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Voting Technology Firm Smartmatic Is Suing Fox News, Trump Attorneys for $2.7 Billion

Voting technology company Smartmatic said in December 2020 that it was considering suing then-President Trump, and conservative media outlets like Fox News, Newsmax and OANN, for spreading conspiracy theories about the company because the false statements had been hurting business. (TVNewser)

Now, Smartmatic is suing Fox News, three of its hosts and two former lawyers for Trump—Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell—for $2.7 billion, charging that the defendants conspired to spread false claims that the company helped “steal” the U.S. presidential election. (AP)

The lawsuit, filed in New York state court, accused Fox, Giuliani, Powell and hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro of intentionally lying about Smartmatic in an effort to mislead the public. “They needed a villain,” the lawsuit said. (CNN)

Smartmatic’s complaint claims that the segments on Fox News contained numerous errors involving the reliability of its technology, and that Fox News knew its statements about Smartmatic were untruthful. (WSJ)

“Fox News Media is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion. We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court,” a Fox spokesperson said in an emailed statement. (NBC News)

Jeff Zucker Will Stay at CNN Through 2021, But Then ‘I Expect to Move On’

To go out on top or not to go out on top? That is the question CNN Worldwide president and WarnerMedia News and Sports chairman Jeff Zucker has been asking himself in recent months. It appears he has answered that question. (TVNewser)

Zucker said Thursday that he expected to step down from his job running CNN at the end of the year. Zucker, 55, took over CNN in 2013. He revived its ratings by turning single stories—large or small—into national and international dramas. (NYT)

Zucker signaled internally in recent months that he wasn’t sure he would stay through his current contract. He was unhappy about how his boss, WarnerMedia chief executive Jason Kilar, had surprised him with a reorganization of the company’s executive ranks. (WSJ)

Zucker was said to be concerned about CNN being subjected to the cost-cutting that has occurred across the parent company. Zucker would not comment on whether he got any assurances that his unit would be spared, although colleagues said privately it is unlikely he would stick around to downsize the operation he spent the last eight years building up. (LA Times / Company Town)

Snapchat Spotlight Has Amassed 100 Million Users

Snap has made a big bet on user-generated video, doling out $1 million a day since December to top creators trying their hand at Spotlight, the company’s new TikTok rival. That $1 million a day was supposed to expire after the new year, but the company kept it going. Something must’ve gone right. (Adweek)

Spotlight already has more than 100 million users just over two months after launching. The company revealed the statistic as part of its fourth-quarter earnings report for 2020. (Engadget)

Snap also announced Thursday that the number of people using the app on a daily basis increased by 22 percent year-over-year to 265 million daily active users, around 5 million more than Wall Street analysts were expecting. (THR)

Snap shares fell as much as 10 percent in after-hours trading Thursday, after the company forecast Q1 revenue to be between $720 million and $740 million, lower than analyst forecasts. Snap estimated that DAUs would reach 275 million in Q1, a decline from the sequential user growth rates it reported throughout 2020. (Variety)

Earnings: NYT Tops 7.5 Million Subscriptions as Ads Decline, News Corp Posts Record Quarter

The New York Times set a record for its subscription business in 2020, a year when a pandemic, social unrest and a bitterly contested presidential race made headlines, the company said in an earnings report on Thursday. (NYT)

In the fourth quarter, the Times added 627,000 net new digital subscriptions compared with 393,000 in the third, the company said. Of those, 425,000 signed up to the paper’s core news offering and 202,000 for lower-cost digital products such as its cooking and crossword apps. (WSJ)

News Corp on Thursday recorded its most profitable quarter since it spun off its publishing assets into a separate company from its TV assets more than seven years ago. (New York Post)

NBC News Enters Scripted Drama Realm, Partners with Renée Zellweger

Oscar-winning actress Renée Zellweger is coming to broadcast television for the first time as the star and co-ep of The Thing About Pam, a new NBC prime-time series that’s based on a well-known true-crime investigation that was featured in a series of Dateline episodes. (TVNewser)

The investigation, focusing on the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria, was one of the most popular topics to ever air on the hit NBC newsmagazine. It also became the subject of NBC News’ popular 2019 Dateline podcast The Thing About Pam, which remains one of the most-downloaded podcasts on iTunes. (Deadline)

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U.K. Regulator Revokes License for China-Backed Broadcaster

Britain’s broadcasting regulator said on Thursday that it had withdrawn the license for China Global Television Network, an international news channel owned by a Chinese state broadcaster, to operate in the United Kingdom in part because its affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party violates broadcasting laws. (NYT)

British regulators began investigating the channel in response to a complaint from human rights group Safeguard Defenders. (THR)

Uber Eats Lets Snapchatters Become Wayne and Garth on Super Bowl Sunday

The Uber Eats Super Bowl ad featuring Wayne (Mike Myers), Garth (Dana Carvey) and a cameo by Cardi B brings several Snapchat components with it, as well. (Adweek)

YouTube Expands CTV and Sports Offerings Ahead of Upfront Season

Ahead of what will likely be a vastly different upfront season, Google is expanding its YouTube Select offerings as more people flock to streaming. (Adweek)</a

FuboTV Is the First Streamer to Join Unified ID 2.0

FuboTV, a sports-focused virtual pay-TV provider, is the first streaming service to join Unified ID 2.0, an open-source identity framework led by The Trade Desk. (Adweek)

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Facebook/Instagram, TikTok, Twitter Go After Sellers of Hijacked Accounts

Facebook/Instagram, TikTok and Twitter took aim at people trading and reselling hijacked accounts with desirable usernames, seizing control of hundreds of accounts across their platforms this week, KrebsOnSecurity reported Thursday. (Adweek)

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