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Posts Tagged ‘Wonkblog’

Morning Media Newsfeed: Comcast Pleads Case | DirecTV Restores TWC | Breitbart Loses Whip

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As Comcast Takes Next Step in TWC Merger, Opposition Groups Band Together (TVNewser)
Comcast took the next step in its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Tuesday morning by filing a joint Applications and Public Interest Statement with the FCC. In a blog post about the filing, Comcast EVP David Cohen argued that the deal is good for consumers, especially current TWC customers. Those opposed to the deal, understandably, don’t think so. Fifty groups sent a letter to the attorney general and FCC chairman Tuesday asking that the deal be blocked. Capital New York The 650-page document filed with the FCC outlines the reasons Comcast believes the proposed merger with TWC would be in the public interest. Much of the document spelled out in granular detail arguments made by Comcast in its original announcement of the proposed deal, but there are some notable new takes. Comcast now sees itself as a tech company, in competition with Google, Facebook and Netflix just as much as traditional competitors like DirecTV and Verizon. Comcast argues that it doesn’t compete with TWC, as they do not operate in the same areas. Variety Critics have claimed the Comcast-TWC merger, which would create an entity that controls 30 percent of the country’s pay-TV market, is decidedly not in the public interest because it would result in fewer choices and higher prices for consumers. Moreover, the combination “could compromise the open nature of the Internet,” Sen. Al Franken told Justice Department officials last month. CNET Last week, Comcast filed a Hart-Scott-Rodino notification with the U.S. Department of Justice, which will begin the antitrust review of the merger. And on Wednesday, Cohen will testify about the merger before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Now that the official filing has been made in the merger, which was announced in February, the FCC will have a self-imposed deadline of 180 days to review and make its decision. USA Today Facing a growing number of customers flocking to streaming video and content providers demanding more payment for programs, TWC agreed in February to be bought by Comcast for $45 billion. The acquisition would give Comcast access to key media markets that it has coveted, including New York and Los Angeles, and occupy about 40 percent of the Internet service market, or about 32 million customers.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Turkey Blocks YouTube | NBC Ends Two Sites | Twitter on The Charts

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Turkish Telecoms Authority Moves Against YouTube After Twitter Ban (Reuters)
The Turkish telecoms authority TIB said on Thursday it had taken an “administrative measure” against YouTube, a week after it blocked access to microblogging site Twitter. NYT / The Lede The Turkish government blocked access to YouTube after an audio recording was uploaded to the platform in which the foreign minister and senior military and intelligence officials could be heard discussing the security situation in Syria. WSJ The leaked recording published anonymously purported to show a conversation in which Turkey’s foreign minister, spy chief and a top general appear to discuss scenarios that could lead to a Turkish attack against Jihadist militants in Syria. After the two-part voice file was published, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the TIB requesting that it shutter YouTube. The content represents a “first degree threat to national security,” the ministry said, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency. CNN Turkey’s top media regulating agency announced a similar ban on the broadcast of the conversation to television and radio channels. Turkey’s political elite has been battered by a campaign of wiretap leaks recorded by unknown operatives and distributed daily for more than a month on the Internet. Until Wednesday, all of the wiretaps seemed to be recordings of phone conversations between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his inner circle, government officials and some top corporate executives. Politico The move comes just days before significant local elections. Turkish residents decried the Twitter blockage, which prevented them from using the site in any way. A Turkish court overturned the ban on Wednesday, although it could stay in place until after Sunday’s elections. The Twitter crackdown came after similar information appeared on the site questioning the government’s credibility.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Amazon Prime Price Hike | McCarthy to Wonkblog | Drone Covers Harlem

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Amazon Prime Gets Price Bump to $99 A Year (VentureBeat)
Nine years after it launched, Amazon Prime is getting an inevitable price increase. Amazon announced Thursday that Prime will now cost $99 per year in the U.S., a slight bump from the previous $79 a year price. WSJ The Seattle retailer said the 25 percent increase was needed to offset rising delivery and content-acquisition costs. The $99 price takes effect for new members on March 20. Existing Prime members will pay the higher rate when they renew. CNNMoney In February, Amazon said it was considering raising the price to $119 a year. Prime members get two-day shipping on a large number of Amazon items at no extra cost, plus the ability to borrow Kindle books and stream movies and television shows. The company also said that it has increased the benefits of the program, now offering free shipping on 19 million items, up from only 1 million nine years ago. It also introduced its video streaming service in 2011 and recently launched Amazon-produced shows. THR The $99 price point may open the door for a tiered pricing system that would allow people to subscribe to Amazon Instant Video or Kindle’s lending library separately. Amazon does not disclose the number of Prime members, but research from Cowen and Co. estimates that there are about 23 million members in the United States, representing a 37 percent increase year-over-year in January. The research also indicates that 95 percent of Prime members visit Amazon monthly and 85 percent make a purchase.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: NYT Unveils Redesign | MSNBC to Rotate Noon Cast | Thompson In, Klein Out?

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New York Times Redesign Points to Future of Online Publishing (CNNMoney)
The last time The New York Times embarked on a wholesale redesign of its website, in 2006, the iPhone wasn’t on the market. Tablets like the iPad were still years away. So the new design that the Times unveiled Wednesday is generating much interest within the journalism industry, both for what it says about the Times and about the future of online publishing. Mashable There are no drastic changes. Gone are the blue headlines and the lengthy sidebar in favor of a grayer digital lady with more white space. But the site feels more like The New York Times than NYTimes.com. “We’re leaning more heavily on the site to maintain our identity,” says Ian Adelman, the director of digital design for the Times. Capital New York It will take a while for the redesign to settle with critics, but judged by the usual Day One tests, it’s a success: It was delivered on time, and to us seems relatively bug-free. But the process, which took two years and the work of 40 people round the clock (and 80 people all together over the life of the project), wasn’t easy. NYT / Public Editor’s Journal Many readers and outside commentators called the redesign cleaner and easier to navigate. One reader, Larry Hollon, wrote to me, in part: “The new digital format is fantastic. It’s clean, easy to read, lots of white space and it organizes information in a way that is very accessible. Thank the appropriate designers. It’s great.” Still, not everyone was happy. Slate / CultureBox No doubt a large reason for the collective shrug at the Times redesign is the fact that little has changed that affects our strategies of consumption. The Times’ editors still signal what they judge most important through the front page, which remains three columns of text with a big picture. Gone, finally, are the blue-hued headlines, which at this point were so outdated they’d nearly traveled past obsolete to retro-chic, a living monument to the Web of Yore, when primitive browsers would not click anything that wasn’t blue. Now, headlines look as they do in the Times’ print edition.

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WaPo Lede: Well, Here’s a Story We Didn’t Expect to Be Writing Today.

We know how you feel, Mr. Irwin.

Neil Irwin shared the above lede just moments ago at the Washington Post’s WONKBLOG. And that really is as good a place as any to digest this news, because the announcement that Jeff Bezos is personally buying the D.C. paper is just plain wonky.

The Seattle Times, back in the day, sure. The LA Times, maybe. Then again, Bezos’ choice of outlet is likely a reminder of just how savvy a billionaire businessman he is. He may have seen the most potential for a 21st century daily newspaper business inside the Beltway, not beyond it.

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