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2:20 PM ET, March 16, 2020


 Top News: 
Rebecca Rubin / Variety:
North American box office plunged to around $55.3M this weekend, its worst weekend since sales of $54.5M from September 15 to 17 in 2000  —  Much of public life in the United States essentially ground to a halt this week.  In the entertainment world, theme parks shut down, Broadway went dark …
Sarah Scire / Nieman Lab:
Publications dependent on revenue from event ads, like alt-weeklies, are hit hard by coronavirus; Seattle's The Stranger says it's lost ~90% of its income  —  In a memo to staff, The New York Times called the coronavirus “an enormous story, a once-in-a-generation crisis that inevitably touches everyone's lives.”
The Intercept:
Leaked docs: TikTok told moderators to suppress posts from those deemed “ugly”, poor, or disabled, and censor political speech in livestreams, to attract users  —  The makers of TikTok, the Chinese video-sharing app with hundreds of millions of users around the world …
Sources: Universal Music Group chief Lucian Grainge has been hospitalized after a positive COVID-19 test  —  Universal Music Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge has been hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus, multiple sources exclusively told Variety.
Javier C. Hernández / New York Times:
Chinese journalists, usually muzzled, are publicly pushing back against the government's positive coronavirus spin, buoyed by widespread calls for free speech  —  The Communist Party is trying to fill the airwaves with positive stories about its battle against the virus.
A licensed psychotherapist weighs in on how journalists can manage the stress of nonstop COVID-19 coverage  —  9 ways journalists can push back against the stress of an always-on story  —  I have been hearing from journalists who are stressed out by this nonstop COVID-19 coverage.
Elsa Keslassy / Variety:
French pay TV group Canal Plus says it will be free for the next few weeks or months during the country's lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak  —  French pay TV group Canal Plus will be free for the next few weeks or months during the country's lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
YouTube Creator Blog:
YouTube says it will be relying more on automated systems as content moderators stay home, and creators may see fewer strikes against videos but more removals  —  Today, as the unprecedented COVID-19 situation continues, Google outlined how it's reducing the need for people to come …
Emily Roseman / The Membership Puzzle Project:
How Danish subscription news site Zetland, with ~15K members, achieved financial sustainability by leveraging its most loyal supporters to recruit new members  —  In March 2016, the Danish member-driven newsroom Zetland launched as a daily publication with the goal of adding curiosity and complexity to public conversation.
Manori Ravindran / Variety:
Disney Plus has partnered with O2 as its exclusive UK mobile network distributor, a week ahead of its launch  —  Disney Plus has linked with O2 as its exclusive U.K. mobile network distributor, a week ahead of its highly anticipated launch.  —  New and upgrading monthly customers to O2 …
Discussion: The Streamable
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 More News: 
Brian Steinberg / Variety:
AMC Networks says it is planning to sell ad packages that accompany its shows even when they become available on ad-supported streaming outlets like Pluto TV
Discussion: Adweek and Ad Age
Lata Jha / Livemint:
Discovery launches Discovery Plus in India, offering content from itself and others for ~$4 per year, available in eight languages
BBC says it will delay its plan to charge over-75s for license fees, originally set for June 1, until August 1 due to coronavirus
 Earlier Picks: 
David Folkenflik / NPR:
How NYT reported on a months-long investigation into lawyers of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victims guided by an unreliable source and ultimately exposing little
Dominic Ponsford / Press Gazette:
Interview with John Paton, chairman of the UK's Independent Digital News and Media, on traffic and revenue growth at digital-only news outlet The Independent