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US-based news junkies can once again access reports produced by Quatar-based Al Jazeera English online after the network stopped blocking access to its YouTube videos from within the US Tuesday. Al Jazeera started to lock out U.S. viewers from its online videos when it launched its new cable channel Al Jazeera America back in August due to contractual obligations. Its contracts with cable operators also forced the network to block its live stream in the US, which remained inaccessible Tuesday. It’s unclear what exactly changed with regards to its YouTube videos, but Al Jazeera English staff celebrated the move online:

On The Web

Prepare for the next TV blackout: Dish and Disney are currently in negotiations about their next deal, and the Hollywood Reporter is reminding us that their deadline coming up at the end of the month. After that, blackouts are possible. But could Dish go nuclear and drop Disney’s ESPN network? Most people don’t think so, but Dish boss Charlie Ergen recently said that it may be time to take that step.

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On The Web

Pakistan started banning access to YouTube a year ago as a response to violent protests against clips of the anti-Islamic film The Innocence of Muslims, and the company has kept up the ban ever since. Now, democracy activists are arguing that the Pakistani government uses those clips as a pretext to suppress freedom of speech. The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting look at Pakistan’s YouTube ban and some of its unintended consequences.

In Brief

Now this is an interesting move (excuse the pun): SoundCloud has hired Muve Music founder and ex-SVP Jeff Toig as its new Chief Business Officer. Toig not only founded the music subscription service Muve on behalf of its corporate parent Cricket Wireless, but also turned it into a big success story by rolling the cost of music subscriptions into Cricket’s data plans. At SoundCloud, he is likely going to use his music biz contacts to build some new revenue opportunities for the company.

On The Web

Microsoft wants to make a lot more exclusive programming for Xbox Live: The company’s Los Angeles-based production team is busy incubating “hundreds of ideas” for new TV shows, Microsoft Studios VP Phil Spencer told Bloomberg. Microsoft is currently producing a live-action Halo show, and plans to make announcements about additional shows in the coming months.

On The Web

Twitter is working on a redesigned iOS experience that will put a much bigger focus on media consumption, according to a report filed by AllThingsD’s Mike Isaac. The new app will come with a dedicated column for photos shared through the service, and possibly also do the same for TV-related tweets and videos. This makes a lot of sense for the company: Twitter has been working a lot behind the scenes to integrate with TV, and TV ad dollars will play a big role in Twitter’s upcoming IP.

http://variety.com/2013/digital/news/netflix-is-draining-cartoon-networks-tv-ratings-1200609111/ Sugar, spice and… lower ratings? Cartoon Network viewership in Netflix households went down 10 percent after Turner inked a deal with the video service that brings shows like Powerpuff Girls and Adventure Time to Netflix, reports Variety. Ratings for Adult Swim even dipped 18 percent in […] Read more »

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“We aren’t trying to kill it, you are watching us fight for it,” writes Turntable.fm founder Billy Chasen on the company’s blog, explaining why it had to turn off user uploads and shut down its leanback-focused Piki site. Turntable spends “tens of thousands of dollars a month in royalties, service fees, hosting, etc,” says Chasen, and disabling uploads will save the company $20,000 a month alone. Chasen also promises to bring new artist-driven services to Turntable, but it sounds like the writing may be on the wall for the former media darling.

On The Web

Apple TV wasn’t mentioned at all during this week’s iPhone press event, but the company’s TV box could nonetheless receive an update soon: AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka is reporting that Apple will make it easier to share content via AirPlay with a software update next week. I argued earlier this week that Apple doesn’t need new hardware, but a new version of AirPlay.

In Brief

Music streaming service Songza has raised $4.7 million from Amazon, William Morris Endeavor, Lerer Ventures and others, and the company wants to spend that money to grow its native advertising platform. Songza is focused on curated playlists, and the company has been getting companies like Nissan and Taco Bell to sponsor some of these “music moments.” Of course, playlists are also at the core of the upcoming Beats Music service — we will have to wait and see how its launch will affect Songza.

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