After Pushback, Murdoch Abandons Fox’s Pursuit of Time Warner (NYT / DealBook)
At 4:07 p.m. Tuesday, the chief executive of Time Warner Inc., Jeffrey L. Bewkes, received an unexpected email. “On behalf of our board and senior management team, I am writing to inform you that we are withdrawing our offer to acquire Time Warner, effective immediately. Sincerely, Rupert Murdoch.” A hand-delivered letter bearing the same message arrived soon after. TVNewser In short, Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox withdrew its bid for Time Warner, CNN’s parent company. FishbowlNY Early last month, word leaked that Murdoch’s bid of $80 billion was rejected, which raised speculation that he’d try everything in his power to make it happen. Instead, the opposite has occurred. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Subsequent reports speculated that Murdoch, dogged in his pursuit of an acquisition, would consider upping the offer by as much as $13.5 billion. Had such a deal gone through, it would have merged the country’s top-two cable providers, giving Murdoch control of several top-rated cable networks, including TNT, Fox News, TBS and Cartoon Network. WSJ Fox cited both Time Warner’s unwillingness to “engage with us” and a sharp drop in Fox’s stock price which made a deal “unattractive to Fox shareholders.” Fox’s stock had fallen about 11 percent since news broke last month that it had made a takeover offer for Time Warner, valued at $85 a share.
New Leaker Disclosing U.S. Secrets, Government Concludes (CNN)
The federal government has concluded there’s a new leaker exposing national security documents in the aftermath of surveillance disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, U.S. officials said Tuesday. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media That leaker is apparently behind the latest story from The Intercept, the Glenn Greenwald-run digital magazine, exposing how much the U.S. terrorist database has grown and how few of those people are connected to any known terrorist group. The classified documents were prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center, which also spoiled the scoop for The Intercept by tipping off The Associated Press. HuffPost To spoil a scoop, the subject of a story, when asked for comment, tips off a different, typically friendlier outlet in the hopes of diminishing the attention the first outlet would have received. Tuesday’s AP story was much friendlier to the government’s position, explaining the surge of individuals added to the watch list as an ongoing response to a foiled terror plot. Mediaite Tellingly, Jeremy Scahill, the author of the Intercept piece, cites documents from the National Counterterrorism Center published in August of 2013 — long after Edward Snowden, the man responsible for the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history, had fled the country for Russia. Greenwald hinted back in July that there was likely another leaker in the federal government. At this point, the U.S. government doesn’t know who it is, but told CNN that they were “investigating” the source of the leaks.
Greg Coleman Named President of BuzzFeed (FishbowlNY)
Greg Coleman, former president of The Huffington Post, has been named the new president of BuzzFeed. Coleman most recently served as president of the advertising tech company Criteo. Coleman will also hold a seat on BuzzFeed’s board. NYT Coleman will start this week and replaces Jon Steinberg, the company’s previous president, who left to become chief executive for the British tabloid The Daily Mail as it pushes into the U.S. TheWrap Coleman, whose resume also includes stints as an executive at Yahoo! and AOL, will also hold a seat on the company’s Board of Directors. Based in New York, he will be tasked with the management and growth of all aspects of BuzzFeed. WSJ / CMO Today BuzzFeed hopes Coleman can help ramp up its ad business, particularly among big global brands looking to tackle the mobile and social Web, said Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s founder and CEO.
July 2014 Marks Highest Trafficked Month for WashingtonPost.com (FishbowlDC)
The month of July 2014 marked the highest trafficked month ever for WashingtonPost.com, surpassing October 2013 when the Post reported on the government shutdown as the previous high. GigaOM The announcement didn’t say exactly how much traffic the site got, nor did it say whether this was based on raw pageviews or unique visitors or some other metric — a topic that is the subject of much debate within the media industry — and it didn’t say anything about growth in online revenue either. But for a newspaper that appeared to be floundering as badly as the Post was when it was sold, almost any improvement is probably worth celebrating. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Washington Post spokesperson Jennifer Lee said that the traffic numbers are “internal only at this point,” but provided year-over-year growth data showing a 61-percent increase in unique visitors between July 2013 and July 2014. In the year since Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced his intention to buy the paper, the Post has hired more than 50 additional editorial staffers and made moves to expand the business overseas.
Time Inc. Swings to Quarterly Loss in First Report as Standalone Company (THR)
Magazine giant Time Inc. on Tuesday reported a second-quarter loss of $32 million, compared with a year-ago profit of $75 million, in its first report as a standalone company following its spin-off from Time Warner. Adjusted for various items, including severance and restructuring charges, the company posted earnings of $33 million, down from $76 million. HuffPost / Reuters The company reported a 1.6 percent fall in quarterly revenue, hurt by a fall in subscription revenue and newsstand sales. The company’s publications include People, Sports Illustrated and its namesake Time magazine. Capital New York Time Inc. took an especially hard hit when its second largest newsstand wholesaler, Source Interlink Distribution, which shipped magazines from warehouses to retail outlets, defaulted on its payment to the company. The company’s move in late 2015 to downtown headquarters at 225 Liberty St. is seen as a means of “transform[ing] the cost base,” chief executive Joe Ripp told Wall Street investors in an earnings call Tuesday morning. “We expect the new lease to result in approximately $50 million of annual savings beginning in 2016… Our new headquarters will also allow us to accelerate the cultural transformation.”
Dish Gets Closer to Web TV Launch With A&E Deal (Re/code)
Dish Networks, which says it wants to launch an Internet TV service this year, is getting closer to its goal: The satellite TV company has signed a deal with A&E Networks that lets it stream the cable programmer’s shows on the Web. Deadline Hollywood It specifically includes Dish’s planned linear and VOD streaming service, expected to be a low-cost alternative to conventional pay TV but only available to individuals — not entire households. But Dish also agreed to add A&E’s H2 (a History Channel spinoff) and FYI (the newly rebranded Biography Channel) to its America’s Top 200 package. The deal gives Dish rights to other A&E channels including LMN (formerly Lifetime Movie Network), History en Espanol, Crime + Investigation and Military History. Variety Dish, the No. 2 U.S. satellite TV provider after DirecTV, has not divulged many details of its forthcoming Internet TV service, but has said it’s aiming to cater to consumers who want a smaller (and cheaper) bundle of channels than is typically available from cable or satellite services. The satcaster has been targeting a launch by year-end, with a price point estimated to be $20-$30 per month. Dish announced an OTT deal with Disney this spring covering streaming content from five networks — the first such deal of its kind in the pay-TV industry.
CNN ‘Aware’ of Arwa Damon Lawsuit (TVNewser)
A CNN spokesperson said the network is now “aware” of a lawsuit over senior international correspondent Arwa Damon allegedly biting two paramedics “in a drunken rage” at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad last month. “We are aware of the lawsuit and are looking into it,” the spokesperson said. NY Post / Page Six Page Six can reveal a sobered-up Damon later wrote a groveling apology to U.S. Embassy staff about her “disastrous behavior,” which she claims she doesn’t fully remember. She said in an email: “It’s been an extremely stressful time, I was exhausted, I had not had proper food all day and clearly miscalculated how my body would handle the alcohol consumed… Needless to say, I am utterly mortified and take full responsibility for my actions, which are inexcusable.” FishbowlNY Damon allegedly got wasted during a visit to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and when two EMTs tried to help her, Damon bit them. The workers are now suing Damon and CNN for $2 million.
Cablevision Second-Quarter Underlying Profit Rises, Subs Drop (THR)
Cablevision Systems on Tuesday reported improved underlying second-quarter financials as it continued to lose pay TV subscribers and also lost broadband users for the first time and telephony customers. One Wall Street observer said that the broadband decline was the first he remembers seeing at a major U.S. pay TV operator. WSJ Cablevision’s total customer count declined to 3.17 million, down about 21,000 from three months earlier. The company lost a net 28,000 video customers quarter to quarter, while its number of broadband and voice customers also declined.
Disney Results Improve on Strength Across Segments (WSJ)
Walt Disney Co. said its fiscal third-quarter earnings rose 22 percent as strength across the entertainment company’s segments pushed results above expectations. Disney’s studio division continued to benefit from the animated blockbuster Frozen, including March’s home video release of the princess musical. NYT Disney said quarterly profit totaled $2.25 billion. That profit translated to $1.28 a share; analysts had expected $1.17. Revenue totaled $12.47 billion, an 8 percent increase. Strong theme park attendance and a fourth consecutive profitable quarter at Disney’s video game division contributed to the outsize results. But the primary factor appeared to be Marvel Entertainment, which Disney acquired in 2009.
CBS Reportedly Chooses Craig Ferguson’s Late Night Successor (TheWrap)
James Corden is taking over for Craig Ferguson as host of The Late Late Show on CBS, an individual with knowledge of the situation said. Corden stars in Disney’s Into The Woods and can currently be seen alongside Keira Knightley in Begin Again. He also played Paul Potts in the Weinstein Company’s One Chance. Ferguson, who’s hosted The Late Late Show since 2005, announced in April that he would be departing the series, noting that he’d exit at “the end of this year.”
Russian Regulator Ready to Block BBC Website, Reports Say (GigaOM)
Russian authorities are considering blocking the BBC’s local website, because it carries an audio interview with an “extremist.” However, the BBC is refusing to remove the interview. The individual in question is Artem Loskutov, an artist who backs a campaign for Siberia to become an autonomous republic within Russia. According to an Izvestia report on Tuesday, the Russian telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor has threatened to block the BBC Russian Service’s website throughout the country. It has reportedly told the BBC to take the offending piece down, because it contains “appeals to riots, extremist activities or participation in mass public activities conducted in violation of the legal order.”
Telefónica Offers $8.9 Billion for Vivendi’s Brazilian Business (NYT / DealBook)
Telefónica of Spain said on Tuesday that it had offered about $8.9 billion in cash and shares for Global Village Telecom, a Brazilian company controlled by Vivendi of France. The deal would combine Telefónica’s mobile and broadband operations in Brazil, which operate under the Vivo brand, with those of Global Village Telecom, creating the largest telecommunications provider in Brazil.
Ed Joyce, Former CBS News Pres., Has Died (TVNewser)
Ed Joyce, who climbed the ladder at CBS News for nearly three decades, reaching the pinnacle as president of CBS News in 1983, has died. Joyce’s short, two-year tenure as president of the news division was chronicled in his memoir Prime Times, Bad Times. Joyce’s first TV jobs were in Utica and Schenectady, New York. He moved into news production and management, first at CBS’ local stations in Chicago and Los Angeles, before returning to New York in 1981 as executive vice president of CBS News and elevated to president two years later. Joyce’s son Randall Joyce is a producer for 60 Minutes.
Q2 Earnings: LIN Media Net Revenues Rise 15 Percent (TVSpy)
LIN Media reported $188.8 million in net revenues during the second quarter of 2014, a 15 percent increase compared to the year-ago quarter. The company’s net broadcast revenues were also up 8 percent compared to the second quarter of 2013.
Nexstar Sells Evansville Station for $18.6 Million (TVSpy)
Nexstar has announced it is selling Evansville CBS affiliate WEVV for $18.6 million to minority led broadcaster Bayou City Broadcasting Evansville, Inc. WEVV is owned by Communications Corp. of America. Nexstar and Mission Broadcasting announced they were buying CCA last April for $270 million.