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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.

Weather Channel Returns to DirecTV Lineup (WSJ)
After a nearly three-month blackout, the Weather Channel will be back on DirecTV’s program lineup as of Wednesday, after the companies reached a new programming agreement. TVNewser As part of the deal, DirecTV agreed to a small increase in the fees it pays to Weather Channel, though the increase will be less than the penny a subscriber a month Weather Channel sought. The Weather Channel has also agreed to increase the airtime it gives to weather-related news, agreeing to reduce reality programming by half on weekdays and return instant local weather. Variety When DirecTV took the Weather Channel off the air, it said more than 40 percent of the network’s programming was dedicated to reality television shows, such as Coast Guard Alaska, Lifeguard! and Prospectors. The Weather Channel will also allow DirecTV customers to watch the Weather Channel’s video programming on multiple devices inside and outside the home, so long as they can prove they are subscribers. CNNMoney Big cable channels are rarely blacked out by distributors, and when they are, the disruptions tend to only last for hours or days. But this one began in mid-January and seemed without end. It affected one in six American households, since DirecTV serves roughly 20 million subscribers.

Rep. McCarthy Pulls Breitbart Column (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
House majority whip Kevin McCarthy pulled his column from Breitbart News Tuesday after the site launched a California version with a lewd Photoshopped image of House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. The Washington Times Breitbart News ran into trouble Monday when it launched its California branch with several altered images of public figures. Promotional materials included a photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s face Photoshopped onto a topless female body, and California Gov. Jerry Brown depicted as a bodybuilder flexing his bicep. It seemed, however, that artwork featuring Pelosi’s head on a twerking Miley Cyrus’ body is what prompted McCarthy to pull the plug. ABC News / The Note Just last week, McCarthy praised the website’s launch, saying it would fill a “void of conservative activism” that was left after the death of Breitbart founder Andrew Breitbart. “This weekend’s launch of Breitbart California is a testament to his legacy of holding our public officials accountable for their actions,” McCarthy said in a statement. But Monday, McCarthy was clearly miffed by the Photoshopped images. “The images are inappropriate,” Mike Long, McCarthy’s spokesman, said. The Hill / Briefing Room Breitbart News and McCarthy’s spokesman tweeted out a link to the op-ed titled “Re-Imagining The Golden State” on Sunday, coinciding with the launch of the California bureau. Links to the article Tuesday morning led to an error message, after the post was removed. The article highlighted a pattern of corruption charges leveled against state Democratic officials and asserted the Republican Party is on the rise in California.

Alaska Dispatch to Purchase Anchorage Daily News (Alaska Dispatch)
In what amounts to a stunning media shakeup in the 49th state, the still-young online news organization Alaska Dispatch announced on Tuesday it has signed a deal with the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain to purchase the Anchorage Daily News, a 68-year-old publication with two Pulitzer Prizes. Anchorage Daily News The transaction is expected to close in May. The Daily News is the largest newspaper in Alaska, and adn.com is the most-read news site in the state. The $34 million purchase includes the newspaper, ADN.com and the Daily News‘ building in East Anchorage. After the purchase is finalized, the building will be sold to a private local buyer, according to a statement from Alaska Dispatch, and the Daily News will continue operations as a tenant. Daily News president and publisher Pat Doyle and Daily News senior vice president and editor Pat Dougherty are both retiring, company officials announced Tuesday. The Associated Press After the sale, McClatchy’s operations will include 29 daily newspapers, including the Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram; The Sacramento Bee; The Kansas City Star; Miami Herald; The Charlotte Observer; and The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.

Study: Fox News Climate Coverage Mostly Misleading (FishbowlNY)
According to a new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists, if you want to learn something about climate science, don’t watch Fox News. Mediaite Out of 50 climate science segments last year, only 28 percent were “entirely accurate” while 72 percent contained “misleading portrayals” of the science. However, those numbers represent a marked improvement for Fox, which got climate science right only 7 percent of the time in 2012 according to the previous year’s report. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Other networks achieved far greater accuracy: 70 percent of CNN’s 43 segments on climate change were entirely accurate, while 92 percent of MSNBC’s 132 segments on climate change were entirely accurate.

IMAX to Sell 20 Percent Stake in Chinese Business (WSJ)
IMAX Corp. plans to sell a 20 percent stake in its Chinese business to two China-focused investor groups in an $80 million deal that the big-movie-screen operator hopes will pave the way for expansion and an eventual public listing. Bloomberg CMC Capital Partners, an investment fund focused on media and entertainment, and FountainVest Partners, a Chinese private-equity firm, will buy shares of IMAX China Holding Inc. for $80 million in two installments, IMAX said Tuesday in a statement. The investors will help IMAX continue its expansion in China and strengthen government and industry relationships, the company said. Box-office sales in that country grew about 27 percent to $3.6 billion last year, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. IMAX opened its first theater in China in 2011, and the big-screen theater company now has 173 screens with an additional 237 planned. NYT The deal offers another lift for Li Ruigang, the chairman of CMC and former head of the Shanghai Media Group. Li, who founded his current company in 2009 with backing from China Development Bank and a fund of about $800 million, is already an investor in Oriental DreamWorks, an animation studio and participant in a coming Shanghai entertainment district. In January, he bought Fox’s portion of the Star China television service. In June, Li announced an investment partnership with Time Warner.

And The Shorty Awards Go to… (LostRemote)
Tuesday night, some of social media’s best moments and brightest stars were rewarded for their efforts at the Shorty Awards in New York City. For social TV, ABC’s hit show Scandal took home the #ShortyAward for best TV show. The show’s cast live-tweets almost every episode, and is one of the more active shows in terms of promotion ahead of episodes. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) and Parks And Recreation’s Retta (@unfoRETTAble) took home best actor and best actress Shortys. TVNewser Both MSNBC and Al Jazeera America won awards for their respective social media activities. MSNBC.com won the best use of social media for news category, awarded for its Google+ Hangout series on marriage equality. The network beat Al Jazeera America’s social media show, The Stream, and the Guardian’s #AskSnowden social campaign, where NSA-leaker Edward Snowden answered reader questions.

Lunch With Lara Spencer And Amy Robach, Rumors, Ratings And The Revolving Door (TVNewser)
It has been a busy few months at Good Morning America. Since December, Sam Champion and Josh Elliott have departed, Ginger Zee and Amy Robach have joined the team, and Robin Roberts and Lara Spencer have extended their contracts with ABC News. Through it all, GMA remains steadfast in the ratings, despite the fact that both Champion and Elliott — “our brothers,” as Spencer calls them — have decamped for NBC. As GMA prepares to mark two years as the most-watched morning show, TVNewser caught up with Spencer and Robach over lunch at Bobby Flay‘s Bar Americain Tuesday. They told us about their new roles on the show, how the team is really getting along and why the GMA rumor mill has been in high gear the past few weeks.

NBCU Hopes New Focus on Young Multicultural Women Lends Breath to Oxygen (Variety)
About seven months after placing Oxygen in the hands of Bravo chief Frances Berwick, NBCUniversal has a new direction for the female-focused cable outlet. Once focused mostly on young women, with programs featuring reality-show doyenne Tori Spelling and an audition-competition series called The Glee Project, Oxygen will now center on young multicultural women, said Berwick in a media presentation Tuesday, and court them with aspirational unscripted series that are less focused on conflict and more on inner satisfaction. NYT Research found space in the market to go after that audience, Berwick said. In a phone interview, she described the target market as “African-American and Hispanic and Asian-American and white.” “These people want to see themselves reflected on screen,” Berwick said, and “the opportunity for Oxygen is huge.”

CNBC Adds More Reality Fare (Variety)
CNBC is adding more reality-competition series to its primetime lineup with a greenlight for Shine America’s Restaurant Kickstart hosted by Joe Bastianich. CNBC has also ordered eight more hour-long episodes of The Profit, which revolves around serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis’ efforts to save struggling businesses. CNBC said it was developing Restaurant Confidential: New York with All3Media, a look at competition among Gotham restaurants, and Hard Money, with Matador, examining the world of loan sharks and high-risk lenders. THR “It’s an exciting time for us in primetime. The Profit is building a loyal fan base with viewers who want to be entertained but also want to get insights as to why businesses fail and how they can flourish,” said Jim Ackerman, senior VP of primetime alternative programming.

Suspect in Shooting of AP Journalists Sent to Kabul (HuffPost / AP)
A senior Afghan official says the policeman who opened fire on two Associated Press journalists, killing one and seriously wounding the other, has been transferred to Kabul as Afghan authorities step up the investigation. The police chief of Khost province, where the shootings occurred, says the Interior Ministry sent two helicopters on Tuesday to take the suspect, identified as a unit commander named Naqibullah, to the Afghan capital. Police chief Faizullah Ghyrat says he was in the car that took Naqibullah, whose hands and feet were bound by chains, to the Khost airport. The police officer surrendered to colleagues after the shootings.

Universal Music Group Acquires Eagle Rock Entertainment (Variety)
Universal Music Group has acquired London-based Eagle Rock Entertainment, an independent producer and distributor of music programming. The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed. Eagle Rock Entertainment specializes in music video programming for television and DVDs, giving Universal an additional 2,000 hours of programming and more than 800 titles. The acquisition will allow Universal to expand into original video content and create unique artist-based bundles in a variety of physical and digital formats.

Quartz’s Ferdman to Wonkblog (FishbowlDC)
Quartz’s Roberto Ferdman has been picked up by Wonkblog as a staff writer. In an announcement Tuesday, The Washington Post said Ferdman, who had been based in New York, would move to Washington in June. While at Quartz, Ferdman covered an eclectic array of topics (dog food, most recently) and will do so again in his capacity at Wonkblog. His beat there will include consumer business, the economics of food, Latin American development and immigration. His first day at WaPo will be June 9.

Discovery Wants Your Dog to Watch More TV (Bloomberg Businessweek)
Even the most faithful canine can only watch so much of the Kardashians. Realizing as much, Discovery Communications, the company behind Animal Planet, has bought an unspecified stake in DogTV, a two-year-old network created with U.S. canines in mind. The channel broadcasts 24/7, splitting content into three categories: relaxation (think New Age music and a slow-pan of sleeping dogs), stimulation (chirping birds and wrestling puppies) and exposure (busy intersections, babies, postal workers, and such). The target market is humans who feel guilty about leaving pets home alone, and the idea isn’t new. A similar product called Puppy Channel was launched in 1997 and still maintains a website. So far, DogTV has gone with the HBO model, charging a monthly subscription of $5 on DirecTV and $10 for online streaming. The channel may have advertising potential if it can get owners to watch, too.

ABC World News With Diane Sawyer Facebook Page Tops 1 Million Likes (AllFacebook)
The Facebook milestones keep coming for ABC News, as the page for its ABC World News With Diane Sawyer topped the 1 million-like mark, just days after the flagship ABC News page surpassed 3 million likes.

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