Today's Headlines
Tuesday, 9/2/14

Apple, FBI Probe Alleged Hack of Celebrity Photos
NBC News
The FBI and Apple said they are investigating the apparent hacking of iCloud accounts that led to alleged private photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other female stars being posted online. Said Apple: "We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report."

Disney's 'Guardians' Leads US Box Office for 2014
The "Guardians of the Galaxy" misfits reached a new box office stratosphere over the Labor Day weekend, soaring past fellow Marvel hero "Captain America" to become the year's highest-grossing domestic film. "Guardians" rung up $16.3 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales.

Fox Wins Summer Box Office Amid Slumping Sales
The five films Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox division put out this summer season have grossed some $783 million. That makes for a pretty good per-film average of more than $156 million. Last year, Fox hauled in $595.9 million with six films averaging $99 million each.

Disney-Hearst Venture to Buy Stake in Vice Media
Financial Times
Vice Media is finalizing the sale of a 10% stake to A&E Networks, the cable TV group jointly owned by Disney and Hearst, in a deal valuing the digital media company at $2.5 billion. The deal comes after Vice and Time Warner ended talks over the purchase of a stake.

Comcast: FCC Seeks Private Feedback from Rivals
Wall Street Journal
As the Federal Communications Commission reviews Comcast's proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable, the agency is encouraging media companies to offer feedback confidentially. One gripe: a practice that gives cable giants the same terms as competitors.

DirecTV Blacks Out Raycom TV Stations in Dispute
More than 50 local stations owned by Raycom Media went dark on DirecTV after the two sides failed to reach a new carriage agreement. The companies also engaged in contentious negotiations three years ago before reaching a deal. Negotiations continue, Raycom said.

AT&T Says Cox Makes 'Billions' From Its Patents
AT&T is suing Cox for infringing eight patents dealing with network quality after the regional cable provider ignored its complaints about the issue, according to a new lawsuit. Cox "generates billions of dollars in revenue every year through its use of AT&T technologies."

Liberty Global Stirs Talk of Takeover Offer for ITV
Liberty Global is canvassing support from major ITV shareholders following its acquisition of a 6.4% stake, raising speculation of a full takeover bid. Liberty is said to be forming alliances with the big American investors that own chunks of Britain's biggest commercial broadcaster.

BBC to Name Financial Times Veteran Chairwoman
BBC News
Rona Fairhead, former head of the Financial Times Group, is poised to become the new chairwoman of the BBC Trust. Fairhead is the preferred candidate to replace Lord Patten, who quit in May. Fairhead would be the first woman to chair the trust, which oversees the BBC.

Turner Shake-Up Continues with Programmer's Exit
Los Angeles Times
Michael Wright, programming president for Turner Broadcasting's TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies, is said to be stepping down. Wright is the second high-ranking Turner programming exec to leave this year. He is seen as a key member of the team that put TNT and TBS on the map.

CNN Online Reporter Posts YouTube Video of Layoff
Variety reporter Lisa Dejardins posted an online video of her final sign off from the news network as she prepared to leave after being laid off. "A lot of folks are worried" about their jobs, she said. Her departure was part of a restructuring of CNN's Washington bureau.

MSNBC Host Wagner, Chef Invite Obama to Wedding
Associated Press
President Obama and family on Saturday attended the wedding of chef Sam Kass and MSNBC host Alex Wagner, who tied the knot at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a farm-to-table restaurant in Pocantico Hills, just north of New York City. Obama and Kass have a close relationship.

NBC: Clinton Daughter Says Goodbye to News Job
Daily News
Chelsea Clinton is saying goodbye to her NBC News gig and $600,000 paycheck. The 34-year-old mom-to-be said she is giving up her special correspondent gig "to continue focusing" on the Clinton Foundation and as "Marc and I look forward to welcoming our first child."

ABC 'World News' Anchor Muir Won't Be Deskbound
Associated Press
Among the stories David Muir will introduce during his first week as ABC's "World News" anchor is one he reported about Syrian refugees missing out on education. "A huge part of this for me was a promise that I was not going to be tethered to the anchor desk," he said.

Vice Media Set to Get a Cable Channel in A&E Deal
Vice Media's deal to sell a 10% stake to A&E should mean that the company, best known for its Internet video success, will get its hands on a cable channel it can brand and program. Also, Vice is said to be near a deal to sell another stake to Technology Crossover Ventures.

TheBlaze: Deny Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger
Philadelphia Inquirer
Glenn Beck said the U.S. government should reject Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable because the two companies won't distribute his cable-TV channel, TheBlaze. The two cable giants are denying access to differing viewpoints, the former Fox News host claims.

ESPN Blamed for NFL's Lack of Interest in Gay Player
NBC Sports
Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL, has been cut by the Rams and passed over by all other teams. So is Sam being avoided because he's gay? According to one player, the teams are avoiding Sam because they don't want the ESPN hype. "Blame that on ESPN."

HBO's Oliver Becomes 'Must-Share TV' Internet Star
New Yorker
John Oliver, host of HBO's "Last Week Tonight," is currently more of an Internet star than a traditional TV one, as he has noted of himself. But while the distinction might not matter to his fans, it might matter to HBO, whose business model is based on paying customers.

YouTube Views for Top Channels See Major Growth
The monthly view-count for the top 100 YouTube channels has grown by 80.5% over the last year, according to data from online video industry site Tubefilter and analytics firm OpenSlate. The big winner from that growth is PewDiePie, the alter ego of Swedish gamer Felix Kjellberg.

Survey: Watching TV Most Favored Leisure Activity
Daily Mail
More than a third of Americans will watch TV between 8 and 9 p.m. today, while only 8% of the country will spend the same hour doing household chores. That is according to an hourly breakdown of the U.S. government's American Time Use Survey produced by e-commerce firm Retale.

Report: E-Sports Drawing Real Crowds, Big Money
New York Times
The games industry is turning its ambitions toward the lucrative world of professional video game competition, widely known as e-sports. The games mostly attract young males, a group that is hard to reach with TV ads. Games are becoming "a major mass media platform."

Apple Erects Mystery Structure for Product Launch
The mystery behind Apple's new product launch announcement on Sept. 9 is deepening with the building of a secretive structure at the site of the planned announcement. Security guards are shooing people away from the three-story structure, which is wrapped in white.

Alibaba Preps US IPO Launch for Early Next Week
Wall Street Journal
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to launch its U.S. IPO early in the week of Sept. 8, as the company aims to complete its months-long dialogue with U.S. regulators. The launch will kick off a deal that could raise more than $20 billion and be the world's largest in years.

Yelp, Demand Media on Goldman's M&A Short List
Goldman Sachs analysts led by Heath Terry said there have been some $50 billion in U.S.-based Internet mergers and acquisitions so far this year and more deals are likely. Among the Internet companies seen as possible targets: Yelp, WebMD, TrueCar and Demand Media.

Monocle Magazine Sells Stake to Publisher Nikkei
Financial Times
Tyler Brule, the FT columnist known for his luxurious lifestyle, has sold a minority stake in his global affairs magazine Monocle to Japanese newspaper publisher Nikkei. The deal values Monocle, which launched in 2007, at $115 million. Said Brule: "We're in a very good place."

People Magazine Nabs Brangelina Wedding Photos
USA Today
Wedding photos from the surprise Aug. 23 nuptials between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will run in the Sept. 15 issue of People magazine, which goes on sale Wednesday. People got access to the photos along with Hello! magazine. "You can't view photos online from the wedding yet."

Mental Floss Magazine Is Buoyed by Online Video
New York Times
Mental Floss, the quirky Dennis Publishing title specializing in knowledge and trivia, has become one of the magazine industry's biggest video success stories. "Fault in Our Stars" author John Green hosts a YouTube show for Mental Floss that is a hit among millennials.

Elle UK to Launch Fashion-Forward Wedding Mag
Elle U.K. is stepping into the bridal sphere, with the launch of Elle Wedding. Come Sept. 9, the Hearst Magazines U.K. title will hit newsstands with an issue offering content spanning bridal beauty, fashion and more, under the tagline of "individuality not conformity."

Ebony Publisher Hit with $5 Million Defamation Suit
Chicago Tribune
A Georgia FBI agent and his wife have filed a lawsuit against Johnson Publishing and a freelance writer, claiming articles that ran in Ebony magazine falsely implicated their sons in the death of a high-school classmate. The couple is seeking $5 million in damages.

Bon Appetit to Hold 'Feast' Amid Ad-Page Famine
Conde Nast's Bon Appetit plans to hold the fourth edition of Feast or Fashion, one of the magazine's highest revenue-grossing events. The event, which helps bring in nonendemic advertisers, comes after the title posted three months of ad-page declines over the summer.

Conde Nast: Who Will Rule After Reign of Newhouse?
Capital New York
Si Newhouse, Conde Nast's 86-year-old chairman, has for some time been perceived as having quietly ceded his day-to-day involvement in company affairs. The question of who will rule after the end of his reign remains a parlor game. "After Labor Day, things could be very active."

New York Times Chief Marries on Martha's Vineyard
New York Times
Gabrielle Greene, a partner in an investment firm, and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman and publisher of the New York Times, were married Saturday on Martha's Vineyard. The bride is taking her husband's name. The bride's previous marriage ended in divorce, as did the groom's.

Washington Post Veteran Editor Isaacs Dies at 76
Washington Post
Steve Isaacs, who became the Washington Post's city editor at 26, experimented with long-form journalism in a bid to save the old Minneapolis Star as its top editor, and was a demanding journalism professor at Columbia University, died Aug. 28 in Austin, Texas.

Wall Street Journal Exec to Join Kutcher in Startup
Advertising Age
Wall Street Journal digital sales chief Brad Westbrook said he is leaving the newspaper to start "a new media company" with actor and investor Ashton Kutcher. Westbrook is joining a startup called A+ as chief revenue officer. A+ is a platform that "leverages viral, social stories."

Daily Mail's Sponsored Content Mirrors BuzzFeed's
The Daily Mail's popular website lists reporters to write its sponsored stories, as opposed to tapping separate non-newsroom writers on the sales side. Mail Online's new North America CEO Jon Steinberg spent four years helping BuzzFeed craft its content pitch for brands.

BuzzFeed Seeks Developers for Push Into Games
BuzzFeed said it is in the process of building up a team focusing on games. The plan is to "build a warehouse somewhere and fill it full of 70 developers," who will with the existing editorial team to "pursue cool ideas." Plus, game-like ads on BuzzFeed are seen as likely.

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Time Inc's People: No Comment on Brangelina Photos
Wall Street Journal
Exclusive photos of intimate moments in the lives of global superstars routinely sell for millions of dollars. For Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, they're loyal to People magazine. But so far, People has denied requests for comments about "the wedding of the century."

IPC Media Eyes Mag Subscriptions via Text Messages
Advertising Age
Boku, a mobile payments company, has partnered with U.K. publisher IPC Media owner of titles such as NME and Wallpaper* on a mobile-payment system that allows consumers to subscribe to magazines via text message and charge the subscription to their phone bill.

Conde Nast's Vogue Germany Offers Readers 'Blipps'
Conde Nast's German edition of Vogue has partnered with augmented reality company Blippar to create the magazine's first interactive edition. Using Blippar's blip-creation tool, 15 blipps were created, giving readers access to exclusive content and "secret footage."

Meredith Launches 'Better Homes' Streaming TV Show
Meredith has partnered with Net2TV to launch a streaming on-demand TV show, based on Better Homes and Gardens. The new 30-minute program will air twice a month. The "Better Homes and Gardens Show" is hosted by Jackie Tranchida, who hosts NBC's "First Look."

Financial Times Moves Into Wearables with FastFT
The Drum
The Financial Times has launched its fastFT service on the Samsung Gear S in its first venture into the wearables space. The publisher has teamed up with technology provider Spritz to create the app, which will deliver a content stream to users at a speed of their choosing.

Huffington Post to Host Its First-Ever Political Debate
Capital New York
The Huffington Post is getting into the debate game. The website will host an Oct. 6 showdown at California's San Jose State University between Silicon Valley Democrats Ro Khanna and Mike Honda, who are vying for a congressional seat. The debate will be HuffPost's first.

Nikki Finke in Deal to Write Book About Hollywood
New York Times
Journalist Nikki Finke has nearly completed a nonfiction book about Hollywood that will be published by Simon & Schuster. S&S president Jonathan Karp has declined to provide details about the contents and said a publication date had not been set. "The book will be an event."

New York Times Attracts More Millennials Than Vice
BuzzFeed reigns in terms of online millennial readers, attracting 38.5 million U.S. unique visitors in July, according to comScore. But all hope is not lost for the old guard: The New York Times, at 15.9 million, lures nearly 20% more millennial visitors than Vice.


CBS Renews Affiliation Deal for Lin Media TV Stations
CBS has agreed to renew affiliation deals for 12 stations owned by Lin Media, helping the local-TV chain cement the terms of its takeover by Media General. Earlier this month, Media General cut the price it is paying to buy Lin after CBS broke off ties with another Lin station.

Gannett Names VP to Reinvent Local News at Stations
Ellen Crooke, WXIA-Atlanta news director, has been named VP of news at Gannett Broadcasting. She joins Michael Valentine in heading up news for Gannett's 46 stations. "No group of broadcasters is more committed to shaping the future of local news than Gannett."

ABC Names Boss at 'The View' Ahead of New Season
Associated Press
ABC has named Bill Wolff as the new executive producer of "The View," which begins a new season on Sept. 15. Wolff replaces Bill Geddie, who decided not to stay when ABC said Wolff would be brought in alongside him. More panelists are expected to be named for the show.

CNN Poised to Be Surpassed by BBC in Online News
The Drum
The BBC's global audience has grown to 73.4 million unique browsers, taking the British broadcaster to just 200,000 behind CNN, the leader for online news visits. Research by comScore found that the BBC's global audience has grown by 30% since 2012.

Time Warner Cable Internet Disruption Sparks Inquiry
Time Warner Cable's nationwide Internet service disruption on Wednesday has increased the scrutiny of its planned merger with Comcast. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he has directed the New York State Department of Public Service to investigate the outage as part of its merger review.

ESPN Pays Four Times the Rate of Broadcast Networks
The NFL's contracts with three of the big four U.S. TV networks CBS, Fox, NBC and with cable channel ESPN are all slightly different. ESPN spends far more than the others, paying twice the cost for half the audience, effectively four times what the broadcast networks pay.

Spike 'Cops' Crew Member Killed in Police Shooting
CNN Money
A crew member working on a taping of "Cops" was inadvertently shot and killed by a police officer during a robbery in Omaha. Bryce Dion, an audio technician, is believed to be the first member of the "Cops" production staff killed in the 25-year history of the TV show.

BET Suspends Producer After Joke About Blue Ivy
Associated Press
BET has suspended a producer after a joke about Beyonce and Jay Z's daughter that aired on the network's music video countdown show, "106 & Park." The producer reportedly was suspended after a remark about 2-year-old Blue Ivy's hair. A BET exec later apologized on Twitter.


Netflix Acquires NBC's 'The Blacklist' in Record Deal
In what is believed to be the biggest subscription video-on-demand deal for a TV series, Netflix has acquired the rights to hit NBC drama "The Blacklist" in a deal that will net $2 million per episode. Season 1 is expected to debut on the streaming service next weekend.

Hulu Didn't Know 'Like' Button Sent Data to Facebook
Hulu said in court papers that it is entitled to prevail in a lawsuit accusing the company of violating privacy law by allegedly sharing users' personal data with Facebook. The suit centers on charges that Hulu wrongly shared information with Facebook via the "Like" button.

YouTube Tweaks Video Pages in Minor Site Facelift
Next Web
YouTube has received an ever so minor redesign. The information pane underneath the videos has been tweaked slightly. Other elements also appear to have been cleaned up, such as the related videos section. Many elements appear cleaner and flatter than before.

Google's Smith Eyed for US Chief Technology Officer
Google exec Megan Smith is close to heading to the White House. Smith, who was most recently a VP at Google's X lab, is said to be a top candidate for the role of U.S. chief technology officer. Smith would become the third person to fill the job of "chief geek-in-residence."

Apple's Giant iPad Has Few Fans Among Tech Insiders
Apple is reportedly developing an even larger iPad in an effort to reverse a recent slowdown in sales of the device. But some tech insiders don't believe in the viability of such a product. "As you increase the screen size, you decrease the mobility of the product."

Rovio 'Angry Birds' Maker CEO to Exit as Sales Stall
Finland's Rovio, the maker of the "Angry Birds" mobile game, said it has hired Pekka Rantala from beverage maker Hartwall to take over as its new CEO by the beginning of next year. Current CEO Mikael Hed, son of board chairman Kaj Hed, will join the company's board of directors.

Twitter Suspends Parody Account of JPMorgan CEO
Twitter is known for short-lived phenomena, and here's another one: a parody account for JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon only lasted about 24 hours before being suspended. The account popped up Wednesday afternoon under the Twitter handle @JPMorganCEO.

Google's YouTube: The New Hollywood Hit Factory
With summer TV ratings falling, the domestic movie box office down sharply, and upfront sales of TV advertising weak, a slew of mergers, acquisitions and investment has shaken the YouTube cosmos. Big media companies are jostling for a piece of the action.


Report: Media Giants to Rely Less on Ad Revenues
Big media companies have been moving to lessen their reliance on advertising revenue in favor of other sources of revenue, including subscriptions, syndication and production fees, according to an analysis by SNL Kagan. Traditional ad platforms will see "continued pressure."

Magna Global: Digital to Drive Ad Growth in 2015
Wall Street Journal
Magna Global has cut its forecast for U.S. advertising revenue growth this year to 5.1% from 6%. But the Interpublic-owned media buying and research firm expects the ad market to bounce back in the second half of the year, and sees its strongest growth rate in a decade in 2015.

Twitter Aims to Expand Ad Network Across Europe
Financial Times
Twitter plans to expand its advertising system across Europe, more than doubling the number of countries it is available in across the continent, as the company strives to reach profitability. The move will allow thousands of businesses in the region to access Twitter's ad products.

Yahoo Brings Native Ads to Other Publisher Sites
Advertising Age
Last year Yahoo adopted the low-hanging-fruit version of native advertising. Unlike BuzzFeed's sponsored listicles or the New York Times's brand-penned posts, Yahoo's native Stream Ads resemble Facebook's Sponsored Stories in that they refashion ads as content links.

TV-Ad Buyers Holding Back as Viewers Move Online
Financial Times
At this year's TV upfront market, ad spending fell 6%, according to estimates. This is the first annual drop in upfront ad sales across broadcast and cable since 2009. Given the growth of digital, brands were less likely to "rush to lock in TV" spending. "TV is less special and unique."

Advertising Week to Get an Extra Jolt of Star Power
New York Post
New York's Advertising Week plans to ramp up the star wattage. Compared to the Cannes Lions ad festival on the French Riviera, the city's annual industry gathering has been a more buttoned-down affair. But organizers aim to add sizzle to the 11th edition, kicking off Sept. 29.

Marketers Hope to Bridge Gap in Mobile Ad Spending
Financial Times
Tech groups have been laying big bets on mobile advertising, as consumer attention shifts from print and radio to smartphones and tablets. But mobile marketing remains a realm of hesitation and experimentation. The tools for measuring effectiveness "are still being built."

Report: Outside Money Drives Deluge of Political Ads
New York Times
An explosion of spending on TV political advertising set to break $2 billion in congressional races, with overall spots up nearly 70% since the 2010 midterm election is said to be accelerating the rise of moneyed interests and wresting control from candidates' efforts to reach voters.

Publicis Mulls Digital Acquisitions in 'Difficult' Year
Financial Times
Publicis, the French advertising group, has revised its growth plan with a view to accelerate investment and make new digital media acquisitions, after its $35 billion merger with Omnicom fell apart in May. "People who don't have enough assets in digital will end up hugely disappointed."

EMarketer: Mobile's Ad Share Is Passing Newspapers
Wall Street Journal
American media habits are changing and the advertising dollars are following. Ad spending on smartphones and tablets will this year eclipse radio, magazines and newspapers, according to eMarketer. Spending on mobile is predicted to jump 83% in 2014 to nearly $18 billion.

CBS Outdoor Buys 1,100 Billboards from Van Wagner
CBS Outdoor Americas plans to buy some outdoor advertising businesses from privately held U.S. billboard company Van Wagner for $690 million in cash. The deal includes about 1,100 large-format billboard displays in 11 U.S. markets with total revenue of $206 million in 2013.

Report: Advertisers Moving Money From TV to Digital
Wall Street Journal
Procter & Gamble and General Motors, two of the biggest U.S. advertisers, have scaled back their advertising commitments to TV networks during the annual "upfront" negotiations. While both companies still devote most of their ad dollars to TV, they have begun moving more into digital.


Report: Big Media Rethinking Broadcast TV Models
The future of broadcast TV is everywhere on the minds of media execs across the industry. The conclusion emerging is that over the long-term network TV is a challenged business. "Everyone in the TV business should be reevaluating how important the broadcast business is."

Time Warner CEO Running Scared, CNN Founder Says
Huffington Post
Reese Schonfeld, co-founder of CNN: "Jeff Bewkes and John Martin seem to be following the traditional trail of MBAs cut costs, put lipstick on the pig, dress it up and sell it for as much money as you can get and let the buyer worry about the future. Bewkes and Martin are running scared."

Comcast: New York Carries Big Stick in Deal Review
In a test of state clout over megamergers, New York regulators have threatened to disrupt Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable unless the companies agree to costly concessions. The two cable giants are trying to appease state officials reviewing the $42.5 billion deal.

Report: Big Media Rethinking Broadcast TV Models
The future of broadcast TV is everywhere on the minds of media execs across the industry. The conclusion emerging is that over the long-term network TV is a challenged business. "Everyone in the TV business should be reevaluating how important the broadcast business is."

Fox 'X-Men' Director's Accuser Drops Abuse Lawsuit
Associated Press
A former child model can drop his lawsuit accusing "X-Men" franchise director Bryan Singer of abuse and has the option of refiling it later, a federal judge has ruled. Michael Egan III said that he wanted to dismiss the suit because he can't find a new lawyer to represent him.

Universal Music Invests in 'Virtual Jukebox' Rockbot
Rockbot, a virtual jukebox solution for businesses, has closed a strategic investment from Universal Music Group. The funding will be used as Rockbot seeks to expand its business in restaurants, bars and other brick-and-mortar locations across the United States.

Comcast: Time Warner Cable Deal to Close in 2015
Comcast said it expects its planned $45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable to be completed early next year. The timing is due to the company's current expectations about regulatory approvals. Comcast previously said that the deal may be completed by the end of 2014.

Time Warner Cable Paying $1.1 Million for Violation
Time Warner Cable will pay $1.1 million to resolve a Federal Communications Commission investigation that found the cable and Internet provider did not properly report multiple network outages. The FCC found that the company "failed to file a substantial number of reports."

Report: Media Giants to Rely Less on Ad Revenues
Big media companies have been moving to lessen their reliance on advertising revenue in favor of other sources of revenue, including subscriptions, syndication and production fees, according to an analysis by SNL Kagan. Traditional ad platforms will see "continued pressure."

Hollywood Pins Hopes on Lineup for Summer 2015
Wall Street Journal
Excitement over a flurry of scheduled franchise sequels and a comparatively lousy summer this year has some movie studio execs wanting the 2015 season to start now. 2015 and 2016 are "shaping up to be some of the strongest box office years in recent history."




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