Morning Media Newsfeed: AMC Buys Stake in BBC America | CNN Announces High Profits

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AMC Networks Buys 49.9 Percent Stake in BBC America (TVNewser)
AMC Networks has agreed to purchase a 49.9 percent stake in BBC America from BBC Worldwide for $200 million. AMC Networks will look for greater distribution for BBC World News in the U.S. B&C BBC Worldwide will retain a 50.1 percent equity stake in the cable channel, while AMC Networks will have operational control of BBCA, including affiliate and advertising sales, though it will still be consistent with BBC’s editorial standards and policies. THR The cable networks company and the commercial arm of U.K. public broadcaster BBC announced the deal Thursday after reports of their talks first emerged over the summer. The channel airs such BBC favorites as Doctor Who, Sherlock, Top Gear and Planet Earth. AMC Networks operates the AMC, Sundance, WE tv and IFC channels, and can now add the so-far independent BBC America when it negotiates carriage fees, giving both partners increased leverage in talks with pay-TV operators. WSJ The deal comes as the biggest pay-TV distributors are consolidating, prompting analyst speculation that content players will also have to seek greater scale. Variety Executives at both companies portrayed the arrangement as one borne out of a desire to gain greater reach for premium content that attracts high-income audiences. The two sides have worked together in the recent past. The two have collaborated on series including Top of The Lake and The Honourable Woman as well as the coming program One Child. AMC Networks and BBC Television have agreed to continue to jointly pursue a number of content investment opportunities on a range of future projects, both through BBC America and other AMC Networks channels. BBC America is to be managed as a standalone asset within AMC’s portfolio.

Pot The Focus of New CNN Original Series (TVNewser)
CNN Thursday announced a new original series called High Profits, which will focus on a Colorado couple who hope to be the first ever “moguls of marijuana.” THR High Profits, an eight-episode original production eyed for a 2015 debut on the cable news network, follows Breckenridge Cannabis Club owners Brian Rogers and Caitlin McGuire, two business-minded, dream-seeking, relentless visionaries with a unique plan: to franchise marijuana. Deadline Hollywood The eight-part series will be produced by Austin-based Bat Bridge Entertainment. In the months since Colorado became the first state in the country to legalize the use and sale of recreational marijuana, BCC has grown from a $515,000-a-year medical marijuana dispensary with four employees to a $5 million-a-year business of 30 employees, CNN said, noting that the couple recently bought a competing business in a neighboring resort town. Each one-hour episode of High Profits will examine this booming new industry. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media CNN has been steadily adding and finding ratings success with original series like Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and Somebody’s Gotta Do It With Mike Rowe. CNN president Jeff Zucker said at a reporter luncheon last month that the network will continue rolling out more original series in order to boost ratings and revenue.

Judge Issues Aereo Injunction, Stops Short of Enjoining Time-Shifting (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
U.S. district judge Alison Nathan has issued the long-awaited injunction over Aereo, the upstart service that once promised to pry open the delivery of television signals so that customers could access the major networks on digital devices. GigaOM In a 17-page ruling, Nathan denied Aereo a license to operate as a cable company, which would have permitted the company to resume its service provided that it paid broadcasters a fee. This part of the ruling is a setback for Aereo, which had operated in about 12 cities before shutting down in July in response to the Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling in June. Variety Nathan wrote that while the Supreme Court stated in its opinion that Aereo has similarities to a cable system, the justices did not say that it was, in fact, a cable system. She also rejected Aereo’s argument that it was entitled to safe harbor protection, and also said that Aereo could not now claim “significant hardship” as she issued the injunction. Deadline Hollywood While holding out some thin hope for Aereo in terms of “time-shifted retransmissions,” Nathan’s order and opinion gave ABC, CBS, NBCUniversal and Telemundo almost everything they have long sought. She also shut down what essentially is the already self-suspended Aereo’s last legal hope.

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Peter Lattman Named Deputy Business Editor of NYT (FishbowlNY)
The New York Times has named Peter Lattman deputy business editor. Lattman most recently served as media editor. In his new role, Lattman will continue to oversee media news while also contributing to general business news. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Under the new structure, “the media team will benefit from greater interaction and crosspollination with reporters and editors from tech, DealBook and the other clusters — and vice versa,” business editor Dean Murphy said. “In short, we’ll see collaboration, elevation and innovation among a whole new mix of talented reporters and editors.” WWD / Memo Pad Lattman had been crowned media editor last November by then-executive editor Jill Abramson. He replaced Bruce Headlam, who had been promoted to managing editor of video. At the time Lattman was a reporter who spent three-and-a-half years on the Times’ business desk. Prior to that, he covered legal affairs and private equity for The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon’s Gigantic Operating Loss Sends Shares Sliding 10 Percent After Hours (GigaOM)
Amazon had warned investors to expect a big loss in the third quarter and they got one on Thursday. The company saw a net loss of $0.95 per share on revenues of $20.58 billion. Deadline Hollywood Analysts expected revenues to come in slightly higher, at $20.84 billion. Amazon says that it expects net sales in Q4 to grow as much as 18 percent to $30.3 billion, although operations could end up anywhere between a $570 million loss to a $430 million gain — both down from $510 million profit the company saw last year. The stock price was down more than 10 percent in post-market trading shortly after the company released its Q3 report. Variety Amazon.com said it would incur a charge of $170 million related to the Fire Phone for the third quarter, after the company’s smartphone flopped among consumers. Amazon said it had about $83 million worth of Fire Phone inventory as of the end of Q3. The smartphone — aimed at competing with Apple’s iPhone, Samsung’s Android lineup and others — was generally panned by reviewers as limited and gimmicky.

Ebola Arrives in New York, Cable News Clears The Decks for Rolling Coverage (TVNewser)
The cable news networks reacted with a frenzy of reporting Thursday evening in the wake of New York City’s first confirmed case of Ebola. CNN Doctor Craig Spencer, who recently returned from Guinea, has tested positive for Ebola. Spencer came back to the U.S. last week after treating Ebola patients in Guinea, where he worked for Doctors Without Borders. The physician, who works at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, was checking his temperature twice a day. He has not seen any patients since his return. THR On CNN, Anderson Cooper anchored coverage, speaking by phone with Sanjay Gupta, calling the response from health care professionals “phenomenal.” On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow said New York officials are attempting to track down everyone who the doctor may have come in contact with. Fox News Channel continued to play The O’Reilly Factor, with a scrolling alert at the bottom of the screen providing updates on the case. But during his tip of the day, Bill O’Reilly offered words of calm. AllFacebook With Ebola continuing to be a top health concern, ABC News turned to Facebook to host a town hall event on the topic, and manager of strategic partnerships for broadcast news Beth Loyd said in a post on the Facebook Media blog that highlight videos posted to the social network by ABC News have reached more than 10 million users and been viewed more than 1.5 million times. TVNewser The George Stephanopoulos-hosted town hall, designed to answer viewer questions about the threat of Ebola in the U.S., was a response to overwhelming interest in the story.

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NBCUniversal CEO Sees ‘Challenge’ for HBO Web Service, Cannibalization Risk (THR)
Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts on Thursday touted NBCUniversal’s financial performance during the third quarter and its “great progress” so far in 2014, lauding the work of NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke and his team. WSJ Speaking on Comcast’s third-quarter earnings call, Burke said he was surprised when Time Warner Inc. last week announced plans for a streaming HBO service that will be available to consumers who don’t have pay-TV subscriptions. Burke warned that, whatever HBO’s intentions, “it’s going to be a challenge for them to not cannibalize what is already a really, really good business.” Deadline Hollywood He disagrees with commentators who say the initiatives could promote a la carte pay-TV offerings. “Both HBO and CBS are trying to add to their existing ecosystem,” not change it. But it will be especially challenging for HBO to do so without cannibalizing some of its “very high margin” cable customers. “It will be interesting to see how that works.” Comcast reported net income of $2.6 billion, up 48.1 percent versus the period last year, on revenues of $16.8 billion, up 4 percent.

Rebekah Brooks in New York, to Work Out Her ‘Professional Future’ (Capital New York)
News Corp. has a special visitor at its Manhattan headquarters this week. Rebekah Brooks, the global media conglomerate’s former British newspaper boss who was charged but cleared in the U.K. phone-hacking scandal, has been around at News Corp.’s Sixth Avenue offices the past couple of days. NYT She has been meeting people at News Corp. to explore her next professional moves, the company and people familiar with the matter said on Thursday. Brooks was acquitted in June after a trial that included details of an affair she had with a colleague, Andy Coulson, another former editor of the News of The World. Coulson was convicted on a charge of conspiring to intercept phone messages and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Why The New York Times Built A Tool for Crowdsourced Time Travel (Nieman Journalism Lab)
Flipping through old magazine and newspaper ads is like throwing the switch on the world’s simplest time machine. Suddenly it’s 1969, the Apollo 11 astronauts have just made the round trip from the moon, Abbey Road just dropped, and for the low price of $29.95 you can enjoy an “electric computerized football game [that] lets you and your opponent call offensive and defensive plays.” This is the benefit a paper like The New York Times finds in its archive: the ability to pluck moments from the historical record out of the past — the small steps and giant leaps, but also the assembled fragments and cultural artifacts that often share space on the page. While you can dig deep into the stories of the past with TimesMachine, uncovering specific ads isn’t as easy. The team in The New York Times R&D Lab wants to rectify that with Madison, a new tool for identifying ads across the newspaper’s archive.

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Nylon Media Names Paul Greenberg CEO (FishbowlNY)
Nylon Media has named Paul Greenberg its CEO. Greenberg was most recently president of SFX Entertainment. He previously served as CEO of CollegeHumor, from 2010 to 2013. Prior to CollegeHumor, Greenberg served as president, digital, of Time Inc.’s Lifestyle Group.

Meredith’s Local Media Group Revenue Up 39 Percent to $125 Million in Fiscal First Quarter (TVSpy)
Meredith Corp.’s Local Media Group has reason to celebrate. According to a new report, the company’s 15 local television stations generated $125 million in total revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, which is up 39 percent from the same period a year ago. The uptick was fueled in part by political advertising, digital ads and the company’s recent acquisition of KMOV in St. Louis and KTVK in Phoenix.

Meet The Press Makes Gains (TVNewser)
CBS’s Face The Nation was first among Sunday shows in viewers last week despite being down 11 percent in total viewers and down 16 percent in the adults 25-54 demo compared to the same week last year. NBC’s Meet The Press was slightly down: 3 percent in viewers and 1 percent in the demo vs. the same Sunday last year, but MTP had its biggest audiences in both total viewers and the demo since Chuck Todd’s debut on Sept. 7.

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Fox Makes Up Ground in World Series Game Two (WSJ / CMO Today)
A more competitive game boosted the ratings for Fox’s coverage of the World Series. About 12.92 million people watched the Kansas City Royals beat the San Francisco Giants and even the series at one game apiece, according to Nielsen. That was a 6 percent improvement from game one when 12.19 million tuned into Fox, which was a record low for the first game of a World Series.

James Corden’s Late Late Show Sets Showrunner, March Premiere (THR / The Live Feed)
CBS announced Thursday that The Late Late Show With James Corden will bow Monday, March 9, 2015, taping at the CBS Television City lot in Los Angeles. Additionally, the series has set producer, director and writer Ben Winston as showrunner.

New York Times Staffers Band Together Over Buyout Anxiety (Capital New York)
A group of New York Times employees acted en masse to request information detailing the buyout packages they would qualify for if they applied for them in a round of buyouts announced by the newspaper earlier this fall, several employees confirmed.

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