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Morning Media Newsfeed: Murdoch Ups Sons | Twitter Ban Overturned | NYT Adds Digital Subs

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Rupert Murdoch Elevates Eldest Son to Be His News Corp. Co-Chairman (The Guardian / Greenslade Blog)
Rupert Murdoch’s eldest son, Lachlan, has been promoted to the role of non-executive co-chairman on the News Corp. board. It means that the two will work alongside each other. Rupert, the executive chairman, described the appointment as “recognition of Lachlan’s entrepreneurial leadership and passion for news, digital media and sport.” TVNewser Lachlan has been named non-executive chairman at both News Corp. and 21st Century Fox. The 42-year-old has been a director of both companies, but effectively left the media empire in 2005 where he had been deputy chief operating officer directly responsible for News Corp.’s U.S. television stations group and publishing assets. After Lachlan left News Corp., Roger Ailes, the co-founder and chairman of Fox News Channel, was named chairman of News Corp.’s (now 21st Century Fox’s) television stations group. FishbowlNY The promotion means that Lachlan is all but guaranteed to take over News Corp. when Rupert steps down. In the past, it was believed that James Murdoch was the heir apparent, but no more. James was promoted as well — to co-chief operating officer at 21st Century Fox. Financial Times James’ elevation comes two years after he was embroiled in the U.K. phone hacking scandal as the former head of News Corp.’s U.K. newspaper business. His new position gives him a more central executive role at one of America’s most global media companies, in contrast to Lachlan’s non-executive position, keeping him in contention in a succession race that has seen numerous twists. James will share his new title with Chase Carey, a trusted adviser and second-in-command to Rupert, to whom he had reported in his previous role as deputy chief operating officer. Reuters Each son has at various times been seen as heir apparent, and it is unclear how well they will work together when Murdoch finally hands over the companies. The Murdoch family controls both Fox and News Corp. through a trust that has a 38 percent ownership stake of Class B shares with voting rights. A source familiar with the companies said that the plan to elevate Lachlan and James had been in the works for a while and that a tussle over control would be unlikely.

Turkey’s Twitter Ban Has Been Overturned (Engadget)
A Turkish court issued a “stay of execution” on the Turkish government’s order to ban Twitter, which means the ban should be lifted until judges have the chance to weigh up the many complaints that have been lodged against it. SocialTimes Amid anti-government protests, the Turkish government attempted to block Twitter last week. This move proved ill-fated: Users found multiple workarounds aided by advice directly from Twitter’s corporate accounts. As the block persists, users are becoming much more savvy and each new attempt to ban is quickly circumvented. Variety The court ruled on Wednesday that the government could not ban Twitter and ordered the Turkish Telecommunications Authority to stop blocking the service. But it is still not clear if or when Twitter will be restored in the country. Turkey’s Bar Association had immediately challenged the Twitter ban saying it was against local freedom of information laws. But legal experts say the telecoms authority may not have to comply immediately and can appeal the court’s decision. AllTwitter In a separate move, Twitter is challenging the block by filing petitions for lawsuits in Turkish courts to formally ask for the ban to be lifted.

The Times Is Expanding Its Digital Subscriptions Offerings (NYT)
The New York Times announced two new subscription plans on Wednesday, including NYT Now, a lower-priced app curated for a mobile audience, as part of the company’s push to expand its digital offerings and increase its revenue. The other plan, Times Premier, provides access to content like Times Insider, a new feature that will aim to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the newspaper and its journalism. FishbowlNY NYT Now will be available first on iPhones, for $8 every four weeks. The app will combine the most important articles from the Times and other websites, as well as morning and evening news briefs. The paper’s editors will create headlines and article summaries exclusively for NYT Now. Existing Times digital subscribers can access NYT Now for free. WSJ The premium subscription, Times Premier, will cost $45 every four weeks and provide special content, including Times Insider. The subscription will also include exclusive access to new and archival online TimesTalks interviews, access to two free TBooks a month and “tailored content experiences” created for Premier customers. Current home delivery subscribers can pay an extra $10 every four weeks to receive Times Premier. GigaOM The NYT Now iPhone app is also the paper’s first native advertising-supported product. The Times is calling its native ads “Paid Posts,” and they will soon be expanding to the Times’ other apps.

Pew Report: Network News Viewership Up, Cable News Viewership Down (TVNewser)
In addition to cable news revenues and local news consolidation, this year’s Pew Research State of the News Media report looks at average viewership for both network and cable news. An average of 22.6 million viewers watched one of the three network newscasts in 2013, a 2.3 percent increase from 2012. Last year, evening news viewership was the highest it has been since 2008. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media MSNBC suffered harder losses in 2013 — in terms of both viewership and revenue — than either of its competitors at Fox News and CNN, according to Nielsen data featured in the report. Primetime viewership declined by a staggering 24 percent (nearly twice the loss sustained by CNN and four times that sustained by Fox News). Daytime viewership fell by 15 percent, even as it rose at both of the other networks. On the revenue side, MSNBC was projected to decline by 2 percent, while both CNN and Fox News were projected to experience growth of 2 percent and 5 percent, respectively. MSNBC was expected to bring in $475 million in revenue: less than half what CNN will make and roughly one-quarter of what Fox News will make. Poynter Another surprising conclusion from the study revealed that even though newspaper advertising revenue has fallen by half over the last decade, including subscriptions and other revenue, the industry still accounts for $38.6 billion of $63.6 billion in news revenue per year. That is roughly 61 percent of the total.

Colin Myler Named President of Daily News (Capital New York)
Colin Myler has been named president of the New York Daily News, a title he will tack on in addition to his existing one as editor-in-chief. FishbowlNY Myler has been editor of the Daily News since January of 2012. He was previously editor of the now folded News of The World. Myler also spent some time as executive editor of the New York Post. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The promotion suggests Myler’s two years atop the News‘ masthead are viewed as a success by company brass, and that Myler has the confidence of News owner Mort Zuckerman, who has been known to be mercurial in his attitudes toward top editors at his paper through the years.

Dish’s Ergen Said to Approach DirecTV CEO About Merger (Bloomberg)
Dish Network Corp. chairman Charlie Ergen recently contacted DirecTV CEO Mike White to discuss a merger of the two satellite television companies, according to several people with knowledge of the matter. Ergen made the approach in response to Comcast Corp.’s $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. announced in mid-February, one of the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. White is reluctant to push forward with formal talks out of concern regulators may block the deal because the two companies directly compete with each other, another person said. The Verge White has reason to be cautious: regulators blocked an earlier merger attempt between the two in 2002. But Ergen has publicly shown interest in a potential deal. “There is obviously a business case that makes a lot of sense for consolidation in the satellite industry,” he said during Dish’s Q3 earnings call. “Whether it ever comes to fruition is another story.”

CNN Correspondent Reports for Al Jazeera, Because AJ Reporters Aren’t Allowed (TVNewser)
A CNN correspondent reported for Al Jazeera in Cairo earlier this week because Al Jazeera reporters can’t. Ian Lee, who was in Kiev earlier this month for CNN, is in Cairo this week covering the trial of Peter Greste, who, along with other Al Jazeera journalists, is accused of endangering national security and aiding a terrorist organization. HuffPost Reporters from Al Jazeera are not, to say the least, welcome in Egypt. The country’s arrest and subsequent prosecution of the network’s journalists has drawn international condemnation, along with a concerted campaign of solidarity from reporters around the world. An Al Jazeera anchor told viewers that Lee was “reporting on our behalf because Al Jazeera journalists are banned from reporting from Egypt.”

NYT Boss Attacks Bloomberg for Saying it Shouldn’t Publish Anti-China Stories (The Guardian)
Mark Thompson, the chief executive of The New York Times, has hit out at rival Bloomberg for saying it shouldn’t have published investigative news stories criticizing China, because they jeopardize huge revenue opportunities in the world’s second biggest economy. Thompson was responding to comments made by Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg, in a speech to the Asia Society last week. Financial Times “To state the obvious, Grauer seems to have a rather different conception of what journalism should consist of [than the Times],” said Thompson at the FT Digital Media conference in London. “There are commercial realities… but it depends on what your priorities are.” The Times and Bloomberg have both been penalized by the Chinese authorities over investigative articles that have focused on the wealth accumulated by the families of senior members of the ruling Communist party.

AOL Taking on Google, Adobe in Ad Tech (WSJ / CMO Today)
Tim Armstrong has turned AOL from a company known for dial-up Internet access into a media outlet. His next big plan? To turn the company into an advertising technology leader. The AOL CEO sees the company playing a central role in the ad industry’s adoption of programmatic buying and selling, i.e. the use of Wall Street-like automated trading systems to place ads both online and in traditional media. Speaking Wednesday at the Ad Tech conference in San Francisco, Armstrong announced that AOL is introducing One by AOL, a new technology platform that will combine several acquisitions as well as new technology AOL has built. Mashable One integrates display ad inventory across every type of device with data analytics features to create an advanced programmatic ad system that automates much of the process. The platform is essentially a marriage of numerous advertising efforts that AOL has been developing for some time: the efficiency of programmatic ad buying technology, the analytics that give near real-time information on performance and a renewed emphasis on both online and linear television.

Scribd Launches Travel Category With Lonely Planet Partnership (GalleyCat)
Scribd is expanding its eBook subscription service to include travel books. The company has partnered with guidebook publisher Lonely Planet and will make all of Lonely Planet’s guidebooks available through its monthly subscription service. In addition, Scribd has also added the travel books A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena de Blasi, Londoners by Craig Taylor and the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die mini-series of guidebooks by Patricia Schultz to its collection.

Peter Rice Extends Contract as Chairman, CEO at Fox Networks Group (Variety)
21st Century Fox has announced that Peter Rice, chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, has agreed to extend his employment agreement. James Murdoch, co-chief operating officer at 21st Century Fox, said: “Under Peter Rice’s leadership Fox Networks Group has continued to push creative boundaries across the Company, and has grown tremendously with successful channel launches including Fox Sports 1 and FXX, an increased international footprint and enhanced sports offerings across the world.”

MGM Income Up 97 Percent for 2013 (THR)
MGM Holdings reported revenue for the calendar year that ended Dec. 31, 2013 was up 11 percent over the prior year to $1.53 billion, and net income soared 97 percent over the prior year to $122 million. “To top the groundbreaking year we had in 2012 is truly an incredible achievement,” said MGM chairman and CEO Gary Barber. “Growth in revenue and profitability was above our expectations and our operating income of $202 million is higher than any known or reported amount in MGM’s 90-year history.” MGM also reported that its cash on hand is now at about $30 million and it has zero debt.

Bette Milder, Al Roker And Bravo’s Bickering Brokers From Million Dollar Listing New York (FishbowlNY / Lunch)
When it comes to Bravo’s ever-expanding slate of reality stars, it’s hard to keep the players straight without a scorecard. Between the Housewives, hipsters and wannabe singers, few have retained more than a few seasons of fame (or infamy) outside the realm of their melodramatic universe — give or take a few Life & Style covers. I can count the number of Bravolebrities on one hand that have left an impression on me beyond registering their sheer delight at their own insta-fame. That’s why my lunch with Luis D. Ortiz and Fredrik Eklund, stars of the network’s Million Dollar Listing New York, was such a pleasant surprise.

Pix11 Launches Investigative Unit (FishbowlNY)
Pix11 has announced the creation of Pix11 Investigates, an investigative journalism unit and show. Pix11 Investigates will be led by Mary Murphy, Howard Thompson and Arnold Diaz, who joins the network on March 31. Diaz is best known for his amazing Shame, Shame, Shame segment, which aired on WNYW until January of this year. Noreen Lark will oversee Pix11 Investigates.

With Debut of Maria Bartiromo’s FNC Show, Housecall Shifts to Later Timeslot (TVNewser)
With the debut of Maria Bartiromo’s Sunday Morning Futures on Fox News, the network will shift Sunday Housecall into a new timeslot. Housecall, which aired at 10:30 a.m. ET will move to 12:30 p.m. ET, replacing a half hour of America’s News Headquarters. The weekly medical news and analysis half-hour will continue to be hosted by Jamie Colby and Eric Shawn with Dr. David Samadi and Dr. Marc Siegel. Bartiromo’s Sunday Morning Futures debuts this Sunday at 10 a.m. ET.

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Mediabistro Chats

Do you use social media while watching TV?

twitter JaroG4 I do all the time. The 2nd Screen phenomenon is great. Especially for certain shows. Also helpful if you don’t get something.

twitter Tatia_Sik Definitely for award shows and the Super Bowl! Love tuning in to people’s reactions during high profile events :)

twitter mkramer4 Yes. I often find it boring to just sit there when I know there’s an active community on social media watching with me.

twitter DenellDavis yes, #tweetups are fun. I definitely think they enhance the viewing experience

twitter Lisa Piccirillo Live tweeting/fb during certain shows or events can be a lot of fun though you run the risk of being “that person” ruins an ending or plot twist for someone else

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