Fubo TV Adds WarnerMedia’s Turner Networks

Fubo TV, the sports-centric online TV service, Aug. 22 announced the addition of Turner Networks portfolio of pay-TV channels, including TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, TCM and HLN. The addtions bring to 75 channels available on Fubo for $39.99 monthly.

“Adding Turner Sports’ programming builds upon our heritage in soccer, while expanding our sports offering with more MLB, NBA, PGA and college sports,” Ben Grad, head of content strategy and acquisition at Fubo TV, said in a statement. “Turner’s news, entertainment and kids brands will continue to drive engagement with viewers, while reinforcing our commitment to offering a premium, high-quality cable replacement.”

Turner’s Boomerang and CNN International are also being added to Fubo Extra, the company’s 90-plus channel tier that is now available at $44.99 for the first month. Additionally, CNN en Español has been added to Fubo Latino.

The above channels are all available to be streamed live, with popular programming to be available on-demand in the coming weeks. All fuboTV subscriptions come with 30 hours of personal cloud DVR storage, two simultaneous streams, and the ability to upgrade to 500 hours and three streams, respectively, with no contracts, cords or set-top boxes required.

The service is available on the Web at www.fubo.tv, and via Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, and TV connected devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.

Rudy Giuliani Says Trump ‘Denied’ AT&T, Time Warner Merger

NEWS ANALYSIS — Depending on what side of the political aisle you walk, Rudy Giuliani is either a gift that keeps on giving or a self-inflicted wound that won’t heal.

The former mayor of New York and newest member of President Donald Trump’s legal team is either carrying out a shrewd scorched-earth policy in the media, or an idiot who can’t keep his mouth shut.

In a May 11 interview with The HuffPost, Giuliani was defending allegations that Trump’s personal lawyer and problem “fixer,” Michael Cohen, had not influenced the president on the AT&T, Time Warner $85 billion merger.

AT&T has admitted paying Cohen $600,000 as a consultant to help ascertain Trump’s mindset on corporate mergers — notably its own — a move CEO Randall Stephenson has apologized for.

“Whatever lobbying [in favor of the merger] was done didn’t reach the president,” Giuliani said. “The president denied the merger. They didn’t get the result they wanted.”

Technically, Trump hasn’t denied anything. A federal judge in June will decide whether the merger goes through.

Yet, Giuliani’s comment is significant considering the White House has refuted getting involved in the M&A that would give AT&T control of Time Warner, whose assets include Warner Bros., Turner (TNT, TBS and CNN) and HBO.

While Trump argued against the merger on the campaign trail, a sitting president usually doesn’t get involved in M&A activity before the Department of Justice’s antitrust division.

The DOJ filed a lawsuit against the merger, claiming it was bad for consumers. Trump, of course, has railed publicly against CNN, claiming the news organization peddles “fake news” about his administration.

“If Giuliani didn’t misspeak, this is major news,” Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, tweeted May 11, as reported by CNN.

Of course, misspeaking has become a hallmark of Giuliani, who earlier this month made news when he told Fox News that Trump had personally reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 hush payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election about an alleged 2006 affair.

“That was money that was paid by his lawyer, the way I would do, out of his law firm funds,” said Giuliani. “Michael would take care of things like this like I take care of this with my clients. I don’t burden them with every single thing that comes along. These are busy people.”

Those comments resulted in Giuliani taking a leave of absence from the law firm he worked for — Greenberg Traurig, a leave that is now permanent.

Greenberg Traurig May 10 issued a statement — first reported by The New York Times — saying its lawyers do not send secretive payments for clients.

“We cannot speak for Mr. Giuliani with respect to what was intended by his remarks,” read the statement. “Speaking for ourselves, we would not condone payments of the nature alleged to have been made or otherwise without the knowledge and direction of a client.”

Judge Rules Against AT&T in Pre-Time Warner Merger Trial

A federal judge Feb. 20 scuttled a request by AT&T to force the Justice Department to disclose communications records with the White House regarding President Donald Trump’s possible input on the $84.5 billion merger.

At issue are allegations that the DOJ stepped in at the last minute to halt the merger due to Trump’s dislike of CNN, which is owned by Time Warner unit Turner.

AT&T, which has to pay Time Warner $500 million should the merger fail, had sought the records to bolster its argument that the government’s case is largely at the whim of Trump than antitrust issues.

“If there is something in those documents, it’s important for us,” argued Daniel Petrocelli, lead attorney for AT&T and Time Warner.

On Feb. 16, the Justice Department admitted Trump wasn’t keen of CNN — which the President has repeatedly accused of reporting fake news — but that his opinion was not sought to influence the government’s antitrust case.

“The president is unhappy with CNN. We don’t dispute that,” Craig Conrath, a DOJ lawyer, said at the pretrial hearing, according to Reuters. “But AT&T wants to turn that into a get-out-jail-free card for their illegal merger.”

Today, a judge agreed. The antitrust trial begins March 19.

 

Fox News Launching SVOD Service for Base Audience

Rupert Murdoch helped establish a cable news juggernaut with Fox News. Now he wants Fox News, including notable political pundit Sean Hannity and others, i.e. “Fox & Friends,” to go over-the-top through a standalone subscription streaming service.

Dubbed Fox Nation, the service featuring right-leaning commentary is set to launch at the end of the year. The price of the service has not been disclosed.

Designed to enhance the Fox News viewer experience, Fox Nation will take a deep dive into the big issues of the day with live daily streaming content and long-form programming. Fox Nation will also include access to events and 20 plus years of archival FNC programming. Interaction with all of FNC’s popular opinion hosts and personalities will also be a mainstay of the new platform.

“Fox Nation is designed to appeal to the Fox superfan,” John Finley, head of program development and production at Fox News, told The New York Times. “These are the folks who watch Fox News every night for hours at a time, the dedicated audience that really wants more of what we have to offer.”

The service comes as other media giants seek out SVOD platforms to buttress dwindling pay-TV markets.

Disney, by the second quarter, will launch ESPN Plus, a standalone service intended to compliment ESPN. CBS has more than 2.5 million subs for CBS All Access, in addition to free ad-supported CBSN, featuring news.

Whether Fox News’ older demographic will go for SVOD — which is largely popular among younger audiences, including millennials — remains to be seen.

Finley isn’t worried.

“We know who our audience is. We know what they want,” he said.

YouTube TV Ups Price, Adds Turner Channels

Google Feb. 14 announced it is adding Turner channels to online TV service, YouTube TV, in addition to raising the subscription price $5 to $40 for new members, effective March 13. Existing $35 monthly subscribers will not see a price hike.

In addition to TNT, Adult Swim, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, truTV, and Turner Classic Movies, among others, YouTube TV is adding NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour network, and MLB Network, Major League Baseball’s 24/7 TV network, to the YouTube TV base package.

In the coming months, it will add – for an additional fee – NBA League Pass, the league’s out-of-market live game service, and MLB.TV, the longest-running sports streaming service in the U.S.

YouTube TV is also expanding to 100 markets (85% of U.S. households) – up from five markets when it launched in last April.

“We’re committed to making YouTube TV the live TV experience you’ve been waiting for,” Heather Moonick, director content partnerships, YouTube TV, wrote on a blog post.

AT&T May Put DOJ Antitrust Boss on Witness Stand

AT&T reportedly plans to put Makan Delrahim, U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division at the Department of Justice, on the witness stand in next month’s federal trial regarding the telecom’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The DOJ filed suit against the merger, claiming the deal would negatively affect consumers and the market.

In a twist, AT&T seeks to question – under oath – the government official responsible for the lawsuit.

Iranian-born Delrahim, who was nominated to the antitrust division by President Trump, and infamously gifted a baseball cap with the slogan, “Makan Antitrust Great Again,” upon his arrival, previously served in the position under President George W. Bush.

Why AT&T seeks to grill Delrahim – a corporate lawyer – revolves around his time as a lobbyist for Comcast, Google, Blue Cross Blue Shield and other major corporations.

Indeed, when the AT&T – Time Warner merger was first announced, Delrahim told a TV interview he didn’t think the merger posed a significant antitrust issue.

Of course, that was before he was appointed by Trump, who many observers believe stepped into the merger at the last minute for largely personal – not regulatory – reasons.

Trump has repeatedly called out CNN, which is owned by Time Warner unit Turner, as a facilitator of false news about him and his administration.

Scuttlebutt suggests the government could okay the deal if CNN and other properties were spun off — a scenario AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said he wouldn’t agree to.

With AT&T on the hook to Time Warner for $500 million should the merger fail, expect to see Delrahim’s TV interview presented to him in court.