Global Showbiz Briefs: UK To Charge Ex-Newspaper Staffers In Bribery Scandal; Yahoo Taps Dawn Airey For SVP Post; More
Ex-Daily Mirror, Sun Staffers Among 9 Charged In Bribery Scandal
Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service said today that nine people would be charged in relation to allegations of illegal payments to public officials. Among them are former Daily Mirror journalist Greig Box-Turnbull, and ex-Sun staffers Graham Dudman, John Troup and Vince Soodin. Box-Turnbull is being called up on two charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office with regard to alleged payments to prison officers for information. The prison officers also are being charged as co-conspirators. Dudman is alleged to have requested the authorization of payments to one or more police officers and to have authorized payments to public officials in his capacity as Sun managing editor. Troup is charged as a co-conspirator. Soodin will be charged with conspiring with a police officer to commit misconduct in public office. The remaining defendants are a police officer and a hospital employee. All will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on September 5. The new charges come a few days after the revelation that Scotland Yard is actively investigating Sun owner News International (now News UK) for possible criminal violations related to the phone-hacking scandal and allegations of illegal payments. News UK is the British press arm of News Corp.
Dawn Airey Tapped As Yahoo’s SVP Europe, Middle East And Africa
Yahoo has appointed UK television veteran Dawn Airey as SVP Europe, Middle East and Africa. Beginning November 1, Christophe Parcot, who has served as Yahoo’s interim lead of EMEA, will take on a new role focused on expanding the web giant’s business in the region. Airey joins Yahoo from RTL Group. She has also held high-level executive positions at Five, ITV, BSkyB and Channel4.
The companies hinted in December, when they announced a sports content alliance, that we’d see collaborative programming arrangements like the two announced today. This week they’ll introduce Fantasy Football Live — Thursday Night, …
Listen to (and share) episode 44 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s financial editor talks with host David Bloom about Time Warner Cable’s week all over the news; Yahoo’s billion-dollar buyback from Daniel Loeb; Amazon‘s skyrocketing content costs; and Facebook‘s skyrocketing share prices.
Looks like Yahoo is more concerned about the Third Point founder’s intentions than everyone let on early this week when they announced that the company would pay $1.16B for 40M of Daniel Loeb’s shares, bringing his stake below 2%. …
Yahoo shares are down more than 3% this morning after the company said that it has bought back most of the shares owned by Third Point’s Daniel Loeb — leading him and colleagues Harry Wilson and Michael Wolf to resign from the board at the end of this month. ”Since our Board’s rigorous search led us to hire Marissa Mayer as CEO, Yahoo!’s stock price has nearly doubled, delivering significant value for shareholders,” Loeb says. “I’m confident that with Marissa at the helm and her team’s focus on innovation and engaging users, Yahoo! has a bright future.” The agreement to buy 40M of Loeb’s shares, at $29.11 apiece, will bring his stake in the company below 2% — and will count toward the company’s plan to repurchase $1.9B of its stock. Loeb is an investor in Variety with Deadline’s parent company PMC.
The sale makes sense for Loeb, the billionaire founder of hedge fund Third Point. He’s a value investor who likes to engage in deep research and then bet on relatively boring companies and assets that others overlook. Few would consider Yahoo undervalued after its stock appreciated 77% in the last 12 months. And the company is far from overlooked with former Google exec Mayer at the helm. The sale gives Third Point cash to devote elsewhere — possibly including Sony where Loeb is urging the company to issue stock in its movie, TV and music assets. (He wants Sony to hang on to about 80% and let the public trade the remaining 20%.) Meanwhile, Third Point remains a major shareholder in Yahoo.
But Yahoo shareholders may fear that once Loeb and his colleagues leave the board, the company may use the proceeds from the interest it sold in Alibaba to buy assets — like it just did with its $1.1B deal for Tumblr — says Barclay’s Capital’s Anthony DiClemente.
Here’s the release:
LOS ANGELES – (July 2, 2013) – Entertainment fans will get front row access to television’s biggest night, as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences today announced Yahoo! will be the official digital partner for red carpet and behind-the-scenes content surrounding the 65th Primetime Emmy® Awards. Yahoo! is the Television Academy’s official online destination to live stream the red carpet and offer the Academy’s Backstage LIVE companion program, as well as deliver exclusive streaming content after the live coast-to-coast television broadcast airing Sunday, September 22, 2013, on CBS.
Listen to (and share) episode 36 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s Executive Editor talks with host David Bloom about Apple’s taxing day on Capitol Hill; whether production tax incentives pay off the way the MPAA says they do; and Marissa Mayer’s big gamble with Yahoo’s $1.1 billion Tumblr acquisition.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer danced on a tightrope this morning as she tried to explain the logic behind her company’s $1.1B agreement to buy social network site Tumblr. She told analysts in a conference call that the companies will work together, but separately. They appeal to different audiences, but she says they can complement each other. And since Yahoo is “all about brands” and advertising, it can gin up sales on Tumblr even though it has a history of being ad averse — and tolerant of porn. “We need to have good tools for targeting” ad messages, Mayer says. While it’s important for Tumblr to be “true to their voice,” the companies can “monetize [it] in a way that’s tasteful” while showing advertisers “the benefits of [Tumblr's young] demographics and the huge volume of users and traffic.” Tumblr’s 26-year-old founder and CEO David Karp — who Mayer called “one of the most inspiring entrepreneurs I’ve ever met” — underscored the cultural differences in a blog post this morning. Promising that “We’re not turning purple,” he ended his brief news announcement saying “fuck yeah.” Mayer vowed to “let Tumblr be Tumblr” operating “under the Tumblr brand and David’s vision” from its base in New York. Yahoo will help with the infrastructure, but won’t put its brand on Tumblr’s site. The connection “will be largely invisible to users.” She says it shouldn’t be hard to gin up ad sales at the social network, which just began to accept them a year ago. “Of the top 10 Hollywood studios, all use Tumblr to promote movies,” she says. “Tumblr views itself as a home for brands.” For example, Yahoo could “work with [Tumblr] bloggers who want ads.” She acknowledges that the businesses have different psychographics — Yahoo audiences are older than those at Tumblr where the average user is 25. “I would expect any ad units that we create [there] would be native and follow the form and function” of the site, Mayer says.
Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business. David Karp will remain CEO. The product, service and brand will continue to be defined and developed separately with the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators.
UPDATE, 1:27 PM: Yahoo‘s spin machine will be hard at work today and tomorrow trying to persuade investors that CEO Marissa Mayer isn’t wildly overpaying for Tumblr. Although the social media service has become red hot — it averages about 75.8M posts a day — it generated just $12M in revenue last year and hopes for $100M this year, Forbes says. CEO David Karp began to sell ads for the site just a year ago. Yahoo has more than enough cash to make the deal. Still, Mayer could use Wall Street’s support for the biggest acquisition that she has made since taking charge in July. Her company’s shares have appreciated about 33% so far this year because Yahoo’s investments in Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba and Yahoo Japan have been doing so well. Sales of display ads, which have been key for Yahoo, continued to disappoint in Q1. Tumblr, whose average user is under 25, could help Yahoo make more connections with young Web users. But it also could complicate Yahoo’s sales message due to Tumblr’s comparatively lax views about hosting porn, BusinessWeek notes.
The talk about Tumblr could eclipse some additional news Yahoo plans to make tomorrow: It has scheduled a press conference to unveil updates to its Flickr photo-sharing service, Bloomberg reports.
UPDATE 10:55 AM: Yahoo board has greenlighted buying the social network in a billion-dollar-plus deal that could be announced as early as tomorrow
Global Showbiz Briefs: BFI; ‘Doctor Who’; Yahoo & Dailymotion; Ukraine Piracy; Cineworld-Picturehouse; Televix; Universal & Canada’s D Films
BFI Lays Out Development Funding Recipients
The British Film Institute has identified 20 UK production companies that will receive BFI Vision Awards 2013-15. The grants will provide up to £200K over two years to the companies for investment in slate development. The BFI said the successful companies each demonstrated “a clear strategic vision for their future growth as well as a commitment to nurturing a diverse range of new voices and fresh ideas from across the UK.” There were 170 applicants overall. The project is part of the BFI’s Film Forever plan to foster growth in the UK film biz and keep momentum going after a strong series of local films. Among the companies receiving £100K are 42 M&P (Welcome To The Punch), Cowboy Films (The Last King Of Scotland), Independent (We Need To Talk About Kevin); Warp Films (Submarine) and Wildgaze Films (Quartet). Among those receiving £50K are Inflammable Films (Tyrannosaur), JW Films (Attack The Block), Rook Films (Sightseers) and animation companies Blue-Zoo, Flickerpix. The full list is here.
‘Doctor Who’ Gets New Exec Producer; Opens Pop-Up Shop
Brian Minchin is joining Doctor Who as its new executive producer alongside showrunner Steven Moffat. Minchin is an exec producer in BBC Wales drama, currently working on The Game, a new Cold War spy thriller for BBC One. He had previously been a script editor on both Doctor Who and Torchwood. Separately, the BBC says the first ever Doctor Who pop-up store will open its doors in Sydney, Australia this fall. It will feature exclusive merchandise including the Doctor Who home range, apparel, toys, DVDs, books and replica props.
Not bad for six months of work. To be fair, though, the tally includes $14M in restricted stock units to replace some of the compensation that Marissa Mayer forfeited in July when she left Google to take the top …
The web portal today announced a slate of new programming initiatives during its upfront-style NewFront event. Those include a new network partnership with WWE launching a new Yahoo WWE online hub hosting exclusive Monday Night Raw pre-show content, two new weekly 50-episode series per year, exclusive live events, archival content, and current show clips launching this summer. Yahoo will also host digital-only versions of ABC News’ World News Behind The Headlines, Nightline Online, GMA Live, and CNBC’s Talking Numbers. New comedy shows in Yahoo’s fall comedy lineup include Principato-Young Entertainment‘s Tiny Commando with Ed Helms, Zachary Levi and Gillian Jacobs; the Morgan Spurlock & John Stamos-exec produced Losing Your Virginity With John Stamos celeb interview show; and We Need Help with Cheryl Hines and Rachael Harris, produced by Principato-Young and Steve Carr and directed by Hines. Episodes from Yahoo’s fall comedy lineup will be released at once a la Netflix’s “binge viewing” strategy. Fashion Recipe, Cinema & Spice, and an unnamed grilling show were named to Yahoo’s new lifestyle programming. A new Saturday Night Live deal distributing current-season clips and archival clips beginning September 1 was announced last week. Below are descriptions of Yahoo’s comedy lineup:
The board picked author and investor Maynard Webb Jr to serve as interim chairman. And the number of directors will soon drop to 10 from 11: Fred Amaroso says that he won’t seek reelection to …