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Comcast Points to NBCU Deal to Convince Regulators (Financial Times)
Comcast is trumpeting its compliance with conditions attached to its 2009 acquisition of NBCUniversal as a model for how to convince regulators to approve its $45.2 billion bid for rival cable operator Time Warner Cable. Variety Comcast launched another prong in its strategy, announcing a pledge to continue offering basic broadband for $9.95 per month to low-income families indefinitely. Effectively, the cable giant is spinning the expanded low-cost Internet Essentials program as one of the key benefits of the proposed deal for Time Warner Cable — despite the fact that post-deal, Comcast would control nearly one-third of U.S. broadband market. CNET Comcast started the Internet Essentials program as part of a voluntary commitment it made to the Federal Communications Commission in order to get its merger with NBCUniversal approved. Back then, the company promised to keep the program up and running for three years. Adweek The program provides eligible low-income families with $9.95/month Internet service, an option to purchase a computer for under $150 and multiple options for digital literacy training. In two and a half years, Comcast has signed up 1.2 million low-income Americans or 300,000 families. Internet Essentials dovetails nicely with President Obama’s ConnectED program to increase digital literacy and the FCC’s recent plan to invest an additional $2 billion over the next two years to support broadband in schools and libraries. Bloomberg Comcast executive VP David Cohen will hold meetings at the FCC through Wednesday, said two agency officials knowledgeable about the plans. Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, needs approval from the FCC and antitrust officials at the Justice Department for its proposed purchase of New York-based Time Warner Cable, the No. 2 carrier. The Time Warner deal would create “appropriate scale” that enables Comcast to invest in new services, and would create a new national advertiser to increase competition in that market, Cohen said.
Carl Kasell to Retire From Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! This Spring (NPR / Press Room)
Carl Kasell, the famed voice of NPR News for three decades turned comedy star of the game show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, has announced he’s stepping down this spring after a five-decade career in broadcasting. Kasell will record his final broadcast for Wait Wait this spring; celebration shows are planned in the show’s home city of Chicago and in Washington, D.C. CNNMoney Kasell has worked at NPR in various capacities since 1975. He was the newscaster for one of NPR’s flagships, Morning Edition, from 1979 until 2009. He has been with Wait Wait since its inception in 1998, playing the “straight man” of sorts while co-host Peter Sagal asks questions of panelists. FishbowlDC Kasell became an audience favorite as the official judge and scorekeeper of Wait Wait. Among the program’s most popular quiz segments were those built around Kasell impersonating newsmakers and celebrities from the week’s headlines. Fans of Kasell can leave him voice mails by calling 1-888-Wait-Wait. Chicago Tribune Kasell will continue to make occasional appearances as the show’s scorekeeper emeritus. He will also continue to record the voicemail and answering machine greetings that have long been the show’s standard prize for people who win the various in-show contests.
CNN to Test Legal Show Making The Case in Primetime (Variety)
CNN is gearing up to test a new half-hour program centered on legal issues during its primetime lineup, according to a person familiar with the situation. Making The Case is slated to air between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., this person said, and will be anchored by Mark Geragos, a California criminal defense attorney who has represented Michael Jackson, Chris Brown and politician Gary Condit, among others; and Sunny Hostin, a former assistant U.S. attorney who has contributed to CNN in the past. TVNewser The half-hour show co-hosted by the attorneys will air weekly for five weeks. Both Geragos and Hostin are familiar faces on CNN: They were on-air throughout last year’s George Zimmerman trial, often sparring against one another. The Wrap The test program, set to premiere March 10, will be among a number of primetime experiments by CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker in the weeks and months to come. THR / The Live Feed The process of auditioning shows on the air is ongoing, with Making The Case its latest installment. A program anchored by Bill Weir, who joined CNN last year from ABC News, is still a work in progress, say sources. Dylan Ratigan, the former CNBC anchor, also shot a pilot for CNN, sources confirm.
New York Times to Add ‘Series of New Products’ for Digital Subscribers (Journalism.co.uk)
The New York Times is to introduce a group of new digital products aimed at both “entry-level” and existing subscribers interested in paying a premium for exclusive content. Speaking at the Digital Media Strategies conference Tuesday, Denise Warren, executive vice president, digital products and services at the Times outlined research findings and the first product, due to be launched “in the coming months.” The Telegraph Three new subscriptions will be announced, each with a new mobile app, within months. The first, NYT Now, will offer access to the main news of the day, introduced via a feed of short blog posts. They will be written specially for the new app in a more colloquial style than the main news articles themselves, in a bid to catch the attention of readers browsing on their smartphones. The two other new subscriptions, to be launched shortly after and as-yet-unnamed, will offer access to the Times’ opinion articles or to its food and recipe pages. FishbowlNY Linda Zebian, manager of corporate communications at the Times, told Rachel Bartlett at journalism.co.uk over email that NYT Now “will cost approximately $8 a month.” The $8 price tag will be $7 lower than the current lowest-priced digital subscription package, which carries a monthly charge of $15, Zebian said.
Vice News Launches, Promising ‘Changing of The Guard in Media’ (Forbes / Jeff Bercovici)
Vice has been doing gonzo international reporting for years, but it’s always fit in somewhat uncomfortably amid the skateboard videos, gross-out photos, fashion spreads and drug guides. As of Tuesday, serious journalism officially has a home on Vice: Vice News. The new Web channel launched with reports from Myanmar, Russia, Venezuela and other global hot spots. Capital New York Parent company Vice Media said in an announcement that the channel, which has been rolling out in beta over the past week, will feature “hundreds of hours of provocative, immersive news programming from around the world for a youth audience.” That includes long-form and short-form documentaries, Vine and Instagram footage, live-streaming, Google Glass and even drone journalism, the company said. Mashable The vertical follows recent efforts from Vice to build out its video and news efforts with the launch of a YouTube channel as well as the hiring of around 60 journalists. The Wall Street Journal reported in November that Vice had planned a $50 million investment in its news organization.
Huffington Post Business And Global News Editor Is Leaving for International Business Times (NYT)
Peter S. Goodman, the executive business editor and global news editor of The Huffington Post, is leaving the website to become editor-in-chief of International Business Times. IBT Media, the publication’s corporate parent, announced the appointment Tuesday morning. International Business Times is the flagship title of IBT Media, which also recently acquired and relaunched Newsweek magazine. Capital New York In his new job, Goodman will oversee 10 country editions in seven languages. He replaces Jeffrey Rothfeder, who left International Business Times in January after his contract was up. Goodman brings a bit of star power to a site that has largely been flying under the radar since its launch in 2006 despite building up a global audience of roughly 30 million monthly viewers, according to the company. FishbowlNY Goodman previously served as the New York Times’ national economics correspondent. Prior to that, he spent 10 years at The Washington Post.
You’ll Never Guess Where BuzzFeed Is Headed Next (New York Business Journal)
Business expansion to three of the world’s five largest markets is usually about chasing new customers and revenue, and it’s no different for BuzzFeed. But talent recruitment is the reason founder and CEO Jonah Peretti says he’s pumped to launch new offices in Berlin, followed by Tokyo, Mexico City and Mumbai. Peretti subtly made big news Tuesday when he disclosed expansion plans for the latter three cities, which rank 1, 3 and 5 on Wikipedia’s list of the world’s largest metropolitan areas. FishbowlNY Peretti added in his memo that Tokyo, Mexico City and Mumbai will follow Berlin in some order. The Berlin site will be the ninth such outpost for the website, including its NYC headquarters. There were some domestic pleas on Twitter Tuesday in reaction to the Peretti memo for more presence in U.S. cities like Houston and New Orleans.
Amid More Layoffs, Sun-Times Rehires Four Photographers (RobertFeder.com)
Four of the photographers who were fired when the Chicago Sun-Times eliminated its photography department last spring are rejoining the newspaper this week. Rich Chapman, Brian Jackson, Al Podgorski and a fourth photographer whose name was not confirmed are expected to be rehired under terms of a contract settlement reached in November between Sun-Times Media and the Chicago Newspaper Guild. HuffPost The Sun-Times laid off 28 photographers last May after an increasing demand for video and “other multimedia” forced the company to undergo massive job cuts. The news was countered by reports that more than a dozen additional layoffs are on the way for the Sun-Times Media Group.
NYT Corrects 161-Year-Old Article About Solomon Northup (Poynter / MediaWire)
After 12 Years A Slave won Best Picture at the Academy Awards Sunday, The New York Times tweeted a gem in its archives: an 1853 account of Solomon Northup’s kidnapping. A user on Twitter noticed a problem with the article, which the Times corrected Tuesday. The correction read: “An article on Jan. 20, 1853, recounting the story of Solomon Northup, whose memoir 12 Years A Slave became a movie 160 years later that won the best picture Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday night, misspelled his surname as Northrop. And the headline misspelled it as Northrup.”
Jorge Ramos Finalizes Deal to Remain at Fusion (THR / The Live Feed)
Jorge Ramos has finalized a new deal to remain at Fusion, the startup English-language network that is a partnership between Univision and ABC News, through the 2016 presidential election. America With Jorge Ramos has anchored Fusion’s nightly lineup since the channel launched last fall in 20 million homes. At the same time, Ramos has continued to co-anchor Univision’s flagship nightly news program Noticiero Univision with Maria Elena Salinas, as well as his Sunday public affairs program Al Punto. TVNewser Dish Network will now carry the news and lifestyle channel geared toward millennials, making it available in about 35 million homes, well on the way to its goal of being in 60 million homes in its first five years.
Warner Bros. Promotes Jon Berg, Courtenay Valenti to Run Development, Production (The Wrap)
Warner Bros. has promoted Jon Berg and Courtenay Valenti to exec VPs of development and production, giving them greater oversight of all development at the film studio, Warner Bros. said Tuesday. The duo will report to Greg Silverman, president of creative development and worldwide production. Silverman executes the overall vision for development and production while Valenti and Berg will oversee the development team and budget. Variety Valenti has been with the studio for 25 years and is the daughter of the late MPAA president Jack Valenti. Berg joined in 2008 after working as an independent producer at Guy Walks Into a Bar and producing Elf.
Morning Show for Weather Channel (NYT)
As The Weather Channel continues to add regularly scheduled programming to its lineup — like a flagship morning show with news, sports and entertainment reports as well as a documentary series devoted to investigative journalism on subjects like homelessness and climate-change denial — executives of the Weather Company, parent of the Weather Channel, confirmed Tuesday that Sam Champion will be the featured personality of the new Weather Channel morning flagship, AMHQ With Sam Champion. “That’s short for America’s Morning Headquarters,” Champion explained — which is to run from 7 to 10 a.m. ET beginning March 17.
Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources Gets First Demo Win (TVNewser)
For the first time since Brian Stelter took over as the anchor of Reliable Sources, the CNN program has topped Fox News’ MediaBuzz in the adults 25-54 demographic. Reliable averaged 193,000 adult 25-54 viewers at 11 a.m. ET Sunday, topping Howard Kurtz‘s MediaBuzz by 21,000 viewers. Mediaite In total viewers, however, Kurtz continued his consecutive wins beating Stelter, more than doubling the CNN host’s 384,000 with a 881,000 total figure.
The Hammer, Tom DeLay, to Write And Talk for TWT (FishbowlDC)
Tom DeLay, the powerful former House Majority Leader and reality TV star, will contribute a weekly column to The Washington Times and also serve as an on-air personality for TWT‘s new radio venture. DeLay was the majority leader of the Republican caucus in the House during the Bush years before resigning his leadership position after being indicted in a campaign finance scandal. He was convicted on charges of violating election laws, but was later acquitted due to insufficient evidence.
WaPo Content to Be Translated And Distributed Via China-Based Wide Angle Media (FishbowlDC)
Starting April 1, Washington Post financial, business and medical news will be translated into Chinese and distributed online through the China-based Wide Angle Media, Ltd. Stories from the Post will be published online via Wide Angle Media’s network of websites and social networks and will be accessible on mobile devices, traditional news websites and via social media. It’s estimated that Wide Angle Media’s daily global audience tops 3,500,000 regular users.
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