Discovery & BSkyB Poised To Acquire UK’s Channel 5: Report

channel5Back in February, word began to spread that longtime frenemies John Malone and Rupert Murdoch were eyeing a joint acquisition of the UK’s Channel 5. Malone-backed Discovery Communications and BSkyB, majority owned by Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, have now reportedly gone ahead and sewn up a deal. Broadcast reported that Discovery and BskyB are nearing an announcement they have acquired the broadcaster in a deal valued at £350M, which would give the former a 70% stake and the latter 30%. But media entrepreneur Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell, owner of Channel 5, has said it received several bids and was still evaluating them, according to Bloomberg. The free-to-air broadcaster was thought to be seeking a buyer with about £700M to spend, but many were skeptical it would fetch such a price; Desmond paid about £103.5M for it in 2010. Other companies that have been said to have shown interest include Viacom, Turner Broadcasting, BT, NBCUniversal and Saban Capital.

Channel 5 is notably the home of Big Brother, although its contract for the show expires in 2015. The net also airs U.S. dramas like Under The Dome, CSI and Person Of Interest; weekly average ratings hover around 4%. Read More »

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The ABCs Of Aereo: What Is Aereo And Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To The Supreme Court?

By and | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 1:01pm EDT

Editors Note: The first of three Deadline posts that lay out the issues in the Aereo case, which Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten will cover from the Supreme Court next week. Today: A primer about Aereo and what’s at stake in the dispute with broadcasters.

U.S. Supreme Court justices are so mistrustful of technology that they bar TV cameras from their proceedings and require visitors to check their smartphones at the door.What Is Aereo But on April 22 they will take an hour to hear arguments in a case that could re-shape television and the Internet. All of the major broadcast companies are challenging the legality of an upstart streaming service: Aereo, a company backed by IAC chief Barry Diller that began to sign up subscribers in New York City in February 2012. The issues both sides will raise are complicated. But the controversy boils down to an important question: What rights do broadcasters and citizens have to content on the publicly owned airwaves?

Related: It’s On! – Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Aereo Case

Q: How does Aereo work?
A: Subscribers in the cities Aereo serves pay a minimum of $8 a month. That gives them exclusive access to one of its thousands of dime-sized antennas that pick up free, local, over-the-air broadcasts. The company then streams the live programming in the same local market to subscribers’ Web-connected TVs, computers, or mobile devices.

Aereo info graphic

Q: Does it just stream live TV?
A: Aereo also offers a remote storage DVR. Just like with a home DVR, each customer can choose programs to record, and then watch later with the same fast-forward and rewind capabilities. The difference is that the digital files are kept on Aereo’s servers, not on a hard drive in the home. Those who pay $8 per month get 20 hours of DVR storage each month and access to one antenna, while those paying $12 get 60 hours and access to two antennas.

Aereo mapQ: Where can people subscribe?
A: Aereo began in New York, and now also is available in Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Miami, and San Antonio. It plans to launch in cities including Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Kansas City.

Q: Why does that bother broadcasters?
A: Aereo doesn’t pay local TV stations when it streams their programming. Broadcasters say that infringes on their copyrights. Read More »

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CBS Corp. Boss Leslie Moonves Takes A ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Victory Lap

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198CBS is understandably over the moon that it’s landed Stephen Colbert as its new late-night star. With Colbert as its date, the network so long treated by the media as a dinosaur, an afterthought or a curiosity (as in, “Golly gosh, can you stevencolbert11believe how many people watch NCIS?”) has, overnight become the hottest girl at the whole damned dance.

Related: Stephen Colbert Reacts To ‘Late Show’ Hire

Colbert will retire his Comedy Central conservative windbag character — who he has previously described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot” — and become Actual Stephen Colbert when he takes over as host of Late Show With Stephen Colbert. It’s devastating news for Bill O’Reilly and other conservative TV and radio talking heads who counted on Colbert for material about which to fume and foment. The character looms so large in the talk-show world that Colbert today felt compelled to issue a statement about Faux Colbert’s coming demise, saying: “I won’t be doing the new show in character, so we’ll all get to find out how much of him was me. TCA Summer Press Tour 2013I’m looking forward to it.​​” CBS Corp chairman Leslie Moonves said it’s unclear how the CBS late-night show will be configured with Colbert as host; in an interview with Deadline today, he expressed no concern about the fictitious character his new star has been playing on the comedy network since 2005.

Related: David Letterman On Stephen Colbert’s Hire

Asked when would be David Letterman‘s last day as Late Show host and Colbert’s first day, Moonves said no decision had been made and reiterated that the end date was Dave’s to decide.

Related: CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet Despite Practically Perfect Stephen Colbert Hire

Read More »

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Media Stocks Hit As NASDAQ Suffers Biggest One-Day Drop Since 2011

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 4:45pm EDT

stock arrow downThe tech-heavy exchange fell 3.1% today to a two-month low as investors, fearful that the bull market for Internet and biotech companies has run its course, continued to shift their cash into more conservative investments. On NASDAQ’s worst day since 2011, the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 2.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 1.6%. Media stocks also felt the chill: The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index fell 2.8%. All of the major companies we track lost ground. CBS (-3.8%) was hardest hit in Big Media followed by Time Warner (-3.7%), Disney (-3.7%), Sony (-3.6%), Viacom (-3.6%), Comcast (-2.8%), News Corp (-2.2%), Fox (-2.1%), and Discovery (-1.7%). In the rest of the sector companies licking their wounds include Pandora (-10.5%), WWE (-7.2%), Facebook (-5.2%), Netflix (-5.2%), Lionsgate (-4.8%), and RealD (-4.6%)

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Paramount TV Unveils First Development Slate That Includes Series Takes On ‘Narc’ & ‘Truman Show’, Firms Up Executive Team

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 10:41am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

trumanA year after Paramount Studios signaled its re-entry in TV with the relaunch of Paramount Television, the start-up division has set its first development slate. As expected, it includes mining well-known properties from the Paramount movie library. That includes a crime drama with roots in Joe Carnahan’s Narc, with Carnahan writing and directing the pilot, and a re-imagination of the Jim Carrey hit The Truman Show. Additionally, Paramount has boarded the Terminator TV series, joining Skydance Television and Annapurna Pictures, who announced the project back in December. Paramount TV also has in the works an adaptation of hit feature Ghost with filmmakers Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner.

paramounttvOther projects on Paramount TV’s inaugural slate include a drama series inspired by Caleb Carr’s best-selling novel The Alienist, with Anonymous Content (True Detective) executive producing; a limited series event based on A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer-winning biography Lindbergh; and an adaptation of Peter Moffat’s BBC series The Village with Sundance Productions and All3Media. They join previously announced mutli-project deal with Craig Brewer for original scripted dramas. “While we are just getting started, there has been a terrific amount of momentum at Paramount TV as we look to develop new ideas as well as harness some of the studio’s most iconic titles,” said Paramount TV president Amy Powell. Read More »

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MIPTV: Amy Poehler & ‘Broad City’ Team Talk Moving From Web To TV (Video)

Amy Poehler Broad City MIPTVYesterday, I moderated a Mip-tv panel that brought together the folks behind Comedy Central‘s web-to-TV transfer Broad City. The comedy, created by Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, is exec produced by Amy Poehler (this was the trio’s first time in Cannes and they were giddy with excitement). Broad City began as a web series, and was ordered by Comedy Central in March 2013. The first season recently concluded, and has a second-season order. Also on the panel were Comedy Central President of Content Development & Original Programming Kent Alterman, and Caroline Beaton, SVP International Program Sales for Viacom Intenational Media Networks. We talked about how the girls got together in the first place, Poehler’s involvement, and the impact of the switch to television. Alterman addressed the web’s usefulness as an incubator, and Beaton spoke to why comedy does translate abroad. Poehler, who had a lot of Parks & Recreation fans in the audience, waxed on the importance of diversity and authenticity, and how you can’t pull the wool over the eyes of today’s youth. She also got in a good Sharon Stone/Basic Instinct joke at my expense, for which I thank her — I was pretty nervous and she put me right at ease. Here’s the video of our chat:

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CBS Corp Ups Shannon Jacobs To SVP Communications

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 10:58am PDT

CBS CORPORATEShannon Jacobs, previously VP Communications, will manage the New York-based corporate communications team as well as continue to lead media relations efforts for all of CBS TV’s corporate functions including ad sales, research, affiliate relations, governmental and legal affairs, program practices and engineering. She will continue to report to CBS Corp EVP Communications Dana McClintock. Jacobs joined CBS in 2005 as CBS was preparing to split from Viacom. Before that she was Director of Corporate Communications at NBCUniversal.

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Media Stocks Pulled Down As Investors Unload Tech Holdings

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 4:17pm EDT

Stock arrow downThe tech-heavy NASDAQ fell 2.6% today, apparently reflecting fears that many companies — after soaring in 2013 — will report disappointing info on Q1 sales. The concern has been building: Netflix, for example, is down 25.7% over the past month. But it seemed to spread today, and soured the rest of the market with the Standard & Poor’s 500 -1.3% and the Dow Jones U.S. Media Index -1.7%. Viacom, down 2.8%, was the hardest hit Big Media company followed by Fox (-2.6%), Comcast (-1.8%), CBS (-1.7%), Disney (-1.5%), Discovery (-0.8%), Time Warner (-0.4%), and Sony (-0.3%). News Corp was the only gainer in the group, rising 0.1%. In the broader media universe, Barnes & Noble fell 5.4% — for an 18% drop in the two days since Liberty Media said it will sell 90% of its holdings in the book retailer. Tech-oriented media companies followed including Netflix (-4.9%), Pandora (-4.9%), Google (-4.7%), Facebook (-4.6%), Yahoo (-4.2%), RealD (-4%), and Amazon (-3.2%). Only a few media stocks appreciated. They include Madison Square Garden (+0.4%), which sold its Fuse TV network, and Scripps Networks (+0.5%) after Wunderlich Securities’ Matthew Harrigan changed his recommendation to “buy” from “hold.”

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Aereo Attracts Support From Dish Network, EFF & More For SCOTUS Hearing

By and | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 4:55pm PDT

Aereo-logo__130126232434-200x206__131008001115__131212200214__140110201424__140211193750With less than three weeks before Aereo argues its case in front of the Supreme Court, amicus briefs today supporting the subscription streaming service in its battle against the broadcasters were being filed fast and furiously. Supporters of the Barry Diller-backed company have until 11:59 PM ET to add their voices to the cause. On the plaintiff’s side, SAG-AFTRA, Viacom, Time Warner and Warner Bros Entertainment, the NFL and MLB are among those who have come out against Aereo. Add to that, the Obama administration filed a brief of its own supporting the broadcasters and a motion to argue during supremecourtthe 1-hour April 22 hearing before the High Court. Today’s briefs from Dish Network, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Cable Association and more come less than a week after Aereo firmly responded to the broadcaster’s February 24 brief and the same day Diller said that Aereo could be “finished” if it loses before the SCOTUS. More briefs are expected throughout the evening — we’ll update as more come in. Here are a few highlights from ones submitted so far today:

Dish Network
Chairman Charlie Ergen has good reason to support Aereo. He, too, butted heads with broadcasters who objected to his Hopper DVR’s ability to automatically jump over their ads in recorded shows. He also owns Sling, a device that streams users’ live and recorded TV programs. “Aereo is in some ways novel, but it is also among a host of technologies that uses the Internet to offer consumers the ability to do what they always have more cheaply and conveniently,” Dish says in its brief. The technology, and others including Dish’s, “are like dumbwaiters, incapable of delivering a pail of water without the thirsty person tugging on ropes and pulleys. If an individual uses that dumbwaiter to fetch himself a video he recorded of Breaking Bad, the dumbwaiter manufacturer does not infringe a copyright in the show.” Read More »

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WWE Leads Q1 Media Stock Gainers While DreamWorks Animation Falls

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 5:22pm EDT

Market arrows up downThe markets closed the books today on Q1 trading, and it began with a shrug for media stocks. The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index fell 2.4% over the three-month period, behind the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500, which was +1.3%. Sony was the top-performing Big Media company, with shares +10.6%. It was trailed by Disney (+4.8%), Viacom (-2.7%), CBS (-3.0%), Comcast (-3.7%), News Corp (-4.4%), Time Warner (-6.3%) and Fox (-9.1%). There’s a much wider gap between the best and worst performers among other media companies we track most closely. World Wrestling Entertainment led the pack, helped by its launch of WWE Network, a $9.99 a month live streaming video service. Its shares appreciated 74.2% — followed by Barnes & Noble (+39.8%), RealD (+30.8%), and Cinedigm (+26.7%). At the bottom we find DreamWorks Animation (-25.2%), National CineMedia (-24.9%), and Sinclair Broadcasting (-24.2%).

Here’s how individual companies fared: Read More »

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Betty White To Plug Toyota Live On Tonight’s Live ‘Hot In Cleveland’ Season Debut

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 2:15pm PDT

Remember when George Burns and Gracie Allen used to plug Carnation Evaporated Milk in live TV ads during their 1950s TV series The Hot in ClevelandGeorge Burns And Gracie Allen Show? Of course you don’t! But live ads using show cast members, in character and on set, did not used to be “news” — much less a scoop in the New York Times‘ business section.  And, 60 years from now, when a future generation is watching on their glasses a live broadcast of some happy-zombie-family comedy starring some Hollywood It Couple, replete with product promotions by the happy zombies, they will think back to today’s NYT report (“Commercials to Go Live With Show Cast Members”) about the airing of two whole live ads during the live season debuts of TV Land‘s Hot In Cleveland and The Soul Man, and think “How quaint.” Read More »

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WGA Urges FCC to Block Comcast- Time Warner Cable Merger

By | Sunday March 23, 2014 @ 6:54am PDT

WGABy David Robb, Special To Deadline

RELATED: WGA West & WGA East Slam Merger Of Comcast And Time Warner Cable

EXCLUSIVE: The Writers Guild of America has offered a chilling picture of the future of television to the Federal Communications Commission in a bid to block the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.

In February, Comcast agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion in a deal that would combine the two largest cable companies in the United States. The deal must still be approved by the FCC.

“The FCC should deny the proposed merger,” the WGA said in a brief filed with the FCC on Friday, noting that the merged entity “would control almost 30%” of the cable and satellite TV market.

Such a merger, the guild argued, “would give too much power over broadcast and cable networks. Comcast’s ability to blackout one-third of television viewers would force networks to agree to terms and rates set by Comcast, harming investment in programming.”

COMCASTA merged Comcast-Time Warner would also control approximately 30% of the broadband Internet market, the guild said, “giving the company the means to limit competition from online video providers like Netflix and Amazon. Comcast has already demonstrated its inclination for anti-competitive behavior by exempting its own streaming service from data caps when watched on an Xbox, while applying data caps to competing services.”

In economic terms, the guild told … Read More »

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Deadline Big Media 77 – CinemaCon Preview Podcast

By and | Thursday March 20, 2014 @ 3:21pm EDT

Deadline Big Media ep 77In this week’s podcast, Deadline Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom preview CinemaCon, the big annual gathering of theater operators in Las Vegas that puts the popcorn in popcorn movies. They also examine the NAB’s claims to the FCC of a faltering local TV business; update the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger with news from the states; whistle through the highlights of the relatively quiescent Disney annual meeting; examine the implications of the recent settlement of the long-running Viacom-YouTube copyright lawsuit; and ponder what’s next for Yahoo, given the imminent stock IPO by Alibaba, which it partly owns.

Deadline Big Media podcast 77 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 77 (.M4A version)

Read More »

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Viacom And YouTube Settle Copyright Dispute

By | Tuesday March 18, 2014 @ 8:39am EDT

viacom-youtube-logos-300x283__130418214142-275x259No details yet on the terms of the agreement ending the $1B action that Viacom launched in 2007. The entertainment giant and Google’s YouTube say the resolution is a sign of the “growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together.” Viacom had alleged that YouTube profited by turning a blind eye toward instances where users improperly posted its content, including clips from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. But Google said that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s “safe harbor” provisions absolved it of responsibility for infringements by its users. Google largely prevailed in decisions at the U.S. District Court in New York, and in appeals. But Viacom continued its appeal, charging that YouTube induced users to post copyright infringing content.

Here’s today’s release: Read More »

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Deadline Big Media 76: The Obama Against Aereo Podcast

Deadline Big Media ep 76In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom look at the Obama administration’s unusual intercession in the Aereo Supreme Court case on behalf of the networks and the notable absence of tech industry involvement in the case so far.

They also try to make sense of John Malone’s latest complicated stock shuffle that affects SiriusXM and Charter Communications; check in on the many Big Media highlights from this week’s Deutsche Bank investor conference; break out the checkbook for that Amazon Prime price hike; and wonder how DreamWorks Interactive can be on track for both a $310 million global box office haul for Mr. Peabody & Shermanand a write-down of $84 million for that same film. Read More »

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BET & Centric To Simulcast Live Season Premiere Of TV Land’s ‘The Soul Man’

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 4:53pm PDT

The Soul ManHere’s a case of Viacom siblings playing nice. When the third-season premiere of The Soul Man airs live March 26 on TV Land, sister channels BET and Centric will simulcast it. After that, Centric will run new episodes of the Hot In Cleveland spinoff on Saturdays, 10 days after they bow on TV Land. The live season opener is a first for Soul Man, which stars Cedric the Entertainer as an R&B superstar-turned-minister who relocates from Las Vegas to St. Louis with his wife. TV Land said in January that Soul Man and Hot In Cleveland will have their season premieres back-to-back. It will be the second consecutive live season bow for the sitcom starring Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick and Jane Leeves.

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Media Stocks Slip As Investor Fears About China And Ukraine Grow

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 4:52pm EDT

The industry couldn’t withstand the downdraft across the financial markets today as reports in China showed weaker-than-expected industrial growth and as Russian troops began military exercises near the border with Ukraine. Stock arrow downThe Dow Jones U.S. Media Index fell 1.4%, nearly matching the drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and ahead of the 1.2% fall in the Standard & Poor’s 500. All of the Big Media companies we track lost ground. News Corp shares fell 2.8% followed by Fox (-1.8%), Disney (-1.8%), CBS (-1.4%), Viacom (-1.3%), Sony (-1.2%), Comcast (-1%) Discovery (-0.9%), and Time Warner (-0.9%). Biggest losers across media and entertainment included Sinclair (-4.9%), Scripps (-4.7%), Crown Media (-4.6%), DreamWorks Animation (-4.2%), and Lionsgate (-3.2%). Only a handful gained ground including exhibition companies AMC Entertainment (+2.5%) and Carmike (+0.8%); programmers Starz (+1.0%) and World Wrestling Entertainment (+0.3%); and Amazon (+0.2%), which announced today that it has raised the price of its Amazon Prime program for the first time in nine years.

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VH1 Taps Nina Diaz As SVP East Coast Production & Development

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 1:10pm PDT

The veteran showrunner behind such seriesninadiaz` as Mob Wives, My Super Sweet 16 and Real Housewives Of New Jersey has been named SVP East Coast Production and Development for VH1. In her new role, Nina Diaz vh1will oversee unscripted programming developed and produced out of VH1’s New York office. She will be based in New York and report to Susan Levison, EVP Original Programming and Production for VH1. Diaz most recently served as SVP Head of Current Production at Left/Right Productions, where she was responsible for multiple series including VH1′s Mob Wives franchise and spinoffs as well as A&E’s Rodeo Girls. As an independent exec producer, Diaz launched Real Housewives Of New Jersey and exec produced and helped develop the formatted competition series Homemade Millionaire hosted by Kelly Ripa. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Arrow Takes UK On ‘God’s Pocket’; Channel 4 Warms To ‘Fargo’; Noah Taylor, Charlotte Riley Join ‘Peaky Blinders’; Amy Poehler At Mip; More

gods pocketArrow Films has acquired UK rights to God’s Pocket starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Sold by Electric Entertainment, the film is the feature directorial debut of Mad Men’s John Slattery. Electric acquired it at Sundance. IFC has U.S. distribution and Arrow will release later this year in Britain. Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, John Turturro and Caleb Landry Jones also star in the film written by Slattery and Alex Metcalf. Based on the Pete Dexter novel, the movie follows a man who tries to cover up the accidental death of his stepson in a blue collar neighborhood in South Philadelphia. Arrow’s recent titles include Love Is All You Need, The Hunt and A Hijacking. Read More »

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