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Posts Tagged ‘Discovery Communications’

Morning Media Newsfeed: Shareholders OK DirecTV Sale | FAA Allows Drones for Film

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DirecTV Shareholders Approve $48.5 Billion Sale to AT&T (THR)
At a special meeting in New York on Thursday, DirecTV shareholders gave the company the go-ahead to sell its satellite business to AT&T in a deal valued at $48.5 billion. Reuters The deal, currently under review by U.S. and international regulators, was approved by 99 percent of votes cast, the company said in a statement. The votes cast represent 77 percent of shares outstanding. Bloomberg DirecTV CEO Mike White reiterated Thursday that he expects to reach a deal by the end of the year with the NFL over rights to air the Sunday Ticket package — an important milestone as the AT&T transaction is contingent on that contract being extended. WSJ The deal comes as the communications landscape transforms with people relying more on Internet-connected devices for entertainment and media consumption. Earlier this year, Comcast Corp. agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion. The companies agreed to the merger after considering a deal for a few years. It is AT&T’s biggest acquisition since its $85 billion deal to buy BellSouth in 2006. The Hill Along with Comcast’s planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable, the AT&T-DirecTV merger is the second major media deal before federal regulators this year. AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV has raised less opposition than the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal, though some critics on the left have raised concerns that it represents a growing consolidation of major media companies. The two media companies have said that their merger is a matter of marketplace necessity.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Baquet Changes NYT Masthead | Comcast Responds to Merger Critics

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Big Changes to NYT Masthead (FishbowlNY)
Dean Baquet, the New York Times’ executive editor, has officially revamped the paper’s masthead. Gone is the “managing editor” title; it’s being replaced by four “deputy executive editors,” who “have already proven they can run stories that take on big institutions, who have covered a world of war and proven they can lead with humanity.” NYT They are Susan Chira, Janet Elder, Matthew Purdy and Ian Fisher. A fifth editor, Tom Bodkin, will be given the title of creative director, a position equal to the four deputy executive editors. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Through these changes Baquet hopes to make the relationship between the Times’ digital and print sides more fluid. “I anticipate people moving on and off the masthead as our needs evolve,” he wrote in a memo to staff Wednesday, “and it is important that these moves not be seen as measures of who is up and who is down, but rather as appointments aimed at keeping our journalism and our entire operation as vibrant as possible.” Capital New York The appointments reflect a push for better coordination and cooperation between departments as the Times works on pushing out its journalism to digital readers more effectively. Other recent appointments along these lines include Arthur Gregg Sulzberger as senior editor for strategy, Alex MacCallum as assistant managing editor for audience development and Sam Dolnick as senior editor for mobile. HuffPost Wednesday’s masthead changes are the biggest since Baquet took the reins, but there have been several other moves internally in recent months. Baquet announced the addition of several deputy-level editors in the newsroom in July.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Freedom Shutters LA Register | ISIS Releases Journalist Video

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Layoffs Hit Freedom Communications as It Ceases Publication of LA Register (LA Times)
Layoffs hit the Orange County Register on Tuesday after owner Freedom Communications ceased publication of its Los Angeles daily five months after it debuted. TheWrap A spokesperson for the LA Register said that 29 newsroom positions have been eliminated as a result of the paper’s shutdown. An unspecified number of employees will be transferred to the Orange County Register. WSJ / CMO Today The owner of Freedom Communications Inc., Aaron Kushner, who turned heads last year when he announced he was launching the daily newspaper, admitted Tuesday that the move was a failure. “As strong a newspaper as our team produced, our business model is a virtuous circle,” Kushner said in a statement. “If the support is not at a level that matches our investment, we have to adapt and make adjustments as we’ve done today.” HuffPost / AP Freedom said it will focus on markets in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. It owns the Riverside Press-Enterprise, which it bought in November for more than $27 million. NYT The LA Register ceased publication with its Monday issue. Monday evening, Kushner sent a memo to his employees announcing the news. An article about the shutdown ran on the newspaper’s front page.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: NewsHour Names Just EP | Discovery, Sony Make Gains

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PBS NewsHour Names ABC’s Sara Just Executive Producer (FishbowlDC)
PBS NewsHour announced Thursday that 25-plus year ABC News-er Sara Just has been tapped to serve as the program’s executive producer and SVP of NewsHour Productions LLC. Variety Just will oversee the daily operations of the nightly news program, co-anchored by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff. Deadline Hollywood Just, who has been ABC News’ deputy Washington Bureau chief since April, will join NewsHour on Sept. 2, succeeding Linda Winslow, who is retiring. Just’s hire comes on the heels of WETA taking over NewsHour from MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, the company named after former anchors Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, on July 1. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Before becoming deputy Washington bureau chief at ABC, Just was senior Washington producer for Good Morning America and had spent 17 years at Ted Koppel’s Nightline. ABC News president James Goldston said in a memo to staff Just was integral to the innovation of their digital political coverage. NYT NewsHour has struggled in recent years to raise enough funds to meet its annual budget of $25 million to $30 million, although WETA officials said at the time of the ownership transfer they were confident they could find the money. With money tight, the program has not been able to do as much field reporting as some critics would like. Just said that she would better understand the program’s budget challenges once she started, but added “I think reporting from the field is essential,” when paired with insightful analysis.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: WH Probes CIA Press Leak | Katz, Lenfest Win Inquirer Bidding | New Abramson/NYT Details

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White House Launches Probe Into CIA Station Chief Disclosure (Politico)
The White House has launched an investigation into how the name of the CIA’s station chief in Afghanistan was released to the press Sunday during President Barack Obama’s surprise visit to U.S. troops there, officials said. TVNewser White House counsel Neil Eggleston will oversee the investigation. FishbowlDC On Sunday as President Obama spoke at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, a pool report sent to upwards of 6,000 journalists included the name of a CIA station chief in the country, as one of many briefing the President during his visit. HuffPost The Washington Post’s Scott Wilson, who wrote the pool report, had received the list from White House officials. Wilson included the list as part of a pool report from Obama’s visit to Afghanistan that was distributed Saturday by the White House press office, which later sent out a revised version not including the station chief’s name. Despite the pool report appearing in thousands of inboxes, all major news outlets have continued to withhold the covert agent’s name at the government’s request. Time The CIA official operates under a cover, though their identity is known to the Afghan government. The release of the name is not only a faux pas in intelligence circles, but could jeopardize the CIA officer’s career and safety.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Netflix to Up Prices | NBC Evaluates Gregory | Slate Plus Launches

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Netflix Plans Price Raise as Streaming Subscribers Grow (Reuters)
Video streaming service Netflix Inc. said it intends to raise its subscription price for new customers by $1 or $2 a month to help the company buy more movies and TV shows and improve service for its 48 million global subscribers. WSJ Netflix said the price increase for the $7.99 a month service, the first since 2011, would help pay for its continued investment in original programs, including series such as House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black. Netflix has committed to spend billions of dollars in programming in the past few years as it has grown to become the biggest stand-alone subscription programming service in the U.S., passing some long-standing traditional TV outlets like HBO in terms of subscribers. Mashable Current subscribers would stay at the $7.99 price for a “generous time period,” the company wrote in a statement to investors. “Our current view is to do a one or two dollar increase, depending on the country, later this quarter for new members only,” the company wrote. The news came as Netflix announced that it added 4 million new members in the first quarter of 2014, as the company beat revenue and profit expectations. Variety In after-hours trading Monday, Netflix’s stock climbed as much as 7 percent to $372.05 per share, after closing up 0.8 percent for the day at $348.49. Netflix also said that in the second quarter of 2014, it will launch the first pay-TV integration of its service in the U.S. That’s after lining up deals with European providers including the U.K.’s Virgin Media to provide access to the unlimited streaming-video service through operator-supplied boxes. Deadline New York The company generated $53.1 million in net income in the first quarter of 2014, up from $2.7 million in the same period in 2013, on revenues of $1.27 billion, up 24 percent.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: ABC News, CPI Spar | FNC to Debut Daytime Ensemble | Discovery Drops U.K. Bid

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ABC News Asking Center for Public Integrity to Share Pulitzer Prize (TVNewser)
ABC News is calling on the Center for Public Integrity to share its Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism, awarded to CPI’s Chris Hamby, taking issue with CPI’s Pulitzer submission that depicts ABC News as a minor partner in a year-long coal-mining industry investigation instead of equal partners. HuffPost Network president Ben Sherwood sent a four-page letter to CPI’s executive director Bill Buzenberg affirming that ABC News was CPI’s partner in the investigation. He argued that reporters Brian Ross and Matthew Mosk made “significant contributions” without which CPI would not have won the Pulitzer. He added that while the prizes are only awarded to print organizations, he hoped the Pulitzer committee would recognize Ross and Mosk. Mediaite In the letter, Sherwood said Buzenberg “omitted the names of ABC News reporters and sought to parse and diminish their contributions, even though their bylines appropriately appear on four of the eight articles submitted by the Center to the committee.” Poynter In response, Buzenberg provided a point-by-point rebuttal saying CPI reporter Chris Hamby was the engine behind the story for months before ABC entered the investigation and in long stretches when ABC was working on other things. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media CPI and ABC News have shared recognition for the black lung benefits story in the past. In March, the Harvard Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting was awarded to Chris Hamby, Ronnie Greene, Jim Morris and Chris Zubak-Skees of CPI and Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz of ABC News. Next month, the White House Correspondents’ Association will honor “The Center for Public Integrity, in partnership with ABC News.” On Wednesday, they received an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Television news organizations are excluded from the Pulitzer Prizes, which honor newspaper and digital reporting.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Amazon Unveils Fire TV | Strahan to Join GMA | Peabody Award Winners

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Amazon Announces Set-Top Box ‘Fire TV’ (LostRemote)
Amazon continues its quest to become more than an e-commerce powerhouse, announcing Wednesday a set-top box that allows HDTV viewers to connect to Amazon’s video offerings. Mashable The set-top device, called Amazon Fire TV, will be sold for $99. It is a small flat box with a remote control. The hardware aims to take on the Apple TV, Roku and even the Xbox One. The Internet-connected set-top box, which uses voice search when you speak into the remote and also serves as a gaming console, was announced during a launch event in New York City on Wednesday with Amazon VP Peter Larsen playing master of ceremonies, not CEO and founder Jeff Bezos. WSJ The new Fire TV is an ambitious move by Amazon to break into the living room. Amazon offers a streaming-video service to its Prime subscribers, but until now has been largely dependent on other hardware manufacturers to deliver that content to televisions. Sales of streaming media devices such as Roku are expected to grow 24 percent this year, according to market researcher Strategy Analytics. Apple currently leads the market, followed by Roku and Google, the firm said. NYT Fire TV will show a range of content from other providers, including Hulu, Netflix and ESPN. With a separate $40 controller, it can be used to play games, including a version of the extremely popular Minecraft. Among the improvements and enhancements promoted for Fire TV: a voice search function that allows users to utter a name like “George Clooney” or a genre like “horror” and see results instantly pop up, and a prediction feature that knows what you want and queues it up. THR The small black box began shipping Wednesday, Larsen told a crowd of reporters. It has a premium price point in line with Apple TV. Roku, meanwhile, costs as low as $50 and Chromecast retails for $35.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Oscar Selfie Sets Record | Charter Eyes TWC Subs | FCC Dumps Media Study

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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.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: #FreeAJStaff | AMC’s Earnings Surge | MSNBC Taps Ex-MT Gov.

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Al Jazeera Calls for Global Support of Detained Staff (Al Jazeera America)
Al Jazeera called for a Global Day of Action Thursday to demand the immediate release of four of its journalists who have been locked up in Egypt’s prisons for months. People in more than 30 cities expressed their solidarity and support, with public events taking place in Sydney, Manila, Islamabad, Doha, Amman, Nairobi, Ankara, Berlin, London, Rio, Montreal, Washington and San Francisco. NBC News Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, all journalists from the Qatar-based network, were detained on Dec. 29, 2013, and accused of spreading false news and belonging to a terrorist group. They were scheduled to stand trial on Feb. 21, but the trial was adjourned until March 5. Abdullah Al Shamy was also detained more than six months ago without charge and has been on a hunger strike since Jan. 23. The group had been reporting on the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization that took power in the Egypt elections following protests in 2011 but was banned after a violent crackdown. Mashable Al Jazeera staff in newsrooms across the world sent support for the journalists Thursday. The organization encouraged people to include the hashtag #FreeAJStaff in tweets. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media A vigil for the imprisoned journalists was held Thursday afternoon at the Newseum in Washington. Other demonstrations included a plane with a sign flying over Rio de Janeiro with the hashtag. TVNewser Al Jazeera America collected images from demonstrations around the world and posted them to a live blog. Many media outlets around the world have also joined the cause, which has increasingly gained momentum: Last week, an international group of television executives called for the journalists’ release. The protests also gained coverage on other networks: On CBS This Morning Thursday, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reported from London, where protestors in Trafalgar Square released black balloons into the sky as part of the demonstration.

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