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If you've been following the Writers' Strike gripping Hollywood--and how can you not since it might be the single biggest entertainment business story of the year--or even if you're somebody who just watches TV, sickened that a strike will cut short your favorite shows like "Grey's Anatomy" or "24", you're not alone.
Jerry Seinfeld's "BeeMovie" had plenty of sting left during its second weekend, replacing "American Gangster" as the No. 1 choice for North American moviegoers.
Ok, this is not funny. I don't watch that much TV, but every January I watch "24," and every Thursday night I watch "The Office." That is, I record them, I don't actually watch them live. This way I can skip through the ads, which, I guess, is part of the problem with making money in television these days.
I just reported on Disney earnings, and once again it's double digit earnings growth for the mouse house. Disney beat analyst expectations, reporting 42 cents a share, excluding a tax benefit. It was across-the-board growth: strong performance in the media networks--operating income in the division up 23 percent--driven by ESPN and the Disney Channel, especially overseas.
I'm here at the Media and Money conference, hosted by Nielsen and Dow Jones. Michael Eisner is speaking on the future of content, and about running his investment firm, the Tornante Company. But here's what else he said. He thinks the Hollywood writers are misguided and they shouldn't have gone out on strike: "This is a stupid strike."
The Writers Guild is marching on, as it's day three of the strike. But they're not alone, as the top three Democratic presidential candidates are coming out in favor of labor. This is not the first time the party has supported workers, but one might argue Hollywood writers are the least blue collar of any guild.
I'm not a car geek, but I have to admit, there are certain models that immediately make me smile. Ford's Bullitt Mustang is one-mainly because I still say the chase scenes in Steve McQueen's movie "Bullitt" are among the best I've ever seen ("The French Connection" is another favorite).
The biggest names in media are at the Pierre Hotel in midtown Manhattan for private equity firm Quadrangle's 'Four Square' conference. The event is closed to the press but I got my hands on an agenda and am spending the afternoon outside the hotel.
Google will someday rule the world. Look, it’s true. I’m just saying this so when it happens you're not surprised. Apparently one of the top priorities of the Google Defense Department (the GD Dept.? The Googagon?) will be fighting SPAM! Email spam is, as we all know, like herpes—the best you can hope for is to keep it in check until the next erupt
Here's the video of my report today about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama coming out in support of the Hollywood writer's strike. Take a listen.
The Writers Guild contract expired at midnight--though there's no strike just yet, it is NOT looking good. The rhetoric last night was so angry and stubborn on both sides, I'm predicting a strike by mid-week next week. The WGA says the producers association "refused to continue to bargain until we agree that the hated DVD formula be extended to Internet downloads." HATED? Ouch.
The writers strike all comes down to money, but how much is really at stake? Right now the writers get 4 cents for every DVD sold and they want to increase that to 8 cents. The 4 cents formula is old, based on VHS, which used to be very expensive to produce. So back in the mid 80s the writers and producers agreed to give writers 1.5% of 20% of DVD revenues (assuming production costs were about 80%).
I'm in front of the Writers Guild headquarters in Los Angeles and right now the leadership of the guild is meeting to ratify to decision to strike and to plan the details of exactly when writers should walk of the job. At the Writers Guild meeting at the LA Convention Center last night, 3,000 writers rallied to push a strike forward and it became clear that this WGA leadership means business.
Folks, we are in for a long, ugly strike in Tinseltown unless something gives this week. I covered the Writers strike in 1988, and people lost their homes. Nineteen years later, as Julia Boorstin is reporting, both sides have less leverage because consumers have so many more entertainment outlets now compared to then, from YouTube to Xbox.
Seems I struck a nerve with yesterday's post on the format war involving next generation DVD's. I came into the office today, welcomed by a flood of nasty e-mails challenging the blog, the premise, the spelling (sheeesh, "their" vs. "there" -- it's been corrected!)
Could it be a "black-and-blue" Friday for Blu-ray? There are rumblings about a big announcement coming from Wal-Mart that could give a big boost to HD-DVD. I'm hearing that the company will begin selling the Toshiba HD-A2 for $98 in a special one-day, in-store secret sale. The unit sells for $198 at Circuit City and Amazon, so this is a steep discount.
Here's an update to my previous post: Best Buy now confirms it will match Wal-Mart's $98 HD-DVD sale on Friday on the Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player. The web site Gizmodo says Best Buy online is already sold out, but that local pick-up might work. And Blu-ray? The ball's in your court.
In the entertainment industry, the idea of being green is very, very cool. You can't go two feet without seeing a Prius--they're even becoming the limo-of-choice for the Oscars. I myself bought a Prius in May and I love it. Not only is it eco-friendly, but it's also incredibly convenient. Not having to fill up that often saves a ton of money, and all that time wasted at the gas station. Tons of time.
As many of you know, yesterday was the Taco Bell World Series promotion. I’ve received tons of e-mails from people telling me that I’ve underestimated how many tacos Taco Bell was going to give out. As I’ve said, I admit I underestimated because I didn’t think Taco Bell would promote the giveaway as much as they did. But maybe they really did want to give away tacos.
My head is buzzing at the moment. I've been out on the farm trying to separate fact from fiction in the "great bee disappearance of 2007." This on the same week Jerry Seinfeld debuts in an animated movie in which he plays a bee. It's all about the bees lately. Seinfeld's film, "Bee Movie," is his first big splash since his hit show's final broadcast in May 1998.
The Kansas City Royals are commanding higher ticket prices and bigger merchandise sales than their rivals from the Bay.
The company will not change the name of its "Hazed and Confused" flavor, despite complaints from anti-hazing activists. The Daily Mail reports.
Suzanne Somers has come a long way since playing Chrissy Snow on "Three's Company" decades ago.
Mad Money host Jim Cramer goes "off the charts" with Explosive Options founder Bob Lang, for a closer look at entertainment stocks, including Disney and Time Warner.
Dish Network will no longer host several channels owned by Turner, such as Cartoon Network and CNN, amid a programming dispute.
NEW YORK, Oct 21- Nielsen and Adobe Systems Inc announced an alliance on Tuesday that aims to measure the viewership of digital video across all Internet-connected platforms including TVs, smart phones and tablets as the television ecosystem undergoes dramatic change. The move for Nielsen, which dominates traditional TV ratings and Adobe, which has troves of...