Today's Headlines
Friday, 4/18/14

Disney Says Online Offerings Boost ESPN Audience
Disney execs said consumers who listen to ESPN radio and interact with the sports channel's websites spend triple the amount of time with the company as those who just watch the TV network. "It's exploded the misconception that digital media would cannibalize TV."

Comcast: Binge Watching Helps Ratings of Live TV
The best way to hook someone into an existing series of stories is to make sure they can start from the beginning. The same is also true of TV shows, and Comcast has the data to back it up. Time-shifted content "is beneficial to the industry-standard TV ratings for new episode premieres."

Netflix Linked with Rise in Cord-Cutting, Report Says
A report by consumer data firm Experian has shown a direct link between the availability of the likes of Netflix and Hulu and an increase in consumers cutting the cable cord. More cord-cutting is expected "as devices like Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast become more common."

Vodafone, Netflix in Talks Over Access to Movies, TV
Vodafone, the world's second-largest mobile carrier, is said to be in talks with Netflix to offer subscribers access to streaming movies and TV shows. A deal would give Vodafone customers free access to Netflix content for a period of time. Talks are believed to be at an early stage.

Aereo CEO Speaks on Future of Company, Industry
Associated Press
Chet Kanojia: "The Internet is happening to everybody, whether you like it or not. It happened to books, it happened to music people, it happened to Blockbuster. There is nothing in our Constitution that says there is a sacred set of companies that will never be affected by new technology."

Amazon Should Acquire Sears, Retail Expert Says
Amazon excels in the digital forum, but faces limitations in terms of its physical footprint. Meanwhile, Sears is struggling to stay relevant in an era of online shopping and low-cost fashion. To solve these issues, retail expert Robin Lewis suggests Amazon should buy Sears.

Barnes & Noble Smaller Stores Possible, Chief Says
Wall Street Journal
Leonard Riggio, Barnes & Noble's chairman and largest shareholder, has again trimmed his holdings in the struggling book retailer, selling about $64 million in the stock. Will we see a smaller, 15,000-square foot B&N bookstore one day? "Yes, it's possible," Riggio said.

Fox Chief Murdoch Tries Out Virtual Reality Headset
According to the "Murdoch Here" Tumblr account, the media mogul and his team visited interactive advertising agency Framestore in New York this week. While there, the octogenarian chairman tried out the "Game of Thrones" virtual reality experience on the Oculus Rift.

Disney-Maker: New Lawsuit Seeks to Unwind Merger
Hollywood Reporter
Former Maker Studios employee Andy Faberlle has hit the digital studio with a new lawsuit that demands a rescission of the Disney merger. His suit makes many of the same fraud claims made by ex-CEO Danny Zappin. Members of Maker's board "orchestrated a scheme," he said.

Fox, News Corp's Murdoch in $40 Million Settlement
Sydney Morning Herald
The final chapter of long-running legal action over failed Australian telecom One.Tel has come to an end, with one-time directors James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch agreeing to a $40 million settlement with liquidators. Packer and Murdoch blew up $1 billion on the investments.

Fox 'X-Men' Franchise Director Accused of Abuse
Daily News
Bryan Singer has been slapped with a shocking lawsuit, but denies the allegations. The film director's lawyer said "it is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity," given that the newest installment of the "X-Men" franchise is due to arrive in theaters next month.

ABC to Remove Singer's Name from Ads for Show
Amid the controversy swirling around Bryan Singer, ABC has confirmed that it will re-edit commercials for its new drama "Black Box" to remove any mention of the "X-Men" director, who serves as the TV show's executive producer. "Black Box" is scheduled to premiere April 24.

Al Jazeera America Documentary Series Joins Lineup
Multichannel News
Al Jazeera America has co-produced "Hard Earned," a six-part documentary series that follows five U.S. low-income families. AJA president Kate O'Brian has said she is trying to establish the network as "a place where you get really great documentaries."

BBC Enjoys Record in Web Traffic, Twitter Sharing
Broadcasting & Cable
Traffic to hit record levels for U.S. and Canada in March, with 38 million unique visitors, up 37% from February 2014. Globally, the BBC also noted that it is the most-shared news brand on Twitter, with its stories being shared a record 2.71 million times in March.

Clear Channel Laying Off Employees in 'Alignment'
Clear Channel has begun an "alignment" of radio-station sales staffs at the local market and cluster levels. Markets of all sizes are believed to have been impacted. Some 22 people were rumored to be affected. The company remains tight-lipped about the number of jobs shed.

Pandora Sued by Record Labels for Infringement
New York Times
The music industry has opened a new front in its war against Pandora Media: royalties for songs made before 1972. Several major record companies have accused Pandora of violating copyright protections by using recordings of older songs without permission.

Yahoo's Couric Sees the Web as 'Step Up' from TV
Hollywood Reporter
Katie Couric, Yahoo's global anchor: "A lot of people are intrigued by the prospect of doing something on Yahoo. I think they appreciate the fact that they would be talking to someone who's experienced. So I think that may balance any discomfort they feel about the web."

YouTube Adds 85,000 Newsreels from British Pathe
NBC News
Before YouTube, before even TV, the way people got their news presented visually was through newsreels shown at movie theaters. British Pathe, the premier archive of these newsreels, has brought things full circle by bringing its 80-year collection to YouTube for free.

Twitter Broadens Ad Reach Through App-Install Ads
Twitter has taken a significant step towards broadening its advertising business by offering mobile ads urging people to install apps on its social network, as well as through MoPub, the mobile-ad network the microblogging firm acquired last year for some $350 million.

Facebook to Roll Out Feature for Sharing Location
Associated Press
U.S. Facebook users will soon be able to see which of their friends are nearby using a new feature. The "Nearby Friends" offering must be turned on by the user, so people won't broadcast their location unknowingly. It will use a smartphone's GPS to tell friends you are close by.

IAC's Plots Comeback Amid Challenges
When was launched in 1997, Google didn't exist. Now part of IAC, the once-iconic Internet brand has become a rehabilitation project and a case study in whether an Internet 1.0 "explainer" site can find its footing again in a vastly different world of digital media.

Blogger Gets Same Libel Protections as Newspapers
Blogs devoted to disseminating information to the public are entitled to the same rights in libel cases as mainstream media companies, a Florida appellate court has ruled. The decision upheld an order dismissing a libel lawsuit brought against the author of the blog Public Intellectual.

New York Times Critic Bashed by Franco on Instagram
James Franco has unloaded on New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley in a comment on Instagram. Franco, who stars in the new Broadway production of "Of Mice and Men," posted remarks about Brantley after the critic described the actor's performance as lukewarm.

Los Angeles Register Debuts with Upbeat News Mix
L.A.'s latest metro daily has launched with a mix of soft-tilting news and features, along with columns from familiar names such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and former Los Angeles Times sportswriter T.J. Simers. The Los Angeles Register aims to be "the new voice of L.A."

Denver Post Taps Whoopi to Write Cannabis Column
Associated Press
Whoopi Goldberg said she is in love with her marijuana-vaporizing pen. In her new column for the Denver Post's Cannabist website, the Oscar-winning entertainer writes that her "vape pen" relieves the devastating glaucoma headaches she suffers without a marijuana high.

Time Inc's All You Magazine Names Willdorf Editor
Time Inc.'s budget-friendly shopping title All You has a new editor, Nina Willdorf, who was promoted from her role as executive editor. She will report to Clare McHugh, group editor of both All You and Health. All You recently expanded beyond its Walmart-only distribution.

Hearst's Esquire, Elle Swap Writers for One Issue
Two Hearst magazines are totally hooking up. Esquire, an 82-year-old American men's title, has sparked a spring fling with Elle, a 69-year-old French expat. Both have carved out space in their pages to allow the other to hold court on what men and women really think.

Recent Headlines
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Axel Springer Accuses Google of Seeking 'Superstate'
Financial Times
The head of Europe's biggest newspaper publisher has accused Google of seeking to establish a digital "superstate" free from constraints of antitrust regulators. In an open letter to Google chief Eric Schmidt, Axel Springer CEO Mathias Dopfner said: "We are afraid of Google."

Financial Times Sets Up Editorial Complaints System
Financial Times
The Financial Times "has been a longstanding member of the Press Complaints Commission, which is due to expire. Readers will no longer have recourse to the PCC as an independent service for dealing with complaints. In its place, we will set up a new mechanism."

New York Times Promotes Mobile App via Starbucks
Mobile Marketer
The New York Times has teamed up with Starbucks on a promotion that doles out free access to the publisher's newly launched mobile news product. Starbucks' My Starbucks Reward members can receive 12 weeks of access to the New York Times's NYT Now mobile app.

Conde Nast Suffers Through a Reply-Allpocalypse
New York
Even employees of a storied media company are still apparently struggling with email etiquette. Staffers of Conde Nast responded to a reoccurring spam message by resorting to reply-all, causing "the whole thing to devolve into a mess of useless messages across dozens of titles."

Gannett to Launch USA Today Online Sports Store
Talking New Media
Gannett's USA Today has opened an online store for consumers where they can purchase sports photography. The first offerings include a collection of 3,000 early-career photos of Muhammad Ali from the library of the Courier-Journal, the Gannett daily in Louisville, Ky.

Freedom's Los Angeles Register to Embrace Print
Associated Press
Aaron Kushner believes he can launch a print newspaper in a world gone digital. Freedom Communications, the company he bought two years ago, unveils the Los Angeles Register on Wednesday. "The heart of our strategy is creating a better, richer, more engaging product."

Time Inc Taps Former Sony Chief for Board Position
New York Post
Howard Stringer, the former Sony chairman, is said to have agreed to accept a place on the board of Time Inc. The full board is expected to be revealed as soon as next week when Time Warner files an amended form 10 in advance of spinning off the publishing group on June 30.

Conde Nast Takes Deep Dive Into Native Advertising
Conde Nast has only just now embraced native advertising in earnest. Its first corporate-wide native ad, for Pantene, has gone live on four of the company's women's websites. "This is the first time we're doing it at scale. It's more important to get it right than to be first."

Report: Magazine Ad Pages Continue Steady Decline
The long, steady decline of print advertising continued in the first quarter of the year, according to the latest figures from the Publishers Information Bureau. Some 109 out of 181 titles saw year-over-year declines. Women's domestic and homemaking titles took some of the biggest hits.

Playboy Releases Reprints of First Issue with Marilyn
After 60 more than years, Playboy magazine has rolled out exact replica reprints of its inaugural December 1953 issue featuring the iconic Marilyn Monroe on the cover. The original issue had a cover price of $.50; the new reprint is available on newsstands for $9.99.

Axel Springer Working with Banks on Digital Unit IPO
Axel Springer, Europe's biggest newspaper publisher, is said to be working with JPMorgan and Citigroup on an initial public offering of its digital-classifieds business. Axel Springer Digital Classifieds could be valued at about $4.1 billion in a share sale.

Bauer Media Invests in Swedish Digital App Lifesum
Bauer Media and SparkLabs Global Ventures have led a $6.7 million investment in Swedish digital health startup Lifesum, which helps users count calories and lose weight. Lifesum has more than 4 million members for its app. Bauer publishes more than 600 magazines.

Tribune Publishing CEO Could Get $2 Million in Sale
Crain's Chicago
Tribune Publishing new CEO Jack Griffin may earn as much as $3.5 million annually, and could be owed $2 million if he exits after a sale of the company. Griffin is slated to earn a $1 million salary, a potential bonus of the same amount and a $1.5 million stock award each year.

Philly Inquirer Investor Offers $77 Million for Control
Associated Press
George Norcross, a politically-powerful investor in Philadelphia's Inquirer and Daily News, has pledged to pay at least $77 million to wrest control of the newspapers from rivals. The current owners, split into two warring factions, are selling the company at auction to regroup.

News Corp: Coulson Testifies in Phone-Hacking Trial
Wall Street Journal
Andy Coulson, former spokesman for British prime minister David Cameron, has taken the stand for the first time in the phone-hacking trial, seeking to defend himself against charges that he knew about illegal tactics to pursue scoops while editor of News of the World.

Boston Globe Wins Pulitzer for Coverage of Bombings
Boston Globe
The staff of the Boston Globe was awarded a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the bombings a year ago near the Boston Marathon finish line. Other awardees included the Washington Post and the Guardian, for their stories about U.S. government surveillance.

Penske Media Promotes HollywoodLifer to New Position
Penske Media has promoted William Earl, executive editor of, to senior editor of PMC Brands. In the newly-created role, Earl will work with managing editors across all PMC brands to "enhance site metrics and advise on editorial operations."

Tribune Publishing to Take On $325 Million in Debt
Chicago Tribune
Tribune's newspaper division will carry at least $325 million of debt when it spins off as a standalone company, according to a filing with U.S. regulators. The bulk of that figure is a $275 million dividend that Tribune Publishing will pay to its parent company.

New York Times Sued by Texas Monthly Over Hire
New York Times
Emmis Publishing, publisher of Texas Monthly, has filed a lawsuit against the New York Times related to the newspaper's hiring of the magazine's departing editor in chief, Jake Silverstein. The suit accuses the Times of inducing Silverstein to breach his employment contract.

Digital First Media Appoints Butler Editor in Chief
Mercury News
David Butler, editor and SVP of the Bay Area News Group, has been named editor in chief of Digital First Media. Butler will oversee the news and content operations at the company's 75 daily newspapers as well as all weekly and digital newsgathering operations across the country.

Freedom Preps Launch of Los Angeles Newspaper
Orange County Register
The Los Angeles Register, a new daily newspaper, will debut Wednesday in Freedom Communications' latest expansion in Southern California. Publisher Aaron Kushner said he is launching a Los Angeles paper because it makes "good business sense."

Tribune Newspaper Spinoff Stirs Experts' Concerns
Los Angeles Times
Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) said that six media experts he consulted have serious concerns about the fate of the Los Angeles Times under Tribune's plans to spin off the newspaper and seven others. Waxman has called on company execs to change the terms.

Guardian's Free 'Robot Newspaper' Comes to U.S.
The U.K. Guardian newspaper only has a digital presence in the U.S., but starting Wednesday, it will experiment with a robot-generated print edition. The paper is to be called #Open001 and will be distributed for free at U.S. media and advertising agency offices.

Time Inc Names Editor in Chief of Southern Living
Sid Evans has been named editor in chief of Southern Living. He will continue oversight of Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Sunset and This Old House. Evans succeeds Lindsay Bierman, who is leaving to become chancellor of the University of North Carolina's School of the Arts.

Net-A-Porter Names Editor of Style Website Mr Porter
The Net-a-porter Group has tapped John Brodie as editor in chief of its online men's style website Mr Porter. Brodie, who starts his new job in mid-May, succeeds founding Mr Porter editor Jeremy Langmead, who last November said he would leave the site for Christie's.

Popbitch Email Newsletter Expands Into iPad Magazine
New York Times
Popbitch has used a business model others are now catching up to, but the gossipy email newsletter has entered new waters with an iPad magazine for $2.99 an issue. Its supporters provided some $50,000 in development money for the initiative through Kickstarter.

Online News Startups Face Backlash from Journalists
A flurry of journalists have been launching news sites lately, each with a formidable amount of hype. But rather than applaud this as a golden age for journalism, the media echo chamber was quick to pull out the knives. "Newness usually disappoints. There's also jealousy."

Yahoo to Poach Zee from Hearst's Elle Magazine
Joe Zee appears to be getting closer to the exit at Hearst Tower. While it has been widely reported Zee has been in talks with Yahoo to head up its fashion website, Elle's creative director is said to have accepted an offer from the web giant. For Elle, Zee's exit would be a big blow.

Time Inc Kicks Off Investor Road Show Next Month
Time Inc. plans to kick off its formal presentation to potential investors in May, roughly a month before the company is slated to spin off from parent Time Warner. Top execs Joe Ripp, Jeff Bairstow and Norman Pearlstine are expected to be involved in the road show.

Conde Nast in Deal for Feature Film of Wired Article
Conde Nast Entertainment and Parkes/MacDonald Productions have partnered on the drama feature "See No Evil," based on a Wired magazine article. The drama centers on a car-stereo installer who designs secret compartments used to conceal drugs and weapons.

Digital First Media Cuts Jobs at Salt Lake Newspaper
Salt Lake Tribune
The Salt Lake Tribune has cut eight newsroom jobs, eliminated its faith section and announced plans to drop other print features, as part of cost reductions ordered by owner Digital First Media. The Tribune plans to overhaul its website in an effort to build its online audience.

News Corp Editor Knew of Missing Girl's Voice Mail
BBC News
News of the World former top editor Stuart Kuttner has told the London phone-hacking trial he knew the newspaper had a voice mail from missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone at the time of her disappearance. But he denied authorizing reporters to hack phones, including Milly's.

New York Times's Social Ad Product Fades Away
The New York Times's Ricochet has stopped rebounding. When it launched in 2012, the Times touted the social advertising program as a "new model of digital marketing." Alas, the good times didn't last. "The enthusiasm in the marketplace wasn't matched by the uptake by advertisers."

Time Inc Wants Stringer, Other Execs to Join Board
Time Inc., the magazine publisher that will be spun off by the end of June, is said to have asked Howard Stringer to become a board member. Stringer retired as CEO of Sony in 2012. Time Inc. boss Joe Ripp has reached out to a number of execs to sit on the company's board.

Hearst Eliminates Ad Sales Staff at Country Living
Advertising Age
Hearst has cut the advertising sales team at Country Living magazine. Its duties will be handled by staff at sibling titles Good Housekeeping and Woman's Day, among others. Country Living recently moved its editorial office to Birmingham, Ala., and hired a new editorial team.

Conde Nast Leads in Webby Awards Nominations
Every magazine publishing company crows about the number of ASME nominations its titles receive, so what about the Webbys? The awards for best in digital media, which will be held May 19 in New York, gave the most nominations to Conde Nast Entertainment, with 14.


HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Sets New Piracy Record
World Screen
The latest episode of "Game of Thrones" has broken the record for the most people sharing a file simultaneously via BitTorrent. The episode had more than 193,000 people sharing a single copy a new record for illegal file sharing. Most downloaders came from Australia.

A&E, History Launch Live TV Streaming Initiatives
Episodes of A&E's "Storage Wars" and "Bates Motel" and History's "Vikings" and "Swamp People" are now available to watch live online and mobile devices, for most pay-TV subscribers. "This is just another stage in our evolution of TV Everywhere," said A+E Networks.

Netflix Urged to Weigh In on Comcast-TWC Merger
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), an outspoken critic of the possible Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, has urged Netflix to weigh in on the deal. "As a popular provider of Internet content that competes directly with Comcast, Netflix is uniquely positioned to gauge the risks."

IAC's Diller Says Broadcasters Don't Own Airwaves
Wall Street Journal
Barry Diller, in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece: The Supreme Court case over Aereo "goes against everything the broadcast industry has agreed to over the past 100 years. ... It is unfortunate that the broadcasters have aligned themselves against competition and the consumer."

Discovery Drops Out of Bidding for UK's Channel 5
Discovery has dropped out of the bidding process for the U.K.'s Channel 5. The company offered about $588 million for the broadcaster owned by Northern & Shell. BSkyB, the satellite pay-TV service controlled by Rupert Murdoch, had been working with Discovery on the offer.

NBC to Air Soccer Across Bravo, Syfy, Oxygen, E!
Associated Press
Soccer is coming to some U.S. TV networks better known for reality shows, dramas and financial news. NBCUniversal plans to air matches from the Premier League's season finale on its channels, including NBC, Bravo, Syfy, Oxygen, USA, CNBC, MSNBC, Esquire Network and E!

CBS in Talks with Handler to Host Daytime Show
New York Post
CBS has shot down rumors that Chelsea Handler could replace Craig Ferguson on "The Late Late Show." But not for reasons you might guess. The funny lady has met with the network's execs about hosting a syndicated daytime talk show. Handler has said she wants to exit E!

ABC News Seeks Credit for Pulitzer-Winning Report
New York Times
ABC News sought recognition for its work on a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into sick Appalachian miners who were denied medical care and benefits. The Center for Public Integrity sent back a firm rebuttal. ABC said it simply wanted acknowledgment that it was a joint partner.

CNN: Flight Instructor Fired by Canadian Company
Associated Press
Canadian flight simulator firm uFly has fired instructor Mitchell Casado, who figured prominently in CNN's coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, saying he showed up late to his regular job and "shamed Canadians" by dressing like a teenager. "People were complaining."

Fox News Preps Female-Dominated 'Outnumbered'
Fox News Channel plans to launch a panel program, "Outnumbered," featuring a rotating crew of four female hosts and one male. The dynamic of the gender-weighted panel is hoped to produce a "fresh take" on the day's news. "We look forward to once again pushing the envelope."

Mercury Radio Arts' Glenn Beck Eyes Film Production
Hollywood Reporter
Glenn Beck has gone Hollywood. Nearly three years after leaving Fox News, the conservative media entrepreneur plans to ramp up a film division at Mercury Radio Arts, the parent company of his radio show and digital media operation TheBlaze. "We're getting ready."

NBCUniversal Plans Push in Digital Programming
Wall Street Journal
NBCUniversal said it plans to launch an extensive original programming slate for digital platforms, including its channels' websites, video on-demand services and the streaming video site Hulu. The plan is "designed to connect advertising brands with consumers."

Comcast-TWC Merger Backed by Washington Post
U.S. regulators should approve the proposed $45.2 billion merger of two biggest U.S. cable providers Comcast and Time Warner Cable, but set "clear conditions," according to the Washington Post's editorial board. "The government's smartest move is not to block the merger."

Dish Network Refunding $2 Million to Customers
Associated Press
Dish Network will reimburse Washington state customers about $2 million for a surcharge officials called deceptive. The satellite-TV provider had charged its Washington customers a dollar fee between May and December 2012 to recoup costs for a higher business tax.

Report: Pay-TV Subscriptions Expected to Grow
USA Today
Subscriptions dropped less than 1% in 2013 the first decline for pay-TV providers. But homes that subscribe to pay TV are expected to grow annually from 2014 to 2019, increasing from about 101 million to 103.2 million, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics.

Discovery, BSkyB Join in Offer for UK's Channel 5
Northern & Shell said it has received a number of bids for the U.K.'s Channel 5. BSkyB and Discovery have made a joint bid for the channel, while Viacom has also taken part in the auction. BSkyB and Discovery reportedly are close to buying the TV station for $585 million.

BSkyB to Let Subscribers Watch Shows on Twitter
BSkyB has launched a tie-up with Twitter that it hopes will encourage the social network's 15 million U.K. users to watch more of its programming. The broadcaster has developed new technology allowing its customers to stream and record programs with software embedded in tweets.

Fox Replaces Heads of National Geographic Channels
Los Angeles Times
National Geographic Channels has made changes in leadership. Out are CEO David Lyle and president Howard Owens. In their place, Fox exec David Hill was named chairman. Courteney Monroe, chief marketing officer for National Geographic's U.S. network, was upped to CEO.

ABC Entertainment Chief Signs Multi-Year Contract
Hollywood Reporter
Paul Lee will be staying put at ABC. The entertainment group president has inked a new multi-year deal to continue at the network, where he has been at the helm since summer 2010. The news comes after his boss, Anne Sweeney, announced plans to step down in early 2015.

CBS: Handler Not a Candidate for 'Late Late Show'
New York Post
Chelsea Handler has been rumored as a potential candidate to host the "Late Late Show." But CBS said: "There are no discussions with Handler regarding the network's 12:30 late night broadcast; her meeting with CBS was a general meeting with our syndication group."

Fox Sponsors Merriam-Webster's 'Word of the Day'
Wall Street Journal
Tuesday's Merriam-Webster "word of the day" was an ad for a Ben Stiller movie. The dictionary publisher's daily word was "Walter Mitty," as in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," a film being released on DVD. 20th Century Fox approached Merriam-Webster about sponsoring the word.

CNN App Aims to Make TV News More User-Friendly
CNN chief Jeff Zucker has called Watch CNNx "our most important announcement of the day." Watch CNNx is a product that takes programs on CNN and adds online capabilities like on-demand video viewing and links. The iPad version is now available to some users.

CBS News Anchor Pelley Seeks Big Salary Increase
"CBS Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley is said to be seeking a major salary raise as his contract comes up for renewal in the weeks ahead. Pelley currently makes a reported $5 million per year, which is less than half of the reported salaries of his rival nightly news anchors.

MSNBC 'Last Call' Host O'Donnell in Car Accident
Associated Press
MSNBC said its host Lawrence O'Donnell was injured with his brother Michael in a taxi accident Saturday while vacationing out of the country. The network didn't specify where the accident occurred. O'Donnell will be off the air for several weeks as he recuperates.

Vice Journalist Smokes Marijuana During Interview
Vice Media has come up with a new gonzo stunt to attract eyeballs. Correspondent Krishna Andavolu managed to casually smoke a joint as he interviewed Uruguay president Jose Mujica. Uruguay is the first country in the world to have fully legalized marijuana.

MSNBC, NowThis News Team for 15-Second Series
Following the news in January that NBCUniversal News invested in mobile news startup NowThis News, the companies have unveiled their first collaboration a show called "15 Seconds to Truth." Each segment will be 15 seconds long, focusing on top stories of the day.

Comcast Basic Cable-TV Prices Up Most, Report Says
New York Post
Time Warner Cable was the only major pay-TV company to reduce the price of basic cable TV over the past four years, according to a new report by Free Press. Meanwhile, Comcast, which moved in April to buy TWC for $45 billion, raised its advertised basic TV rates by 68%.

Turner Broadcasting Gets Makeover for 'New Voices'
Los Angeles Times
Turner Broadcasting, parent of TBS, CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network, HLN and TruTV, has been shaking things up. There have been several high-profile departures some voluntary and some not and more changes are in the works. "This effort will bring new voices."

AMC 'Mad Men' Season Debut Disappoints in Ratings
"Mad Men," facing a night of stiff competition on cable TV, drew 2.3 million viewers to the premiere of its seventh and final season. Sunday's hour-long episode was unable to match the 3.4 million that watched its sixth season premiere last year, according to data from Nielsen.

Clear Channel Says Radio Personalities Still Relevant
Radio isn't dead. It just hasn't been advertised correctly, according to Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman. "We do fantastic stuff, but we never told anyone about it so sort of shame on us. We got what we deserved. But now, we are speaking up and we are explaining stuff."

Univision Debuts Web Video Network for Millennials
Univision has launched an English-language video channel called Flama, with an eye on Hispanics age 15 to 30. The initiative builds on the youngster-targeted, English-language TV channel Fusion, which Univision debuted last fall in conjunction with Disney.

FCC Chairman Hard to Peg Down on Media Issues
Washington Post
After six months in the job, Tom Wheeler, chairman of Federal Communications Commission, has been hard to peg down on some media and telecom issues. "He's been very much treading a middle line. Every side can find something they like in what he says."

Turner Exec Becomes Part Owner of Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, has been named co-owner and CEO of the Atlanta Hawks. At Turner, Koonin led network re-brandings with TNT: We Know Drama and TBS: Very Funny. "It is no secret that I have a passionate love of sports," he said.

NBC Tops Among Key Viewers Amid Sports Push
With just about a month and a half left of the 2013-2014 TV season, NBC still sits in first place among key 18-49 prime-time viewers. This is largely the result of the broadcaster's push with sports programming, specifically the Sochi Winter Olympics this past February.

Sirius XM Shakes Up Country Music's Star System
Wall Street Journal
Country radio stations have long had a particularly cozy relationship with the big record companies, making it difficult for independent artists to break through. But new music services from Sirius XM and others have started to disrupt Nashville's long-closed ecosystem.

Al Jazeera America's Low Ratings Lead to Layoffs
New York Post
Al Jazeera America, which launched less than a year ago, has slashed expenses and laid off staff as it struggles to gain a foothold. "They're not making their numbers. They have a really convoluted background of people in from Qatar. They don't get the U.S. market."

MTV Movie Awards a Hollywood Studio Plug-Fest
Associated Press
Last year, the MTV Movie Awards moved up its broadcast date from June to April to incorporate a summer movie plug-fest. Sunday night's show cemented that change, as clips from anticipated blockbusters debuted. The ceremony has become an important event for Hollywood studios.

AMC 'Mad Men' Creator Discusses Ads, Social Media
Fast Company
Matthew Weiner said he sees resonance between the advertising business of "Mad Men" and the emergence of social media, which has blown up since the AMC series debuted. "I do feel that it's a bit of a one-directional conversation, and that it may create loneliness."

CBS: Colbert Will Replace Letterman on 'Late Show'
CBS News
CBS didn't waste much time finding a new host for the "Late Show." Exactly a week after David Letterman announced plans to retire, Stephen Colbert has been named his successor. Colbert "is one of the most inventive and respected forces on TV," said CBS chief Les Moonves.

NBCUniversal, Fox in Renewal Talks with Seacrest
Ryan Seacrest has begun talks about his future at both Fox Broadcasting, where his two-year deal at "American Idol" is coming to an end, and NBCUniversal, where a contract covering his contributions to network-related properties including "Today" expires this month.

CBS Mulls Hiring a Woman to Host 'Late Late Show'
CBS is considering hiring a woman for "The Late Late Show," as the TV network weighs a complete remodeling of its programming for night owls. "12:30 is up in the air," said chief Les Moonves. Chelsea Handler has let CBS know she is interested in the late-night broadcast.

CNN: Talk-Show Format No Longer Viable at 9 PM
CNN said it will begin to devote the 9 p.m. hour to new taped shows starring Mike Rowe, Anthony Bourdain and others. The new strategy represents a shift away from the talk-show format the network has featured in the time slot for 30 years. "That genre is no longer viable."

HLN Ties Up with Twitter as Media Hub for Millennials
Advertising Age
HLN has unveiled a partnership with Twitter, giving the CNN sibling network further license to visualize the microblogging firm's data live on air. HLN is working with Twitter on a "Tweet DVR," which will capture live tweets about programs and insert them in consumers' DVR playback.

ABC's 'Good Morning America' Picks Up ESPN Host
Hollywood Reporter
ESPN personality Tony Reali has re-upped his deal with the cable network, and scored a regular gig on "Good Morning America" in the process. Reali's extension has given him the role of contributor on corporate sibling ABC's morning flagship. Reali will relocate to his native New York.

Fox News Chief's Suburban Newspaper in Dispute
New York
Roger Ailes may be the head of the most polarizing media organization in the country but lately that title has belonged more to his family's Putnam County News & Recorder than it has to Fox News. The Ailes-owned newspaper has become embroiled in a local controversy.

Comedy Central Staffer Mistakenly Killed by Police
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies mistakenly shot and killed an aspiring TV producer they thought was a stabbing suspect. In fact, "Tosh.0" staffer John Winkler had gone to a neighbor's apartment in West Hollywood where a man was holding people hostage and tried to help.

ABC News Names BBC Veteran Goldston President
ABC News
ABC News SVP James Goldston has been named president, replacing Ben Sherwood, who was recently promoted to co-president, Disney/ABC Television Group. Goldston will be responsible for all editorial and business aspects of the news division, including ABC News programs.


Facebook's Zuckerberg Talks Apps, Teen Audience
New York Times
Mark Zuckerberg: "I think the age thing is probably not the biggest one I worry about. I'm focused on and how to connect all these people. But my life is so different from the person who's going to be getting Internet in two years. ... On mobile, people want different things."

Hulu Questioned by Hollywood as Landscape Shifts
The Information
Continued executive turmoil and mixed messages about Hulu's direction have left some in Hollywood wondering whether the company has enough stability to follow through on its original programming plans. Recent events suggest the company still hasn't worked out a clear strategy.

YouTube's Young Turks Raises $4 Million in Funding
Many people have come to love The Young Turks for its progressive politics and news commentary on cable TV and online. Now that it is completely digital, the company behind the show is looking to expand to more platforms and devices, with $4 million in new funding.

Netflix to Bow in Germany Amid European Expansion
Netflix is said to be planning to open up shop in Germany in September. The company has reportedly been working on an advertising campaign to run in major German cities to introduce its service to prospective customers. A Netflix spokesperson declined to comment.

Twitter Dispute Leads to Suspension of 'James Dean'
Twitter has finished being a rebel, at least when it comes to standing up for a James Dean fan who is being sued by a celebrity licensing company that wants to claim the @jamesdean account. Twitter quietly suspended the account, raising questions of who can use dead celebrity images.

Groupon Offering Epic Deal to Meet Actor Brad Pitt
Chicago Business
Groupon has introduced an "epic deal" with a little help from Brad Pitt and Make It Right, an organization founded by the movie star that builds homes for people in need. The deal includes a trip for two to the Make It Right gala in New Orleans and a meet-and-greet with Pitt himself.

Yahoo Nominates Directors as Pay Drops for CEO
Yahoo has proposed three new directors to shore up its dwindling board, as CEO Marissa Mayer continues to revamp the web portal. Yahoo will nominate co-founder David Filo, Charles Schwab chief Charles Schwab and former Wal-Mart Stores CEO Lee Scott to its board.

Apple Mulls Opening Retail Outlet in Williamsburg
Crain's New York
Two years ago, Whole Foods became one of the first major retailers to open a location in Williamsburg, in a deal that appeared to presage the once-gritty neighborhood's transition into a shopping hub. J.Crew and Apple are now said to be interested in opening stores in the area.

Facebook to Make Mobile Users Download Messenger
Facebook has begun notifying mobile users that they will no longer be able to text via its core app. Instead, they will need to download Messenger, the dedicated texting app Facebook rolled out in 2011. "People get replies 20% faster on Messenger than on Facebook."

Yahoo's Fired Exec Gets $58 Million After 15 Months
Associated Press
Yahoo's recently fired COO Henrique de Castro left the company with a severance package of $58 million even though he lasted just 15 months on the job. The disclosure may lead to more second-guessing about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to hire de Castro as her No. 2.

Google's Growth in Mobile Ads Hurts Firm's Results
Google has reported disappointing quarterly results, with lower-than-expected growth in paid clicks. One issue is that most consumers are not following up on mobile ads with purchases. Analysts voiced concerns about the disparity of paid clicks for the desktop and ads for devices.

Reddit Boosts News Capabilities to Attract Users, Ads
Reddit has started to allow members of its passionate community post their own news more quickly and easily. The community-generated news website, majority owned by Conde Nast parent Advanced Publications, rolled out a new feature that lets users report in real time.

IAC's Diller Goes Big in Gamble on Aereo's Future
Broadcasters say an Aereo victory in the Supreme Court might create a blueprint that would let cable and satellite providers stop paying billions of dollars in retransmission fees. IAC chief Barry Diller said his goal is nothing short of upending the TV distribution system.

Yahoo CEO Seeking Growth as Alibaba Help Fades
Yahoo's Marissa Mayer can't rely on Alibaba to bail her out much longer, putting the onus on her to accelerate a sales rebound that is only getting started. "We believe we have moved from our core business being in decline to a point of stable to modest growth," she said.

Google Unveils 'Modular' Smartphone Project Ara
Google plans to release a "modular" smartphone that consumers can configure with different features. Google envisions hardware modules, such as a camera or blood-sugar monitor, that would be available in an "app store," like its own Google Play store for software apps.

Twitter to Acquire Data Analytics Company Gnip
Associated Press
Twitter has bought its data partner Gnip, which provides analysis of tweets to advertisers, academic institutions, politicians and other customers. Gnip has already played a "crucial role" in collecting and digesting the public data that people share on its short messaging service.

WordPress Creator Seeking Valuation of $1 Billion
Automattic, the firm that runs blogging platforms WordPress and WordPress VIP, is said to be raising between $100 million and $150 million in venture capital funding. The round values the company at some $1 billion. WordPress powers 22% of the world's websites.

Google Pressured to Curb Illegal Drug Websites
Wall Street Journal
Several state attorneys general have pressed Google to make it harder for users to find counterfeit prescription medicine and illegal drugs online, marking the second time in the past three years that the firm has drawn scrutiny for its policies on rogue Internet pharmacies.

Aereo Battle Moves Broadcasters to Seek a 'Plan B'
Wall Street Journal
TV broadcasters have begun to consider contingency plans in case they lose their Supreme Court battle against online video startup Aereo. CBS is said to have the ability to launch a service that would stream programming over the web simultaneous with its TV broadcasts.

Netflix Speeds Surge for Comcast Users After Deal
Netflix's deal with Comcast has paid off. Streaming speeds for Comcast users jumped nearly 50% last month after Netflix reluctantly agreed to pay up for a direct connection to the Internet service provider's network. Netflix has been engaged in similar talks with Verizon and others.

Google to Buy Drone-Maker Startup Titan Aerospace
USA Today
Google has agreed to acquire Titan Aerospace, a 2-year-old startup maker of high-altitude drones, to help the Internet giant collect aerial images. Google's gain comes at the expense of Facebook, which earlier this year was in talks to buy the company for a reported $60 million.

Yahoo, Vevo Expand Tie-Up in Video, Programming
Yahoo and Vevo have expanded their partnership through a deal that will bring Vevo's videos, live concert events and other original programming to Yahoo's own video streaming service, Yahoo Screen. "Yahoo has the potential to be one of our largest partners," said Vevo.

AOL Rejiggers Website with Video Front and Center
AOL has reformatted its website to highlight video from owned properties like Huffington Post and a bunch of content partners, including ESPN, the Wall Street Journal and Vogue. The move is the Internet company's latest gambit to become a video-advertising leader online.

YouTube Plans to Make Its 'Stars' Real-Life Famous
Advertising Age
YouTube has plenty of "stars" some even have audiences that rival cable TV in the young demo advertisers covet. But can you name any of them? YouTube's new CEO Susan Wojcicki aims to fix that problem with TV ads, billboards, subway wraps and magazine pages.

Google Seeks New York Offices to Hold 3,000 Workers
Wall Street Journal
Google is said to be doing a search to expand further in New York City for enough space to hold more than 3,000 employees. The Internet firm has been in talks with landlords about leasing as much as 600,000 square feet in Manhattan about half the size of the Chrysler Building.

Yahoo Under Pressure as Alibaba Prepares for IPO
Yahoo will report Tuesday on a quarter in which the big news for its investors was not about Yahoo, but Alibaba, the Chinese Internet giant of which the web portal owns a big stake, and is preparing to go public. The view of Yahoo's core business remains downbeat.

Twitter Founders, CEO Say They Aren't Cashing Out
Twitter's founding fathers became billionaires on paper when the social media company went public. But Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams said they have no plans to turn those paper gains into cash once they have the chance in May. CEO Dick Costolo has no plans to sell either.

Google Patents Contact Lens with Built-In Camera
Mail Online
Google has patented a smart contact lens that could see its Glass wearable computer fit inside a smart lens. The move opens the possibility of its Glass system being shrunk down significantly, offering features such as "super zoom" to wearers and even helping the blind to see.

PonoMusic Startup Raises Big Bucks on Kickstarter
Mercury News
Neil Young turned to the people to help fund his PonoMusic project, via the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. And they have definitely responded, making the music service one of the most successful campaigns in Kickstarter history, raising some $5.75 million.

IAC Buys Back Stake in Mobile Dating App Tinder
IAC/InterActiveCorp has bought back 10% of mobile-dating site Tinder. The company purchased the stake from venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya. IAC had $3.02 billion in sales last year, with more than a quarter of that coming from its primary dating site

Aereo Expands Ahead of Date with Supreme Court
Aereo is just days away from a decisive Supreme Court battle against the major broadcasters, but that's not stopping the company from expanding. Said CEO Chet Kanojia: "I am 100% convinced that if you look at it as a matter of law and as a matter of policy we are dead right."

Amazon Preps Release of Smartphone for Holidays
Wall Street Journal
Amazon is said to be preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of this year, part of a push into hardware that would pit it against Apple and Samsung. The retailer reportedly aims to begin shipping phones by the end of September, ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Facebook Readying Service to Provide 'E-Money'
Financial Times
Facebook is said to be seeking authorization to become an "e-money" institution. The social network is reportedly weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service allowing users to store money and use it to pay and exchange money with others.

Report: 44% of Twitter Accounts Never Send a Tweet
Wall Street Journal
A report from Twopcharts, a website that monitors Twitter account activity, has stated that about 44% of Twitter accounts have never sent a tweet. The report also said that 30% of existing accounts have sent 1-10 tweets. Only 13% of the accounts have written at least 100 tweets.

Groupon Adds In-Store Coupons to Freebie Offers
Groupon has expanded its e-commerce offering with the addition of in-store coupons to the freebies section of its website. The move gives national retailers and marketers a "programmatic way to reach millions of potential customers with targeted promotions."

YouTube's Maker Studios Attracts Bid from Relativity
Wall Street Journal
Relativity Media has made a bid to buy Maker Studios, the online-video producer that is preparing to vote Tuesday on a separate bid from Disney. The offer is a last-minute attempt to spoil the Disney deal. Maker is seen as one of the hottest commodities in YouTube entertainment.

Google Becomes a Master of Washington Influence
Washington Post
Nine years ago, Google opened a one-man lobbying shop, disdainful of Washington, D.C.'s pay-to-play culture. Since then, the company has soared to near the top of the capital's lobbying ranks, placing second to General Electric in corporate lobbying expenditures in 2012.

Yahoo Board Seat Vacated by Tribune CEO Liguori
Peter Liguori has told Yahoo that he won't seek re-election at the next annual meeting, when his term expires. The Tribune CEO joined the board in 2012. Yahoo had hoped that the appointment of an independent director would help to derail a planned proxy fight by Daniel Loeb.

Vevo Music Video Investment Eyed by DreamWorks
DreamWorks Animation, which has been looking to expand its business beyond movies, is said to be interested in acquiring a stake in Vevo, the online music video service. Liberty Media and the Chernin Group are also said to be in early talks with Vevo's owners.

Aereo Coming to Google's Chromecast Next Month
Aereo is coming to the Chromecast. An upcoming update to the Aereo for Android app will add support for Google's $35 dongle. This will let subscribers of the streaming TV service fling their live TV or cloud DVR programs from a phone or tablet to Aereo with the tap of a button.

Twitter, Facebook Wield Little Impact on TV Watching
New York Times
A study by the Council for Research Excellence, a Nielsen-funded group, has contradicted the notion that Twitter and Facebook conversations are a big factor driving people to TV shows. Social media impact "was still relatively small compared to traditional promotion."

Google, YouTube Try to Prove TV Needs Their Help
Google has published a white paper demonstrating the popularity of TV-related videos and stories on Google and YouTube. The Internet giant believes TV networks should view YouTube as an indispensable tool and a cornerstone of their marketing campaigns.

BuzzFeed's Pitch to TV Networks: Use Our Brand
Wall Street Journal
BuzzFeed has offered to let TV networks use its brand name for on-air and digital promotions for their shows. Cable channels IFC and Bravo have signed on as launch partners. The service is part of an expansion of an existing BuzzFeed marketing offering to TV networks.

Apple's iWatch Expected to Cost More Than $1,000
New York Post
Apple's long-rumored iWatch could come with an eye-popping price. One company watcher has predicted that the tech giant will sell the device as a luxury accessory. "The most expensive model of the iWatch line will carry a price tag of several thousand U.S. dollars."

Google Glass Eyewear Going on Sale for One Day
Google plans to make its biggest push yet to get Glass in the hands of as many people as possible. The company will open up its "Explorer Program" and make the eyewear available for purchase on one day only. Next Tuesday's limited-time offer is for U.S. residents.

Amazon Acquires Digital-Comics Hub ComiXology
USA Today
Amazon has made a big move in the growing world of digital comic books. The online retail titan is acquiring ComiXology, the top platform in digital comics, for an undisclosed amount. The new deal will allow Amazon to "corner the market" on digital comics.

Yahoo to Poach Zee from Hearst's Elle Magazine
Joe Zee appears to be getting closer to the exit at Hearst Tower. While it has been widely reported Zee has been in talks with Yahoo to head up its fashion website, Elle's creative director is said to have accepted an offer from the web giant. For Elle, Zee's exit would be a big blow.


TV 'Upfronts' Face Middling Outlook as Web Erodes
Wall Street Journal
Amid shrinking audiences and intensifying competition for advertising dollars from online video outlets like YouTube and Yahoo, the overall volume of "upfront" financial commitments to networks for the fall season are likely to be essentially flat, according to analysts.

Internet Ad Sales Surpass Broadcast TV for First Time
Internet advertising soaked up record revenues of $42.8 billion in 2013, the Interactive Advertising Bureau said in a new report. A 17% increase over 2012's results, last year's number helped the online ad industry beat the $40.1 billion in sales seen by traditional TV advertising.

Report: Internet Ad Spending to Reach $121 Billion
Global advertising spending is on track to grow 5.5% this year to $537 billion, with Internet ads accounting for nearly one-quarter of that figure, at $121 billion, according to forecasts from ZenithOptimedia. Also, Zenith predicts that by 2015 Internet display will overtake paid search.

Clear Channel to Take Interactive Billboards Global
Financial Times
Clear Channel Outdoor plans to equip 56,000 outdoor advertising sites around the world with "near-field communication" capabilities, transforming billboards into interactive "launch pads." Scanning smartphones over special tags on the billboards will deliver targeted ad messages.

Report: Digital Ad Spending Poised to Overtake TV
Media Life
Digital ad spending has overtaken radio, magazine and newspaper spending over the past few years. Now, it's poised to slip ahead of the one medium that has long been ahead of everything else. In 2018, digital's share will surpass television's, according to eMarketer.

CBS Unveils Digital Network in New York Subway
CBS Outdoor formally launched its new digital out-of-home network this week, based in New York City subway stations, with Turner Broadcasting as launch partner. The "digital underground" network includes 10 large digital dioramas in locations throughout the subway system.

Report: Mobile Ad Spend to Overtake Newspapers
Financial Times
U.K. advertising spending on mobile devices will overtake spending on newspapers this year for the first time, according to a report by eMarketer. The research group forecasts that in 2015, mobile will overtake all of print, including magazines. In 2016 it will overtake TV.

WPP Invests in Online Content Marketer Percolate
Financial Times
WPP is buying a minority stake in Percolate, an advertising technology company specializing in content for digital and social media. The investment highlights the strong demand from advertisers for new types of online content amid the proliferation of media.

U.S. Considers Limiting TV Ads' Lists of Drug Risks
Daily News
Are you tired of TV ads for prescription medicines that warn of nausea, insomnia and suicidal thoughts? So is the U.S. government. The Food and Drug Administration will begin a study to find if such lengthy verbal citations can be shortened to the benefit of tuned-out consumers.

'Addressable TV' Ads Target Specific Individuals
Associated Press
Addressable TV, an emerging technology, allows advertisers to pay some broadcasters to pinpoint specific homes. "With a traditional TV buy you can end up paying for a lot of eyeballs you don't care about. Addressable TV is a powerful tool for those that are equipped to use it."

P&G Holds Early Gold in Social Media at Olympics
USA Today
If there's a gold medal for social media, it would likely go to Procter & Gamble. The consumer product giant, maker of such familiar brands as Tide and Charmin, appears to be the most buzzed-about brand of the Sochi Games. At least, as measured by YouTube views.

Google in Ad Measurement Deal with comScore
USA Today
Google has entered a major advertising deal with comScore to help the Internet giant win more business from big brands. Google is integrating comScore's measurement technology into its DoubleClick ad business, letting advertisers track online ads in near real time.

Rubicon Files for $100 Million Internet-Ad IPO
Rubicon Project, whose online-advertising platform reaches 96% of Internet users in the United States, filed to raise $100 million in an initial public offering. The Los Angeles-based company plans to use the funds raised in the IPO for marketing and research and development.


IAC's Diller Talks Murdoch, Aereo, Internet's Future
Hollywood Reporter
Barry Diller: "Unless you get doused in the Internet which is such an iterative process it's unlikely that you'll ever understand it in a way to make use of it. The converse is true: I've not seen one [technology-based] entity make that bridge to 'programming entertainment.'"

Disney: Man to Plead Guilty in Insider Trading Case
Associated Press
A man will plead guilty to securities fraud and pay regulators $801,000 for using insider information to profit from Disney's $4 billion acquisition of Marvel in 2009. Toby Scammell learned from his Disney-employee girlfriend that the company would buy a well-known firm.

Warner Bros Taps White House Veteran for PR Post
Dee Dee Myers, the first woman to serve as White House press secretary, has been named EVP of corporate communications and public affairs at Warner Bros., producer of the Washington TV drama "West Wing." Myers replaces Sue Fleishman, who is leaving the studio.

Fox's James Murdoch to Join Board of Ad Startup
New York Times
James Murdoch, co-chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, has joined the board of True[X] Media, an advertising company based in New York. The appointment comes as the venture capital-backed startup refreshes its board, bringing in industry expertise as it grows.

Hollywood Reporter Names 'Most Powerful' in Media
Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter's fourth annual list of influencers honors the men and women who shape the media message and interpret the sweep of the culture. New entries this year include BuzzFeed's Jonah Peretti and Ben Smith, Vice Media's Shane Smith and Gawker's Nick Denton.

Martha Stewart Pet Products Lawsuit to Advance
A lawsuit claiming Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia tried to undercut business partner Age Group's relationship with pet products retailer PetSmart can proceed, a New York state judge has ruled. Age Group sued MSLO last year for breach of contract and other claims.

Disney Wins Backing of Maker Studios Over Relativity
Disney's $950 million agreement by buy Maker Studios was reaffirmed by the online video company, putting a quick end to a last-minute offer from Relativity Media. Maker said its board and a majority of shareholders approved the sale, which should close in a few weeks.

Lions Gate Partners with Online Outfit RocketJump
Associated Press
Another Hollywood studio has tied up with a video creator that has made it big on YouTube. Lions Gate Entertainment has announced a multi-year partnership with RocketJump Studios, maker of hit online show "Video Game High School," which is now in its third season.

Sony: Fincher Out of Steve Jobs Movie in Fee Fight
Hollywood Reporter
Sony Pictures is looking to replace David Fincher as director of its highly anticipated Steve Jobs movie due to his aggressive demands for compensation and control. Fincher is said to be seeking a hefty $10 million up front in fees, as well as control over marketing.

Disney's 'Captain America' Outguns 'Rio 2' from Fox
Disney's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" led ticket sales for a second week, holding off Fox's "Rio 2," as audiences rewarded Hollywood studios for releasing their biggest films early. "The key takeaway is this is turning into a huge month and bodes well for the industry."

Viacom Scrambles to Find a Successor to Colbert
Wall Street Journal
Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" has helped define the channel's brand and has become a key part of its schedule. The Viacom network is now scrambling to figure out a replacement for Stephen Colbert. The new host will need to appeal to the channel's 18-34 audience.

Comcast Takeover Bad for America, Senator Says
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.): "The danger in allowing Comcast to accrue even more power is not purely hypothetical. The company is already using its dominant position to dictate terms to content providers. Content not owned by Comcast could become harder to find online."

Disney's Iger Ranks as Second Highest-Paid CEO
New York Times
Oracle's Larry Ellison had the highest total compensation among CEOs in 2013, according to a pay study from Equilar. At $78.4 million, Ellison's pay was more than double that of the second-ranked exec, Bob Iger of Disney, and triple that of the third-place finisher, Rupert Murdoch.

Fox, News Corp's Murdoch Talks Ex-Wife, Facebook
In a wide-ranging interview with Fortune, media mogul Rupert Murdoch talked extensively about social media, and admitted that News Corp.'s decision to not hire Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was a mistake. He also discussed his ex-wife and his 2016 presidential pick.

CBS's Moonves Buys Mansion on 'Billionaires Beach'
New York Post
CBS chief Les Moonves has bought Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's home on Malibu's prestigious Carbon Beach for $28 million. Carbon is dubbed "Billionaires Beach" because it is also home to the likes of Larry Ellison, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Disney's Maker Studios Buy Threatened by Ex-CEO
Wall Street Journal
Maker Studios former CEO Danny Zappin and three other former execs have filed a lawsuit aiming to prevent a shareholder vote to approve a takeover bid by Disney. The group claims some Maker directors had issued shares to themselves to dilute Zappin's ownership.

Viacom to Offer Advertisers Social Media Guarantees
Advertising Age
Viacom has begun taking steps toward offering advertisers guarantees for the social media impact it can give them. The company plans to underpin the guarantees with data on social activity across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Google + and YouTube in real time.

Sony, Warner Music Labels Gang Up on MegaUpload
The Recording Industry Association of America has filed a lawsuit against MegaUpload just three days after the Motion Picture Association of America filed a similar suit against the defunct file-sharing service. The suit accuses MegaUpload of "massive copyright infringement."

Big Media Won't Stand Up to Comcast's Big Merger
CBS, Time Warner, Viacom and other media giants weren't at Comcast's U.S. Senate panel hearing regarding the merger with Time Warner Cable. Comcast paid out $9.1 billion on programming last year. The bulk of that money went to the companies that suddenly lost their tongues.

Comcast Says It Represents the American Dream
Philadelphia Inquirer
Comcast EVP David Cohen told U.S. senators at a hearing on the merger with Time Warner Cable that his company represented the "American dream." Acquiring TWC will provide "the scale to innovate." However, the proposed deal faced "a high degree of skepticism."

21st Century Fox Enters Internet-TV Deal in Italy
Telecom Italia, the country's largest phone company, is teaming with Rupert Murdoch's Sky Italia for an Internet-TV service to attract broadband subscriptions. Starting next year, Telecom Italia clients with a My Sky HD decoder will have access to Sky's TV programs over the web.

Hearst CEO Swartz Shares Vision of Media Future
Fox Business
Hearst CEO Steve Swartz: "We love the magazine business; we love the newspaper business; cable TV is obviously our biggest business. But, for us, our second biggest source of profits is business information. Technology enables business information to be even stronger."

Time Warner Dumps $1.4 Billion Debt on Time Inc
New York Post
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has revealed that the $1.4 billion in debt and loans that will be assigned to Time Inc. in its spinoff will be used in large part to pay the parent company for IPC Media, a British publishing subsidiary. IPC is still carried on Time Warner's books.

Comcast: We Need Merger to Compete with Google
Ars Technica
Comcast, attempting to explain why its proposed $45.2 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable would be good for consumers, said it needs extra scale to compete against Google, Netflix and other companies in broadband and video. "The point is, Google is coming."

Disney, Time Warner on Superhero Collision Course
Disney has thrown down the gauntlet at Warner Bros. by scheduling the next Captain America film to open on May 6, 2016 the same day its competitor releases a combined Superman-Batman movie. The move suggests competition for top dates remains fierce.




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