Click here to receive Mediabistro’s Morning Media Newsfeed via email.
Amazon Prime Gets Price Bump to $99 A Year (VentureBeat)
Nine years after it launched, Amazon Prime is getting an inevitable price increase. Amazon announced Thursday that Prime will now cost $99 per year in the U.S., a slight bump from the previous $79 a year price. WSJ The Seattle retailer said the 25 percent increase was needed to offset rising delivery and content-acquisition costs. The $99 price takes effect for new members on March 20. Existing Prime members will pay the higher rate when they renew. CNNMoney In February, Amazon said it was considering raising the price to $119 a year. Prime members get two-day shipping on a large number of Amazon items at no extra cost, plus the ability to borrow Kindle books and stream movies and television shows. The company also said that it has increased the benefits of the program, now offering free shipping on 19 million items, up from only 1 million nine years ago. It also introduced its video streaming service in 2011 and recently launched Amazon-produced shows. THR The $99 price point may open the door for a tiered pricing system that would allow people to subscribe to Amazon Instant Video or Kindle’s lending library separately. Amazon does not disclose the number of Prime members, but research from Cowen and Co. estimates that there are about 23 million members in the United States, representing a 37 percent increase year-over-year in January. The research also indicates that 95 percent of Prime members visit Amazon monthly and 85 percent make a purchase.
Ryan McCarthy Joins WaPo Financial Staff (The Washington Post / PR Blog)
WaPo announced Thursday that Ryan McCarthy has been hired as an assistant business editor with responsibility for Wonkblog and the new data/storytelling blog. FishbowlDC McCarthy most recently served as deputy editor of Reuters.com and will start March 31. Poynter / MediaWire At Reuters, McCarthy edits Counterparties alongside Felix Salmon. “If you’re building a world-class roster of digital brands, you hire world-class talent to help manage them,” a memo from WaPo business honchos says. In The Capital The data/storytelling blog is a project that remains cloaked in a bit of secrecy, though Jim Tankersley will run that show with a new staff of bright data and reporting minds. McCarthy will no doubt face lofty expectations as his new home sets out to define the post-Ezra Klein era at Wonkblog. Klein recently (sort of) announced his new project at Vox, and The New York Times just announced its own data-driven blog, The Upshot.
Drone Captures Scene at East Harlem Explosion That Flattened Two Buildings (NY Daily News)
After a gas leak caused an explosion in East Harlem Wednesday, Brian Wilson, 45, raced to the scene with his DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter and shot about 30 minutes of video before the battery died. Poynter / MediaWire At the end, police told him they’d prefer he not fly his drone any longer, Wilson said. Until the federal government allows news operations to take their own drone video, ordinary citizens like Wilson get to record birds’ eye-views of news events and pass them on to media outlets. As commercial entities, news organizations face possible sanctions from the FAA if they use drones. The Daily Beast But while some were gazing at Wilson’s drone show in awe, leaders in the drone journalism community watched in horror. Matthew Schroyer, founder of The Professional Society of Drone Journalism, calls the decision to fly over an active rescue mission “irresponsible” and “reckless.” If Wilson had lost control, or the drone malfunctioned, it could have quickly morphed into a weapon of its own. “It’s a four pound object falling from hundreds of feet in the air,” said Schroyer. “It could have killed someone. Definitely.” GigaOM Right now, the Federal Aviation Agency has clear authority to regulate the airspace around airports and the lanes where commercial jets fly. In most other areas, however, the airspace below 400 or 700 feet appears to be fair game because the agency has not passed any formal regulations covering this space. This interpretation of the law got a huge boost last week, when a judge struck down the FAA’s attempt to fine a drone photographer $10,000. The judge rejected the agency’s attempt to invoke its own guidelines, which say that some hobby flying is OK, but that commercial use is not, on the grounds these do not count as law.
ABC Launches Nightline Prime (ABC News)
ABC News’ late night news magazine is coming again to primetime with a series of one-hour programs that take viewers inside the “most provocative stories of our time.” According to ABC’s press release, Nightline Prime will use the newest technologies to put viewers in the middle of stories as they unfold. The new program puts the latest small, agile cameras out with journalists embedded at the center of the stories they are reporting. Nightline Prime premieres Saturday, March 15 at 9 p.m. Variety Nightline Prime‘s time slot will overlap with the second hour of NBC’s new Saturday series Dateline Mystery. CBS has been airing 48 Hours at 10 p.m. for years, and this week it will go up against a special 20/20 on ABC in which Barbara Walters and Brian Ross update their exclusive investigation of a Chicago baby stolen nearly 50 years ago. TVNewser This week, Nightline drew its largest overall audience in more than three months — since the week of Nov. 25, 2013 — averaging 1,718,000 total viewers, 717,000 adults 25-54 viewers and 555,000 adults 18-49 viewers. Fueled by the news of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Friday’s edition of Nightline ranked number one in total viewers, beating CBS’ The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers. The show was the most-watched broadcast in eight months for Nightline.
Diana ‘Gave Royal Phone Book to NoW’ (BBC News)
Diana, Princess of Wales, gave a book of royal contact details to the News of The World‘s former royal editor, the hacking trial has heard. Clive Goodman, who was jailed in 2007 for phone hacking, denies two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. He is accused of paying police for royal phone directories. The Guardian Goodman said she had sent him the directory because she wanted him to see the “scale of her husband’s staff at his household” and the “scale of the forces ranged against her.” He added that “she felt she was in a very bitter situation at the time,” as her marriage to Prince Charles had broken down. Goodman said he got two further books from Kenneth Stronach, a former senior valet to Prince Charles, shortly before he left his private personal staff in 1995. These books were dated 1988 and 1993 and among 15 books police found in Goodman’s home in 2006. Goodman told jurors that he had never paid a police officer or royal protection officer for a story. He also told the court that he had never had a story from a police officer. The Associated Press Goodman said the 1992 phone directory that she sent to his newspaper office gave him numerous staff contacts and telephone numbers that were helpful in his reporting on the royal family. Rupert Murdoch shut down the News of The World tabloid in 2011 after the scope of the phone hacking scandal became known. Dozens of people have been arrested in the scandal, including former top Murdoch executives, and his company has paid out millions in compensation to victims.
Lionsgate Pays $7.5 Million to Settle With SEC (THR)
Lionsgate has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a case with the Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to disclose to investors a key strategy to thwart a hostile takeover bid by Carl Icahn. WSJ The violations, which involve improper public disclosures, surround a move the company made to boost friendly shareholder Mark Rachesky’s stake from 20 percent to 29 percent and dilute Icahn’s from 38 percent to 33.5 percent. The deal, orchestrated by Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns, effectively made it impossible for Icahn to succeed in taking control of Lionsgate or electing a slate of dissident directors to its board later that year. Variety “Lionsgate withheld material information just as its shareholders were faced with a critical decision about the future of the company,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s enforcement division. “Full and fair disclosure is crucial in tender offers given that shareholders rely heavily on corporate insiders to make informed decisions, especially in the midst of tender offer battles.”
Sulzberger: Family Won’t Sell NYT (Capital New York)
Last fall, when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post from the legendary Graham family, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times and patriarch of one of America’s last surviving newspaper dynasties, set up a family-wide phone call and posed a simple but forceful question: “Are you game?” HuffPost Sulzberger said he and Michael Golden, the company’s vice chairman and his cousin, held a family-wide phone call before telling colleagues in a memo that they were not selling the paper. Sulzberger revealed Thursday there is a succession plan to groom six members of the fifth generation of the family for potential top leadership positions, including chairman and publisher.
Good Morning America Has Biggest Week in Decades (The Associated Press)
Fueled by the Oscars, ABC’s Good Morning America is celebrating its most-watched week in nearly 23 years, since Nielsen began keeping electronic records in 1991. NYT For the week, GMA averaged just under 6.3 million viewers, a total it had never before hit under the current ratings system. The Oscars were a big part of this because Monday morning’s show, which was a follow-up to the previous night’s Oscar special on ABC, was the biggest individual day for GMA since the royal wedding in 2011. Monday’s show attracted just under 7.2 million viewers.
NBC’s Richard Engel ‘Detained by Pro-Russian Militia in Crimea’ (Mediaite)
NBC News reporter Richard Engel was reportedly captured by “pro-Russian militia” forces while reporting on the escalating situation in Ukrainian Crimea. Engel took to Twitter after his release where he said that he is safe and that he was to be “deported” back to Ukraine. TVNewser Engel is no stranger to danger abroad: he and his team were held captive in Syria back in 2012.
Nexstar Buys Digital Publishing Platform for $20 Million (TVSpy)
Nexstar has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to buy the assets of Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. for $20 million. In its press release about the acquisition, Nexstar calls IB, “A pioneer of innovative technology and services for the broadcast media industry.” IB’s clients include Hearst Television and Post-Newsweek Stations.
Late Night Ratings Watch: Fallon Down, But Still No. 1 as Kimmel’s Audience Grows (Mediaite)
In Jimmy Fallon’s third week on the air as host of The Tonight Show, NBC’s late night ratings continued to trend downward as the competition on ABC increased. While Jimmy Kimmel Live’s audience grew for the second consecutive week (4 percent in total and 12 percent in the 18-49 demo), Fallon was down 21 percent in total and 24 percent in the demo. Despite those shifts, Fallon still stood at No. 1 in both categories, drawing more viewers in the demo than Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman combined.
Al Jazeera America Debuts New Mobile App (LostRemote)
With Wednesday’s release of an iPhone and Android app, Al Jazeera America continues its push to become a go-to domestic and international news source for American audiences. The new app will focus on written content, and will complement its online presence more than its linear TV network. It includes full versions of its online stories in a mobile-optimized format, and also features an audio mode that will enable users to listen to stories during walks or commutes. TVNewser “By no means a traditional second screen app, the app also includes Al Jazeera America’s broadcast schedule, a local channel finder, and each article can easily be shared via Twitter and Facebook,” said EVP for product and innovation Angela Morgenstern.
Showtime Orders Financial Drama Pilot From NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin (Variety)
In its first pilot pickup of the year, Showtime has ordered Billions from journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin and writer-director-producers Brian Koppelman and David Levien. Set in the world of wealth, this fictional drama focuses on the collision and, at times, collusion between an aggressive U.S. attorney in New York and some of the richest hedge fund billionaires in the country. All three will executive produce. Sorkin, who wrote the best-selling book Too Big to Fail, is the co-anchor on CNBC’s Squawk Box and is the founder and editor-at-large of the New York Times’ DealBook, will stay with the newspaper. The 2011 HBO Films adaptation of his book received 11 Emmy nominations, including one for outstanding miniseries or movie.
Wall Street Journal Corrects Malaysia Airlines Story (The Washington Post / Erik Wemple)
The Wall Street Journal issued a correction to its much-talked-about story alleging that the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 continued flying for hours after slipping out of contact very early last Saturday morning. The Journal’s corrected story sticks with that central contention — that the plane continued flying — but bails on how investigators reached that conclusion. The original story claimed that investigators had secured data from the Rolls Royce engines on the Boeing 777 — data that the engines send to the ground every 30 minutes. Following publication of the story, officials in Malaysia contended that no engine data was received after 1:07 a.m. on Saturday, about a half-hour after the flight took off.
Vice News Quickly Makes Mark With Ukraine Dispatches (HuffPost)
Vice News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky has reported extensively through Central Asia, the Middle East and the Caucasus region, but says he’s never encountered as much hostility as he has covering the Russian invasion of Crimea. “I think it’s because of the propaganda that Russia is broadcasting over the television networks 24/7, brainwashing the people out here into thinking that the entire world has come out against Russia,” Ostrovsky said from the Crimean capital of Simferopol. That hostility shines through in Ostrovsky’s compelling video series for the just-launched Vice News channel, titled Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine. TVNewser Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera told Larry King he blames the media for overcovering Ukraine when violence in Venezuela is much more relevant to U.S. interests. “I don’t understand it,” Rivera said on King’s Ora.tv show Politicking, highlighting the fact that millions of Americans are Venezuelan.
What story from the past year do you think deserves the Pulitzer Prize?
Sailfish157 Any account of the weirdo from Germany who hoarded >1.5B$ worth of Nazi-stolen art with gum wrappers ‘n old TV dinner trays.
Dennis Furlan If a Republican was president, there would be no shortage of Pulitzer Prize nominees related to Benghazi, or using the IRS to target political enemies. As such, I’m sure some other puff piece will get the prize.
Tony Venuti Truth….
- Morning Media Newsfeed: ISIS Holds Another Journalist | Glasser Named Politico Editor
- Morning Media Newsfeed: Sky Deutschland Slows Takeover | Vidra Named CEO of TNR
- Morning Media Newsfeed: Dish, Scripps Make Online TV Deal | Sponsors Back Away from NFL
- Morning Media Newsfeed: ABC Debuts New View | CNN Ordered to Rehire Union Staff