OTHER NEWS THIS MORNING...
TIME INC CEO JOE RIPP MODERATES "NEW MOGULS" PANEL: Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp: “We are being bombarded with content. The average attention span of a human being is now less than that of a goldfish. As premium content publishers, how do we survive in a world where ‘Five Ways to Feed Your Gerbil’ seems to be what people are interacting with? … The reason media stocks are in flux is because everyone is trying to figure out the future. The companies that will be successful are the ones that look forward to change with excitement.”
VARIETY IS THE MOST READ ENTERTAINMENT NEWS SITE: Variety.com has topped HollywoodReporter.com as the industry’s most-read entertainment business news website for the first time since Penske Media bought the company in 2012. Variety.com reached 12.556 million unique visitors in the month of March, according to comScore, edging out HollywoodReporter.com and also surpassing websites covering pop culture, including VanityFair.com and TheNewYorker.com.
SUMNER REDSTONE'S GRAND DAUGHTER KERYN REDSTONE TRIED TO JOIN IN THE FUN AND A JUDGE SAID NO: A California judge on Wednesday rejected a bid by Sumner Redstone's granddaughter to join the media mogul's former girlfriend in a lawsuit that challenges the 92-year-old billionaire's mental competency. The granddaughter, Keryn Redstone, argued in court papers that Sumner Redstone had become a "prisoner in his own home" after the former girlfriend, Manuela Herzer, was ejected from his mansion in October. Herzer, 51, had sued to be reinstated as his designated healthcare agent. Keryn Redstone had asked to be added to the case as a co-petitioner.
IS YAHOO THE KEY TO VERIZON'S MEDIA RISE?: For Verizon, a Yahoo acquisition means a big bet on two things — scale, and data — and the two, of course, are inextricably linked. It is Yahoo’s huge Comscore-counted audience of 206 million monthly unique visitors that has energized Verizon’s interest. The fact that the audience shows a decline of six percent comparing March 2016 to March 2015, according to Comscore, must send a chill down the would-be buyers’ spine as it determines how much it is willing to pay for the would-be prize.
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE IS BEING ACQUIRED BY THE HUNTSMAN FAMILY: Paul Huntsman, the brother of former Utah governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr., is buying the Salt Lake Tribune, the paper announced on Wednesday.The paper is being acquired from owner Digital First Media, for an undisclosed price. Huntsman, head of private equity fund Huntsman Family Investments, said in a statement it is important the paper stay locally owned.
VICE HAS REALLY GROWN UP, THEY NOW HAVE A CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER: Vice Media has hired former Sarah Broderick as chief financial officer, which is a new role at the Brooklyn-based company. Broderick will oversee Vice’s global finance division and she will focus on “upgrading finance systems, processes and policies to support the growth of the company globally,” the firm said Wednesday.
GOOGLE DIVING DEEPER INTO TV ADS: Google wants a piece of the $70 billion linear TV ad pie – of which $300 million-plus and growing is addressable. As such, the tech giant unveiled a bunch of TV-related products and updates Wednesday at the National Association of Broadcasters meeting in Las Vegas. Announcements included the addressable TV product DoubleClick Dynamic Ad Insertion (geared squarely toward TV broadcasters and distributors), an update to DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) that keeps competing advertisers from appearing consecutively in the same TV ad pod and improved search for TV shows.
AD BLOCKERS ARE HERE TO STAY,GET USED TO IT OR CHANGE: Ad blocking is the nemesis of the news and ad industries. But, despite growing efforts by publishers to combat the practice, it’s probably not going away any time soon. Market research group eMarketer today estimated that 27 percent of internet users in the UK—more than 14 million people— will be using ad blockers by the end of next year. That’s up from this year’s estimate of 20.5 percent and nearly double the estimate for last year (14 percent).
CONDE NAST'S GQ LOOKS TO VIDEO TOO PUMP UP REVENUE: Although GQ derives only 25 percent of its revenue from digital and 75 percent from print, the publisher said the title has seen strong growth since its branded content division, GQ Bespoke, amped up its mobile game. Mittman noted that the branded video unit called GQ Stories, which it developed last month, has become central to the title’s business strategy as more luxury clients have warmed to mobile advertising.
BIG NAMES IN TECH AND SOCIAL PUMPING MONEY INTO HOLLYWOOD CONTENT: Apple, Google, Facebook and Alibaba have amped up investment in Hollywood content, each in different ways and with different goals. The tech world’s most important players can no longer ignore the massive success that Netflix and Amazon have enjoyed by producing exclusive, high-quality programming. They also see a growing opportunity to win over audiences as the cable-TV bundle frays. “If I stop paying $200 a month for cable … Who’s gonna get it?”
ANOTHER HIT FOR VIACOM: Bernstein’s Todd Juenger and team argue that Viacom could lose more than half its value and be forced to suspend its dividend if it can’t reach an agreement with Dish Network: “Viacom would be forced to make painful cost cuts, but would still suffer an EBITDA decline of -15%. Perhaps most importantly, we believe Dish has arrived at this same conclusion, and will use this leverage to their strong advantage.”
IN ITS FIGHT FOR RELEVANCE, MTV LAUNCHES NEWS PODCASTS: MTV News is pinning part of its comeback plan on plenty of podcasts. MTV has announced five new podcasts focused on film, politics, pop culture and, obviously, music that will roll out over the next week. The shows will be hosted by a mix of current MTV News journalists including Anna Marie Cox and several new hires.
DIGITAL BLACKFACE: THE GENIUSES AT SNAPCHAT LAND IN HOT WATER OVER A BOB MARLEY FILTER: Outcry over the filter also resurfaced complaints that the tech industry's largely white, male workforce makes it vulnerable to decisions that can be tone-deaf to other races. Snapchat's idea was to honor Marley, and in fact, it was the Marley estate's idea to do the filter, according to a person close to the company not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Spotify also honored Marley with a playlist. But it wasn't his birthday, adding to grievances aired on social media that Marley's legacy shouldn't just be reduced to pot-smoking. The filter was made available on 4/20, an informal holiday that celebrates marijuana, which Marley used as part of his Rastafarian religion.
TRIBUNE IS THINKING ABOUT CHARGING READERS TO COMMENT ON STORIES?: MP3.com founder Michael Robertson has an idea to help news publishers: start charging the people who hang out on web articles. Robertson argues that the prospect of a new revenue stream will convince a struggling industry to reconsider the value of comments. He believes his company, SolidOpinion.com, can provide a market solution to trolling. Tribune Publishing turned on SolidOpinion’s software for the San Diego Union-Tribune’s website over the weekend.
HEARST IS CONVERTING THE HISTORIC HEARST OFFICE BUILDING TO LUXURY HOTEL: The 13-story, 120,000-square-foot building, which is 100 percent occupied — mostly by small businesses and nonprofits — would be transformed into a 130-room boutique hotel. The property would capitalize on the structure’s colorful history as one of three newspaper buildings — The Chronicle and the Call were the others — at the intersection of Third, Kearny and Market streets, once known as the Newspaper Angle. Hearst, which owns The San Francisco Chronicle, informed its tenants of the plan in a letter Tuesday. The media company, which is based in New York and also invests in real estate and ranching, is working on the project with JMA Ventures.
-See you next "AM"
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