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12:45 PM ET, February 28, 2024


 Top News: 
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:
Reliance and Disney merge their media businesses in India, creating the country's largest media conglomerate; Reliance values it at $8.5B and will invest $1.4B  —  Reliance, its portfolio Viacom18 and Disney are merging their media businesses in India, creating the largest media entity in the South Asian market.
Alex Weprin / The Hollywood Reporter:
Filing: Disney will take non-cash pre-tax impairment charges of $1.8B to $2.4B related to Reliance JV; Disney will be a minority shareholder with a 36.8% stake  —  Reliance will invest $1.4 billion into the joint venture, which is valued at $8.5 billion, while Disney will provide a content license.
Discussion: Reuters and Deadline
Jeremy Barr / Washington Post:
Mehdi Hasan raises $4M to launch Zeteo, a digital media company on Substack, offering a weekly streaming show he hosts, contributor pieces, a podcast, and more  —  Hasan, whose MSNBC cancellation triggered an outpouring from fans, follows other political pundits who have struck out on their own
Kyle Wiggers / TechCrunch:
Adobe unveils Project Music GenAI Control, a platform that can generate audio from text descriptions or a reference melody and let users customize the results  —  There's plenty of GenAI-powered music editing and creation tools out there, but Adobe wants to put its own spin on the concept.
Jake Kanter / Deadline:
A group of top journalists, including from CNN, BBC, and CBS, sign an open letter asking Israel and Egypt to provide foreign media “unfettered access” to Gaza  —  A group of top international journalists have joined forces to demand that Israel and Egypt provide foreign media with “unfettered access” to Gaza.
Wall Street Journal:
Sources: TikTok reached out to Universal with a proposal the music company felt didn't address its concerns on compensation, platform safety, or AI protections  —  Universal's showdown with the platform is testing the value of the seconds-long song snippet—and who has the most power in today's music economy
Jem Aswad / Variety:
TikTok removes all songs published by Universal Music Publishing Group, expanding a licensing spat; at first only songs owned or distributed by UMG were removed
Angelique Jackson / Variety:
Study: 77 of the top 100 top-grossing domestic films in the US in 2023 featured more male characters than female characters in speaking roles  —  The latest 'It's a Man's (Celluloid) World' report shows 77% of movies had more male than female characters  —  A new study indicates that the tenets …
Discussion: Screen Rant, IndieWire and Deadline
Max Tani / Semafor:
In an email to some staff, ABC News president Kimberly Godwin said Trump's recent comments about Black Americans were “as racist as they come”  —  The Scoop  —  Kimberly Godwin, the president of ABC News, said privately that recent comments by President Donald Trump about Black people were “as racist as they come.”
Foo Yun Chee / Reuters:
Axel Springer and 31 other media groups in Europe file a $2.3B lawsuit against Google, alleging that they suffered losses due to its digital ad practices  —  Alphabet's (GOOGL.O) Google was hit with a 2.1-billion-euro ($2.3 billion) lawsuit by 32 media groups including Axel Springer and Schibsted …
Jennifer Maas / Variety:
Nexstar Q4: $1.3B net revenue, down from $1.5B YoY, core ad revenue down 5.9% to $449M, with political ad sales down 88.7% to $30M, and a $52M loss for the CW  —  Nexstar reported its fourth-quarter 2023 earnings Wednesday, revealing its TV ad sales were down 36% from Oct. 1- Dec. 31.
WBD proposes shutting down Newshub, one of New Zealand's major newsrooms, on June 30, as part of which ~200 journalists and other staff could lose their jobs  —  One of the country's major newsrooms could close, thanks to a collapse in TV advertising revenue and changes in viewing habits.
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 More News: 
Byron Tau / Wired:
A look at some government contractors that are helping US intelligence agencies and others use targeted mobile ads to track down people
Alexis Ong / The Verge:
A look at the underground floppy disk music scene; Discogs data shows 500+ floppy music releases in the 2020s, more than in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s combined
 Earlier Picks: 
Ben Strauss / Washington Post:
Authentic says it has recouped its ~$90M SI purchase via licensing; sources: SI has 1M print subs, breaks even, and Minute Media is a potential new publisher
Samantha Cole / 404 Media:
Internal docs: Tumblr staff compiled users' data in preparation for deals where Automattic would sell the data to OpenAI and Midjourney to train AI tools
Mark Stenberg / Adweek:
Docs: Google is paying a handful of independent publishers a five-figure sum for one year to use an unreleased suite of generative AI tools to post stories
Blake Brittain / Reuters:
Filing: OpenAI asks a US federal judge to dismiss parts of NYT's copyright suit, alleging it “paid someone to hack OpenAI's products” and violated OpenAI's TOS