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8:20 AM ET, April 29, 2020

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 Top News: 
Scott Feinberg / Hollywood Reporter:
Motion picture academy eases qualifications for 2021 Oscars; eligible films won't have to screen for at least a week in a Los Angeles-area theater  —  The Academy's board of governors convened via a secure Zoom session on Tuesday morning.  —  The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony is still slated …
Jim VandeHei / Axios:
Axios, which had qualified for a $4.8M PPP loan, will return the money after nearing a deal for other capital and after the program prompted divisive debate  —  Axios, which qualified for a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan to avoid layoffs, will return the money, after nearing a deal for an alternative source of capital.
RELATED:
Joe Concha / The Hill:
Report: more than four out of five newspapers in the US did not qualify for Paycheck Protection Program loans because of how their companies are structured
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:
Spotify beats with Q1 revenue of €1.8B and net income of €1M, with MAUs up 31% YoY to 286M, premium users up 31% to 130M, and ad-supported MAUs up 32% to 163M  —  The coronavirus may be decimating some corners of the economy, but the impact on the digital music …
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Spotify-owned Anchor introduces a feature that will allow creators to turn their video chats and virtual hangouts into podcast-ready audio  —  Spotify is tapping into the increased usage of video conferencing during the coronavirus quarantine to grow its own podcast business.
Josh Kosman / New York Post:
Sources: Dish is pushing for refunds from Disney, invoking force majeure, due to the lack of live sports on ESPN, but Disney has rebuffed the request so far  —  Charlie Ergen's satellite TV company is calling foul on Disney for making it pay for ESPN at a time when there is no live sports programming, The Post has learned.
Thom Geier / The Wrap:
Universal says Trolls World Tour on-demand release has netted ~5M downloads; source: it's made $77M in revenue from the 80% it retains from digital rental fees  —  Universal's gamble to bypass a theatrical release for “Trolls World Tour” and release it on demand instead appears to have paid off — big time.
The New York Times Company:
Kara Swisher is leaving her Recode Decode podcast on July 1 to produce a new twice-weekly podcast for NYT's Opinion section  —  Kara, who became a Times contributor in 2018, will start producing a twice-weekly show that will make its debut in the fall.  Read more in this note from James Bennet …
Matthew Moore / The Times:
Facebook poaches Tony Close, director of content standards at Ofcom, as director of content regulation; Ofcom is preparing to regulate social media companies  —  A senior official at the watchdog preparing to regulate social media companies has been poached by Facebook to help it respond to the curbs.
Brian Steinberg / Variety:
Nielsen: CNN saw an increase of 179% in viewers between the ages of 25 and 54 in April, while Fox News grew 83% and MSNBC grew 54%  —  Viewership for all three of the nation's main cable-news outlets soared in April as viewers tuned in at all hours for information on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
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 More News: 
Lucinda Southern / Digiday:
With its print edition on hold, Stylist has launched an app with paywalled content, a £22 annual subscription, and 10K downloads over the last two weeks
Aleksandra Sagan / Toronto Star:
In a staff memo, Canada's Postmedia Network says it will lay off about 80 employees, permanently close 15 community publications, and impose tiered pay cuts
Christine Schmidt / Local News Lab:
How local news ecosystems in New Mexico, New Jersey, Colorado, North Carolina, and Chicago are responding to the COVID-19 crisis
 Earlier Picks: 
Melynda Fuller / MediaPost:
Trusted Media Brands, parent company to Reader's Digest, Family Handyman, and others, names Beth Tomkiw as its first chief content officer
Freddy Mayhew / Press Gazette:
London Evening Standard CEO Mike Soutar to step down after six months in the role; the paper, which printed 800K copies pre-crisis, is now down to 500K
Casey Newton / The Verge:
YouTube adds fact-check info boxes to some searches, above the search results, in the US, after launching in Brazil and India last year
Washington Post:
Stanford Internet Observatory researchers say Facebook and YouTube should not allow political ads from state-controlled media outlets