NEWS CORP officially completed its acquisition of DOW JONES yesterday after 60% of shareholders voted to close the deal. Rupert Murdoch soon showed up at the Dow Jones holiday party wearing a Santa hat. He brought some gifts, in the form of a new CEO, a new publisher and permanent vacations for several top DJ executives. The new lineup of News. Corp. veterans begins work today.
THE WGA has filed a complaint against the AMPTP with the National Labor Relations Board citing unfair practices. The Guild claims that the producers violated federal law by issuing an ultimatum and then breaking off talks. Meanwhile, the Directors Guild of America said it was ready to begin talks with the AMPTP after the new year.
KEVIN MARTIN will push ahead with the Dec. 18 vote on media ownership rules, despite complaints from legislators and the Senate Commerce Committee bill that seeks to block the vote. Martin told the Committee he would not delay the vote, ignoring complaints from both Democrats and Republicans.
JEFFREY IMMELT addressed speculation about a possible sale of NBCU during an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box. Immelt said the company is too valuable to consider selling, despite its recent struggles. He acknowledges the rapid change hitting the industry, saying “Anyone that thinks the TV-network business is going to be the same two years from now is crazy.” However, he thinks GE is in a position to capitalize on that change. We’ll see.
WEBKINZ is suffering a Facebook-like consumer backlash after adding movie ads to the popular children’s virtual world. Traffic for the formerly ad-free site has surged by 800% this year and over 7 million unique users visited in October. Some of that growth may be in jeopardy, as the recent addition of ads for Hollywood films has angered parents and triggered complaints from The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Some parents are blocking children’s access to the site, creating a challenge to the new ad-supported business model.