CLOSING BELL

Dow Drops 23, Nasdaq Slides 10

Stocks gave up an early lead and ended Tuesday lower. The S&P 500 slipped 0.1% after spending much of the day drifting between small gains and losses. Declines in banks, industrial companies and elsewhere pulled the market lower. Gains in some Big Tech companies, including Amazon and Facebook, helped keep the losses in check.

Another Big Labor Fight Is Brewing In Baseball

With coronavirus infections dipping nationwide, one might think Major League Baseball’s owners would feel a bit more optimistic about spring training starting in a few weeks. Instead, they want to delay or even shorten the upcoming season, hoping that widespread vaccine distribution would create safer conditions for players and allow fans to buy tickets to attend again. The Players Association, however, argues that MLB has no legal grounds to deviate from the 2021 schedule that has been set since July without its consent and expects to push ahead with a full slate.

Amazon’s Free IMDb TV Streaming Service Launches On Roku Devices

In a classic case of coopetition, Roku inked a deal with Amazon to bring the IMDb TV free, ad-supported streaming service to the Roku platform in the U.S. The IMDb TV service competes for viewers — and ad dollars — with the Roku Channel, a similar ad-supported VOD service. Under Roku’s standard distribution agreements, it takes 30% of ad inventory on partner channels but the terms of the deal with Amazon for IMDb TV were not disclosed.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Van Allen, Kimberly Parker, Paul Yate To Co-Chair MFM’s 2021 CFO Summit

Van Allen, executive vice president and CFO, Radio Advertising Bureau; Kimberly Parker, vice president and CFO, Graham Media; and Paul Yates, vice president and corporate controller, Hubbard Broadcasting Inc., will co-chair the Media Financial Management Association’s 2021 CFO Summit. Scheduled for March 11-12, this year’s event will be held virtually. Now in its 15th year, MFM’s annual CFO Summit is an […]

Scripps Taps Jon Marks As CRO For Networks

He will be responsible for the planning and execution of all linear and nonlinear multiplatform research related to the brands, content, marketing, distribution and advertising sales of Scripps’ national networks.

Apollo CEO Leon Black To Step Down

An inquiry’s finding that Leon Black (l), the billionaire boss of Apollo Global Management, paid convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (r) $158 million touched off an attempt to remove him.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Pay TV’s Bleak Post-Pandemic Outlook

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the pay TV industry, and with the near-term future of live sports in question, there are no signs of it getting better in 2021. The fraught pay TV landscape is forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.

CBS Puts 2 Execs On Leave Following Allegations

Two of CBS’s two top local TV executives were placed on administrative leave Monday night after the Los Angeles Times raised issues about their conduct over the weekend in a two-part report that examined their treatment of women and people of color at specific TV stations, among other allegations. Peter Dunn, president of the CBS Television Stations, and David Friend, SVP of news for the stations, were placed on the leave “pending the results of a third-party investigation,” CBS said.

CLOSING BELL

Dow Finishes Down 37, Nasdaq Rises 93

Monday was a bumpy day on Wall Street with stock indexes finishing mixed. The S&P 500 rose 13.89 points, or 0.4%, to 3,855.36 as gains for influential Big Tech stocks were big enough to steady the index and return it to a record. It recovered from a 1.2% loss earlier in the day, as investors expect Apple and other tech giants to report healthy profits for the end of 2020 in coming days.

Randall Stephenson Becomes AT&T Consultant, Steps Down As Executive Chairman

The former AT&T chairman and CEO moves closer to his final exit from the telco giant with a one year, $1 million consultancy deal.

Budweiser To Skip Super Bowl For First Time In 37 Years

Anheuser-Busch will still run ads for Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, but says it will funnel Bud’s investment into a vaccine awareness campaign.

Taboola, Purveyor Of Clickbait Ads, To Go Public

The content recommendation company is set to announce it will go public via Wall Street’s hottest trend — a publicly traded deal vehicle known as a SPAC. The deal values it at $2.6 billion.

Inside CBS’s Fraught Investigation Into Allegations Of Racism And Misogyny

Gripped by scandal in the summer of 2018, CBS came up with a way to contain the crisis. The television giant’s board hired two outside law firms to investigate sexual misconduct claims against its longtime leader, Leslie Moonves, and to scour the company for traces of a toxic atmosphere. A Los Angeles Times review of court filings, CBS internal communications and interviews with two dozen current and former CBS television station employees found that many were troubled by the outcome of the investigation and questioned the company’s commitment to cleaning up its culture.

Buyout Firm TPG In Lead For DirecTV Stake

Private equity firm TPG has entered into exclusive talks to acquire a minority stake in AT&T’s satellite TV division, DirecTV, in a deal that would allow the U.S. wireless carrier to trim its net debt of close to $150 billion, people familiar with the matter say.

COMMENTARY BY TONI-ANN LAGANA

Reality TV’s Overburdened, Underrepresented Workforce

Story producers, most of whom are freelancers without union protections, are leaned on for many of the unheralded editing tasks on unscripted formats — an increasingly unsustainable setup.

The Unusual CBS TV Station Deal That Scored One Executive A $1M Golf Membership

Nine years ago, CBS bought a small Long Island TV station, WLNY,  for $55 million. A CBS executive ended up with a membership at an exclusive golf club owned by the seller.

Facebook And Amazon Boosted Lobbying Spending In 2020

Facebook and Amazon topped all other U.S. companies in federal lobbying expenditures last year, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of the most recent disclosures. It was the second straight year they outspent all other companies, including stalwarts such as AT&T and Boeing.

CLOSING BELL

Dow Drops 179, Nasdaq Inches Up 12

Stocks finished mixed on Friday as the worldwide rally took a pause. The uneven finish for U.S. stock indexes followed a slide in global markets that began in Asia amid worries about resurgent coronavirus cases in China and weak economic data from Europe. In the United States, disappointing earnings reports from IBM and some other companies gave cover for investors to sell and book profits after big recent gains.

Walt Disney Analyst Upgrades Stock

UBS analyst John Hodulik upgraded his rating on the stock of the Walt Disney Co. from “neutral” to “buy” in a Friday report, lauding the Hollywood giant’s streaming success and arguing its theme parks would benefit from the reopening of the economy after the coronavirus pandemic. He also boosted his stock price target from $155 to $200.

Branded Content Project Announces Applications Open for BIPOC Publishers Bootcamp

The Branded Content Project, an initiative by Local Media Association, the Local Media Consortium and Facebook Journalism Project, today announced a call for entries from Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) publishers for its Branded Content Sales Bootcamp. The program will provide state-of-the-art sales training and consulting to help publishers develop successful and sustainable branded content offerings and related […]

Talking TV | M&A In ’21 And Byron Allen’s $10B Target

TVNewsCheck Editor Michael Depp and writer Paige Albiniak discuss the outlook for station group M&A activity this year and Byron Allen’s aspiration to spend $10 billion acquiring Big Four affiliates, possibly including an O&O group. Read more about Allen’s plans and the industry’s M&A prospects in our story here.

Freedman Retiring From American Spirit Media

Wayne Freedman, the sales and management veteran with Blair, Gannett, Tegna and Raycom is leaving his VP of sales post at American Spirit Media in April.

Hollywood Rewrites Rules For Streaming Era

Streaming hit Hollywood fast. In its wake, the industry is racing to find a new way of doing business, rethinking who’s in charge, how contracts are set up and how stars get paid. Studios are overturning their management ranks, empowering executives with backgrounds in business development, technology and strategy. Producers, filmmakers and actors are trying to protect their interests in new contracts that aren’t built around ticket sales in movie theaters. Above, while Tenet got a theatrical release last year, Warner Bros. films this year will simultaneously appear on HBO Max.

Google Threatens To Pull Search Engine In Australia

Google today threatened to make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the government goes ahead with plans to make tech giants pay for news content. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison quickly hit back, saying “we don’t respond to threats.” Above, Mel Silva (r), the managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, appears via a video link during a Senate inquiry into a mandatory code of conduct proposed by the government at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Jan. 22. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)

TVN’S FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Collins | Online Compliance Issues Offer Potential Pitfalls

Companies need to be aware of online compliance regulations that could trip up media businesses looking to build online revenues.

CLOSING BELL

Dow Sheds 12, Nasdaq Closes Up 74

Stocks drifted to a mixed close on Thursday. The S&P 500 edged up less than 0.1%. Traders bid up shares in Big Tech stocks, including Apple, Amazon and Facebook. Those gains helped outweigh losses in energy stocks, banks and elsewhere.

ViacomCBS To Launch Pluto TV In France, Vowing To ‘Transform’ Market

CLOSING BELL

Dow Finishes Up 258, Nasdaq Climbs 260

Wall Street hit records Wednesday as hopes grew for more stimulus. Joe Biden, now the nation’s 46th president, has a flurry of executive actions at the ready. He has also pitched a plan to pump $1.9 trillion more into the struggling economy, hoping to act quickly as his Democratic party takes control of the White House and both houses of Congress.

MFM To Host Media-Specific Tax Summit In March

Media Financial Management Association’s (MFM’s) Media Tax Summit will be a two-day virtual event. Understanding that the role of the media tax executive is changing, co-chairs Paul Nesterovsky, senior vice president of tax, Sinclair Broadcast Group; Sean Hetzler, senior director of tax, Tegna; and Dan McGuire, partner, state and local tax, KPMG, are preparing an event focused on building today’s best-in-class […]

Digital Media Survivors Have Urge To Merge

Digital media companies that survived the pandemic are now rushing to join forces as they scramble to battle the tech giants for ad dollars.