Morning Media Newsfeed: CBSN Launches Glitch-Free | Aereo to Downsize, Cut Staff

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CBS Launches Digital News Network CBSN (LostRemote)
After announcing a subscription-based streaming service, CBS launched an all-digital streaming news network, CBSN, on Thursday. So now you can watch live, anchored news whenever you want, for free. TVNewser It didn’t look like launch day at CBSN, and that’s a big achievement. Freed from the burden of launch day hoopla and high expectations, CBS News turned on its brand new live streaming news channel, and did so without a hitch. Capital New York The company is stressing that the move is not meant as a way into the 24-hour cable-news channel fray. “We are not endeavoring to start a cable news channel online,” CBS News president David Rhodes said. “We are trying to create something that is native for connected devices.” Those devices include laptops and PCs, smartphones and tablets, and, yes, Internet-connected TVs. The target audience: younger viewers, some of whom may not subscribe to a pay-TV service. THR The network — available on CBSNews.com, the CBS News app and connected TV devices such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku — will feature 15 hours of live, anchored coverage from 9 a.m. ET to midnight ET every weekday. The segments will be split into 60-minute blocks of live, updated news. CBS News special reports will be simulcast on CBSN during breaking news and content will also be fed in from CBS affiliate stations, CNET, CBSSports.com and Entertainment Tonight. New York Post The owner of CBS broadcast network, radio stations and Showtime missed the cable boom of the past decades but appears to be diving headfirst into a mobile future. Last month it joined with its affiliate partners to launch CBS All Access, a standalone digital platform for current and archived content.

Aereo to Close Boston Office, Lay Off Staff (TVNewser)
Aereo, the streaming TV service that suffered a massive setback with a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, will close its office in Boston and lay off 43 employees. BetaBoston While the company claims to continue to push on, with no funding and pretty much no staff, this appears to be the end for Aereo. THR The move will also affect staffers in New York. “In an effort to reduce costs, we made the difficult decision to lay off some of our staff in Boston and New York,” Aereo spokeswoman Virginia Lam said. “We are continuing to conserve resources while we chart our path forward. We are grateful to our employees for their loyalty, hard work and dedication. This was a difficult, but necessary step in order to preserve the company.” Mashable The move, first reported by Beta Boston, comes as Aereo is in a holding pattern, awaiting word on whether it could become a cable company and resume operations. The company has been reeling since a Supreme Court decision found it had violated copyrights by streaming live network television that had been collected by miniature antennae. The layoffs are set for Nov. 12. Variety A small executive team of about a dozen people will remain.

AOL Still Has 2.2 Million Dial-Up Subscribers (FishbowlNY)
AOL has released its third quarter earnings and guess what? There are still people out there — 2.2 million of them — who use the company’s dial-up Internet service. Thanks in part to those who prefer to live like it’s 1996, AOL’s membership division posted $196 million in revenue this quarter. New York Post / Reuters AOL reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue as more advertisers used its real-time bidding platform to place ads on third-party websites. The company’s third-party platform helps to buy and sell online ad spots through bidding via computers. AOL, led by CEO Tim Armstrong, is trying to become a hub of digital media buying, which is quickly becoming automated, similar to how Wall Street investors trade stocks on exchanges. WSJ In the third quarter, global advertising revenue surged 18 percent to $473.4 million. The jump reflected 44 percent growth in third-party revenue, or money from non-AOL sites, driven in part by the inclusion of Adap.tv for a full quarter. Adap.tv is the Web video-ad-technology company that AOL acquired last year. Variety The Internet media company posted total revenue of $626.8 million for the period, up 12 percent from the year-ago quarter and slightly higher than Wall Street expectations. Adjusted earnings per share of 52 cents (down 7 percent) were in line with consensus estimate. Operating income was $48.0 million for Q3 2014, up from $16.7 million a year earlier.

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Watchup Raises $2.75 Million From Tribune Media, McClatchy, Others (Nieman Lab)
News video aggregator Watchup just announced a new funding round, a $2.75 million investment led by Tribune Media, the broadcast arm of the former Tribune Company. With this round, Watchup has now raised $4.25 million since its launch in 2012. McClatchy, along with prior funders the Knight Enterprise Fund, the Stanford-StartX Fund, and businessmen Ned Lamont, Gordon Crovitz, and Jim Friedlich, are also investors. LostRemote Watchup is trying to change the way people watch mobile news. A lot of their videos come from public sources but they keep adding partnerships with leading news organizations to their roster: WaPo, PBS NewsHour and Univision, among others. Variety With the funding, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Watchup plans to invest in improving its personalization algorithm and expand the service to additional TV-connected devices, said co-founder and CEO Adriano Farano. Watchup currently has six employees, and he expects to double that within the next few months.

Disney Reports Record Fiscal Year Results (Variety)
The Walt Disney Co. ended its fiscal year on a significant high note, reporting a record $48.8 billion in sales, up 8 percent, and 22 percent improvement in net income of $7.5 billion, handily besting analysts’ expectations. Its fourth quarter revenue came in at $12.38 billion, up 7 percent, while profits rose 8 percent to $1.49 billion during the period that ended Sept. 27. Deadline Hollywood Adjusted earnings at 89 cents per share were a penny ahead of the consensus forecast. But the latest results, while good, probably won’t move the needle much for the company — its shares were down 1.2 percent in initial post-market trading. THR The studio entertainment segment led all others in terms of growth in operating income, more than doubling to $254 million due to home entertainment sales of Frozen as well as the theatrical success of Guardians of the Galaxy and Maleficent. Operating income for Disney’s largest segment, media networks, was flat at $1.44 billion. On the cable side, programming costs at ESPN and the international Disney Channels were a drag on the bottom line while the domestic Disney Channels delivered a boost.

Lionsgate Second-Quarter Earnings Rise, Beat Expectations (THR)
Lionsgate on Thursday reported sharply higher second-quarter earnings as TV production surged. The mini-studio, led by Jon Feltheimer, posted earnings of $20.8 million for the latest financial quarter, compared to a profit of $505,000 for the second quarter of fiscal 2014. WSJ Revenue rose 11 percent to $552.9 million. The company’s share price rose 4 percent to $33.50 in recent after-hours trading, as results beat analysts’ expectations. Deadline Hollywood The Motion Picture operation saw revenues decline 8.4 percent to $398 million as The Expendables 3 and Step Up All In could not match last year’s quarter which included revenues from Now You See Me and a Spanish-language hit, Not Included. Within the unit, home entertainment fell 21.7 percent to $164.4 million. Numbers looked a lot better in Television Production: revenues increased more than 140 percent to $154.9 million. The company delivered 38.5 hours of domestic television series, vs. 11 hours last year, including Manhattan, Anger Management, Orange Is The New Black, Houdini, Nashville and Mad Men.

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Netflix to Adapt A Series of Unfortunate Events (GalleyCat)
Netflix plans to create a new original series based on A Series of Unfortunate Events. Lemony Snicket wrote 13 installments for his popular children’s book series so there is plenty of material to source for story lines. Deadline Hollywood Netflix is producing the project, which is being fast-tracked, with Paramount Television. Paramount was behind the 2004 movie starring Jim Carrey, which grossed $209 million worldwide.

AMC Networks Reports Third-Quarter Earnings Drop (THR)
AMC Networks on Thursday reported mixed third-quarter financials. The cable networks company, led by CEO Josh Sapan, posted a profit of $54 million for the latest quarter, compared with $58 million in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 31.4 percent to $520 million. Variety Scripps Networks Interactive said increases in advertising revenue and affiliate fees helped drive a 1.8 percent increase in net income largely attributable to performance at its Food Network and HGTV.

DirecTV, Cablevision Lose U.S. Subscribers in Q3 (Variety)
DirecTV reported a net loss of 28,000 TV subscribers in the U.S. for the third quarter — a worrisome sign for the No. 1 satellite operator, which may be feeling the brunt of cord-cutting and heightened competition — while total revenue grew 6 percent, to $8.37 billion. THR Cablevision Systems on Thursday reported better-than-expected third-quarter financials as it continued to lose pay TV subscribers and also lost broadband users and telephony customers for the second time in as many quarters. Cablevision lost 56,000 pay TV subscribers in the third quarter after a year-ago loss of 37,000 and a second-quarter loss of 28,000.

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Al Roker Will Attempt World Record Forecast (TVNewser)
Today show and Weather Channel host Al Roker will attempt a Guinness World Record next week for the longest uninterrupted weather report: 34 hours! Rokerthon kicks off Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on Today.com, continues all day Thursday and ends — Roker hopes — at 8 a.m. Friday on the Today show.

Now MSNBC Is Producing A Pot Show (TVNewser)
As two more states and the District of Columbia legalize marijuana, another cable news network is trying to catch the pot wave with a new documentary. Pot Barons of Colorado, a six-part series debuting Sunday, Nov. 30, is produced by MSNBC’s Long Form Unit and production company Triple Threat TV.

Scribd Subscribers to Have Access to 30,000 Audiobooks (GalleyCat)
Scribd will add 30,000 audiobooks to its library. Subscribers to the digital book streaming service will have access to both new releases and popular backlist titles, including Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, Roberto Bolaño’s novel The Savage Detectives, and Brené Brown’s nonfiction book Daring Greatly.

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Special ‘Evening’ Edition: The Media Mob Turns Out for Michael’s 25th Anniversary (FishbowlNY / Lunch)
We’re serving up an extra helping of Lunch this week to bring you the rundown on Michael’s 25th anniversary party at 55th and Fifth Wednesday night. At one point, it felt as though all 600 invited guests were there at the same time.

Nielsen Works to Include Out-of-Home Viewing in TV Ratings (TVNewser)
For years, networks like CNBC have discounted Nielsen ratings reports because the data did not include out-of-home viewing. CNBC argues that much of its viewing is done on trading floors, in offices and even at airports, bars and restaurants during the day. Well that could all change. Variety In a move likely to be welcomed by cable-news outlets that derive a significant chunk of their audience from people watching from offices and other workplaces, Nielsen said it had quantified a lift in so-called “out of home” viewing for the first time.

BSkyB to Acquire 87.45 Percent of Sky Deutschland (NYT / DealBook)
British Sky Broadcasting said on Thursday that it had agreed to acquire 87.45 percent of Sky Deutschland, including a 57.45 percent stake held by 21st Century Fox, after making a takeover offer earlier this year.

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