Morning Media Newsfeed: S&S Joins eBook Services | Netflix to Expand | Spotify Hits Milestone

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Simon & Schuster Joins Scribd, Oyster eBook Subscription Service Libraries (GalleyCat)
Simon & Schuster has established a partnership with Scribd and Oyster. Readers will now have access to the publisher’s backlist eBook titles. GigaOM eBook subscription sites are still young — both Oyster and the reinvented Scribd, which offer users unlimited access to a library of eBooks for under $10 a month, just launched last fall. In that time, one of the questions for these services has been whether big publishers would sign up. Until now, the only Big Five publisher participating in either service had been HarperCollins. Mashable As part of the agreement, Simon & Schuster will make available its entire backlist of thousands of books. Eric Stromberg, cofounder and CEO of Oyster, framed the deal as a strong endorsement for the eBook subscription market, or as he put it, the access model. WSJ Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins both view the services as a way to jump-start sales of older books. Both publishers have limited what they make available to titles that have been in print for at least a year. The Oyster and Scribd deals are “an experiment, but it’s a serious experiment,” said Carolyn Reidy, chief executive of Simon & Schuster, a unit of CBS Corp. Simon & Schuster also has experimented with providing books to another kind of subscription service, one now called Entitle Books Inc., which lets consumers buy a certain number of books for a set price every month. Forbes The deal includes authors like Stephen King — the most searched author in the Oyster platform — and Ernest Hemingway, who is No. 5. Other names snagged in the deal include Dan Brown, Mary Higgins Clark, Ray Bradbury and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Netflix to Expand to France, Germany Later This Year (WSJ)
Netflix announced plans Wednesday to launch its streaming video service later this year in six additional European countries, as the company seeks to capitalize on rapid growth in markets outside the U.S. The company said its subscription service would be available in France and Germany — two of the world’s biggest broadband markets — as well as Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Mashable The company did not disclose exactly when the service would launch, but said it would be sometime in 2014. Netflix did not divulge pricing details. U.S. accounts will work in the new countries, as any Netflix account can be accessed from anywhere the service is available, according to a Netflix spokesperson. Deadline London Netflix said in a statement that its content in the various new territories will include Hollywood, local and global TV series and movies. The service now has more than 48 million subscribers in more than 40 countries. The continued European expansion follows the 2012 launch of Netflix in the U.K. and Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Last year, it launched in the Netherlands. NYT Netflix will face a variety of challenges in taking on Europe’s entrenched players country by country, including the fact that many of the domestic pay-TV companies already have exclusive rights to some of the programming that Netflix’s service typically carries. In France, for example, Netflix will be unable to offer subscribers its own most popular in-house production, the political drama series House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey. The pay-television giant Canal Plus already has the French rights to the series.

Spotify Hits 10 Million Subscribers, A Milestone (NYT)
Spotify, the streaming music service, said on Wednesday that it had grown to 10 million paying subscribers around the world, a long-awaited disclosure as the company faces potential competition from Apple and also prepares for a probable initial public offering. Mashable The new number, which Spotify announced in a blog post, is up from 6 million subscribers in March 2013. In addition to the paid subscriptions, Spotify also announced 40 million active users, an important base for a company that relies on using free music to eventually convert listeners into subscribers. That number is up from 24 million, which was also announced in March 2013. THR Yet it is the rate of growth in the music business’ No. 1 market in the U.S. that is most pleasing to industry insiders. According to sources familiar with the company’s data, Spotify has swelled to more than 3 million paying subscribers in less than three years since launching in the U.S. in July 2011. Re/code Spotify has launched initiatives designed to increase its exposure, including a plan to offer free music via a mobile phone app and a linkup with Sprint, which is going to bundle the service with its wireless plans. Spotify’s numbers do place it well beyond the rest of its competitors, including Deezer, Google and Rdio. The entire subscription music industry has grown rapidly in recent years, and is now generating more than $1 billion annually.

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Fox News, MSNBC Hit Lows in Total Day Demo (TVNewser)
Fox News averaged 174,000 adult 25-54 viewers in total day for the week of May 12, the lowest-rated week in the total day demo since the holiday week of Dec. 24, 2012. Before that, the network’s lowest week in the total day demo was the week of Sept. 3, 2001, before Fox News took over as the top-rated cable news network. MSNBC also struggled, tying for its fifth-lowest week ever in the total day demo. The Wrap The good news for Fox: Even when it’s down, it still handily beats CNN and MSNBC across most ratings metrics. In total viewers, Fox News Channel ranked No. 7 across total day. Competitors CNN and MSNBC ranked No. 36 and No. 31, respectively, for the week of May 5. Variety In total day averages, Fox, CNN and MSNBC were all down about 20 percent week-to-week in the key news demo of adults 25-54, according to Nielsen. CNN was the lowest-rated news net in the demo (96,000) but it didn’t flirt with weekly lows; it had drawn a smaller audience on six occasions in 2014.

New Feature for Facebook iOS, Android Apps Uses Microphones to Identify Songs, TV Shows, Movies (AllFacebook)
Facebook is adding a hint of Shazam to its flagship applications for iOS and Android in the form of an optional feature that allows users to use the microphones on their devices and identify songs, television shows or movies for inclusion in status updates. Re/code When you turn the option on, your smartphone will detect the sound in your environment while you’re tapping away a message or uploading pictures or videos from your iOS or Android device. So if you’re cranking a song on your speaker system or watching a movie or TV show, Facebook will recognize that, and you’ll be able to include as much in your status update. Variety The feature isn’t available yet. Facebook said it will be coming to apps for Android and iOS devices in the U.S. in the coming weeks. If Facebook users share music, friends will be able to listen to a 30-second preview of the song. For TV shows, the post in the newsfeed will highlight the specific season and episode a user is watching — thereby avoiding spoilers, Facebook helpfully noted.

Jill Abramson Remembers Arthur Gelb for Huffington Post (FishbowlDC)
A week after being fired as executive editor of The New York Times, Jill Abramson has resurfaced, penning a piece in remembrance of former Times managing editor Arthur Gelb, who died Tuesday, for the Huffington Post. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple So how did Abramson come to contribute these nice words to the Huffington Post? A spokeswoman for the site explains, “It came to Arianna, who was in correspondence with Jill Abramson. HuffPost is both a journalistic enterprise, with 700 paid editors, reporters, etc. and a large platform for views and opinions for which we do not offer compensation.” Abramson got no money for her post, the spokeswoman said. Poytner / MediaWire Gelb “got a tremendous kick when I was named managing editor, the job he had when he retired from the newsroom in 1989,” Abramson writes. “He regularly called me with great story ideas and loved it when we broke a big one. ‘Ride that story!’ he’d bellow.”

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Dorothy Robinson Out at Metro (New York Observer)
Editor-in-chief of Metro US Dorothy Robinson has been let go and is being replaced in an interim capacity by Metro World News content director Aleksander Korab. FishbowlNY Robinson is stepping down to pursue other opportunities. She was promoted to editor in January and had been with Metro since 2004.

Judge: Auction of Philly Inquirer Parent Company Closed to Public (Philly.com)
The auction on Tuesday of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s parent company will be closed to the press and the public, but the winner and the price should be publicly announced, a Delaware judge ordered Tuesday. Poynter / MediaWire The court ordered last month that Interstate General Media’s partnership be dissolved and its assets sold via an “English-style” auction among current owners. Bidding will begin at $77 million and will increase $1 million every 10 minutes until one side drops out.

Vimeo to Launch Music Copyright ID System (Billboard)
Vimeo, the hosting site popular with video artists of all stripes and which uses the motto “upload your own work,” will be implementing a system it’s calling Copyright Match, intended to prevent music copyright infringement on the site. The Verge In a blog post, Vimeo notes that its website exists to showcase original work and has never been a home for pirated content like TV show rips, movie screeners and professional sports broadcasts. Copyright Match is intended to help enforce those guidelines as Vimeo keeps growing and offering new features like Vimeo on Demand — which allows viewers to pay creators for their films directly.

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Ed Schultz Ends Radio Show, Moves to Web-Based Broadcast (Mediaite)
MSNBC host Ed Schultz announced Wednesday that he will no longer be hosting his long-running syndicated radio show and will instead host an online-only broadcast on his website, wegoted.com. The host said the change would go into effect the Tuesday after Memorial Day and that the new one-hour show will stream for free on his website, Monday through Friday from noon – 1 p.m. ET.

Australia’s Network Ten to Lose 150 Staff as News, Breakfast Programs Are Cut (THR)
Australia’s third-ranked commercial TV network, Ten, announced Wednesday it’s axing three key News bulletins and its struggling breakfast TV show, Wake Up, with job cuts from the program losses said to be in the order of 150.

AT&T Will Retain U-verse TV, Won’t Force Customers to Switch to DirecTV (Variety)
AT&T will not force U-verse TV customers to take DirecTV service, if the telco’s $67 billion deal for the satcaster goes through, CFO John Stephens said. AT&T at the end of March 2014 had 5.7 million U-verse TV subscribers, making it the fifth-biggest pay-TV provider in the U.S.

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Sigourney Weaver, Howell Raines And Barbara Walters Enjoying Semi-Retirement (FishbowlNY / Lunch)
There are Wednesdays at Michael’s and then there are Wednesday’s at Michael’s. My most recent visit was one of those days. I could hardly keep up with the steady stream of famous faces that sailed past my table and made for some of the best people watching at 55th and Fifth in a long time.

Ukraine to RT: You Can’t Come in (Poynter / MediaWire)
A crew with RT was denied entry in Ukraine on Tuesday, RT reported. The crew was there to cover Ukrainian presidential elections on May 25, but they were turned away at the border. Also on Tuesday, Ukrainian National Guard detained RT correspondent Graham Phillips.

Soundelux Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Pink Slips for 30 (Deadline Hollywood)
Soundelux, Hollywood’s leading independent provider of post-production sound services, filed for bankruptcy Wednesday and will close its facilities in Santa Monica and Hollywood. The closures have resulted in layoffs of about 30 of the historic post-production studio’s 200 employees, said Leslie Cohen, the company’s bankruptcy attorney.

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