City since April 8. NYT His death was confirmed by Cristóbal Pera, his former editor at Random House. García Márquez, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, wrote fiction rooted in a mythical Latin American landscape of his own creation, but his appeal was universal. His books were translated into dozens of languages. He was among a select roster of canonical writers — Dickens, Tolstoy and Hemingway among them — who were embraced both by critics and a mass audience. The Guardian Journalists gathered outside García Márquez’s house in Mexico City in the hope that one of the family members who was reportedly at his side would emerge. Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto expressed sadness at the death of “one of the greatest writers of our time,” in the name of Mexico, the novelist’s adopted home. Chilean writer Luis Sepúlveda was quoted by the Mexican newspaper Reforma as saying that he was “the most important writer in Spanish of the 20th century.” WSJ Born in the sleepy town of Aracataca, Colombia, García Márquez was best known for his 1967 masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude. In a career spanning more than 60 years, García Márquez wrote some of the Spanish language’s most revered books, many of which became best sellers in the U.S. They included Autumn of The Patriarch, Chronicle of A Death Foretold, Love in The Time of Cholera and The General in His Labyrinth. García Márquez was also an accomplished journalist, whose lyrical, deeply reported stories first caught the eye of readers in Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, in the early 1950s. He later became renowned not only his profiles of presidents and despots but for the real-life close ties he cultivated with leaders ranging from Fidel Castro to Bill Clinton to François Mitterrand.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: ABC News, CPI Spar | FNC to Debut Daytime Ensemble | Discovery Drops U.K. Bid

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ABC News Asking Center for Public Integrity to Share Pulitzer Prize (TVNewser)
ABC News is calling on the Center for Public Integrity to share its Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism, awarded to CPI’s Chris Hamby, taking issue with CPI’s Pulitzer submission that depicts ABC News as a minor partner in a year-long coal-mining industry investigation instead of equal partners. HuffPost Network president Ben Sherwood sent a four-page letter to CPI’s executive director Bill Buzenberg affirming that ABC News was CPI’s partner in the investigation. He argued that reporters Brian Ross and Matthew Mosk made “significant contributions” without which CPI would not have won the Pulitzer. He added that while the prizes are only awarded to print organizations, he hoped the Pulitzer committee would recognize Ross and Mosk. Mediaite In the letter, Sherwood said Buzenberg “omitted the names of ABC News reporters and sought to parse and diminish their contributions, even though their bylines appropriately appear on four of the eight articles submitted by the Center to the committee.” Poynter In response, Buzenberg provided a point-by-point rebuttal saying CPI reporter Chris Hamby was the engine behind the story for months before ABC entered the investigation and in long stretches when ABC was working on other things. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media CPI and ABC News have shared recognition for the black lung benefits story in the past. In March, the Harvard Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting was awarded to Chris Hamby, Ronnie Greene, Jim Morris and Chris Zubak-Skees of CPI and Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz of ABC News. Next month, the White House Correspondents’ Association will honor “The Center for Public Integrity, in partnership with ABC News.” On Wednesday, they received an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Television news organizations are excluded from the Pulitzer Prizes, which honor newspaper and digital reporting.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: NBC Goes Digital | ABC Leads News Demo | Colbert to Visit Late Show

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NBCUniversal Launches Original-Video Initiative for Digital (LostRemote)
The news networks are growing more digital by the day, and now NBCUniversal is launching an original video initiative that will appear across the company’s various digital and video-on-demand platforms. Deadline Hollywood NBCUniversal’s various digital platforms include its channel websites, Hulu and VOD. Promos for the digital series will appear during various programs on NBCU TV networks. In some cases, development of the digital series will be in collaboration with advertising partners. WSJ NBCUniversal’s announcement Tuesday comes two weeks after it reached a multiyear deal to give Hulu exclusive rights to stream several TV shows. Big media companies are investing more time and money in developing digital and online content as consumers stream more programming through services such as Netflix, Amazon’s Prime service and Hulu, which is owned by Comcast, 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney Co. Mashable The slew of digital-first shows include Tesla And Twain, a comedic series that imagines what would happen if Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla were suddenly transported to modern-day Los Angeles. Other projects coming include Last Single Girl, about an underemployed young woman whose friends are all marrying off, and Saturday Night Line, which follows the superfans who camp in the standby line outside 30 Rock in hopes of catching the TV show. Also coming to NBC.com is the previously announced Heroes Reborn: Digital Series, a prequel to the TV show that ran from 2006 to 2010. Variety The big TV companies have dabbled in this area before. Before the 2008-09 TV season, NBCUniversal launched two Web-based series, Gemini Division and Woke Up Dead. At about the same time, Walt Disney’s ABC formed Stage 9 Digital Media, which launched an online comedy about window washers called Squeegees.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Pulitzers Announced | Google Buys Drone Maker | Relativity Eyes Maker Studios

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2014 Pulitzer Prizes Announced (FishbowlNY)
The Pulitzer Prizes celebrate the best of the best, and Monday we learned the latest recipients of journalism’s highest honor. TVNewser The Washington Post and the U.S. edition of The Guardian have won the award. They will share the Public Service award for their series of stories on NSA surveillance, as revealed by Edward Snowden, an NSA contractor who gave the top-secret information to the news organizations. The Pulitzer committee said the journalism was “marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.” Politico Snowden immediately declared the decision “a vindication.” The reporting on the former government contractor’s leaks was led by journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewan McAskill at The Guardian, Barton Gellman at the Post, and Laura Poitras, who worked with both newspapers. NYT The Boston Globe won the breaking news prize for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and wounded at least 260. The Post won a second award, for explanatory journalism. Eli Saslow, 31, a staff writer, won for a series of articles on American families that rely on the federal food stamp program. GalleyCat Author Donna Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her book The Goldfinch. The novel about an orphan also won Amazon’s Best Books of the Month “Spotlight Pick” in October 2013 and was shortlisted for 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: NYT Sued | Layoffs at AJAM | Turner’s Koonin Exits for NBA

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Texas Monthly Sues Times Co. Over New Hire (NYT)
The publisher of Texas Monthly filed a lawsuit on Friday against The New York Times Company related to the Times’ hiring of the magazine’s departing editor-in-chief, Jake Silverstein. FishbowlNY Emmis Publishing is claiming that the Times influenced Silverstein into breaching his contract. The lawsuit states that Silverstein’s contract expires in February of next year. NY Post The six-page Texas state court action alleges that Times executive editor Jill Abramson started recruiting Silverstein in December 2012 — a full year before then-magazine editor Hugo Lindgren was ousted. Greg Loewen, president of Emmis, said the company has been “damaged by the Times and expects to be compensated.” Capital New York The suit, which seeks damages between $200,000 and $1 million, names only the Times, not Silverstein, as previously reported. Loewen said the company never intended to stand in the way of Silverstein’s pursuit of the Times Magazine editorship. Loewen said that after Silverstein told his employer last month that he was being considered for the job, Emmis notified the Times that they would have to reach a settlement on the termination of his contract with Emmis to account for the costs associated with finding Silverstein’s replacement, as well as the damage of losing a star editor. New York Magazine / Daily Intelligencer In a statement, Emmis said, “No such agreement was reached and, to date, the Times has refused to even participate in settlement discussions despite numerous attempts” by Emmis to do so.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Colbert to Late Show | CNN Revamps Primetime | ABC News Ups Goldston

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Stephen Colbert to Succeed David Letterman as Host of The Late Show (TVNewser)
It’s official: Stephen Colbert will take over as the host of CBS’ The Late Show when David Letterman retires next year. Specifics of Colbert’s show — including the premiere date, producers and location — will be determined after the timeline is decided for Letterman’s retirement, CBS said. Capital New York The rank and file at The Colbert Report, his Comedy Central show, are operating on the assumption they are invited to follow the comedian to staff The Late Show and stay in New York, someone familiar with Colbert’s transition plan said. Variety When Colbert sits behind the desk of the CBS program, he will do it with a new presentation — not as the right-wing caricature he plays in his current perch on Comedy Central. “He is not going to play that character,” said Nina Tassler, chairman of CBS Entertainment, in an interview. THR / The Live Feed The Colbert Report, which launched in 2005, has earned an Emmy win for outstanding variety series (2013) and three Emmy wins for writing for a variety, music or comedy program (2013, 2010, 2008). Before that, Colbert spent eight years as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart as an on-air personality and writer of news satire. He also has written two books — I Am America (And So Can You!) and America Again: Re-Becoming The Greatness We Never Weren’t — and won a Grammy for spoken word for America Again earlier this year. Mashable Several media outlets quoted network executives saying the deal came together quickly after Letterman’s retirement, including breakneck negotiations with several candidates. Craig Ferguson, whose Late Late Show comes on after Letterman’s, was never seen as a true contender for the slot; it remains to be seen whether he’ll stick around after being passed over. Other names thrown in the mix were Chelsea Handler and Neil Patrick Harris — but even as top contenders, they were dark horses at best. For nearly 18 months, Colbert was always CBS’ guy.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Comcast, TWC Face Senate | Pauley to CBS | CNN’s Digital Video Push

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Senate Panel Expresses Caution on Merger of Cable Giants (NYT)
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee expressed concern on Wednesday that the proposed $45 billion merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable would raise the prices consumers pay for cable television and high-speed Internet service while leaving them with fewer choices for video programming. But the senators generally failed to rattle Comcast and Time Warner executives or cause them to diverge from their basic defense of the merger: that it will not affect competition because the two companies do not compete anywhere. Only one senator, Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, said during the three-hour hearing that he wanted the merger blocked. CNNMoney Comcast and Time Warner Cable said that the merger will lead to improvements in services for customers, creating scale and cost savings that will drive new investments. Several Republican senators, most notably Orin Hatch of Utah, seemed to agree. Although the combined company would have a presence in 19 of the top 20 U.S. markets, Comcast executive vice president David Cohen noted that Comcast and Time Warner Cable don’t compete in any of those cities. He argued that customer choices therefore won’t be affected. The Washington Post / The Switch “There’s no doubt that Comcast is a huge, influential company with more than 100 lobbyists” hired to persuade regulators and lawmakers to approve the deal, said Franken. “But I’ve also heard from over 100,000 consumers who oppose the deal.” Cohen said at the hearing that he couldn’t promise to reduce prices on their services. The rise of cable bills at three times the rate of inflation is among the many concerns consumers have about the proposal that would merge the top two cable firms and the biggest and third-biggest broadband providers. Adweek It’s not that the Senators didn’t have “concerns.” The stats that will define the combined company’s unmatched size — 19 of the top 20 markets, 23 of the top 25, and 37 of the top 50 — give lawmakers pause. They even struggled to understand whether or not the combined company would dominate advertising sales. But they stopped short of opposing the merger, calling on the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice “to consider carefully the impact on consumers as they review the pending merger,” said judiciary chairman Patrick Leahy. WSJ / MoneyBeat The hearing came a day after Comcast submitted a 180-page document justifying its purchase of Time Warner Cable. The filing walked through the various parts of the media industry that could be affected by the deal, including online video, television programming and broadband Internet access, as well as local ad sales in the cable market. If the deal wins approval, Comcast would have 30 percent of the nation’s pay-TV subscribers and nearly 40 percent of U.S. broadband subscribers.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Comcast Pleads Case | DirecTV Restores TWC | Breitbart Loses Whip

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As Comcast Takes Next Step in TWC Merger, Opposition Groups Band Together (TVNewser)
Comcast took the next step in its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Tuesday morning by filing a joint Applications and Public Interest Statement with the FCC. In a blog post about the filing, Comcast EVP David Cohen argued that the deal is good for consumers, especially current TWC customers. Those opposed to the deal, understandably, don’t think so. Fifty groups sent a letter to the attorney general and FCC chairman Tuesday asking that the deal be blocked. Capital New York The 650-page document filed with the FCC outlines the reasons Comcast believes the proposed merger with TWC would be in the public interest. Much of the document spelled out in granular detail arguments made by Comcast in its original announcement of the proposed deal, but there are some notable new takes. Comcast now sees itself as a tech company, in competition with Google, Facebook and Netflix just as much as traditional competitors like DirecTV and Verizon. Comcast argues that it doesn’t compete with TWC, as they do not operate in the same areas. Variety Critics have claimed the Comcast-TWC merger, which would create an entity that controls 30 percent of the country’s pay-TV market, is decidedly not in the public interest because it would result in fewer choices and higher prices for consumers. Moreover, the combination “could compromise the open nature of the Internet,” Sen. Al Franken told Justice Department officials last month. CNET Last week, Comcast filed a Hart-Scott-Rodino notification with the U.S. Department of Justice, which will begin the antitrust review of the merger. And on Wednesday, Cohen will testify about the merger before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Now that the official filing has been made in the merger, which was announced in February, the FCC will have a self-imposed deadline of 180 days to review and make its decision. USA Today Facing a growing number of customers flocking to streaming video and content providers demanding more payment for programs, TWC agreed in February to be bought by Comcast for $45 billion. The acquisition would give Comcast access to key media markets that it has coveted, including New York and Los Angeles, and occupy about 40 percent of the Internet service market, or about 32 million customers.

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