Media Insider: Media Industry Looks Weak in Q1, Viacom and Snapchat Partner on New Shows, ESPN Discontinues Public Editor Position

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media stories from the insider media industry

Media Industry Looks Weak in Q1

Heading into the corporate earnings reporting season, one market researcher warns investors against traditional media stocks as the industry faces disruption from a rapid shift in consumer habits and the entrance of new cash-rich competitors such as Wall Street darlings Netflix Inc. and Inc. Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser attributed much of the weakness to cord shaving and cord cutting, which he indicates is eating away at subscriber bases and affiliate fee revenues.

For additional financial media news: Newspaper revenue also fell in Q1 by as much as 10 percent

Viacom and Snap Are Eyeing Snapchat Stars for Shows

Viacom and Snapchat are working together to create new shows that would feature Snapchat stars. In a multiyear original content and advertising deal renewal, the media giant said Snap approached Viacom about developing and producing shows using top Snapchat celebrities. Viacom could cast those stars in existing programming that it’s producing for Snapchat — say, as a guest on the Snapchat version of the reality series “Cribs” — or develop new show ideas and formats with select influencers. Snapchat also has original content and advertising partnerships with other media giants, including NBCUniversal and Turner.

In other video news: Condé Nast is making a big play for the new generation, beefing up video offerings and expanding its OTT distribution.

Google News Gets Material Design Look, Better Personalization With AI

At Google I/O this week, Google debuted its revamped Google News program, which has been redesigned to tackle three goals: Help users keep up with the stories they care about, help those users fully understand stories, and make it easier for users to support news organizations they trust. The company debuted the new Google News during the I/O keynote, showing off many features in mobile-app form. A general briefing sits at the top of the app, highlighting five of the biggest stories happening now. Google News then uses artificial intelligence to populate the rest of the news feed, selecting stories that appeal to users and their interests. It also will feature local stories and events based on user location.

Read more: Google News will go through even more changes, redesigning its look and incorporating YouTube videos and magazines.

ESPN Discontinues Public Editor Position

ESPN’s editorial board this week decided to discontinue the position of public editor (originally begun as an ombudsman), explaining that social platforms have rendered the position useless. Kevin Merida, an ESPN senior vice president and chair of the editorial board, noted the elimination of The New York Times and Washington Post public editors preceded ESPN’s move. NPR and PBS are among the shrinking ranks of news organizations with outside public editors.

In other ESPN news: The network recently launched the Longhorn Network, a $300 million, 20-year-deal to distribute University of Texas sports programming.

Sun Sentinel Apologizes for Gun Ad on Front Page

The South Florida Sun Sentinel’s editor-in-chief, Julie Anderson, apologized for the newspaper’s front page last week, which featured two stories on gun violence juxtaposed with the image of a gun in an ad for a gun show. The Sun Sentinel already had a policy of no gun ads on its front page. What’s more, it is the home newspaper of Parkland, where Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is located. In a tweet, Anderson called the front page “personally devastating,” and said the paper is instituting a new desk policy that requires all front-page proofs — early full-page copies — to be in hard copy so the entire page can be seen at a glance.

More newspaper news: The Westmoreland News, issued its own apology last week for publishing a KKK propaganda flyer on its front page.

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Maria Perez is Director, Web Experience & Operations at PR Newswire. An animal lover, she curates content for @PRNPets – that is, when she’s not busy cuddling with her 10-year-old blind Maltese, Toody.

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