digital music – Antenna Responses to Media and Culture Thu, 30 Mar 2017 23:48:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What Are You Missing? Dec 30 – Jan 12 Sun, 12 Jan 2014 14:00:09 +0000 Happy New Year! Here are ten or more media industry news items you might have missed recently:

WWE Network1) WWE announced during CES this week the upcoming launch of WWE Network for February 24th, a first of its kind over-the-top 24/7 streaming channel with on-demand access to a vast library of content. The move comes after years of speculation as to the form the previously announced WWE Network would take, with WWE attempting deals with both cable and satellite providers for a more traditional system WWE Network will be accessible on nearly all digital platforms like Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, Roku, Playstation, XBox, smart TVs, and more all through a single subscription fee of $9.99 a month with a six month commitment. The fact that the content (both new originals and archival) will include WWE’s monthly Pay-Per-Views at no additional cost has ruffled some traditional outlet’s feathers, as DirecTV has threatened to stop offering PPVs since the WWE Network will essentially compete against them. With WWE about to enter renegotiations with cable channels for airing rights to its television shows, the Network’s upcoming launch will certainly play a factor.

2) Following up on rumors of a deal for Time Warner Cable, John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp has said it plans to buyout SiriusXM, putting Malone in a clearer position in consolidation with Time Warner Cable due to Liberty’s controlling stake in competitor Charter Communications. It is a very complicated plan, involving the creation of a new class of stock for the company, but the bottom line is it makes for even more consolidation and puts Liberty in a better position to acquire Time Warner Cable through its Charter holdings. There are those who object, notably shareholder Ralph Nader, but Liberty defends the plan as leading to a more rational structure.

3) A big week for online television service Aereo, as the Supreme Court has announced it plans to hear the case between the startup and four major broadcasters. The case is an appeal made by CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox and others after they were denied an injunction over whether Aereo’s system that captures their broadcast signals and reroutes them to customers Internet devices violates performance rights. This is a massive case, ABC Television Stations vs. Aereo for those playing at home, as the future of network television and its relationship to Internet platforms hangs in check. The news of the high court taking the case came just days after Aereo had closed on $34 million in additional financing, putting them at $97 million raised to date. How much that is really worth will be decided by the Supreme Court in their upcoming docket.

Springsteen-Good-Wife4) If you plan on watching CBS’s The Good Wife on Sunday night (and why wouldn’t you be!?), you can look forward to three songs from Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming new album High Hopes, part of a larger partnership between Springsteen and CBS to promote the upcoming album’s release. The albums is currently streaming on as a sneak preview, a move promoted after last week’s episode of The Good Wife. This is a rare move for a network to host an album debut on its website, something more traditional online and music retailers are sure to dislike.

5) Speaking of online music retailers, they have more bad news this year as 2013 marks the first time digital music sales have decreased. The drops come in the form of both individual track sales as well as album bundles, despite the latter starting the year strong. The main culprit being blamed is the increase in popularity of ad-based and subscription-based music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, though streaming numbers for 2013 have yet to be released.

6) Not to fear, as 2013 was also a year of massive rises in media company stocks. Most major media conglomerates closed out 2013 at 52-week highs, with Disney being a big winner with their stock gaining over 51% this past year. When you expand to look at the entire market, Netflix had an astonishing year growing 296%, placing it as the second-highest performing stock of 2013 behind only Tesla, the up-and-coming luxury electric car manufacturer. When it comes to films, Lionsgate did well off the back of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, rising 99.2%. For television, AMC did quite well closing 2013 up 34%.

7) Perhaps bolstered by its stock’s performance, Netflix raised the salary of CEO Reed Hastings by 50%, bringing it to $6 million for 2014. This is the man who just two years ago helped announce Qwikster, which almost signaled the end for the video-streaming service that is now outpacing every prediction.

8) The Parents Television Council is pushing for an overhaul of film and TV ratings, claiming the current system is inaccurate. PTC president Tim Winter criticized the systems by saying, “content ratings much be accurate, consistent, transparent and publicly accountable. The current system is none of that.” While the MPAA has yet to comment, industry-supporting organization TV Watch has pushed back, arguing the PTC uses flawed methodology and false claims to push their agenda.

Chinese multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao gives money away to street cleaners during an event organized by him in Nanjing9) Mostly because I wanted to include a picture of that suit, controversial Chinese tycoon Chen Guangbiao has intentions to buy the New York Times Co., what he deems the most influential news outlet in the world. Making millions in waste management, Chen claimed to have set up a meeting with the company, which is an odd choice since the NYT’s website is currently blocked in China. After this meeting was rebuffed, Chen admitted it would be a difficult acquisition, but insured others his intentions were genuine.

10) Staying with China the country has temporarily lifted a 14-year ban on video game consoles. The ban started in 2000 with the Chinese government claiming they were dangerous to one’s health. This opens the door for foreign console manufacturers like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo to begin manufacturing in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.


What Are You Missing? Jan 20-Feb 2 Sun, 03 Feb 2013 16:01:24 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

1. The big news in Hollywood last week that caught many by surprise: Kevin Tsujihara was named CEO of Warner Bros. The studio is hopeful he’ll bring stability, but especially digital distribution savvy. Also shooting for stability is MGM, which is reworking its credit line to free up more money, while 20th Century Fox also cut a new financing deal. Unrelated bonus link: a Nielsen demographic study of movie audiences.

2. Fruitvale was a big winner at Sundance, which Variety critics thought was a successful, if commercially inclined, festival this year. Also of note was the equal gender balance of directors in competition, a first for the festival. This is representative of a higher percentage of female directors active in independent cinema than Hollywood studio filmmaking, according to research shared at Sundance by USC researchers.

3. There are still some Blockbuster stores left to shutter, and sadly, 3,000 jobs will be lost in this latest round of closings. Stores are also closing in the UK. Dish is still backing the Blockbuster brand, though, with a new On Demand redesign coming. But iTunes rules the online On Demand world right now, while discs fight to maintain home video sale prominence.

4. The music industry is having trouble making streaming royalties worth it to musicians. Too bad they can’t all enjoy a Super Bowl sales bump from being a halftime performer or make $8 million in ad deals like “Gangham Style” (though you have to watch out for sound-alikes) or have fans who are big pirates.

5. The company that supplied my very first video game console one lovely Christmas morning way back when has filed for bankruptcy, though apparently Atari hasn’t been what it used to be for awhile now, and it will even sell the iconic logo. Some other gaming bummers: THQ is being dissolved, Disney is closing a game studio and laying off fifty people while shifting to a focus on mobile and social gaming, and weak Wii U sales and 3DS piracy are hurting Nintendo.

6. Despite those bummers, the video game industry’s many challenges, and EA posting a recent loss, EA executives are optimistic about the future of console gaming. There’s a new Xbox coming with more processing power, and we’ll soon hear more about a new Playstation, though some think Sony should just move on from that platform’s legacy.

7. Samsung is warning that major smartphone growth is over, but maybe the company’s just bitter that Apple has surpassed it as top US phone vendor. The iPhone is declining in Asia, though, and Apple is losing tablet ground globally to Samsung and others. Apple’s still doing good work with tax loopholes, though. And at least it’s not BlackBerry.

8. France is having none of your English-language “hashtag” business on Twitter. For the French, “mot-dièse” will be the word for # on Twitter. (Mot-dièse means “sharp word,” though a sharp symbol leans the other way than the hashtag symbol, but hey, quoi que). France is also demanding that Twitter identify users who tweet with racist and anti-Semitic hasht…er, mots-dièse. Back in the US, Twitter’s dealing with a porn problem on the new Vine platform and is trying to censor porny hashtags. I doubt the French would respect that. #prudes 

9. GIFs are on the decline?!


10. Some of the finer News for TV Majors posts from the past few weeks: Soap Contract Conflicts, Glee’s Song Theft, Super Bowl Ad Issue, Netflix Strategies, More on Netflix, 30 Rock Reflections, Spoiling Super Bowl Ads, CNN Changes, TWC & Dodgers, Aereo Update, The Following Criticism, Pilots Updates.


Programming note: Because I recently took on some new time-consuming duties, like Associate Online Editor for Cinema Journal, I’ve regretfully had to step away from WAYM for the time being. But don’t fear: WAYM will still be here! Eric Hoyt’s media industries course will be taking over for the rest of the semester on the regular bi-weekly schedule, and I can’t wait to see what they can do with it. (Sage advice: When in need of a good link, Lionsgate and porn are always there for you.) See you later!




What Are You Missing? Nov 25 – Dec 8 Sun, 09 Dec 2012 14:53:00 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

1. The MPAA is touting findings that the shutdown of Megaupload was a huge blow to piracy while battling against research claims that box office revenues have been negatively impacted by Megaupload’s disappearance. Such anti-piracy rhetoric will step up a notch in January, thanks to a new initiative with internet service providers, and MPAA head Chris Dodd is turning to Silicon Valley for more help along those lines.

2. While plenty of Oscar bait is still coming down the pike, we now have the shortlists for live-action shorts and documentary nominations. Of the shortlisted docs, Searching for Sugar Man is gaining some early awards momentum. Among scripted films, Beasts of the Southern Wild impressed in Indie Spirit Award noms, Zero Dark Thirty turned on the National Board of Review, and the Gotham Awards rewarded Moonrise Kingdom.

3. Tax credits are again in the news, with New York job numbers showing a boost from production tax breaks and one small Georgia town experiencing revitalization thanks to production credits. However, one Michigan city is now on the ropes due to banking on tax incentives that the state subsequently eliminated. Back in Hollywood, LA production might be slowly on the rise.

4. Disney preceded its big Netflix deal with the announcement that it is shuttering its online movie service, offering a blow to transactional VOD prospects. It does seem like subscription streaming is coming to dominate, and along those lines, details are emerging about Verizon and Redbox’s upcoming Instant service, though we won’t see it until next year. Meanwhile, good old Blockbuster will now start selling mobile phones, because it has just about nothing else going on.

5. Internet ad spending will soon surpass ad spending in all newspapers and magazines, and a striking chart shows that the decline of newspaper ad revenue has outpaced the growth of Google’s ad revenues. That would be why the New York Times is trimming staff, as not even a paywall is making up the difference. A UK study says journalists are keeping their chins up, though.

6. With the death of The Daily, it’s clear that magazine apps are struggling. Will Richmond sees video as key for the future of magazines, while Jeff John Roberts thinks BuzzFeed might point the way toward a viable business model, with BuzzFeed’s CEO touting the value of social advertising over banner ads and hoping that branded content experiments will work.

7. YouTube is aiming for professional standards in everything from its new production facilities to its interface redesign, which enhances the focus on channels, along with funding channel marketing efforts and expanding onto airplanes and into Japan. This is working well enough that big media companies are seeking ways to get on board. (And pardon the plug, but some of us wrote here on Antenna recently about the new YouTube production facility.)

8. MySpace is planning to relaunch (again) and take on Spotify; well, it has to do something, right? iTunes just continues to expand, now reaching into 56 new countries (a Coalition of the Willing?). And Google just bought access to a mother lode of European music to boost its international Google Play and better compete with Apple and Amazon.

9. Nielsen has released a big state of social media report, which offers more data showing that people love to hang out on Facebook, while Pinterest has quickly become one to keep an eye on. And while it’s fashionable to make fun of Google+, it’s actually growing just fine. What’s sad is how Google derailed Reader while building Google+.

10. Some of the finer News for TV Majors posts from the past few weeks: Funding Gender Analysis, Freaks & Geeks Oral History, Netflix-Disney Deal, DVR That Watches You, Ownership Vote Delayed, TV is Exhausting, Twitter & TV Growth, TWC Threat, Walking Dead Ratings, CBS Research View, Spanish-Language Rebranding, Plot & Character in Homeland, Sports CostsZucker Reaction, NBC Signs Fellowes, Local Time Shifting Soaring.


What Are You Missing? November 4-17 Sun, 18 Nov 2012 15:17:37 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

1. Giant publishers Penguin and Random House are combining forces, a move which some say is absolutely necessary for survival against the onslaught of e-book competitors, and it’s likely that consolidation will continue, with money rather than culture driving publishing. A new era is also heralded by the Macmillan Dictionary going online only.

2. Brooklyn is becoming a key moviegoing region, thanks to new ventures like a hybrid theater/DVD rental store/bar. Further south, Virginia has seen its status as a movie production region boosted through tax incentives, with Lincoln providing a model example. The loser in that scenario is Los Angeles, which has lost over 16,000 production jobs since 2004, and now LA stands to lose porn workers too.

3. It’s shaping up to be a decent year at the movie box office, and there’s also increasing money to be made in video-on-demand, foreign markets (though China’s now a question mark), product placement, and branding.

4. Warner Bros. is beset by in-fighting, while Sony Pictures’ financial struggles continue. And though Sony insists the studio’s not for sale, Viacom’s CEO says fine, we totally don’t want to buy your stupid studio anyway. And now here comes Michael Eisner getting back in the game with Universal, which might mean…Are you sitting down? (Right, you’re probably sitting at a computer)…a new Garbage Pail Kids movie.

5. 33% of North American peak residential downstream internet traffic now involves Netflix, but while Netflix’s growth may have drawn some online video pirates away from BitTorrent, traffic via BitTorrent is still increasing. Mega is getting back in business in New Zealand, while Pirate Bay’s founder, already in detention in Sweden, is looking at new charges.

6. Spotify’s valuation just went down, but the music service has had a good 2012, with new investors and expansions and plans in place to rescue the music industry after it finally craters. Web radio is also doing well, though the battle over online royalties stands to get fiercer, and musicians are growing more dissatisfied with Pandora. The impact of such services on music fan habits is muddled, but at least one big label is now at a digital tipping point. And through it all, the hated Nickelback just keeps making bank.

7. You’ve heard this before: Console video game sales are down, the eleventh straight month of declines. Though the impending release of new generation consoles could break that streak, rumors are that there might not be as many physical games to buy soon anyway. But here’s something new: good old-fashioned board games are growing in popularity, apparently sparked by online gaming and the desire for social alternatives.

8. Election night was a big internet and social media night, as Twitter and Facebook saw huge activity, and Instagram also made its mark. Google+? Not so much. President Obama spent considerably more on social media than his challenger did and took greater advantage of internet marketing and data, and Obama’s tech team is getting high praise for its role in his re-election success.

9. Former Hollywood exec Peter Chernin has joined Twitter’s board of directors, and it seems he has some catching up to do as he helps to plot a new future for the social media service. That future will include tweets from the Pope, though His Holiness might want to get on board with the impressive Tumblr too.

10. Some of the finer News for TV Majors posts from the past few weeks: Social Media Data, Amazon Money, Time-Shifting Down Too, ESPN’s Tebow Obsession, TV Wars, First & Second Screens, +3 Compared to +7, +7 Ratings, House of Cards Trailer, New MTV Programmer, BBC Crisis, Fox News & the Election, Rove’s Performance, Return of The Killing, Gay TV Impact.


What Are You Missing? Feb 12-March 3 Sun, 04 Mar 2012 16:08:12 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

1. There have been a flood of articles the past few weeks about how the conversion to digital projection threatens the future of small, independent theaters, historic movie houses, and drive-ins, and it’s been most interesting to see the local news stories about how individual theaters will cope and what the loss of a theater might mean to a local community, in an era when it’s already tough to get people out to theaters.

2. Because I skipped a week here, this is old news by this point, but still worth making sure you saw it: Joe Biden helped to negotiate a new deal with China that will allow more Hollywood films into the country, and even independent filmmakers got some bonuses from it. And you know what, I didn’t think I was going to get a Lionsgate reference in this time, but while googling for more info on the China deal, I saw that Lionsgate has signed a video-on-demand deal in China. Thanks to Lionsgate, the Chinese will get to see Dirty Dancing whenever they want!

3. Hollywood foreclosures are up, a consequence of new technologies, says Greg Sandoval, and there could be even more empty homes in LA in coming days as new laws requiring condoms are prompting the porn industry to threaten leaving the area, plus porn stars in particular are struggling financially.

4. Netflix has resurrected the Qwikster idea again, offering a DVD-only monthly plan, but unfortunately we don’t get to laugh at the dumb name this time around, as it doesn’t have any special name. Peter Kafka still sees this as Netflix not really caring about DVDs; indeed, CEO Reed Hastings keeps saying streaming is the end goal. Meanwhile, Blockbuster stores are just about at their end, period.

5. While Netflix is all about streaming, Warner Bros. is looking more to the cloud and to downloadable content. Wal-Mart is looking to help out the UltraViolet system with in-store instruction. And Facebook is looking to start a trend of social cinema by hosting movies on its site.

6. Spotify is still struggling to convince some musicians that their service is financially advantageous for artists, but music label chiefs are starting to be won over. Google Music isn’t working out as hoped yet, though, and we’re still waiting to see what Apple might offer in a streaming service within the current online music landscape.

7. Video game retail sales dropped significantly in January compared to last year, while social gaming from companies like Zynga, now trying to separate itself from Facebook, is more promising, and kids love the iPad for games.

8. A few weeks ago, I hadn’t even heard of Pinterest. Now I could fill a whole WAYM post with links to Pinterest articles alone. Of course, I probably don’t need to include them in WAYM because you’ve heard of nothing but Pinterest lately, but here are a few just in case you’ve somehow missed out on the Pinterest frenzy: Pinterest’s traffic has been huge and user engagement figures are high, especially among women. The service mainly makes money from affiliate links, and there’s some question about how much users realize this (and if they would care). Pinterest has been a boon for small businesses, but it perhaps has a porn problem on the horizon.

9. If Pinterest is for women, apparently Google+ is for men. Not that many men, though, as  Google+ continues to languish, unused by most. But some say Google doesn’t care if you use Google+ regularly or not. The point is getting you just to sign up so Google can grab your biographical data.

10. Some of the finer News for TV Majors posts from the past few weeks: NBC Wins Sweeps (Sorta), Apple Being Tough, Aereo Streaming Service & Aereo Doomed & Aereo Sued, Fall Pilots & Pilot Analysis, Mad Men Marketing, DVR Use Stats, TV Everywhere,  GOP in HW, Doctor Who Fandom, Google’s TV Efforts, Decline of the Episode & More on Episodes, New Comcast Channels, Comcast Going After Netflix, BSkyB’s Internet TV Plan.




What Are You Missing? Jan 29-Feb 11 Sun, 12 Feb 2012 16:20:28 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

1. While movie industry revenues are down, one study finds that BitTorrent piracy isn’t responsible, at least for US box office declines, and the media conglomerates overall have had a good decade. Winter box office numbers are up, even as the average price of a ticket got slightly cheaper.

2. MGM is attempting yet another comeback with a new infusion of credit, while Disney is trying to take on India next. But I’m sure what you really want to know about is what Lionsgate is up to: its president of production is leaving in March and is being replaced by new partner Summit’s production chief.

3. Netflix agreed to wait 28 days for Warner Bros. DVDs, but Redbox has balked at that, while Disney is working out options. Redbox is now the largest DVD renter and continues to grow, as DVDs aren’t quite dead just yet despite Netflix’s best efforts. VOD is clearly the future, though, and some studies show VOD has even bigger revenue potential without windowing than with it. The VOD take for Bridesmaids has been big, but many are most surprised just by the fact that Universal released the numbers on it.

4. Kickstarter is grabbing a lot of attention lately, even just within 24 hours: it was a presence at Sundance, has helped two projects reach $1 million in pledges, has facilitated funding on a wide array of projects, and has the potential to change the gaming world. And you know it’s a good model when a new competitor, Crowdtilt, has popped up already.

5. Barnes & Noble is fighting with both Microsoft and Amazon, but it has to get in line alongside many others in regard to the latter, as other booksellers have joined in to not carry Amazon-published books, Goodreads is abandoning Amazon, and one state after another fights to pry taxes out of Amazon. With the taxation seeming inevitable, Amazon is moving forth with plans for brick-and-mortar stores. It should chat with Barnes & Noble about how well those are doing lately.

6. Some artists worry that digital music is ruining sound quality, but more are worried about it, or more specifically digital  music services, ruining their profits, and Paul McCartney has accordingly pulled his music. (Now where will we find “Silly Love Songs” when we really need it?) Sister Sledge and others are taking Warner Music to court over missing digital sales revenue, while the iTunes Match service could be a big money maker for indie musicians.

7. Though game and console sales continue to drop, gaming in general has greatly risen as a pursuit over the past few years, as mobile and online gaming have spread, and the Kindle Fire looks to be a pivotal new outlet for that. One thing that hasn’t declined is politicians getting undie-bunched over violent video games, while a few gamers are voluntarily choosing non-killing games.

8. Printing out a year’s worth of Facebook status updates would require 11.5 billion sheets of paper. Printing out a year’s worth of complaints and concerns about Facebook would probably take 15 billion. But luckily there aren’t too many examples of people shooting their laptops or, for Pete’s sake, each other over Facebook.

9. Google and Facebook are removing content in India due to religious censorship warnings, while the Iranian government is pretty much just blocking the whole internet to keep content it doesn’t like inaccessible to its people. In regard to piracy, the UK is testing out new protection measures, while Europeans are planning protests against limitations.

10. Some of the finer News for TV Majors posts from the past two weeks: New Netflix RivalLiz Lemon Problem, James Murdoch’s Fall, Amazon Plans, Ellen Stays, Internet Viewing Rising, Youth Spectatorship, News & Twitter, House Ending, Cable Beats Broadcast for Politics, Apple HDTV Specs, Super Bowl Stuff, ABC-Univision News Channel, Seeing Smash, Revolution Ratings, Race & Cable Ratings, Sky Developments.


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What Are You Missing? January 15-28 Sun, 29 Jan 2012 14:56:41 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

1. One analyst is telling the Hollywood studios to defy exhibitor objections and make early video-on-demand releases of theatrical films happen. Funny or Die likes that idea so much, it’s making Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie available online even before it hits theaters. One theater chain has boycotted One for the Money not because of distribution objections; they’re mad that Lionsgate made a Groupon deal for tickets. (Just when you thought Lionsgate might not make an appearance in WAYM for once, boom, there it is.)

2. Distribution deals at Sundance have been modest but steady, as buyers forge on despite few of last year’s deals paying off. A partnership between a digital exhibitor, Cinedigm, and a veteran distributor, New Video, looks to make possible multi-platform deals for indie films, and there’s even now an automated way to submit indie films for distribution consideration. (Bonus link: Sundance awards were handed out last night.)

3. Independent films snagged 60 Oscar nominations (though you’ll see in the comments section of that article a debate over what qualifies as independent), but the French indie film Declaration of War got snubbed. Given Fox International’s new strategy of investing in foreign films made for their local markets, it seems the major studios could horn in on the foreign language film category someday soon. Once again, there won’t be many women at the Oscars for producing, directing and writing awards, as 2011 was a dismal year for female employment behind the camera. The imbalance is even worse in trailer voiceovers.

4. Tablet and e-reader sales are soaring, and about one-third of Americans own some form of e-reader now. And while e-book sales growth has been slower than many predicted, e-book lending is surging. While this seems to spell death for bookstores, some indie bookstores are growing, and African-American independent bookstores in particular illustrate that relationships with the local community are crucial to survival.

5. Musicians are increasingly objecting to streaming services carrying their music, though a Sony exec insists they don’t hurt download sales. Either way, we may end up seeing distribution windowing of music soon, and it will also be interesting to see where the RIAA’s lawsuit against ReDigi will go, as ReDigi insists it’s legal to buy and sell pre-owned iTunes music files.

6. Nintendo’s got some challenges ahead: Wii-related sales are plunging, the 3DS isn’t selling, and no one seems to know what the Wii U even is, plus the next Xbox will well surpass the Wii U in performance. Meanwhile, Microsoft managed to make a whole theme park out of the Kinect.

7. McDonald’s’ attempt to encourage #McDStories on Twitter went awry, but the #littlestories campaign has apparently gone smoother. More profoundly, an homophobic hate group’s anti-gay hashtag got brilliantly hijacked. Soon, the power of hashtag trending and hijacking will be available to right-to-left language users.

8. Comcast is tops in broadband speed, but has given up on the wireless business, while telecom companies are dumping DSL. A “Super Wi-Fi” network now exists in North Carolina using old analog TV spectrum (thus it’s technically not wi-fi) to send signals across a further range, but its future prospects are in question thanks to the spectrum bill in Congress.

9. Google seems determined to violate its traditional “don’t be evil” standards lately: the company has been accused of poaching Apple employees, conspiring with Apple and other companies to keep wages low, facilitating illegal pharmaceutical websites, misrepresenting its privacy policy and trampling on privacy rights, and detrimentally limiting access to the Google Maps platform.

10. Some of the finer News for TV Majors posts from the past two weeks: Social Growth, NAB Criticizes TWC, Stealing Downton Abbey, Leno Complaint, Netflix News, More Netflix News, Defending Episodic Viewing, Live & Streaming Audiences Diverge, TV Nudity Clause, Modern Family Placement, Fans Affect Revenge, TV Everywhere Revenue, Piracy Fight, Prime-Time GH, Letterman Booker Fired, NBC’s Flaws, New TV Analysis Site.


What Are You Missing? January 1-14 Sun, 15 Jan 2012 16:26:15 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

1. The Academy has issued new provisions for future documentary Oscar nominations, including eliminating committee determination of nominations and adding a rule that a doc has to have been reviewed by the New York Times or LA Times to qualify (intended to prevent TV docs – *side eye at HBO* – from horning in on a film award). The latter has drummed up controversy, but Michael Moore insists it’s all good. Unrelated to this controversy but related to the Academy, the organization’s chief executive Dawn Hudson is under major fire.

2. IndieWire highlights 2011’s studio box office trends, as well as what happened at the specialty box office, which was apparently so much that it required a second part. Midnight in Paris led specialty grosses, while it was a down year overall for animation. British Prime Minister David Cameron wants UK filmmakers to shoot for topping one of these box office revenue lists in 2012. And the number of studios backing films that will make such lists is reduced by one, as Lions Gate has acquired Summit, thus putting The Hunger Games and Twilight series under the same banner.

3. Warner Bros. is getting tough about its DVD rental window delay, and while Netflix has caved, Redbox and Blockbuster are poised to fight. Unfortunately, Blockbuster is also poised to die. While Netflix is cooperating with Warner Bros. on DVDs, it is pulling out of the Warners-backed UltraViolet, which has yet to take off, though now Amazon and Samsung are trying to help out.

4. Publishers Weekly highlights 2011’s print bestseller trends, and USA Today says fiction sales were the big story last year, while a post-holiday e-books sales surge is the story now. It sounds like the Nook isn’t benefiting as much as it could from that, while the Kindle Fire could end up stomping other e-reader devices in the end, including the regular Kindle, not to mention other tablets.

5. Music stocks were mixed in 2011, vinyl album sales soared, rock sales were up, and digital sales surpassed physical sales for the first time, but indie labels got just a 12% cut of overall music sales. Most strikingly, only about 2% of the total album releases were responsible for 90% of new album revenue in 2011.

6. You might be tired of reading here about how video game sales in the US are slipping, so I’ll change it up for you: video game sales in the UK are slipping. The Consumer Electronics Show presented some hope for revitalizing the gaming industry, from Nintendo’s Wii U to Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows.

7. Twitter failed to predict the Iowa caucus winner but nailed it in New Hampshire, and the main takeaway is that Ron Paul could totally be the president of Twitter if he wanted. Twitter did pretty good at predicting a health epidemic, but it apparently falls short on fighting against pedophiles.

8. Twitter got mad at Google for incorporating Google+ into search data because it might diminish Twitter’s influence, and Google was all, This is your own fault, jerks. Facebook got snooty about it more quietly. Some think this is a big mistake by Google; others see it as pushing Google ahead in the online identity race. Google+ is growing, but I don’t think it’ll get to 1 billion users by August like Facebook.

9. Around the world in three sentences: Belarusians can no longer access foreign websites and India is threatening China-style controls, whereas in Sweden file-sharing has been recognized as a religion. Text messaging is declining in some countries, and globally, a mere 1% of bandwidth users are consuming half of all the traffic. Apple supplier factories in the Far East are rife with labor violations, as a This American Life segment recently exposed.

10. Some of the finer News for TV Majors posts from the past two weeks: All the TCA posts, Great Television Women, New TVs, iPad Value for Cable, Court Leaning Toward Indecency Regs, 2 Broke Girls at TCA, More Content to Xbox, Netflix’s UK Launch, Moffat & Sexism, Defending Pop Culture Studies, Louis CK’s Lesson, HBO Ends Netflix Discount, Consumer Usage Report, Reality TV Class, Comcast-Disney Deal, Netflix Doubles Up Hulu, Netflix Originals Plan, Viewing Stats, Internet Changing Syndication.


What Are You Missing? Oct 9-22 Sun, 23 Oct 2011 16:37:20 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

1. Some movie development news: an Angry Birds movie is coming; so too, perhaps, is a Farmville movieThe Wolverine could be produced in both PG-13 and R-rated versions; the next Dark Knight movie could incorporate Occupy Wall Street; and more political movies are coming this election season, as are more Bible movies.

2. The contender list for the Oscars’ foreign-language film competition is now set with 63 films eligible. Iran would receive only its second-ever nomination with Asghar Farhadi’s The Separation. The film and the director alike tread carefully on political issues, including the imprisonment of Jafar Panahi, who just had his jail sentence and filmmaking ban upheld by a Tehran appeals court. Meanwhile, an Iranian actress has been sentenced to prison and flogging for her starring role in an Australian film.

3. UltraViolet and its apparent revolution has arrived and gives Hollywood high hopes for holiday season. Thus far it’s mostly just generating complaints, but maybe people just need to learn more about the service. Apple could have its cloud movie service ready to go by the end of the year, Netflix has to overcome its stumbling summer, and now Skype is hoping to compete with Netflix and Hulu via with a video service called Vdio (distinguishing itself by taking an i out rather than adding one at the start of a word).

4. Spotify had significant revenue losses last year that it hopes to turn around as it tries to gain traction in the US, which it probably can do if it keeps attracting young subscribers with money. Pandora still professes to not fear such competition, and perhaps it shouldn’t, with reports that digital music revenue could triple in the next few years.

5. We can look forward to the new PlayStation Vita in early 2012 and a new Xbox in 2013, while right now both Sony and Microsoft are battling against gaming account hacking. Warner Bros. Interactive is currently finding success with successful movie tie-in releases (if not gender representation, says Film Critic Hulk), which some of the 91% of kids aged 2-17 playing video games (91%!) will surely check out.

6. Google Buzz is dead, Google+ is dropping, Facebook is cashing big ad checks, and Twitter owns tweet and might get partially owned by a Saudi investor (the same one with a stake in Fox News; would our tweets have to be fair and balanced after that?). The Federal Reserve will be monitoring all of them soon to gauge public response to economic policy (then they can come up with one of those Hollywood Reporter-style reaction pieces: “See what Kim Kardashian tweeted about interest rates!”).

7. There are already more wireless subscribers than people in the US, yet it apparently won’t stop there, as the number of mobile connected devices is expected to double by 2020 (we may not even need people by then!). Hopefully a new video format will help reduce the strain of all those phones watching Parks & Rec clips (yes, it’ll still be on in 2020, and it’ll still be great). Bonus infographic: the value of digital consumers.

8. Forbes offers an in-depth profile of Dropbox, which has tripled its user base and raised $250 million in financing this year. Someone always has to offer the “yeah, but,” and David Coursey does so by saying Dropbox needs to expand its features or likely die out. Random aside: internet service in rural areas of North America could be getting much better soon thanks to a new satellite launching.

9. Viacom and Google are back in court over YouTube and copyright again, and Will Richmond says they should just sleep together and get on with it. YouTube isn’t waiting around to be asked out and instead is jumping ahead with a makeover, including offering virtual video production classes, video editing capabilities, and new TV apps (oh god, Fred on your connected TV; can we just shut down the internet right now?).

10. Some of the finer News for TV Majors (@N4TVM) posts from the past two weeks: Comedy Analysis, Rethinking Ratings, Cross-Platform Viewing, Fox Writing Program, Drama FutureTV & Toddlers, Fall Social Report, Spinoffs Within Shows, Basic Reality, Cross-Platform C3 Obstacles, Netflix-CW Deal, Network Lunch, No HBO Window, Qwikster Dead, Breaking Bad Finale, Grey’s Abortion.


What Are You Missing? Mar 20-April 2 Sun, 03 Apr 2011 14:00:14 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

1. Music recommendation engines have mostly flopped with users, and Google has pulled its music search feature to tinker with it. In the meantime, perhaps Google’s new +1 button will help with music searching and recommending, while the music industry itself is freaking out about Amazon’s cloud service, as labels are mad that Amazon hasn’t secured licensing rights for this use (some of the same issues that have kept Spotify from coming to the US), and Apple and Google are keeping an eye on this for their own future cloud plans. A bonus for Canadian readers: Canada beat the US again in digital music growth! 01 Canada!

2. Blockbuster is shuttering more than 150 stores as it awaits auction this week, with Carl Icahn and Dish Network as possible buyers. Netflix is probably chuckling at that, as its shares went up and it nears a big deal to stream Miramax films. And while Netflix is concerned about data caps in Canada, enough to reduce streaming video quality there, it maybe doesn’t have to worry about the Amazon cloud service, nor are movie studios as perturbed as music labels are by Amazon’s cloud (yet).

3. The role of film festivals and arthouse cinemas is changing as online distribution grows in prominence. Also likely to grow is online movie ticket purchasing through services like Groupon; some wonder if differential ticket pricing would help grow theater attendance; and, as our waistlines continue to grow, at least we won’t have to be reminded of the calories we’re consuming in movie theater popcorn, thanks to an FDA ruling. But the biggest challenge theater owners have now is premium video-on-demand rentals, whose imminent launching angers the National Association of Theater Owners. The underlying message from studios to theater owners at the recent CinemaCon was basically “Quit yer bitchin’ and get with the digital program,” which is sure to go over well.

4. The Writers Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers struck a contract deal, no strike needed, even though it doesn’t offer everything the WGA wanted (note: Variety paywalled article), and some members, who still have to vote on it, think it’s a bad deal (note: NSFW Kurt Sutter tweet). Meanwhile, Michigan has decided its film production tax credits are a bad deal, and filmmakers are fleeing as a result, while Georgia decided to keep theirs.

5. Nielsen has studied the placement of gaming consoles in the home, determining that the Wii rules the living room, while the Xbox dominates in the kids’ bedroom. In terms of games, Guitar Hero 3 tops a list of best-selling games from this generation, and The Weinstein Company hopes to make future lists with video game versions of some of its library titles, mostly horror films like Scream.

6. Burma has banned Skype, while China’s censorship of electronic communication continues to tighten, and Google is especially in its crosshairs. Google is funding development of technologies to detect such censorship, and the US government has given the BBC World Service money to help combat it. But lest we think censorship is only a problem elsewhere, we should take note that the ACLU is fighting to stop schools from blocking LGBT websites.

7. File-sharing music piracy in the US has declined, with 9% of internet users now using P2P services to download. Some point to the shutdown of Limewire as a direct catalyst for the decline; others disagree. Either way, a London School of Economics study claims that file-sharing isn’t responsible for the record industry’s collapse. From the film perspective, new MPAA head Chris Dodd sees things differently, saying that piracy is the single biggest threat to the survival of the movie industry, as DVD piracy in places like China is running wild. So the solution, I guess, is to demand IP addresses of individual downloaders and to totally get that one guy who uploaded Wolverine. Take that, China!

8. David Carr insists we need to recognize Google as a media company, and it’s certainly made the WAYM links a lot lately. Here’s more: Google has picked Kansas City as its fiber network test market, gotten probation for the bad Buzz, been accused of antitrust violations by Microsoft, and added the +1 button; Google Street View has been deemed legal in Germany and got fined in France; and Google Books lost a key court case, which further delays the dream of a universal digital library.

9. Some random internet bits: AOL is consolidating content sites, Dropbox is making money, Groupon is getting sued, Reddit is creeping us out, Firefox 4 is being downloaded a lot, LinkedIn has reached 100 million, and PayPal has new competition, plus check where your state ranks in internet access speed.

10. Some good News for TV Majors links from the past two weeks: Mad Men Agreement, TWC Fight & TWC Pulls Channels, Peabody Awards, Viewing By Race, Profanity Appeals Pause, Internet TV Standards, New Football PlaysStarz Delay for Netflix, Showtime Pulling From Netflix, Mogul Salaries, BBC Cuts.


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