Morning Fix: AT&T eyes DirecTV! Viacom buys Channel 5.

“Orange Is the New Black”
Negotiating with Netflix, home to “Orange Is the New Black,” can be an adventure.

After the coffee. Before figuring out where April went.

The Skinny: Is there anyone not interested in buying the Clippers? Every hour another five names pop up. Of course, Donald Sterling has said he’s not selling, so who knows how all this ugliness will ultimately play out? Today’s roundup includes AT&T making an overture to DirecTV. Also, Viacom buys Channel 5 in Britain and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler defends his approach to net neutrality.

Daily Dose: Viacom is playing hardball with Cable One, a pay-TV distributor that is no longer carrying the media giant’s networks including Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. Now Viacom is blocking the websites for its channels from Cable One broadband subscribers. The issue here is this is not content other broadband subscribers pay for, this is the free stuff that Viacom makes available on the Web.

Reach out and buy someone. AT&T has approached DirecTV about buying the satellite broadcaster. For AT&T, a deal would make it a serious player in the TV distribution business as DirecTV has almost 40 million subscribers worldwide. DirecTV would gain from being part of a company that sells broadband. Talks are  preliminary and no sale is guaranteed. More from the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.


The defense rests. Federal Communications Commissioner Tom Wheeler issued a forceful defense of the new open Internet rules he has proposed that critics fear would put too much power in the hands of broadband providers, limit innovation and cause bills to go up for customers. In a speech to cable industry executives, Wheeler said the FCC will use whatever means necessary, including possibly regulating broadband the way public utilities are regulated to ensure that does not happen. Details on the speech from the Los Angeles Times and Broadcasting & Cable.

Cheerio. Viacom has struck a deal to buy the British network Channel 5 for about $760 million. Other suitors included at one point Discovery Communications and BSkyB. For Viacom, the acquisition will give it a new market to push its content, which is critical as the U.S. market matures. Early takes on the deal from the Guardian and the Los Angeles Times.

Not so fast. Despite the fact that California is losing lots of movie and TV productions to other states that offer better tax breaks, the state Legislative Analyst’s Office said lawmakers shouldn’t be in a rush to increase subsidies for Hollywood. "The state government receives far less revenue back than it spends on the tax credit,” the report said. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times.

Negotiating in the dark. Creators love producing for Netflix for the freedom and deep pockets. But since Netflix doesn’t tell anyone how well its shows are doing, it means lawyers and agents negotiating with the company feel as if they are fighting with one arm tied behind their back. The Hollywood Reporter on how Netflix’s secrecy about ratings can affect talent deals.


The people have spoken. Every year, USA Today surveys its readers about what TV shows should be saved from the hook. With new schedules being announced in two weeks, time is running out on some fan favorites. This year, “Law & Order SVU” and “Parenthood” are the shows viewers don’t want to go away.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

Follow me on Twitter. It will ease my frustration. @JBFlint.

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