L.A. Entertainment Employment Soars In New Media And Digital Management

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Employment for a jobs category that includes promoters, agents and managers has spurred major employment growth in the Los Angeles entertainment industry, according to a new report.
The Center for a Competitive Workforce issued the report on Friday. It claimed entertainment industry employment grew 19.6% from 2007 to 2016, far outstripping the four percent growth across all industries during the same period.
The Center for a Competitive Workforce is a partnership between…

AT&T Chief On Time Warner: “We Remain Very Confident” In Deal Close

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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson devoted precious few minutes of the company’s hour-long conference call with analysts to the pending legal battle with the government over the Time Warner acquisition.
He noted the trial date of March 19 and reiterated the company’s upbeat view of its chances. “We remain very confident we will complete this merger,” he said.
With the Time Warner drama put to the side and not explored in any of the analysts’ questions, the call about the company…

Chelsea Handler: How Trump, Weinstein, #MeToo Changed Gender Politics On Anniversary Of Sundance Women’s March – Guest Column

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Last year, Chelsea Handler was literally and figuratively on the front lines of the March on Main that dominated the first weekend of the Sundance Film Festival, as millions of Americans nationwide took to the streets for Women’s Marches protesting Donald Trump‘s accession to the Presidency and in support of a variety of causes. Handler will not be in Park City for tomorrow’s Respect Rally, but the longtime talk-show host, who announced in October she was stepping back…

‘Fire And Fury’ Publisher Calls White House Demands “Flagrantly Unconstitutional”

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Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff’s publisher today called any attempt to interfere with publication of the incendiary tell-all “flagrantly unconstitutional.” Backed by his lawyer’s unqualified rebuff of the White House demand that Henry Holt and Company terminate publication of the book, which has been flying out of bookstores and across the Internet since late last week, Macmillan Publishers CEO John Sargent told employees, “We will not allow any president to achieve…

Congressional Democrats Call For Disney-Fox Hearings Amid Antitrust Concerns

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As analysts and legal experts mull how the Trump administration’s Department of Justice might treat Disney’s planned acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets, a leading Democrat on the Senate’s antitrust oversight committee is calling for hearings on the proposed merger.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the ranking Democrat on the Senate subcommittee, requested a hearing on the proposed mega-deal, echoing concerns voiced by advocates who worry the $66 billion deal…

FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules In Party-Line Vote

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The FCC has just voted to repeal its net neutrality rules put into place by the Obama Administration. The vote, as expected was 3-2 along party lines. The move effectively trashed the rules that require Internet providers like Comcast or AT&T to treat all web traffic equally.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai framed the vote as a return to the bipartisan Internet regulation stance that prevailed before 2015, when the Democratic-led commission imposed net neutrality rules. “Americans…

FCC Chairman Proposes Repealing “Heavy-Handed” Net Neutrality Rules

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FCC chairman Ajit Pai will propose repealing net neutrality rules put in place during the Obama Administration, calling the regulations both “heavy-handed” and a “mistake.”
The commission will vote on the proposal in December, effectively trashing the rules that require Internet providers like Comcast or AT&T to treat all web traffic equally. He argues that these regulations are too burdensome and stifle innovation.
“Today, I have shared with my colleagues a draft order…

AT&T-Time Warner Merger Antitrust Review Casting Pall Over Fox Talks

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As a growing list of potential buyers explore talks with 21st Century Fox, any deal will hinge on the actions of a powerful player that’s not present at the negotiating table: the Justice Department.
The outcome of the DOJ’s antitrust review of AT&T’s proposed $85.4 billion merger with Time Warner may well determine whether media conglomerates like Comcast or Verizon make a bid for some of Fox’s entertainment assets.
If the Trump Administration moves to block the…

‘Atomic Homefront’ – How A Story About The End Of Local Journalism Became A Powerful Indictment Of Government Inaction

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The chilling documentary Atomic Homefront has been running in Los Angeles and will be shown next week at DOC NYC. Thatt will be followed by a commercial run in Manhattan before going into rotation on HBO beginning in February. It’s literally a NIMBY story – Not In My Back Yard – in which the residents of Coldwater Creek and Bridgeton, suburbs of St. Louis, MO, discover the source of an epidemic of cancers and other diseases that has decimated their families.
Beginning in…

Sinclair Profit And Income Drop; Execs Eye Tribune Deal Close In Early 2018

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Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose pending acquisition of Tribune Media stands to make the No. 1 local TV player a far more influential colossus, reported declines in third-quarter revenue and profits but praised the FCC’s recent deregulatory moves. It said it expects the Tribune deal to close by early 2018.
Total revenues dipped 3.3% to $670.9 million, compared with $693.8 million in the year-ago quarter. The company identified $3.1 million of lost revenue it blamed on the…

Barry Diller’s Fantasy ‘Island’, Once Drowned, Is Undead

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IAC chief and Gotham philanthropist Barry Diller knows things that float will rise to the surface. Six weeks ago, Diller startled New York officials by pulling the plug on Pier 55, his futuristic park and performing arts complex that was going to rise in the Hudson River as a centerpiece in public reclamation of the once-crumbling and abandoned West Side waterfront. Today it appears to be revived.
Known informally as Diller Island, the cost of the project had ballooned…

NYC Film Czar Julie Menin Follows Up A Grammy Awards Coup With A Timely Focus On Women In The Biz

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It took 16 months of arm-twisting, glad-handing, elbow-jabbing, butt-bussing bicoastal diplomacy and numbers-crunching, but January’s 60th annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast by CBS from Madison Square Garden. The ceremony hasn’t originated in New York City since 2003, so the announcement proved to be a very high-profile, thumbs-up event for both Mayor Bill de Blasio and a city agency head more accustomed to complaints than congratulations.
The optics were terrific for…

Tribune Shareholders OK Sinclair Deal Amid Stopped Clock

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Tribune Media shareholders have overwhelmingly approved a $3.9 billion deal for the company to be acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group, one that will make Sinclair the nation’s most powerful local TV broadcaster.
The news comes a day after the FCC’s Media Bureau said it was stopping its 180-day clock on a ruling about the transaction, a fairly standard move as the agency seeks additional comments. It said the clock resumes November 2, the same day comments are…

Alfonso Cuarón, Lin-Manuel Miranda Sponsor Disaster Relief For Mexico, Puerto Rico

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With videos and web links, Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón and Hamilton mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda have put their considerable financial and creative muscle behind disaster relief efforts in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Their works go beyond fund-raising and have equally to do with consciousness raising regarding the earthquake and hurricane catastrophes that have ravaged both areas.
In the wake of the devastating earthquakes and powerful aftershocks that recently hit…

Barry Diller’s $250M Floating Island In The Hudson Is Sunk

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Pier 55, the performance space planned on for a floating man-made island in the Hudson River south of Midtown, was declared dead Wednesday by its chief underwriters, IAC chief Barry Diller and his wife, the clothing designer Diane von Furstenberg. Diller pulled the plug on the ambitious project – for which he had enlisted the support of producer Scott Rudin and, for artistic guidance, director George C. Wolfe –  after six years of planning, investment and a battery of…

Brazilian Antitrust Officials Question AT&T’s Bid For Time Warner

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UPDATED, 4:50 PM: Mexico’s antitrust authorities today approved the AT&T’s pending merger with Time Warner. “We appreciate the work of both COFECE and IFT to review, analyze and approve the AT&T-Time Warner merger on its merits,” said David McAtee, Senior EVP and General Counsel of AT&T Inc. “The merger of our two companies will bring together the world’s best premium content with the networks to deliver that content to every screen, however customers want it.”
PREVIOUSLY…

Critics Of Sinclair-Tribune Deal Tell FCC It Would Politicize Local News, Raise Prices

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Sinclair Broadcast Group’s $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media will give the company unprecedented power to politicize local TV news,  raise pay TV and ad rates, slow the growth of wireless broadband, and determine what new broadcast technologies can succeed, opponents of the deal charged in filings at the FCC ahead of last night’s deadline for critics to file their concerns.
Companies including Dish Network and T-Mobile, cable TV trade organizations, public…

Sinclair And Nexstar Vow To Share Spectrum To Help Next-Gen TV Transition

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Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Media Group said today that they will share airwave spectrum in 43 markets where they both have stations to promote a transition to a new broadcast standard — ATSC 3.0 — that supporters say could revolutionize over-the-air TV.
The new standard will make it easier to meld 4K programming and interactive broadband data in over-the-air transmissions. But it will not work on current TV sets.
As a result, companies expect the FCC will allow…

NYC Unveils ‘CreateNYC’ 10-Year Plan To Expand And Diversify Arts & Culture

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl released Wednesday what they dubbed the city’s first-ever comprehensive culture plan. Enfolded in a glossy, 175-page manifesto called CreateNYC, the ambitious, 10-year plan addresses issues ranging from increasing access to arts and culture programing to the farthest reaches of the five boroughs to making the upper ranks of New York cultural institutions more reflective of the city’s…

Are Bots Flooding The FCC With Bogus Calls To Weaken Net Neutrality Rules?

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Seems like there’s a lot of fakery in Washington these days — not just involving the President’s dim view of the Fourth Estate or bogus Time magazine cover.
Today, House Committee on Energy and Commerce ranking member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe to investigate whether bots flooded the FCC with thousands of fake comments favoring a weakening of net neutrality protections.
Those behind the filings “may be…

Sinclair & Other Station Biggies Hit Back As Court Stays FCC Ownership Rule

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The D.C Circuit Court of Appeals today stayed a vote by the FCC to reinstate a rule that would ease restrictions on TV station mergers. The ruling (read it here) allows the court time to further review the rule, known as the UHF discount, which had been scrapped last fall.
New FCC Chariman Ajit Pai was among the dissenters in that September 2016 decision to abandon the rule, and its reinstatement was seen as a driver in allowing Sinclair to make its $3.9 billion…