Media Insider: NBCU Faces Layoffs, Facebook Launches TikTok Rival, RNC Closed To Press

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

tech bubble over New York City

TECHCRUNCH | SARAH PEREZ
Instagram Reels launches globally in over 50 countries, including US

Facebook is challenging TikTok by launching Instagram Reels globally across 50 countries. Like TikTok, Reels allows users to create and publish 15-second videos using new editing tools such as AR effects, a countdown timer, and a new align tool to line up different takes. Reels is built into the Instagram Camera so experienced users will have an easy time navigating the new feature. The launch hits at the perfect time, as TikTok’s future in the U.S. is uncertain. Facebook has been testing different versions of Reels since 2018. In late 2018, Facebook launched a similar product called Lasso, which ended up failing but allowed the company to collect a sizable amount of user behavior data that it has since used to build new features for flagship apps.

For the first time, Facebook removed a post by the president for violating its policies on COVID-19 misinformation.

VARIETY | CYNTHIA LITTLETON
NBCUniversal Focuses on Layoffs and Streamlining as NBC’s Paul Telegdy Faces Probe

In the wake of the pandemic’s economic fallout, NBCUniversal announced it will reorganize leadership to streamline content and programming operations as it prepares for significant layoffs. Layoffs are expected to affect around 10% of the company’s 35,000 full-time staffers and will extend across divisions including its broadcast networks, movie studio, and theme parks. To cut significant costs, NBCUniversal plans to streamline its TV programming, marketing, and distribution operations into central groups that serve multiple networks. At the same time, NBCUniversal is moving forward with the investigation into allegations that NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy has made racist, sexist, and homophobic statements. Discussions are taking place this week to determine who will oversee the investigation, what form it will take, and on what timetable.

ICYMI: Historic black media Ebony and Jet magazines set for bankruptcy battle.

CNN | JEREMY DIAMOND AND RYAN NOBLES
GOP convention in Charlotte closed to press, portions will be livestreamed

According to a convention spokesperson, the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, will be closed to the press. Reporters will not be allowed on site as RNC delegates vote to formally nominate President Donald Trump as the 2020 Republican presidential nominee. “No final decision has been made and we are still working through logistics and press coverage options,” RNC communications director Michael Ahrens told CNN. “We are working with the parameters set before us by state and local guidelines regarding the number of people who can attend events.”  Amid criticism that no reporters would be allowed on site, Ahrens confirmed that livestreaming portions of the convention, specifically the vote, is an option being considered.

Republicans and Democrats agree: America has lost confidence in mainstream media.

CNN BUSINESS | KERRY FLYNN
New York Times’ digital revenue exceeds print for first time ever

The New York Times released its second quarter report, showing its digital revenue exceeded print revenue for the first time in the company’s history. In Q2, The Times added 669,000 digital subscriptions for a total of 5.7 million digital-only subscriptions and 6.5 million subscriptions overall. The Times’ subscription revenue increased 8.4% but total revenue decreased by 7.5% due to the hard-hit to ad revenue, which fell 43.9% from the year prior. The Times CEO Mark Thompson stated, “We posted our best ever results for new digital subscriptions, and for the first time in our history total digital revenue exceeded print revenue – a key milestone in the transformation of The New York Times and a testament to how much we’ve achieved over the past eight years.”

The Guardian contemplates discontinuing its printed newspapers.

REUTERS | YEW LUN TIAN AND BRENDA GOH
China vows retaliation if any U.S. action against journalists

The tit-for-tat relationship between the United States and China continues to escalate. In March, the U.S. restricted the number of Chinese journalists allowed to work at the U.S. offices of major Chinese state-owned media and in retaliation, China expelled U.S. journalists working for three U.S. newspapers – The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. In May, the U.S. limited Chinese journalists’ stay to 90 days, with an option to extend. However, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters at a daily briefing this week that journalists have yet to be granted an extension and said China is prepared to retaliate if Chinese journalists are forced to leave the United States. It is unclear how China will retaliate but China’s Global Times newspaper said U.S. journalists based in Hong Kong would be among those targeted.

Continue reading: With their visas in limbo, journalists at Voice of America worry that they’ll be thrown out of America.

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Erin Wade is a Senior Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire. She is also an animal lover and aspiring world traveler. Tune into her insights as a social curator at @TotalCSR.

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