Morning Media Newsfeed: Court Torn Over Aereo | Time Inc. Board Revealed | Comcast Gains Soar

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Supreme Court Justices Express Concern Over Scope of Aereo Ruling (TVNewser)
While hearing oral arguments from attorneys representing the broadcast networks and Aereo Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court justices “appeared unsure” how to rule in the case. Reuters Aereo, backed by media mogul Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, could be forced to shut down if the court rules for the companies challenging the startup. A win for Aereo could spur innovation in the television industry by paving the way to new, cheaper ways for consumers to watch shows. A decision is due by the end of June. Bloomberg Hearing arguments Tuesday in Washington, some justices suggested they viewed Aereo as violating broadcaster copyrights by using thousands of dime-sized antennas to get over-the-air signals without paying fees. “There’s no technological reason for you to have 10,000 dime-sized antennas other than to get around the copyright laws?” Chief Justice John Roberts asked. At the same time, the hour-long hearing didn’t clearly indicate the likely outcome, as justices including Stephen Breyer repeatedly asked whether a ruling favoring the broadcasters would imperil the cloud computing business. Variety Some of the justices on Tuesday suggested that they faced a challenge in defining just what Aereo is, and drawing a line on where privately used consumer technology ends and a publicly performing service begins. The Washington Post Aereo argued that its thousands of antennas are essentially rented to subscribers of its $8-a-month service for users to pull programs from the public airwaves legally and then store in Internet server files to watch at their convenience. In that way, it is just a mediator, the company argued, with consumers in control of how they use the company’s antennas and storage files for pulling and recording programs from the airwaves. Most of the arguments, which lasted more than an hour, were focused on the justice’s queries about the definition of public and private performances in copyright law and how Aereo differs from cable, satellite and other Internet video firms that pay broadcasters retransmission and other license fees.

Time Warner Reveals Time Inc. Board (New York Post)
Time Warner revealed the full 10-member board of Time Inc. on Tuesday ahead of the planned spinoff of the publishing unit. In addition to chairman and CEO Joe Ripp, the headliners include Howard Stringer, former CEO of Sony Corp., and USA Networks founder Kay Koplovitz, who has run her own advisory firm since selling the cable channel for $4.5 billion 16 years ago. THR Stringer will be a director at Time Inc. when that company is spun out from Time Warner sometime this quarter. Ripp will be chairman of the board and eight others who also were named Tuesday will be independent directors. WSJ The board features veteran media executives with strong backgrounds in television, a sign that Ripp is hoping to diversify the magazine unit into video, among other businesses. Time Inc. is one of the country’s pre-eminent magazine publishers, led by People, which generated nearly 19 percent of Time Inc.’s revenue in 2013. Other magazine properties include Time, Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly. Deadline New York In addition to Ripp, Stringer and Koplovitz, the board will consist of: Interpublic Group former CEO David Bell, National Geographic Society former CEO John Fahey, Gartner Inc. former CEO Manuel Fernandez, Tribune Co. former CEO Dennis FitzSimons, Kraft Foods former co-CEO Betsy Holden, former IBM SVP J. Randall MacDonald and former Cravath, Swaine & Moore partner Ronald Rolfe.

Comcast 1Q Net Rises 30 Percent With Gains From Sochi Olympics (Variety)
Comcast Corp., the Philadelphia cable and media giant working to convince regulators of its suitability to buy Time Warner Cable, said Tuesday its first quarter net income soared 30 percent, largely from gains made by its NBCUniversal broadcasts of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Deadline New York The broadcast operation led the way with a 72.8 percent boost in revenues to $2.6 billion — but still would have been up 17 percent without the games due to a 15.8 percent increase in ad sales from NBC’s improved ratings. Cable network revenue increased 12.6 percent to $2.5 billion, but would have been up just 1 percent without the Olympics. WSJ The announcement also brought news of talks that Charter Communications Inc. could acquire nearly four million extra subscribers in a two-stage deal under discussion with Comcast, in what would represent a consolation prize for Charter’s nearly yearlong pursuit of Time Warner Cable Inc. NYT Comcast also announced that it added 24,000 paying television subscribers in Q1, a modest increase but notable because most other providers are losing thousands of subscribers each quarter. More Americans are becoming so-called cord cutters, abandoning their pricey cable subscriptions in favor of cheaper online offerings from services like Aereo, Hulu and Netflix. By adding video subscribers for the second quarter in a row, Comcast bolstered its argument that it provides a high-quality product that consumers are willing to pay for.

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Vice News Correspondent Reportedly Captured in Ukraine (Mediaite)
Simon Ostrovsky, a correspondent for Vice News who has been filing dispatches from Eastern Ukraine over the last several weeks, has been detained there, the news organization confirmed on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. HuffPost Gazeta.Ru reported that Ostrovsky was taken “hostage” by a militia. The Russian outlet attributed the information to Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the “People’s Mayor” of the Slovyansk, a Ukrainian town now under the control of pro-Russia separatists. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Ponomarev said on Tuesday pro-Russian militants are holding Ostrovsky in the captured headquarters of the Ukrainian Security Services. Vice News said in a statement they are working with the State Department on the situation. Tension in Slovyansk is high after a gun battle late Saturday left at least three men dead. The former mayor of the town was also kidnapped, reportedly by Ponomarev, before resurfacing on Tuesday.

Richard Turley to Leave Businessweek for MTV (FishbowlNY)
Here’s some sad news for magazine design fans: Richard Turley, the man behind Bloomberg Businessweek’s relentless amazing art, is leaving for MTV. Capital New York Turley joined Businessweek from The Guardian in 2010 after winning a bake-off for the magazine’s redesign following its acquisition by Bloomberg and the appointment of Josh Tyrangiel as editor. Turley’s refresh, with its often provocative covers, quickly earned the magazine cred amongst designers and helped to raise its profile within media circles. Adweek The duo managed to turn Businessweek into one of the buzziest magazines on the market, thanks in no small part to Turley’s attention-grabbing covers like 2012’s copulating airplanes (illustrating the United Airlines/Continental Airlines merger) and last year’s very phallic “Hedge Fund Myth.” No word on what his official title at MTV will be.

Discovery Channel to Turn Scuttled Everest Jump Footage Into Documentary About Deadly Avalanche (Deadline Hollywood)
Discovery Channel, which decided Sunday to scrap its much ballyhooed Everest Live Mount Everest jump after a weekend avalanche there killed 13, will instead telecast a special documenting the disaster. Mashable A crew producing the jump special was at the base camp on Friday when the avalanche swept the Sherpas off the mountain. High-altitude climber and wing-suit explorer Joby Ogwyn had planned a jump from the summit on May 11, for which an NBC crew was shooting advance footage for a five-night special. THR / The Live Feed The special will document the deadly disaster in Nepal and follow the Sherpa community’s response to the avalanche that claimed the lives of the 13 Sherpa guides. It’s unclear whether the special will be one hour or two hours long, and what level of participation NBC News will have. Discovery is also working to find a fitting Sherpa charity to which it will make a donation and will likely encourage viewers to do the same during the documentary.

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Journalists Kicked Out of Imprisoned Al Jazeera Journalists’ Trial (TVNewser)
Three weeks ago, three Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt had their pleas for release denied by a judge; Tuesday, journalists covering their case were kicked out of the courtroom. The expelled journalists who hung around were eventually let back in the courtroom under the order they don’t speak with the imprisoned journalists — who are locked in cages during the trial — when courtroom recess take place. HuffPost Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed appeared in court for the sixth time since they were arrested in December. They are facing charges of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood, which they and Al Jazeera have denied. They were denied bail again on Tuesday. Earlier, the court watched Al Jazeera clips that prosecutors claimed supported the charges against the journalists.

VH1 Lays Off Bulk of New York Development, Production Team (Variety)
VH1 has laid off more than 10 staffers, inducing two major execs, on its New York-based development team. Brad Abramson and Kari McFarland, VPs of East Coast production and development, are among those who have been let go, which represents the majority of the New York office’s development and production staff. THR Many if not all of the positions will be refilled, according to a source, but hiring will happen with an eye toward multi-platform programming. The considerable restructuring comes as the network’s primetime viewership is up more than 30 percent in the key 18-49 demographic, and programming chief Susan Levison looks to put her stamp on the Viacom-owned network. in Expansion Mode (WWD / Memo Pad)
Vogue is in the process of expanding its website. The magazine, which redesigned its site in 2010, is amassing a bigger staff comprised of a mix of new hires and existing employees who will move over to the dot-com. The shift and addition of staff to from the print publication has been in the works over the past six months. FishbowlNY The new site will debut in September, during New York Fashion Week. Among the staff changes: Catherine Piercy is beauty editor, Chioma Nnadi is covering fashion features, Allessandra Codinha has been added as a staff writer, Edward Barsamian will contribute as style editor and Emily Holt will contribute as fashion news editor.

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Chernin, AT&T Partner in Online Video (Re/code)
The Chernin Group and AT&T are spending more than $500 million to form a venture that will acquire, invest in and launch online video services. The partnership with AT&T brings new dimension to veteran Hollywood executive Peter Chernin’s digital media efforts, which includes an investment in digital media studio Fullscreen and a majority stake in the Japanese anime site Crunchyroll. AT&T will add expertise in technology, distribution, network infrastructure and marketing clout.

Telemundo Partners With E!, mun2, Billboard for Latin Music Awards (LostRemote)
Telemundo is partnering with E!, its sister network mun2, and Billboard Magazine to make the Billboard Latin Music Awards the most social awards show yet. Throughout this week, the Spanish-language network, in conjunction with the social media teams from E! and Billboard, will leverage its partnerships with Spredfast (which recently merged with Mass Relevance), Nielsen SocialGuide Intelligence and Telescope to curate and air the top social interactions leading up to Thursday night’s awards show.

Politico Pro Adds Cybersecurity, eHealth Verticals (FishbowlDC)
Politico Pro, the subscription service offered by the Arlington-based political pub, will expand their areas of professional policy coverage to include cybersecurity and health technology — or “eHealth” — it was announced Tuesday. That makes 13 different coverage areas Politico Pro will offer to its clients, and follows the recent addition of Campaign Pro, which is aimed at providing political professionals real-time information on House, Senate and gubernatorial races. Pro Cybersecurity will launch on May 14 and Pro eHealth will launch in the beginning of June.

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Inside PR at The Guardian in The Edward Snowden Era (PRNewser)
Very few publications have won as much attention or acclaim over the past year as The Guardian. The British/American paper shared its recent Pulitzer Prize for public service with The Washington Post, but three people are truly responsible: Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and, of course, Edward Snowden. But there’s another side to the story, and it comes from the perspective of the communications team that helped manage what is unquestionably the biggest scoop of the century to date. We recently spoke to Gennady Kolker, who oversees media relations at The Guardian U.S., for an insider’s view of the events of the past 10 months.

Julie Hirschfeld Davis Joins New York Times as White House Reporter (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Julie Hirschfeld Davis is joining The New York Times as a White House reporter, according to an internal memo sent to staff on Tuesday. Davis, most recently a national political reporter with Bloomberg News, has been covering politics for 16 years including stints with Congressional Quarterly, Associated Press and the Baltimore Sun. She will start in June.

Boston Globe Hires Broker to Sell Morrissey Boulevard Headquarters (Boston Globe)
The Boston Globe has hired a commercial real estate broker to explore a sale of the newspaper’s Morrissey Boulevard building and property. The company has hired Colliers International “to represent us in exploring the feasibility of such a transaction and to help us identify possible buyers,” Globe chief executive Mike Sheehan said in a memo to employees Tuesday. He said hiring a broker was the first step in a process that will take years.

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