Lawmakers See Solution in Regulating Facebook’s Algorithm

U.S. lawmakers agitated by the recent testimony of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen and related media reports are homing in on the social network’s News Feed algorithm as ripe for regulation, although First Amendment questions loom. The past year has seen Congress introduce or reintroduce no fewer than five bills that expressly focus on software coding that decides who sees what content on social media platforms. In addition to the U.S., laws advancing the idea of regulating such algorithms are gaining momentum in the European Union, Britain and China. Continue reading Lawmakers See Solution in Regulating Facebook’s Algorithm

ViacomCBS and VideoAmp to Develop TV Measurement Tool

ViacomCBS is teaming up with software and data company VideoAmp to develop a new advertising tracking and audience-measurement tool for linear and digital television programming. The move comes as networks and other content providers express increasing dissatisfaction over the methodologies of longtime industry measurement stalwart Nielsen, which media outlets claim has failed to accurately gauge viewers who have shifted from linear viewing to streaming on demand. Last month, Nielsen’s accreditation was suspended by the Media Rating Council. Continue reading ViacomCBS and VideoAmp to Develop TV Measurement Tool

Whistleblower Contends Facebook Values Profits Over Safety

Whistleblower Frances Haugen said on “60 Minutes” Sunday night that Facebook was cognizant of problems with apps, including Instagram, that allowed misinformation to be spread and caused societal harm, especially among young girls. Haugen revealed on the CBS news show to be the source of documents leaked to The Wall Street Journal that led to congressional inquiry. She also filed eight complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging Facebook hid research from investors and the public. The former product manager worked for nearly two years on the civic integrity team before exiting the social network in May. Continue reading Whistleblower Contends Facebook Values Profits Over Safety

YouTube TV Carries Networks for Spanish-Language Market

YouTube TV is expanding its Spanish-language programming, adding Univision, UniMás and Galavisión to its base membership. The YouTube TV lineup will now include sports programming like the Campeones Cup championship between the top U.S. and Mexico soccer leagues and the Latin Grammy Awards along with a panoply of telenovelas. Subscribers in top Hispanic markets will also have access to Spanish-language local news and weather. An upgrade package that offers more Spanish-language content is coming soon. In May, Google-owned YouTube TV was reported to have more than 3 million U.S. subscribers. Continue reading YouTube TV Carries Networks for Spanish-Language Market

NBC Sets New Record for Price of Super Bowl Commercials

NBCUniversal announced that it has been selling 30-second ad spots for the NFL’s Super Bowl LVI for as much as $6.5 million, marking an 18 percent increase over the last Super Bowl and establishing a new rate record. Notably, the ad rate suggests that advertiser demand remains strong for the live broadcast despite shrinking audiences. The game is slated for February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. In addition, NBC has nearly sold out its advertising for the Beijing Winter Olympics, also scheduled for February. The Super Bowl and Winter Olympics have a schedule overlap for the first time. Continue reading NBC Sets New Record for Price of Super Bowl Commercials

Major TV Broadcasters Prevail in Court Case Against Locast

Locast, a non-profit organization founded by lawyer and former FCC legal advisor David Goodfriend, streamed local TV to those who couldn’t access local signals, declaring that U.S. copyright law allows third parties to boost local signals. Major broadcasters ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX disputed that claim, believing that Locast simply wanted to avoid carriage fees, and have now won a court battle finding that Locast violated their copyrights. The court also stated that Locast cannot use its non-profit status as a defense against further action. Continue reading Major TV Broadcasters Prevail in Court Case Against Locast

ViacomCBS Reports Rise in Revenue, Streaming Subscribers

In Q2 of this year, ViacomCBS — parent company of the CBS broadcast network, Showtime, Nickelodeon and the Paramount movie studio — saw revenue rise 8 percent to $6.6 billion and the addition of 6.5 million new streaming subscribers for a total of 42+ million. Net income was $1.04 billion or $1.56 per share, compared with $481 million or 78 cents per share year-over-year. Chief executive Bob Bakish said the company looks forward to scaling Paramount+ offerings, referring to a deal with Comcast to launch it on Sky in Europe. Continue reading ViacomCBS Reports Rise in Revenue, Streaming Subscribers

ViacomCBS: Q1 Profit Jumps, More Content for Paramount+

ViacomCBS, owner of CBS, Showtimes and Nickelodeon, reported Q1 revenue surged 14 percent year-over-year to $7.41 billion, up from almost $6.5 billion. Its attributable net income also rose 79 percent to $899 million, compared with $501 in the same quarter last year, for $1.42 per share versus last year’s 81 cents a share. The company’s total streaming subscriber base is 36 million, an addition of 6 million global streaming subscribers, and, led by Paramount+, streaming revenue rose 65 percent to $816 million. Continue reading ViacomCBS: Q1 Profit Jumps, More Content for Paramount+

Gray to Buy 17 Meredith TV Stations, Will Reach 113 Markets

Gray Television inked a deal with Meredith Corporation to acquire 17 TV stations for $2.7 billion, bringing its number of outlets to 101 stations serving 113 markets and reaching 36 percent of U.S. TV households. It is acquiring Meredith TV stations in Atlanta; Phoenix; Nashville; Portland, Oregon and other mid-sized markets. Meredith is refocusing its efforts on magazine publishing and digital assets. Gray will become the No. 2 U.S. broadcaster after Nexstar, with its 116 stations reaching 62 percent of U.S. TV households.

Continue reading Gray to Buy 17 Meredith TV Stations, Will Reach 113 Markets

Supreme Court Allows FCC to Relax Media Ownership Rules

In a 9-0 ruling authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the U.S. Supreme Court loosened local media ownership restrictions, which could enable more industry consolidation. It’s viewed as a victory for broadcasters that wanted to overturn the 2017 decision of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that found the FCC did not sufficiently consider the effect of changes on minority and female owners. The FCC appeal was supported by News Corp, Fox Corporation, Sinclair Broadcast Group and the National Association of Broadcasters. Continue reading Supreme Court Allows FCC to Relax Media Ownership Rules

Nielsen Sells Its Video Ad-Tech to Roku, Part of Multiyear Deal

Roku has inked a multi-year deal whereby data from Roku’s platform will be incorporated in the upcoming Nielsen ONE cross-media measurement product and Roku will acquire Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising (NAV) business, which will enable it to offer a fully addressable advertising solution for TV programmers. Under the terms of the deal, Roku will have Nielsen’s video automatic content recognition (ACR) technology and its dynamic ad insertion (DAI) system, allowing it to offer targeted, household-level advertisements. Continue reading Nielsen Sells Its Video Ad-Tech to Roku, Part of Multiyear Deal

Struum to Aggregate Content from Many Streaming Services

Co-founded by former Discovery and Disney executives, Struum is a new entrant to the streaming space that, rather than offering its own content, instead hopes to find a niche in helping viewers manage the flood of content available from hundreds of streaming services. It will provide viewers á la carte access to shows and movies without having to subscribe to each platform, giving visibility to smaller services. Former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner’s The Tornante Company is Struum’s main financial backer.

Continue reading Struum to Aggregate Content from Many Streaming Services

ETC Members Receive 20% Discount to Future of Television

The Future of Television is a 3-day event focused on streaming, digital video creation, monetization and distribution, connected entertainment and more. The event is designed for broadcasters, studios, cable networks, digital distribution networks, ad firms, VCs, social networks, tech providers and analysts. This year’s Future of Television is scheduled for November 10-12 and ETC members qualify for a 20 percent registration discount for access to all speaking sessions and panels. Click here to register with the discount. Continue reading ETC Members Receive 20% Discount to Future of Television

CBS All Access Will Be Rebranded Paramount+ Early in 2021

ViacomCBS plans to roll out Paramount+, a new version of its flagship streamer CBS All Access, that will take advantage of a larger program catalog created by last year’s merger of CBS and Viacom. Among the original shows exclusive to Paramount+ are “Lioness” from “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan and “The Offer,” a scripted series about the making of “The Godfather” saga. CBS All Access costs $5.99 per month with ads and $9.99 per month without them, but ViacomCBS didn’t release pricing for Paramount+. Continue reading CBS All Access Will Be Rebranded Paramount+ Early in 2021

Plex Launches 80 Live TV Channels on Its Ad-Supported App

The free, ad-supported media app Plex just added 80 live TV channels, none of them cable channels like CNN, Lifetime or TBS. Rather, it offers a lineup that includes Reuters, Toon Goggles and the Bob Ross Channel, among others. In the current economic climate, consumers are gravitating to this kind of free linear programming, which harkens back to the early days of television. Plex got its start as a cord-cutting solution with free on-demand video and DVR functionality for on-air TV networks. Continue reading Plex Launches 80 Live TV Channels on Its Ad-Supported App