Morning Media Newsfeed: Digital First Mulls Sale | DirecTV to Launch Online Services

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Digital First Media, Second Biggest U.S. Newspaper Publisher, to Consider Sale (HuffPost / AP)
Newspaper company Digital First Media said Friday that it is exploring strategic options, which could include a sale of the company or parts of it. New York Post Chief executive John Paton said the publisher of the Denver Post, the Los Angeles Daily News, The New Haven Register and 73 other daily and Sunday papers is profitable and generates $1.2 billion of revenue. NYT Digital First has long suffered from the headwinds facing newspapers. One former division, The Journal Register Company, which includes papers like The New Haven Register and The Trentonian, filed for bankruptcy twice in the last five years. In April, the company announced that it was shutting down Project Thunderdome, a centralized newsroom that aimed to provide articles from around the nation and the world to the company’s 75 newsrooms. That closing resulted in layoffs for more than 50 people in the Project Thunderdome newsroom. Denver Post Digital First Media was formed in December 2013 with the merger of Denver-based MediaNews Group and the former Journal Register Co. It is the nation’s second-largest newspaper company, based on circulation, operating in 15 states, with 800 multi-platform news and information products, including 76 daily and Sunday newspapers and 160 weeklies. The company said it serves 75 million customers monthly. Poynter / MediaWire Ken Doctor reported in April that Digital First planned to sell its newspapers at the same time it shuttered Project Thunderdome. The company won’t set a deadline for the sale or report any developments “until the Board has determined whether it will proceed with one or several transaction(s), or otherwise concludes its review,” a news release said.

DirecTV to Launch Web-Based Video Service for Hispanics This Year (THR)
Mike White, the CEO of pay-TV giant DirecTV, said Friday that the firm would launch an online video service targeting Hispanics and was “highly confident” to have a finalized NFL Sunday Ticket renewal deal by year-end. GigaOM The service, which is going to be called YaVeo, is DirecTV’s attempt to cater to an audience that is more likely to cut the cord and get all of its programming online. However, the company wants to avoid compiling a full-blown programming bundle that would rival a traditional cable service, complete with the hefty monthly bill. Variety The Hispanic package, targeted to younger consumers, will be the first niche-focused Internet video service from DirecTV, according to White. Pricing and other details of the service have yet to be revealed. Instead of trying to introduce a broadband-delivered replacement for traditional pay-TV services, DirecTV is looking at niche-content areas “more in the mode of a Netflix,” according to White. Deadline Hollywood He’s also exploring opportunities to offer NFL Sunday Ticket to college campuses and apartments — places that typically can’t accommodate satellite dishes. “Digital rights is an important part of our discussions with the NFL” as DirecTV negotiates a renewal of its Sunday Ticket deal.

The Weather Channel May Be Sold (TVNewser)
Two of the Weather Channel’s three owners may be looking to sell. Blackstone Group and Bain Capital acquired the company, along with NBCUniversal, in 2008. Bloomberg Weather Channel hasn’t begun a formal process or hired a bank, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private. The private-equity firms are interested in exploring the idea of selling all or part of the company, according to two people familiar with the matter. They also may decide to hold their ownership stakes rather than sell, the people said. Weather Channel Cos. includes the Weather Channel TV network, digital properties including Weather.com, Weather Underground and Intellicast.com, and Weather Services International, or WSI, a weather forecasting service. THR A spokesperson for TWC said they are not aware of any negotiations that could lead to a sale. The channel was last sold in 2008 for about $3.5 billion and is believed to still be worth about the same amount. In 2013, TWC averaged about 213,000 viewers a day, which is down slightly from more than 260,000 in 2011. It sells ads not just on the size of the audience but also the quality. The channel regularly sees a spike in viewership when bad weather hits.