CNN will dial down the prime-time partisanship under new top exec Chris Licht
Under new chief Chris Licht, CNN will dial down the prime-time partisanship and double down on the network's news-gathering muscle, top sources tell me. Why it matters: Ratings are secondary to credibility, in the view of Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who's taking over CNN.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeJeff Zucker's successor at the CNN helm will be Licht — showrunner of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" and a ponews.yahoo.com
New media company from AT&T spin-off will be called Warner Bros. Discovery
The next big player in the streaming wars now has a name: Warner Bros. David Zaslav, the Discovery CEO who will lead the new combined venture if cleared by regulators, announced the name to WarnerMedia employees Tuesday, according to a press release. The company's tagline will be, "the stuff that dreams are made of," in a nod to the 1941 Warner Bros. film, "The Maltese Falcon." This story is developing. Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.cnbc.com
'The Big Short' investor is now betting against Tesla: CNBC After Hours
On today's show, Lora Kolodny breaks down the news that Michael Burry's regulatory filings revealed a short position against Tesla. Plus, Alex Sherman explains how the WarnerMedia merger with Discovery puts NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS on notice. Michael Burry of 'The Big Short' reveals a $530 million bet against TeslaFamed investor Michael Burry on Monday revealed in a regulatory filing a short position against Tesla worth more than half a billion. As of March 31, Burry owned 8,001 put contracts, with unknown value, strike price, or expiry, according to the filing. Given that context, it may not be surprising that WarnerDiscovery -- the leading candidate for a name, according to a person familiar with the matter -- is structuring itself for a future sale.cnbc.com
WarnerMedia CEO was reportedly 'kept in the dark' about $43 billion Discovery merger
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar is reportedly eyeing an exit after the announcement of the company's merger with Discovery — which he reportedly only found out about recently. Kilar has "hired a legal team to negotiate his departure" as chief executive of WarnerMedia, a job he has held for about a year, The New York Times reported on Monday. The news came only hours after AT&T said it would spin off WarnerMedia, which owns HBO, Warner Bros., CNN, and more, and merge it with Discovery to create a new standalone company run by Discovery CEO David Zaslav. The idea was that the combined company would be better positioned to compete against the likes of Disney and Netflix, and Discovery's brands include HGTV, Food Network, and Animal Planet. The deal is expected to be finalized next year. But Kilar, the Times reports, was "kept in the dark about the deal until recent days." Zaslav told reporters on Monday that he and AT&T CEO John Stankey had met "secretly" over the past few months. Kilar's name was not mentioned in the AT&T press release announcing the $43 billion deal, and the Times reports that when Kilar sent a memo to employees about the "momentous news," he didn't mention anything about his future at the company. Kilar took over as the head of WarnerMedia in May 2020 after previously serving as Hulu's CEO. HBO Max, the new WarnerMedia streaming service, launched later that month. Kilar's reported plans to exit were revealed only three days after The Wall Street Journal published a profile of him, which described how he has "led one of the most radical overhauls in the entertainment industry" and opened by saying, "Jason Kilar might have a career as a tour guide if this WarnerMedia chief executive gig doesn't work out for him." More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Liz Cheney's ousterThe U.S. still has stricter mask policies for kids than EuropeFormer child star Ricky Schroder apologizes to Costco worker 'if I hurt your feelings' after mask confrontationnews.yahoo.com
The winners and losers of AT&T's split with WarnerMedia
AT&T is unwinding a huge part of its $84 billion acquisition of Time Warner, less than three years after it closed.Driving the news: AT&T this morning announced that it will merge its WarnerMedia properties with Discovery Inc.'s media assets.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeAT&T's contributions will include cable networks CNN, TNN, TNT, Cartoon Network and HBO, plus streaming service HBO Max. Discovery's will include its Discovery-branded content, TLC, Food Network, Eurosport and its Discovery+ streaming service.The deal is expected to close in the middle of next year, via a joint venture that would have projected 2023 revenue of $52 billion and adjusted EBITDA of around $14 billion.The big winner is Elliott Management, the activist investor which last year took a $3.2 billion stake in AT&T and publicly argued that the Time Warner acquisition didn't make strategic sense.Elliott later signed a ceasefire with new AT&T CEO John Stankey, who agreed to spin off DirecTV via a deal with TPG Capital.There were reports in November that Elliott divested its AT&T stake, but my understanding is that it just sold off its small amount of common stock, but maintain most of its swaps. It subsequently purchased new common stock, to be reflected in a 13F being filed today.It does not appear that AT&T reached out to private equity firms to help buttress the deal.The big loser is former AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. Not only were Time Warner and DirecTV his two biggest acquisitions, but his failed pursuit of T-Mobile triggered a massive termination fee that financially strengthened a smaller rival and arguably caused AT&T to sell off wireless spectrum.The big comp is Verizon, which also has a (relatively) new CEO who views networking as the crown jewel and content as a pricey distraction.The big note is how rushed this morning's announcement felt, despite some background insistence that it wasn't, per Axios media reporter Sara Fischer.They didn't announce the new company's name, instead saying they'll drop it "later this week."No disclosed decisions yet on if the two streaming services will be merged.Reporters had 30 minutes notice this morning of the Zoom call.No clarity on the future of WarnerMedia boss Jason Kilar, who was notably absent from the press release. Stankey simply said that Discovery CEO David Zaslav — who will run the new business — has lots of discussions ahead of him. The bottom line: Two things you can always count on after acquiring Time Warner are big controversy and big regrets.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.news.yahoo.com
Discovery+ enters the streaming wars with a big bet on reality TV
Discovery launched its new streaming service Discovery+ in the U.S. on Monday, hoping to carve out its own unscripted corner of the already crowded streaming space. Discovery+, which previously launched in several other countries, dubs itself "the definitive non-fiction, real-life subscription streaming service." The service can be streamed using Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Samsung devices, along with mobile, web and game consoles. "If you have Disney or Netflix, you have two great products, but we're completely different and we go really well with them." "That's our bet, we're putting a lot of resources behind it, and over the next couple of quarters we'll be reporting out our numbers and then we'll be projecting out how big big really is."cnbc.com
Discovery CEO David Zaslav: Winners and losers of streaming wars will be determined in next 12 to 24 months
Zaslav said he expects the fiercest competition to come from the streaming services that are primarily focusing on scripted series for U.S. audiences. Apple TV+, AT&T's HBO Max, Comcast's Peacock, ViacomCBS's Paramount+ and AMC Networks' AMC Plus are among the recently launched streaming services competing for eyeballs. Zaslav said he assumed Netflix and Disney would emerge as global streaming winners, given the leads they've built. Discovery unveiled its unscripted-focused streaming service, Discovery+, last week. Zaslav's goal is to turn Discovery+ into the third major global streaming service after Netflix and Disney, he said.cnbc.com
Discovery's reality-heavy streaming service launches in Jan.
Discovery is joining the increasingly crowded streaming fray with its own reality-focused service Discovery Plus that will include shows from the Food Network, HGTV, TLC and its other networks. By comparison, the ad-free Disney Plus costs $7 a month and Netflix' most popular plan costs $14 a month. Discovery CEO David Zaslav first announced the streaming service in late 2019, but did not provide details until now. Discovery Plus joins a slew of new streaming services started to challenge traditional TV providers and dominant streaming services like Hulu and Netflix over the past year, including Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, HBO Max and Comcast’s Peacock service. The service will role out in 25 countries in 2021 including Italy, Spain, U.K. and Ireland as well as India.
TV advertising is making a comeback after pandemic slowdown
David Zaslav Anjali Sundaram | CNBCBetter than when the pandemic startedTV advertising last quarter showed the market is in a better place than the earlier days of the pandemic. At Comcast, ad revenue increased 12% year-over-year because of political ad revenue, which was up 70% over what it generated during the 2016 election. Fox Corp also saw advertising momentum, attributed to strong ratings at Fox News and political advertising. The company said its U.S. advertising was flat in October year-over-year, while international advertising was down slightly. It said its year-over-year decrease in the fourth quarter ad revenue should be in-line with the third quarter.cnbc.com
AMDS Su, Discoverys Zaslav among highest paid CEOs
Change from last year: 338%Her pay vs typical company worker: 604 times, up from 165Overall ranking: No. Virginia M. RomettyIBM$19.1 millionChange from last year: 9%Her pay vs typical company worker: 354 times, up from 319Overall ranking: 57___5. David ZaslavDiscovery$45.8 millionChange from last year: -65%His pay vs typical company worker: 578 times, down from 1,511Overall ranking: No. Shantanu NarayenAdobe Inc.$39.1 millionChange from last year: 38%His pay vs typical company worker: 266 times, up from 200Overall ranking: No. Larry J. MerloCVS Health$36.5 millionChange from last year: 66%His pay vs typical company worker: 790 times, up from 618Overall ranking: No.