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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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Business Briefs: Lenny Daniels To Run Turner Sports; Tribune Expands TV Data Services Overseas

By | Wednesday July 9, 2014 @ 11:03am PDT

Lenny Daniels To Run Turner Sports

Turner Sports logoThis is a promotion for Lenny Daniels, who was EVP and COO of Turner Broadcasting System’s sports operation. He’ll handle day-to-day management and continue to work with TBS President David Levy on strategic issues including acquisitions, programming and expanding sports media rights. Daniels helped negotiate TBS’ 2012 deal with Major League Baseball, the 2010 agreement with the NCAA to offer Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, and the 2012 acquisition Bleacher Report, a sports Web site.

Tribune Digital Ventures Acquires What’s-ON

Image (2) Tribune-Digital__140403154655-275x114.jpg for post 709077The $27M deal is the Chicago-based media company’s latest effort to establish itself as a power in TV metadata, including information for onscreen program guides.  What’s-ON provides that data for cable and TV services in 16 countries including India, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. The transaction means “we will have a new presence in markets with significant opportunity,” CEO Peter Liguori says. What’s-ON’s management will stay with the operation which will continue to operate from Mumbai.

Ross Levinsohn Joins DramaFever Board

Ross LevinsohnThis is an interesting choice for the media exec who recently left as chief of Guggenheim Digital Media, and previously served as Yahoo’s interim CEO, and president of Fox Interactive Media. DramaFever is an online video service (with subscription and ad-supported free options) that syndicates programming from around the world, … Read More »

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Tribune CEO Says He’s “Not Pleased” With CW’s Performance

By | Thursday May 15, 2014 @ 3:07pm PDT

Peter LiguoriTribune CEO Peter Liguori is the network’s biggest affiliate owner, so the CW owners CBS and Warner Bros have to take him seriously. And something will have to give based on the tough comments he made today at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit — the same day CW execs told advertisers, in their upfront presentation, that the network just attracted its largest audience in three years. Liguori says he’s “not pleased with where the CW is” adding that it “should not program to [young] people who don’t watch television.” CBS’ Les Moonves and Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara know that CW “can’t move forward without us.” What specifically does the Tribune chief want? The-CW-logo__140313224549-575x239Liguori says it may be time for him to “get a seat at the table” for programming. “Maybe I can put some of my content on there.” He also raised the possibility of playing a larger role in its management. “All of those things have to be in play.” Part of the problem, as Liguori sees it, is that CW is a sideshow for its owners. “If CW becomes a competitor, isn’t [Moonves] possibly threatened [at CBS]? Yes. We have to break that log jam.”

Related: CW’s New Series Trailers: ‘The Flash’, ‘Jane The Virgin’

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Tribune Digital Agrees To Buy TV By The Numbers And Relaunch Zap2it

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT

This continues Tribune‘s campaign to become a TV and data power, as it spins off its newspaper publishing operation. Tribune DigitalThe company says today that its tech arm, Tribune Digital Ventures, will buy TV By The Numbers, a source of ratings analysis and programming news. No word on financial terms, but the company will feed some of the info to its entertainment website Zap2it —  which Tribune says will have “a renewed focus on helping TV fans discover programs to watch across linear TV and streaming services and providing integrated advertising opportunities designed to reach that valuable audience.” It also will make licensing deals with third-party apps and services. “Our goal is to make TV By The Numbers a must-have analytics and data resource for passionate viewers and Hollywood insiders alike,” says Tribune Digital Ventures President Shashi Seth. “Viewership numbers, audience reviews and social data are increasingly becoming reliable indicators of TV show popularity, making TV By The Numbers analysis data essential to the evolving ecosystem.” Zap2it will enable programmers to advertise to TV fans. Both camps “need an integrated TV discovery and editorial source, so we’re excited to unveil the all-new Zap2it to meet those needs,” the site’s executive director of sales, Brian Campbell, says. Read More »

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Tribune Taps Lynda King To Be Broadcasting COO

By | Monday January 6, 2014 @ 11:16am PST

Tribune-Broadcasting__120817230852As chief operating officer for Tribune’s broadcasting division, Lynda King reports to Larry Wert, President/Broadcast Media, assisting him in overseeing the company’s portfolio of 42 owned or operated television stations across the country. King was formerly SVP/Operations for Local TV Holdings, which was acquired by Tribune last year. King previously held a variety of sales and management positions with Raycom Media and Television Station Partners.

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Tribune Closes $2.73B Local TV Purchase

By | Friday December 27, 2013 @ 10:12am PST

Related: FCC Approves Gannett-Belo And Tribune-Local TV Mergers

tribune-co-logo-2__120911005937CHICAGO, Dec. 27, 2013—Tribune Company announced today that it has completed the final steps necessary to close its acquisition of Local TV Holdings, LLC. The transaction creates the largest combined independent broadcast group and content creator in the country. As a result of this acquisition, Tribune now owns 39 television stations across the country. In addition, Tribune will provide certain services to support the operations of three former Local TV stations owned by Dreamcatcher Broadcasting LLC. The combined broadcast portfolios include 14 FOX affiliates, 14 CW affiliates, 5 CBS affiliates, 3 ABC affiliates and 2 NBC affiliates. Tribune owns 14 stations in top-20 markets and the company is now the #1 FOX affiliate group and the #1 CW affiliate group in the country. The transaction added market-leading stations in prime cities such as Denver, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and Milwaukee to the Tribune lineup.

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Tribune Agrees To Pay $170M For Sony’s Entertainment Data Service Gracenote

By | Monday December 23, 2013 @ 10:29am PST

This is an intriguing move for Tribune, and a black eye for Sony as it seeks savings and cost cuts. Gracenote logoIt paid $260M for Gracenote in 2008 and says today that it expects the sale to add $60M to its operating income. The firm specializes in metadata — the kind of information that enables other services including Apple’s iTunes, Rhapsody, Spotify, and Xbox Music to recognize what song or TV show is playing. That could become important as viewers increasingly use smartphones and tablets while they watch TV. But Gracenote faces tough competition from services including Shazam. Tribune says that it will combine Gracenote with Tribune Media Services to create what it says will be one of the world’s largest entertainment metadata companies. With the transaction, TMS hopes to serve “new and exciting customers with better data, new products, and new services to help an evolving entertainment industry,” says Tribune Digital Centures President Shashi Seth. Gracenote President Stephen White adds that the union “will help us reimagine how people discover and connect with music, movies, and TV shows across all devices.” Gracenote has data for about 180M music tracks as well as 1M movies and TV shows. It also owns more than 90 U.S. and foreign patents.

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Time Warner Cable Agrees To Retransmission Deal With Tribune

By | Sunday December 22, 2013 @ 4:04pm PST

Tribune BroadcastingThis should make life a little easier for Time Warner Cable as it prepares to deal with a likely acquisition proposal from Charter, and for Tribune as it closes its $2.73B acquisition of Local TV. The companies said today that they’ve reached a multi-year retransmission agreement that enables the No. 2 cable company to continue carrying Tribune’s stations with major markets including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Diego, and Indianapolis, and superstation WGN America. The deal also includes the Local TV stations. TWC accounts for about 10.4% of the households in Tribune’s markets, and about 16.6% for Local TV, according to SNL Kagan data. The companies didn’t disclose financial terms.

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FCC Approves Mergers For Gannett-Belo And Tribune-Local TV

By | Friday December 20, 2013 @ 11:27am PST

The TV station deals, both announced over the summer, now are cleared to close. Gannett, which owns 23 stations, will pay $1.5B (not including $715M in debt) to add Belo’s 20 outlets.Gannett Belo The owner of USA Today is already the No. 1 owner of NBC affiliates (not including the network-owned group), and will become the No. 1 outside owner of CBS stations and No. 4 with ABC. It also will reach about 30% of all TV owners. Meanwhile, Tribune’s $2.73B acquisition of Local TV gives it an additional 16 stations to the 23 it already owns. The combination will reach about 44% of viewers which Tribune says makes it “the largest combined independent broadcast group and content creator in the country.” Already the top owner of CW stations, it now also has the largest portfolio of Fox affiliates. CEO Peter Liguori says that the deal reflects his view tribune-co-logo-2__120911005937that “in a fragmenting media landscape, there is value in scale, for our viewers, advertisers, networks, cable and satellite partners and, most important, the communities we serve.” But activist group Free Press charged that the regulators enabled Gannett and Tribune to make deals that “run afoul of the FCC’s media ownership limits” in several markets including Cleveland; Dallas; Denver; Louisville; Norfolk, Va.; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and St. Louis. “These kinds of deals shutter newsrooms and silence competing viewpoints, … Read More »

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Tribune Restructuring Will Slash About 700 Newspaper-Related Jobs

By | Wednesday November 20, 2013 @ 12:19pm PST

CEO Peter Liguori told staffers in a memo today that he wants the business units at his publishing operation — which includes the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and The Hartford Courant — to organize “by function, rather than by geography.” The goal is to “continue investing in the lifeblood of our business: best-in-class reporting, effective sales and digital growth.” But while newsrooms aren’t the primary targets for the layoffs, editorial staffs will see “selective reduction” from the drive to cut the workforce by about 6%. The changes come as Tribune plans to sell or spin off the publishing operations, and bulk up on television stations. As part of today’s announcement, L.A. Times Publisher Eddy Hartenstein and Tribune Publishing CEO Tony Hunter promised to handle the layoffs “with respect, dignity, and assistance for the future.” They also named executives to run the revamped units. The list includes Chicago Tribune’s advertising SVP Bob Fleck who’s now EVP of Advertising for Tribune Publishing, and LA TImes EVP Bill Nagel who has been named EVP of Marketing for Tribune Publishing. The company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of 2012. Tribune says that in Q3 the publishing unit generated $44.7M in operating profit, up from $1.3M last year, on revenues of $446.4M, -3.9%.

Here’s Liguori’s memo: Read More »

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Koch Industries Passing On Tribune Newspapers: Bloomberg

By | Friday August 23, 2013 @ 9:55pm PDT

You can take Koch Industries off the list of potential buyers for the Los Angeles Times and other Tribune publications. A spokeswoman for the Wichita, Kansas-based company told Bloomberg that Koch is no longer interested in bidding for the newspapers. The Daily Caller website initially reported that Koch decided it would not be buying any of Tribune’s daily newspapers after conducting a review. ”Koch continues to have an interest in the media business and we’re exploring a broad range of opportunities where we think we can add value,” Koch spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia said in an e-mail to Bloomberg. The Kochs had been named among several potential Tribune buyers, people familiar with the negotiations said back in March. That group included News Corp., Berkshire Hathaway, Wrapports LLC and Freedom Communications.

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Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman, Episode 42

Listen to (and share) episode 42 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive editor talks with host David Bloom about emerging trends from the first half of 2013, led by a renewed appetite for dealmaking; Tribune’s big broadcasting bet as it comes out of bankruptcy; and what’s driving up prices for the red-hot stocks of Cablevision and Lionsgate.

Deadline Big Media, Episode 42 (MP3 format)
Deadline Big Media, Episode 42 (MP4a format) Read More »

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Tribune’s $2.73B Deal For Local TV Will Make It The Top Independent Station Owner

By | Monday July 1, 2013 @ 4:37am PDT

This is the most startling deal yet in the recent consolidation wave among TV station owners. With Local TV‘s 19 stations in 16 markets, Tribune will have 42 stations, up from 23. It will have outlets in 14 of the top 20 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Denver, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and Milwaukee. It will become the largest owner of Fox affiliates, with 14. The deal also will boost Tribune’s status as the CW network’s top distributor, with 14 stations. In addition, Tribune says that it will have five CBS stations, three for ABC, two for NBC, and four independents. “This is a transformational acquisition for Tribune — it makes us the #1 local TV affiliate group in America, expands the distribution platform for our high-quality video content, and extends the reach of our digital products to new audiences across the country,” Tribune CEO Peter Liguori says.

The companies cite most of justifications you usually hear when station groups combine: They’ll improve local news coverage. It will strengthen their ability to capitalize on ad sales “in key political battleground states.” And it will offer economies of scale. Tribune says that it expects to see $100M a year in run-rate synergies within five years. The company says it can pay for the deal with debt and cash on hand. It has lined up $4.1B in financing commitments from JPMorgan Chase, BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse. That includes a new $300M revolving credit facility so it can refinance its existing debt. Tribune – which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of 2012 — has made it clear that wants to bulk up on TV while it considers plans to sell its newspapers, which include the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Read More »

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Tribune Brings In New CFO

By | Wednesday June 19, 2013 @ 7:33am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Tribune Co’s new CEO Peter Liguori continues to put his stamp on the company’s top management team. Tribune has appointed Steven Berns as EVP/Chief Financial Officer. Berns, who starts next month reporting to Liguori, comes from Revlon, Inc., where he has served in a similar capacity since 2009. Berns replaces Chandler Bigelow, who, after a five-year stint as CFO, is segueing to a new role as EVP/Chief Business Strategies and Operations Officer. He will oversee the company’s equity investments and its real estate portfolio, and will help lead the ongoing transformation of Tribune’s traditional media businesses, continuing to report to Liguori. “Steven’s broad experience, financial acumen, and open management style will enable us to make a seamless transition in the leadership of our finance team,” said Liguori. “At the same time, I am excited to partner with Chandler in his new role as we continue to evolve our businesses; his institutional knowledge, financial rigor and strategic instincts make Chandler ideal for this role.”

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Matt Cherniss Joins Tribune As President/ GM Of WGN, Newly Formed Tribune Studios

By | Tuesday March 19, 2013 @ 11:08am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: Former Fox Broadcasting Co. and FX executive Matt Cherniss is returning to the TV business and reuniting with his former boss Peter Liguori. Cherniss is joining Tribune Co. as President/General Manager of WGN America and the newly formed Tribune Studios. At superstation WGN, Cherniss replaces Julio Marenghi, who has been named President of Broadcast Media Sales.

Tribune Studios marks Tribune’s official re-entry in the TV production business. The company was a leading producer and distributor of first-run syndication programming in the 1980s and ’90s through its division Tribune Entertainment until it was shut down in 2007. In the past couple of years, Tribune had signaled its interest in re-entering the space. It produces and distributes daytime syndicated program The Bill Cunningham Show and has interest in CBS’ Arsenio Hall late-night talk show and The Test, which will launch on Tribune’s 23 local TV stations in the fall. With Tribune Studios, the company plans to build on and expand what it is doing on Arsenio Hall and The Test by producing and co-producing programming that targets the needs of its stations and the superstation, Tribune CEO Liguori said, noting that “No longer can a media company look at their stations and network as a vehicle to deliver ratings and ad revenue, it’s a much bigger play.” Read More »

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UPDATE: Tribune Confirms Plan To Explore Sale Of Its Newspapers

By | Tuesday February 26, 2013 @ 10:43am PST

UPDATE, 2:30 PM: Tribune says that it has hired JP Morgan Chase and Evercore to investigate the market. “There is a lot of interest in our newspapers, which we haven’t solicited,” SVP Gary Weitman says. “Hiring outside financial advisers will help us determine whether that interest is credible, allow us to consider all of our options, and fulfill our fiduciary responsibility to our shareholders and employees.”

PREVIOUS, 10:43 AM: It’s not a surprise that the company, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the end of last year, is looking to sell its publishing assets. These include the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune – Rupert Murdoch is known to be interested in those papers — as well as the Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinal and Hartford Courant. CNBC reports today that Tribune Co’s Career Builder website likely would be included in a sale, and that Evercore and JPMorgan will be the bankers to lead an auction over the coming weeks. Tribune last month hired former Fox and Discovery exec Peter Liguori as CEO; the company has 23 TV stations.

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Consumer Advocate Calls Tribune Hiring Of Former FCC Official “Nauseating”

By | Tuesday January 29, 2013 @ 3:18pm PST

TribuneFree Press CEO Craig Aaron is ringing alarm bells today after the broadcast and newspaper power — which just emerged from bankruptcy — hired a new general counsel: Edward Lazarus, who was FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s chief of staff, overseeing policy development and implementation, strategic planning, and agency management. “He may be just the latest to take a spin through the revolving door, but that doesn’t make his move any less nauseating,” Aaron says. Public interest advocates are souring on the FCC chief as he leads efforts to relax media ownership rules — including one that Tribune wants that would make it easier for a company to own a TV station and major newspaper in the same community. A proposal Genachowski circulated would put the burden on the FCC to show why it should block a cross-ownership arrangement in the 20 largest markets. That appears to be tailor-made for Rupert Murdoch who has kicked the tires at The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune — two cities where Fox also owns TV stations. Tribune CEO Peter Liguori says that Lazarus “has an incredibly sharp mind, broad legal experience, and he played an important role at the FCC,” adding that he’s “the perfect fit as our general counsel.” Prior to working at the FCC, the Yale Law School grad clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, was a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, and chaired the national litigation steering committee for Akin Gump Strauss … Read More »

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Tribune Creditors Denied Bankruptcy Bond Appeal Again

By | Monday September 10, 2012 @ 6:05pm PDT

“Appellant’s emergency motion for stay of the bond order is dismissed as moot,” the Third Circuit Court of Appeals today told Aurelius Capitol Management and other junior creditors in the Tribune Co. bankruptcy. The creditors were seeking to avoid having to put up a $1.5 billion bond in order to get a six-month stay of the media company’s restructuring and emergence from Chapter 11. Citing “lack of jurisdiction,” the three-judge panel said No in a two-page decision (read it here) to hearing an appeal on the August 27th denial of the creditors’ request to alter the bond order. Read More »

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Tribune Bankruptcy Plan Challenge Denied

By | Monday August 27, 2012 @ 6:21pm PDT

TribuneTribune Co. creditor Aurelius Capital Management today lost its emergency bid to delay the media company’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy. Aurelius sought to delay Tribune’s plan for six months without putting up the $1.5 billion bond that U.S. bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey required when he granted a temporary stay last week. Aurelius has until Wednesday to come up with the bond, which most observers of the case have suggested is unlikely. A second emergency motion by two indenture trustees seeking to modify the $1.5 billion bond requirement is still pending.

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