Happy 2008! I'm back from my travels and have spent the day reading up on all the news I missed while away (though news of Benazir Bhutto's assassination was everywhere, the international press doesn't follow Hollywood labor negotiations as closely).
The box office hit a record high in 2007, with the six major Hollywood studios bringing in more than 10 percent over last year's numbers--with nearly $10 billion: each of the companies topping a $1 billion take for the first time ever. Paramount came in first, with about $2.15 billion in ticket sales. But that wasn't cause for celebration, as attendance was flat compared with last year.
New media made some movement over the holidays. Rupert Murdoch cozied up to Steve Jobs and Fox signed a deal with Apple's iTunes. At MacWorld on Jan 14th, Apple will reportedly announce that iTunes will offer movie rentals of Fox and Disney movies. Other studios-- including Paramount--may also be on that list by January.
But the real question: what's happening with the strike? The good news: the two-month work stoppage hasn't rattled media company stocks. In fact they're all (Sony, Viacom,News Corp, CBS, Disney) either flat or slightly up. Part of that is because the stocks were already trading at historic lows, with Wall Street concerned about whether digital revenues can make up for an industry-wide slowdown of traditional growth.