Nexstar Acquiring Majority Stake in The CW in Cashless Deal

After more than six months of negotiations, Nexstar Media Group has struck a deal with Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery to acquire a 75 percent stake in The CW Network. Paramount and WBD will each continue to hold a 12.5 percent stake in The CW and will continue to provide scripted programming for it through the 2022-23 season after the deal closes, which Nexstar expects to happen in Q3. Financial terms were not disclosed, though Variety reports Nexstar is not paying cash, but rather assuming “a large chunk” of The CW’s “more than $100 million” in debt. Continue reading Nexstar Acquiring Majority Stake in The CW in Cashless Deal

New Gracenote Distribution Dynamics Measures Bingeability

Nielsen’s Gracenote media data division is launching the Distribution Dynamics and Program Availability Archive to measure “bingeability.” The company says the new datasets will help content owners and buyers optimize program licensing and acquisition strategies by providing insights into programming characteristics that drive regular consumption. “The new thinking prioritizes understanding of why certain content resonates with viewers and what drives engagement,” Gracenote says, adding that “clarity on the characteristics of content that drive viewership and understanding the historical placement of content are key to generating the maximum value out of programming in the future.” Continue reading New Gracenote Distribution Dynamics Measures Bingeability

AT&T Announces Subscription Growth for HBO and HBO Max

AT&T’s Q1 quarterly earnings — the last to include results for WarnerMedia, which was offloaded to Discovery in early Q2 — reported good news about HBO Max and HBO, which AT&T said ended Q1 with global subscribers totaling 76.8 million, an increase of 12.8 million year-over-year, and a 3 million subscription increase from Q4 of last year. AT&T also disclosed that WarnerMedia’s Q1 operating income fell to $1.3 billion, a 32.7 percent decline year-over-year. Diminished WarnerMedia earnings were attributed in part to “investments incurred in launching CNN+,” which new owner Discovery announced will cease operations as of April 30. Continue reading AT&T Announces Subscription Growth for HBO and HBO Max

WarnerMedia and Discovery Merger Alters Media Landscape

Discovery Inc., the broadcasting and film production company founded by John Hendricks in 1985, on Friday completed its $43 billion acquisition of AT&T’s subsidiary WarnerMedia, the multinational M&E conglomerate and parent of the famed Warner Bros. motion picture studio launched in 1923. The newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery includes film, television and news operations that generate roughly $50 billion in annual revenue, creating an entity valued at about $130 billion, placing it at the forefront of the world’s media empires. Continue reading WarnerMedia and Discovery Merger Alters Media Landscape

HBO Max, Discovery+ Will Be Combined into a Single Service

Discovery plans to merge Discovery+ and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max into one streaming service shortly after completing the acquisition of AT&T’s entertainment spinoff WarnerMedia. The news was shared by Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels, speaking Monday at Deutsche Bank’s 30th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference. Wiedenfels said that the transition will likely take “several months” but “an interim solution” will be introduced “in the meantime.” “Building one very, very strong combined direct-to-consumer product and platform, that’s going to take a while,” he said. Continue reading HBO Max, Discovery+ Will Be Combined into a Single Service

CNN Readies Launch of Subscription Streaming News Outlet

WarnerMedia’s CNN is expected to charge $5.99 per month for its subscription-video streaming news outlet, CNN+, when it rolls out this spring. Early subscribers who sign up for CNN+ during the initial four-week promotion will pay $2.99 and have the option of CNN+ for life at 50 percent off the regular price, as long as the subscription is kept active. While many TV news networks have been launching free, ad-supported streaming outlets, CNN+ will reportedly run the same price as Fox Nation. The news network hopes that CNN+ will attract consumers growing up without cable and help the brand transition to a post-pay TV world. Continue reading CNN Readies Launch of Subscription Streaming News Outlet

Disney+ to Roll Out Ad-Supported Plan in U.S. Later This Year

Streaming video service Disney+ plans to introduce an ad-supported subscription tier in the U.S. later this year, with plans to expand the tier internationally in 2023. While the company has yet to announce pricing or specific launch dates, the AVOD plan will cost less than the current $7.99-per-month ad-free version. According to the entertainment giant, the new ad-supported offering is part of a larger goal to attract 230-260 million subscribers globally by the close of Disney’s 2024 fiscal year. Streaming leaders such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video do not currently offer ad-supported options. Disney’s Hulu does offer an ad-supported streaming plan. Continue reading Disney+ to Roll Out Ad-Supported Plan in U.S. Later This Year

ViacomCBS Rebrands as Paramount Global, Reports Growth

ViacomCBS has renamed itself Paramount Global following a record surge in streaming subscribers led by Paramount+. “We achieved our best quarter ever in streaming subscription growth — more than doubling our subscriber additions from last quarter with a record 9.4 million additions, expanding our total global streaming subscribers to over 56 million,” ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said. Quarterly streaming revenue was up by 48 percent, to $1.32 billion, topping forecasts of $1.27 billion. Streaming subscription revenue was up 84 percent, while streaming ad revenue grew 26 percent in Q4. Continue reading ViacomCBS Rebrands as Paramount Global, Reports Growth

CNN+ Aims to Break Through Crowded Streaming News Field

After years in which live news was an elusive commodity on the Internet, the streaming news space is suddenly crowded. The latest entry, CNN+, is gearing up for a late March launch and will cost $5.99 per month, same as Fox Nation, which began streaming in November 2018 after nine years as an opinion website. CBS and NBC offer consumers free ad-supported streaming news networks. Last week, CBS relaunched the CBS News Streaming Network what had previously been CBSN. After various experiments, NBC News launched The Choice under the MSNBC banner in the run-up to the 2020 election.  Continue reading CNN+ Aims to Break Through Crowded Streaming News Field

Talk of Twitter Sale Brews with Square/Block Floated as Suitor

Even before Jack Dorsey tweeted his resignation as Twitter CEO — and announced that another company he co-founded and runs as CEO, Square, will on December 10 change its name to Block — there was speculation that Twitter will soon be purchased. The rumors have been fueled by a belief that Twitter has potential beyond its stagnant share price — $44.47 as of yesterday’s close, slightly less than $44.90 the day of its November 2013 IPO — evidenced in its strong branding and popularity with elites. Top tech exec Parag Agrawal’s ascent to CEO is the corporate equivalent of staging in real estate.  Continue reading Talk of Twitter Sale Brews with Square/Block Floated as Suitor

Discovery Touts Global Growth, Hires Consultant Kevin Mayer

Broadcasting the 2020 Summer Olympics and expenses related to its new direct-to-consumer businesses affected Discovery’s third quarter profits, despite adding three million streaming subscribers and overall increases in traditional revenues. The owner of the Discovery Channel, Food Network, TLC and Discovery+ said that while Q3 revenue rose 23 percent to $3.15 billion, net income fell 48 percent to $156 million. International was the big growth area, with foreign revenue surging 44 percent. Meanwhile, Discovery has hired Kevin Mayer as a consultant to help with its streaming strategy as the company preps for its merger with WarnerMedia.  Continue reading Discovery Touts Global Growth, Hires Consultant Kevin Mayer

UK Broadcasters Unite in Offensive Against Streaming Giants

The growth of streaming TV means it’s getting harder for networks to get their top shows noticed on welcome screens that feature services aggregated by the makers of the television, set-top box or dongle, but UK broadcasters are fighting back. A consortium of interests including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and ViacomCBS’s Channel 5 are banding together to create a shared program service designed to better-position them against U.S. tech giants and new local TV laws currently in the works. The effort is being mounted through Digital UK, owned by the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV. Continue reading UK Broadcasters Unite in Offensive Against Streaming Giants

Turner Classic Movies Promotes Logo and Content Makeover

Warner’s pay-TV network Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is unveiling a new logo, colorful on-air promos, new sets for Ben Mankiewicz and other hosts, new openings for shows including “The Essentials” and “Noir Alley,” and new branding that explores the interplay between past and present cinema. The aesthetics update will not change the vintage movie collection but intends to “help the cable channel stay relevant and reach a wider audience.” TCM executives are also weighing the future of a linear cable channel in a growing streaming media ecosystem. Continue reading Turner Classic Movies Promotes Logo and Content Makeover

Sony’s Funimation Pursues Anime with Crunchyroll Purchase

AT&T closed the sale of its anime streamer Crunchyroll to Sony’s Funimation Global Group for $1.175 billion in cash. Funimation is a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment subsidiary Aniplex. According to Sony Pictures chair and chief executive Tony Vinciquerra, the goal is to “create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible.” The two services will remain separate initially. Crunchyroll currently has 5+ million paying subscribers globally and 120 million registered users in 200+ countries. Continue reading Sony’s Funimation Pursues Anime with Crunchyroll Purchase

Discovery Revenue, Subs Rise with Olympics, Discovery Plus

In Q2 of this year, Discovery Communications’ revenue rose 21 percent year-over-year to $3.06 billion, with earnings per share at $1.01, exceeding Wall Street predictions of $2.97 billion in revenue and 85 cents earnings. The company also revealed that, at the end of Q2, it had 17 million direct-to-consumer customers that increased to 18 million last Tuesday after airing the Olympics in Europe. Its Q2 U.S. ad revenue also rose 12 percent year-over-year while international ad revenue skyrocketed 70 percent, ahead of 2019 levels. Continue reading Discovery Revenue, Subs Rise with Olympics, Discovery Plus