Morning Media Newsfeed: Ferns Plugs Obamacare | Sweeney Steps Down | Reporter Dies in Uganda

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White House: Obama’s Between Two Ferns Cameo Driving Traffic to HealthCare.gov (The Washington Post / Post Politics)
The White House said in a tweet early Tuesday afternoon that President Obama’s appearance on the Funny or Die Web series Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis has made that website the top referrer to HealthCare.gov. Politico As of 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, the website had racked up more than 19,000 referral visits from Obama’s Between Two Ferns video, which was posted around 7 a.m., Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesman Aaron Albright said. But those who clicked through from the video to HealthCare.gov represent just a small percentage of those who watched the video. Around 1 p.m., the video had drawn about 3 million views through Funny or Die’s video player. By 6 p.m., the total was around 7 million. Reuters In the video, Obama got the chance to urge the youth of America to get health insurance, but not until he’d been subjected to questions like “What is it like to be the last black president?” and “What should be done about North Ikea?” Youth participation is crucial to the success of the program, but U.S. government data released on Tuesday showed that while the number of people enrolled in private insurance under Obamacare reached 4.2 million by March 1, the proportion of adults aged 18-34 remained unchanged from January at 25 percent of total enrollment in private Obamacare plans. Variety At Tuesday’s briefing, White House press secretary Jay Carney was grilled by the White House press corps on whether the video demeaned the dignity of the office. “I think we made the right call here,” Carney said. “I think what it says is gone are the days when your broadcasts can reach everybody we need to reach.” He noted that Between Two Ferns videos average 6 million views, and that he expected the Obama interview would exceed that. He declined to say exactly which parts of the interview were scripted and which ones were not. THR During Obama’s six-and-a-half-minute back-and-forth with Galifianakis, the president played the role of a stern, sometimes irritated straight man as the comedian deadpanned a series of questions that were alternately outrageous and inane. “This is a perfect example of a great partnership with Funny or Die stepping up in a big way,” said Between Two Ferns producer Eric Ortner. “The site has a very robust traffic base of young men and women who are on the edge of the cultural zeitgeist.” PRNewser Will the people who hate the president’s health care law see this clip and change their minds? Of course not. The point, really, is that this appearance was far more valuable than any Sunday morning show discussion could be, no matter what Obama’s opponents think. We all know that the key to successful communication is to deliver the message to the right audience in the best possible format, which for young people is not Sunday morning on NBC with David Gregory.

Disney Shocker: Top Exec Anne Sweeney to Exit to Become TV Director (THR)
Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group, is leaving the company she has called home for 18 years to pursue her passion of becoming a director. “What drives me now is… being immersed in the creative process,” said Sweeney, 56, who began her career at Nickelodeon and FX before joining Disney and growing assets that include such global brands as Disney Channel (107 channels, reaching 431 million households), the ABC broadcast network and studio, ABC Family and Disney’s share of digital player Hulu and a 50 percent stake in cable power A+E Networks. Last year, her divisions generated $11.9 billion in revenue and $2.6 billion in profit, making her the most powerful woman in Hollywood. TheWrap Sweeney is credited with much of Disney-ABC’s early adoption of digital platforms. It was one of the earliest of the media companies to put television content on new platforms, leveraging iTunes, an ad-supported full episode player online and the iPad. Among many accomplishments, she oversaw Nickelodeon’s international expansion, including launching the channel in the U.K., resulting in a joint venture with British Sky Broadcasting. TVNewser Sweeney’s departure will come three months before Bob Iger steps down as CEO of Disney, where he will remain executive chairman. “I am so thankful to Bob Iger for his leadership, guidance and his friendship over the years,” Sweeney said. Variety It’s understood that Sweeney was not seen as a contender to replace Iger when his contract ends in 2016. With no more room to advance, Sweeney has clearly opted to take a left-turn career-wise. Iger indicated in an interview with The New York Times that the successor would come from within the Disney/ABC ranks, with ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee mentioned as a strong contender.