Click here to receive Mediabistro’s Morning Media Newsfeed via email.
Ellen’s Oscar Selfie Breaks Twitter Record (Variety)
Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres herded Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Angelina Jolie, Kevin Spacey and others into the most legendary selfie to ever hit the Internet. The sheer number of A-listers packed into the shot apparently caused Twitter to crash, leaving thousands of users locked out. ABC News During the telecast, DeGeneres vowed to set a new record with a photo of her posing with the gaggle of stars sitting in the audience. She had Cooper take the photo, which she captioned, “If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars” WSJ / Speakeasy The tweet then received more than 921,000 retweets in less than 40 minutes. It went on to get more than a million retweets and counting in less than an hour. The previously most retweeted tweet was one sent by the Twitter account @barackobama when the president won re-election. It simply said, “Four more years.” The Daily Beast The epic selfie needed more than 780,063 retweets to eclipse the iconic victory photo tweeted by Barack Obama in November 2012. It got more than that in just about 35 minutes. AllTwitter By 6 a.m. Monday, the tweet had been retweeted more than 2.3 million times and counting. Indeed, activity around the tweet and the Oscars was so heavy that Twitter experienced a 25-minute slowdown and a full shutdown for some users as the selfie quickly broke the record. Bloomberg Businessweek “We crashed and broke Twitter,” DeGeneres said later from the stage. “We made history.” The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which presents the awards, took credit for the outage. “Sorry, our bad,” the Academy said on its Twitter account. Variety Unexpected demand for ABC’s live stream of the Oscars telecast over the Internet resulted in the video going down for users across the U.S., the network said Sunday. The live video through the Watch ABC app was “down nationwide due to a traffic overload/greater than expected,” a network rep said in an email. As of 10:45 p.m. ET, the feeds were back up, according to the rep, declining to provide additional information.
Comcast Said to Weigh Subscriber Spinoff With Time Warner Deal (Bloomberg)
Comcast Corp. is weighing options for how to divest about 3 million cable subscribers as part of a takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc. — including spinning them off in a new publicly traded company, people with knowledge of the matter said. Regulators may push for the spin-out because it would create a new competitor, one of the sources said. A new company formed in such a way would be the fourth-largest U.S. cable company by subscribers, trailing the merged Comcast-Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. WSJ Charter Communications Inc. is seen as a possible bidder for those subscribers. Its biggest shareholder, Liberty Media Corp., isn’t taking “any option off the table” regarding its interest in Time Warner Cable, Liberty chief executive Greg Maffei told analysts on Friday. Reuters Maffei told a conference call that Charter could still go after Time Warner Cable if regulators reject the Comcast deal, although he expects it to win approval, though perhaps with “onerous conditions.” Deadline New York The likely loss of TWC doesn’t diminish Liberty’s interest in buying the minority stake in SiriusXM that it doesn’t already own. The recent offer was “not driven” by a desire to harness the satellite radio company’s cash flow to help support a cable acquisition.
FCC Dumps Controversial Media Study (Politico)
The Federal Communications Commission is pulling the plug on a controversial Critical Information Needs survey of TV newsroom activities that sparked a firestorm of criticism from Republicans. The study was to start this spring with a pilot test in Columbia, S.C., and it included questions about how TV stations determine what news stories to cover. It also sought insight into debates between journalists and management over news coverage. WSJ / Washington Wire The FCC’s survey was intended to determine whether barriers prevent entrepreneurs and small businesses from competing in the media marketplace. But Republicans quickly accused the FCC of overstepping its bounds and attempting to influence editorial decisions. National Journal The issue gained more widespread attention when Ajit Pai, a Republican FCC commissioner, wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed blasting the study. He warned that the agency planned to send “researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run.”
Attack on Hong Kong Journalist Prompts March for Press Freedom (NYT)
Thousands of Hong Kong residents marched peacefully on Sunday to voice their support for press freedom and to denounce violence, following a near-deadly assault on a former newspaper editor who has become a symbol of the pressures squeezing the local news media. Many Hong Kong journalists say the political and commercial sway of mainland China threatens to overwhelm legal protections and subdue the traditionally combative local press. Reuters Kevin Lau Chun-to, who until recently had been chief editor of Ming Pao, a Chinese-language newspaper known for its investigative reports, was stabbed in the back and legs several times by a man in a helmet on Wednesday. No one has been arrested in connection with the attack. Organizers put the number of demonstrators at 13,000, while police said there were 8,600 at the peak. WSJ The protest was organized as Lau’s condition took a turn for the better. He entered the hospital in critical condition and his condition was improved to “serious” on Friday.
U.S. Cable Groups Join Bidding for U.K.’s Channel 5 (Financial Times)
A trio of U.S. cable network owners have entered the race to buy Channel 5, the U.K. television broadcaster owned by media baron Richard Desmond. Viacom, Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks all put forward bids for the company, according to people familiar with the process. The sale also drew an offer from Saban Capital, the media-focused private equity group that owns Univision Communications, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S. Variety None of the companies would comment on the sale, which has also attracted bids from European buyers. The sale is being managed by Barclays. Desmond is seeking a price of about £700 million ($1.17 billion).
Business Insider Expanding to London (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Business Insider, the digital news site launched by former Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget, will expand to London later this year. “With a London office, BI will truly be a 24-hour operation,” executive editor Joe Weisenthal said in an email. “I expect to sleep a lot better, not having to worry that something big is breaking (like a Ukrainian currency crash) in the middle of the night.” Business Insider will employ a London-based editor-in-chief and roughly a dozen staffers there. BI also has an office in San Francisco.
Comcast to Acquire Video Ad Company FreeWheel for $320 Million (TechCrunch)
Over the years, FreeWheel has become the go-to ad-serving platform for many TV networks that stream their content online, and it’s about to become part of one of the biggest distributors of content online and off, as Comcast is closing a deal to acquire FreeWheel for about $320 million. CNET FreeWheel’s service is designed to help TV networks, film studios and other content companies sell and manage in-video ads across numerous websites and devices. It was founded by former executives of Internet display ad company DoubleClick, which was purchased by Google in 2007 for $3.1 billion. Variety Headquartered in Silicon Valley, FreeWheel has worked with a host of blue-chip clients since its formation in 2007 — including Amazon, Fox and NBCUniversal, Turner Broadcasting and AT&T. Sources close to the situation said the plan is for FreeWheel to remain an autonomous unit within Comcast and maintain its business relationships with outside digital and TV clients.
Maxim Magazine Sold to Operator of Steak ‘n Shake Restaurants (Mashable)
Maxim magazine has been bought by Biglari Holdings, a company that operates Steak ‘n Shake among other businesses, according to a press release. Biglari currently does not operate any other media outlets, according to its website. Maxim will continue to operate independently. The Associated Press Alpha Media Group Inc. put Maxim up for sale a year ago. The publication has struggled, with ad dollars dropping 28 percent last year to $80.7 million, bucking a 1 percent gain for consumer magazines overall, said the Association of Magazine Media. Ad Age / Digital Its total paid and verified circulation fell 20 percent to just over 2 million last year, with single-copy sales declining 22 percent, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.
You Won’t Believe How Big TV Still Is (Adweek)
As the upfronts approach and the NewFronts try again to imitate them, expect to hear a lot about the twilight of traditional television with the rise of digital video. But don’t believe it. A new study from Nielsen reveals the depth and breadth of both universes, and comparative viewership numbers aren’t even close.
Interns at Twitter Earn $6,791 Per Month (AllTwitter)
So you want to work at Twitter? Sounds great, right? Heck, I bet you’d even work there on an internship. And when you consider that the average monthly base pay for an intern at Twitter is $6,791, that sounds like a really, really smart move. Twitter finished third in Glassdoor‘s list of the 25 highest-paying companies for interns. Glassdoor / Blog While the median household income in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is $53,046, several interns earn much more — $75,000 and up, assuming they were to work a full year.
Janice Min Making Moves at Guggenheim Media (NY Post / Media Ink)
Janice Min, the former editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, continues to make changes since she became co-president of the parent company, Guggenheim Media, in January. Min recruited Mike Bruno, the assistant managing editor of EW.com — the website of Time Inc.’s Entertainment Weekly — to be the new vice president of digital programming for Billboard.com. Shirley Halperin, the music editor of THR, will take on the same role at Billboard, and Will Lee, who had most recently been vice president of strategy for Jay Penske’s Penske Media, will become the new VP of digital content and programming at THR.com.
Slice Bookshelf Is Shutting Down (GalleyCat)
Bookshelf, a social discovery engine from Slice.com that helps readers find books based on friends’ recommendations, is shutting down. The discovery tool allowed users to create lists of recommended reads and share these lists with friends. The company explained, “We’re focusing on improving our core product, Slice, developing new features and experiences, and expanding existing ones like Recall Alerts, Price Drop Alerts and package tracking.”
The Washington Post‘s Native Ads Get Editorial Treatment (Adweek)
Even as native ads naysayers argue for clear labeling and design cues so readers don’t confuse them with actual journalism, publishers and advertisers have pushed to make the units look more like editorial. The latest example comes from The Washington Post. Its native ad program, WP BrandConnect, is adopting the multimedia, longform template that’s been used in the newsroom for features.
Sara Bondioli Leaves Roll Call for HuffPost (FishbowlDC)
Roll Call editor-in-chief Christina Bellantoni announced Friday that assistant managing editor Sara Bondioli is leaving to become deputy politics editor at the Huffington Post. “Sara first came to Roll Call nearly five years ago, in mid-March 2009,” Bellantoni wrote in an email to staff. “She worked as a copy editor, deputy copy chief and then copy chief, all the while helping us grow, and working with us to make our writing sharper, our papers better and our days brighter.” Bondioli’s last day at Roll Call will be March 14 and she starts at HuffPost on March 24.
Mass Relevance Will Be Using Twitter Data Exclusively On-Air Under Social Network’s Strengthened Guidelines (LostRemote)
Mass Relevance, a social TV leader, has announced that it will be using data exclusively derived from Twitter for all on-air and in-venue public display integrations. “Mass Relevance was Twitter’s first social TV partner,” Chloe Sladden, vice president of media at Twitter told LostRemote. Mass Relevance will continue to provide a full suite of social content sources to power experiences on other screens, including the Web, mobile and tablet.
What film are you rooting for in this year’s #Oscars?
DanaDeMercurio The Wolf of Wall Street and Gravity
MitchSSimon I’m rooting for “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” Very powerful movie. Both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were amazing
Sam Adler All of them.
- Morning Media Newsfeed: WaPo Reporter Detained in Iran | Bloomberg Hires Topolsky
- Morning Media Newsfeed: Major Changes Hit Condé Nast | MTP May Oust Gregory
- Morning Media Newsfeed: Murray Named Fortune Editor | Gunshots Fired at AJ Bureau
- Morning Media Newsfeed: Time Warner Plays Defense | Netflix Hits 50 Million Subscribers