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Disney Exploring Streaming Options (Capital New York)
Disney is exploring ways to offer video streaming products directly to consumers, CEO Bob Iger told analysts during the company’s quarterly earnings call Tuesday evening. Iger said Disney Channel, ESPN, Star Wars and Marvel are brands that could be offered “over-the-top” to consumers, particularly younger consumers that do not currently subscribe to traditional pay-TV bundles. Deadline This directly concerns Dish Network’s new Sling TV streaming service. Iger added that Disney is \»mindful of the value of the expanded basic bundle to this company\» and sees no reason to move quickly with an online product that might hurt the pay TV cash cow. THR Disney beat financial expectations by announcing Tuesday it earned $1.27 per share in its fiscal first quarter on $13.4 billion in revenue while analysts were predicting $1.07 per share on revenue of $12.9 billion. Variety Net income rose 19 percent to around $2.2 billion. Nearly every division at Disney reported double-digit profit gains during the three-month period that ended Dec. 27., with the exception of the media networks group, which reported a 3 percent gain in operating income on Tuesday. WSJ In addition to the success of Frozen, Disney’s record results in recent periods have been spurred by price increases at its domestic theme parks, higher sales at Disney Stores and strong ratings at the ESPN and ABC networks. Media Networks — Disney’s largest unit, which holds high-performing ABC along with Disney’s cable portfolio, including ESPN and A&E Television Networks — posted an 11 percent increase in revenue to $5.86 billion in the latest period, as higher affiliate fees and program sales at the broadcasting group offset higher production costs at ESPN.
New York Times Co. Profit Falls Despite Strides in Digital Ads (NYT)
The New York Times Company said on Tuesday that its annual operating profit declined in 2014 because of investments in digital journalism and severance costs from a round of job reductions. Revenue was flat as growth in digital advertising and circulation offset declines in its print business. FishbowlNY The company’s ad revenue for 2014 was flat compared to 2013; thanks in large part to sponsored content, growth in digital ads and an ever-increasing digital subscriber base. In an announcement, Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson said the company now has 910,000 digital subscribers. That’s up 150,000 since 2013. It also puts the Times on track to hit one million paid digital subscribers by next year. WWD / Memo Pad For the three months ended Dec. 28, net income dropped 46.9 percent to $34.9 million, or 22 cents a diluted share, from $65.6 million, or 41 cents a year ago. Total revenues inched up 0.2 percent to $444.7 million from $443.9 million. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The Times reported an operating profit of $62.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, a drop of $6.5 million from the same period the previous year. The decrease was attributed to the severance costs of staff reductions and to retirement costs. About 100 people accepted buyouts or were laid off in the last few months of 2014. The financial failure of the NYT Now and Opinion apps also contributed to the decrease.
Harper Lee to Publish Second Book (GalleyCat)
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee has revealed plans to publish a second book. WSJ Lee ’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the most successful and popular books of the 20th century. And until now, it was a stand-alone work. On Tuesday, HarperCollins Publishers said it would publish a second Harper Lee novel — titled Go Set A Watchman — on July 14. The publishing house said it expects to print 2 million copies, a lofty number, although that could change depending on actual orders. Variety Watchman was originally written before Mockingbird, and features the bestseller’s protagonist, Scout, as an adult. Set during the mid-1950s, it features many of the characters from Mockingbird some 20 years later. Mediaite In a statement, Lee explained why Watchman had been written before Mockingbird, and said that she thought the manuscript had been lost: \»I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it (the original book) had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it.\»
Diane Harris Named Editor of Money (FishbowlNY)
Diane Harris has been named editor of Money. Harris most recently served as executive editor of the magazine. Harris is Money’s first female editor since it launched in 1972. Capital New York She replaces Craig Matters, who is leaving the post after six years to pursue a new career in education. Matters was also the founding editor of CNNMoney.com, a joint CNN-Time Inc. website created in 2006 that was split into a CNN site (money.cnn.com) and a Time Inc. site (time.com/money) last year. Talking New Media Harris was previously the executive editor of Money. She first joined the brand in 1983 as a writer. Later, she worked as an editor at Working Woman and as a freelance writer, with monthly columns in Parenting and AARP magazine. She rejoined the magazine in 2004 as assistant managing editor.
The Less Talked-About Win for NBC on Super Bowl Night: Record-Breaking Streaming Numbers (LostRemote)
Record-breaking linear numbers for the Super Bowl were complemented by record-breaking consumption numbers for the live stream on NBC’s app, NBC Sports Live Extra: 2.5 million unique viewers tuned in on desktop, mobile and tablet — up 9 percent compared to Fox’s stream last year and up 19 percent compared to NBC’s live stream in 2012 (also the first-ever live stream of the Super Bowl). Deadline Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XI sampling of 10.4 million unique viewers across its marathon run on Super Bowl Sunday is down from last year’s franchise-best sampling of 13.5 million viewers. Variety Still, it took the top spot in cable ratings on Sunday. According to Nielsen, the premiere of Puppy Bowl XI at 3 p.m. was the No. 1 cable telecast Sunday — excluding sports — in total viewers (2.8 million) and adults 25-54 (1 million). Animal Planet came in second in all of television for the 25-54 demo in its 3-5 p.m. timeslot, trailing only NBC’s Super Bowl pre-game coverage.
NYT Adds Gilbert Cruz (FishbowlNY)
The New York Times’ TV coverage is about to get a lot better. The paper has tapped Gilbert Cruz as its new TV editor. Cruz was most recently editorial director of New York’s entertainment vertical Vulture. He had been with New York since 2012, when he joined as a senior editor. Poynter / MediaWire Cruz was a senior editor and staff writer at Time magazine before joining Vulture. He starts Wednesday.
Kevin Reilly Splits TBS, TNT Programming Teams Under Sarah Aubrey And Brett Weitz, Sandra Dewey Upped to President (Deadline)
Three months into the job, Kevin Reilly, president of TBS and TNT and chief creative officer of Turner Entertainment, has set his senior managing team. As expected, he is splitting the awkwardly merged TNT/TBS original programming team into two separate units, which will be run by producer Sarah Aubrey (TNT) and Turner’s Brett Weitz (TBS). Variety Aubrey will spearhead series for TNT as exec VP of original programming. She’s spent the past decade partnered with filmmaker Peter Berg in the Film 44 production banner. At TBS, Weitz has been upped to exec VP of original programming, also with a mandate to change the general thrust of the comedy-centric channel with shows that have more traction in social media and more opportunities for digital extensions. Weitz has been with Turner since 2009.
Gov. Christie Bails on Press (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
New Jersey governor Chris Christie canceled two scheduled press availabilities and a set of prepared remarks outside No. 10 Downing St. on Tuesday as he concluded a trip to the United Kingdom. Mediaite This comes as Christie has been under fire regarding his controversial comments about vaccinations — a topic that has recently come into the spotlight following a reported measles outbreak in the U.S.
Gannett Announces Fourth-Quarter Revenue Growth, But Print Lags (Capital New York)
Gannett Co. on Tuesday morning released its fourth-quarter earnings report, showing a 24 percent bump in company revenue overall, but downturns in its print publishing side; Gannett plans to spin its publishing unit off into a separate company later this year. Revenue for the company’s broadcasting segment increased 117 percent year-over-year to $495.3 million.
Jailed Al Jazeera Journalist Mohamed Fahmy Could Be Released Within Hours (HuffPost / Reuters)
Egypt could free Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy within hours, Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera English reported on Tuesday. Fahmy’s colleague, Peter Greste, an Australian citizen, was released on Sunday. A third journalist, Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian national, is still in prison in Cairo.
FAA Grants Additional Exemptions for Drone Use in Film/TV (THR / Behind The Screen)
The Federal Aviation Administration has granted eight new regulatory exemptions for commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems, or drones. This includes new exemptions to Helinet Aviation Services and Alan D. Purwin, for film and television production. It also amended the exemptions previously granted to Pictorvision and Aerial MOB to let the companies fly additional types of small UAS.
NBC Nightly News Wins Second Month in News Demo (Deadline)
NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams logged its second consecutive month on top in the ratings, both in overall audience and the news demo. Nightly topped ABC’s World News Tonight With David Muir by an average of 219,000 news-demo viewers in January.
Rosie Perez Returns to The View (Deadline)
\»That’s your seat girl,\» said the View‘s Nicole Wallace to returning Rosie Perez Tuesday on the ABC show. The statement seemed to settle any rumors that the actress was going to be exiting the show after her run on the Larry David-written Broadway show Fish in The Dark.
Cable TV Viewing Declined by More Than 12 Percent in January (GigaOM)
Looks like Netflix and other streaming services are starting to have an impact on traditional TV viewing: Total live TV ratings were down 12.7 percent year-over-year across the networks of major media companies, according to a note from Nomura Research, which is based on recent numbers from Nielsen.
Stephen A. Smith Signs Multi-Year Extension at ESPN (Deadline)
One of the Worldwide Leader’s most popular and polarizing personalities is staying put. Stephen A. Smith, who joined ESPN in 2003 as an NBA analyst and reporter, has re-upped with the sports network in a multi-year deal.
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