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Feb 7, 2014

Backlash hits AOL CEO who linked pension cuts to ‘distressed babies’

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES, Feb 7 (Reuters) – AOL Inc
Chief Executive Tim Armstrong tried to tamp down a backlash
after he linked a cut to pension benefits with rising insurance
costs due to two employees’ “distressed babies,” insisting that
the Internet provider was focused on families.

Armstrong’s comments on Thursday during a company town hall
about why it was cutting 401(k) contributions caused a fire
storm on social media overshadowing positive quarterly results
from AOL and marked the second recent instance when a gaffe by
Armstrong left the CEO with some explaining to do.

Feb 6, 2014

Amazon asks customers to pick from TV pilots for show development

LOS ANGELES, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc
released its second batch of TV pilots on Thursday and asked for
customer feedback to help determine which of the 10 shows to
develop into series for its video streaming service.

The company is investing in original content to attract
customers to its $79-a-year Amazon Prime service, which competes
for online viewers with services such as Netflix and
Hulu.com. Prime also includes free two-day shipping for Amazon
products.

Feb 6, 2014

Disney shares jump as film hit ‘Frozen’ heats up profit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Media company Walt Disney Co reported higher profit for the quarter that ended in December, beating Wall Street expectations due to growth at sports network ESPN and the blockbuster performance of its animated hit film “Frozen.”

Disney shares jumped 3.9 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday to $74.52, up from their earlier $71.76 close on the New York Stock Exchange.

Feb 5, 2014

CBS wins bid to air eight Thursday night NFL football games

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The CBS television network won a bidding war to air eight Thursday night National Football League games during the 2014 season, giving it one of the most highly prized programs on a night coveted by TV advertisers.

CBS and the NFL announced the deal on Wednesday.

CBS, which competed against the NBC and Fox networks, ESPN and Turner Broadcasting System, had been considered a long shot at the outset of the bidding because of its strong Thursday night lineup, which includes TV’s leading comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” and ratings mainstay “Two and A Half Men.”

Feb 5, 2014

CBS wins bid to televise 8 Thursday night NFL football games

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The CBS television network won a bidding war to air eight Thursday night National Football League games during the 2014 season, giving CBS one of TV’s most highly prized programs on the night generally most coveted by advertisers.

CBS and the NFL announced the deal on Wednesday.

CBS, which competed against the NBC and Fox networks, ESPN and Turner Broadcasting System, had been considered a long shot at the outset of the bidding because of its strong Thursday night lineup, which includes TV’s leading comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” and ratings mainstay “Two and A Half Men.”

Feb 4, 2014

Hit movies expected to boost Disney quarterly results

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Wall Street expects two new princesses and a muscular Marvel superhero to help lift Walt Disney Co’s quarterly results, as the company reaps the benefits of strong performances from film sequel “Thor: The Dark World” and animated musical mega-hit “Frozen.”

On Wednesday, the media and theme park operator is forecast to report $1.6 billion in net income for the December quarter, a 14 percent gain from a year earlier, according to the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. They expect earnings of 91 cents a share.

Feb 3, 2014

Budweiser scores buzz in Super Bowl ad battle

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Budweiser commercials about a returning soldier and a love-struck puppy emerged as winners in the high-stakes brand battle during football’s Super Bowl, as advertisers used Hollywood stars and slick cars to woo consumers.

The Budweiser ads took the two top spots in online buzz immediately following the game, according to iSpot, which tracks video views and social media comments. One showed a soldier coming home to a parade, and the other featured a Labrador puppy and the beermaker’s famous Clydesdale horses.

Jan 30, 2014

Brands bet on star power to shine through ad-cluttered Super Bowl

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Celebrity
endorsements are as common during Super Bowl telecasts as pizza
and chicken wings, but this year some advertisers are betting
their brands will need star power more than ever to justify the
$4 million they are paying on average for 30 seconds of time
during the big game.

This year’s contest will feature actress Scarlett Johansson
seductively hawking SodaStream, a machine for making
soda at home, and the “Terminator” Arnold Schwarzenegger
strangely attired in a blonde wig to extol the virtues of Bud
Light beer.

Jan 29, 2014

As Olympics loom, NBC leads in the race for prized viewers

Jan 28 (Reuters) – Comcast Corp’s NBC network, for
years a ratings laggard, is ahead in a key contest among
broadcasters even before it attracts millions of viewers this
month to its marquee event, the Winter Olympics.

“The Blacklist,” which stars James Spader as a master
criminal who helps the FBI, and the second-year drama “Chicago
Fire” have pushed NBC into the lead among viewers 18 to 49, the
group most prized by advertisers.

Jan 27, 2014

Comcast adds live streaming to TV for Olympics digital coverage

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Comcast Corp will launch its most ambitious digital video and on-demand effort yet for the Winter Olympics, using the games’ vast audience to promote and test its newest viewing features for televisions, tablets and mobile phones.

For the first time, customers with Comcast’s Xfinity TV X1 set-top box can stream live all Olympic sporting events on their televisions, through an app called NBC Sports Live Extra, as well as on tablets and mobile phones. Other pay TV subscribers can access the app only through mobile devices.