Morning Media Newsfeed: 550 Buyouts, Layoffs at Turner | Amazon Acquires Twitch

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550 Buyouts, Layoffs Imminent at Turner; HLN, CNN Among Cuts (The Wrap)
Some 550 buyouts are to be offered at Time Warner’s Turner network this week, including a large number of those at CNN and HLN, which will lead to layoffs if they are not taken voluntarily, according to an individual with knowledge of the network’s plans. TVNewser CNN chief Jeff Zucker will certainly want to protect CNN’s investment in original series and documentaries; the type of programming he’s gone all in on since taking the reins last year. Which departments and programming are affected by cuts remains to be seen. Variety Word of the staff cuts comes at a time when key Turner nets are at a crossroads. Turner’s entertainment networks are poised for a management overhaul following the departure in April of Steve Koonin as entertainment group chief. Meanwhile, CNN sibling HLN has been rumored to be in for a major makeover, possibly in a partnership deal between Time Warner and Vice Media. B&C The buyouts are part of the Time Warner unit’s efforts to cut costs as part of new CEO John Martin’s Turner 2020 plan aimed at cutting costs and aligning spending with company priorities. Turner officials had no comment, but sources said that the voluntary layoffs will be offered throughout Turner, including its news networks CNN and HLN, as well as its entertainment networks, including TNT and TBS. The company is not aiming at a specific headcount but rather is seeking to hit an expense number that includes personnel and other costs. THR The plan at Turner, which employs about 14,000 people worldwide, involves a formula that will allow workers at least age 55 and with a certain number of years seniority to take a buyout somewhat more generous than the usual two weeks of pay for every one year of service, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Amazon Acquires Twitch for $970 Million (Variety)
Months after multiple reports suggesting Google was closing in on a deal to acquire Twitch, Amazon has snuck in to steal away the burgeoning streaming service dedicated to watching videogamers play, the companies announced Monday. THR The Seattle-based tech giant has agreed to purchase Twitch for $970 million in cash. The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year. “Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month — from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only 3 years old,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said. Mashable Emmett Shear will remain the CEO of Twitch, the company will become a fully owned subsidiary of Amazon and he said the company’s mission will not change. WSJ The deal is Amazon’s second biggest, and underscores the popularity of online gaming. Though little-known outside of tech and gaming, Twitch, founded in 2011, is the fourth-largest source of U.S. Internet traffic, behind only Netflix Inc., Google Inc. and Apple Inc., according to network researcher DeepField Inc. Last October, 32 million people watched the championship of Riot Games Inc.’s League of Legends on various streaming services, more than the series finales of television shows Breaking Bad, 24 and The Sopranos put together.

Breaking Bad, Modern Family Win Top Honors at Emmys (CBS News / AP)
Say their names: Nearly a year after the show’s big finale, Breaking Bad and its stars were among the big winners at the Emmy Awards. The AMC series picked up the award for outstanding drama series for the second year in a row at Monday’s ceremony, while Modern Family won a record-tying fifth Emmy for outstanding comedy series. NYT Bryan Cranston, who starred in Breaking Bad as teacher Walter White, won the award for best lead actor in a drama series, his fifth Emmy win. The award for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series went to Aaron Paul for his role as the former student. Anna Gunn, who played Walter’s wife, Skyler, won the award for outstanding supporting actress. NYT It is the Gilded Age of Television. That became apparent at Monday night’s Emmy Awards when, once again, cable dominated the night. A little like the privets of privacy that enclose billionaires’ estates in the Hamptons, pay walls sequester some of the best entertainment on television.