Morning Media Newsfeed: Shareholders OK DirecTV Sale | FAA Allows Drones for Film

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DirecTV Shareholders Approve $48.5 Billion Sale to AT&T (THR)
At a special meeting in New York on Thursday, DirecTV shareholders gave the company the go-ahead to sell its satellite business to AT&T in a deal valued at $48.5 billion. Reuters The deal, currently under review by U.S. and international regulators, was approved by 99 percent of votes cast, the company said in a statement. The votes cast represent 77 percent of shares outstanding. Bloomberg DirecTV CEO Mike White reiterated Thursday that he expects to reach a deal by the end of the year with the NFL over rights to air the Sunday Ticket package — an important milestone as the AT&T transaction is contingent on that contract being extended. WSJ The deal comes as the communications landscape transforms with people relying more on Internet-connected devices for entertainment and media consumption. Earlier this year, Comcast Corp. agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion. The companies agreed to the merger after considering a deal for a few years. It is AT&T’s biggest acquisition since its $85 billion deal to buy BellSouth in 2006. The Hill Along with Comcast’s planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable, the AT&T-DirecTV merger is the second major media deal before federal regulators this year. AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV has raised less opposition than the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal, though some critics on the left have raised concerns that it represents a growing consolidation of major media companies. The two media companies have said that their merger is a matter of marketplace necessity.

Filmmakers Get Permission to Use Drones in U.S. (Variety)
The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Thursday that it will allow the restricted use of unmanned aircraft, or drones, on movie and TV locations. Deadline Hollywood Unmanned aerial cameras are legal elsewhere in the world, but have been prohibited for commercial use in the U.S. until now. As of now, only six aerial photo companies have been granted permission to use camera drones on film and TV productions, although the permitting model established by the MPAA that was approved by the FAA and the Department of Transportation opens the door for many others to follow suit. ABC News / AP The FAA permits come with limitations, including that the unmanned aircraft be used only in a restricted area, that they be flown under 400 feet in altitude and that flights last no more than 30 minutes at a time. Nighttime flights are prohibited, and reality television shows or other unscripted events won’t qualify for the permits. Bloomberg They will be “blazing a trail” toward approvals for drone use in agriculture, industrial inspections and other uses, U.S. transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. Other companies that have applied for exemptions to fly drones in the U.S. include Amazon.com and Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s BNSF Railway Co., according to the FAA.

Good Morning America Wins Second Straight Season (TVNewser)
Despite losing two anchors in the last year, ABC’s Good Morning America won its second straight season and added viewers in the process. The ABC morning broadcast improved most where in counts: in the adults 25-54 news demo growing 7 percent vs. the 2012-2013 season. GMA was also up 4 percent in total viewers. Deadline Hollywood GMA clocked an average of 5.566 million viewers and 2.117 million news demo viewers — besting Today’s 4.871 million overall viewers and 1.966 million demo viewers for NBC, and CBS This Morning’s 3.025 million and 973,000, respectively. Variety ABC drew its largest overall audience in 22 years, and for CBS this marked its largest morning-show audience in 20 years. In the key news demo of adults 25-54, ABC opened up a little more room on Today, with the former rising to 2.117 million (an eight-year high) and the latter gaining 4 percent to average 1.966 million. Third-place CBS This Morning dipped 3 percent (973,000 vs. 998,000). Although news programs are generally tracked by the 25-54 demo, it’s interesting to note that Today remains the timeslot leader among adults 18-49, a category it has won for 22 consecutive seasons. TVNewser In addition to winning the season, GMA also wins the week and the just-finished third quarter. But only CBS This Morning grew among total viewers compared to Q3 2013. The CBS morning show was up 5 percent in viewers, but down 4 percent in the adults 25-54 demo.

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Face The Nation Wins 2013-2014 Season (TVNewser)
CBS’ Face The Nation wins its second consecutive season, topping in both total viewers and adults 25-54 demo viewers for the 2013-2014 season. The Sunday public affairs show drew 3.11 million viewers, up 2 percent in viewers compared to the 2012-2013 season. The demo win was razor-thin, with Face topping ABC’s This Week by just 1,000 viewers. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The success of Face is due in no small part to its lead-in, CBS Sunday Morning With Charles Osgood, which averages 5,790,000 million viewers. (On the other hand, it’s worth noting that almost half of the Sunday Morning audience isn’t sticking around to watch Face.) Deadline Hollywood In the news demo, Face wound up the season with an average 867,000 demo viewers to This Week’s 866,000; NBC’s Meet The Press logged 786,000, and Fox News Sunday averaged 397,000 viewers. That’s This Week’s most competitive season performance in the news demo in two decades. In overall audience, This Week nabbed 2.932 million viewers across the season; Meet The Press trailed at 2.724 million, besting Fox News Sunday’s 1.241 million.

Charlo Greene Lights Up During Interview (TVNewser)
Former Anchorage TV reporter Charlo Greene lit up a marijuana joint while being interviewed on HuffPost Live Thursday. Greene, who famously quit her job live on KTVA Sunday night, agrees with her former news director who said she violated “the basic bedrock of responsible journalism,” by not revealing that she had a business interest in legalized marijuana in Alaska, while reporting stories on am upcoming ballot initiative. TVSpy “I have a journalism degree. I know in journalism there is a line that you’re not supposed to cross,” said Greene. “And the minute that I bought my business license on 4/20 of this year, I shouldn’t have reported on any marijuana story. But if I had gone to my boss and said, ‘Hey. I just bought this company,’ I would have been fired. Period.” Mediaite “Just because I choose to spark up doesn’t make me a criminal. I don’t deserve to go to jail because of this joint, do I?” Greene asked, pulling out a joint. “I could spark this up, right here, right now with you, and I would still be talking at the same level. I’d be just as lucid.” “Are you waiting until the interview’s over to spark it up?” HuffPost Live anchor Alyona Minkovski questioned. “No, I’ll spark it up right now,” Greene replied. “It is what it is. I’m in the privacy of my own home.” And then she did.

New Television Season Raises Red Flags for Fox (NYT)
The third night of network television’s premiere week provided good news for another new series, the comedy Black-ish on ABC, while further cementing CBS’ solid start and planting more red flags for the Fox network. ABC’s Modern Family hit a 3.7 rating in that category in the first ratings from Wednesday night — down from a 4.1 last season — with 10.9 million viewers. Black-ish retained a solid 3.3 rating in the 18-49 category and virtually matched its lead-in audience, with 10.8 million viewers. THR / The Live Feed CBS had a block of reality with the return of Survivor, which brought a two-year premiere best 2.7 rating with adults 18-49. The finale of Big Brother pulled a 2.6 rating in the demo, up a shade from last year’s ender. The network won the night in the adults 18-49 race. NBC’s The Mysteries of Laura moved into its official 8 p.m. slot and opened the night with an average 1.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 9.9 million viewers. That’s a hit from the 2.0-rated premiere last week, but on par with its viewership. Deadline Hollywood Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen (1.3) was resilient against premiere week competition, down just a tenth from last Wednesday. As can be expected, newcomer Red Band Society (1.0) was harder hit, down 23 percent from its debut last week.

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‘Cleaning Up’ at The New York Times Magazine (Capital New York)
The New York Times Magazine is gearing up for a big redesign in early 2015. But editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein said that readers will see a number of smaller changes in less than two weeks’ time. FishbowlNY Readers will surely love some of the cleansing — specifically Silverstein’s decision to ditch the “One Page Magazine” feature that seemingly everyone complained about. A short essay will take its place. The photo feature “Look” and the editorial “Who Made That” are also getting swept under the rug. “Riff,” the long-form essay on culture will be moved to the front of the book, but it will be shorter and not run every week. “The Ethicist,” the weekly interview feature “Talk” and the foodie favorite “Eat” are all staying put.

Smithsonian Channel to Re-Air CBS Sunday Morning (TVNewser)
Smithsonian Channel will begin re-airing CBS Sunday Morning Sundays at 2 p.m. ET, after the program has cleared CBS affiliates. The network will also re-air the show up to four times later in the week. Smithsonian Channel is co-owned by CBS Corp. and the Smithsonian Institute. Variety CBS Sunday Morning is highly regarded for its long-form storytelling format and deep-dive reporting on a range of topics.

Subscribers Now Watch More Than 90 Minutes of Netflix Every Single Day (GigaOM)
Netflix subscribers around the world watch more than 90 minutes of video from the streaming service every single day on average, according to new estimates from The Diffusion Group, which also reported this week that the overall amount of Netflix streaming has increased 350 percent over the last 10 quarters. Variety Overall, Netflix streamed an estimated 7 billion hours of video in second quarter of 2014, up from about 2 billion hours in Q4 2011. But to put the figures into context, Americans still watch more than three times as much traditional television: That was a whopping 142 hours and 38 minutes of live TV per month in the second quarter of 2014 (down about four hours from the year prior), along with 14 hours and 13 minutes of television programming on DVRs and video-on-demand, according to Nielsen.

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CNN’s Latest Hire Is AFP’s Stephen Collinson (FishbowlDC)
CNN’s Rachel Smolkin announced to staff Wednesday evening that Stephen Collinson will join the network as a senior enterprise reporter. Collinson currently serves as AFP’s White House correspondent.

U.K.’s BSkyB Extends NFL TV Deal, Adds Monday Night Football (THR)
U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, has extended its TV deal with the NFL and added the rights to Monday Night Football. While the NFL has faced some criticism back home, it has seen fan interest in Britain grow in recent years. The new five-year TV deal, which follows a three-year arrangement between the partners, will bring even more live football to the company’s Sky Sports, which has competed for sports rights with U.K. telecom giant BT. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

U.S. May Have Identified Man in Beheading Videos (ABC News / AP)
The FBI director says the U.S. believes it has identified the British-accented masked man in the videos depicting the beheadings of two American journalists and a British aid worker. FBI Director James Comey told reporters at the bureau’s headquarters Thursday he would not reveal the man’s name or nationality. Comey did not address whether the U.S. believes the man actually carried out the killings himself.

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The Hub to Rebrand as Discovery Family Channel as Discovery Takes Control (THR)
Discovery Communications and Hasbro said Thursday that they will rebrand kids TV network The Hub as Discovery Family Channel, effective Oct. 13. Discovery is raising its stake in the joint venture network, which launched in Oct. 2010, to 60 percent, effectively taking control.

Google Responds to News Corp Criticism in ‘Dear Rupert’ Blog Post (THR)
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Google have repeatedly engaged in a war of words in recent years, and the Internet search giant opened the latest chapter in the showdown on Thursday. In a blog post entitled “Dear Rupert,” one of its representatives responded to News Corp criticism detailed in a letter to European Union officials last week that was sent by CEO Robert Thomson.

Police in China Detain Editor of Business Newspaper (NYT)
The police in China on Thursday detained the editor-in-chief and general manager of one of the country’s most widely read business newspapers. The move came within weeks of arrests in and accusations of an extortion scheme involving the paper. The latest detentions were reported in a single-sentence bulletin from Xinhua, the state-run news agency, which did not describe any charges against the two, of The 21st Century Business Herald.

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