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9:05 AM ET, November 26, 2021


 Top News: 
Dade Hayes / Deadline:
Filing: in FY 2021, ESPN's pay TV distribution shrank another 10% to 76M US households, while ESPN+ subscribers grew 66% YoY to 17M  —  ESPN, a longtime cornerstone of the Walt Disney Co., continues to lose lucrative pay-TV distribution, shrinking another 10% to end fiscal 2021 at 76 million U.S. households.
Discussion: Awful Announcing
Tim Baysinger / The Wrap:
SEC filing: Disney plans to spend around $33B on content in fiscal 2022, which began on October 1, up from around $25B in fiscal 2021  —  Disney will spend around $8 billion more on content next year.  In its annual report filed with the SEC on Wednesday, Disney said it would spend around $33 billion …
Discussion: Variety and Hollywood Reporter
Choire Sicha / New York Magazine:
Former NYT exec says Wirecutter employees were treated as second-class citizens at NYT, with a lower pay scale and some NYT staff openly sneering at their work  —  In October 2016, Wirecutter, a scrappy website that uses journalism to help people make purchases, was five years old.
Mark Jacob / Local News Initiative:
Analysis of ~50 outlets: users visit large outlets an average of 5.7 days/month, mid-sized outlets 9.2 days/month, and small outlets 10.5 days/month  —  Northwestern University's new Medill Subscriber Engagement Index highlights the need to identify at-risk digital subscribers and find effective ways …
Ellen Ormesher / The Drum:
NYT exec says fossil fuel ads won't appear in NYT Climate, but they'll continue elsewhere as they help fund its journalism and the NYT isn't an “activist” org  —  The New York Times' (NYT) international president Stephen Dunbar-Johnson tells The Drum: “We are not an activist organization.”
Tessa Stuart / Rolling Stone:
Reality Winner criticizes The Intercept for poor protection of sources and accuses its parent company of reneging on a promise to pay her legal defense bills  —  After years locked away for leaking classified information on Russian interference, the former NSA contractor has a lot to say about how she got there
Benjamin Mullin / Wall Street Journal:
Lee Enterprises' board approves a shareholder rights plan, called a poison pill, to prevent Alden Global Capital from acquiring more than 10% of Lee for a year  —  Shareholder rights plan will be in effect for a year, giving Lee time to assess hedge fund's acquisition proposal
Zack Whittaker / TechCrunch:
Reporting on security lapses carries legal risks, like threats from the Missouri governor against the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, stifling research and journalism  —  In August 2020, two FBI agents were standing on my doorstep, unannounced, wanting to ask me questions about a TechCrunch story we had published the year before.
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 More News: 
Sarah Scire / Nieman Lab:
The Salt Lake Tribune, which became a nonprofit in 2020, says it is financially sustainable and grew its newsroom 23% in the past year
Charlotte Tobitt / Press Gazette:
BBC says its international News services now reach 456M people weekly, up 4% YoY; BBC World Service reaches 364M people, up 13M in a year
Steve Waldman / Washington Monthly:
DOJ blocking the S&S and Penguin mega-merger because it would reduce diversity of voices suggests it could take a similar approach to Alden's acquisition of Lee
Todd Spangler / Variety:
HBO Max will share the rights to half of 20th Century Studios' films with Disney+ and Hulu in 2022, after which they will be exclusive to Disney
Discussion: Cord Cutters News
 Earlier Picks: 
Sara Fischer / Axios:
Since last year, Stat's revenue is up 40%, with subscription revenue up 24%, ad revenue up 51%, and events up 79%, and its headcount is up from ~50 to ~80
Alan Leveritt / New York Times:
Arkansas Times' publisher explains why his paper sued Arkansas for violating the First Amendment with a law forcing contractors to sign a pledge favoring Israel
Casey Newton / Platformer:
Startups like Royal, which helps musicians create and sell NFTs, could potentially upend predatory record deals and further shift power to artists and fans
A NY judge extends a ban keeping NYT from publishing some materials about Project Veritas, at least until December 1, despite precedent against prior restraint
Michael M. Grynbaum / New York Times:
Nine months in, Biden has done about a dozen one-on-one interviews with major outlets vs. 50+ for Trump and 100+ for Obama in the same period of their tenures