Media Insider: Oracle Wins TikTok Bid, BBC Cuts Radio Reporters, Facebook Invests in Newsroom Diversity

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

person holding a smartphone with the TikTok app on the screen

ByteDance picks Oracle as partner to try to save TikTok U.S.

It was announced on Monday that Oracle beat Microsoft in the bidding war for the U.S. operations of TikTok. ByteDance, TikTok’s China-based owner, has been in talks with several companies to divest the video app’s U.S. business since last month when President Trump threatened to ban the app in the U.S. if it remained under Chinese ownership. Rather than being structured as an outright sale, Oracle will be announced as TikTok’s “trusted tech partner,” storing and securing data within the U.S. According to Reuters’ sources, “Under ByteDance’s latest proposal, Oracle would assume management of TikTok’s U.S. user data … Oracle is also negotiating taking a stake in TikTok’s U.S. operations.” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the deadline for approving the deal is Sept. 20 and the administration will be reviewing the proposal this week.

Also this week, YouTube released Shorts, its short-form video rival to TikTok, in India.

Radio reporters to be axed by BBC and told to reapply for new roles

The BBC is cutting all of its national radio reporters and asking them to reapply for jobs as TV, radio, and digital reporters. According to the Guardian, this axing of dedicated audio journalists has many afraid “it is not just the end of their careers but the premature end of an era for the BBC.” Some report confusion about the move as radio has been relatively successful during the pandemic, is cheaper to produce than television, and the demand for audio content (radio or podcasting) is growing. One reporter told The Guardian, “It seems extraordinary to be pulling back at a time when diversity and reaching the rest of the world is so important. These are things that radio reports do much more easily. The editing process, the storytelling, is totally different when there are no pictures.” A BBC spokeswoman said, “broadly speaking, the new model will focus on subjects, rather than platforms,” and confirmed there will no longer be radio-only reporters.

More BBC news: In an attempt to end an equal pay scandal, the BBC has given pay raises to 700 female employees.

Facebook invests $5 million in newsroom diversity efforts

Facebook has announced that it is investing $5 million in programs for newsrooms of color and entrepreneurial journalism, according to an Axios exclusive. It will also be debuting an “Accelerator” training program for journalists at publishers of color. Through the grants and training program, Facebook will work with local news outlets let by and for people of color in historically marginalized communities. The Accelerator program will be accepting applications Sept. 15-30.

Read Facebook’s full announcement for more info.

ViacomCBS Reaches Deal to Sell CNET for $500 Million to Marketing Firm Red Ventures

After CBS acquired CNET Networks for $1.8 billion in 2008, it was announced on Monday that CNET Media Group will be sold to digital marketing company Red Ventures for $500 million. CNET Media Group includes the flagship CNET consumer tech website as well as GameSpot,, Chowhound, and more. Red Ventures owns and operates digital brands that include Bankrate, the Points Guy, and Healthline. The acquisition will speed up Red Ventures’ growth into new verticals like consumer tech and gaming. A Red Ventures representative declined to comment on any potential layoffs – CNET Media Group has nearly 1,000 employees. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020.

In other CBS news, the CBS All Access streaming service is being rebranded as Paramount+ and will include new original content.  

NYT, Facebook launch multi-year augmented reality reporting project

This week, The New York Times and Facebook announced a multi-year partnership to develop AR filters and effects on Instagram. The project aims to help users “access and contextualize New York Times journalism,” according to Axios. The Times has created an “AR Lab” team to develop the filters and effects using a Facebook platform called “Spark AR Studio.” Facebook will help the NYT team use the platform in return for feedback on the developer experience. Facebook will not have any influence on the editorial side of the project. The first few filters will focus on the centennial of women’s suffrage, the wildfires on the West Coast, and air quality during the pandemic.

More partnership news: The Washington Post and Financial Times have created a joint digital subscription, allowing each publisher to reach new audiences.

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Rocky Parker is the manager of Audience Relations at PR Newswire. Check out her previous posts for Beyond Bylines and connect on LinkedIn. When she’s not working, Rocky typically can be found cooking, binge-watching a new show, or playing with her puppy, Hudson.

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