House Passes New Bill To Force TikTok Sale

The fate of TikTok in the United States is even more uncertain as the House on Saturday voted on a package that requires that parent ByteDance divest its popular social media platform or face a ban on app stores. Lawmakers passed the bill 360-58, part of a series of votes to break a six-month standoff over a $95 billion aid package to Ukraine as well as to Israel and to Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific. The Senate is expected to take up the package of bills, including Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan aid, soon, perhaps as soon as April 23.

A preliminary injunction hearing for Fubo’s legal battle against Fox, Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery’s sports streaming joint venture has been set for Aug. 7 at 9:30 a.m. by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The hearing will continue on Aug. 8 and Aug. 9, if necessary.

Writers Guild members at Sesame Workshop have reached a tentative deal with management to avoid a threatened strike. A ratification vote on the new five-year collective bargaining agreement will be held in the coming days. The writers had voted earlier to authorize a strike against the nonprofit organization, and picketing would have begun April 24 outside Sesame Workshop’s offices in New York City, had a deal not been struck.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Federal regulators on Friday announced a new plan designed to advance the interests of independent video programmers that have complained for years about restrictive contract terms demanded by pay TV distributors. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said she launched the rulemaking in response to independent programmers that “continue to express concern about the challenges they have getting their programming on the channel lineup of cable and satellite television.”

‘CSI: Vegas’ & ‘So Help Me Todd’ Canceled By CBS

CBS has canceled CSI: Vegas after three seasons and So Help Me Todd after two. That despite CSI: Vegas and So Help Me Todd being solid ratings performers. With the entire CBS schedule doing well this season and three new drama series joining in 2024-25 — NCIS: Origins, Matlock and Watson (in addition to a second season of the Australian NCIS: Sydney) — the network was faced with painful decisions, and So Help Me Todd and CSI: Vegas are the least watched CBS drama series this spring in both linear and multi-platform ratings.

CLOSING BELL

Dow Climbs 211, Nasdaq Falls 319, S&P Drops 44

NEW YORK (AP) — The worst week for big technology stocks since the COVID crash in 2020 dragged Wall Street on Friday across the finish line of another losing week. […]

Nexstar Dropping Scripps-Owned CW Affiliates In 7 Markets

Nexstar Media Group said it does not intend to renew the affiliations of The CW stations owned by E.W. Scripps in seven markets. In two of those  markets — Norfolk, Va., and Lafayette, La. — Nexstar-owned stations will become the new The CW affiliates, effective Sept. 1. “We have interest from other station groups in the five remaining markets and expect to make announcements about those affiliations soon,” Nexstar said in a statement.

Voice Of America Will Get A New Director

Michael Abramowitz, a former Washington Post journalist who is currently the president of the nonprofit Freedom House, is expected to start in the role this summer.

Automotive National TV Spending Down 9.1% Year-Over-Year

Automotive year-to-date estimated national TV spending is down 9.1% year-over-year after falling another 1.9% in March. Household TV ad impressions of automotive ads is also down 11.4% in March and 9.4% year-over-year, according to iSpot.tv. National TV spending in March by automakers was $214 million compared to $218.2 million last March. Year-to-date estimated national TV spending was $699.1 million compared to $769 million for the same period in 2023.

CBS News And Stations Premieres Romance Scam Investigation April 21

CBS News and Stations debuts a multi-part investigation called Anything For Love: Inside the Romance Scam Epidemic Sunday, April 21. Airing across CBS News and station programs, Anything For Love runs through Sunday, April 28. The year-long investigation hears from victims, families, dating app executives and government officials across seven states: California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas

‘FBI’ Showrunner Rick Eid Stepping Down

Change is afoot on another Dick Wolf series: Rick Eid is stepping down as showrunner of FBI but will remain an executive producer on the series. Eid has been the showrunner on FBI since its debut in 2018. The drama is currently in its sixth season and was renewed by CBS through 2027.

David Zaslav saw his total compensation package last year jump by more than $10 million to $49.7 million in 2023 — with Warner Bros. Discovery awarding him a base salary of $3 million, plus $23 million in stock awards, and non-equity incentive plan compensation (a cash bonus) of $22 million. It’s the second rather princely CEO package in as many days in an industry known for them as Netflix yesterday unveiled a similarly sized package for co-CEO Ted Sarandos.

MARKET SHARE

Rod Hissong Named News Director At WAND Decatur

Block Communications moves him from its WDRB Louisville, Ky., to oversee journalism at its NBC affiliate in Illinois.

Love, Hate Or Fear It, ​​TikTok Has Changed America

TikTok, which officially landed in the United States in 2018, was the most downloaded app in the country, and the world, in 2020, 2021 and 2022. It wasn’t that the elements of it were so new — compelling videos from randos had long been a staple of American pop culture — but TikTok put the pieces together in a new way.

Essence Parent To Buy Refinery29 From Vice Media

Essence magazine's corporate parent Sundial Media Group has agreed to buy women's lifestyle company Refinery29 from Vice Media, the company said Thursday. The deal offers Refinery29 a lifeline after a tumultuous few years under the Vice Media brand.

YouTube Offers Advertisers Placement Near Top-Performing Shorts

In an effort to help brands get the attention of as many viewers as possible, YouTube is launching a “Select Shorts” ad offering, to give advertisers the ability to engage audiences across a variety of content genres by placing their ads alongside best-performing Shorts. According to the Google-owned social platform, YouTube Select Shorts will allow advertisers to choose to place their ad alongside the app's top Shorts across five categories including entertainment, beauty, fashion and lifestyle, food and recipes, gaming and automotive.

Streaming Ratings: ‘Quiet On Set’ Delivers Max’s Biggest Showing Yet

The docuseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV posted Max’s best streaming numbers to date for its premiere week. The show, which streamed on Max concurrent with its on-air premiere on ID, had 1.25 billion minutes of viewing for the week of March 18-24. That’s the largest weekly total for any series on Max in the nearly four years of Nielsen’s streaming rankings, edging out the 1.19 billion for The Last of Us in early 2023.

Fox Sports Hires Veteran Ad Sales Executives

Fox Sports has appointed Jen Durda and Kathy Lydon both named VPs. Durda previously was a VP with Warner Bros. Discovery and Turner Sports. She will work from Fox’s Detroit office. Lydon was with ESPN/Disney leading a multimedia sales team. At Fox, she will lead sales for the Big Ten Network.

Comcast Intros Prepaid Broadband, Mobile And TV

Comcast on Thursday surprised with a suite of prepaid products that includes wireless, fixed broadband, Wi-Fi and streaming TV, all under the new Comcast “NOW” brand. Wireless has offered prepaid mobile plans for years. These plans have typically been targeted to lower-income people; they don’t require good credit scores (since they’re prepaid); and they can easily be switched on and off. But prepaid has not been widely offered in the fixed broadband world.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Netflix Adds 9.3M Subscribers In Another Strong Quarter

Netflix added 9.3 million subscribers in the quarter ended March 31, reaching 269.6 million worldwide, and outperformed expectations in other key areas in its latest strong financial report. Revenue and earnings per share both handily exceeded Wall Street forecasts at $9.37 billion and $5.28, respectively. The top line was up 15% from the same quarter in 2023, while EPS came in at nearly double the year-ago period’s $2.88. In its quarterly letter to shareholders, Netflix said it planned to stop reporting subscriber totals and average revenue per subscriber starting with its first quarter results in 2025.

TVN’S MEDIA JOBS

New Jobs Posted To TVNewsCheck

New jobs posted to TVNewsCheck’s Media Job Center include an opening for an account executive – trainee/new business development and existing jobs include 13 openings in news, sales, digital and engineering.

TVN Webinar: Streaming Revenue Strategies For Local TV

Streaming sales leaders from Gray Television, E.W. Scripps, Hearst Television, Ticker and Megaphone TV will share the latest developments in technology and strategy for OTT and FAST channels. Learn more about this critically important revenue source for broadcasters in a TVNewsCheck Working Lunch Webinar on May 16. Register here.

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