Morning Media Newsfeed: DWA, Hasbro Merger Talks End | The Onion Exploring Sale

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DreamWorks Animation, Hasbro End Merger Talks (THR)
Hasbro has called off merger negotiations with DreamWorks Animation, sources say. The deal chatter, which became public on Wednesday, appears to have been derailed in part by the performance of Hasbro’s stock and potentially the high price sought by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. WSJ News last week that the toy maker was in early acquisition talks with the film studio drove the two companies’ stocks in opposite directions. Hasbro investors sent the toy company’s share price down more than 4 percent on Thursday and nearly 2 percent on Friday, when they settled at $54.02 on Nasdaq. Adweek DreamWorks reportedly wanted $30 per share, a relatively steep incline for stock trading at roughly $22. NYT / DealBook Also playing a role was a negative private reaction by the Walt Disney Company, which comprises roughly 30 percent of Hasbro’s business through licenses for Star Wars, Marvel characters, Frozen and the Disney Princesses toy line. Variety Neither side has officially commented on why the talks fell apart, nor the potential of a deal. Hasbro follows recent conversations DWA has had to sell the toon studio. In September, it discussed such a sale with Japanese tech giant SoftBank, that also ended just days later.

Satirist Onion Inc. Said to Hire Adviser for Sale (Bloomberg)
Onion Inc., owner of the satirical news site The Onion and the entertainment site the A.V. Club, has hired a financial adviser for a possible sale, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The company, which calls itself “America’s Finest News Source,” is working with the investment bank GCA Savvian, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Re/code In an email distributed Friday, Onion CEO Steve Hannah tells his employees he’s pursuing what bankers call a “dual track process” — they’re looking for an investor or a buyer. FishbowlNY The Onion has been making changes for the past few years. In 2012, it moved all editorial operations out of New York and consolidated them in its Chicago headquarters. Then just last year, The Onion ceased all print editions and went digital only. Fast Company In an effort to keep up with the Web’s metabolism, The Onion launched ClickHole this past June, a parody site that laces the Internet’s take- and listicle-driven economy with The Onion’s satirical venom. The Onion Inc. is owned by fund manager David Schafer, who bought the company in 2003.

Walmart’s Vudu Joins Disney Movies Anywhere (Variety)
Walmart’s Vudu streaming service has joined Apple’s iTunes and Google’s Play store to support Disney Movies Anywhere. The retailer will become available through Disney’s app on Nov. 18. GigaOM This means that Vudu users who have linked their account with Disney Movies Anywhere will be able to access Disney titles they have previously bought via iTunes or Google Play through Vudu apps, and vice versa. Interestingly, Vudu is also the first retailer that has partnered with both Disney’s cloud locker and the UltraViolet locker run by most other major studios. Deadline Hollywood At Disney’s mobile showcase Friday morning outlining initiatives from its brands, stand-alone video apps for its biggest YouTube stars such as PewDiePie, a revamped ESPN.com online presence, and ImagiCademy, a new hybrid service providing learning and entertainment for children, were also announced. Variety Disney is giving “SportsCenter” the boot as it looks to put a greater emphasis on ESPN’s network of channels on mobile devices. ESPN will relaunch a new online presence in April, which will have the sports cabler’s website and apps operate under one name — that of the cabler itself — in the U.S. and the U.K.

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Warner Bros. Prevails Over Weinsteins in Hobbit Royalties Fight (WSJ)
Harvey and Bob Weinstein won’t be getting their cut of the gold they had hoped to receive from the second and third Hobbit films. A private arbitrator decided against the indie movie moguls and Miramax LLC, the studio they used to run, in a $75 million-plus lawsuit against Time Warner Inc. ’s Warner Bros., according to people with knowledge of the matter. THR / Hollywood, Esq. The Weinsteins signed away motion picture rights to the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy to WB subsidiary New Line in 1998, when the brothers ran Miramax. The deal promised the Weinsteins (via Miramax) 5 percent of the “first motion picture” based on the books. TheWrap Warner Bros. claimed that the Weinsteins are only due 5 percent of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but the Weinstein brothers demanded profits from the others and filed a suit for $75 million in 2013 for their share of the sequels.

Lisa Berger Exits as ABC Head of Alternative Programming (Deadline Hollywood)
Lisa Berger is leaving ABC after a one-year stint as EVP alternative series, specials and late night. The parting of the ways is attributed to creative differences. ABC’s VP alternative series Rob Mills is expected to oversee the network’s unscripted department until a replacement is found. THR / The Live Feed The former E! chief leaves the network after 13 months, where her department most notably launched the high-profile summer singing competition Rising Star — which failed to find much of a pulse on Sunday nights. Variety She was a key player in the dawn of the Kardashian age at E! as well as with Fashion Police, The Girls Next Door and late-night talker Chelsea Lately. Before E!, Berger spent four years at Fox Television Studios and 12 years at MTV Networks.

CBS Warns Viewers It May Go Dark on Dish Network (Variety)
CBS started alerting viewers Friday night that Dish Network could pluck out the Eye in certain markets, in the latest dispute to hit the pay-TV biz. “Attention, Dish customers! You could soon lose CBS,” the broadcaster’s spots said. Overall, there are 14 CBS-owned stations covered under Dish’s agreement, plus seven CW, two My Network TV and three independent stations. CBS has relaunched keepcbs.com for the Dish dispute, in a replay of its carriage fight with Time Warner Cable last year. Deadline Hollywood The site urges customers to complain directly to Dish, and on social media, and offers information to help them switch providers. Dish has already locked horns with Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting; all of its channels except for TBS and TNT are dark on the service following a contract negotiation impasse.

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Search Begins for New Vevo CEO (New York Post)
Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff, who led the platform during its rise to become the top online music video destination, is exiting at the end of this year. Universal Music and Sony Music, the site’s biggest backers, are searching for a leader to fast-forward Vevo’s development, sources said. THR An official announcement about Caraeff’s departure is expected to arrive on Monday. Caraeff joined the music video service in 2009. Reports surfaced in August that the service was on the block and estimated to be worth $700 million to $1 billion.

Melissa Francis: I Was Silenced by CNBC (TVNewser)
On her FBN show Friday afternoon, Melissa Francis tore into her former employer, CNBC, saying the network “silenced” her when reporting on Obamacare. Mediaite Francis began by railing against MIT economist Jonathan Gruber and the Obama Administration for “counting on” the stupidity and lack of understanding of economics on the part of American voters. She then said the administration has been shielded by a liberal media that has been covering up the truth, including the Associated Press, NBC, ABC, LA Times and others, who have been “too happy to comply.”

Layoffs at CNBC.com (TVNewser)
Layoffs have hit CNBC.com. Around eight staffers have been cut. At the same time, CNBC.com is adding to the roster. Eric Chemi is joining as senior editor-at-large of Data Journalism. Chemi had been at Bloomberg Media. New York Post The idea, according to those familiar with CNBC’s plans, is to staff up with multiplatform talent experienced in print, television and digital media — “people with strong TV production and digital skills,” a source said. CNBC has about 600 U.S. employees; the eight it let go on Friday all worked out of CNBC’s headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

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Shakeups at NBC News Include Veteran Staffers (TVNewser)
According to sources, Mary Murray will be replacing Roxanne Garcia-Bell as the director of the southern region of NBC News. Murray will be based out of Miami and her territory includes Cuba and South America. Sources also say that Dee Dee Thomas is out as executive producer of Weekend Today, but will continue to work on other projects at NBC.

Publicis Kaplan Thaler President/CCO Stepping Down (AgencySpy)
Rob Feakins, president and CCO of New York’s Publicis Kaplan Thaler, will be leaving the agency next month. Various sources said that Feakins made the announcement in an all-agency meeting Friday afternoon, and a spokesperson for PKT has confirmed that he plans to step down.

Streaming Video Alliance Trade Group Launches, Without Netflix or YouTube (Variety)
A group of 17 service providers, content companies and tech vendors has formed the Streaming Video Alliance, aimed at formulating industry-wide standards and establishing best practices for high-scale Internet video services. Notably, Netflix and YouTube — which represent the two biggest sources of Internet bandwidth usage — are not members of the group.

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Fareed Zakaria’s Column Will Continue (New York Post / Media Ink)
Fareed Zakaria, who was accused recently of more plagiarism by the blog site Our Bad Media, is going to get a wrap on the knuckles from The Washington Post — but the paper will allow him to continue writing his weekly column.

Vice Hires Alyssa Mastromonaco, Former Official in Obama White House, as Top Executive (NYT)
Vice Media, the news and entertainment group, is expected to announce Monday that it has hired Alyssa Mastromonaco, a former Obama administration official, as its chief operating officer.

Viacom International Media Networks Names President of Americas Division (THR)
VIMN chief operating officer Pierluigi Gazzolo will be taking on the additional role as president of the Americas division, which includes Latin America, Canada and the U.S. Hispanic market.

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