Morning Media Newsfeed: Sullivan to Quit Blogging | AT&T to Create Snapchat Series

Andrew Sullivan to quit blogging. AT&T to launch a scripted series on Snapchat. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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Andrew Sullivan Says He’s Done Blogging (FishbowlDC)
Founding editor of The Dish Andrew Sullivan announced Wednesday afternoon on his blog that he has “decided to stop blogging in the near future.” Mediaite In a post simply titled “A Note to My Readers,” Sullivan explained that there were two main factors that led to his decision to give up daily blogging for nearly 15 years straight. “That’s long enough to do any single job,” he wrote. “In some ways, it’s as simple as that. There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen.” GigaOM It wasn’t immediately clear what Sullivan’s decision will mean for the future of the Daily Dish website, which has more than 30,000 paying subscribers contributing close to $1 million in revenue a year — a successful paywall/crowdfunding model that makes the blogger and his small team fairly unique in the new-media landscape. Capital New York On Wednesday, Sullivan announced that “the pay-meter has been disabled” and subscription auto-renewals have been “suspended.” The Dish is now in “strange, animated suspension,” he said. NYT Sullivan edited The New Republic from 1991 to 1996. Openly gay, he became known as a champion of gays in the military and same-sex marriage. A series of publications — Time magazine, The Atlantic and The Daily Beast — hosted his blog before he again struck out on his own in early 2013, charging readers for unlimited access to his site.

AT&T Launching Scripted Series on Snapchat (SocialTimes)
AT&T announced Wednesday that it’s going to launch a superhero series on Snapchat. It’ll be called SnapperHero and consist of 12 episodes that will disappear in 24 hours. Re/code It will feature YouTube celebrities like Freddie Wong and Harley Morenstein as well as Snapchat star Shaun “Shonduras” McBride. Each episode will run for a couple of minutes. THR SnapperHero, which was developed by producer Billy Parks and UTA digital media agent Kendall Ostrow in collaboration with AT&T, will source fan input to create the identities, costumes, origin stories and plotlines around its team of superheroes. Parks says that when the 12-episode series rolls out later this year, it will be tailored to its platform. Variety Launch of the series is a vote of confidence by a major advertiser in Snapchat, a photo-messaging application that allows users to send text, photos and videos to a defined set of contacts. AT&T has spent millions over the years to try to lure consumers to trying new forms of communications. Until last year, AT&T played a large role in sponsoring voting on Fox’s American Idol, a sponsorship that is believed to be instrumental in the rise of text-messaging as a mode of communication.

Facebook’s Q4 2014: Mobile Now 69 Percent of Ad Revenue (SocialTimes)
All estimates going into Q4 showed that ad spend on Facebook would rise. Facebook validated this belief Wednesday, showing that the company reaped its all-time high in quarterly ad revenue — $3.59 billion. Of that figure, 69 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue came via mobile. Adweek During the 2014 fourth quarter, Facebook did $3.6 billion in total ad sales, which was a 53 percent year-over-year increase. The booming sales were accompanied by a rising global user base that now sits at nearly 1.4 billion monthly active users, up 13 percent year-over-year. In all, Facebook took in about $12.5 billion in revenue in 2014, a 58 percent increase. THR In December, daily active users amounted to 890 million, up 18 percent compared to the same month a year ago. Mobile daily active users, though, surged 34 percent to 745 million in December. The stock rose 1 percent on Wednesday but an additional 2 percent in the after-hours session after the company’s quarterly results were announced. WSJ The 3 percent increase in daily active Facebook users last quarter was the lowest since 2012. The share of users who visit daily, which Facebook terms “engagement,” remained flat at 64 percent, the first time that ratio didn’t increase since the company went public more than two years ago. Facebook said 85 percent of its users now access the network via mobile devices, and more than a third access it exclusively via mobile.

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Meredith Buys Shape, Will Fold Fitness (FishbowlNY)
Meredith Corporation is growing its empire. The company has acquired Shape, Natural Health and Fit Pregnancy — along with their digital properties — from AMI. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. New York Post Meredith’s Shape rival, Fitness magazine, will fold its print edition and combine its subscriber list with Shape beginning with the May issue. The combination will boost Shape’s circulation rate base to 2.5 million from 1.6 million. The websites will continue under their own names. FishbowlNY Tim O’Connor will serve as Shape’s publisher. O’Connor most recently served as managing director of Meredith’s corporate sales group. Working alongside O’Connor is Eric Schwarzkopf, who will serve as associate publisher. Schwarzkopf was Fitness’ publisher. On the editorial side, Elizabeth Goodman Artis, Shape’s current editor-in-chief, will retain her role.

NBC Has Officially Sold All of Its $4.5 Million Super Bowl Spots (Adweek)
It’s official, and not a moment too soon: NBC has sold every single spot in the Super Bowl, although some pre-game spots are still up for grabs, according to Seth Winter, EVP of ad sales for NBCUniversal’s news and sports groups. The timing isn’t typical, by the way — Fox sold out the game in December last year. Deadline This is an indication that many advertisers looked askance at NBC’s effort to win an average of $4.5 million for a 30-second commercial, a record amount and up 7 percent from last year. In addition to the game, NBC says it has sold out the post-game show. Variety The company estimates it has more than 70 national commercials in the game. In a signal that closing out sales was tougher than usual, this year’s game will feature 15 rookie sponsors. The freshman ranks encompass everything from Loctite, the maker of Super Glue, to Jublia, a toenail fungus treatment, to Mophie, a maker of smartphone accessories.

New Senior Appointments at Tribune Publishing (Capital New York)
Tribune Publishing, which owns major metropolitan newspapers including The Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and The Baltimore Sun, announced multiple senior appointments at its flagship property on Wednesday, as well as a new launch at the company’s licensing and syndication arm. Chicago Tribune Joycelyn Winnecke, formerly associate editor of the Chicago Tribune, was promoted to president of Tribune Content Agency, the syndication arm of Tribune Publishing. Additionally, the Tribune named 27-year newsroom veteran Peter Kendall as managing editor, and Colin McMahon, a 28-year Tribune veteran, as associate editor. Poynter / MediaWire Marcia Lythcott has been named commentary editor at the Tribune. Margaret Holt has also joined the masthead to “recognize her role as standards editor for the newspaper,” according to the Tribune

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John Reiss Officially Named Executive Producer of Meet The Press (FishbowlDC)
In the wake of its highest rated show in 10 months, Alex Wallace, senior VP of NBC News, announced Wednesday that John Reiss has officially received the title of executive producer of Meet The Press. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Reiss formerly spent seven years as the executive producer for MSNBC’s Hardball With Chris Matthews, as well as EP of MSNBC’s political programming. Before that, he spent two years as EP at NBC Nightly News. MTP has had some relative victories of late, including its Jan. 18 show, which drew 3.051 million total viewers — Chuck Todd’s best showing to date and the highest rating for MTP in 10 months.

Washington Post Journalist Jason Rezaian Will Reportedly Stand Trial ‘Soon’ (HuffPost / AP)
A Washington Post journalist detained in Iran for months will stand trial “soon,” the Islamic Republic’s official news agency reported Wednesday. The report by the IRNA news agency quoted Gholam Hossein Esmaeili, a senior judicial official. The report did not offer a specific time for the trial to start. The Washington Post The charges against Rezaian remain unknown. Rezaian, a dual American-Iranian citizen, also has not had access to legal counsel since his detention in late July.

James Carville No Longer Fox News Contributor (TVNewser)
Less than a year after he joined Fox News, James Carville is no longer a contributor to the network. The Ragin’ Cajun signed on with Fox News last February. Carville, who was lead strategist for Bill Clinton‘s 1992 election, and his wife, Republican strategist Mary Matalin, had been CNN contributors for the better part of 20 years, leaving in early 2013. Carville had also co-hosted CNN’s Crossfire in the early 2000s. No word on why Carville and Fox News parted ways.

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Strange Inheritance Is FBN’s Highest-Rated Debut (TVNewser)
Jamie Colby‘s new show on the Fox Business Network, Strange Inheritance, debuted on Monday night as the network’s highest-rated show launch ever. The show debuted with back-to-back 30-minute episodes. The combined double premiere averaged 302,000 total viewers and 47,000 in the demo.

Q2 Earnings: Meredith Local Media Group Revenue Up 50 Percent (TVSpy)
Meredith Local Media Group, which consists of 17 stations, generated $157 million in total revenue in its second quarter of fiscal 2015. That’s up 50 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

Pence: State-Run Media Site Not Happening (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Indiana governor Mike Pence said Wednesday that his administration is not planning to launch a state-run news site, despite reports to the contrary. Documents obtained and published by the Indianapolis Star on Monday show plans for a website that would function as a news outlet, breaking news about the administration, offering pre-written stories for small Indiana news outlets and lighter “personality driven profiles.”

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Sony Mutes Its Music Streaming Service for Spotify (Variety)
Sony, which has spent millions trying to turn Music Unlimited into a brand, is pulling the plug on the streaming music service, turning to Spotify to provide its digital tunes instead. The two companies will launch PlayStation Music later this spring, with Music Unlimited playing its last song on March 29.

Gawker Media Had $6.7 Million Profit on $45 Million Revenue in 2014 (Capital New York)
Gawker Media made $6.7 million of profit on $45 million of net revenue in 2014, CEO Nick Denton said. Gawker has been bootstrapped by Denton since its founding, but plans to finally raise money through debt financing this year.

Lionsgate in Talks With China’s Hunan TV on $1.5 Billion Investment (Variety)
In an aggressive move to tap into Chinese investors, Lionsgate is in advanced conversations with Hunan TV and Broadcast Intermediary Co Ltd. on an agreement that would carry an overall value of $1.5 billion over the next three years.

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