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Rupert Murdoch Tweets: He Won’t Bid For Tribune

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 7:22am PDT

Rupert Murdoch Tweets: He Won’t Bid For TribuneLooks like Rupert Murdoch can’t acquire everything he wants. “Sorry can’t buy Trib group or LA Times — cross-ownership laws from another age still in place,” he tweeted overnight.  He salivated over Tribune‘s papers which include the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, as well as the Los Angeles Times. The parent company has wanted to sell them, and now plans to spin them off in a separate entity that will be publicly traded beginning August 4.

Murdoch still has plenty to keep him busy: Fox disclosed this week that it made an $80B offer for Time Warner, which the company rejected. And News Corp — Murdoch’s publishing company — is eyeing Time Inc, the publishing company that Time Warner just spun off. Read More »

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UPDATE: Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Retreat – Recap

UPDATE: Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Retreat – RecapUPDATED, Monday, 4:56 PM: Saturday’s panel with Secretary of State John Kerry and interviewer Charlie Rose went off without a hitch after some technical problems the previous day, but listening about the conflicts in the Middle East was not as interesting to moguls (‘what else is new, it’s a mess over there’) as the panel that featured billionaire investor Warren Buffet and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, according to some in attendance. Bezos, whose company Amazon has become a powerhouse in publishing and is creating its own content now, told the group gathered that the Amazon business model in publishing and creating content is here to stay. While the panels are always greatly attended, some of those who sat through the first few said they were a bit dry and boring, but “Buffet is always interesting to listen to,” said one attendee. Jeffrey_Katzenberg_118299588Said another, “All the networking is really done in the first day … unless you’re Jeffrey Katzenberg lining up meetings every hour.” Added another, “He sits there and does one meeting after another … he must have had like 20 meetings.” Yes, DreamWorks Animation’s Katzenberg was doing his ‘speed-dating’ meetings near the duck pond as usual which had some entertainment moguls laughing and others rolling their eyes (‘He has like what? One movie in the marketplace?’ Does he know how silly it looks?).

On Saturday, too, were presentations from the younger entreprenuers of Lookout, Xapo and Lending Club, which another attendee said he thought was fantastic (‘The guy from Lookout looked like he was 16 years old’). Also interesting to one attendee was the education panel with Eva Sarah Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools and Kaya Henderson who is the D.C. school superintendent. “They were really good together and kept everyone’s interest.” That panel took place last Thursday.

The five-day Sun Valley retreat wrapped up last night with the annual dinner hosted by Herb Allen, whose aserbic wit and self-deprecating humor was enjoy by all. In reference to the panel earlier in the week that featured producer Brian Grazer and TWC’s Harvey Weinstein talking about the creative process, one attendee noted that “Brian really hit the mark on it. He was pitch perfect. If he did that same speech in showbiz circles it might not resonate but it did with most of people who were not in the business.’” One of the things that they both suggested was to listen to the voices in your head and get in touch with your instinct, which Allen use as a set up for a joke at the Sunday night dinner: “I have the voices in my head. I just don’t know what to do with them yet.” Until next year …

3RD UPDATE, FRIDAY, 2:50 PM: People actually enjoyed the Michael Bloomberg panel today at the H2013-07-11t154703z_2111664344_gm1e97b1tzw01_rtrmadp_3_sunvalley-conference_Fotorerb Allen Sun Valley conference as the 72-year-old answered questions from journalist Willow Bay, wife of Disney’s Robert Iger. The former mayor of New York whose fight for reasonable gun laws is well-documented, spoke about his philanthropy efforts and giving back to society. Through Bloomberg Philanthropies, the billionaire does just that in the areas of education, the arts, gun issues, governance and public health. He spoke about how dysfunctional the current U.S. system is politically and otherwise to get things done — no doubt as he personally saw what happened behind the scenes in Washington D.C. as politicians in the pocket of the NRA stymied efforts to get background checks on gun sales passed. Leave it to a politician — an orator and a former Eagle scout (hey, it’s no small task) — to wake up the moguls.

The second panel, which was supposed to feature Charlie Rose interviewing Secretary of State John Kerry piped in live from Afghanistan, went awry as the video feed didn’t work (they tried for about 15 minutes to get it up and running to no avail). That conversation, which was expected to be about how heavily the U.S. should be involved in the current explosive situation in the Middle East, will now take place tomorrow after journalist Becky Quick interviews Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos.

So they are attempting to fix the video feed for tomorrow, but let’s face it, if it doesn’t work, we doubt anyone will be upset as Kerry drones … on and on. Speaking of drones, there has been some attempt to make sure that drones don’t fly over the conference taking pictures, according to Bloomberg News. Ahhh, technology … the age of the paparazzi drone? If people are still awake after Kerry and Rose, a number of younger entrepreneurs will have their turn at bat.

Most all we spoke with don’t expect any major deals to go down at this conference. That Read More »

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Fox Sells Bona Film Group Stake As Distributor Consolidates Ownership In China

Fox Sells Bona Film Group Stake As Distributor Consolidates Ownership In ChinaU.S. shares of China’s Bona Film Group are up 7.7% this morning after the distributor announced two deals that help to consolidate ownership: Its founder and CEO, Yu Dong, agreed to pay $71.4M for the 19.3% stake owned by 21st Century Fox. Separately, Bona plans to sell a 13.3% interest to a Chinese investment group, Fosun Group, which already owns 7.5% of Bona. When the dust settles, the Bona chief will own about 32.3% and Fosun will have 20.8%. Fosun’s deal follows its agreement last month to invest in Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8. 

Fox (in its earlier incarnation as News Corp) bought its stake in Bona in May 2012 and later that year announced a multi-picture agreement to co-produce Chinese language films. The companies say today that Fox’s sale of its Bona stake “has no effect on the five film co-productions … or on the robust pipeline.” One of their co-productions, Bride Wars, began principal photography last month. It’s “the first of our five co-production projects with 21st Century Fox, and we are confident it will be a tremendous success, as it will appeal to the fast growing younger Chinese audience, one of the most important audience groups that we want to capture in today’s market,” Bona’s Yu says. Read More »

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Discovery Will Rebrand Fit & Health Channel As Discovery Life

Discovery Will Rebrand Fit & Health Channel As Discovery LifeCan Discovery Communications breathe some Life into Fit & Health? It’s going to try by converting the network into Discovery Life Channel on January 15. Its mission will be to “fuse the most successful current programming from Discovery Fit & Health’s library of healthy, medical and factual programming with new series that explore life’s unexpected challenges and the moments that really matter,” the company says. It will target women ages 25-54 and continue to run programs about mental health, women’s health, babies and pregnancy, fitness, and overall wellness.

The channel will remain under the purview of Henry Schleiff, who seems to have the longest title in media (it’s “Group President of Investigation Discovery, Destination America, American Heroes Channel, and Discovery Life Channel”). Jane Latman will remain General Manager, a position she took on in March. Read More »

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DeadlineNow Morning Report: UK Hacking Verdicts, UTA Sues ‘Unforgettable’ Star, ‘American Idol’ Judges Return (Video)

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 11:43am PDT
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Morning Report, Tuesday June 24

The verdict is split in the UK phone hacking scandal, UTA takes Poppy Montgomery to court, no judging changes for Season 14 of 'American Idol'. Deadline's Dominic Patten reports.

Related:
Split Decision In News Corp Hacking Scandal
UTA Sues ‘Unforgettable’ Star Poppy Montgomery
‘American Idol’ Judges To Return For Season 14

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News Of The (Media) World: Split Decision Frees Rebekah Brooks, Cuffs Andy Coulson In Murdoch’s Hacking Scandal

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 8:24am PDT

News Of The (Media) World: Split Decision Frees Rebekah Brooks, Cuffs Andy Coulson In Murdoch’s Hacking ScandalUPDATES WITH NEW INFORMATION: A 130-day trial highlighted by testimony as lurid as the tabloid headlines at its center ended today with a split decision for two of media mogul Rupert Murdoch‘s most trusted consiglieres. Rebekah Brooks, the flame-haired former head of Murdoch’s U.K. print operations, was found not guilty on five charges related to the notorious telephone-hacking scandal that resulted in the 2011 shuttering of the News Of The World scandal sheet. The official jury findings were not guilty on one count of  conspiracy to hack voicemails, two counts of conspiracy to pay public officials and two counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justiceImage (2) Andy-Coulson__131031225952.jpg for post 624902

Brooks’ successor, bespectacled tabloid editor Andy Coulson, the  former communications chief to Prime Minister David Cameron, may face prison time, having been found guilty of conspiring to hack phones while he ran the News Of The World. The jury is still considering charges of misconduct in public office against Coulson and former News of the World royals editor Clive Goodman.

Coulson, a former lover of Brooks’s, was the only one among seven on trial found guilty of conspiracy to intercept mobile phone calls and messages. The Cameron connection will undoubtedly exacerbate reaction to the decision, as the verdicts reverberate through UK and U.S. political and media centers.

Image (1) Rupert-Murdoch__130216061256.jpg for post 484229News UK, formerly known as News International and part of Murdoch’s News Corp, said in a statement: “We said … Read More »

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Global TV Biz Consolidation: Shine-Endemol-Core Would Create Mega Indie

Reality Check is a Deadline feature series covering the players, programs and trends in reality television.

21st_century_fox_logo_newIn mid-May, 21st Century Fox surprised industry watchers when it announced its intent to form a joint venture with Apollo Global Management that would include the Shine Group, Endemol and CORE Media Group. Apollo had been known to be contemplating a tie-up of Big Brother producer Endemol and American Idol parent CORE Media, but the Shine element was new. What was unsurprising was this further move towards consolidation in the TV production sector which has seen myriad companies – big and small — acquired by the likes of Discovery, Warner Bros, ITV, Sony and Red Arrow to name a few, in the past year and a half. Folks caution that it’s still early days for a potential combined Shine-Endemol-Core, but that the desire is there to see such a deal come to fruition. If it does, it will create a so-called Mega Indie that would be one of the world’s biggest independent production companies working across both scripted and non-scripted. 21st Century Fox and funds managed by affiliates of Apollo would co-own and manage the new joint venture. Read More »

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Resolution COO Jeff Franklin Exits Agency

By | Wednesday June 11, 2014 @ 6:41pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BERGEXCLUSIVE: Resolution, the talent agency founded by former ICM chief Jeff Berg early last year, continues to change form. The agency has confirmed the exit of  Jeff Franklin, the music agent who was COO and a key partner when Berg jumped ship and formed the new agency with backing from Jahm Najafi, a former Salomon Bros banker active in real estate and private equity with investments in diverse companies and brands.  I’m told that Franklin shed the COO stripes a year ago. The agency would not comment beyond that.

Related: Jeff Berg Opens New Agency ‘Resolution’ Monday; Investor ID’d

Resolution-logo-copy__130919162332-275x48__131010001843I had heard that Franklin would be exiting for months, but it was difficult to get clarity until now. Resolution has found it a challenge to form an agency in the current climate where CAA, WME, UTA, ICM and Paradigm are all well established. Berg left ICM Partners somewhat acrimoniously when the partners of that agency discovered that he was setting up shop elsewhere. Berg then made some high profile hires, paying big bucks to land Adam Kanter and Martin Spencer from CAA, but they had trouble keeping clients like Doug Liman and Peter Segal. When those agents were asked to take pay cuts despite having contracts, they declined and exited. Both of them have resurfaced at Paradigm. Some at the agency felt that Resolution would be better suited not chasing star agents, but growing organically. I’ve heard that the lavish headquarters on 1801 Century Park East have been downsized a bit — the agency took the whole 23rd floor, and that they would absorb the growing pains that any percentery would experience trying to launch in this environment.

Related: Resolution Agents Martin Spencer, Adam Kanter Exiting; Paradigm Next Stop?

Read More »

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Ross Levinsohn Leaves Guggenheim Digital Media: Report

By | Tuesday June 10, 2014 @ 11:33am PDT

Ross LevinsohnGuggenheim won’t comment about Ross Levinsohn‘s departure, first reported by Re/code. But the development has been long expected, even though the former Yahoo interim CEO has only been at the investment firm’s media operation — which includes The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and Dick Clark Productions — since January 2013. When it hired Levinsohn, Guggenheim said that it planned to allocate “significant capital to acquire and invest in new media companies and properties that will meaningfully expand its current portfolio.” But it became clear by late last year that he had lost his mojo at the company. In November, Michel Protti – who was Levinsohn’s chief of staff at Yahoo – announced his plan to leave as Guggenheim Digital’s SVP Strategy and Operations to become Director of Emerging Business at Facebook. Then, in January, he lost Zander Lurie, a former CFO and M&A guy at CBS Interactive, who had joined in 2013 to help with Levinsohn’s expansion plans at Guggenheim Digital. He also lost control of THR and Billboard when Guggenheim Media promoted Janice Min to Chief Creative Officer of its Entertainment Group, which includes the magazines, with John Amato serving as co-president overseeing business affairs.

Related: Guggenheim Digital Media Loses Another Top Exec

Read More »

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Is Time Warner Planning To Buy A Big Stake In Vice Media?

By | Monday June 9, 2014 @ 3:30pm PDT

Vice logoBritain’s Sky News says that the companies have held “detailed negotiations” that are at an “advanced stage” for a deal that values the upstart news organization at $2.2B. One scenario would have Time Warner — which just spun off its magazine operation — meld its news channel HLN with Vice in return for about half of the combined company. If true, then it would give Time Warner a close relationship with a trendy digital media, TV, and publishing company that has captured the imaginations and financial support of former MTV chief Tom Freston, WME’s Ari Emanuel, WPP, and The Raine Group as well as comedian Bill Maher. 

CEO Shane Smith founded Vice in 1994 as a music magazine; it now offers cutting edge news that critics say too often includes stunts. Supporters and critics feasted last year on Vice’s controversial effort to gain access to North Korea for its documentary series on HBO by arranging an exhibition basketball game featuring Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman and some members of the Harlem Globetrotters. 

Last year News Corp (before it split into two companies) paid $70M for 5% of Vice, implying a value of $1.4B for the full company. Rupert Murdoch once tweeted that the company is a “wild, interesting effort to interest millennials who don’t watch or read established media.” 

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Sony Taps Nicole Seligman To Be Entertainment President

By | Friday May 30, 2014 @ 8:29am PDT

sony_logo__121101084843-200x133__130207090832__130530213852__131031103916This the latest promotion for Nicole Seligman, who has become a formidable behind-the-scenes force at Sony since she was recruited by former CEO Howard Stringer to be the company’s general counsel after she repped Oliver North in the Iran-Contra hearings and President Bill Clinton when he was impeached. In her new position she’ll directly oversee important functions at the company’s movie and music properties, reporting to Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. She’ll continue to report to Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai in her new role as Senior Legal Counsel and as she keeps her corporate duties as President, Sony Corporation of America and as a member of Sony’s Group Executive Committee.

The company says that in her new role at Entertainment she will “develop overall strategy and growth opportunities, identify and implement efficiencies within and among [Sony Pictures, Sony Music, and the Sony/ATV Music Publishing joint venture] and expand the businesses’ combined global footprint and influence.” She’ll directly oversee finance, human resources, legal and corporate communications. “I sought out Nicole for this role and am thrilled to work with her to explore new ways to leverage Sony Entertainment’s business and creative assets into new opportunities for profitability and growth,” said Lynton.

Sony vowed to streamline the entertainment operation last year after it rejected a proposal by hedge fund owner Daniel Loeb to spin off a minority stake in the businesses. (Loeb is an investor in Variety with Deadline’s parent company, PMC.) Late last year Sony hired Bain Read More »

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Deadline’s Best TV Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday May 25, 2014 @ 5:14pm PDT

Catch up on the past week in TV news:

SpartacusSyfy Acquires Starz Drama ‘Spartacus’
By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: Syfy has acquired U.S. basic cable rights to all 39 episodes of Starz’s Spartacus. That includes the three seasons of the swords-and-sandals drama as well as the six-part prequel Gods Of The Arena. Spartacus will make its Syfy debut June 26 and will air at 10 PM, following original series Defiance and Dominion.

Bill Hader To Create & Star In HBO Series
By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: Saturday Night Live alum Bill Hader has signed an exclusive development deal with HBO to create and star in a new comedy series for the premium cable network. Hader is best known for his eight-season stint on SNL where he was one of the most popular cast members of the past decade, creating such memorable characters as NY club scene expert Stefon and Italian talk show host Vinni Vedechi and earning two Emmy nominations.

breaking-badEMMYS: AMC Launches ‘Breaking Bad’ FYC Billboard Campaign
By Dominic Patten
EXCLUSIVE: If you’re driving around LA today don’t be surprised to see Breaking Bad’s Walter White staring down at you. With a print campaign to follow next month, AMC is putting up Emmy consideration billboards in several locations around the city to remind voters that the now-completed show is still eligible to repeat its Best Drama series win last year. Read More »

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Only U.S.-Based News Corp Phone-Hacking Suit Dismissed; Angelina Jolie’s Stunt Double Must Pursue Case In UK

By | Thursday May 22, 2014 @ 12:39pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEConfirming his tentative ruling from February, a federal judge has formally dismissed the U.S.-based phone-hacking scandal suit against News Corp filed last June by a stunt double for Angelina Jolie. “The underlying facts here do not seem to be in dispute, at least by these parties. It appears, and certainly is alleged, that Plaintiff Eunice Huthart has suffered a grotesque invasion of her privacy,” said Judge Michael huthart jolieFitzgerald this week, granting the dismissal motion by the media giant in the first and only American-based suit in the wide-reaching scandal. “Nonetheless … the Court concludes that Huthart must obtain her relief from the courts of England and Wales,” he added in the order (read it here) filed Wednesday. Despite attempts by Huthart in March to keep the case in the U.S. with an argument that a move to the British courts would be the “litigation equivalent of purgatory,” this latest order is almost verbatim what the judge said in his tentative ruling in February.

Related: Rebekah Brooks Cleared Of One Charge As Defense Begins

In her initial complaint filed on June 13, 2013, the England-born Huthart — whose most recent gig was as a stunt coordinator on Disney’s upcoming Maleficent starring Jolie — claimed her cell phone was hacked in 2004 while staying in the U.S. and working with Jolie on Mr. And Mrs. Smith. Her fears turned out to be correct when Huthart’s name and phone number later turned up in the notes of Glenn Mulcaire, the jailed P.I. who worked for the now-shuttered Rupert Murdoch tabloid News Of The World. That hacking seems to be connected to a number of stories about the early days of Jolie’s relationship with her Smith co-star Brad Pitt. Read More »

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Is Peter Chernin Key To AT&T’s Deal With DirecTV?

By | Wednesday May 21, 2014 @ 3:33pm PDT

AT&T DirecTV Merger That’s the way it looks to me the closer I examine the transaction. Just last month the telco announced that it forged a partnershipwith former News Corp COO Peter Chernin, valued at $500M, to either buy or build a so-called over-the-top (OTT) online video service. That’s now potentially the biggest — and perhaps the only meaningful — new opportunity for AT&T if it completes its $49.5B acquisition of DirecTV. The satellite company’s CEO Michael White told analysts this week that OTT and mobile video could be ”big win-wins not only for us and our customers but also for our programming partners.”

Related: Peter Chernin Teams With AT&T In $500M Effort To Create Online Video Service

Chernin peterIt’s more than an opportunity — it’s a necessity for the two companies. DirecTV‘s domestic TV business is mature, and AT&T’s copper wireline phone network is becoming obsolete. The media world is now about broadband, and cable companies led by Comcast have pretty much locked up the part of the business that involves wired connections. About 83% of the 1.2M people who signed up for wired broadband in Q1 went with cable, Leichtman Research Group reports. DirecTV and AT&T can’t beat cable’s ability to transmit gobs of programming and data to home TVs and computers.

Yet AT&T’s wireless spectrum could put it in the pole position to sell video and Internet services for smartphones and tablets — especially when out of the home.

The problem? AT&T and DirecTV were slow to move, which gave their respective chief competitors — Verizon and Dish Network — a head start in the race to develop a national OTT service. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Dance Mums’ Sashaying To UK; Australia Gets Fake Prince Harry Dating Show; More

By | Wednesday May 14, 2014 @ 10:00pm PDT

A+E Networks UK Orders British Version Of ‘Dance Moms’
Dance MomsThe UK is getting the first format adaptation of Lifetime’s U.S. reality series Dance Moms. A+E Networks UK has ordered a British version the show, to be titled Dance Mums. Shiver, part of ITV Studios, will produce eight hourlong episodes of the show, which will be fronted by actress and dance Jennifer Ellison, whose Liverpool dance school Fame Academy provides the setting. Dance Mums is due to air this year.

Network Ten Bringing Fake Prince Harry Reality Show To Australia
Network Ten has acquired Shine International’s upcoming reality series I Wanna Marry ‘Harry’ for Australia. Co-produced by Zig Zag I Wanna Marry HarryProductions and Ryan Seacrest Productions, the eight-episode series features 12 women competing for their chance to marry “Prince Harry”, while living at an English estate. But there is a catch: It’s not actually Prince Harry but imposter Matthew Hicks. Marry ‘Harry’, executive produced by Danny Fenton, Kevin Utton, Matt Gould, Ryan Seacrest, Adam Sher, Heather Schuster, David Tibballs and Rebecca Eisen, will have its global premiere May 27 on Fox. Read More »

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Should Hollywood Rethink Foreign Investor Ties Amid Sultan Of Brunei Controversy?

Sultan of BruneiAs outrage mounts over the Sultan of Brunei imposing sharia law in his island country, American producers going forward might need to think twice when choosing foreign business partners. The Sultan doesn’t have any known business ties to the entertainment industry, but before his edict, a lot of Hollywood’s elite liked to breakfast and power lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel and its famous Polo Lounge, which he owns along with the Bel-Air Hotel. With film financing a global enterprise and film production often a multinational undertaking, the boycott of the hotel likely will lead to Hollywood taking more care to vet an overseas partner’s politics, background, even beliefs.

Related: ICM Partners Nixes Power Dining At Beverly Hills & Bel-Air Hotels

American film productions probably won’t be running off to shoot in Brunei anytime soon,Brunei ad but before the uproar, the Sultan was hoping to turn his country into a film location destination. The first feature film ever shot in the country, Yasmine, was released this year. Partially funded by the Brunei government, it tells the story of a young girl who dreams of becoming a martial arts champion. Last year, South Africa’s Mail & Guardian reported that “industry experts have pointed to Brunei’s nascent film scene as a potentially lucrative source of income, with its jungles providing a unique backdrop for action and wilderness films. The Bruneian government backed Yasmine to the tune of about $120,000, telling the Mail & Guardian that it hoped the film would “inspire and encourage more such projects.” That probably won’t be happening now.

Other countries also could be in for more careful scrutiny before Hollywood inks a business deal there. Read More »

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Big Media Moguls With Out-Of-Whack Compensation: Exclusive Deadline List

Highest Paid Media ExecutivesHere’s a question to ask yourself if you aren’t sure whether media mogul pay reflects merit or cronyism: Did Viacom and CBS executive chairman Sumner Redstone deserve $93M, an 80% year-over-year increase, in the combined compensation he received from the companies in 2013? The answer to this query, and others like it, seems especially relevant here in Deadline’s fourth annual effort to try to make sense of the outsized sums media companies pay their leaders. They’re among the most lavishly compensated in corporate America where CEOs made 206 times what the average worker did in 2011, up from 26.5 times in 1978, economist Thomas Piketty notes in his surprise bestselling new book about growing wealth disparities. Compensation 1That strikes many as fundamentally unfair: The California legislature is weighing a bill that would raise tax rates for companies that give their CEOs more than 100 times the average pay for their workers.

Here’s our contribution to the discussion: a tally of the highest-paid executives in media, with metrics and analysis to help you decide what they’re worth. The chart on the right (click to enlarge) shows media execs whose compensation exceeded $10M in 2013 according to company proxies. Below you’ll find our in-depth look at the top 11 earners on the list. Why 11? That enables us to add Rupert Murdoch, who shouldn’t be left out of any discussion of media wealth and power. Those in this Group of 11 collectively made $448.6M in 2013, +15.6% vs 2012, with their median pay  +8.3% to $32.5M.

Related:
Out Of Whack – 2012
Out Of Whack — 2011
Out Of Whack — 2010

One of the things you’ll see is how much Redstone contributes to the high level of executive pay in media. He and other leaders at corporations he controls occupy four of the 11 spots on our list. That has a ripple effect: All companies represented here (with a caveat, discussed below, for News Corp) include Viacom and CBS in the list of peers against which they benchmark pay for their own execs. And Redstone isn’t all that unusual. You frequently see high pay at enterprises, like many in media, run by families that own little equity but control decision-making by virtue of their supervoting shares.

Boards usually justify their high outlays by pointing to metrics of company success, which they credit to the CEOs. But while those on this list are smart and shrewd, it’s worth asking how much of their good fortune — including their rising stock prices — also represents good luck. Keep in mind that all of the media powers represented by this year’s top 11 own broadcast and/or pay TV channels. Cable and satellite companies complain that these programmers have oligopoly power to raise prices on distributors. Many are aggressively doing so, which distributors say pressures them to raise your rates. Programmers also benefit from a new source of cash: license fees from digital services including Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Executive compensation payOur list and the charts that follow include Deadline’s annual Out-of-Whack analysis. It illustrates not only that CEOs make vastly more than the public. Some boards are far more generous to the top dog than they are to others in the C-suite. That could be a sign that directors are in the CEO’s pocket, or lack confidence in their executive bench, many corporate governance experts say. In any case, research shows that lopsided outlays promote groupthink, damage morale, and often depress a company’s stock price. It’s a judgement call as to how much of a disparity is too much. Yet those who track the phenomenon typically become alarmed when a CEO makes more than three times the median for the four other top execs whose income must be disclosed to shareholders per SEC rules. Eighteen of the 30 companies we monitor and that have filed information for 2013 failed the test, often miserably, up from 14 out of 31 last year. Read More »

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News Corp Agrees To Buy Harlequin, Publisher Of Fiction For Women

By | Friday May 2, 2014 @ 4:39am PDT

HarlequinThe mostly publishing company that split from Fox last year will pay $455M in Canadian dollars (about $415M U.S.) for the Toronto-based specialist in romance novels. About 99% of HarperCollins‘ books are in English, so with more than 1,300 authors and reach into more than 100 global markets, Harlequin is eyed to provide a boost for News Corp. The deal “is expected to provide an immediate lift to earnings,” News Corp CEO Robert Thomson says.New-News-Corp-logo__130528181445-200x71__130923205616 He calls this “a significant step in our strategy to establish a network of digital properties in the growth regions of the world.” Harlequin will remain a distinct brand at HarperCollins and give it “an immediate foothold in 11 new countries from which we can expand into dozens of foreign languages for authors who choose to work with us globally,” the publishing unit’s CEO Brian Murray says. The deal is expected to close in Q3 following approval by shareholders of Harlequin’s parent company, Torstar Corp. It reported that Harlequin generated C$398M ($363M U.S.) in revenues last year with C$56M ($51M U.S.) in cash flow using international accounting rules, which differ from those in the U.S.

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News Corp And Facebook Team To Launch News Service

By | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 7:11am PDT

New-News-Corp-logo__130528181445-200x71NEW YORK– Social news agency Storyful, a division of News Corp, has partnered with Facebook for the launch of FB Newswire (http://www.facebook.com/FBNewswire), a resource that will make it easier for journalists and newsrooms to find, share and embed newsworthy content from Facebook in the media they produce.

More than one billion people use Facebook to discover, explore and participate in news-making events around the world. Powered by Storyful, which discovers, verifies, acquires and distributes timely and relevant video and user-generated content, FB Newswire is a resource for journalists that aggregates newsworthy content shared publicly on Facebook by individuals and organizations across the world. This includes original photos, videos, and status updates posted by people on the front lines of major events including protests, elections, and sporting events.

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