After the coffee. Before watching a Senate hearing in my pajamas.
The Skinny: I think I've mentioned that I finally started watching "Sons of Anarchy." I enjoy it but do have to wonder, is there no media outlet wondering why this small California town seems overrun with violence? Anyway, today's roundup includes Comcast and Time Warner's efforts to make the case for its merger. Also, the Weather Channel and DirecTV make peace and Sony gets some new financing. Finally, the NFL gives Draft Day a thumbs up.
Daily Dose: This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to discuss Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. While executives from both companies will be there as will media watchdogs, no other big media or broadband executives are appearing even though the deal, if closed, would affect their businesses too. One reason is because while rival media giants are concerned about the sale, they are also reluctant to publicly attack two companies they do business with daily. So instead what many do is covertly help fund the watchdogs fighting the sale.
Size matters. The nation's biggest cable and broadband providers say they need to get bigger if they are going to compete against Google, Apple, Netflix and other Silicon Valley giants. In a joint filing at the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday, Comcast and Time Warner Cable made the case for combining, arguing that the public would get better service and they would have the scale they need for a strong future. All this could be done without hurting competition or consumer choice, they said. Media watchdogs and consumer activists have a hard time buying Comcast as David trying to battle Goliath. More on the FCC filing from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, ars technica and Politico.
Clear skies. The Weather Channel is finally back on DirecTV after being dropped almost three months ago. Looks like the Weather Channel was the one that said "uncle" in this fight. Not only did the channel apologize for its nasty public campaign against DirecTV, it also said it would reduce the amount of reality programming it carries, which was one of the issues the satellite broadcaster cited when it dropped the service. If that's not enough, Hilton Hotels will also pipe DirecTV into 500,000 rooms. What does that have to do with the Weather Channel? Well, private equity firm Blackstone Group owns Hilton and is a big owner of the Weather Channel. The two deals happening within one day of each other isn't a coincidence. Details on the deal from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
Seal of approval. "Draft Day," the sports drama about the National Football League's annual draft of college football players starring Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner and Denis Leary that opens this weekend, has another big-name co-star: The NFL. Not only did the league consult on the movie, Commissioner Roger Goodell also pops up. The NFL is very protective of its brand, so for the filmmakers it was either play nice or don't play. More on the making of "Draft Day" from the Los Angeles Times.
More money. Sony Corp. has closed a new movie co-financing pact. According to Variety, the movie studio struck the $200-million deal with LStar Capital, a unit of Lone Star Capital Bank and Citigroup. Among the movies the funds will go to are "Sex Tape," "The Equalizer" and sequels "22 Jump Street," "Think Like a Man Too."
Be like Netflix. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, who is no favorite of broadcasters because of some new tough regulations his agency approved, told the industry it needs to stop focusing on fees from pay-TV distributors and try to be more like a Netflix. "Broadcast licensees are no more in the 'television' business than a canal company was in the barge business. Your business horizons are greater than your current product," Wheeler said. More on his remarks from Re/Code.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mickey Rooney's last years were anything but happy, and old family feuds are continuing after his death.
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