RadiumOne’s new CEO Bill Lonergan is responding to ousted leader Gurbaksh Chahal, and his claims of betrayal by the company’s board. “Since he was fired over the weekend … Chahal has been on a tear on social media, accusing the board of encouraging him to plead guilty [to two misdemeanors of battery and domestic violence] and then betraying him,” Re/Code reports. In a memo, Lonergan writes: “Given recent developments, it became clear that Gurbaksh’s ability to lead the company had been severely compromised by the legal proceedings.”
Magna Global is predicting that U.S. ad revenue will grow 6% to $168 billion, "an increase from its previous forecast of 5.5 percent, thanks to the World Cup, mid-term elections and other non-recurring events taking place in 2014," writes Kristin Brzoznowski.
PolicyMic -- which CNNMoney.com describers as a “BuzzFeed-like online startup” -- just raised $10 million to compete against other Buzzfeed-like online startups, and maybe even Buzzfeed. “The 3-year-old Web site caters to young people with catchy headlines, graphics and a mix of original articles and aggregation, along the lines of larger sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy,” CNNMoney reports. Investors include Netscape co-founder Jim Clark.
Word is that Disney recently wanted to buy Buzzfeed, but they couldn’t agree on fair terms. “Talks apparently broke down over price -- with BuzzFeed said to have sought upwards of $1 billion -- and are not believed to still be active,” Fortune reports. “Discussions with Disney wound down as Disney's pursuit of multichannel video network Maker Studios heated up.” Disney has since agreed to pay $500 million for Maker -- “plus possible earn-outs that could bring the deal closer to $1 billion,” Fortune reports.
The New York Times is expanding its digital video selection, redesigning and reorganizing its video hub under 14 channels, "and adding a native-ad product called Branded Playlists," writes Michael Sebastian of what the paper plans to showcase as part of the Newsfronts. "Acura is the initial sponsor of the Times' new video hub," and one of the new shows, "Verbatim," will feature "members of the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe read[ing] legal transcripts word-for-word."
Cue the John Travolta imitation. Fox will air a live broadcast of "Grease," "the highest-grossing movie musical ever," starring a "young ensemble cast," in 2015, writes Lesley Goldberg. NBC's excellent ratings for its late 2013 broadcast of a live version of "The Sound of Music" (this year, it will be "Peter Pan,") undoubtedly influenced Fox's decision.
Albeit at the expense of Net neutrality, the FCC’s decision to let content providers pay a premium for more secure streaming will likely help the Web truly challenge cable and its bundled content model. So suggests David Carr, who writes in The New York Times: “It could mean that costs will rise for streaming outfits like Apple, Hulu and Netflix -- costs that will be passed onto the consumer -- but it will also mean a more stable platform for viewing on the Internet.”
RadiumOne’s board of directors hopes to severe all ties with CEO Gurbaksh Chahal, following his recent conviction for domestic violence and battery. “The other directors of the advertising tech company had been mulling what to do about Chahal -- who is board chairman,” Re/Code reports. However, sources say that Chahal “might resist [his dismissal] and has significant shares in RadiumOne to mount a challenge.”
Lucky magazine's editor and publisher, plus Conde Nast's CEO, all sent emails reassuring staff that a New York Post item speculating on the pub's demise was an untrue rumor. Editor Eva Chen cited some happy stats: "Lucky’s May issue was up 18.7 percent and for February through May, the publication is up 2 percent in paging," writes Alexandra Steigrad. Still, Steigrad notes other, less happy numbers, with ad page declines from October to April for every month except February.
Beating analysts’ expectations, Amazon said first-quarter revenue reached $19.74 billion, this week. Profits were 27% year-over-year to $108 million. “That figure is up 23% over last year’s $16.1 billion,” Forbes reports. Better yet, as on exec noted during Amazon’s earnings calls, “video streams on Prime Instant Video nearly tripled year over year.” Still, as Forbes notes, “Q2 guidance shows Amazon predicting an operating loss of between $55 million and $455 million.”