Morning Media Newsfeed: YouTube to Acquire Twitch | Abramson Speaks | Pilhofer to Guardian

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YouTube to Acquire Videogame-Streaming Service Twitch for $1 Billion (Variety)
Google’s YouTube has reached a deal to buy Twitch, a popular videogame-streaming company, for more than $1 billion, according to sources familiar with the pact. If completed the acquisition would be the most significant in the history of YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006 for $1.65 billion. The impending acquisition comes after longtime Google ad exec Susan Wojcicki was named CEO of YouTube earlier this year. SocialTimes As more consumers cut the cord in search of alternative forms of entertainment, Twitch has experienced impressive growth. In 2013, the service had more unique monthly users than Netflix and Hulu, and it jumped into the top 15 online services recently, passing HBO Go in terms of bandwidth. Mashable More than 1 million gamers broadcast on Twitch each month through Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and their computers; more than 45 million people log on to watch each month. Since its founding in 2011, Twitch has raised more than $35 million in funding. And let’s not forget Twitch Plays Pokémon earlier this year, which was possibly one of the most popular open source gaming experiences ever. GigaOM The Twitch acquisition could help YouTube finally get a foothold in the live video space. Live video has been a complicated subject for YouTube. The video service started to dabble with live streaming all the way back in 2010. In reality, live still doesn’t get big enough audiences to warrant high ad prices, and the fragmented nature of live streaming on YouTube hasn’t made it easier to win over big brands. Twitch has been the one notable exception to this move away from ad-supported live streaming.

Former NYT Executive Editor Jill Abramson Delivers Wake Forest Commencement Address (FishbowlDC)
Monday morning at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, ousted New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson delivered the university’s commencement address to graduates and their guests. Capital New York Abramson stuck to the commencement address playbook on Monday in her first public comments since being dismissed from the Times, using her firing to offer Wake Forest University’s class of 2014 advice in addressing personal adversity. Abramson accepted the invitation to speak at the event several months ago, well before her surprise ousting last week. She spoke with school officials a day after her firing, and agreed to go on with the speech, titled “The Importance of A Truly Free Press,” as planned. HuffPost “It was the honor of my life to lead the newsroom,” she said, adding that there was “not a chance” she will remove her signature Times “T” tattoo. She said that her sister called her Thursday, one day after she had been fired, and told her that their father would have been proud. “It meant more to our father to see us deal with a setback and try to bounce back, than watch how we handled our successes. Show what you are made of, he would say,” Abramson said. Poynter / MediaWire Publisher Arthur Sulzberger said Saturday in a statement that her firing was the result of management issues and that she had lost the support of masthead colleagues. He said complaints about her included “arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues.” She addressed none of that directly. But in his introduction of Abramson, Al Hunt, Bloomberg View columnist and Wake Forest graduate, described her as “pushy” in her commitment to accountable reporting. TVNewser The cable news networks covered the address. MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry — a Wake Forest alum and new professor at the University — did live shots from campus as did NBC News correspondent Rehema Ellis. CNN and Fox News too also dipped into Abramson’s address, during which she told the graduates she feels like one of them: “What is next for me? I don’t know. So I’m in exactly the same boat as many of you. And like you, I’m a little scared, but also excited,” Abramson said.

Aron Pilhofer Joins The Guardian (FishbowlNY)
Aron Pilhofer is leaving The New York Times for The Guardian. Pilhofer had been with the Times since 2005, most recently serving as associate managing editor for digital strategy. Capital New York In nearly a decade at the Times, Pilhofer led the paper’s interactive news team, which seeks to blend social media and technology with the paper’s more traditional journalism, among other digital initiatives. Newly minted Times executive editor Dean Baquet wrote to staffers Monday afternoon to announce Pilhofer’s move. Poynter / MediaWire The hire follows the Times’ attempts to hire Guardian U.S. editor-in-chief Janine Gibson to run its digital operation, a process that by some accounts played a role in publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.’s decision to dismiss Jill Abramson as editor. Gibson said she declined. The Guardian Pilhofer will serve in the newly created role of executive editor of digital at The Guardian. His new role will see him helping drive the Guardian‘s digital transformation, working in concert with a global team of journalists and developers. He will start in the Guardian‘s U.S. newsroom in June and will move to its London offices over the summer.

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Publicis Strikes Deal With Facebook Worth Hundreds of Millions (Ad Age)
Publicis Groupe, the world’s No. 3 advertising holding company, has struck a sprawling partnership with Facebook, the companies said Monday. Terms were not disclosed, but an executive familiar with the matter said that the value of the deal including spending would be around $500 million. AllFacebook Publicis Groupe includes media networks Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia, as well as digital agencies Digitas, Razorfish and Rosetta. The two companies said the partnership was five to six months in the making, adding that Publicis Groupe agencies would gain access to insight from Facebook, as well as engineers and other creative talent from the social network, aiding their efforts to create custom ad units or content. WSJ / CMO Today Facebook hinted the partnership is, at least in part, designed to help it figure out how it can better work with marketers. Starcom MediaVest Group struck a similar partnership with Facebook’s social media rival Twitter in April last year. That deal was worth at least $200 million over at least two years.

Longtime ABC News Anchor ‘Mad’ About Being Left Out of Barbara Walters’ Farewell (TVNewser)
When 25 women in TV news were invited to take the stage for Barbara Walters’ final The View, you knew someone — or many women — would be left out. Carole Simpson, a longtime ABC News anchor, has taken to Facebook to share her displeasure about not being invited. Mediaite Simpson worked at both ABC News and NBC News, and became the first woman of color to both anchor a nightly network newscast and moderate a presidential debate (she was the last woman ever to do so for twenty years; Candy Crowley moderated one of the Obama-Romney debates in 2012). Simpson considers Walters to be a personal idol, and so was crushed that she wasn’t invited to be part of the sendoff. HuffPost Simpson said in the post that she was “very sad” and is now “very mad.” “I guess ABC News, after my 24 years there, still considers me persona non grata,” she wrote. “The black woman anchor, who had to speak her mind for herself and others, is erased from ABC history,” she continued.

Billboard Music Awards on ABC Hits 13-Year Ratings High (Variety)
ABC more than doubled its closest rival in key demos Sunday, sweeping each half-hour behind the season finale of America’s Funniest Home Videos and the Billboard Music Awards, with the telecast drawing its largest overall audience in 13 years. ABC won the night in young adults, as it had on the first three Sundays of the May sweep with its regular series. THR / The Live Feed An average 10.5 million viewers tuned into the three-hour live telecast. The Awards reached the biggest audience between 9 and 9:30 p.m., when 11.5 million viewers tuned in. That half-hour saw the much-tweeted-about performance by a hologram of the late Michael Jackson. Deadline Hollywood It was almost nothing but finales on CBS Sunday night. The 9 p.m. season closer of The Good Wife (1.2/3) remained even with last week but took a 25 percent dive from its season ender last year. 60 Minutes (1.3/5) was up 18 percent from its May 11 show. NBC had some music of its own Sunday with the Coldplay: Ghost Stories (0.4/2) special kicking off primetime. That was followed by American Dream Builders (0.4/1) in the 8 p.m. slot, which crumbled 20 percent from its last original, on May 4 at 7 p.m., to hit a new low for the show.

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AT&T-DirecTV Deal Contingent on NFL TV Package (WSJ)
For AT&T, DirecTV is only as important as its football rights. AT&T can walk away from its $49 billion merger with DirecTV if the satellite-TV provider isn’t able to renew its prize “Sunday Ticket” offering with the National Football League on “substantially… the terms discussed between the parties,” AT&T said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Re/code Additionally, AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said Monday that DirecTV holds established entertainment industry relationships that will help speed the company’s efforts to deliver video via mobile devices and high-speed Internet service. He told Wall Street investors that he anticipates offering an Internet TV service within 12 to 18 months of the deal closing.

Twitter Is Considering A Deal to Buy SoundCloud (Re/code)
Twitter may try to buy its way out of its growth problem by making another move into music. The company is considering a deal to acquire SoundCloud, the music and audio-sharing company, according to people familiar with both companies. Berlin-based SoundCloud is a free service that lets users upload and share audio files around the Web; it likes to describe itself as the “YouTube for audio.” In October 2013, the company announced that it had 250 million users. GigaOM But it’s not just its success that could catch Twitter’s attention: A study in March showed that SoundCloud was the top among all music streaming sites for link referrals on Twitter. In bringing the company under its umbrella, Twitter has the opportunity to not only curate but host music in a similar way that Vine currently does with video.

Elle Searches for New Creative Director (WWD / Memo Pad)
It’s been about a month since Joe Zee, Elle’s creative director, decamped for Yahoo!, leaving Hearst’s fashion glossy without its most public personality. According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Elle editor-in-chief Robbie Myers has hit some bumps finding a successor. The editor tried hiring T Magazine’s creative director Patrick Li, as well as Spring Studios creative director and T alum David Sebbah, but both turned the job down. FishbowlNY With Li and Sebbah out of the running, who’s left? Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez is currently Marie Claire’s artistic director and Town & Country’s design director. If Gonzalez takes the role of Elle’s creative director, Myers would ask Gonzalez to drop Marie Claire, because she views it as a competitor.

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Nielsen Launches Twitter Demo Ratings Service (Deadline Hollywood)
Nielsen has launched demographic data for its Twitter TV ratings that will be delivered overnight for programming across more than 250 U.S. TV networks. Age ranges will include 13-17, 18-24, 25-34, 35-54, 55+, and 18-49 and will provide data on the age and gender of both people who tweet (authors) and see tweets (audience) about TV.

Big Bang Theory, Other Shows Axed in China Over Harmful Content: Watchdog (THR)
The Good Wife, The Big Bang Theory, NCIS and The Practice were ordered off video streaming websites in China because the popular shows breached regulations on harmful content, according to China’s media watchdog. There was a public outcry when the shows were taken down by order of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT). The watchdog gave no explanation for the move, although it came shortly after SAPPRFT said it was planning to increase censorship of foreign content.

Twitter Blocks Pro-Ukrainian Political Account for Russian Users (Mashable)
Twitter is blocking tweets that stem from a Ukrainian ultra-nationalist group for users in Russia. Numerous Russian users report seeing a message that warns of a “withheld account” in place of tweets under the Twitter account @PravyjSektorRus’s page. The account under fire is managed by Ukraine’s “Right Sector” (Pravy Sektor) nationalist political party, which is striving for legitimacy ahead of the May 25 presidential elections after playing a pivotal role in Kiev’s Euromaidan protests.

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