Good morning. Here’s our morning roundup of all the media news you need to know. Want to get this briefing in your inbox every morning? Subscribe here.
Even in the digital age, nothing’s more important than an old-fashioned, alluring headline. Try “media companies are getting sick of Facebook.”
Say what? Sick of Mark Zuckerberg and his revenue-gobbling empire?! After playing footsie with him in various ways?
That’s from Bloomberg Businessweek, which tells you all you need to know in its sub-heading, “News outlets are complaining about Facebook’s terms for TV-quality videos meant to compete with YouTube.”
But why stop there?
It opens by noting very cordial past relations between Facebook and CNN, especially when it comes to trying out new products. For example, when it started to host live video, it paid the cable news stalwart a fee to produce clips.
“But strain is showing in the relationship. Facebook’s latest pitch to publishers such as CNN is for them to provide a regular stream of TV-quality, edited, original videos that will give Mark Zuckerberg’s company a chance to compete with YouTube to siphon some of the $70 billion pouring into TV ads each year. In exchange, the publishers can share some of the revenue for ads that roll in the middle of the videos. Facebook will control all the ad sales.”
Hand it to Andrew Morse, the general manager of CNN’s digital operations, to not mince words. “Facebook is about Facebook. For them, these are experiments, but for the media companies looking to partner with significant commitments, it gets to be a bit of whiplash.”
And he doesn’t think the money Facebook is offering is nearly enough to justify working with Zuckerberg long-term.
Facebook says it’s aware of the chagrin and is doing what it can to calm the waters. But this analysis doesn’t see much progress, even hope. And recent Facebook initiatives in the journalism area are falling short. (Disclosure: Poynter recently teamed up with Facebook to launch a journalism education certificate.)
“The news executives say Facebook’s journalism initiatives have so far done little to improve their relationships with the company and that it remains less collaborative — and more skewed toward its own interests — than Apple News, Snapchat Discover, or Google Accelerated Mobile Pages.
The only question that this doesn’t really answer is what the ramification might be in the long run for not partnering with Facebook.
One can grouse, and opt out of deals with them, as heavyweights such as The New York Times and The Guardian have done with Facebook’s Instant Articles feature.
But if its expansionist thrust persists, what are the alternatives for mere mortal media organizations if Facebook remains the primary vehicle for more and more people knowing about the world?
Sorrell on Google, Facebook
Then we have Martin Sorrell, the advertising kingpin, telling Cheddar during the ongoing big media gathering in Cannes, France that clients are increasingly frustrated by “two media owners” — that’s what he called Facebook and Google, rather than the “technology” companies they prefer to be known as — controlling more than 22 percent of ad dollars worldwide, and 75 percent of the digital ad market.
That’s one reason he doesn’t join the chorus of naysayers about Snap, even as its share price has plummeted since going public. It’s an alternative to the two goliaths.
Jon Steinberg, Cheddar’s founder, interviewed Sorrell (they were both wearing shorts) and later emailed from Cannes, “The Snap ferris wheel is dominating the zeitgeist. The event is more than ever about high-level M&A circling than any advertising being bought upfront in scale.”
A feast for Watergate mavens
The Weekly Standard does a terrific job via Max Holland in commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Watergate break-in by checking out the 75-page transcript of an eight-hour 1975 private interview done by director Alan Pakula with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein before filming, “All the President’s Men.”
“‘The Woodstein Tapes’ have the reporters letting their hair down. Taken together with other interviews and memoirs, they provide a fascinating insight into how a best-selling book was fashioned into an exalted film.”
And since the scandal seems to have more “raw currency” today than ever before, given the Trump White House, “perhaps it is time to entertain a more sophisticated and mature account of what happened—or at least one with more nuance than the version propagated by those invested in the fable.” (The Weekly Standard)
Speaking of Snap…
“Time Warner signs $100 million deal with Snap for shows and ads: Two-year Time Warner-Snap pact includes commitment for up to 10 original shows a year.” (The Wall Street Journal)
And this could include new shows by Ellen DeGeneres and Samantha Bee.
Another big investment in Vice
“Vice Media has secured a $450 million investment from private-equity firm TPG, as the youth-focused digital media company looks to step up its spending on scripted programming and plans a direct-to-consumer service.” (The Wall Street Journal)
That’s $450 million. Meanwhile, past speculation that Vice was on the way to being purchased by somebody, perhaps major investor Disney, has cooled.
The court rules in a social media case
“In 2002, Lester Packingham became a convicted sex offender at the age of 21, after he pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with a child — having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Packingham got into hot water with the law again in 2010, when he posted on Facebook to thank God for having a traffic ticket dismissed.” (SCOTUSblog)
“After a police officer saw his post, Packingham was prosecuted and convicted under a North Carolina law that makes it a felony for a convicted sex offender to use social-networking websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, that allow minors to create accounts. Today Packingham has something else to be grateful for, and he can take to social media to express that appreciation, because the Supreme Court agreed with him that the North Carolina law violates the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech.”
An important bottom line, says Harvard’s Noah Feldman in Bloomberg who combined this and a second free speech case decided Monday: The government is not going to get involved regulating offensive speech on social media.
An arguably baffling unveiling
“Jay Sekulow’s bizarre debut: Donald Trump picked a lawyer he saw on Fox News and it isn’t going well.” (Salon)
Here’s a Washington Post profile of him.
Perils of live TV
After Brooks Koepka won the U.S. Open, he got a big kiss from girlfriend Jena Sims, an actress. Fox sportscaster Joe Buck then identified her as Becky Edwards, a soccer star and his former girlfriend.
“Joe, that’s actually his new girlfriend, that’s Jena Sims,” analyst Brad Faxon said.
A Vanity Fair hire
Joe Pompeo, who covers media for Politico in New York, is moving to Vanity Fair’s Hive as senior media correspondent. Hadas Gold, who’s been covering media at Politico since 2013, will take the reins on an interim basis beginning in July.
A deadline passes
The Justice Department antitrust division has exhibited an unusual interest in who will buy the money-losing Chicago Sun-Times. The owner of the rival Chicago Tribune, which already prints the Sun-Times, seemed to have things locked up when the government insisted on a longer bidding period.
Right before the supposedly final deadline Monday, a former Chicago politician and a group of unions made what they called a $15 million bid. Edwin Eisendrath, the former pol, made clear that the group would exhibit an ideological thrust (“progressive but not elite,” he called it) on behalf of “the 99 percent” if they took over. (Robert Feder)
A big question here is not whether they could scrounge up the dough for an initial purchase but whether they’d have the significant resources to sustain, expand and sharply improve operations. Meanwhile, nobody has come up with an obvious way to fund local newspapers papers as Facebook and Google suck up most digital advertising, so it would be interesting if seeming media neophytes would have ideas.
Sports radio is still gabbing about the nutty boxing match announced for Aug. 26 in Las Vegas between legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather and mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor. It is expected to be a Mayweather slaughter, but you can find dozens (and dozens) of articles on ESPN.com, as well as tons elsewhere.
“Two giants of the fighting world will go head-to-head on August 26 to settle bitter rivalry,” read the headline in one British paper.
Some folks have equated it with the pre-fight hoopla of fabled Muhammad Ali bouts against George Foreman and Joe Frazier. Huh? To make sure I wasn’t nuts, I got in touch with New Yorker Editor David Remnick, who was overseas reporting and is an Ali expert.
Really? Ali-Foreman? Ali-Frazier? No, he agreed. Not even in the same universe. In his prime, Ali was a global figure for reasons that went well beyond sports.
Fighting a good fight for students
The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan did a really nice job in profiling the Student Law Press Center. “We’re like the public defenders for student journalists,” explained Frank LoMonte, the executive director whose group doesn’t charge any fee.
For example, it “helped a reporter at the student newspaper at New Jersey’s Kean University as she tried to pry loose a surveillance video that the university’s police department was wrongly withholding. Once the reporter had the video, she wrote an important story that brought to light a former student’s claim that he suffered excessive force and racial profiling in a 2013 arrest by campus cops.”
Will this reader poll prove correct?
Cleveland.com asked Cavaliers fans how their team, which got wiped out by the Golden State Warriors, could catch the new NBA champs next season. Their top pick: Trade Cleveland’s Kevin Love for Indiana’s Paul George, or one big star for another.
Now comes ESPN’s report that the Cavaliers are involved in various multi-team discussions for a deal that would indeed involve those two players, if not necessarily in a straight one-for-one swap prior to a de facto Thursday deadline. Chicago’s lone star, Jimmy Butler, is in the mix, too.
Headline of the day
“Flake news! France faces a major croissant shortage.” (The Daily Beast)