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2:00 PM ET, March 17, 2022


 Top News: 
Jennifer Maas / Variety:
Amazon finalizes its $8.5B acquisition of MGM, two days after the deal received clearance from the EU's antitrust regulator  —  Amazon has closed its $8.5 billion acquisition of MGM first announced last May, the companies said Thursday.  —  “MGM has a nearly century-long legacy …
Michael M. Grynbaum / New York Times:
Justin Smith says his startup with Ben Smith will hire English-language-educated journalists globally and will launch in the US and at least one other market  —  The former Bloomberg Media C.E.O. offered new details on the venture he is starting with the journalist Ben Smith.
Sara Fischer / Axios:
A study by The Advertising Research Foundation found 36% of Americans share their Netflix passwords with relatives, while 13% share them with friends  —  Streaming companies are cracking down on password sharing, as the number of quarterly subscription cancellations in the U.S. grows.
Todd Spangler / Variety:
Netflix will test an “add an extra member” feature in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, letting primary account holders pay a fee for users not in their household
Shraddha Chakradhar / Nieman Lab:
Interview with Amethyst Davis, founder of the six-month-old Harvey World Herald in a Chicago suburb, on her non-traditional journalism route and building trust  —  Tales of local news dying are abundant, but against the odds of today's media landscape, there are many new ventures taking root.
Andrew Kersley / Press Gazette:
The Times says it crossed 400K digital subs earlier this year after gaining 60K in 2021, and added an average of 1,000/day during Ukraine war's first two weeks  —  The Times gained an average of 1,000 new digital subscribers a day during the first two weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, one of its highest ever growth rates.
Washington Post:
How Volodymyr Zelensky and associates from his former TV production company, now in government jobs, are using media expertise for strategic war communications  —  When President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking to U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday, aired a video documenting the human toll of Russia's assault …
Stephen Battaglio / Los Angeles Times:
Media mogul Byron Allen sues Nielsen, claiming it committed fraud by misrepresenting its ability to produce accurate ratings for Allen's smaller TV networks  —  Media mogul Byron Allen is suing Nielsen, claiming the ratings company was not forthcoming about the reliability of its audience measurement data for smaller TV networks.
Max Goldbart / Deadline:
ITV announces an £80M Diversity Commissioning Fund to be spent over the next three years on shows produced by or related to BAME or disabled people  —  ITV has forged an £80M ($105M) Diversity Commissioning Fund to be spent over the next three years on shows produced by or related to Black …
Discussion: Variety and Hollywood Reporter
Bron Maher / Press Gazette:
UK's Online Safety Bill, introduced in Parliament, exempts outlets from fines for false content but lets tech companies take down content without justification  —  The Government's Online Safety Bill has been introduced in Parliament, but still lacks promised protections for journalistic content.
Ross A. Lincoln / The Wrap:
A UAE-based consortium, which includes ADQ and e& subsidiary E-Vision, acquires a majority 57% stake valued at ~$420M in Starzplay Arabia  —  On Thursday, Abu Dhabi-based investment companies ADQ and E-Vision (a subsidiary of e&), and Starz announced the signing of a binding agreement …
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Introductory discounts drive subscription purchases, consumers say  —  73% of consumers say they're more likely to subscribe to digital publications when offered introductory discounts.
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 More News: 
Kyle Orland / Ars Technica:
The website of Wordle Archive, which let users play previous Wordle puzzles, says it has been taken down at the request of The New York Times
 Earlier Picks: 
Nilay Patel / The Verge:
Interview with Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg, on the future of open-source WordPress, Tumblr and moderation, Atavist magazine, and more
Dominic Patten / Deadline:
Chris Cuomo files a $125M arbitration claim against Turner and CNN, saying his journalistic integrity was “unjustifiably smeared” by the network
Valeriya Safronova / New York Times:
Since the invasion of Ukraine, many creative professionals in Russia have fled or are struggling to find work amid western sanctions and crackdowns on speech

From Techmeme:

Lawrence Abrams / BleepingComputer:
The US sanctions Sinbad, a crypto mixer allegedly used by the North Korean Lazarus hacking group, and the US, the Netherlands, and Poland seize the service

Alex Ivanovs / Stack Diary:
Researchers develop a “divergence attack” that makes ChatGPT emit sequences copied from its training data, by prompting the LLM to repeat a word numerous times

Alex Heath / The Verge:
OpenAI adds Microsoft as a non-voting observer on the nonprofit board that controls OpenAI, as Sam Altman's return as CEO is made official

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