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April 2019


International News

 

AT&T MERGES HBO & TURNER

AT&T is restructuring its WarnerMedia business, as it prepares for massive layoffs & cost cuts. The aim is to reduce manpower and invest in content.



In a major reorganization, AT&T has merged its HBO premium TV with mass-market Turner networks. Richard Plepler, the head of HBO and David Levy, President of Turner Broadcasting resigned. Robert Greenblatt, a former executive at Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal unit, will oversee premium cable network HBO, cable channels TNT, TBS, Tru TV and the upcoming video streaming service as chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment.

CNN chief Jeff Zucker will now also handle WarnerMedia News & Sports division that will include CNN, Turner Sports, Bleacher Report and the AT&T Regional Sports Networks.

Kevin Tsujihara will continue as Chairman & CEO of Warner Bros studio.

John Stankey CEO WarnerMedia said "We must shift our investment focus to develop more content for emerging platforms. We can't sustain a model where we invest one dollar more than necessary in the administrative aspects of running our business."



CHINA: UPGRADING CATV TO BROADBAND

The chinese government is partnering with private companies to upgrading its cable television networks and build them into a broadband delivery networks, that will deliver integrated media transmission.

China Broadcasting Network Corporation Ltd, a state-owned company founded by the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), has signed strategic cooperation agreements with CITIC Group and Alibaba Group respectively, for upgrading the national cable TV networks as well as related product development and management.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Nie Chenxi, head of the NRTA, said by integrating cable TV networks and letting 4K, 5G, IPv6, big data, artificial intelligence and quantum communications technologies play their roles, China aims to make its national cable TV networks smarter and create new generation radio and TV IT infrastructure.


AHUJA: PRESIDENT & CFO WALT DISNEY TV

F o x N e t w o r k s Group CFO Ravi Ahuja will be joining Walt D i s n e y Television upon the close of the 21st Century F o x acquisition as President - Business Operations, and Chief Financial Officer.

Robert Langer, current CFO, Disney|ABC Television, has been appointed EVP, Finance & Planning for The Walt Disney Company, post the 21st Century Fox acquisition.

Ahuja will oversee finance, strategic planning, business development, affiliate sales & distribution, technology, music affairs, consumer insights and labor relations for the division. In addition, he will liaise with Disney's Direct-to- Consumer and International teams for ad sales & content distribution.

Peter Rice will head Walt Disney Television as chairman. Ahuja will report to Rice and Christine McCarthy, senior EVP and chief financial officer, The Walt Disney Co.


A-LA-CARTE COMPULSORY IN MAINE?

Maine, a state in USA has introduced a bill that will force Cable & DTH to offer individual channels on an a-la-carte basis. Cable companies are opposed to the bill. Spectrum - a local

MSO said "We're opposed to LD832 because it's preempted under federal law and fails to take into account the competitive video marketplace, and the fact that the way consumers get their video content has changed dramatically and continues to evolve."



MALONE EXITING EUROPE?

John Malone's Liberty Global Plc is selling assets in Europe.

Sunrise Communications Group AG said it was in talks to buy Malone's UPC Switzerland in a deal valuing the company at about 6.3 billion Swiss francs ($6.3 billion) on a debt-free basis.

Sunrise, whose enterprise value is only 4.9 billion francs, will need to raise at least 1 billion francs of equity to buy 100% of UPC Switzerland, or it will have to settle on keeping Liberty as a partner.

Liberty is also awaiting clearance to sell a collection of European assets to Vodafone Group Plc, a transaction from which it expects to reap $12.7 billion in cash.


TAINTED WB CEO QUITS

Wa r n e r B r o s . launched an investigation of its Chairman & CEO - Kevin Ts u j i h a r a , following press reports detailing an apparent relationship between him & British actress Charlotte Kirk. The charge is that Tsujihara had an affair with Kirk and then tried to help her land roles in Warner Bros. productions.

The studio previously investigated the allegations in the fall of 2017 and claimed no wrongdoing or abuse of power by Tsujihara, who is married.

Kevin Tsujihara has decided to step down from the job he has held for 6 years.

WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said "It is in the best interest of WarnerMedia, Warner Bros., our employees and our partners for Kevin to step down as Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros."


HUNEGS: PRESIDENT - DISNEY TV STUDIOS

Craig Hunegs will become President of Disney Television Studios, when Fox merges with Disney.

In his new post, Hunegs will report to Dana Walden, chairman of Disney Television Studio and ABC Entertainment.

He will oversee Disney TV operations including ABC Studio, ABC Signature, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios.

Reporting to Hunegs will be ABC Studios President, Patrick Moran; Twentieth Century Fox Television Presidents Jonathan Davis and Howard Kurtzman; and, Bert Salke, president, Fox 21 Television Studios.

Hunegs was President, business and strategy at Warner Bros. Television Group and President, Warner Bros. Digital Networks until a few months ago.


ITALY TV - AN OVERVIEW

Italy ended 2018 with a total of 421 national TV channels, owned by 128 media groups, according to research by Confindustria Radio Televisioni.

Italian media groups own 360 TV channels, of which 129 are distributed via the DTT platform and 307 on satellite (free and pay). There are 31 time-shifted versions (+1, +24) and 35 PPV services.

Of the total channels, 138 are FTA and 222 Pay-TV. There were 112 HD channels (31%).

The main media groups are Sky Italia (115 channels), Mediaset (36), RAI (26), Discovery Italia (26) and Fox Italia (22). The top 5 broadcast 225 TV channels, or 65% of the total.

On DTT, the leaders are Mediaset with 27 TV channels, followed by RAI (19), Sky Italia (14) and Discovery Italia (11). On DTH, Sky Italia dominates with 115 TV channels, ahead of RAI (26), Mediaset (26), Discovery Italia (24) and Fox Italia (22). Many of the channels (76) are also simulcast on DTT. n