Setting Stage: Soon-Shiong in conversation with Jessica Yellin.

Setting Stage: Soon-Shiong in conversation with Jessica Yellin. Photo by Kyle Espeleta

Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong mentioned ambitious plans for the Times in a recent, little-noticed speech.

Soon-Shiong announced Oct. 12 that he would create L.A. Times Today, a 24-hour news channel, during an interview with former CNN White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin before a dinner audience at the Pacific Council of International Policy.

“We are going to launch our own TV network,” said Soon-Shiong, who completed the $500 million acquisition of the Times, San Diego Union-Tribune and other Southern California media properties from Tribune Publishing Co., formerly tronc Inc., in June. He did not elaborate on the channel content or when it would run.

There are no details yet on L.A. Times Today, according to Times spokeswoman Hillary Manning, who said in an email that announcements regarding the Times’ channel may be coming soon.

The biotech billionaire and chief executive of NantWorks also told Yellin that he wants to partner with The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Atlantic on a newswire service comparable to Reuters.

Soon-Shiong also did not offer details on the potential partnership.

He characterized such an alliance as a way to repair the Times’ reputation – Soon-Shiong said the L.A. Times became beaten down during Tribune’s ownership – and also a way to combat false information on social media platforms.

Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.-owned Google Inc. are big reasons for false or misleading news, Soon-Shiong said.

He drew a contrast with the Times and the Silicon Valley giants, noting the Times’ audience is the reader, but Facebook and Google serve their advertisers.

Soon-Shiong then said to audience applause that the Times needs to “take a step away from social media,” and even “create alternative options” to the dominance of Google and Facebook-owned platforms.

Manning said that the Times did not have anything to add to Soon-Shiong’s Google and Facebook remarks.

Tang’s Taste for Hollywood

Donald Tang-owned studio Open Road Films snared an anonymous stalking horse bidder to acquire the bankrupt company’s assets from Tang Media Partners, but Tang may continue to have a foot in the door in Hollywood.

A bidder has agreed to buy Open Road Films’ assets from Tang Media Partners for at least $87.5 million, according to a Delaware bankruptcy court filing, triggering a Nov. 7 court auction on Open Road ownership.

Open Road grossed $108.8 million in 2017 movie theater receipts, according to Box Office Mojo, giving it a 1 percent share of the U.S. box office market.

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