Morning Media Newsfeed: Redbox Ends Streaming Service | Mukpo Returns to U.S.

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Redbox Ending Instant Streaming Service (THR)
Streaming video service Redbox Instant, a joint operation between Verizon Communications and Outerwall’s Redbox, is shutting down. Deadline Hollywood The statement announcing the shutdown read, “Thank you for being a part of Redbox Instant by Verizon. Please be aware that the service will be shut down on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. Information on applicable refunds will be emailed to current customers and posted on Oct. 10. In the meantime, you may continue to stream movies and use your Redbox kiosk credits until Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. We apologize for any inconvenience and we thank you for the opportunity to entertain you. Sincerely, The Redbox Instant by Verizon Team.” Variety Outerwall (then called Coinstar) and Verizon formed Redbox Instant by Verizon in February 2012, with Verizon owning 65 percent of the joint venture. The companies debuted the service in March 2013. Under the most recent subscription plan, the $6 monthly service provided access to 6,000 movies across different devices, as well as rentals and purchases of select titles. GigaOM The shutdown comes after the service had disabled new sign-ups for three months due to a credit card fraud issue, which not only prevented Redbox Instant from acquiring new customers, but also resulted in existing customers with expiring or revoked credit cards being booted from the service because they weren’t able to add any new payment information. Redbox Instant’s catalog was also significantly smaller than Netflix’s or even the Amazon Prime Instant streaming video catalog, and the service never really gained traction with consumers, leading the CEO of Outerwall to remark that both his company and Verizon were “not pleased” with the subscriber numbers. In that context, the credit card fraud issue may have just have been the final straw. Re/code But Verizon is not done playing around with video services. Earlier this year the company bought Intel’s never-launched Web TV business, and while it doesn’t look like it’s going to try launching that one itself, it is planning some sort of video service that it plans on delivering via phones and other mobile devices. Recently Verizon announced it had secured programming rights from Viacom, and promised to say more soon. Meanwhile both Sony and Dish Network say they plan on launching their own Web TV services this year; Sony has also announced a Viacom deal, while Dish has signed up Disney/ESPN, A&E and Scripps.

Ashoka Mukpo, NBC News Ebola Patient, Returns to U.S. for Treatment (TVNewser)
Ashoka Mukpo, the American NBC News freelance cameraman who was diagnosed with Ebola Thursday in Liberia, returned to the U.S. for treatment Sunday. Mukpo was working with Dr. Nancy Snyderman and her team in Monrovia. The Washington Post Mukpo will be the second Ebola patient to be treated at the Nebraska Medical Center’s specialized isolation unit. NYT Mukpo is the fourth American known to have contracted the disease in Liberia. As a precaution, NBC News ordered the production team working with the cameraman, which includes Snyderman, to return to the U.S. and enter quarantine for 21 days. A Liberian health worker visited a boy on Friday at a holding center in Monrovia for people suspected of having Ebola. The boy’s father recently died of the disease. Mukpo had worked for NBC for just one day before becoming ill, NBC said. Snyderman said in an interview on the Today show Friday morning that she and her team had had very little contact with Mukpo. THR Mukpo’s father, Dr. Mitchell Levy, also appeared on the Today show Friday, where he said that his son was “scared and worried” but was in better spirits with the knowledge that he was going home.

Universal Reveals Its New Home Entertainment Team (THR)
As part of the restructuring of its home entertainment operations, Universal Pictures Friday unveiled the executive team headed by Eddie Cunningham, who was named president of Universal Pictures Worldwide Home Entertainment in February. TheWrap Cunningham, who formerly led the company’s international home entertainment group based in London, relocated to Los Angeles and reports to president and chief distribution officer Peter Levinsohn. As part of the announcement, Cunningham revealed the key leaders of the new global home entertainment division, which will be called Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Variety As part of the move, Cunningham will establish a separate U.S. operating company to service Universal’s largest territory for home video releases. A Canadian operating company will also be formed to support the studio’s fourth-largest market in the home entertainment space. Universal will also retain its nine international offices. Deadline Hollywood John Morici, who was USHE’s COO and CFO, will be EVP and regional managing director for both. John Melluso, formerly sales VP, will become managing director of the Canadian company and report to Morici. Michael Bonner, who oversees domestic digital distribution, will continue to do so as an EVP reporting to Levinsohn.

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Disney CEO Bob Iger Could Take Home $60 Million Bonus (LA Times / Company Town)
Walt Disney Co. chairman and chief executive Robert Iger, who inked a two-year contract extension on Thursday, could depart the company in 2018 with a bonus of up to $60 million. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the performance-based retention bonus is tied to Disney meeting certain operating income targets. NYT He had been expected to retire in June 2016, which was itself an extension. If Disney’s cumulative adjusted operating income over the five-year period ending with fiscal 2018 reaches $78.31 billion — roughly doubling what it has been over the last five years — Iger, 63, will receive a $60 million cash bonus, according to the filing. That payment would come in addition to his annual pay package, for which the performance-based calculation will not change. Variety The milestone Iger needs to reach could be attainable through the revival of the Star Wars franchise and its spin-offs at the worldwide box office, new movies from Marvel releases, upcoming films from Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios and the opening of a massive new theme park in Shanghai late next year.

NYT Eliminates Some Two Dozen Jobs on Business Side (Capital New York)
While New York Times journalists brace for a round of voluntary buyouts that aims to shave dozens of salaries from their newsroom, the business side is bidding farewell to employees who have been informed that their positions are being eliminated. FishbowlNY Somewhere between 20 and 25 business staffers have been let go, as Times managers informed them their roles were being eliminated. On Wednesday, the Times announced that the newsroom was going to lose 100 staffers. If buyout packages are not accepted, layoffs will ensue.

Meet The Press Debuts Remodeled Set (FishbowlDC)
In addition the recent change in the moderator’s chair of NBC’s Meet The Press, on Sunday’s broadcast, more looked different on set. Last Sunday’s program was preempted by the network’s broadcast of the Ryder Cup and the show’s two-week hiatus allowed for a redesign to feature new furniture and custom artwork, including a framed piece of new host Chuck Todd‘s past credentials. TVNewser Viewers saw a new panel desk, one-on-one interview desk, and “credenza” informal interview desk. There is also a new perceptive pixel screen, which Chuck Todd will use to dig into important numbers and polls.

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