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Disney Names Ben Sherwood as Anne Sweeney’s Successor(THR)
ABC News president Ben Sherwood has been named Anne Sweeney’s successor as co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group. He’ll officially take over the role on Feb. 1, 2015. TVNewser Sherwood will begin the transition immediately and take on the role of co-president of Disney/ABC while also overseeing ABC News until his successor is named. Variety Sherwood was a front-runner for the job ever since Sweeney shocked industry on March 11 when she announced she was resigning as of January 2015 to pursue a career as a television director. Sherwood steered the rise of Good Morning America and brokered deals like ABC News’ partnership with Yahoo!. He will also serve as co-chairman of Disney Media Networks alongside ESPN’s John Skipper. NYT Among Sherwood’s first decisions — with oversight from Disney chairman Bob Iger and Sweeney — will be the choice of his own successor in the news division. “We have a deep bench of leaders at ABC News,” he said. The standout candidate for that job is James Goldston, the senior vice president of ABC News who has been instrumental first in the revival of the late-night programNightline and then in the rise of GMA. WSJ Sherwood was named president of ABC News in December 2010. He is responsible for all aspects of ABC News’ broadcasts. In addition, Sherwood oversees ABC News Radio, ABCnews.com, satellite service NewsOne and ABC News Now. ABC News reaches a combined audience of well over 270 million people a month on television, on radio and online, and is enjoying significant audience growth driven by a creative renaissance and innovative deal-making. In addition, during Sherwood’s tenure, the news division has won the most prestigious honors in the industry.
Meet Business Insider’s Newest Political Columnist — Anthony Weiner (Business Insider)
Business Insider announced Monday that former New York City mayoral candidate and congressman Anthony Weiner will be contributing a new monthly column to its politics page. The new column, which will be titled “Weiner!,” will run on the last Friday of each month beginning this week. FishbowlNY In the announcement, Business Insider proclaimed that it was “very pleased” that Weiner would be penning the column. The statement read, “We believe the unique combination of brashness and wonkiness that made Weiner one of last year’s most memorable candidates and one of the most high-profile advocates for health care reform during his time in Congress will make him a perfect fit” for the website. The Washington Times The Democrat resigned from Congress in 2011 after he admitted to exchanging sexually explicit messages with several women who weren’t his wife. A second sexting scandal arose when he entered politics again last summer to run for New York City mayor. Mediaite In a Facebook post at the end of last year, Weiner intimated at 2014 plans that included his thoughts on progressives needing to stop coming “to knife fights carrying library books.”
Maria Bartiromo Launching New Show on Fox News Channel (Fox News / Fox 411)
Maria Bartiromo is joining Fox News’ Sunday morning lineup with a new business show. Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo will premiere on March 30 at 10 a.m. ET. TVNewser Bartiromo will interview business leaders and newsmakers on economic topics like job creation and investment opportunities, with the goal of preparing viewers for their financial future. She suggested that the new show will fill a void on Sunday mornings, adding business figures to the political pundit mix. LA Times / Company Town As part of the multimillion-dollar deal to woo Bartiromo to Fox News, the network offered her a Monday-Friday stock market show on the Fox Business Network and the upcoming hour-long Sunday business program on Fox News Channel. Fox on Monday said that her new show will replace America’s News HQ Weekend. The latter program runs at various times throughout the weekend. Deadline Hollywood Bartiromo will continue as Fox Business Network’s global markets editor and anchor Opening Bell With Maria Bartiromo. Last November, Bartiromo, whose contract with CNBC expired that month, announced she was jumping to FBN, reuniting her with Roger Ailes, who was running CNBC when she joined; she’d been on-air with CNBC since 1993, anchoring Closing Bell and hosting On The Money With Maria Bartiromo. Before that, she did a stint as a producer, writer and assignment editor at CNN.
Disney Buys Maker Studios in Deal Worth at Least $500 Million (Variety)
The Walt Disney Co. is acquiring Maker Studios, a top YouTube multichannel network, for $500 million with a performance-based earn-out of up to $450 million, the company announced. According to Disney, Maker Studios will bring it “advanced technology” and insight into consumers’ discovery and interaction with short-form online videos, including Disney content — especially among millennial audiences. Adweek Maker Studios distributes such strange hits as PewDiePie and Shay Carl (the work of co-founder Shay Carl Butler), as well as a series of fashion-related shows for women, and even syndicates old-school cartoons for kids under its Cartoonium imprint. Founded in 2009, the network boasts more than 380 million subscribers across all 55,000 of its channels and generates 5.5 billion viewers a month. THR Recently, Maker has been looking to expand beyond its YouTube roots. The company acquired startup video network Blip in September 2013, ostensibly to develop a distribution platform of its own. The company also recently began partnering with celebrities to develop original content.
Ben Richardson Quits Bloomberg News Over Handling of Investigative Piece(JimRomenesko.com)
Ben Richardson has resigned from Bloomberg News after 13 years to protest editors’ handling of an investigative piece reported from China — a story that the bosses feared would get them expelled from the country. The Wire According to Bloomberg, the piece wasn’t killed for business reasons, but was put on hold because fears that, if published, it would jeopardize their journalists’ ability to stay in the country. But Bloomberg employees suspected that the Chinese had retaliated against the company, and they were hoping to avoid further sanctions. However, Bloomberg said it was “absolutely false that [the company] postponed these stories due to external pressure.” Yet, months later, the articles remain unpublished. HuffPost Bloomberg’s handling of the investigative piece has created a fair amount of turmoil for the company. Former Bloomberg reporter Michael Forsythe was suspended for allegedly leaking the story to The New York Times, for example, and later parted ways with the organization. He was hired by the Times in January.
Flurry Launches Service to Track Mobile App Users, Offline (Ad Age)
At the moment, a company like Ford can count the downloads of its mobile-app and even blast out ads for the app to “car enthusiasts.” Soon, it’ll know if the app users actually crossed into a dealership. Flurry, the mobile-app measurement and advertising platform, assists brands in targeting car fanatics, “Movie Lovers,” “Bookworms” and more than 40 other consumer “Personas.” On Monday, Flurry announced a partnership with Research Now, a digital data collecting firm, to create what they call the largest panel database on mobile users. And they’re selling it to marketers.
Netflix Stock Takes A Hit After Apple-Comcast Report Surfaces (Mashable)
Netflix’s stock fell 7 percent on Monday after a Wall Street Journal report emerged claiming Apple was in talks with Comcast for a TV set-top box release. Comcast, the country’s largest cable operator, is reportedly in discussions with Apple about a set-top box that would allow for special access on Comcast’s backend equipment, thus bypassing typical Internet congestion. Though the talks are said to be preliminary, investors see a potential challenge to Netflix’s business.Forbes Such an agreement might avoid problems that Netflix has had ensuring fast streaming speeds for its customers. To avoid slow buffering, Netflix recently agree to pay an undisclosed amount to connect directly to Comcast’s network. Outsiders have raised net neutrality concerns about the deal, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings blasted ISPs in a blog post last week.
Slate to Introduce Membership Plan (NYT)
In the hunt for revenue in the digital era, news publications have tried everything from putting up paywalls to soliciting donations. The digital magazine Slate, nearly two decades old, plans to experiment with a strategy somewhere in between. Starting Tuesday, it will market a new membership program called Slate Plus. FishbowlNY Slate readers can subscribe to the plan — which will give them special access to the site’s writers, ad-free podcasts, and admission to live events — for $5 a month or $50 a year. Slate Plus is unique in that the entire Slate website will remain free.
BuzzFeed Unites With an Alumnus of Gawker (NYT)
Neetzan Zimmerman, an editor who rose to prominence at Gawker with an uncanny knack for posting popular news articles and videos, is teaming up with another highflying player in the “viral” content wars. Monday, the fast-growing media website BuzzFeed announced that it had joined forces with Zimmerman, who left Gawker in January to become editor-in-chief of Whisper, a new app that allows people to share secrets and make confessions anonymously. The partnership will give BuzzFeed access to Whisper and to its content for possible articles.FishbowlNY “BuzzFeed is just a natural partner for Whisper,” Zimmerman told the Times. “It is teeming with the sort of content we will be good at.” Mashable Zimmerman and another Whisper employee will work with BuzzFeed writers to identify content that fits with certain themes and help produce posts. Zimmerman downplayed initial reports that a group of BuzzFeed writers would be dedicated to search Whisper for stories. The partnership, which does not include any compensation, has already produced posts such as “19 Brutally Honest Teacher Confessions,” which features a series of embedded Whisper pictures. The post has already garnered more than 1.1 million views.
So Over It (CJR / Language Corner)
Far too much has already been written about the Associated Press’ announcement last week that it would begin allowing the use of “over” in situations where it had required “more than,” as in “She earns over $800,000 a year.” The AP had limited the use of “over” to non-numerical and spatial relationships, as in “She stood over him and waved her paycheck.” To read much of the coverage, the reaction seemed to fall into two camps: people who are bereft at the change, many of them copy editors; and people mocking the pedantry of the people bereft at the change, many of them copy editors. But let us take a step back.
AFP Moves MacMillan From D.C. to Tehran (FishbowlDC)
Arthur MacMillan, senior news editor in Washington at Agence France-Presse, has been appointed Tehran deputy bureau chief and will take up his new post next month. Arthur previously served as a correspondent in Baghdad and as an Asia editor for AFP based in Hong Kong. He moves to Iran after nearly three years in the United States.
New Wall Street Journal Blog ‘CMO Today’ Has Marketing Industry Covered (PRNewser)
Monday The Wall Street Journal officially launched “CMO Today,” its new site for marketing/advertising news directed at marketing officers. Suzanna Vranica, WSJ’s chief advertising editor, will run the blog with the goal of “[defining] what matters and what doesn’t in the chaos of today’s marketing business.” With a full-time staff of five, CMO Today will devote plenty of digital space to the ongoing merger between digital and traditional marketing.
Michael Rosenberg Joins Film Movement as Co-President (THR)
Michael E. Rosenberg is joining Film Movement, the New York-based indie film distributor, as co-president, serving alongside Adley Gartenstein, who has been Film Movement’s president since 2007. Rosenberg, who also will become an equity-holder in the company, previously spent 26 years at Entertainment One U.S. and its predecessor company, Koch Entertainment, leaving his position as president late last year.
Authors Fight Ban on Books in U.K. Prisons (GalleyCat)
British authors Phillip Pullman and Mark Haddon are among many that have spoken out to stop new rules that restrict access to books among prisoners in the U.K. Mary Sweeney launched a Change.org petition Monday urging Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP to “review and amend” the new rules. The petition has already generated more than 5,000 signatures.
Bloomberg Media Adds Two to Lead Digital Push (FishbowlNY)
Bloomberg Media wants to expand its digital product offerings, so the company has hired Nathan Richardson and Gabriel Snyder to lead the way. Richardson joins Bloomberg after a short stint as president of AOL Live. Snyder comes to the company after only three months at Inside, a news aggregation site.