What Are You Missing? Jan 30-Feb 12
1. A woman could possibly head up the MPAA soon, but women still hold only a small minority of top Hollywood filmmaking jobs. Things are perhaps changing for over-40 actresses, but Melissa Leo deeming it necessary to generate her own Oscar campaign might indicate differently (even if it’s a bad move). Also fighting for respect is the British film industry, so I’ll make up for mocking it last time by linking to an article considering that the British Academy Film Awards (whose ceremony is today) are better than the Oscars.
2. Lionsgate will test out a new low-budget release strategy, and a pair of theater chains plan independent releases of their own, which David Poland hopes is the good news for indie film it seems. Ted Hope and Cole Abaius are optimistic about the future of modest-budget indies, while Paul Thomas Anderson is just going straight to billionaires, who will be especially handy once all the state tax breaks dry up.
3. Blockbuster is seeking a buyer, which could put Carl Icahn back in the regular WAYM rotation. In related news, studio DVD money is plunging, online movie downloads are outpacing TV sales, Apple is still dominant in those downloads (though Walmart is inching closer), and Netflix users are #1 in loyalty.
4. At a time when nearly a quarter of global internet traffic involves illegal downloads, the White House is working up new digital copyright laws. I hope Obama’s better at this than the MPAA. Of course, a notable number of users say they don’t want to pirate, but the nonsense just drives them to it. One study found that it’s not music being pirated the most or even Hollywood movies. Of course, it’s porn, which has prompted porn industry lawsuits against sites like RedTube, but RedTube thus far has finished on top (no pun regretted).
5. Google caught Microsoft stealing its search results for Bing’s use by launching a sting operation that would make Henry Gondorff proud (if you don’t know who that is, you should google it, or you can bing it and probably get the same results). But some see Microsoft’s theft as smart, even as Google turned it into a PR coup. Flickr had a potential PR disaster with news it had accidentally deleted a user’s 3,400 photos, but it managed to recover all of them. The BBC had to be embarrassed when, after it scheduled 172 websites for deletion claiming it was necessary due to budget cuts, a clever netizen archived them all for only $3.99.
6. Many are using iPads to timeshift reading of online content throughout the day. Many fewer are reading the new iPad newspaper The Daily, which is most notable thus far for being buggy and not Flipboard. Magazines for iPad have mostly been a bust, though there’s hope for the new Sports Illustrated approach, which Apple could still screw up by getting all Appley and proprietary, as it has with e-book sales.
7. Twitter’s been busy lately, what with the Super Bowl and Egypt, plus there are rumors about charging users and a possible multi-billion dollar takeover. Facebook is one of Twitter’s potential suitors, and while Facebook has also been busy with Egypt, it has still managed to trademark “Face” in Europe and pick up the prostitute slack from Craigslist, despite only just turning seven years old.
8. Activision has made major cutbacks, the most publicly notable result being that Guitar Hero is dead (long live Guitar Hero!). Analysts are trying to make sense of Guitar Hero’s demise, blaming greed and the transitory nature of novelty, but the upside is we now have an awesome infographic about the life and death of Guitar Hero. In light of Guitar Hero’s fade, Rus McLaughlin fears for the future of Call of Duty.
9. Citigroup has taken over EMI, which Bobbie Johnson sees as just more music industry cluelessness; Ticketmaster has some new competition but also a new European acquisition; Spotify’s coming to the US, no really, it is, any time now, really soon; Pandora is going public; Warner and Sony Music are skidding; and the car cassette deck is dead (long live the car cassette deck!).
10. Some good News for TV Majors links from the past two weeks: Support CPB, Pilots Chart, FNL Reviews, Ad Ratings, Olbermann to Current & Olbermann Impact, CBS News Moves, Super Bowl Coverage, Ryan v. Eastin, Top Gear Trouble, Sky & Piracy, Mad Men Takedown, Money for Online, UK Sitcoms, Sheen’s Value.