Morning Media Newsfeed: Redbox Ends Streaming Service | Mukpo Returns to U.S.

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Redbox Ending Instant Streaming Service (THR)
Streaming video service Redbox Instant, a joint operation between Verizon Communications and Outerwall’s Redbox, is shutting down. Deadline Hollywood The statement announcing the shutdown read, “Thank you for being a part of Redbox Instant by Verizon. Please be aware that the service will be shut down on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. Information on applicable refunds will be emailed to current customers and posted on Oct. 10. In the meantime, you may continue to stream movies and use your Redbox kiosk credits until Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. We apologize for any inconvenience and we thank you for the opportunity to entertain you. Sincerely, The Redbox Instant by Verizon Team.” Variety Outerwall (then called Coinstar) and Verizon formed Redbox Instant by Verizon in February 2012, with Verizon owning 65 percent of the joint venture. The companies debuted the service in March 2013. Under the most recent subscription plan, the $6 monthly service provided access to 6,000 movies across different devices, as well as rentals and purchases of select titles. GigaOM The shutdown comes after the service had disabled new sign-ups for three months due to a credit card fraud issue, which not only prevented Redbox Instant from acquiring new customers, but also resulted in existing customers with expiring or revoked credit cards being booted from the service because they weren’t able to add any new payment information. Redbox Instant’s catalog was also significantly smaller than Netflix’s or even the Amazon Prime Instant streaming video catalog, and the service never really gained traction with consumers, leading the CEO of Outerwall to remark that both his company and Verizon were “not pleased” with the subscriber numbers. In that context, the credit card fraud issue may have just have been the final straw. Re/code But Verizon is not done playing around with video services. Earlier this year the company bought Intel’s never-launched Web TV business, and while it doesn’t look like it’s going to try launching that one itself, it is planning some sort of video service that it plans on delivering via phones and other mobile devices. Recently Verizon announced it had secured programming rights from Viacom, and promised to say more soon. Meanwhile both Sony and Dish Network say they plan on launching their own Web TV services this year; Sony has also announced a Viacom deal, while Dish has signed up Disney/ESPN, A&E and Scripps.

Ashoka Mukpo, NBC News Ebola Patient, Returns to U.S. for Treatment (TVNewser)
Ashoka Mukpo, the American NBC News freelance cameraman who was diagnosed with Ebola Thursday in Liberia, returned to the U.S. for treatment Sunday. Mukpo was working with Dr. Nancy Snyderman and her team in Monrovia. The Washington Post Mukpo will be the second Ebola patient to be treated at the Nebraska Medical Center’s specialized isolation unit. NYT Mukpo is the fourth American known to have contracted the disease in Liberia. As a precaution, NBC News ordered the production team working with the cameraman, which includes Snyderman, to return to the U.S. and enter quarantine for 21 days. A Liberian health worker visited a boy on Friday at a holding center in Monrovia for people suspected of having Ebola. The boy’s father recently died of the disease. Mukpo had worked for NBC for just one day before becoming ill, NBC said. Snyderman said in an interview on the Today show Friday morning that she and her team had had very little contact with Mukpo. THR Mukpo’s father, Dr. Mitchell Levy, also appeared on the Today show Friday, where he said that his son was “scared and worried” but was in better spirits with the knowledge that he was going home.

Universal Reveals Its New Home Entertainment Team (THR)
As part of the restructuring of its home entertainment operations, Universal Pictures Friday unveiled the executive team headed by Eddie Cunningham, who was named president of Universal Pictures Worldwide Home Entertainment in February. TheWrap Cunningham, who formerly led the company’s international home entertainment group based in London, relocated to Los Angeles and reports to president and chief distribution officer Peter Levinsohn. As part of the announcement, Cunningham revealed the key leaders of the new global home entertainment division, which will be called Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Variety As part of the move, Cunningham will establish a separate U.S. operating company to service Universal’s largest territory for home video releases. A Canadian operating company will also be formed to support the studio’s fourth-largest market in the home entertainment space. Universal will also retain its nine international offices. Deadline Hollywood John Morici, who was USHE’s COO and CFO, will be EVP and regional managing director for both. John Melluso, formerly sales VP, will become managing director of the Canadian company and report to Morici. Michael Bonner, who oversees domestic digital distribution, will continue to do so as an EVP reporting to Levinsohn.

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Disney CEO Bob Iger Could Take Home $60 Million Bonus (LA Times / Company Town)
Walt Disney Co. chairman and chief executive Robert Iger, who inked a two-year contract extension on Thursday, could depart the company in 2018 with a bonus of up to $60 million. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the performance-based retention bonus is tied to Disney meeting certain operating income targets. NYT He had been expected to retire in June 2016, which was itself an extension. If Disney’s cumulative adjusted operating income over the five-year period ending with fiscal 2018 reaches $78.31 billion — roughly doubling what it has been over the last five years — Iger, 63, will receive a $60 million cash bonus, according to the filing. That payment would come in addition to his annual pay package, for which the performance-based calculation will not change. Variety The milestone Iger needs to reach could be attainable through the revival of the Star Wars franchise and its spin-offs at the worldwide box office, new movies from Marvel releases, upcoming films from Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios and the opening of a massive new theme park in Shanghai late next year.

NYT Eliminates Some Two Dozen Jobs on Business Side (Capital New York)
While New York Times journalists brace for a round of voluntary buyouts that aims to shave dozens of salaries from their newsroom, the business side is bidding farewell to employees who have been informed that their positions are being eliminated. FishbowlNY Somewhere between 20 and 25 business staffers have been let go, as Times managers informed them their roles were being eliminated. On Wednesday, the Times announced that the newsroom was going to lose 100 staffers. If buyout packages are not accepted, layoffs will ensue.

Meet The Press Debuts Remodeled Set (FishbowlDC)
In addition the recent change in the moderator’s chair of NBC’s Meet The Press, on Sunday’s broadcast, more looked different on set. Last Sunday’s program was preempted by the network’s broadcast of the Ryder Cup and the show’s two-week hiatus allowed for a redesign to feature new furniture and custom artwork, including a framed piece of new host Chuck Todd‘s past credentials. TVNewser Viewers saw a new panel desk, one-on-one interview desk, and “credenza” informal interview desk. There is also a new perceptive pixel screen, which Chuck Todd will use to dig into important numbers and polls.

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Condé Nast Names Digital Development Exec (FishbowlNY)
Condé Nast Entertainment has named Joe Sabia head of digital development for its digital video channels. For almost a decade, Sabia has been creating popular video series — including Vogue’s 73 Questions and Vanity Fair’s Improv Imagination. While at HBO, Sabia created the Seven Minute Sopranos series. WWD / Memo Pad He will be responsible for developing digital video shows on The Scene, CNE’s video hub.

PBS Pulls Ads From Harper’s Magazine After Critical Essay (CJR / Behind The News)
After a sales representative at Harper’s Magazine received a phone call on Sept. 18 from a disgruntled advertiser, the subject of a critical story printed the week before, publisher John R. MacArthur wasn’t surprised that it decided to pull ads from subsequent issues. But he was shocked by who that advertiser was: PBS, the public broadcaster famous for Big Bird and Ken Burns’ epic historical documentaries.

Jeffries Blackerby Joins Travel + Leisure (FishbowlNY)
Jeffries Blackerby is joining Travel + Leisure as its executive editor. He comes to T+L from Condé Nast Traveler, where he served as deputy editor since last November. Prior to joining T+L, Blackerby was a digital editor at Vogue. He previously worked at T: The New York Times Style Magazine.

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The Washington Post Sets New Monthly Digital Traffic Record (Capital New York)
The Washington Post touted another record-breaking online traffic month in a memo sent to staffers Friday. The editors noted a 34 percent increase in unique readers and a 38 percent jump in page views, in comparison to September 2013. In particular, Friday’s memo praised reporter Carol Leonnig, who has broken several stories recently about a man who jumped over the White House fence last month, and gave credit to the Post’s slate of digital offerings, many of which launched this year.

NBA Widely Expected to Renew TV Deals With Disney, Turner (Variety)
The National Basketball Association is widely expected to renew its current TV-rights deals with Walt Disney’s ESPN and Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting, according to a person familiar with the situation. The deals, which Sports Business Journal reported in September are likely to be worth around $2 billion overall, would leave other media companies who may have hoped to add NBA games to their programming rosters in the lurch.

Dish Plans to Charge Internet TV Subs Extra for Live Local Broadcast (Variety)
Dish Network, which is assembling one of the first Internet-delivered pay-TV services in the U.S., is planning to offer local broadcast TV networks to subscribers of the over-the-top service as a separate, premium-priced tier, according to industry sources.

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Jeff Zucker Has Endured Cancer, Hollywood, And Being TV’s Wunderkind — So Why Not Take on CNN? (NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer)
The headache started in the morning. It was a Thursday last June, and Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, was working on the final preparations for New Day, the morning show he was set to debut four days later. From the moment Zucker took over CNN in January 2013, he had been focused on getting the morning right. He was a morning-television savant, after all, having led the Today show on a storied run of ratings dominance. And CNN’s early show, Starting Point With Soledad O’Brien, had become a symbol of the network’s slide from cable-news pioneer to industry laggard. O’Brien drew just 260,000 viewers, compared with more than a million people who watched Fox & Friends and some 450,000 viewers of Morning Joe on MSNBC.

Forbes Cuts Contributors in Wake of Frat Fracas (Capital New York)
Forbes.com has terminated contributors in the wake of public outrage over contributing writer Bill Frezza’s online column describing drunk party girls as the “gravest threats” to the survival of fraternities, now-former contributor Brett Arends contended in a Facebook post Friday.

New President of Afghanistan Welcomes Back Times Reporter (NYT)
A New York Times correspondent expelled this summer by the government of Afghanistan will be allowed to return to the country effective immediately, according to an order issued on Sunday by the Afghan attorney general’s office.

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