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2:25 PM ET, December 31, 2020

Mediagazer

 Top News: 
David Folkenflik / NPR:
Boards of RFE/RL and Radio Free Asia and their chairman Michael Pack have added binding contractual agreements that they can't be removed for the next two years  —  Michael Pack's stormy tenure over the federal agency that oversees government-funded broadcasters abroad — including Voice of America — appears to be coming to a close.
RELATED:
Brian Schwartz / CNBC:
Letter signed by leaders of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's news division and editorial board says Michael Pack appointed a board of “inexperienced” partisans  —  - Leaders of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty blasted the Trump-appointed CEO of the U.S. federal media agency.
Michael J. de la Merced / New York Times:
Alden says it is bidding for full control of Tribune Publishing, in which it has a ~32% stake, with an offer that values the newspaper chain at about $520.6M  —  Alden Global Capital, which is already Tribune's biggest shareholder, valued the company at about $520.6 million.
RELATED:
Wall Street Journal:
Sources: Alden Global is seeking to buy Tribune Publishing, in which it already owns a 32% stake  —  Hedge fund already owns 32% of the Chicago Tribune publisher  —  A hedge fund that owns a big stake in Tribune Publishing Co. is seeking to buy the newspaper chain behind titles including …
About Amazon:
Amazon plans to acquire podcast network Wondery, which will join Amazon Music  —  We've signed an agreement to acquire Wondery, a top-rated podcast creator and producer that entertains and educates listeners.  —  We're pleased to announce that Wondery—an innovative podcast publisher …
Wall Street Journal:
Top nine streaming services to end 2020 with combined US subscribers up 50%+ YoY; US households now subscribe to 3.1 services on average, up from 2.7 in 2019  —  From Hulu to Disney+, largest streaming services are expected to end the year with 50% more U.S. subscribers
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Steve Inskeep / NPR:
Biden's press secretary Jen Psaki on not letting the briefing room become a “platform for propaganda”, engaging with right-wing media, dealing with leaks, more  —  Toggle more options  —  President-elect Joe Biden's choice for White House press secretary says she will restore a tradition.
Todd Spangler / Variety:
ESPN Plus is raising the annual subscription for new subscribers by 20%, from $49.99 to $59.99, and increasing the price of UFC pay-per-view events to $69.99  —  UFC fans are going to pay more to catch the promoter's premiere fights on Disney's ESPN Plus streaming sports package next year.
Lisa Richwine / Reuters:
Nielsen: Fox News tops all news and basic cable channels for the fifth consecutive year, averaging 1.9M viewers/day; CNN had its most-watched year in history  —  LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ratings for Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel topped all news and basic cable channels for a fifth straight year in 2020 …
Discussion: TVNewser
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Jeremy Barr / Washington Post:
Interviews with 15 longtime Fox News loyalists on why they switched to Newsmax, often seeking programming that denies Joe Biden's victory
Ken Symon / Insider.co.uk:
JPI Media, owner of The Scotsman and other newspapers, has been sold for £10.2M, or around $13.9M, to a new group set up by industry veteran David Montgomery  —  The sale takes place after JPI Media has seen a turbulent two years with its predecessor company going into administration
Discussion: The Guardian, BBC and Yorkshire Post
 
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 More News: 
Byron Tau / Wall Street Journal:
Acting attorney general says WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl's accused killer could be prosecuted in the US if Pakistani courts fail to keep him in jail
Elizabeth A. Harris / New York Times:
Association of American Publishers: audiobooks revenue is up 17%+ YoY, e-book sales are up 16%+; NPD BookScan says US print book sales are up ~8% in 2020
John Hopewell / Variety:
Comscore: global box office fell between 57%, in the Netherlands, and 76%, in UK, vs. 2019, depending on length of closure and strength of local movie industry
Discussion: Variety
Dave Lee / Financial Times:
FactSet: Amazon's “other” business unit, which is made up almost entirely of its ads business, will make $21B in revenue in 2020, up 47% YoY
 Earlier Picks: 
Wall Street Journal:
Unredacted draft version of the lawsuit filed by 10 states earlier this month details a Google-Facebook ad deal that allegedly constituted illegal price fixing