Writers at the Sesame Workshop have voted unanimously to authorize a strike against the non-profit organization, the Writers Guild of American announced Tuesday. The guild says that there was 100% participation in the strike authorization vote from the 35-member bargaining unit. The writers are prepared to walk the picket line if a tentative deal isn’t reached by Friday, which is when the current contract expires. The strike would include any and all work for Sesame Street.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Voting technology company Smartmatic and the far-right network One America News said Tuesday that they had settled a defamation lawsuit stemming from the outlet’s lies about the 2020 election. “The case has been resolved pursuant to a confidential agreement,” OAN attorney Chip Babcock told CNN. Both parties declined to share details about the settlement.

YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu posted viewing gains in March versus February contributing to streaming's continuing virtual dominance — up 12% in persons age 18 plus viewing year-over-year, according to Nielsen. YouTube posted another gain (up 0.4 point from February) to a leading 9.7% best share of a platform TV-video. Netflix was right behind with an 8.1% share, up 0.3 point — helped by three original shows Love is Blind, The Gentleman and Avatar: The Last Airbender. Hulu added 0.2 of a point, now at 3.0% TV share.

NPR has formally punished Uri Berliner, the senior editor who publicly argued a week ago that the network had "lost America's trust" by approaching news stories with a rigidly progressive mindset. Berliner's five-day suspension without pay, which began last Friday, has not been previously reported.

Former Spotify Exec Max Cutler Launches New Media Company

Max Cutler, the former Spotify executive who oversaw the audio streamer’s deals with the likes of Alex Cooper and Joe Rogan, is launching his own company. Cutler, who founded Parcast Studios, which Spotify acquired in 2019 for $56 million, left Spotify as part of a reorg last year. He is now launching PAVE Studios, which will focus on audio, video, books and live experiences. The name stands for Podcasts, Audiobooks, Video and Entertainment.

David Porter, an ad industry veteran and former Turner exec, is joining Warner Bros. Discovery as head of ad sales research, data and insights. Porter reports to Jon Steinlauf, Warner Bros. Discovery’s chief of U.S. advertising sales, and will split his time between WBD’s New York City and Atlanta offices. The announcement of Porter’s hiring comes a month ahead of the sale org’s May 15 Upfront presentation in New York City. Porter replaces Andrea Zapata, who exited WBD at the end of 2023 and is now T-Mobile’s VP of advertising data, measurement and partnerships.

March Madness, State Of The Union Help Cable Stem Months-Long Viewing Decline

Cable captured 28.3% of all TV viewing in March, according to Nielsen's monthly Gauge report, up from 27.6% in February. That’s the first time since August 2023 — a span of seven months — that cable has seen its share of TV use increase. The State of the Union amassed 14.1 million viewers on cable channels (about 44% of the overall audience of 32.23 million), and the top six telecasts on cable for the March reporting period (which ran from Feb. 26 to March 31) were related to the annual address. Early rounds of the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments also helped push cable’s viewing share up; overall, cable sports viewing rose by 43% from February.

Travis Kelce To Host ‘Are You Smarter Than A Celebrity?’ On Prime Video

Travis Kelce will host Are You Smarter Than a Celebrity?, a spinoff of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, that will stream on Prime Video. Kelce plays tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s been in eight Pro Bowls and his girlfriend is Taylor Swift. MGM Alternative produces the show and 20 episodes have been ordered.

Tyler Perry is extending his partnership with Paramount. The prolific creator has signed a big new agreement with the company’s BET Media. Under the pact, he will deliver hundreds of new episodes to BET and BET+ spanning existing and new series.

2023 U.S. Digital Ad Industry Hits New Record

According to IAB’s annual Internet Advertising Revenue Report, retail media, connected TV and audio advertising experienced double-digit growth with the creator economy helping to spark a social media rebound.

The Life And Death Of Hollywood

Thanks to decades of deregulation and a gush of speculative cash that first hit the industry in the late Aughts, while prestige TV was climbing the rungs of the culture, massive entertainment and media corporations had been swallowing what few smaller companies remained, and financial firms had been infiltrating the business, moving to reduce risk and maximize efficiency at all costs, exhausting writers in evermore unstable conditions. Now, film and television writers face an existential threat. (Kirby Lee/AP)

Meta Platforms' Oversight Board is reviewing the company's handling of two sexually explicit AI-generated images of female celebrities that circulated on its Facebook and Instagram services, the board said on Tuesday. The board, which is funded by the social media giant but operates independently from it, will use the two examples to assess the overall effectiveness of Meta's policies and enforcement practices around pornographic fakes created using artificial intelligence, it said in a blog post.

YouTube To Cut Down On Mobile Third-Party Ad Blockers

YouTube made an update Monday in relation to third-party ad-blocking apps, which may make it more difficult for users to watch YouTube videos without paying for the company’s ad-free tier. Specifically, viewers using these third-party apps to access YouTube may begin experiencing “buffering issues” or be met with an error message stating that “the following content is not available on this app.”

CBS Greenlights First Black Daytime Soap Opera In 35 Years

The network has handed out a formal series order to The Gates. The network on Monday announced that the series, following the lives of a wealthy Black family in a posh, gated community, will debut in January 2025. The specific time period, launch date and other details will be revealed later. The official series pickup comes a month after CBS announced it was teaming with the NAACP to develop The Gates.

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 and Ticker 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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