Morning Media Newsfeed: AMC Buys Stake in BBC America | CNN Announces High Profits

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AMC Networks Buys 49.9 Percent Stake in BBC America (TVNewser)
AMC Networks has agreed to purchase a 49.9 percent stake in BBC America from BBC Worldwide for $200 million. AMC Networks will look for greater distribution for BBC World News in the U.S. B&C BBC Worldwide will retain a 50.1 percent equity stake in the cable channel, while AMC Networks will have operational control of BBCA, including affiliate and advertising sales, though it will still be consistent with BBC’s editorial standards and policies. THR The cable networks company and the commercial arm of U.K. public broadcaster BBC announced the deal Thursday after reports of their talks first emerged over the summer. The channel airs such BBC favorites as Doctor Who, Sherlock, Top Gear and Planet Earth. AMC Networks operates the AMC, Sundance, WE tv and IFC channels, and can now add the so-far independent BBC America when it negotiates carriage fees, giving both partners increased leverage in talks with pay-TV operators. WSJ The deal comes as the biggest pay-TV distributors are consolidating, prompting analyst speculation that content players will also have to seek greater scale. Variety Executives at both companies portrayed the arrangement as one borne out of a desire to gain greater reach for premium content that attracts high-income audiences. The two sides have worked together in the recent past. The two have collaborated on series including Top of The Lake and The Honourable Woman as well as the coming program One Child. AMC Networks and BBC Television have agreed to continue to jointly pursue a number of content investment opportunities on a range of future projects, both through BBC America and other AMC Networks channels. BBC America is to be managed as a standalone asset within AMC’s portfolio.

Pot The Focus of New CNN Original Series (TVNewser)
CNN Thursday announced a new original series called High Profits, which will focus on a Colorado couple who hope to be the first ever “moguls of marijuana.” THR High Profits, an eight-episode original production eyed for a 2015 debut on the cable news network, follows Breckenridge Cannabis Club owners Brian Rogers and Caitlin McGuire, two business-minded, dream-seeking, relentless visionaries with a unique plan: to franchise marijuana. Deadline Hollywood The eight-part series will be produced by Austin-based Bat Bridge Entertainment. In the months since Colorado became the first state in the country to legalize the use and sale of recreational marijuana, BCC has grown from a $515,000-a-year medical marijuana dispensary with four employees to a $5 million-a-year business of 30 employees, CNN said, noting that the couple recently bought a competing business in a neighboring resort town. Each one-hour episode of High Profits will examine this booming new industry. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media CNN has been steadily adding and finding ratings success with original series like Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and Somebody’s Gotta Do It With Mike Rowe. CNN president Jeff Zucker said at a reporter luncheon last month that the network will continue rolling out more original series in order to boost ratings and revenue.

Judge Issues Aereo Injunction, Stops Short of Enjoining Time-Shifting (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
U.S. district judge Alison Nathan has issued the long-awaited injunction over Aereo, the upstart service that once promised to pry open the delivery of television signals so that customers could access the major networks on digital devices. GigaOM In a 17-page ruling, Nathan denied Aereo a license to operate as a cable company, which would have permitted the company to resume its service provided that it paid broadcasters a fee. This part of the ruling is a setback for Aereo, which had operated in about 12 cities before shutting down in July in response to the Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling in June. Variety Nathan wrote that while the Supreme Court stated in its opinion that Aereo has similarities to a cable system, the justices did not say that it was, in fact, a cable system. She also rejected Aereo’s argument that it was entitled to safe harbor protection, and also said that Aereo could not now claim “significant hardship” as she issued the injunction. Deadline Hollywood While holding out some thin hope for Aereo in terms of “time-shifted retransmissions,” Nathan’s order and opinion gave ABC, CBS, NBCUniversal and Telemundo almost everything they have long sought. She also shut down what essentially is the already self-suspended Aereo’s last legal hope.