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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: ISIS Holds Another Journalist | Glasser Named Politico Editor

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ISIS Reportedly Holding Another Journalist Captive (TVNewser)
ISIS released a new video Thursday showing a British journalist as its prisoner. The video, since deleted by YouTube, shows British journalist John Cantlie. HuffPost Cantlie, a former reporter for the Sunday Times, the Sun and the Sunday Telegraph, went missing in Syria in 2012, but was later freed by the Free Syrian Army. Cantlie reportedly then returned to Syria in 2012, along with U.S. journalist James Foley. Foley was beheaded by ISIS in August, a horrific killing that was also recorded and released on video. Reuters In the new roughly three-minute video posted on social media sites, the man identified as Cantlie appears in good health and promises to “convey some facts” in a series of “programs,” suggesting there would be further installments. “Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ‘He’s only doing this because he’s a prisoner. He’s got a gun at his head and he’s being forced to do this.’ Right?” the man in the video, wearing an orange shirt and closely-cropped hair, says. “Well, it’s true. I am a prisoner. That I cannot deny. But seeing as I’ve been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of the Islamic State, I have nothing to lose.” Mashable He delivers a propaganda message to the West, promising to show “the truth” about the jihadists and stop what he calls the “seemingly inevitable sequence of events” that’s taking Western countries to another war in the Middle East. He promises that he will appear in more videos to come. NYT Analysts said that the shift in tone from the previous videos sought to gain maximum exposure and showed how attuned the group is to Western sensibilities in crafting its message. The video, like those before it, seems designed to forestall international military action against the Islamic State. But while the previous videos threatened revenge for attacks, Cantlie’s message seemed crafted to capitalize on reluctance in the West to get involved in a new war. “After two disastrous and hugely unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, why is it that our governments appear so keen to get involved in yet another unwinnable conflict?” he says.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Journalist Freed in Syria | WaPo Editorials Stop Using ‘Redskins’

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Kidnapped U.S. Journalist Freed in Syria (Al Jazeera)
An American journalist kidnapped nearly two years ago has been freed in Syria following Qatari mediation and handed over to UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights. TVNewser Peter Theo Curtis, an author and freelance journalist from Massachusetts, had been held by Jabhat Al-Nusrah, an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. He was captured shortly after crossing into Syria in October 2012. Mashable Curtis writes under the name Theo Padnos, and had published two books, including Undercover Muslim: A Journey Into Yemen. Curtis was originally based in Boston and Vermont, and later worked as a journalist in Yemen, where he became interested in the stories of young Muslim men moving to the U.S. to study Islam. WSJ His family said while it didn’t know the exact terms of their son’s release, they were assured by Qatari officials “that they were mediating for Theo’s release on a humanitarian basis,” without paying ransom. Mediaite Video of Curtis was disseminated in late June, showing the journalist disheveled but otherwise in good health. Curtis’ release comes just days after ISIS posted video showing the execution of captured American journalist James Foley.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Bloomberg Cancels Hunt | CNN Politics Makes Cuts

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Bloomberg Media Makes Cuts in Three Cities, Cancels Political Capital (TVNewser)
Bloomberg Media made cuts in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and New York City Thursday. FishbowlDC Bloomberg announced several layoffs in its D.C. bureau, relocating a few TV production positions to New York, where its daily politics show with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann — slated to launch in October — will be produced. Amid news of the layoffs, Bloomberg spokeswoman Amanda Cowie shared the following statement: ”Our TV operation — in the U.S. and around the world — is growing in size. We are changing how, and where, the TV operation is run.” NYT Some political and finance reporters were dismissed and the company will move some European television production jobs to London. It will also close its small television bureau in Los Angeles and focus its resources on San Francisco. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Bloomberg Media has decided to cancel its weekly political talk show, Political Capital With Al Hunt. Hunt will continue to write his weekly column for Bloomberg View, the site’s opinion vertical. Several print staff will also be laid off. Staffers will have the option to apply for other jobs at the company. TheWrap “We will continue to expand our Washington coverage. We’re launching a new politics platform — including for the first time a daily political show — expanding initiatives like First Word DC, investing in financial crimes reporting and the changes are a part of the overall new structure being put into place,” Cowie said.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Fox, Time Warner Issue Earnings | Coulson Charged With Perjury

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Fox, Time Warner Deliver Dueling Earnings Reports, Both Positive (NYT)
How dead is the Fox-Time Warner deal? So dead that Rupert Murdoch hopped on his company’s quarterly earnings call on Wednesday to drive home the point that his giant media company, 21st Century Fox, really is walking away. The collapse of the deal, which would have been the biggest media merger in a decade, set the stage for a day of dueling earnings reports and analyst conference calls on Wednesday, as both Fox and Time Warner sought to reassure investors that they were going to be just fine without each other. Capital New York “This is our resolute decision, which is why we formally withdrew our acquisition offer,” Murdoch said, citing Time Warner’s decision not to negotiate, the response from Fox’s board of directors, along with Fox’s stock price, which Murdoch said is “severely undervalued.” Variety Film and cable programming gains powered 21st Century Fox to strong earnings and revenue gains in the fiscal fourth quarter, despite a big decline at the Fox network from the collapse of American Idol. Fox reported revenue of $8.42 billion, a 17 percent gain over the year-ago quarter powered by stronger contributions from the film division. Operating income climbed 17 percent to $1.77 billion. THR During the regular session Wednesday, shares of 21st Century Fox rose 3 percent and another 4 percent after the closing bell. Shares of Time Warner, meantime, were crushed because of the failed merger attempt, falling 13 percent in regular trading Wednesday. HuffPost / AP Time Warner Inc. said Wednesday that its second-quarter net income rose 10 percent on strong results from its HBO and Turner properties. New York-based Time Warner, which owns TV channels like HBO and TBS as well as Warner Bros. studios, said profit increased to $850 million, or 95 cents per share, from $771 million, or 81 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: WaPo Reporter Detained in Iran | Bloomberg Hires Topolsky

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WaPo Reporter, Other Journalists Appear to Have Been Detained in Iran (The Washington Post)
Three American citizens, including the Washington Post’s correspondent in Iran, appear to have been detained this week in Tehran, U.S. officials and the newspaper said Thursday. FishbowlDC Jason Rezaian and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, are among four individuals — including two unnamed American freelance photojournalists — detained without explanation. Mediaite Salehi, an Iranian citizen, works for a paper out of the United Arab Emirates. The Post does not know why they were detained or by whom; Rezaian’s family has not issued a comment. The State Department said it was aware of the incident but revealed no further information. HuffPost Rezaian has been based in Iran since 2008 and with the Post since 2012. He most recently reported Friday from Vienna on talks over Iran’s nuclear program. Laura Rozen, a reporter with Al Monitor, tweeted that she saw Rezaian on Saturday and that he was planning to fly back that night to Tehran. NYT Hamid Babaei, a spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations, said it, too, was “following up on the case” and would notify reporters when it had any news. The Committee to Protect Journalists, a press freedom advocacy group, called on the Iranian authorities to explain their actions, and to release those it was holding. The U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Iran. The Swiss government, which has an embassy in Tehran, acts on behalf of American citizens in the country.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Major Changes Hit Condé Nast | MTP May Oust Gregory

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Major Executive Changes at Condé Nast (FishbowlNY)
Big changes have just hit Condé Nast. Editorial director Tom Wallace and COO and CFO John Bellando are both leaving the company, while David Geithner — a former veteran of Time Inc. — is joining as CFO. Capital New York Wallace, who had previously served as editor-in-chief of Condé Nast Traveler, had been editorial director since 2005, helping to craft a consistent brand across the company’s many glossies and its many special editions. WWD / Memo Pad Several other major management changes were revealed, including the expansion of responsibilities of Robert A. Sauerberg Jr., president of Condé Nast. According to a memo, Sauerberg “will assume a leading role in all revenue generation activities, including taking direct responsibility for the Condé Nast Media Group, as well as brand revenue growth.” This will expand his areas of responsibility beyond the management of digital, technology, consumer marketing, business development, corporate administration and Condé Nast Entertainment. THR Bellando joined the company’s executive ranks in 1999. Geithner had spent more than two decades at Time Inc. prior to the appointment at Condé Nast. Most recently, Geithner served as the EVP and president of Time Inc.’s Entertainment Group, and exited the company earlier this year as part of the reorganization prior to the spinoff of the publisher from Time Warner. Time Inc. chairman and CEO Joe Ripp announced Geithner’s departure in a memo on Feb. 4, singling out his contributions to People, Entertainment Weekly and InStyle. WSJ The changes come as Condé Nast, a unit of Advance Publications Inc., is pushing to capture more digital related advertising dollars. Earlier this month, Condé Nast launched a new online video hub called The Scene, intended to serve as a home for all its video channels, including original programming such as The Single Life and Strictly Ballet.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: SI Scores LeBron James Scoop | The View Considers Cupp

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LeBron James Announces Cleveland Return Via Sports Illustrated (FishbowlNY)
Everyone in the sporting world — and many others outside of it — were awaiting word on where LeBron James would play next season, and Sports Illustrated got the scoop Friday. In an article by James (as told to SI’s Lee Jenkins), James explained his reasons for returning to Cleveland to play for the Cavs. LostRemote After the story went up, James posted on Instagram a photo of himself with the caption “I’m Coming Home.” #GoodforLebron and #Cleveland also started trending on Twitter quickly. TVSpy Cleveland CBS affiliate WOIO reported the news at 12:25 p.m. Friday, just after James’ announcement was posted to SI.com. “The newsroom is abuzz right now,” Paul Orlousky said. The station remained in coverage through the 1 p.m. hour. PRNewser Jenkins reportedly helped James write the essay Thursday night, and the mag didn’t let any of its advertisers know about what will almost surely be the biggest traffic driver in recent history. HuffPost “My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball,” James told Jenkins. “I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.” James, an Akron, Ohio native, was selected by the Cavs with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. After reaching the NBA Finals just once in those seven seasons, James infamously announced that he would be joining the Miami Heat in July 2010 during a televised interview dubbed “The Decision.” Both James’ choice of team and his choice of venue for the announcement led to a virulent backlash in Ohio that included fans burning his jersey and a public repudiation from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Coulson Gets 18 Months | SiriusXM Fires Opie & Anthony‘s Cumia

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Andy Coulson Gets 18 Months in Tabloid Phone Hacking (NYT)
Andy Coulson, a former senior editor in Rupert Murdoch’s news empire and a onetime adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, was sentenced on Friday to 18 months in prison for his part in the phone hacking scandal that convulsed Britain’s press, police and political elite and inspired calls for tighter regulation of journalists. HuffPost / AP Coulson was convicted June 24 after an eight-month trial triggered by a tabloid-wrongdoing scandal that led Murdoch to shut down the News of The World in 2011. Another former editor, Rebekah Brooks, and four others were acquitted. The Guardian The offense carries a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment, but Coulson received a discount of several months for his previous good character. He could be out in less than nine months because, as a non-violent offender, he is required to serve just half his sentence. THR Three other former News of the World staffers and one private investigator who hacked phones for the paper also pleaded guilty to hacking and also received their sentences Friday. They are former news desk editors Greg Miskiw, James Weatherup and Neville Thurlbeck, as well as Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who was used for hacking. Miskiw and Thurlbeck were sentenced to six months each, Weatherup got a suspended sentence of four months, and Mulcaire was given a suspended sentence of six months. Variety Coulson faces a retrial along with former royals editor Clive Goodman on separate charges that they made illegal payments to police officers to obtain royal phone directories. Over a period of more than a decade, journalists at the now-shuttered Sunday paper listened in on thousands of voicemails belonging to celebrities, politicians and crime victims.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: USA Loss Draws 22 Million | WSJ Cuts Newsroom Staff

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21.6 Million Watch USA-Belgium Match on ESPN, Univision (TVNewser)
Between ESPN and Univision, 21.6 million viewers watched Tuesday’s USA-Belgium World Cup match — 16.5 million on ESPN and another 5.1 million on Univision. New York Post The broadcast’s workday time slot meant ESPN’s coverage of USA-Belgium was only the second most watched World Cup game so far. ESPN said the viewership of Tuesday’s nailbiter failed to top the USA-Portugal game, which drew 18.22 million viewers. That game aired on a Sunday evening. Deadline Hollywood While not the record-breaking 10.4 million who tuned in for Mexico’s loss on June 29 to the Netherlands nor the 6.5 million who saw Portugal tie Team USA, Tuesday’s Univision viewership was better than the 3.4 million who watched America’s 1-0 loss to Germany on June 26. Online, Univision Digital saw a record-breaking 1.8 million unique viewers watch Tuesday’s game. AllFacebook The Facebook Data Science Team reported that the match yielded 21 million interactions (posts, comments and likes) from 13 million users globally, including more than 6.5 million interactions from some 4.1 million U.S. users. Variety For the World Cup through the Round of 16, ESPN and ABC averaged 4.08 million viewers — a record audience for the tournament, up 44 percent from 2010 (2.84 million) and 122 percent from 2006 (1.84 million).

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