Friday's Wake-Up Call: The FCC Probes the FCC, 'Black Panther' Is Shaping Up to Be a (Mega) Hit

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From the feature film,
From the feature film, Credit: Courtesy Marvel Comics

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.

What people are talking about today
The deadliest-ever mass shooting at an American high school (with the death toll exceeding 1999's Columbine massacre) happened this week, but the story doesn't make the cover of the new issue of Time magazine, out today. The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida happened relatively late in Time's production cycle—the school first went into lockdown at 2:40 p.m. ET on Wednesday—and while and Time's social channels have been intensively reporting on the tragedy, the print magazine's cover, a healthy-living service package—"How to Live Longer Better"—will make a lot of people flinch given the timing. See the cover here.

The FCC is investigating ... the FCC
Per Bloomberg: "The U.S. Federal Communications Commission's internal watchdog is probing whether the agency's chairman improperly pushed for rule changes that helped clear the way for Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.'s proposed purchase of Tribune Media Co.'s television stations, a lawmaker said. An FCC spokesman called the accusation 'absurd.'"

Bloomberg notes that Chairman Ajit Pai "has drawn scrutiny in part for his meetings with Sinclair executives" since President Trump's election; Trump selected Pai to lead the agency. "Democrats have said FCC policy this year has seemed to be crafted to benefit the Maryland-based broadcaster."

Dreamers denied again
"The dream looks dead," per Vox. "The Senate failed Thursday afternoon to advance any of the four immigration bills that were put on the floor for a vote, unable to make any movement toward protecting young people brought illegally to the United States as children," known as "Dreamers" under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

A healthier(-ish) Mickey D's
McDonald's is changing up its Happy Meals and, as Ad Age's Jessica Wohl reports, the announcement was "met with praise from the American Heart Association and others, but also a bit of backlash. Essentially, moves like no longer showing a cheeseburger on the Happy Meal menu and serving fewer fries with a 6-piece McNuggets meal might send signals over time that lead people to change how they eat. But they aren't exactly going to turn unhealthy kids healthy."

Crypto ... journalism?
Ad Age's George Slefo talks to Jordan Hoffner, CEO of the Salon Media Group, about's decision to "start asking visitors who run ad blockers to let it use their computers to mine cryptocurrency." Slefo notes that the longer someone stays on, the more money the site can generate. "Think about it," Hoffner says. "This rewards good, long-form content and not clickbait."

Trying to sound young
The New York Times has formed a data science team to help marketers use tools originally developed for use by the Times, The Wall Street Journal reports. One offering is based on an effort called "Project Feels"—a name that makes something potentially new and innovative sound like an effort to look new and innnovative—that tries to tell how readers will react to certain stories. Now advertisers can target ads to stories that the Times believes will "have a certain resonance with readers," the Journal says.

Replacing Facebook
Google is sending publishers more than enough new traffic to compensate for their lost Faecbook referrals following the social network's latest shift in priorities, Recode reports. That's partly a result of greater adoption of AMP, the fast-loading mobile format spearheaded by Google to protect the mobile web and compete with apps.

Just briefly:

Marvel's latest is shaping up to be a (mega) hit: "'Black Panther' Forecast Soars Past $200 Million on Wide Appeal," per Bloomberg.

Jeffrey Tambor says Amazon was wrong: Jill Soloway confirmed yesterday that the star of her Amazon show "Transparent" would not be returning following an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. "We are taking definitive action to ensure our workplace respects the safety and dignity of every individual, and are taking steps to heal as a family," Soloway said in a statement. Thursday evening, Tambor said the allegations had never been "revealed or discussed directly" with him, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon's handling of these false accusations against me," Tambor said in a statement Thursday evening. "I am even more disappointed in Jill Soloway's unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow cast mates."

CBS FTW: "CBS Corp. overcame a slump in TV advertising to report higher sales and profit in the final quarter of 2017," also per Bloomberg. Contributing to the good news: rising revenue for its streaming services, which now reach almost five million subscribers.

Creativity pick of the day: "The Oscar-nominated film 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' inspired concerned and grieving citizens in the U.K. to erect their own trio of signs demanding justice," Ad Age's Ann-Christine Diaz writes at Creativity. "A group called Justice4Grenfell, founded by advocates for those who suffered during the June fires in the Grenfell, London building that claimed 71 lives, has created its own three billboards seeking reparation for those who were left bereaved and homeless." See footage of the campaign here.

Ad Age's regular Wake-Up Call correspondent, Angela Doland, is taking a week off. Can you blame her?

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