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5:05 PM ET, September 19, 2023


 Top News: 
Emma Roth / The Verge:
WBD's Max is adding a live sports tier, Bleacher Report Sports, in the US on October 5 for $9.99/month, or free to current Max subscribers through February 2024  —  Max, the streaming service owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, is adding a live sports tier in the US on October 5th.
Casey Newton / Platformer:
Reflections on three years of Platformer: 155,355 free subscribers, up from 75,000 in 2022, planning to experiment with ads, 95% of readers do not pay, and more  —  Has the Substack revolution come and gone?  PLUS: What's changing in year four  —  I. State of the union
Nilay Patel / The Verge:
Q&A with Matthew Panzarino, who recently stepped down as TechCrunch EIC after 10 years, on the site's Silicon Valley relationship, the future of media, and more  —  It's been a rocky and chaotic decade — and now digital media is on the brink of yet another existential crisis thanks to generative AI.
Max Goldbart / Deadline:
The BBC and Channel 4 remove TV and audio shows featuring Russell Brand; the BBC did not specify which shows and Channel 4 removed GBBO and Big Brother episodes  —  - ‘The Madigan Chronicles’ Optioned By Particle6; London Film Festival Jury; MBC's Arabic-Language Feature - Global Briefs
Naman Ramachandran / Variety:
YouTube suspends ads on videos by actor Russell Brand to “protect” its users, citing his “off-platform behavior”, after allegations of rape and sexual assault
Emily Dugan / The Guardian:
The BBC is “urgently” investigating Russell Brand's behavior while he worked on its radio shows, after allegations of rape and sexual assault from 2006 to 2013
Eshe Nelson / New York Times:
How the SAG-AFTRA strikes are impacting the UK, where Barbie, Mission: Impossible, Indiana Jones, and more were filmed, as many now find themselves out of work  —  Many U.S. studios' blockbusters are filmed in Britain, so the walkouts by actors and screenwriters have caused thousands of U.K. film crews to lose work.
Angela Fu / Poynter:
A Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter faced a pile-on of social media harassment when users including Elon Musk distorted her coverage of a fatal hit-and-run  —  The Las Vegas Review-Journal is facing a harassment campaign stoked by Elon Musk, one year after a reporter was killed for his coverage.
Gretel Kahn / Reuters Institute:
How Russia spreads pro-Kremlin messages in Africa through local journalists and media outlets like Afrique Média, a Cameroon-based, pro-Wagner Group TV channel  —  This Cameroon-based outlet reaches millions through linear TV and boasts over one million followers on their social channels
Discussion: GitHub and Washington Post
Bobby Hristova / CBC News:
The Hamilton Spectator, one of Ontario's longest-running newspapers, plans to close its office in October; last week, Torstar's owner Nordstar cut 605 staff  —  Meanwhile, several area weeklies are going online only and their reporters will be let go  —  The Hamilton Spectator is losing …
Sara Fischer / Axios:
Advance Local is building GulfLive, a New Orleans-based sports and news website, four years after Advance sold the Times-Picayune, the area's biggest newspaper  —  - All of the Times-Picayune's 161 staffers were let go in 2019 amid that sale. … - The creation of GulfLive suggests Advance …
Discussion: @sarafischer
Patrick Frater / Variety:
Filing: Alibaba Pictures plans to acquire Alibaba-owned Damai, a major provider of live entertainment in China, for $167M, signaling a move into live events  —  Alibaba Pictures, the separately-listed film investment and distribution unit of China's tech giant Alibaba behind recent box office hit “Lost in the Stars,” is to buy Damai.
K.J. Yossman / Variety:
BBC Studios forms a Global Entertainment division, led by Matt Forde, to oversee its production bases in Los Angeles, India, Australia, South Africa, and Europe  —  BBC Studios has merged three areas of its formats business to create a new global entertainment division led by Matt Forde.
Discussion: Media Play News
Kerry Flynn / Axios:
Electrify Video Partners, whose model is to acquire 50% to 100% of a YouTube creator's business, raised $85M from Capital D and says the startup is profitable  —  - Kerry Flynn, author of Axios Pro: Media Deals  —  Exit Content Preview  —  Electrify Video Partners has raised $85 million …
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 More News: 
Charlotte Tobitt / Press Gazette:
An interview with The Independent CEO Christian Broughton on the newspaper's growth drivers: e-commerce, Independent TV, reader revenues, US expansion, and AI
 Earlier Picks: 
Yoel Roth / New York Times:
Twitter's former head of trust and safety reflects on Donald Trump and Elon Musk attacking him, the resulting abuse, fact-checking, the Twitter Files, and more
Matt Grobar / Deadline:
Disney says Elemental is Disney+'s biggest movie premiere so far in 2023, drawing 26.4M views in its first five days, after earning $484M+ at the box office

From Techmeme:

Rachel Metz / Bloomberg:
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman says that co-founder Ilya Sutskever won't be a board member, but that the company is “discussing how he can continue his work at OpenAI”

Wall Street Journal:
Sources: Meta plans to launch Threads in Europe in December, the largest expansion since its July debut, offering a choice of using Threads without a profile

Allison Johnson / The Verge:
Google says RCS in Google Messages now has over 1B MAUs, and adds Photomoji, Screen Effects, Custom Bubbles, and other features

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