Click here to receive Mediabistro's Morning Media Newsfeed via email.
CBS Corp. Set Record in Earnings for Quarter (NYT / Media Decoder)
The CBS Corporation set records in the fourth quarter for operating income and adjusted operating income, the company said Thursday, but the results were short of some analysts' expectations and its share price fell in after-hours trading. The adjusted net earnings of $414 million produced earnings of 64 cents a share, also a quarterly record for CBS, though some analysts had forecast income as high as 69 cents. LA Times / Company Town Nonetheless, CBS posted a record fourth quarter. The company's bottom line was boosted by increases in fees paid by cable operators to retransmit CBS' broadcast signal and revenue from its Internet streaming deals. CBS' shows are in demand by such services as Netflix and Amazon.com. Forbes / Great Speculations While higher ad pricing will be a critical factor governing the ad revenue growth, we expect to see additional contribution from political ad spending. This will be reflected not only for CBS Network, but also for local broadcasting stations and CBS radio.
Elon Musk's Data Doesn't Back Up His Claims of New York Times Fakery (The Atlantic Wire)
Elon Musk's long-awaited blog post take-down has arrived with what he claims is the data to prove New York Times reporter John M. Broder committed some sort of journalistic malpractice to run a bad review of the Tesla Model S's range capability. The Times continues to vouch for the accuracy of Broder's report. Musk, however, has followed through on his promise to publish data logs that he claims show that Broder (and not the car) was to blame for it stalling out on a cold day in Connecticut. But Musk is really going beyond that to a much more serious charge: he claims Broder deliberately set out to sabotage the test in a blatant violation of journalistic ethics. NYT / Public Editor's Journal I reject Musk's central contention that Broder's Sunday piece was faked in order to sabotage the Model S or the electric-car industry. NYT / Wheels The test was initially proposed by Tesla to Times editors, and the company arranged the timing, which came during a cold snap on the East Coast. It is fair to say that when I set out I did not fully appreciate how much of an effect the freezing temperatures would have on the travel range of the car. LinkedIn / Dan Frommer I won't pretend to know who's actually right or wrong here -- Tesla certainly only has an interest in telling its side of the story -- but the fact that a company has the tools and distribution to quickly publish something like this today is pretty amazing.
DOJ Closes Investigation into Penguin and Random House Merger (GalleyCat)
The Department of Justice has closed its investigation into the merger of Penguin and Random House, removing a major roadblock in the merger process. The publishers hope to close the deal by the second half of the year. WSJ / AP The merger is widely seen as an effort to counteract the power of Amazon.com, which has worried publishers by aggressively cutting prices on eBooks. Deals struck with Apple in 2010 that gave publishers more control over eBook costs led to a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit in the spring of 2012.
CNN's Incredibly Extensive Cruise Ship Coverage Draws Scrutiny About Network's New Direction (HuffPost)
Media watchers took notice on Thursday when CNN sent out a press release detailing its incredibly extensive coverage plans for the final leg of the journey of the Carnival Triumph cruise ship, which has been struck with power failures and squalid conditions for five days. The release made clear that CNN was going all in. CNN wound up going beyond even that: During much of the late morning and early afternoon, there was literally no other story for the channel. Denver Post / Ostrow Off The Record At one point, CNN was covering the floating cesspool story with photos of a toilet. You could already feel the "Cruise from Hell" made-for-TV movie in the works. CNN's new boss Jeff Zucker has made a point of pushing a "broader" definition of news. Is this what he means by broader?
Judge Allows Case Over HuffPost Ownership to Go Forward, Adds Fraud Claim (PaidContent)
In a major development in the bitter court fight over the founding of The Huffington Post, a New York judge has for the second time refused the request of media moguls Arianna Huffington and Ken Lerer to dismiss the case. The new ruling also expands the scope of the case to include claims of fraud and unjust enrichment. Forbes / Mixed Media Huffington doesn't do anything halfway–not even chilling out. When she appeared on the cover of Forbes in October 2010 the Web mogul was in the midst of a frenzy of activity that would culminate four months later in the sale of The Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million. The merger was its own ordeal, with reports of stormy turf battles between Huffington and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.
Rubio Water-Swig Replay Tally: MSNBC 155, CNN 34, Fox News 12 (The Daily Caller)
"Zero Dark Thirsty," "Swing and a Miss," "Parch Madness," "Tough Swallow," "Just Add Water," and "Water Under the Bridge" were a handful of the phrases used on-air by MSNBC on Wednesday to mock Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio for awkwardly pausing to take a sip of water while delivering the official Republican response to the State of the Union address. Throughout the broadcast day, between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET, MSNBC showed a replay of Rubio's swig approximately 155 times -- 101 of which came during The Rachel Maddow Show, which played the moment on loop at the bottom of the screen for more than 13 minutes. Mediaite Fox News' The Five went directly after cable news competitors CNN and MSNBC during their discussion of Sen. Rubio's instantly viral "water-gate" moment. Eric Bolling singled out "Al 'Not So Sharp' Sharpton." "He spent more time talking about Rubio's water issue than Benghazi," Bolling said. "That is scary and sad." But he also thought that Rubio could have avoided the whole "awkward" situation by just having a conveniently-placed glass of water.
Naomi Wolf in Early Talks with Al Jazeera (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Naomi Wolf, the author and activist, is in early-stage talks with the global news network Al Jazeera, Politico has learned. Wolf, who currently writes a column for The Guardian, confirmed the news late Thursday night but stressed that the talks were in the earliest stages and that no job offer was on the table.
What Will Happen with Essence Magazine? Time Will Tell (Poynter)
Two weeks ago the media world buzzed about the 480 jobs lost at Time Inc. The corporation-wide layoffs bypassed some properties, including Essence. Or so it seemed.
Nate Silver: I Might Stop Blogging if it Influences Election Results (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
New York Times statistician Nate Silver told an audience at Washington University this week that he might stop writing his influential FiveThirtyEight blog were it to start influencing election results.
Whitney Cummings' E! Talk Show Cancelled (Deadline Hollywood)
Love You, Mean It with Whitney Cummings has made a quiet exit on E!. A rep for the network confirmed that production on the weekly talk show has wrapped and last week's episode was its last. The Atlantic Wire The show was supposed to create a little late-night dynasty along with Chelsea Handler's show, but I guess that didn't pan out. Cummings is having a rough go of it lately.
The Newsonomics of Zero and The New York Times (Nieman Journalism Lab)
At America's top newspaper, the revenue decline has -- for now, at least -- stopped. But what do the trend lines tell us about how the Times will look in 2016?
CBS and Dan Rather: Together Again (TVNewser)
CBS acquired a minority stake in AXS TV, the cable channel formerly known as HDNet. In addition to CBS, AXS is owned by Mark Cuban, Ryan Seacrest, live events company AEG and talent agency CAA. According to the companies, CBS will provide the network with live programming, and will offer marketing support. The deal also reunites CBS with Dan Rather, the former CBS Evening News anchor.
YouTube Phenoms Raise Record Cash (Ad Week)
If you're a casual browser of the Web, it's understandable if you're not paying close attention to the torrent of original video content floating around YouTube. For brands, however, the throngs of madly devoted YouTube subscribers are becoming harder to ignore.
On BuzzFeed, Boogers and Ethics (FishbowlDC)
Writing a story about someone else's booger feature is no easy task. On some email requests I put a simple, bland, "request for comment." On others, I went for shock value: "BuzzFeed's booger post." It wasn't plotted. I imagined some might find it funnier than others.
The Wrap Asks Bauer Media to Explain the Nazi Porn (FishbowlLA)
Who is Andrew Gumbel? That was our immediate first question upon reading The Wrap's provocative look at some of the less well-known tentacles of Bauer Media, the Hamburg, Germany-based publishing giant that puts out weekly glossies In Touch and Life & Style. Gumbel, the author of the piece, is a veteran British-born LA journalist who worked for London's The Independent for many years and authored the 2005 book Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America. He's zeroed in on some extremely unsavory bits of Bauer media activity.