Sinclair Broadcast Group has sold seven of its TV stations to 21st Century Fox, at a price of $910 million. Six of the stations that Fox is acquiring are already Fox TV network affiliates. The deal is part of an effort by Sinclair to scale back its holdings as it works to gain regulatory approval of a $4.6 billion merger with Tribune Media. However, it will also give Sinclair the option to pick up two Fox stations: WPWR in Chicago and Fox-affiliate KTBC in Austin, TX. Following the transaction, Fox will have a presence in 19 of the top 20 media markets. The move comes as the parts of Fox that will not be sold to Comcast or Disney are looking to focus on broadcast television, local news and sports.
Gannett’s growth in digital advertising/subscriptions could not overcome the downtown in print and circulation, resulting in a $377K first-quarter deficit. Digital ad revenues increased nine percent to $255.5M, representing about 35 percent of total revenue. Print advertising plunged 17.2 percent quarter and circulation sales dipped five percent. Gannett’s total revenue declined 7.2 percent to $723M.
John Skipper, who resigned as ESPN president last December following what he said were extortion threats from his cocaine dealer, has been named executive chairman of the streaming sports media company Perform Group. Skipper will oversee all of the UK-based company’s operations and strategy and report to the firm’s board. Simon Denyer, Perform Group’s founder, will remain the company’s CEO. Perform says that Skipper’s hire is part of its strategy for global expansion across all divisions, including DAZN, its live and on-demand streaming service. “Perform Group’s platform and expertise, coupled with its success in launching subscription services in Germany, Japan and Canada provides a model we intend to replicate around the world,” Skipper said in a statement.
The Economist has launched a new app aimed at improving the digital reading experience. The publication has seen steady increases in digital subscriptions over the last few years. The most recent Audited Bureau of Circulations report shows a 25 percent boost in year-over-year rise in digital subscriptions globally, with North America seeing a 38 percent boost and the UK up by 11 percent. The Economist app’s new features include a list of articles from the print edition and economist.com, curated by Economist journalists daily. Additional features are expected to be added over the next six months, including access to back issues, offline audio and other content from The Economist. The new app is available for iPhone and iPad in the iTunes store.
Snap Inc., the parent of Snapchat, is bringing on Tim Stone, Amazon’s vice president of finance, as its new chief financial officer. Stone succeeds Drew Vollero, who came to Snap in 2015 and engineered the company’s public offering in January 2017. The company’s financial performance since its IPO has been spotty at best, reporting $231 million in revenue during 2018’s first quarter, falling short of the $244 million that Wall Street had projected. At Amazon, where he worked for 20 years, Stone led the integration of the company’s $13.7-billion acquisition of Whole Foods. In his new post, he will receive a $500,000 yearly salary plus $20 million in restricted stock units.