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7:00 PM ET, March 12, 2021


 Top News: 
Archie Bland / The Guardian:
Emails: BuzzFeed is shutting down HuffPost UK's news operation and video desk, except for its politics team, affecting 16 of 29 journalists  —  Exclusive: Owner BuzzFeed's move leaves more than half of editorial staff at risk  —  BuzzFeed has told the UK staff of its recently acquired HuffPost website …
Lauren Feiner / CNBC:
As House holds hearing on tech and news, Microsoft accuses Google of making publishers depend on it and Google claims Microsoft just wants to undercut a rival  —  - Microsoft and Google sparred over their practices and treatment of news outlets in a battle between antitrust targets of past and present.
Dan Abrams / Mediaite:
Media and politics news site Mediaite is launching a paywall that allows ten free articles per month; subscriptions will cost $4.99 per month or $44.99 per year  —  As you may know, Mediaite is one of the few major websites in the country that is personally funded (and not by a wildly wealthy banker …
Discussion: @dorseyshaw
Georg Szalai / Hollywood Reporter:
AT&T says it plans to launch HBO Max international and AVOD in June and expects HBO Max and HBO subscribers worldwide to reach 120-150M by 2025  —  That is up from AT&T's previous forecast of 75-90 million.  —  AT&T Corp. said Friday that it now expects to reach 120-15 million HBO Max …
Todd Spangler / Variety:
A SPAC led by ex-Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, Forest Road Acquisition Corp. II, raised $350M in an IPO to focus on tech, media, telecoms companies  —  A special-purpose acquisition corporation targeting tech, media and telecom firms led by two former senior Disney execs …
Discussion: Deadline
Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg / Wall Street Journal:
In a letter to GOP Senators, Amazon says it removed a book because of its policy not to sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness  —  Company states policy in response to inquiry by several Republican senators over recent removal of book by conservative author
Jake Kanter / Deadline:
Daily Mail owner demands ViacomCBS remove images of its headlines, which were “taken out of context or deliberately edited”, from Meghan and Harry interview  —  Associated Newspapers, the owner of UK tabloid the Daily Mail, has written to ViacomCBS demanding the removal of …
Jo Piazza / Town & Country:
Profile of Amber Venz Box, who says influencers working with her shopping app LikeToKnowIt and marketing service RewardStyle sold $8B+ in products by 2020's end  —  How Amber Venz Box and her ‘Harvard of Influencing’ taught social media stars how to monetize their brands and got everyone else to spend billions on Instagram.
Discussion: Insider
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:
Epidemic Sound, a marketplace for online creators looking for background music, raises $450M from Blackstone and EQT Growth, at a valuation of $1.4B  —  The popularity of video and other streamed content like podcasts is continuing to grow at a breakneck speed, and today a startup called Epidemic Sound …
Hamish McKenzie / Substack Blog:
How Substack Pro works: Year One, some writers get pay similar to salaries, Substack gets 85% of revenue; Year Two, writers keep 90% of revenue, no minimum pay  —  When we started Substack in mid-2017, the future for writers was frightening.  The news industry was rapidly contracting, eliminating countless journalism jobs.
Ashley Gold / Axios:
YouTube says it has taken down 30,000 videos that made false or misleading claims about COVID-19 vaccines over the last six months  —  YouTube has taken down more than 30,000 videos that made misleading or false claims about COVID-19 vaccines over the last six months, YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez …
Oliver Darcy / @oliverdarcy:
In memo, Jeff Zucker says CNN is targeting an August 1 return to Atlanta offices and September 1 for NYC, DC, SF, and LA  —  In note to staff, CNN President Jeff Zucker announces plans for staff returning to the office. “In Atlanta, we are targeting an AUGUST 1 return for our News and Sports colleagues. In New York, DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, we are targeting SEPTEMBER 1.”
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 More News: 
Ben Sisario / New York Times:
The Weeknd says his albums will no longer be submitted to the Grammys due to its anonymous voting committees, which some believe subvert the will of the voters
Isaac Chotiner / New Yorker:
Interview with Anthony Barnett, founding EIC of openDemocracy, on the invisible pact between UK's tabloid press and the royal family, as noted by Prince Harry
Sarah Sluis / AdExchanger:
Google is further integrating the Publisher Provided Identifier into its Ad Manager, aiding publishers' first-party tracking in lieu of third-party cookies
 Earlier Picks: 
New UK action plan to protect journalists includes training for police, a call for evidence from journalists, and the introduction of an Online Safety Bill
Jason Gurwin / The Streamable:
Netflix is running a test cracking down on password sharing, prompting some users to get their own account if they don't live with the owner of the account
Hannah Farrow / Local News Initiative:
A look at monetization strategies that Gannett is experimenting with, including dynamic paywalls, changing the size of its metered paywalls, and premium content