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550 Buyouts, Layoffs Imminent at Turner; HLN, CNN Among Cuts (The Wrap)
Some 550 buyouts are to be offered at Time Warner’s Turner network this week, including a large number of those at CNN and HLN, which will lead to layoffs if they are not taken voluntarily, according to an individual with knowledge of the network’s plans. TVNewser CNN chief Jeff Zucker will certainly want to protect CNN’s investment in original series and documentaries; the type of programming he’s gone all in on since taking the reins last year. Which departments and programming are affected by cuts remains to be seen. Variety Word of the staff cuts comes at a time when key Turner nets are at a crossroads. Turner’s entertainment networks are poised for a management overhaul following the departure in April of Steve Koonin as entertainment group chief. Meanwhile, CNN sibling HLN has been rumored to be in for a major makeover, possibly in a partnership deal between Time Warner and Vice Media. B&C The buyouts are part of the Time Warner unit’s efforts to cut costs as part of new CEO John Martin’s Turner 2020 plan aimed at cutting costs and aligning spending with company priorities. Turner officials had no comment, but sources said that the voluntary layoffs will be offered throughout Turner, including its news networks CNN and HLN, as well as its entertainment networks, including TNT and TBS. The company is not aiming at a specific headcount but rather is seeking to hit an expense number that includes personnel and other costs. THR The plan at Turner, which employs about 14,000 people worldwide, involves a formula that will allow workers at least age 55 and with a certain number of years seniority to take a buyout somewhat more generous than the usual two weeks of pay for every one year of service, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Amazon Acquires Twitch for $970 Million (Variety)
Months after multiple reports suggesting Google was closing in on a deal to acquire Twitch, Amazon has snuck in to steal away the burgeoning streaming service dedicated to watching videogamers play, the companies announced Monday. THR The Seattle-based tech giant has agreed to purchase Twitch for $970 million in cash. The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year. “Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month — from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only 3 years old,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said. Mashable Emmett Shear will remain the CEO of Twitch, the company will become a fully owned subsidiary of Amazon and he said the company’s mission will not change. WSJ The deal is Amazon’s second biggest, and underscores the popularity of online gaming. Though little-known outside of tech and gaming, Twitch, founded in 2011, is the fourth-largest source of U.S. Internet traffic, behind only Netflix Inc., Google Inc. and Apple Inc., according to network researcher DeepField Inc. Last October, 32 million people watched the championship of Riot Games Inc.’s League of Legends on various streaming services, more than the series finales of television shows Breaking Bad, 24 and The Sopranos put together.
Breaking Bad, Modern Family Win Top Honors at Emmys (CBS News / AP)
Say their names: Nearly a year after the show’s big finale, Breaking Bad and its stars were among the big winners at the Emmy Awards. The AMC series picked up the award for outstanding drama series for the second year in a row at Monday’s ceremony, while Modern Family won a record-tying fifth Emmy for outstanding comedy series. NYT Bryan Cranston, who starred in Breaking Bad as teacher Walter White, won the award for best lead actor in a drama series, his fifth Emmy win. The award for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series went to Aaron Paul for his role as the former student. Anna Gunn, who played Walter’s wife, Skyler, won the award for outstanding supporting actress. NYT It is the Gilded Age of Television. That became apparent at Monday night’s Emmy Awards when, once again, cable dominated the night. A little like the privets of privacy that enclose billionaires’ estates in the Hamptons, pay walls sequester some of the best entertainment on television.
Chuck Todd Aims to ‘Demystify Washington’ on Meet The Press (TVNewser)
Appearing on Today Monday morning, incoming Meet The Press moderator Chuck Todd described how he sees his role upon taking the reins on Sept. 7. Mediaite “I think the job for all of us,” he said, “particularly in political reporting is to demystify Washington for the American public but then also try to translate the American public’s frustration for out of touch Washington people.” Todd also said “things are going well in the political journalism world” when the press is acting effectively as “the interpreter between America and Washington.” TVNewser Following her fill-in stint on Meet The Press Sunday, NBC’s senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing sent an email to the show’s staff to thank them for making her feel welcome. “I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t watch Meet The Press,” Jansing wrote. “And moving to the White House a scant six weeks ago, it never crossed my mind that I would be hosting it.” FishbowlDC In May, NBC announced that effective in June, Jansing would relocate from New York, where she hosted Jansing and Co. on MSNBC, to D.C. for a promotion as senior White House correspondent. Last Sunday, Andrea Mitchell guest-hosted MTP, days after David Gregory was ousted as moderator.
NYT Public Editor: Calling Michael Brown ‘No Angel’ Was ‘Regrettable Mistake’ (Mediaite)
The New York Times came under fire Monday for calling shooting victim Michael Brown “no angel.” An editor for the paper defended the “nuanced” story, but Times public editor Margaret Sullivan came out and said it was a “regrettable” choice of words. HuffPost The Times drew criticism for an article about the life of Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot dead by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. The paper’s John Eligon wrote a lengthy profile of Brown, touching on the “problems and promise” he faced. Much of the piece could be seen as sympathetic towards him. The terms “no angel” struck many as a very jarring descriptor to insert. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple Alison Mitchell, national editor for the Times, noted that the “no angel” line derives from the lead paragraph of the piece, which narrates a moment in Brown’s life. FishbowlNY Some chose to react to the Times‘ description of Brown as “no angel” with sarcastic tweets about their youthful misdemeanors. Others were full of rage.
Superman Comic Sells for $3.2 Million (FishbowlNY)
On Sunday, bidding for a pristine copy of Action Comics No. 1, the publication that introduced the Man of Steel, increased by a full million dollars. In the end, one bidder edged out another by just $100. Final purchase price: $3,207,852.00. GalleyCat Darren Adams, the owner of Pristine Comics in Washington State, received 48 bids on the comic, which was originally published in 1938. He sold it to an unnamed buyer. Variety There are believed to be only 50 unrestored original copies of Action Comics No. 1 still in existence. Nicolas Cage previously paid $2.16 million for another copy of the comic book.
Yahoo! News Hires Jon Ward (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Yahoo! News has hired Jon Ward as senior political correspondent, editor-in-chief Megan Liberman said in a statement. Ward, who has been a political reporter for the Huffington Post since 2011, starts with Yahoo! on Sept. 8. FishbowlDC Yahoo! News’ editor-in-chief Megan Liberman said, ”Jon has it all — great reporting and storytelling instincts, deep sources, a talent for writing distinctive, news-making stories, the respect and admiration of his peers. We are thrilled to have him join Yahoo!’s growing news and politics team.”
Rodale Seeking Chief for Women’s Health (WWD / Memo Pad)
Rodale remains on the hunt for a new editor-in-chief for Women’s Health, one of its biggest titles, following the departure of Michele Promaulayko, who will head up Yahoo! Health. Promaulayko told her bosses at Rodale on Aug. 12 of her plans to leave for Yahoo! two weeks later, news that sources in the company called “surprising.” FishbowlNY Amy Keller Laird is serving as acting editor-in-chief. Should Keller Laird not be a perfect fit, Rodale is considering other candidates, including Meaghan Murphy, executive editor of Good Housekeeping, Alexandra Postman, Self’s site director, Suzanne D’Amato, Self’s executive editor, and Chandra Turner, Parents executive editor.
Nathan Lump Named Editor of Travel + Leisure (FishbowlNY)
Nathan Lump is rejoining Travel + Leisure as its new editor. Lump previously worked for the magazine from 2000 to 2006. He most recently served as director of branded content at Condé Nast. WWD / Memo Pad He succeeds Nancy Novogrod, who revealed plans to retire in July. Lump, who was director of branded content at Condé Nast, has held senior positions in both the media and marketing businesses. He will begin his new job at T+L on Sept. 8 and report to Evelyn Webster, Time Inc. executive vice president.
New York Times’ Digital Subscription Growth Story May Be Ending (Re/code)
The New York Times has bet on digital subscriptions to play a central role in its long-term future. But while selling access to the paper’s Web and mobile versions was an initial hit, growth is slowing — and may stop altogether if the company’s earlier projections are correct. FishbowlNY In June, the Times reported that it had added 32,000 digital subscriptions during the second quarter, bringing its total to about 831,000. That’s a solid number. Unless, of course, those new subscribers were lured by new apps like NYT Now, and the Times has already hit its subscriber ceiling.
TiVo Targets Cord-Cutters With DVR That Carries $180 in Annual Service Fees (Variety)
Too frugal to pay for cable TV, but still willing to fork over the dough for a super-fancy DVR? TiVo now has a product aimed at just such a niche group of cord-cutting DVR lovers: The company has announced its first antenna-only DVR, the Roamio OTA. Priced at $50, the limited-edition DVR is not equipped to receive or record cable or satellite television. According to TiVo, 88 percent of the most-recorded shows among its customers are available free over-the-air with a digital antenna.
Erica Duecy Named Saveur Digital Director (FishbowlNY)
Erica Duecy has been named digital director for Saveur. She comes to the magazine from Fodor’s Travel, where she served as deputy Web editor. Under Duecy’s guidance, Fodors.com won two SATW Lowell Thomas Journalism Awards and experienced record-breaking traffic.
The Washington Post Launches ‘Get There’ Personal Finance Vertical (FishbowlDC)
The Washington Post Monday announced the launch of a personal finance resource, “Get There,” to be managed by personal finance reporter Jonnelle Marte. On the site, Post reporters, contributors and industry experts will explore saving, spending and investing for the long-term financial benefit of readers.
NFL, DirecTV on Verge of Sunday Ticket Deal (SportsBusiness Journal)
The NFL is on the verge of a deal with DirecTV for its Sunday Ticket package that will see its average annual rights fee increase to between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion over the next decade. Though several issues still need to be ironed out, a broad agreement has been reached on the price and length of a deal, according to multiple sources.
Facebook Targets Click-Baiting, Favors Link Format vs. Links in Captions, Status Updates (AllFacebook)
Facebook’s next steps to improve the content users see in their News Feeds include taking aim at click-baiting headlines in posts from pages and emphasizing links that are shared via the social network’s link format over those shared in photo captions and status updates. The social network said the move against click-baiting headlines should only affect the pages of “a small set of publishers” that repeatedly deploy the tactic.
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