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Tribune turns down Gannett offer; YouTube developing paid subscription service


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Tribune turns down Gannett offer; YouTube developing paid subscription service


* 's boardrejected Gannett CoInc.'s unsolicited offer for the company. In a letter addressed to Gannett Chairman John Jeffry LouisIII and company CEO Robert Dickey, Tribune said the $12.25-per-share offer was"opportunistic" and "understates" the company's true value.Tribune Publishing CEO Justin Dearborn said in a that the company at thebeginning of "a compelling transformation" and the company isconfident that its stand-alone strategic plan will generate greater shareholdervalue than is implied with Gannett's offer.Dearborn added that the Tribune board was always open to evaluating anycredible proposal it believes is in the best interests of the company and itsshareholders.

Inresponse, Gannett said the comparable trading values and comparableacquisition multiples presented by Tribune are based on "inappropriateselections of public companies and transactions." Gannett asked Tribune toexplain to its shareholders how the offer is low when Tribune in Februaryissued shares to its Chairman Michael Ferro Jr. at $8.50 per share. Gannettsaid that the rejection reaffirms its concerns that Tribune "neverintended to engage with us." Gannett urged Tribune stockholders to"withhold" votes at their annual shareholders meeting to compelTribune's board into engaging with Gannett.

*Google Inc.'s YouTubeis planning to launch a paid subscription service, called Unplugged, in 2017,Bloomberg News reports,citing sources. The service will reportedly allow users to stream a bundle oftelevision channels for less than $35 a month. The sources said YouTube executiveshave held talks with companies, including Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal Media LLC, , and , for rights to streamtheir programming. Google is a unit of Alphabet Inc.

Internet & OTT

*Walt Disney Co. isinterested in acquiring about one-third of MLB Advanced Media's videotechnology business BAM Tech for up to $1 billion, Re/code reports,citing industry sources. The deal, which would reportedly provide BAM Tech witha valuation of nearly $3 billion, includes an option for Disney to buy acontrolling stake in the video streaming company. Other parties pursuing BAMTech include private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.

*Synacor Inc. won anagreement to offer portal services to AT&T Inc. customers. The deal is expected togenerate $100 million a year in revenues after the full deployment of productsin 2017, Synacor said in a newsrelease. Under the agreement, Synacor will develop and managedesktop and mobile portal services to drive user engagement, and monetize themvia search and advertising.

*Apple Inc. is gearingup to unveil a revamped version of its Apple Music service at the company's WorldwideDevelopers Conference in June, Bloomberg News reports,citing sources familiar with the details. The tech giant will reportedly givethe music streaming service a new user interface and work to better integrateits streaming and download businesses. Apple will also expand its online radioservice. The move comes after Apple Music reportedly received mixed reviews andwent through management changes. The initiative is being headed by RobertKondrk, head of content, and singer Trent Reznor. Apple Chief Design OfficerJony Ive's team, Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, and Eddy Cue, Apple's seniorvice president of Internet services, are also involved in the project.

TV Networks

*Discovery CommunicationsInc. is offering voluntary buyouts to its U.S. employees as partof its cost-savings plan. The cost-savings plan, which the company expects toimplement completely by the end of the third quarter, will include personneladjustments, restructurings and budget reallocations. The company expects toincur $40 million to $60 million in expenses for severance pay and other costsrelating to personnel adjustments, according to an SEC . The company is also planningadditional actions to reduce its non-personnel costs. The cost-cutting initiativeswill help the company invest in "four key areas: more loved content;sports and other valuable IP; digital services and OTT products; andinternational growth markets," Discovery President and CEO David Zaslavsaid in an internal memo to employees.


*Live Nation EntertainmentInc. teamed up with virtual reality startup NextVR to offer"hundreds" of live musical performances in VR, The Hollywood Reporter reports.Users can reportedly watch live performances via free NextVR app for SamsungGear VR headsets, according to the report.

Film & TV Programming

*Paramount Pictures inked an exclusive deal with the U.K.-based CG feature animation studioLocksmith Animation to develop and produce a series of animated films. TheViacom unit will first work with Locksmith Animation on three titles, which theElisabeth Murdoch-backed company has been developing since 2014. The firsttheatrical release is planned for 2020, according to a company . The two studiosalso agreed to develop other projects over time.

The day ahead

Earlymorning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

InAsia, the Hang Seng fell 0.37% to 20,449.82, while the Nikkei 225 was down3.11% to 16,147.38. In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.07% to6,116.36, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.39% to 853.08.

On the macro front

Thejobless claims report, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet andthe money supply report are due out today.

Featured news

The Daily DoseEurope: BT 'likely' buyer for Channel 4; Axel Springer sells Smarthouseunit: A study commissioned by Channel 4 (UK) revealed as the likely U.K.buyer for the British broadcaster, while Axel Springer sold Smarthouse Media ina deal worth €24 million.

ConferenceChatter: Apple's video play, a make-or-break opportunity: WithApple sentiment souring lately, a panel of Hollywood executives and investorsat Digital Hollywood discussed the company's video opportunity and whether itcan save Apple from the pangs of maturity.

ConferenceChatter: Upfront and Personal: Hulu CEO confirms live OTT streaming servicecoming in 2017: Although short on details, CEO Mike Hopkins toldmedia buyers at Hulu's upfront that it plans to launch a live, over-the-topstreaming service next year. The company also emphasized its commitment toadding more content, including original series, and the debut of a documentaryfilm unit, showcasing a theatrical about The Beatles.

WashingtonWatch: Questions to ask before the incentive auction: The clockphase of the FCC's reverse auction of spectrum is set to begin at the end ofthe month. But a number of questions remain.

ConferenceChatter: Upfront and Personal: Condé Nast Entertainment inks Comcast deal, setsVR scripted series: Condé Nast Entertainment executives told mediabuyers that the company is committed to producing more millennial-targetedpremium video, including virtual reality fare, and that it will expand itsdistribution footprint via a deal with Comcast.

LatAm videospotlight: Movistar Play makes Panamanian debut: In this monthlyfeature, SNL Kagan provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top,video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in different Latin Americanmarkets.

The ShortReport: Pandora's short interest grows in early April: climbed tothe top of the list of new media companies with the biggest gains in short interestin the first half of April.

The ShortReport: Netflix tops list of short interest decliners in 1st half ofApril: NetflixInc. witnessed a short interest drop of 354 basis points betweenMarch 31 and April 15 to 8.06% of outstanding shares.

The ShortReport: NTELOS' short interest falls in early April: topped thelist of short interest decliners among communications companies measured by SNLKagan in the first half of April.

Data Dispatch:Breaking down two quarters of misses with Alphabet investors:Alphabet has been weighed down by expenses and currency headwinds, but thesell-off may be overstated.

Data Dispatch:Chart Watch: DreamWorks Animation to join Comcast family in largest AprilM&A deal: NBCUniversal Media LLC's announced acquisition ofDreamWorks Animation SKGInc. was the top deal of the month across the media, new media andcommunications sectors.

Featured research

Broadcast Investor: Broadcast transactions – 4th week of April2016: In the fourth week of April, we registered broadcast dealvolume of only $2.7 million.

Recent earnings          

Cable,television driving modest gains at Fox: The company sawsingle-digit revenue growth that was in line with expectations for thejust-ended quarter, setting it up for near flat year-over-year growth for the2016 fiscal year, executives said.

Time Warnerexecs talk advanced ads, upfronts, reduced ad loads: As traditionaladvertising revenues continue to rise at Time Warner's Turner, the company alsois experimenting with new ways of buying and selling ads.

Time Warner CEOsees 'vibrant rebirth' of TV networks: is embracingon-demand and over-the-top services, with CEO Jeffrey Bewkes saying they areushering in a "vibrant rebirth of the strength of TV networks.