CMO Today: Charter Poised to Win Regulatory Approval for Time Warner Cable Deal – Wall Street Journal

6 months ago Comments Off on CMO Today: Charter Poised to Win Regulatory Approval for Time Warner Cable Deal – Wall Street Journal

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

CHARTERED COURSE: With the pay-TV industry coping with cord-cutting and a finicky advertising market, cable companies are only going to lean more heavily on their broadband operations to drive growth. The last thing they want is the government interfering. But in a deal with the Justice Department and FCC, Charter Communications has agreed to stringent conditions that don’t apply to its rivals in order to win regulatory approval for its $55 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, The Wall Street Journal reports. The good news for the cable giant is that the megamerger is on track for approval. But for seven years Charter must forgo data caps and usage-based billing for its Internet customers, part of the government’s effort to tamp down potential threats to online video rivals. Charter also must build out broadband access to two million more homes, which will likely require it to compete directly against other cable companies in some markets—a big move for an industry that has been divvied up geographically.

VIDEO THRILLED THE DIGITAL STAR: As digital media companies like BuzzFeed, Vox and Mic push into video, they have tapped employees from within their ranks to be featured in “shareable” clips that are now accumulating huge viewership figures across platforms like Facebook. As CMO Today reports, that push has given rise to a new cast of “stars,” and now these digital media companies are facing a long-standing challenge in the media business: keeping the talent happy. Take 25-year-old Matt Bellassai, the former BuzzFeed staffer known for his “Whine About It” Facebook video series (where he got drunk at his desk and complained about various topics). Mr. Bellassai decided to leave BuzzFeed to strike out on his own, but he also had to leave his Facebook account with 1.5 million followers at the door, since his employer owned his main account. For media companies, the question will be whether they can entice homegrown talent to stick around, instead of following Mr. Bellassai’s lead.

CARING ABOUT SHARING: Facebook has a sharing problem: users may be scrolling through their feeds for their uncle’s latest political screed, but people have become increasingly passive about producing photos, videos and status updates from their own lives. Now the company may be working on a solution, in the form of a new stand-alone camera app, WSJ reports. The app, currently in development and not necessarily a sure thing, would open to a camera (similar to Snapchat) and potentially allow for live streaming. Facebook has tried stand-alone apps before, some have worked (Messenger) and some not so much (remember Paper?). But the move does show how Facebook intends to take on the sharing issue, in addition to reminding you that it’s a holiday or that you’ve been “friends” with someone for six years now.

FULLEST SCREEN: Fullscreen is getting pretty ambitious about its new subscription video product that launches Tuesday, reports CMO Today. Chief Operating Officer Andy Forssell says the company is aiming to sign up 5 million subscribers for the $4.99-a-month service that offers Web series from some Internet stars and some old TV shows and movies. That won’t be an easy target for Fullscreen, which will carry shows like “Dawson’s Creek” and “Daria,” as well as original content from YouTube stars Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart. Hulu, for instance, has more than 9 million subscribers. But about 1 million subscribers would let Fullscreen break even, a person familiar with the matter told CMO Today.


ABC executives have apologized to Kelly Ripa over the announcement that her co-host Michael Strahan would be heading to “Good Morning America,” a move that came as a surprise to the “Live with Kelly and Michael” star. [CNN]

An appeals court reinstated Tom Brady’s four-game suspension over the “Deflategate” controversy, siding with the NFL over the New England Patriots quarterback. [WSJ]

ESPN veteran Mike Tirico is joining NBC after 25 years with the network. He has been the lead play-by-play announcer on “Monday Night Football” since 2006. [Sports Business Journal]

The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee choose a new logo design for the 2020 Games after plagiarism concerns. A Belgian designer had complained that the original logo was similar to one he made for a theater in Belgium. [WSJ]

Megyn Kelly will interview Donald Trump on May 17 after months of aggressive comments from the presidential candidate about the Fox News host. [Variety]

With two weeks to go before a deadline for a decision, New York City officials are still raising concerns about French telecom giant Altice’s $10 billion deal to buy Cablevision. [CMO Today]

Turner will launch its first direct-to-consumer subscription video service this fall called FilmStruck, an art house film service managed by Turner Classic Movies. [CMO Today]

Check out a timeline of Tribune Publishing’s rocky history over the past few years, turbulence that has culminated in the newspaper publisher becoming a takeover target for Gannett. [CMO Today]

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CMO Today: Charter Poised to Win Regulatory Approval for Time Warner Cable Deal – Wall Street Journal