Morning Media Newsfeed: HBO Now to Stream on Apple TV | Gigaom Abruptly Shuts Down

HBO Now to stream exclusively on Apple TV. Tech blog Gigaom abruptly shuts down. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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At Launch, HBO’s New Streaming Service Will Only Be Available on Apple Devices (Adweek)
Apple TV is going to be the only way to watch HBO’s cord-cutter-friendly streaming service, at least when the service launches. HBO Now will debut at the beginning of April, according to network CEO Richard Plepler, who spoke at Apple’s press conference Monday morning in San Francisco, and will play exclusively on Apple hardware. THR HBO Now will be available April 12 for $14.99 a month, just in time for the premiere of Game of Thrones. Mashable The service will include access to all HBO content including original series and third-party movies. There had been some speculation that HBO Now would have only part of HBO’s content library. Variety “All you need to get HBO Now is a broadband connection and an Apple device,” said Plepler. Apple has sold 25 million Apple TV units to date. The company announced that it’s lowering the price of Apple TV from $99 to $69. HBO Now also will be available on Apple’s iPhones and iPads. Capital New York The deal with Apple is significant, as it is the first time HBO has offered its service on its own, without being tied to a pay-TV subscription. HBO does expect to roll out the HBO Now service to other providers, both digital (perhaps Dish’s Sling TV, or Roku) as well as through more traditional pay-TV providers, who can try to upsell people who buy broadband Internet subscriptions. HBO says it remains in discussions with both traditional and new partners.

Tech Blog Gigaom Abruptly Shuts Down (NYT)
Gigaom, a pioneering technology blog that became a fixture in Silicon Valley and claimed 6.4 million monthly readers, abruptly announced on Monday that it would shut down. Re/code The site, which was one of the first prominent tech blogs to launch in 2006, has recently hired new management, including an interim CEO. It has, in recent years, focused on its more lucrative research business, more than its Web news operations. Gigaom also does events. Mashable “Gigaom is winding down and its assets are now controlled by the company’s lenders,” founder Om Malik wrote Monday. “It is not how you want the story of a company you founded to end.” USA Today A year ago, Malik left the site after it raised about $8 million in new funds from Shea Ventures and its other existing investors, including True Ventures, Alloy Ventures and Reed Elsevier Ventures. Malik then joined True Ventures as a partner. Gigaom Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time. As a result, the company is working with its creditors that have rights to all of the company’s assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. Om.Co Malik: There will be time for postmortems, but not today. Today, I want to thank all the people who make (and have helped make) Gigaom. Their role in this journey was what really made it all worth it. They are great people and they will all do great work wherever they go. I want to thank our investors who believed in the business long before it became fashionable. And most importantly, I want to thank you dear readers for coming along on this trip of a lifetime.

Frank Underwood Lands CNN Docu-Series… Sort of (TVNewser)
Kevin Spacey, who plays President Frank Underwood on the Netflix political drama House of Cards, is teaming up with CNN for a six-part mini docu-series. The original series is currently titled Race for The White House, and will focus on prominent election campaigns from the past. FishbowlDC In addition to narrating, Spacey will also be producing the series with Dana Brunetti, president of Trigger Street Productions. The docu-series will chronicle the stories of six presidential hopefuls and will include “interviews, archival footage and ‘dramatic recreations.’” Variety Since CNN president Jeff Zucker took the reins of the network in 2013, CNN has placed increasing emphasis on a rotating series of documentary-style programs that run in primetime. Under Zucker’s aegis, CNN has enlisted hosts like Mike Rowe, John Walsh, Lisa Ling, Morgan Spurlock and Anthony Bourdain to lead series that rely on nonfiction and investigation. The network has also commissioned or aired a number of documentary films. Capital New York Zucker, in a release, said that the mini-series “will be the perfect complement” to the network’s news coverage of the 2016 presidential election. The series will debut next year, as the presidential primaries are in high gear.

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Study: Fox News Is Loved, Hated (FishbowlNY)
According to a new study on news networks, Americans either love Fox News or they hate it. There’s not much middle ground. The report, by Quinnipiac University, found that Fox News was rated the most trusted and the least trusted TV news source. The survey asked 1,286 registered voters across the nation about the trustworthiness of network and cable news networks. TVNewser According to the poll, America’s most trusted news network is Fox News — 20 percent trust Fox “a great deal” and 35 percent trust Fox “somewhat”; 26 percent of respondents said they didn’t trust Fox at all, which puts Fox on top of both the most-trusted and least-trusted lists. As for Brian Williams, 35 percent say he should be fired; 42 percent say bring Brian back. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Twenty-two percent of respondents said they trusted CNN news the most, while 10 percent sided with CBS News and NBC News, respectively, and 8 percent sided with ABC News. That means that 50 percent of respondents prefer mainstream broadcast and cable news networks, nearly twice the number that prefer Fox News. The results are even more telling when broken down along partisan lines: Among Republican voters, 58 percent say they trust Fox News the most, while among Democrats, the answers are more varied: 32 percent choose CNN, 15 percent choose NBC, 14 percent go for CBS and MSNBC, respectively, and 8 percent pick ABC. A mere 7 percent of those surveyed identified MSNBC as the most trusted news network, putting it behind the broadcast networks and far behind Fox News and CNN. Mediaite The poll also found Tina Fey as the most popular choice to succeed Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

Viacom CEO Says Restructuring Will Result in $250 Million Savings (THR)
Speaking at an investor conference on Monday, Viacom chief executive Philippe Dauman said that a company restructuring should be completed by the end of the month and result in $250 million in savings. In the past month, Viacom has made layoffs at many of its units, particularly in the advertising sales department. Variety In the past, Viacom had three separate units of TV networks, but it is placing Comedy Central and Spike alongside MTV, VH1 and Logo in hopes of burnishing general-entertainment content while placing CMT and TV Land alongside its suite of kids-focused Nickelodeon outlets to sell a passel of family-entertainment properties. The executive said Viacom was stepping up investment in original programming, specifically scripted programs, across its networks. TheWrap Dauman said his company is not buying CBS, nor selling Paramount Pictures. “We have no intention of buying CBS or buying any other big company out there,” Dauman said at Monday’s Deutsche Bank 2015 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference. “We have a lot to do to grow organically.” Years down the road, however, if it makes sense for his shareholder value long-term, the executive admitted that he and his team would reevaluate. For now, “We’ll take a look at it, but we’re not going to be a consolidator,” Dauman insisted.

Sam Simon, Simpsons Producer And Philanthropist, Dies at 59 (THR)
Sam Simon, the nine-time Emmy Award-winning comedy writer and producer who helped develop The Simpsons, made millions after leaving the show in 1993 and then donated his riches to charity, has died, his foundation announced on Monday. He was 59. Mashable Simon, who had been battling colon cancer, has a long history in Hollywood that spans several decades. Though he first got his feet wet writing for series like Barney Miller and others, his first major gig was on the TV series Taxi, for which he served as showrunner. It was there that he met James L. Brooks, with whom he’d go on to create The Simpsons. On that show, which debuted in 1989, Simon had a hand in assembling the team that would get the series up and running and, eventually, establish the voice that made The Simpsons what it is today. NYT Simon put his money toward his passions. He started a foundation that trained dogs to help people who are disabled, including veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he gave generously to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, among other groups. PETA’s headquarters in Norfolk, Va., was renamed the Sam Simon Center in 2013.

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David Firestone Joins FiveThirtyEight (FishbowlNY)
FiveThirtyEight has named David Firestone its new managing editor. Firestone was previously with The New York Times for more than two decades. During his stint with the Times Firestone filled a variety of roles, including reporter, deputy editor for the national and metro desks, and member of the editorial board. Poynter / MediaWire In his new position, Firestone will help ESPN’s news site gather resources for projects, infuse statistics into the site’s journalism and create “a sense of mission around the news each day,” Nate Silver wrote Monday. Firestone announced in December he was joining many of his colleagues in taking a buyout from the Times. During his run, Firestone helped edit the paper’s coverage of “the Great Recession, Hurricane Katrina and the rebuilding of New Orleans,” according to FiveThirtyEight’s announcement. He was recently special projects editor of the Times‘ editorial board. Firestone replaces Mike Wilson, who recently left to become editor of The Dallas Morning News.

MDC Partners Names Lori Senecal Global CEO of CP+B (AgencySpy)
Just over six months after she was promoted to president and CEO of MDC Partners (where she spent only seven months as global executive chairman), Lori Senecal will fill the newly created role of global CEO at MDC agency CP+B. WSJ / CMO Today Senecal has risen through the ranks at MDC Partners in recent years. She was named CEO of the MDC Partners network in August, a position she will retain, and sits on the holding company’s board. Senecal was previously the global head of MDC agency kbs+ and, before that, served as the president of Interpublic’s McCann-Erickson Worldwide’s New York office. Adweek “Everything I’m not good at, she is,” said agency chairman Chuck Porter. “And along with (U.S. CEO) Andrew Keller, (president) Steve Erich, (international CEO) Richard Pinder and our new creative leaders, I think we have a global A team.”

NYT Launches New Instagram Account (FishbowlNY)
The New York Times has officially launched a primary Instagram account. Available at @NYTimes, the account kicks things off with photographers interpreting a theme of “beginnings.” Mashable Photos from Bryan Denton’s work around the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone will focus on people beginning to feel comfortable touching each other again. The campaign will run from March 9 through March 15 and also feature Newsha Tavakolian in Iran, Daniel Berehulak from Punjab, India and Adam Ferguson from Thailand.

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Machinima Adds Two Key Execs During Hiring Spree (THR)
Machinima CEO Chad Gutstein continues to build out the executive ranks at the gaming-centric digital media company he joined last year. The company announced Monday that it has tapped Playboy veteran James Glasscock as senior VP, strategy and business development, less than a week after announcing the appointment of Jamie Weissenborn to the role of chief revenue officer. Variety Prior to Playboy, Glasscock ran his own consulting business, Front Row Ventures; was COO and CFO at Synergy Beverages for three years; and spent three years at Turner Broadcasting as director of digital business development.

Frontline Hires Chris Amico as Interactive Editor (TVNewser)
PBS has cemented its relationship with Chris Amico, who will join Frontline full-time in the newly created role of interactive editor. Amico began working with Frontline last year, creating “Ballot Watch,” a digital project that investigated changes to state voting laws.

NYT Names Randy Archibold Deputy Sports Editor (FishbowlNY)
The New York Times has named Randy Archibold deputy sports editor. Archibold had served as the Times’ bureau chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean since 2010.

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VCCircle Enters Rupert Murdoch’s Orbit (FishbowlNY)
When PV Sahad solo-launched VCCircle Network in India in 2005, the idea of staying in business long enough to attract multiple suitors and a winning bid from News Corp. was nowhere in his sights.