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President Trump keeps the pressure on Disney

President Donald Trump is keeping the pressure on Disney's chief executive, Bob Iger, for a second day after Disney's ABC network canceled "Roseanne."

The highly-rated show was canceled after Roseanne Barr published a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, a former aide to President Barack Obama. Jarrett shared on MSNBC that Iger had personally called her to say that Roseanne’s show was history. 

Barr is a Trump supporter and even received a congratulatory call from Trump after the first episode of her rebooted series pulled 18.2 million viewers.

On Thursday, the president complained on Twitter about a story from ABC News reporter Brian Ross from December. The story, later retracted, suggested former National Security adviser Michael T. Flynn was directed to make contact with Russian officials during the campaign. The report resulted in Ross receiving a temporary suspension from the network. Here's ABC News' full apology

That didn't stop Trump from tweeting on Thursday morning: "How is Brian Ross doing? He tanked the market with an ABC lie, yet no apology. Double Standard!" 

Just a day earlier, Trump called out Iger by name on Twitter: "Gee, he never called President Donald J Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn't get the call?"

Could this have anything to do with the Disney chief executive's thoughts about getting into politics? Iger, who has supported NFL players who kneel and DREAMERS and is concerned about climate change, was quoted in a Vogue interview published in April: “The thought I had was coming from the patriot in me, growing up at a time when we respected our politicians not only for what they stood for but because of what they accomplished. I am horrified at the state of politics in America today, and I will throw stones in multiple directions." 

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Netflix's story stumbles

If you believe there is a tech bubble waiting to burst, then you might be paying close attention to Netflix today. Wall Street is not in a good mood after the company added fewer subscribers than expected — the first time that's happened in five quarters.

The streaming giant, which picked up more Emmy nominations than HBO, is one of the market’s best performers. The stock story, largely reliant on collecting more subscribers, fell apart yesterday after it missed a growth forecast.

And as Mediapost’s Alex Weprin pointed out, the company doubled its marketing spend to $1 billion in the first six months.

Eric Schiffer, CEO of private equity firm Patriach, told Reuters: “Investors are devastated by Netflix’s Q2 projection that went down in dramatic flames. Now future projections are suspect and that decimates valuation.”

Rob Arnott, head of fund advisory firm Research Affiliates, told Bloomberg TV that Wall Street may have focused more on the allure rather than the fundamentals of the Netflix story. “They qualify as a bubble," he said.

CNBC noted on Tuesday that analysts are predicting that so-called FANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet) will appreciate just 5.4 percent in the next 12 months, while Netflix will add just 2 percent. Here’s the report. The average return was 64.5 percent this past six months.

News consumption on smartphones continues to grow

The smartphone continues to grow as a force in news consumption. 

A new report from the Pew Research Center found that almost six-in-ten Americans now often read the news on their smartphones — almost triple the amount that did in 2013. 

That growth is particularly impressive in comparison to newsreading on desktop and laptop computers, which is just about flat. 

Pew found that young people more often get news on their mobile devices, but that the growth has been fueled by an uptick in consumption from older people and people with lower incomes.

The charts below highlight the growth in mobile news readership as well as some of the splits between people who read news on mobile vs. desktop. 

Media coverage torches Trump over Helsinki

You know it's bad when both the U.S. and Russian media are declaring Vladimir Putin the winner.

Media from both countries generally gave the Russian president the win over U.S. President Donald Trump after the two met in Helsinki.

One of the biggest news outlets in Russia, Izvestia, headlined its story on the Helsinki summit: “Trump immediately capitulates: Why the world’s press gave victory to Putin." The website added that Trump had “fallen into a trap set by the Russian President Vladimir Putin,” according to Google Translate.

Tabloid newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic went in for the kill on Tuesday. In the U.K., the left-leaning Daily Mirror declared Trump, “Putin’s Poodle: Trump branded a traitor.”

The Daily News cover screamed “Open Treason,” and noted in its coverage that Trump calls stories he disagrees with “fake news” but appeared to buy Putin’s denials about Russia’s interference in the U.S. election without question.

The cover carries a political cartoon showing Trump holding hands with Putin on Fifth Avenue and aiming a gun at Uncle Sam, an allusion to Trump’s comment that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.

The more right-leaning New York Post also criticized Trump with its headline — "See No Evil" — describing the summit as a bear hug to “wicked BFF Vlad.” Fox News, generally supportive of Trump, hosted a variety of voices that criticized the president.

One Finnish newspaper simply noted the score: Trump 0, Putin 1. CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted the front page.

The Russians would no doubt agree, though RT, a Russian TV channel that had to register as a foreign agent in the US and has been banned from selling ads on Twitter, offered a softer take. An op-ed by  Irish journalist Bryan MacDonald published on the RT website declared the Helsinki summit something of a storm in a tea-cup.

“US outlets and pundits would have you believe Trump handed over the family silver to Moscow. Which is nonsense,” he wrote.

“In reality, hardly anything changed. Trump didn't recognize Crimea, threaten to walk away from NATO or withdraw from Syria.”

Fox News and Business voices pull no punches on Trump in Helsinki

Neil Cavuto on Fox Business called it “disgusting." Fox News' website ran an opinion piece with the headline, “Putin eats Trump’s lunch in shocking Helsinki summit.” Fox News anchor Bret Baier called it "almost surreal at points."

President Donald Trump's appearance alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday drew broad criticism from Republicans and Democrats. But even some of the notable faces of Fox's cable channels, which have generally reported favorably on the president throughout his first term, struggled to defend his actions on Monday.

Abby Huntsman, a Fox News anchor and co-host of “Fox & Friends Weekend” (and daughter of Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia) tweeted: “No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.”

CORRECTION (July 16, 2018, 6:00 p.m.): An earlier version of this article misspelled the first name of a Fox News anchor. He is Bret Baier, not Brett.

Read more here.

Sinclair's attempt to create a local TV behemoth hits a roadblock

Sinclair’s attempt to create a local TV powerhouse just hit a roadblock.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said on Monday that he has “serious concerns” about Sinclair's plan to merge with Tribune Media and will have the FCC vote on sending the deal to an administrative judge.

Pai focused on Sinclair’s plan to spin-off a handful of stations to parties that he said could remain under Sinclair’s control.

“The evidence we’ve received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law," Pai said in a statement.

Read more here.

Former CEO of Billboard and The Hollywood reporter resigned amid sexual harassment investigation

The former CEO of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter resigned amid an internal investigation into sexual harassment, according to the The Daily Beast.

John Amato left the company last week, and the company’s owner Valence Media said it was beginning an investigation about workplace practices at the publishing company.

The Daily Beast’s Maxwell Tani reported that Amato was ousted after employees came forward with harassment allegations against him. The story also notes other complaints from staff about interference with a story about Charlie Walk, a music industry executive and friend of Amato’s who was accused of sexual harassment.

A public relations firm that represents Billboard, Jonesworks, declined to comment. Another firm representing Billboard owner Valence Media and Amato’s lawyer, Joel Katz, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

About-face at Chequers

President Donald Trump appeared to describe the exclusive interview he gave to the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Sun newspaper as "fake news" at a joint news conference Friday with British Prime Minster Theresa May at her Chequers country residence.

The Sun's front-page interview, published Thursday, was timed for maximum embarassment for May and included fierce criticism by Trump of how she has negotiated Britain’s exit from the European Union, or Brexit, and praise for Boris Johnson, her recently departed foreign secretary and one of her chief political rivals, as a potentially "great prime minister."

May’s plan “will definitely affect trade with the United States, unfortunately in a negative way," Trump told The Sun, adding it "would probably end a major trade relationship with the United States.” He also noted: “I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree. She didn’t listen to me.”

At the joint news conference Friday, it was an entirely different side of Trump. BBC News political editor Laura Kuenssberg got the first question and wasted no time calling out the disconnect between The Sun interview and Trump's praise of May in advance of taking questions from reporters. "You seem, rather, to have changed your tune," Kuenssberg said. "Is this the behavior of a friend?" Here's the full exchange

Trump shot back, "I didn't criticize the prime minister,” adding that he had made lots of positive comments in the interview about May, too, and there was a tape to prove it. "It's called fake news," he said.  He also added that May could do what she wants with Europe and that "it's OK with me."

Trump delivered a stinging rebuke of CNN when its reporter Jim Acosta tried to ask a question. "CNN is fake news. I don't take questions from CNN,” Trump said before turning to Fox News. A CNN network insider noted that Trump had taken a question the day before from its White House reporter, Jeremy Diamond. 

NBC News also came in for arrows after White House correspondent Kristen Welker asked about Trump's comments on NATO. Trump described NBC News as “possibly worse than CNN.” NBC’s Ken Dilanian came to Welker’s defense with a tweet noting that she had asked a fact-based question. 

The president of the White House Correspondents' Association, Margaret Talev, issued a rare rebuke of the president on Twitter  on Friday and praised The Sun for releasing the full audio of the Trump interview. 

"In response to the president lashing out at NBC, CNN and The Sun: Asking smart, tough questions, whether in a presidential press conference or interview, is central to the role a free press plays  in a healthy republic," Talev said.

"Given that the president took a question from a CNN reporter in his NATO news conference just a day earlier, maybe he was letting off steam today rather than expressing an official stance toward a news organization's ability to report,  but saying a news organization isn't real doesn't change the facts and won't stop us from doing our jobs. We appreciate The Sun for posting the entire audio of their interview so that everyone can hear the president's remarks for themselves."

Kylie Jenner on track to be youngest self-made billionaire

Forbes has a jaw-dropping cover this month.

It has finally discovered who and what sells in print. While the kings of social media ponder their future in Sun Valley, Kylie Jenner has leveraged their platforms to establish a $900 million cosmetics business.

Kylie, 20, who is no stranger to selling, said thanks on Twitter and added the hashtag #kyliecosmetics.  She's on track to becoming the youngest self-made billionaire in history. Gulp.

Here's her line if you want to see what her business is all about. "Social media is an amazing platform," she tells the magazine. Kim Kardashian West is worth a conservative $350 million.  

What's so great about Sky?

If you've ever watched the poker movie "The Sting," starring Paul Newman, you'll be familiar with the intensity of the high stakes game being played by Comcast, the owner of NBCUniversal (parent company of NBC News) and Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

Both are vying to acquire U.K. satellite TV service Sky. Fox, which already owns 39 percent of the company, is set to flip it to Disney as part of a wider sale of assets.

Fox just submitted a new, higher offer, and Comcast is expected to top it, making Sky shareholders very happy. Separately, Comcast is less likely to make another counter bid for the main prize of Fox's cable TV and movie assets, according to CNBC's David Faber.

But why do they want to buy Sky so much? 

Not so long ago, smart people on Wall Street wondered why anybody would want it at all: it remains a satellite broadcaster in a world moving to embrace internet-delivered content.

Still, Sky has a few things going for it, as one savvy London cab driver told Brian Roberts, the chief executive of Comcast.  Sky's competition is Virgin Media, owned by Liberty Global, and BT, a telecom company.

Here's why they're bidding:

  • Sky grew subscribers in its latest quarter through April. In a tough U.K. environment, the firm added 38,000 customers, though it lost 30,000 in Germany and Austria and a few more in Italy.
  • Not only does it own a major package of English Premier League games, it also paid less than previous deals for them as part of a long-term package.
  • Sky has movie relationships with Universal (owned by Comcast), Disney and AT&T's HBO.
  • It also has a broadband-delivered service for Sky customers who can't put a satellite dish on the roof.  

If Comcast wins, it will become the biggest pay-TV provider in the world with a total of 52 million customer relationships. It will also have an important U.K. lynchpin for NBC News, as it plans to transform Euronews into a global news service if it gets to add Sky News.

If the Fox/Disney deal goes through, Disney gets into the direct-to-consumer business in a big way.

Here's the FT's latest on the bidding war with Comcast pondering its next move after a GBP 24.5 billion ($32.3 billion) bid from Fox for Sky. Check out the FT's amusing photograph of Rupert and his wife Jerry from the Allen & Cos. Sun Valley conference.

Oprah's getting into the restaurant business

Oprah might not be running for president, but she’s placing more financial bets beyond TV and film to grow her empire. 

Winfrey, who made Vogue UK’s August cover, is getting into the restaurant business with an investment in Phoenix-based True Food Kitchen, which serves healthy food such as fish tacos. The company says its dishes mean to be anti-inflammatory. 

True Food Kitchen CEO Christine Barone told Advertising Age the company plans “to double in size over the next three years. We will be opening up a significant number of restaurants and really do need financing to help fund that growth.”

Oprah will join the company board.  

The “60 Minutes” correspondent also has an investment in Weight Watchers and a line of pre-made food with Kraft Heinz. Weight Watchers reported a 24 percent increase in revenue in the quarter through March. 

Winfrey has been in the spotlight lately. In June, she signed a content development partnership with Apple for new shows in addition to her existing long-term deal with Discovery Communications, which houses her OWN cable network and website.

Meanwhile Hearst’s “O, The Oprah Magazine,” ranked as 50th in terms of magazine audience with a total of 12 million people in May, according to the Association of Magazine Media.