07/30/20: TikTok receives $50 billion offer for majority ownership

 

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Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Thursday July 30, 2020

Today’s Premieres
Apple TV+: The Oprah Conversation
Food Network: Restaurant Impossible: Back in Business at 9p
HBO Max: Frayed
Hulu: In My Skin
Netflix: Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy
Sundance Now: Idiomatic

IN THE NEWS

Beijing-based ByteDance is weighing options for TikTok, amid pressure in the US to ban the app over concerns about the safety of users’ personal data. The company has received a proposal from some of its investors to transfer majority ownership of TikTok to them, valuing it at 50 times its projected 2020 revenue of about $1 billion, reports Reuters, adding that if a deal cannot be reached, ByteDance is considering divesting TikTok’s US operations. TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer said the company is willing to take “all necessary steps” to ensure the long-term availability and success of TikTok. “The one thing that will not change is our commitment to ensuring that TikTok remains a safe and secure platform for the tens of millions of American families that derive joy from it,” said Mayer in a blog post.

Mayer also blasted Facebook after CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote, in prepared remarks before his testimony on Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee, “We believe in values – democracy, competition, inclusion and free expression – that the American economy was built on. Many other tech companies share these values, but there’s no guarantee our values will win out. For example, China is building its own version of the internet focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries.” Responded Mayer – noting that Facebook is introducing “copycat product” Reels, “At TikTok we welcome competition. We think fair competition makes all of us better. But let’s focus our energies on fair and open competition in service of our consumers, rather than maligning attacks by our competitor – namely Facebook – disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the U.S.”

During the aforementioned House Judiciary antitrust hearing, Zuckerberg responded to a question about the boycott of Facebook advertisers over hate speech. “We’re very focused on fighting against hate speech and our commitments to those issues and fighting them go back years before this recent movement,” he said. “Since 2016, the defenses that the company is built out to help secure elections in the US and around the world.” Apple CEO Tim Cook noted the App Store is not a monopoly because 84% of apps are not charged anything, and Apple has not increased commissions on apps since 2008. As for competition in the smartphone market, “Our goal is the best, not the most,” said Cook.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos claimed he had no issue with his company being looked at. “I believe Amazon should be scrutinized,” he told lawmakers. “We should scrutinize all large institutions, whether they’re companies, government agencies, or non-profits. Our responsibility is to make sure we pass such scrutiny with flying colors.” Rather than hurting consumers, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai suggested, Google’s market dominance is helping them. “A competitive digital ad marketplace gives publishers and advertisers, and therefore consumers, an enormous amount of choice,” Pichai said. “For example, competition in ads – from Twitter, Instagram, Comcast and others – has helped lower online advertising costs by 40 percent over the last 10 years, with these saving passed down to consumers through lower prices.”

Eko’s patent infringement lawsuit against streaming service Quibi can proceed, ruled a federal judge. Eko claims Quibi stole the technology for Turnstyle, which lets Quibi viewers seamlessly switch between landscape and portrait-mode viewing. While US District Judge Christina A. Snyder dismissed nine of Eko’s claims, she ruled that, “Eko has adequately pled that Quibi had access to its trade secret information, and produced technology that is similar.” Responded Quibi, “We are gratified by the Court’s decision to dismiss many of Eko’s claims, particularly since the standard for doing so is extremely high. This coupled with the Court’s recent denial of Eko’s request for a preliminary injunction demonstrate what we have said all along – this is a meritless case. We will continue to aggressively defend ourselves in court.”

Speaking of patent infringement, that’s an accusation TikTok rival Triller is making against TikTok in a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Texas. Triller claims a feature that allows users to put together multiple clips using a single audio track infringes on its patent. And a lawsuit isn’t the only slap TikTok is taking from Triller – earlier this week, Triller announced that popular TikTok influencer Josh Richards (20+ million followers) was leaving to join Triller as an investor and Chief Strategy Officer. Fellow TikTok creators Griffin Johnson, Noah Beck and Anthony Reeves are also signing on as Triller advisors.

WGA members voted to ratify their new TV and film contract, in a 98% to 2% vote. “This year we faced a unique situation in negotiations because of COVID-19, but despite the challenges posed by the pandemic we achieved gains in a deal that will serve writers’ interests for the next three years,” said WGA West President David A. Goodman and WGA East president Beau Willimon. The three-year agreement is retroactive to May 2.

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PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT

Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones) has been cast in six-part adventure thriller La Fortuna. AMC Studios and Movistar+ will produce the series in collaboration with MOD Pictures. Production begins this week on location in Madrid, Cádiz, Zaragoza, Galicia and the Basque Country, and will move to North America in 2021. The series will premiere in 2021 on AMC in the US, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean as well as Movistar+ in Spain.

Kate Winslet (The Reader) voices the role of Black Beauty in an updated adaptation of the 19th century novel about a wild mustang that is headed to Disney+. Produced by Constantin Film and JB Pictures, the film will premiere on the streamer later this year.

ABC is developing thriller drama The Women, from writers Jennifer Johnson and Glenn Porter, producer Mark Pellington and Kapital Entertainment. The show focuses on a conspiracy of dangerous women out to take over the global power structure.

Docu-series Could You Survive the Movies? was picked up for a second season by YouTube. The Ample Entertainment show’s sophomore run will look at the power of water in Titanic and the science of magic in Harry Potter films, among other topics.

Marsai Martin (black-ish) will host and executive produce The Tiny Talk Show (wt) for Quibi. Martin will serve as executive producer under her Genius Entertainment banner alongside Josh Martin and Carol Martin, Michelle Caputo and Shannon Hartman for Art & Industry, and Alex Diaz, Daryn Carp, Josh Martin, Carol Martin and Nicole Dow.

In light of the current Covid-19 crisis, we’re conducting a “State of the Media industry” Study to formulate insights & analysis of the TV/Video market and how it will affect the future. Can you spare about 10mins to provide your feedback? surveymonkey.com/r/VFXCSMS

NEW & RETURNING SERIES

What’s Good Africa, exploring Hip Hop culture in Africa, debuts on Revolt TV on Wednesday, August 12 at 9:30p. The unscripted weekly series comes via a partnership between Revolt TV and What’s Good Networks and sister production company, What’s Good Studios in Nairobi, Kenya.

HGTV’s Brother vs. Brother returns for a new season on Wednesday, September 9 at 9p. During the season, HGTV stars Breegan Jane (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), Maureen McCormick (Frozen in Time), Jasmine Roth (Help! I Wrecked My House), Orlando Soria (Build Me Up), and Dan Vickery (Frozen in Time) will decide which Brother wins each weekly match.

Ryan Murphy asylum drama Ratched debuts on Netflix Friday, September 18. Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story) stars as the psychiatric hospital nurse inspired by the tyrannical One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest character.

Discovery’s Shark Week dives into Abandoned Waters, a look at how COVID-19 allowed researchers new opportunities to study great whites in Australia. The doc airs Monday, August 10 at 8p.

STREAMING SCOOP

Google is being sued by Chrome users who allege their data is being used for targeted advertising. “Although Google promises that Chrome users can opt out of Google surveillance by not providing any personal information to use Chrome and not synching their data, those promises are not true,” reads the complaint. “Unbeknownst to users, Google has programmed Chrome for surveillance no matter what the user does.” The class-action suit was filed in federal court in San Jose.

ZypMedia is re-branding as ZypTV. Previously, the company’s technology was exclusively used to power local broadcast companies’ local digital and OTT media offerings; ZypTV is expanding its addressable market, making its products and services available to media agencies and brands that want to connect with customers in local markets. ZypTV is also currently beta testing a self-service buying option which will be launched in late Q3 2020. “Now, agencies that want to leverage the power of our local expertise and campaign targeting to drive ROI can use our platform,” said Aman Sareen, CEO and Co-founder of ZypTV. “ZypTV is the only platform that has proven to be effective and scalable in helping both local and national brands reach audiences on OTT with unduplicated reach market-by-market.”

Wurl, a provider of streaming video distribution and advertising services for CTV, announced key growth metrics in daily viewer hours, ad-impressions delivered and overall monetization numbers. 2Q20 saw new records broken in areas including:
· Daily records of hours of viewing (HOV); an 80% growth across the first half of the year over the same period in 2019
· Ad impressions increased by 33% over Q1 and more than 300 percent over first half of 2019
· 24% channel growth from Q1 into Q2
“We continue to see outstanding CTV growth on the Wurl Network,” said Wurl CEO Sean Doherty. “Our network is now self-multiplying through the positive feedback loop we’ve been building toward – more content attracts more viewers and advertisers which attracts more content.”

Netflix picked up the rights to seven classic comedies for its Strong Black Lead strand. Moesha debuts August 1, followed by The Game (August 15); Sister, Sister (September 1); Girlfriends (September 11, the 20th anniversary of its premiere); The Parkers (October 1); and Half & Half, and One on One (October 15). “The goal of Strong Black Lead is to celebrate and lift up Black Hollywood,” said Bradley Edwards, Manager, Content Acquisition and Jasmyn Lawson, Manager, Strong Black Lead. “These trailblazing shows are a huge part of that story. From the classic clown funeral episode of The Parkers to Moesha’s mind-tripping meet-up with Brandy, we’re thrilled that our members can now enjoy these amazing classics.”

Amagi, a cloud-based technology company for broadcast TV and streaming TV, announced it now delivers 30+ live and linear channels to The Roku Channel, including beIN, Buzzr, Cinedigm, Condenast, MGM, PeopleTV, Tastemade, TYT Network, and Yahoo Finance, among others. “Free Ad Supported TV (FAST) is growing rapidly and this new milestone has propelled The Roku Channel to be a very attractive content destination for the streaming TV audience,” said Srinivasan KA, Co-founder, Amagi. “Our strong technology stack and deep integration with platforms like The Roku Channel places us in a unique position to maximize reach and revenues for our content partners.”

COMING UP

Crackle Plus is adding horror film The Sonata, available exclusively on the AVOD beginning Saturday, August 1. “Well-crafted stories like this are always welcomed by the Crackle audience,” said Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus. “The Sonata combines the suspense of a thriller with the terror of classic horror to create a delicious cocktail of fright.”

Roundtable discussion Race in America: A Movement Not a Moment airs Sunday, August 9 at 10p on Bravo. Host Nina Parker (E!) guides Bravolebrities from Top Chef and the Married to Medicine and Housewives franchises as they share their thoughts and personal stories on the Black Lives Matter movement, racial inequality in America, the value of allies, Karens and their privilege, and more.

Syfy month-long stunt “Metal Crush Mondays” features heavy metal artists in segments surrounding “metal” movies. First up: Lake Placid on August 3 at 7p, with guests Pustulus Maximus and the Berserker Brother (GWAR), and Andy Black (Black Veil Brides).

TECH TALK

IAB Tech Lab released SafeFrame 2.0 for public comment. SafeFrame is an API specification for communication between a web page and an ad that is enclosed within an iframe on the page, enabling safe ad interactions (e.g., ad expansion) without direct access to the publisher’s page data. SafeFrame 2.0 is a major upgrade over the current version, which was last updated in 2014. “While SafeFrame has continued to provide benefits to the marketplace, over the last six years there have been significant technological developments, and it was clear that an update was needed,” said Shailley Singh, VP, Product and Global Programs, IAB Tech Lab. “SafeFrame is designed to offer publishers a scalable way to insert ads on their sites, without having to risk page security and user privacy when ad scripts and service vendor scripts would otherwise have direct access to the page.”

Video software provider Synamedia announced that Yes, the pay-TV subsidiary of Israeli telco Bezeq, is deploying Synamedia’s end-to-end video network portfolio to achieve broadcast-equivalent latency for its cloud-based, internet-only TV services. The contract is an extension of Yes’s long-standing relationship with Synamedia as it phases out its direct-to-home satellite service and moves to all-IP by 2026.

GOING GLOBAL

BT Sport, the UK and Ireland sports broadcaster, has partnered with Insight TV to co-produce Ultimate Goal. The six-part reality competition format will kick off on BT Sport in the UK and on Insight TV worldwide in late 2020.

Altice France launched on BFMTV, a vertical, live video format for mobile. Developed in collaboration with French start-up, Wildmoka, the Live Vertical solution automatically converts the horizontal frames of standard TV streams to a vertical format better suited to smartphone screens.

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RATINGS

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Tuesday, July 28
Show, P2+ 0000s, (A18-49)
ABC: 20/20 3.62 (0.5), 20/20 3.75 (0.5), What Would You Do? 3.04 (0.5)
CBS: NCIS 5.08 (0.4), FBI 4.02 (0.4), FBI: Most Wanted 3.21 (0.3)
CW: DC’s Stargirl 0.74 (0.1), Tell Me a Story 0.43 (0.1)
FOX: Hell’s Kitchen 1.13 (0.3), Prodigal Son 0.71 (0.2)
NBC: America’s Got Talent 56.12 (1.0), World of Dance 3.59 (0.7)
Telemundo: Exatlon Estados Unidos 1.05 (0.3), Cennet 1.10 (0.3), Enemigo Entimo 0.73 (0.3)
Univision: Te Doy La Vida 2.13 (0.6), Medicos Linea de Vida 1.61 (0.5), Como Tu No Hay 1.66 (0.5)
Source: Nielsen live + same day time period averages

EXECUTIVE MOVES

In a “leadership realignment,” Monica Gil has been promoted to EVP, Chief Administrative and Marketing Officer, and Ana Siegel was upped to EVP, General Counsel, at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. CFO Amanda Calpin and SVP, Human Resources Ashaki Rucker will now report to directly to the new Chairman of the company, Beau Ferrari.

Heather Morris has joined ABC Studios-based Lean Machine as VP of Development and Production. Morris joins from Mindy Kaling’s Kaling International.

Charter Communications elevated Pattie Eliason to SVP, Spectrum Stores and Retail, and Sharon Peters to SVP, Marketing, overseeing Charter’s go-to-market sales and marketing strategy.

Linda Lowy has been named EVP, Casting for HBO Max, TNT, TBS and truTV. Previously, Lowy collaborated with Shonda Rhimes.

Sinking Ship Entertainment has appointed Ayesha Girgla as Manager of Distribution. Her experience includes working in intellectual property.

IN MEMORIAM

Maurice “Reese” Schonfeld, who founded Cable News Network with Ted Turner, died July 28. He was 88. In 1992 Schonfeld joined the team that started Food Network, and was named its President.

This Day in History
1948 – Professional wrestling premiered on primetime network TV.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Who voiced gym teacher Larry Littlejunk on Sit Down, Shut Up (2009)? Jason Bateman. Kudos to: Charles Lore/NYC, Paul Blutter-Walk and Talk Production Rentals/Burbank, Gerry Bixenspan-TV Marketing Inc./NYC, Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton, FL, David Garber-Loyola Marymount University/Playa Vista, CA, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank

Today’s Trivia Question
Who played Ted’s calculating boss in Better Off Ted (2009-2010)? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: a limit of four per time zone.)

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Job of the day
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
The Hive
Knoxville, TN

Seeking highly qualified individual to oversee the orderly day-to-day function of production operations, with a particular emphasis on post prod operations for TN & NY offices and TN facilities management. Reports directly to the Pres and VP of Production. Full info HERE (8/13)

DIR, BRAND MARKETING & STRATEGY PLANNING >>
Nickelodeon/NYC: Seeking a group brand leader responsible for the development of mktg strategies in support of Nickelodeon and any of its related content and sub-brands. Min 7yrs exp in consumer strategy, digital, marketing or media. Full info HERE (8/11)

ASSOCIATE PRODUCE >>
Sesame Workshop/NYC:
Oversee the production of 2 consecutive 30-minute animated specials and 20×5-minute animated segments. 5+yrs in Series Animation Production at a Production Co. or Studio preferred. Full info HERE (8/10)

LINE PRODUCER >>
CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ:
Responsible for managing line production for 1 hour of a live show. 5+ exp segment producing and/or booking in a live television environment with demonstrated written communication and research skills, Full info HERE (8/10)

SENIOR PRODUCER >>
CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ:
Support the executive producer of (show) in helping to lead and drive the editorial vision of the show, the content and management of the staff. 5+yrs exp in live TV (i.e. financial news network, morning shows, cable shows, broadcast TV) Full info HERE (8/9)

SEGMENT PRODUCER >>
CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ:
Developing and producing live and taped guest segments. At least 2 years of experience booking and producing in a live television environment with demonstrated writing, research, and telephone communication skills. Full info HERE (8/9)

WRITER >>
CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ:
Responsible for organizing and crafting accurate, unbiased, and engaging news content aligned with the stated mission of the news program. At least 5 years of general news writing experience at the local and/or national television level. Full info HERE (8/9)

COPY EDITOR >>
CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ:
Responsible for overseeing spelling, syntax, grammar, style and ensuring consistency for written articles, video copy, graphics and social media posts. Full info HERE (8/9)

COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR >>
The Africa Channel/N. Hollywood:
Digital-savvy individual, incorporating online tools and in-person networking to create relationships & build the company’s brand both online and off. 2 years’ exp, with at least three years of exp in a communications role. Full info HERE (8/8)

VIDEOGRAPHER/EDITOR >>
Newsmax Media/DC:
The candidate will have expert level shooting skills including all aspects of field production setup from sound mixing and lighting design to camera position and subject framing with a specific focus in a live news based medium. The candidates will be required to have a deep knowledge of post production workflows and be able to flow seamlessly from shooter to producer to editor. Full info HERE (8/5)

ON-AIR MEDIA STRATEGY MGR, MARKETING >>
VENN/LA:
New 24/7 streaming network aimed at gaming and pop culture audiences is seeking a candidate to plan, schedule and analyze promos and graphics across linear platform. 5+ yrs in broadcast field, media scheduling and analytics perf’d. Full info HERE (8/5)

VP, TALENT ACQUISITION & CULTURE >>
A+E/NY:
Leads all aspects of the recruitment function for the enterprise. Works in tandem with sr. mgmt to understand the company’s current and forecasted business priorities. 10+ yrs TA exp, pref within a media envir. Full info HERE (8/5)

THURSDAY JULY 30
ABC: Holey Moley, Don’t, To Tell the Truth
CBS: Young Sheldon, The Unicorn, Mom, Mom, NCIS: Los Angeles
CW: Killer Camp, Penn & Teller Fool Us
FOX: MLB Baseball
NBC: Ellen’s Game of Games, Blindspot [f], Law & Order: SVU
PBS: This Old House, Ask This Old House, The War
Telemundo: Exatlon Estados Unidos, Cennet, Enemigo Intimo
Univision: Toy de la Vida, Medicos, Linea de Vida, Como tu no Hay

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