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Morning Media Newsfeed: ABC News Expands to Apple TV | AT&T, DirecTV Sell Merger

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ABC News on Apple TV ‘for Everyone’ (LostRemote)
As of 10 a.m. ET Tuesday morning, ABC News is officially available on Apple TV. TVNewser The new ABC offering features a 24/7 livestream made up of news events and anchored reports, a wide variety of video-on-demand-clips, local content from various ABC News affiliates, content from ABC’s 50-year-old archives, and more. The ABC News Apple TV product also offers an extension of ABC News’ broadcast coverage. TVSpy It also offers a local news section, which showcases top video-on-demand clips from some of the country’s biggest markets. At launch, content from eight ABC-owned stations — including WABC in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WLS in Chicago, WPVI in Philadelphia, KGO in San Francisco, KTRK in Houston, WTVD in Raleigh and KFSN in Fresno — can be found under the “Local” tab. Variety ABC lacks a cable news channel, unlike broadcast peers Fox and NBC. Now, through Apple TV, ABC News has a 24-hour over-the-top network of sorts available on big-screen TVs. CBS, meanwhile, which also doesn’t have a cable news net, has been exploring a similar digital news service for several years. Capital New York Even when there isn’t live rolling coverage, the app will continue to be updated with segments from ABC News programming, as well as live video feeds from events like speeches or a shot of Earth from the International Space Station. On Apple TV, there are already apps for Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and Sky News, among others, but ABC marks the biggest bet by far from a U.S. TV news outlet, at least in terms of live coverage and original content. Other channels, like CNN and Fox News, are available for streaming online, but they require viewers “authenticate” that they are pay-TV subscribers. The ABC News app will not require authentication, making it free for everyone.

AT&T, DirecTV Try to Sell Congress on Benefits of Proposed Merger (WSJ)
AT&T Inc.’s proposed $48 billion acquisition of DirecTV Inc. is the only way the two companies can stay competitive in the highly consolidated broadband and pay-TV industries, the companies’ chief executives told members of the U.S. Congress on Tuesday. NYT AT&T and DirecTV did not promise that they would lower prices, however, and the claim quickly began to dissolve under scrutiny. Pressed by Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, whether AT&T would pass along to consumers all the savings the company expects to realize from the merger, Randall Stephenson, chief executive of AT&T, said, “No sir, I cannot commit to that.” Variety Stephenson said that the rate of increase would be slowed, while DirecTV chairman and CEO Michael White said that consumers will see “better valued bundles” with the linkage of AT&T’s broadband and voice services and DirecTV’s satellite video options. Re/code Congressional hearings generally have little impact on whether merger deals are approved by regulators, in this case the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission. They mostly give both sides a chance to vent about how the other side is wrong in whether a deal should be approved or denied.

Hachette Adds Heft to Combat Amazon (NYT)
Hachette Book Group is bulking up and diversifying, steps that could improve its long-term negotiating position with Amazon, the giant online retailer. The publisher said on Tuesday that it had agreed to acquire the Perseus Books Group, the country’s sixth-largest trade publisher. GalleyCat For the last month, the publisher has been stuck in negotiations with the book retailer. Amazon has stopped stocking popular Hachette titles, delaying shipments for weeks. Hachette author Stephen Colbert has launched an anti-Amazon campaign in response. WSJ Perseus, owned by private-equity firm Perseus LLC, houses about a dozen imprints, including Basic Books, Da Capo Press and PublicAffairs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Bloomberg Businessweek As part of the deal, Hachette will sell Perseus’ client services business to Ingram Content Group, according to a statement from the companies. Hachette Book Group, owner of Little Brown & Co., is part of Paris-based Hachette Livre SA, the world’s third largest trade and educational publisher.

Journalists Worldwide Protest Egypt’s Al Jazeera Verdict (TVNewser)
Journalists around the world are standing in solidarity with three Al Jazeera journalists who were sentenced Tuesday to seven to 10 years in prison. The Obama administration has released a statement that reads in part, “The United States strongly condemns the verdicts rendered against three Al Jazeera journalists and 15 other defendants [Monday] in Egypt. The prosecution of journalists for reporting information that does not coincide with the government of Egypt’s narrative flouts the most basic standards of media freedom and represents a blow to democratic progress in Egypt.” THR Egypt’s military regime convicted Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, all journalists with Al Jazeera’s English-language service, of spreading false news, conspiring with the banned Muslim Brotherhood and endangering national security. In protest, BBC staff gathered outside the broadcaster’s headquarters in London on Tuesday and stood in a silent vigil, wearing black tape across their mouths. Simultaneously, the staff at Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Qatar gathered together in silent protest, holding up signs reading “journalism is not a crime” and #FreeAJStaff — the Twitter handle being used to protest the convictions. HuffPost / AP Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Tuesday rejected calls from the United States and other Western governments that he pardon or commute the sentences.

Cameron Apologizes for Hiring Coulson (WSJ)
Critics of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron seized on the guilty verdict handed up Tuesday on his former communications chief to raise fresh questions about his judgment, posing what could be a new political headache ahead of elections next year. A jury found Andy Coulson, who served as Cameron’s top media aide, guilty of conspiring to illegally intercept voicemail messages during his time at the News of The World. THR Cameron on Tuesday issued what he called a “full and frank apology” to the country for having employed Coulson. Cameron in a statement to the media said he was taking “full responsibility” for Coulson’s appointment, emphasizing that assurances he received when he brought him on staff have now proven to be false. The Guardian Rupert Murdoch has been officially informed by Scotland Yard that detectives want to interview him as a suspect as part of their inquiry into allegations of crime at his British newspapers. It is understood that detectives first contacted Murdoch last year to arrange to question him but agreed to a request from his lawyers to wait until the phone-hacking trial was finished. PRNewser Ahead of next year’s election, the Cameron’s opponents are already using his decision to hire Coulson in the first place as a sign of his poor leadership, so he decided to tell everyone how very, very sorry he is.

NBC Books $2.52 Billion in Upfront Commitments, 12 Percent Gain (THR)
NBC has largely sold out its upfront inventory for the 2014-15 television season, securing $2.52 billion in commitments, the network said Tuesday. That’s up 12 percent compared to last year’s $2.25 billion. Variety The company notched about $6 billion in commitments for its entire media portfolio, a person familiar with the network said, encompassing broadcast, digital and cable. CBS and ABC have both largely completed their upfront sales process, with media-buying executives estimating both networks lost volume for 2014. Deadline Hollywood The NBC broadcast network won the recently wrapped TV season in the demo for the first time in a decade with a 13 percent ratings spike — the biggest year-to-year gain for any Big 4 network in nine years. Even without its 18 nights of Sochi Olympics coverage, NBC boasted the season’s biggest demo audience, topping Super Bowl-boosted Fox.

Time Inc. Feels Blow After Source Files for Chapter 11 (New York Post)
One of the country’s largest magazine wholesalers officially went bust on Monday — one month after losing its largest customer. The parent of Source Interlink Distribution, which trucked magazines from warehouses to retailers for Time Inc. and others, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection after losing money for years. FishbowlNY With Source being shuttered, a magazine shortage could be on its way. Source’s reach was far and wide. It distributed about 30 percent of the nation’s magazines to more than 32,500 stores. Without Source, Time Inc. said it expected to see operating cash flows drop by $12 million.

Politico’s Dylan Byers Signs Off From Life in D.C. (FishbowlDC)
Tuesday was Dylan Byers’ last day as a Politico employee based in Washington before moving westward to the city of bright lights. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Byers’ colleague Hadas Gold will take the reins on the blog until he touches down on the West Coast Monday.

Women 18-24 Drive World Cup Facebook Conversation on Monday (LostRemote)
The World Cup has already broken Facebook engagement records just one week into the games. Facebook is invested heavily in this year’s tournament, and its data team is closely monitoring the results. For the first time since the World Cup started, though, women 18-24 were the top demographic talking about Monday’s Group A matches, which included Brazil vs. Cameroon and Mexico vs. Croatia. AllFacebook According to the Facebook Data Science Team, the simultaneous matches led to more than 41 million interactions (posts, comments and likes) on the social network, from some 18 million users.

Financial Times Names Media Reporter (FishbowlNY)
The Financial Times has hired Shannon Bond as its U.S. media and marketing correspondent. Bond has been with the FT since 2008. She most recently served as a general assignment reporter covering the consumer goods industry. Bond will remain in the FT’s New York bureau and report to Matthew Garrahan, the paper’s global media editor.

Yahoo! Hires Daily News Digital Editor to Build Breaking News Desk (Capital New York)
Yahoo! has been poaching talent from legacy media outlets for much of the past year, and in its latest landgrab, the massive online portal turned content producer took a dip into New York’s tabloid pool. Daily News digital editorial director Lauren Johnston has been hired as a managing editor to build out a breaking news desk for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Internet company, which is in the midst of a newsroom expansion that marks Yahoo!’s latest attempt, over the past five years or so, to become a significant journalistic player.

Joan Lunden Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis on GMA (TVNewser)
Former Good Morning America co-host Joan Lunden revealed she has breast cancer Tuesday morning. Lunden says her cancer was caught early, but is the aggressive kind. She’s already started chemotherapy. Her support system extends to social media; there’s a hashtag #TeamJoan.

Gawker Suspends Staffer for ‘Inadvertent Duplication’ (FishbowlNY)
Gawker has suspended staff writer Jay Hathaway after he posted a story that featured “several similar phrasings, one outright identical phrase, and a close structural similarity” to a Miami New Times article.

FAA Clarifies That Amazon Drones Are Illegal (Mashable)
Amazon drones aren’t taking off anytime soon — at least not until the Federal Aviation Administration says otherwise. In a document inviting public comment on drone policy, the FAA clarified that delivering packages using a drone isn’t legal. The agency didn’t mention Amazon in the document specifically. But the FAA seemed to suggest that Amazon — like every other business — falls under its regulations which, they say, already prohibit the commercial use of drones. Ars Technica The agency has promised that it would revisit the commercial application of small drones later this year, with potential new rules in place perhaps by the end of 2015. But for now, the agency is taking a hard line against the commercial use of drones, and it’s unclear whether that policy would change.

Time Inc. to Start 120 Sports, A Digital Network, With Pro Leagues (NYT)
120 Sports is a sports network catering to the shortened attention spans of the mobile and social media generation: 240 clips, each two minutes long, across eight hours of daily programming. The network is a partnership backed by Time Inc., the publisher of Sports Illustrated, along with numerous professional sports leagues and companies — but not, notably, the National Football League.

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