DirecTV, Time Warner Cable interested in streaming TV service
Four parties have allegedly placed bids to purchase streaming service Hulu, with the first round of bidding apparently due to end this week. Guggenheim Digital Media, DirecTV, and Time Warner Cable are said to be interested in the company, following a bid from former News Corp president Peter Chernin for a reported $500 million.
Indicates Apple was pushing for prices higher than Amazon
US Department of Justice filings in the e-book price-fixing case against Apple reveal an exchange between former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and News Corporation/HarperCollins' James Murdoch, notes AllThingsD. In the course of a Jobs-penned email, which dates back to January 2010, the CEO explains why Apple is proposing to tie e-book prices to hardcover ones. "We simply donít think the e-book market can be successful with pricing higher than $12.99 or $14.99," Jobs writes.
Vodafone Australia to roll out 4G coverage in June
Vodafone is to launch its 4G services to Australian customers in June. The initial rollout will see Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Wollongong, Newcastle, and the Gold Coast covered with 4G service, according to ZDNet. Tests on the 4G signal shows it as having a download speed of 80Mbps and an upload of 20Mbps, with a claimed maximum of 150Mbps possible for some customers. Like its competitors, national carriers Telstra and Optus, Vodafone will be keeping its 4G service charges the same as its 3G access, and hopes to have 1,000 4G sites operational by the end of 2013.
Status of talks remains unclear
Former News Corp president Peter Chernin has reportedly submitted a $500 million bid to buy Hulu, several unnamed sources have told Reuters. Aside from noting the value of the alleged offer, the report does not shed light on the seriousness of the buyout talks. The company has been wooing potential buyers for several years, aiming in 2011 to fetch $2 billion for the streaming TV service.
Streaming service yet to receive formal offer for sale
Hulu could come under new ownership, if rumors about its potential sale is true. News Corp and Disney are said to be considering selling the streaming service to one of a number of potential suitors, though they are also considering the option of buying each other out in order to take full control of the company.
News Corp. looking to tap into $3 billion educational market
News Corp. has used the SXSWedu conference in Austin, Texas to reveal the Amplify 10-inch Android tablet for students in K-12, reports The New York Times. The device is a product of News Corpís new education division, which is using the tablet to gain a physical foothold in educational curriculum market. The Amplify tablets will ship with News Corp curriculum materials preinstalled, and will be supplemented by servers to help manage and store studentís data to further sweeten the deal.
Low readership numbers blamed for 'The Daily' closure
News Corporation is shuttering its digital-only newspaper, The Daily, as part of the company's organizational changes. The date of its last publication, December 15th, will be just two months before the second anniversary of the iPad-only publication's creation. The primary motivation behind the closure has been revealed to be its unprofitability, caused through consistently low readership numbers.
Stays with company in advisory role until September 2013
News Corp's Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller has announced his intention to depart News Corp. Miller will remain as adviser to CEO Rupert Murdoch, COO Chase Carey, and deputy COO James Murdoch until September 2013. The departure precedes a set of business transactions that will split the company into an entertainment company, and a publishing arm that includes the Wall Street Journal in both print and digital form, a very different scenario than when Miller was hired to drive its technology and online initiatives.
Marks failure of iPad-focused publication to catch on
News Corporation publication The Daily is laying off almost a full third of its workers, according to sources for AllThingsD, which is owned by the same parent company. That translates into about 50 people, who are expected to get their job loss notices today. The editorial and sports departments are said to be taking the biggest hits, although "skeletal" coverage in those areas will remain. Other affected departments are said to include the design and production teams.
Funds earmarked for increased production, Roku marketing
Roku has secured funding from BSkyB and News Corp. A third partner that declined to be named, along with previous investors Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners, join the funding round and bring the strategic investment total to $45 million. Roku has already earmarked most of the new capital for specific purposes, with generous portions going toward advertising, expanding into new international markets, and increasing manufacturing for existing product lines.
Tablet-based news app said to be losing millions
News Corporation may be on the verge of shutting down The Daily, according to a source in contact with the New York Observer. The publication has allegedly been put "on watch" because of ongoing financial losses totaling about $30 million per year. Its fate is expected to be reevaluated after the US Presidential elections on November 6th.
NDS hiring hackers to kill Sky TV competitor?
Former ITV executives have blames the company's demise on corporate hacking that was allegedly commissioned by News Corp subsidiary NDS Group. ITV was reportedly plagued by hacking attempts, which successfully gained access to the company's smartcard codes and leaked the information online.
Aereo expands countering lawsuits
Aereo on Tuesday grew its countersuits against TV networks to include several more networks. Fox, PBS, Univision, WPIX, and WNET were all targeted under a complaint that wanted the judge to rule that Aereo wasn't violating the networks' copyrights. It had already sued ABC, CBS, and NBCUniversal a week ago.
Hulu CEO careful not to commit to or deny Apple TV
Hulu chief Jason Kilar used careful language in an interview at the D: Dive Into Media conference when discussing major content deals. He wouldn't confirm or deny any talks to bring Hulu Plus to the Apple TV. The executive was aware it was a potentially loaded question and denied it twice when pressed.
Hulu starts up own online-only TV series
Hulu followed in Netflix's footsteps Sunday by launching its first fictional, original TV series. Battleground covers a fictional political campaign in Wisconsin and is produced by JD Walsh, 500 Days of Summer's Marc Webb, and Hagai Shaham. It should be followed up by more documentaries, including a second season of Morgan Spurlock's A Day in the Life and Richard Linklater's new Up to Speed.
Snaps up 4 percent of social networking service
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has bought a just under four percent interest in social networking pioneer Twitter. Prince Alwaleed, 26th on Forbes' list of billionaires, is the nephew of Saudi King Abdullah. The Prince paid out $300 million for his investment.
CBS says Apple planned stream TV with shared cash
CBS chief Les Moonves may have inadvertently confirmed Apple's negotiations for a streaming TV service during the company's fiscal results call. He claimed that CBS had turned down a deal for a service because it would have split ad revenues. The executive didn't give details of what the service would have involved.
YouTube may have cable TV rival up in days
YouTube's professional video channels may be active within a week, anonymous tips maintained on Thursday. The details obtained by the WSJ suggest a broader strategy than thought before and would involve a redesign of the site itself, focusing on channels whether they're live or traditional YouTube subscriptions. Some of the live producers would be takes with filling in specific categories, such as comedy, food, or news.
More info emerges from Jobs biography
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was extremely critical of Fox News, and Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of the network's parent company News Corp., Reuters notes. The information comes from the Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, which shipped on Monday. In June 2010 Jobs agreed to speak at News Corp.'s annual management retreat, breaking a personal policy against such speaking engagements. Why he agreed is unclear, although Apple and News Corp. would later launch The Daily for the iPad.
Netflix, Facebook, News Corp. take flak
A Saturday Night Live dress rehearsal sketch, now online, satirizes industry reactions to the death of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Executives from many companies were quick to praise Jobs in the days immediately after Apple's formal announcement. The SNL sketch jokes, though, that many corporate heads claim to admire Jobs without actually understanding what makes Apple products work.
Hulu still talking to Google on sale?
With yesterday's report that Hulu is no longer for sale, a new report from SAI sources suggests it's still considering a sale to Google. Google did make the largest bid for the streaming service, though it also wanted concessions that Hulu wasn't willing to make. Google's bid, at about $4 billion, was more than twice as big as Dish Network's $2 billion.
Hulu says studios see it as too valuable
Hulu in a brief note said it had decided to stop its attempted selloff. The statement, which had the support of Disney, investor Providence Equity Partners, and Fox's parent company News Corp., claimed that each of the owners though there was too much of a "unique and compelling strategic value" for each of them to sell. It would instead center on existing plans.
The Daily iPad newspaper gets little reach
The Daily's readership figures are less than a quarter of what they need to be to break even, Publicis Groupe executive VP John Nitti revealed in a discussion Wednesday. Relaying what it had heard directly from News Corp., the advertiser told Bloomberg that about 120,000 unique readers, which could include those on two-week trials, were being tracked every week. News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch had said during the launch event that about 500,000 were needed to break even.
Fox demands 8-day delay on Hulu shows
Fox on Tuesday night set out to shelter traditional TV with a long hinted-at plan to delay TV shows on Hulu for non-subscribers. Free viewers will face an eight-day delay for access to Fox TV shows unless they either pay for Hulu Plus or can prove they subscribe to a conventional TV service. Only satellite provider Dish Network is so far cleared to give users same-day access in the strategy, which starts up August 15.
Apple included in early Hulu bidding rounds
Apple is one of those considering making a bid for Hulu, a pair of sources claimed Thursday. The company is supposedly in "early talks" that could lead to a buyout if all went well. It wasn't clear from Bloomberg tips what stage of the bidding process Apple had reached or how serious Apple's intentions were.
May offer up to $2 billion
Yahoo's interest in purchasing Hulu may be reigniting. SAI reports that if Hulu's current owners are willing to guarantee four or five years of exclusive access to content, then Yahoo might be interested in paying up to $2 billion for the streaming content provider. Neither Hulu, its owners, or Yahoo have commented.
LulzSec revives with attack on Sun and Murdoch
Update: more hacks) LulzSec returned from its self-imposed exit to launch a new attack against The Sun. The hacker group changed key articles on the British newspaper's page in a retaliation campaign for News Corp's phone hacking scandal. Among the examples were an article claiming that News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch had killed himself through palladium poisoning.
Spotify finally active in US
Spotify as promised has at last started up service in US. The music streaming provider is currently active in an invite-only beta but has 15 million tracks and the full feature set of its European counterpart. It includes an expanded free service with ads, a $5 Unlimited monthly plan that gives full streaming on the web, and a $10 Premium plan that gives full access on Android, iOS, and other devices like Sonos and Logitech Squeezebox systems.
Netflix and Hulu mutually uninterested in deal
New tips Sunday ruled out Netflix as one of the candidates to buy Hulu. The movie streaming service hasn't been actively involved, sources for the WSJ said. Hulu also reportedly hasn't been actively interested, in part since it would create overlap and reduce the number of suppliers, not increase them.
No time frame given for sale
For the past few weeks, rumors have swirled around the possible sale of Hulu. Today, Disney CEO Bob Igor confirmed that Disney, NBCUniversal and News Corp., the TV streaming service's owners are indeed looking to sell off. Igor declined to provide a timeframe for a deal or to hint who might be the acquirer.
Hulu talks to Amazon, ATT, Verizon, more
Hulu's shopping itself around also includes Amazon, AT&T, and Verizon, insiders revealed Tuesday. The companies are part of a "short list" that included Microsoft as its first stop last week and will include Yahoo and Google next. AllThingsD's sources didn't learn how Microsoft had reacted but also heard Hulu will bring up the idea to Facebook, Liberty Media, Netflix, and Samsung.
MySpace now settling on 35m sale to Specific
(Update: Justin Timberlake is involved) MySpace's imminent sale has now been finalized as a new leak confirmed a deal has been struck. Ad producer Specific Media has agreed to buy the social network for $35 million. Under the terms seen by AllThingsD, current owner News Corp would have a "less than five percent" stake but cut the 400-person staff count in half.
Sale also expected this week
Myspace is rumored to be cutting up to 300 employees from its workforce over the next few weeks. TechCrunch reports that 150 employees will receive pink slips tomorrow and probably another 150 will be shown the door over the next few weeks. This comes as the struggling company could have a new owner as soon as tomorrow.
New York Post tries to push iPad owners to app
The New York Post took a risky move to try and push iPad readers to its native iPad app. Those who try to visit the home page from mobile Safari, even from an alternate link, are redirected to a page linking to the app. Desktop users and even other mobile platforms, like Android, don't face the same limit.
MySpace said to be nearing partnership deal
News Corp, the owner of MySpace is getting closer to signing a deal for MySpace since formally opening a bidding process in April. However, it appears that instead of an outright takeover, any deal will be in the form of a major partnership. News Corp, which paid $580 million for MySpace in 2005 had been hoping for offers at around $100 million for the struggling website, but has not received any credible offers in that vicinity.
France to hold tech summit on May 24-25
The French government said Friday that it will hold a summit where big presences on the Internet such as Amazon, Facebook and Google will debate how countries can bring innovation to the web. The forum will be held on May 24 and 25 in Paris and is a part of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans. In attendance will be Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos.
MySpace takes bids from six companies in selloff
News Corp's plans to sell off MySpace will come to a head this week, insiders said Tuesday night. About six companies, possibly including Vevo and Bebo's recent acquirer Criterion Capital Partners, were all expected to make bids by the end of the week. A Wall Street Journal source named an unnamed Chinese company as having talked about a deal, but it wasn't said whether this company would make the bid.
Long-term prospects yet to be seen
News Corp.'s iPad-only news magazine The Daily is losing traction, says the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. It's currently impossible to gauge the exact performance of the publication, as neither Apple nor News Corp. have released detailed figures. Because of Twitter integration, though, it becomes possible to gauge relative activity.
New York Times makes subscription plans official
(Updated with iTunes app changes) The New York Times on Thursday outlined its long referenced plans to put up a paywall and start offering subscriptions. Everyone will get their first 20 articles per month for free, but further reading will need a monthly subscription. A $15 per month plan offers full web access as well as a smartphone app; $20 per month swaps out the phone for the iPad, and an unusually steep hike to $35 is required to get both phone and iPad use.
Pew says web more popular than newspapers
Pew and the Knight Foundation in a new study has said the web has finally overtaken newspapers as the primary source of news. Internet sources are now only less popular than TV for news, and the gap between the two was "closing," Pew said. About 47 percent of those were getting news from a smartphone or another mobile device, usually for quick info such as traffic and weather.
Bob Iger and Chase Carey may give up seats
Hulu is reportedly set to downsize its board of directors, as part of a leadership reorganization designed to enable quicker decision making, unnamed sources have told the Wall Street Journal (sub. required). Several of the media executives on the current 12-seat board are said to hold conflicting views on the strategic direction the company should take.
Company said to be surprised by performance
Wall Street Journal publisher Les Hinton has highlighted the strong performance of paid subscriptions for News Corp's tablet editions. The number of paid subscribers is said to have quadrupled from last year, reaching a current level of 200,000, according to Hinton's comments today at a speech in Boston.
Media giant to meet with prospective buyers
News Corp. has reportedly ramped up efforts to divest its MySpace assets, unnamed sources have told the Wall Street Journal. Investment bank Allen & Company is said to be scheduling meetings with prospective buyers on behalf of the company, while providing the first in-depth looks at MySpace's financial information.
News Corp confirms extending The Daily trials
News Corp in a talk on Wednesday confirmed some expectations that it would extend trial periods for The Daily. Publisher Greg Clayman said that users would get extensions for 'several more weeks' to help accommodate the problems with the iPad app, including "stability issues" and other unusual behavior. He argued to paidContent that some of the problems would have been difficult to address without a wide-scale test.
News Corp runs The Daily Super Bowl ad
(Update: iPad-friendly video) News Corp during the Super Bowl made a first for a tablet magazine with both the first real TV ad (below) for The Daily as well as one the most expensive iPad app marketing efforts to date. The ad is relatively low-key and pushes both the range of content for the iPad magazine as well as its interactivity. Although it uses an iPad throughout its 30 seconds, the commercial notably doesn't make any mention of Apple's hardware by name and just refers to it as a "tablet" magazine.
Hulu exec could be forced out for defiant speech
Hulu's chief executive Jason Kilar might be removed from the top spot for a post that challenged traditional TV from studios. A News Corp executive said on Thursday that the Internet video maven would very likely be forced out as Comcast-NBC, Disney and News Corp's Fox are upset that he would criticize their TV business. The SAI tipster suggested Kilar was aware of it and was risking a 'poison pill' gesture that would lead to retaliation.
Design confirms front-facing camera
While News Corp was focusing everyone's attention on its latest iPad app, The Daily, at least one observant attendee reportedly happened to catch a glimpse of a prototype iPad. The device, which was spotted by a Reuters employee, is said to integrate a front-facing camera at the top edge of the glass bezel surrounding the LCD.
News Corp says MySpace best sold off
News Corp while talking about its latest results confirmed that it was effectively ready to sell MySpace. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey thought that the major redesign and music focus showed "very encouraging metrics" but weren't enough by themselves. Real growth "may be best achieved under a new owner," he said.
Murdoch vows The Daily for more than iPad soon
Rupert Murdoch during his introduction event for The Daily promised that the publication wouldn't be exclusive to the iPad in the long run. News Corp was "quite honest with Apple" and stressed that the daily publication would come to "all major tablets" at a certain point. He didn't confirm that it was an exclusive, but he characterized Apple as virtually controlling the tablet market for the near future.
Heralds in-app subscriptions
Media conglomerate News Corp. has formally launched The Daily, an iPad-only news publication. The app is described as an "all-media" offering, combining text, photo, video and interactive elements. The latter includes things such as a special weather and sports trackers, integrated Twitter feeds, and 360-degree panoramas. Articles can be shared via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail.