Dish Signs 10-Year $5 Billion AT&T MVNO Deal to Go Mobile

Dish has inked a 10-year agreement to use AT&T as its primary network provider as part of the company’s transition to becoming a nationwide wireless operator. Effective immediately, the deal replaces T-Mobile as Dish’s principal partner and is a potential forerunner to an eventual DirecTV-Dish merger. Dish will pay AT&T at least $5 billion over the next decade to use the latter’s 4G and 5G networks. Dish founder Charlie Ergen nearly sold his company to AT&T in 2007, but his push for last-minute changes squashed the deal. Continue reading Dish Signs 10-Year $5 Billion AT&T MVNO Deal to Go Mobile

AT&T: Gains in HBO and HBO Max Subs, Wireless Customers

AT&T has experienced an increase in HBO and HBO Max subscribers and wireless customers. Its number of domestic HBO and HBO Max subscribers grew from 41.5 million three months ago to 44.2 million today, including those who signed up for the new streaming service and others who subscribed via a cable TV provider. The company has also added 595,000 postpaid phone subscribers and a net gain of 207,000 prepaid phone subscribers. The telco cut expenses by increasing online customer service and promoting simpler plans. Continue reading AT&T: Gains in HBO and HBO Max Subs, Wireless Customers

Startup Substack Invests $1 Million in Local News Journalism

Substack is home to writers who establish their own publications. Now the email newsletter startup will spend $1 million total for one-year stipends for up to 30 journalists interested in covering local news. A few writers already use Substack for subscription-based local news sites and co-founder Hamish McKenzie said there are “encouraging signs” that the model works for reporting and local news. Former Vanity Fair editor Jon Kelly is building an online newsletter where writers will share in the subscription revenue. Continue reading Startup Substack Invests $1 Million in Local News Journalism

Vice Media Is the Latest to Announce Trimming Its Workforce

Vice Media’s new CEO Nancy Dubuc plans strategic changes to help limit spending and increase company profits. Part of the reorganization will involve laying off about 10 percent of staff (roughly 250 people) across all departments. The Canadian digital media and broadcasting company is expected to shift its focus to film, television and branded content, in addition to restructuring its international teams. The news follows Vice’s hiring freeze in 2018 and recent announcements from other media companies regarding layoffs. Continue reading Vice Media Is the Latest to Announce Trimming Its Workforce

Uber CEO Steps Away as Company Initiates Major Changes

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick announced his plans to take a leave of absence as chief exec while the company works to salvage its brand and launches a reorganization that includes closer supervision by its board of directors. “At a packed meeting with employees on Tuesday morning,” reports The New York Times, “Uber released 13 pages of recommendations compiled as part of an investigation into sexual harassment and other wrongdoing conducted by the former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and his law firm, Covington & Burlington.” Continue reading Uber CEO Steps Away as Company Initiates Major Changes

Spotify Prepares to Go Public, Seeks Long-Term Music Rights

Spotify is readying an initial public offer next year, pressured by its most recent financing. Private-equity firm TPG, hedge fund Dragoneer Investment Group and Goldman Sachs are part of a group that issued $1 billion in convertible debt, which carries an interest rate that increases until Spotify’s IPO. Investors also get a discount on shares if they convert debt into equity — 20 percent now, but increasing if Spotify delays the IPO. One problem prevents Spotify from doing so: long-term rights for the music it plays. Continue reading Spotify Prepares to Go Public, Seeks Long-Term Music Rights

The Wait Is Over: Verizon Will Acquire Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

Verizon announced it would acquire Yahoo’s core operating business in a $4.83 billion cash deal expected to close in the first quarter of next year. Yahoo will join Verizon’s growing stable of digital properties, including AOL, which it purchased last May for $4.4 billion. The deal should help Verizon ramp up its mobile efforts and combine AOL’s ad tech with Yahoo’s online sites and services. AOL chief Tim Armstrong and Verizon exec Marni Walden spearheaded the deal. “This culminates a rigorous, thorough process over many months, and yields a great outcome for the company,” wrote Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in a letter to her employees. Continue reading The Wait Is Over: Verizon Will Acquire Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

Yahoo CEO Spinning Off Core Assets to Save Ailing Company

Yahoo’s chief executive Marissa Mayer is on a path to revive Yahoo by spinning off core assets, possibly ending the company’s existence as an independent entity. One thing is certain: the company is going to get smaller. On Tuesday, Yahoo said it would lay off 15 percent of its 11,000-person staff, ultimately making the workforce 42 percent smaller than it was in 2012, when Mayer took over the reins as chief executive. Although she counsels shareholders to be patient, activist investors may try to elect a new board. Continue reading Yahoo CEO Spinning Off Core Assets to Save Ailing Company

Investment from Media Firms Brings Jaunt’s Funding to $100M

As interest in virtual reality heats up across industries, a number of international media players — including Disney, Sky, Axel Springer, ProSiebenSat.1 Media, China Media Capital and Evolution Media Partners (backed by TPG and Creative Artists Agency) — are investing $65 million in Palo Alto-based VR startup Jaunt. The investment follows other high-profile moves in immersive tech: Google joined venture funds in investing $542 million in Magic Leap last year, and Oculus VR raised $75 million before Facebook picked up the company for $2 billion. Continue reading Investment from Media Firms Brings Jaunt’s Funding to $100M

Disney Teams with Shanghai Media, Producer Forms New Studio

Disney has signed a multiyear deal with Shanghai Media Group that will have writers in the U.S. collaborate with Chinese writers and filmmakers to develop Disney-branded movies that incorporate Chinese themes. The partnership will also expand training opportunities between the creative teams of both countries. Meanwhile, film producer Robert Simonds is forming a new movie studio that intends to meet the growing needs of China and self-distribute the types of films that have been displaced by summer blockbusters. Continue reading Disney Teams with Shanghai Media, Producer Forms New Studio