James Murdoch ‘Open Minded’ About SVOD

Fox did not follow Disney’s lead last night in announcing new subscription streaming services for its content. But CEO James Murdoch told analysts Wednesday that he’s “very open minded about an independently priced, direct to consumer offering and we’re certainly mindful of what we see in the marketplace and how these things are progressing for other firms out there.”

Facebook Launches Shortform Platform

Facebook continues to ramp up its original content with Watch, a platform introduced Wednesday for shows — a new type of shortform video on the social media juggernaut. Mark Zuckerberg’s company calls it a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of fans and earn money for their work.

Landgraf: ‘Titanic Struggle’ In Entertainment

“I want the humans to be able to hold their own against the strength of the machines.” That was perhaps the most ominous line spoken from the stage at the summer Television Critics Association press tour, and it came not from an actor or showrunner but FX Networks chief John Landgraf. He wasn’t describing the plot of a new scripted drama. He turned to the classic science fiction trope as a metaphor for the situation that he and other cable programming executives now find themselves in as Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple engage in a “titanic struggle” — Landgraf’s words — for domination in the video entertainment marketplace.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Bolling Sues Journo For $50M Over Allegation

Recently suspended Fox News host Eric Bolling is suing journalist Yashar Ali for defamation and is seeking $50 million in damages after Ali’s HuffPost story claimed that Bolling sent “an unsolicited photo of male genitalia via text message to at least two colleagues at Fox Business and one colleague at Fox News.”

Disney Stock Dips After Streaming News

Walt Disney Co’s shares fell 5% on Wednesday to their lowest in eight months as investors doubted whether the world’s biggest entertainment company can succeed with its plan to launch its own streaming services rather than rely on Netflix Inc to reach online viewers.

Mozilla Launches Effort To Counter Fake News

Mozilla, the creators of the popular Firefox web browser, are launching a new program to counter fake news stories. The Mozilla Information Trust Initiative (MITI) will increase funding for research on misinformation, the first findings to be released later this year. The company hopes to leverage Firefox’s size and reach to get data about news browsing habits.

Facebook Beefs Up AI To Stop Spammers

Facebook says it is intensifying its efforts to control scams and fake news by taking a harder line on “cloaking,” a tactic that bad actors use across the web to avoid detection. “We’ve recently been ramping up our enforcement,” says Rob Leathern, Facebook product management director. “We are making it clear: We don’t tolerate cloaking.”

Hulu’s Losses Climb 81% So Far This Year

Highlighting the steep cost of the original programming arms race currently unfolding in the SVOD market, Hulu’s losses through the first six months of 2017 have spiked 81% to $353 million. The data comes courtesy of BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield, who looked at SEC data filed by Hulu parents Fox, Walt Disney, Comcast and Time Warner.

Disney To Drop Netflix, Launch Own Streamer

Disney’s creating its own streaming service for its central Disney and Pixar brands and another for live sports. That would allow it to bypass the cable companies it relies on — and Netflix — to charge consumers directly for access to its popular movies and sporting events. “They’re bringing the future forward. What they talked about were things that looked inevitable, at some point,” said Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Weiser. (AP photo / Richard Drew)

COMMENTARY BY FRANKLIN FOER

When Silicon Valley Took Over Journalism

The pursuit of digital readership broke the New Republic — and an entire industry. Data have turned journalism into a commodity, something to be marketed, tested, calibrated. Perhaps people in the media have always thought this way. But if that impulse existed, it was at least buffered. Journalism’s leaders were vigilant about separating the church of editorial from the secular concerns of business. We can now see the cause for fanaticism about building such a thick wall between the two.

New Relevance, Quality Policies For Bing Ads

The Bing Ads platform will remove non-performing keywords and/or ads that have not shown any performance during an undefined “significant” length of time.

Letterman Getting Netflix Show Next Year

David Letterman is returning to a regular TV gig, setting a deal with Netflix for a show that will combine long-form interviews with reports from the field. Netflix has ordered six episodes of the hourlong series, to be produced by New York-based RadicalMedia and Letterman’s Worldwide Pants banner. The untitled show is targeted to debut next year.

SOCIAL SCORECARD | DMA 91

WTOC Owns Facebook In Savannah, Ga.

Raycom’s CBS affiliate dominates social media actions in Savannah over the last six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee. WTOC has almost four times the number of actions than its nearest competitor. Sarah Smith, WTOC’s digital content manager: “We make sure that we’re hitting our audiences on all platforms, everywhere we can reach them digitally. We share as much on Facebook as we would anywhere else, as much as we would on the air.”

Hearst Leads Funding Round For SVOD Iflix

Hearst is out in front of a recent $133 million funding round for SVOD service iflix that is fending off the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in emerging markets. Along with Hearst, Singapore-based EDBI and clients of DBS private bank are new investors in iflix, and are joined by existing investors Evolution Media, Sky PLC, Catcha Group, Liberty Global, Jungle Ventures and PLDT Inc.

Why Every Reporter Should Have A Blog

Netflix Acquires Comic Publisher Millarworld

Netflix says it made its first acquisition, comic book publisher Millarworld, with plans to turn its characters into new films and shows for the video streaming service. Millarworld’s graphic novels “Kick-Ass,” “Wanted” and “Kingsman” have already been turned into movies by major studios. Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix did not disclose on Monday how much it paid […]

FX Nets, Xfinity Add Another Ad-Free Option

For those existing Xfinity TV customers who pay $5.99 for a monthly upgrade, they can get FX+, a commercial-free option of FX Networks: FX and FXX. It will be available Sept. 5.

Stations Need Better Ratings, Targeted Ads

A new  BIA/Kelsey study says that enhancing station ratings with third-party “Big Data” about viewers’ buying interests “adds substantially to the local TV value proposition” by permitting targeted advertising that would mean local TV broadcasters could become “more competitive with digital pure-play platforms and would see greater revenue growth in better monetizing their broadcast audiences.”

CBS Sets Carriage Deal With DirecTV Now

The new agreement deal will bring CBS-owned TV stations, Showtime, the CW and Pop to the DirecTV Now streaming service. Financial terms of the pact were not disclosed.

COMMENTARY BY BOB SCHERMAN

Dish Network’s Way Forward Still Not Clear

It is not exactly a secret that Dish Network has all but given up on its DBS service, choosing instead to concentrate on Sling TV while trying to squeeze out every last penny of profit from the satellite TV business. But the company’s income was way down in the second quarter, even taking into account the $280 million fine in the telemarketing case the company booked in the quarter. And all other key financial indicators declined in the quarter, except for slightly better churn.

 

AT&T Mulls Post-Merger Sale Of CNN, TMZ

There are rumblings at the highest executive levels that AT&T’s top executives are considering divesting some Time Warner assets — including news organization CNN and celebrity gossip site TMZ — after they merge.

FuboTV Taps Ben Grad To Head Content

WaPo’s Gelman To Keynote NewsTECHForum

The Washington Post’s director of video and senior editor will highlight a conference gathering news, technology and digital executives to discuss the newspaper’s aggressive video strategy and role as a multiplatform news competitor.

What’s Behind Amazon’s Push Into Sports

Sports broadcasting is the latest industry to catch Amazon’s eye, but its interest will only turn into intent once it knows whether the likes of tennis and American football can give its video service an edge in its tussle with Netflix. It’s why the e-commerce giant has pursued sports streaming rights in recent months, particularly those with international appeal such as rugby, golf and tennis. These sports could drive Prime subscriptions and viewing in a market where it is still behind Netflix.

McEnany Left CNN To Host Pro-Trump Videos

Cable Firms Embrace Former Foe Netflix

A growing number of U.S. cable operators are forming alliances with Netflix, a shift that is helping the streaming pioneer add customers as its largest single market matures. “We’re now looking at proposals for including Netflix in some services and beginning to learn the bundling part of the business,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says.

Tremor Sells ‘Demand-Side’ Ad Platform

U.S. ad tech company Tremor Video is selling its “demand-side platform” to Israel-based mobile advertising firm Taptica for an enterprise value of $50 million continuing a raft of consolidation in a sector facing stiff online competition from Google and Facebook.

Wall Street Journal Tested Live Push Notifications

NEWS ANALYSIS

Sling Needs To Cut The Cord From Dish

As Charlie Ergen drags his feet in finding a deal for Dish Network Corp., it’s becoming clear that Sling TV especially deserves a new home sooner rather than later. Sling is Dish’s live TV streaming service that starts at $20 a month and offers networks from HGTV and ESPN to CNN and Lifetime — a chubbier skinny bundle, if you will. Its name is also appropriate given that Sling is helping support Dish’s wounded satellite-TV business, as cord cutting accelerates across the industry.

Yelp To Beef Up Lobbying With DC Office