AT&T has sold its 9.5 percent stake in Hulu back to the company for $1.43 billion, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The sale is expected to allow AT&T to focus its attention on the streaming service it is launching later this year. It also puts Disney more firmly in the driver’s seat at Hulu, adding to the 60 percent of the company that Disney currently controls (the rest is controlled by Comcast). While the sale price is more than twice the $583 million that Time Warner paid for its share of Hulu in 2016, it doesn’t do much to lighten the $170 billion net debt load that AT&T has taken on in the wake of its Time Warner acquisition. While Hulu says it gained eight million subscribers in 2018 for a year-end total of 25 million, and has seen its valuation grow from $5.8 billion to $15 billion, it is still a distant second to Neflix, which has 139 million subscribers.
Newsweek is enlisting the Poynter Institute for Media Studies to help the publication “review and support newsroom standards, ethics and processes.” Poynter senior vice president Kelly McBride will work with Newsweek editor-in-chief Nancy Cooper to ensure that its newsroom employees are educated in best practices. The collaboration is the first formalized ethics consulting project of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at Poynter. It comes following a year in which Newsweek has seen charges from editors that their reporting was being interfered with and an indictment against its former parent company in a fraud and money laundering case. “At a time when the public’s trust of the media is at an all-time low, it’s crucial for us to be transparent about our processes and explicit in our commitment to integrity,” said Cooper. “We look forward to working closely with Kelly to further support our dedication to quality journalism.”
Time magazine is staffing up for its new life as an independent publication. Thanks to the financial backing of the magazine’s new owner, Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff, Time is investing in both its current employees (according to WWD, all those employees who made it through the transition process received $1,000 bonuses) and in new hires to expand its coverage. Tina Susman, formerly national editor at BuzzFeed, and Lori Fradkin, who was executive editor of cosmopolitan.com, have both been hired as senior editors. Sam Jacobs, who most recently served as digital director and executive editor, has been upped to deputy editor, overseeing reporting and content as well as managing the newsroom. Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said that hiring was necessary in order for the publication to grow. He also asserted that Time is “solidly profitable,” and that its growth will be largely dependent on driving consumer revenue in the form of both events and subscriptions.