Morning Media Newsfeed: Netflix Soars | AP Bans Photoshopper | Layoffs at TiVo

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Netflix’s Momentum Continues With 2.33 Million New U.S. Customers in Q4 (The Verge)
Netflix revealed its fourth quarter earnings Wednesday, capping off a banner year that saw the streaming service surpass HBO in subscriber count and earn critical acclaim for its original programming. In Q4, the company handily beat Wall Street expectations with revenue of $1.18 billion and earnings per share of $0.79. During the same period last year (before viewers had streamed a single episode of House of Cards), Netflix earned 13 cents per share on revenue of $945 million. Bloomberg Businessweek Netflix said Wednesday that it expects to sign up another 2.25 million subscribers in the first quarter, with “years of member growth ahead of us,” according to a company letter to shareholders. Netflix shares soared nearly 18 percent in trading after the market’s close, following a 1.5 percent gain to $333.73 in the regular session. NYT The strong growth came even though the service did not add a prominent, exclusive program like the drama House of Cards. One new animated series, TurboFAST, was introduced and the quarter contained the second season of the service’s initial drama series, Lilyhammer. But Netflix did maintain much of its media momentum by being prominently mentioned in award nominations and end-of-the-year best lists. The Guardian Netflix has been experimenting with different subscriber options including different streaming offerings and a lower-priced $6.99 plan for new U.S. customers to get a single stream of standard definition video. On a call with analysts Reed Hastings, chief executive officer, said eventually he would like to have “three simple options to fit everyone’s taste”. He said the company had no plans to run advertising, as does rival Hulu.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer Banned by AP After Photo Alteration (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
The Associated Press announced Wednesday that it has ended its relationship with Narciso Contreras, a Pulitzer Prize-winning freelance photographer who altered a photo that he took last September in Syria. The alteration in question: “The removal of a video camera seen in a corner of a frame showing a Syrian opposition fighter taking cover during a clash with government forces.” Though a seemingly benign alteration, it fell beneath the guidelines of the AP’s News Values & Principles, which states that AP pictures “must always tell the truth.” The Guardian Contreras was one of a team of photographers working for the AP who shared in a Pulitzer last year for images of the Syrian war. None of the images in that package were found to be compromised, according to the AP. The Associated Press “I took the wrong decision when I removed the camera… I feel ashamed about that,” Contreras said. “You can go through my archives and you can find that this is a single case that happened probably at one very stressed moment, at one very difficult situation, but yeah, it happened to me, so I have to assume the consequences.”

TiVo Lays Off Most of Its Design Team as It Transitions to The Cloud (Wired / Gadget Lab)
TiVo has been bullish lately about releasing new software products beyond its core DVR boxes. Wednesday, we found out why. The company laid off nearly all the industrial designers of those products. According to sources within TiVo, most of the hardware team has been let go. So far, that’s five employees. A skeleton crew of two engineers has been retained to handle support for current and upcoming third-party devices. The sources told Wired that TiVo is getting out of the hardware business altogether and making a big direction change. Engadget In a phone conversation, VP of PR Steve Wymer told Engadget the company remains “fully committed” to Roamio, and called it the crown jewel of TiVo. In his view, it’s not accurate to say that TiVo is exiting the hardware business as it continues to expand current products and plan future ones, but that it is reallocating resources with an eye towards the future.