As technology and entertainment merge, more big names in film and TV are launching accelerators to produce blockbuster start-ups.» Read More
Social Networking is so hot right now, Nielsen is launching a social network to FIND OUT what's hot. It's all very meta. Nielsen is launching 'Hey! Nielsen,' a social network to act as a buzztracker for what in the entertainment world is hot on the web. The idea is to tap into the wisdom of crowds--or more specifically the wisdom of the "IN crowd" who wants to be webchatting about all the hottest TV, music, movies and web videos.
Disney Music Group dominates the Billboard 200 chart with eight titles in the top 50. High School Musical 2 Soundtrack (Walt Disney Records) is #1, Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus (Walt Disney Records/Hollywood Records) is #2 and Jonas Brothers (Hollywood Records) is #8. The Disney Music Group is managing to top the charts while the rest of the music industry suffers thanks to the power of the Disney Channel.
Since Google bought YouTube last fall it's attracted a ton of eyeballs--51 million users in June alone--but not so much revenue. Google is just now starting to roll out its new ads to try to capitalize on YouTube's loyal audience. Here's how it works. Hit play on a YouTube video, and an ad will pop up in the lower fifth of the screen.
After Michael Bay declared on his blog that he was refusing to direct "Transformers 2" because he was so upset about Paramount ditching the Blu-ray format to be exclusive to HD DVD, Bay has changed his tune. He followed it up with a post saying he'd overreacted, had been convinced by some Blu-ray fans. He says he was convinced to support HD because he learned that HD had cheaper players--around that $200 magic number.
The blogosphere is swirling with rumors about how Paramount's decision to ditch the Blu-ray format in favor of HD DVD (see my previous post), could cost the studio big time. It all started with the director Paramount's biggest hit, "Transformers." On a forum on his own blog--www.shootfortheedit.com--director Michael Bay posted the following:
Here are more song parodies (see my previous post) to try to bring a smile to those of you upside down in your mortgage (or upside down in your Capital One and Countrywide stock): From a Colorado mortgage company grunt, the appropriately named Rocky M (talk about smiling through the pain), called 'Green Tree Beret" and sung to the "Green Beret" theme:
Another battle in the very long war. For years Sony's Blu-ray has been battling with Microsoft and Toshiba-backed HD DVD. And everyone--the studios, the disc and player manufacturers, and consumers--is just dying for one format to emerge victorious and the other format to fall the way of the BetaMax. HD DVD just scored an unexpected win, after Blu-ray had taken the lead. DreamWorks Animation and Viacom's Paramount (including DreamWorks Studio) just committed to releasing their films...
Conan O'Brien was spotted by Jane Wells strolling around Universal City walking with an entourage yesterday. And now we know why! "Desperate Housewives" likely will be moved from its current stage here at Universal to accommodate the "Tonight Show," which would move from NBC's Burbank lot just for Conan.
"Transformers" must really have been a huge hit -- isn't imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Since the rights to Transformers are already sold, Hollywood is looking to the next best thing. New Regency is negotiating with the Mark Gordon Co. to bring to the big screen "Voltron: Defender of the Universe," a 1980s Japanese animated TV series.
Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank are pulling out of their commitment to underwrite $1 billion of financing for MGM's slate financing deal, according to the Financial Times, which broke the news.We know that the credit crunch is being felt far and wide -- and now we see that it's being felt all the way in Hollywood at the most hallowed of filmmaking institutions. No one is raising any debt right now, and until the credit markets calm down, things will be quiet. Goldman Sachs and MGM were was raising about one billion dollars to finance a slate of MGM productions and co-productions, including the Hobbit, the fourth Terminator movie, and most likely the next James Bond film (co-produced with Sony).
You can always count on Nielsen/Net Ratings to let you know exactly how huge a pop culture issue actually is. Michael Moore's film, Sicko, released back on June 29 -- is still making waves online. Web traffic to blogs discussing Sicko reached 1.2 million unique visitors in May. By June traffic was down to 814,000, though people are still visiting related websites, especially as the presidential political debate on health care heats up.
Just putting Erin Burnett's picture on my blog boosted my traffic more than 100% yesterday. Or maybe it was the Fake Jane pic.
People rushed to theaters to see the buddy cop comedy "Rush Hour 3," making the last of this summer's big budget Hollywood films the top movie at the weekend box office.
There's no question that Blockbuster's livelihood is under attack--the business of driving to a store to rent a DVD and driving back when you're done is threatened from video on demand, and digital downloads, especially since both technologies are getting better and faster. So, looking to avoid going the way of the Beta Max, Blockbuster just purchased online movie downloading company Movielink for under $20 million.
DreamWorks SKG couldn't have gotten off the ground more than a decade ago if it weren't for Paul Allen's $500 million investment. Perhaps his work is done--now he's selling $150 million of DreamWorks Animation stock back to the company, and doing a secondary offering to sell an additional 10 million shares to the public.
A credit crunch affects any type of leveraged buyout--debt becomes more expensive and harder to obtain, requiring more equity, making returns lower. Considering how many leveraged deals Hollywood has made, that industry should be no exception. Wall Street players--private equity, hedge funds, investment banks--have put together more than $12 billion dollars of financing for the Hollywood studios' 'slates' of films.
The amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne is back, and this time he clobbered Homer Simpson. "The Bourne Ultimatum," the third movie in the espionage action series starring Matt Damon as a one-time CIA hit man searching for his past, grossed $70.2 million its opening weekend to rank as North America's top film at the box office, according to estimates.
I can't help but comment on Viacom's earnings. On Thursday, the media giant beat Wall Street estimates, thanks largely to the filmed entertainment division's profit quadrupling. But the studio (Paramount and DreamWorks) is a much smaller part of the company than the 'Media Networks' division, which includes MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Spike TV, etc. I'd say Viacom's largest challenge moving forward is growing its ad revenue on these cable networks...
A hospital in Pittsburgh is banning Crocs, the comfy rubbery shoes with holes in them. Hospital officials call them a hazard, fearing a nurse might drop a syringe on his or her foot and, bingo! One nurse tells the AP that's a croc. "I mean, I can get a needle stuck in my arm or my leg."
CBS announced second-quarter earnings that disappointed on the top line, beat expectations on the bottom line, and landed flat with growth-hungry Wall Street. Revenue disappointed--down 3% to $3.37 billion on a loss of TV revenue from shutting down UPN and the timing of the NCAA basketball tournament.
Safety experts in the UK are questioning whether the Apple Watch will be as much of a driver distraction as cellphones, NBC News reports.
Actor Rob Lowe, discusses his partnership with Miramax chairman Tom Barrack.
After receiving numerous complaints, Apple has made it easier for users to delete the U2 album it had given to iTunes subscribers.
LG officially unveiled its ultra high definition 4K televisions. CNBC's Kayla Tausche asked actor Kevin Spacey about the success of "House of Cards" on Netflix, and how he consumes his media.
Actor Rob Lowe, discusses his partnership with Miramax chairman Tom Barrack.
NEW YORK— CBS Corp. said Monday that it signed a long-term deal to continue broadcasting its programs on 12 television stations owned by Media General. "We are excited to continue working with Media General to serve millions of viewers throughout the country," said Ray Hopkins, president of CBS Corp.' s television distribution division, in a statement.