Cynopsis Media Presents the Best of the Week: May 26-29, 2015

Skip a newsletter last week? “In Case You Missed It” rounds up the top stories in each of our three daily editions, so you can be up on the latest news, Cynopsis-style, in the worlds of linear, digital, sports and kids television. Enjoy!

FLAGSHIP

Charter Communications announced plans to purchase Time Warner Cable, as well as proceed with its acquisition of Bright House Networks. The agreements create a cable company, “New Charter,” that will serve 23.9 million customers in 41 states. Subject to regulatory approval, the deal will lead to “real benefits and great long-term value for the customers, shareholders and employees of all three companies, ” said Charter president and CEO Tom Rutledge. Offered Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast, whose own pact with TWC ended when federal regulators indicated they would not approve the transaction, “This deal makes all the sense in the world. I would like to congratulate all the parties.”

The Charter/TWC announcement was “a not-surprising reaction to the rejection of the Comcast-TWC deal,” Howard Homonoff, president, Homonoff Media Group (whose clients have included Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, FOX Networks and 4A’s), tells Cynopsis. “What will be most interesting are the next shoes to drop, because they are definitely coming; they may include Cablevision, MediaCom, CableOne, Atlantic Broadband (now owned by Cogeco), as well as moves for more broadcaster consolidation and counters from Dish.”

That’s because consolidation right now is crucial, according to Thomas J. Connolly, global media & entertainment leader, transaction advisory services at EY. “The U.S. is not even in the top ten of countries globally when it comes to average bandwith speed,” Connolly tells Cynopsis. “Scale is critical to align investment with return, and the improved scale of a broadband providers with a larger national footprint is the right move at the right time.”

TLC yanked 19 Kids and Counting repeats from its lineup amid reports that oldest son Josh Duggar molested five underage girls, including his sisters, 12 years ago. Duggar issued an apology, admitting he’d acted “inexcusably” and saying he had confessed to his parents, “who took several steps to help me address the situation.” According to a 2006 police report, the elder Duggars reported their son’s actions to police; no charges were filed. TLC announced Friday it was pulling the show off the air, saying, “We are deeply saddened and troubled by this heartbreaking situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and victims at this difficult time.” General Mills, Payless Shoes and Walgreens were among the advertisers who pulled out from the show.

DIGITAL

 Santa is giving Bill Murray fans quite the gift this holiday season: a Netflix Christmas special. Titled A Very Murray Christmas, Murray, Sofia Coppola (Murray’s Lost in Translation director) and Mitch Glazer wrote the script and Coppola directs. The December special revolves around Murray’s Xmas party, which takes a turn when a major snowstorm threatens to keep guests away. The cast so far includes George Clooney, Amy Poehler, Michael Cera, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Jason Schwartzman, Jenny Lewis, the band Phoenix, Rashida Jones, and Miley Cyrus.

Google revealed sales figures for its Chromecast OTT streaming device yesterday. Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President of Products, said that more than 17 million Chromecasts have been bought since their 2013 introduction. Also, Chromecast-ers have hit the cast button a cumulative 1.5 billion times, a 50 percent increase since January. They’re watching 66 percent more content than when Chromecast first launched, and YouTube alone has seen viewing time rise 45 percent after a user connects with the $35 device.

 SPORTS

Reaction to the arrest of 9 high-ranking officials at FIFA on Wednesday was swift, with prosecutors charging 14 people overall over a $150+ million racketeering and fraud scheme that included wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering, according to law enforcement. Officials named in the 47-count indictment include Jeffrey Webb; Julio Rocha, Eduardo Li, Eugenia Figueredo and Jose Maria Marin who now face extradition to the US. The defendants also include U.S. and South American sports marketing executives who are alleged to have paid the millions in bribes and kickbacks to obtain media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments. Swiss prosecutors, meanwhile, opened criminal proceedings into FIFA’s awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

FIFA representatives stated that this week’s congress and presidential election are moving forward as planned, despite protests from organizations such as UEFA, as will the controversial 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar. FIFA President Sepp Blatter has not been implicated in the charges.

Tribune Media’s Gracenote is getting deep into the sports game. The company acquired Infostrada Statistics and SportsDirect, Inc. in a data play and is now launching Gracenote Sports. The new purchases now make Gracenote the first global provider of music, video and sports data, and “enable the company to provide one-stop data solutions for its roster of blue-chip clients in the U.S. and around the world.” Both Infostrada Sports and SportsDirect produce and distribute sports data in North America, including schedules, scores, play-by-play stats, as well as team and player information for all of the major professional leagues around the world. Gracenote will now leverage the stats with its own entertainment data to create new data-driven sports products and services for fantasy sports and fan applications. In addition, Gracenote also acquired the Covers Media Group, the operator of Covers.com, an online sports gaming destination for scores, odds and matchups, editorial analyses and industry news coverage.

KIDS

A new episode of a Disney Junior series will air every weekday from Monday, June 29 through Thursday, August 13 as part of the net’s “Soaring Over Summer” multi-platform event. Fresh installments of Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Miles from Tomorrowland, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Henry Hugglemonster alternate each weekday at 9a on Disney Channel and 7:30p on Disney Junior; guest stars include Audra McDonald, Isla Fisher, Sean Astin, David Tennant, Malcolm McDowell and Alton Brown.

 

 

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