Morning Media Newsfeed: Google Buys Songza | MSNBC Holds Second Place

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Google in Deal for Songza, A Music Playlist Service (NYT)
In a sign of growing consolidation in the digital music business, Google announced on Tuesday that it had bought Songza, a three-year-old app that competes with Pandora and others in making customized playlists of recommended songs. Re/code The New York Post reported in June that the deal could be worth $15 million. Unlike some acquired startups, Songza won’t be shutting down. Its team will be joining Google in New York and helping with contextual recommendation features for Google Play and possibly YouTube down the line. GigaOM Songza offers custom curated playlists based on categories like genre, mood, decade and activity (“Drinking at A Dive Bar,” “’60s International,” etc.) and offers song suggestions based on the time of day and week. The service is free and songs aren’t interrupted by ads. THR The acquisition comes on the heels of Apple’s deal to purchase Beats Electronics and its streaming music service for $3 billion. Amazon also has jumped into the music streaming market with the launch of the Prime Music service, which comes as part of its $99 annual Prime subscription. The move appears to be part of Google’s plans to compete in this increasingly crowded music-streaming space, which is already dominated by Spotify. Variety Google said it plans to use Songza to make its Play Music service more attractive. The Songza purchase also comes as marketers are spending more on online and mobile radio services in the U.S. Ad sales generated $1.65 billion in the U.S. last year, a gain of 26.3 percent, according to digital research group eMarketer. That’s expected to increase another 23 percent to $2 billion this year.

Q2 2014 Ratings: MSNBC Holds No. 2 in Primetime, Slips in Total Day (TVNewser)
MSNBC held on to the No. 2 spot in primetime for the second quarter of 2014, second only to Fox News in both total viewers and the adults 25-54 demographic. But in total day, the network slipped to third in total viewers and fourth (CNN and HLN were tied for second) in the adults 25-54 demographic. FishbowlDC Since 2002, Fox News has been the No. 1 rated cable news network each quarter, ahead of CNN, MSNBC and HLN, nationally. The George Bush / John Kerry 2004 presidential election, Barack Obama / John McCain 2008 presidential election and the 2012 Obama / Mitt Romney presidential election all show notable spikes in viewership for Fox, the highest being in the Fall of 2008. Mediaite CNN’s ratings dropped more than any other cable news network compared to the same quarter last year. In total day, CNN was down 28 percent in total viewers and 35 percent in the demo. In primetime, it was down 31 percent in total viewers and 32 percent in the demo. Additionally, following Piers Morgan’s departure, CNN’s still mostly unresolved 9 p.m. hour sunk to an all-time low in total viewers. Variety CNN’s newest original series, The Sixties, averaged about 1.1 million total viewers and 297,000 adults 25-54 with its first five Thursday 9 p.m. premieres, placing second among news networks in the timeslot, according to Nielsen. Its primetime performance on the weekends is where CNN has looked best in comparisons to its rivals, finishing ahead of Fox News in adults 25-54 (189,000) during the quarter and running second to Fox in total viewers (483,000).

Mike Pride Named Pulitzer Administrator (FishbowlNY)
Mike Pride, the former editor of New Hampshire’s Concord Monitor, has been named the Pulitzer Prize’s new administrator. Pride joined the Pulitzer board in 1999 and served as its co-chair in 2008, his final year on the board. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Pride, who brought the New Hampshire paper to national prominence in two-and-a-half decades as editor, succeeds Sig Gissler, who served for 12 years as administrator. His appointment begins Sept. 1. HuffPost / AP Pride, 67, was named editor of the Monitor in 1983 and led the paper to several awards, including a Pulitzer in 2008 for feature photography. He retired in 2008 but returned briefly this year as editor during a management transition. He retired again in May and still writes a column for the Monitor. Pride served on the Pulitzer board from 1999 to 2008 and was also a Pulitzer juror four times. Poynter / MediaWire The Pulitzers experienced some big changes during the last 12 years under Gissler. Pride said he doesn’t have a specific agenda, and he doesn’t think the Pulitzer board does, either, “other than a desire to stay current.”

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ABC, NBC Each Claim Ratings Wins (TVNewser)
If you believe ABC, World News With Diane Sawyer just won the second quarter of 2014 in the coveted adults 25-54 demo by a slim 16,000 viewers, or 0.8 percent. If you believe NBC, Nightly News With Brian Williams was the winner, by an even slimmer 9,000 viewers, or 0.5 percent. For its quarterly ratings, ABC uses a metric Nielsen calls “Most Current” data, which is a mix of Live+7 Day, as available through June 15, and Live+ Same Day for the remaining two weeks. NBC, meanwhile, is using the standard Live+ Same Day metric. Deadline Hollywood It all started when ABC boasted early Tuesday that the second quarter was the last full quarter in which Diane Sawyer will be its anchor — and she won. It was ABC World News’ first quarterly demo win in more than six years, a great way for Sawyer to bow out. Sawyer announced recently she’s stepping down as anchor of the newscast; David Muir is taking her place on the evening newscast, George Stephanopoulos has been named ABC News’ chief anchor. HuffPost ABC News has just come off a very strong month of rare ratings wins. In May, World News delivered its first overall ratings sweep in the key demo in more than six years. That win made Sawyer the first-ever female anchor of an evening news program to gain a sweeps victory. ABC has not been able to conquer NBC in the total viewer category. NBC bragged that Nightly News had been the top-rated newscast for 27 straight quarters and a staggering 250 consecutive weeks.

World Cup: France vs. Nigeria, Germany vs. Algeria Net Massive Numbers in Europe (Deadline Hollywood)
Setting up a France-Germany World Cup quarter final on Friday in Rio, the two teams advanced on Monday night with massive ratings in their home countries. It took 79 minutes for France to score against Nigeria in Brasilia, leading them to an ultimate 2-0 victory with 16 million viewers watching the win on TF1. THR Fully 28.2 million viewers, an astounding 85.1 percent of the viewing public, caught Germany’s extra-time 2-1 victory over Algeria on German pubweb ZDF. It was the biggest German audience yet for the 2014 World Cup, but it will likely be topped by Friday’s France vs. Germany match. THR According to a Nielsen IBOPE electronic poll taken from 28 major Mexican cities, about 10.2 million viewers tuned in to over-the-air broadcasts of Sunday’s much-hyped match between Mexico and the Netherlands. The Mexican national team also scored big time among U.S. Latinos: With some 10.4 million viewers, Mexico-Netherlands ranks as Spanish-language broadcaster Univision’s most-watched telecast ever.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Reups Contract to 2015 (Deadline Hollywood)
No surprise here. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, whose family controls the company, has extended his contract for one more year to June 30, 2015. Variety The move comes as Comcast is trying to earn regulatory approval for its proposed $45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Under Roberts, Comcast has shown a willingness to make bold moves, such as its 2011 purchase of NBCUniversal. THR While other industry top executives typically get multi-year contracts, Roberts and the company have announced one-year extensions ever since his 2005 employment pact was signed.

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Twitter CFO Steps Down, Is Replaced by Banker Who Took Company Public (Re/code)
Twitter said in a filing Tuesday that its CFO, Mike Gupta, was shifting his job to become an SVP of strategic investments. In an unusual move, he has been replaced by Anthony Noto, the former Goldman Sachs banker who was a key player in taking the company public. Mashable Noto, who is expected to start within the next 30 days, will be paid an annual salary of $250,000 at Twitter. The move comes just a few weeks after Twitter announced that its COO Ali Rowghani and head of media Chloe Sladden would be leaving the company. AllTwitter Noto tweeted: “I could not be more excited about joining the @Twitter team & helping them reach every person in the world. #indispensable.”

NY Times Shutters Another Blog (FishbowlNY)
The Great New York Times Blog Shutdown of 2014 continues. The Times has announced that it’s shuttering India Ink, its first country-specific blog. On the blog’s homepage, a message informed readers that the end had arrived. Last week it was revealed that the Times planned to shutter many of its blogs. The first to go was The Lede. Poynter / MediaWire A Times post read, “We will continue to produce Web-only India Ink sketches, analyses, narratives and news stories, but they will appear on the World page, along with the rest of the newspaper’s coverage.”

Harry McCracken Joins Fast Company (Technologizer)
In May, Harry McCracken resigned from Time and rebooted the Technologizer website. FishbowlNY McCracken has found his new home: Fast Company. He’s joining the magazine July 21 as its new technology editor. McCracken said he will continue to update Technologizer — the site he founded — every once in a while and will continue to curate its Flipboard magazine.

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Fusion Names Jane Spencer Its Editor for Digital Content (NYT)
Fusion, a joint online and television venture between Univision and Disney-ABC Television Group, announced on Tuesday that Jane Spencer, a veteran of The Daily Beast and The Wall Street Journal, would be its editor-in-chief for digital content. The appointment follows a number of recent hires by Fusion’s digital team, including two prominent online writers, Felix Salmon, formerly of Reuters, and Anna Holmes, the founder of the website Jezebel.

Lionsgate Touts Global Focus, Adds Sony Veteran Executive Ross Pollack (Variety)
Touting its increased focus on the global marketplace, Lionsgate has hired industry veteran Ross Pollack as exec VP and chief human resources officer. The former Sony Pictures exec will report to Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer, who made the announcement. Prior to joining Lionsgate, Pollack was managing director of Insigniam in Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

Aereo Urges User Support in Post-Ruling PR Push (Capital New York)
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling last week that Aereo was operating illegally, CEO Chet Kanojia sent a letter to customers urging them to reach out to lawmakers and voice their opinions. “Tell your lawmakers how disappointed you are that the nation’s highest court issued a decision that could deny you the right to use the antenna of your choice to access live over-the-air broadcast television,” the letter, which was also provided to the press as part of the company’s public relations campaign, reads.

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Deirdre Bigley Named Bloomberg LP Global Chief Marketing Officer (FishbowlNY)
Deirdre Bigley has been named Bloomberg LP’s global chief marketing officer. Bigley has been with Bloomberg since 2009, when she joined as head of global marketing communications. Prior to joining Bloomberg, she worked for IBM for 13 years.

National Enquirer Lays Off Staffers Amid Move Back to NYC (New York Post / Media Ink)
American Media has completed the National Enquirer’s move back to the Big Apple but with a lot of bloodletting. One source estimated about 40 Enquirer staffers were pink-slipped in Boca Raton, Fla. Insiders said it comes amid a general round of corporate belt tightening in part tied to the delivery problems connected to the shutdown of Source Interlink’s magazine wholesale operation.

Netflix Stock Hits All-Time High on Upbeat Analyst Estimates (Variety)
Netflix shares closed up 7.4 percent Tuesday to an all-time high of $473.10 after a Goldman Sachs analyst upgraded the stock, citing the company’s long-term international growth prospects and its stepped-up investments in kids’ programming.

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