Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 9, 2013 03:09 PM
The $60 billion-a-year television broadcast industry is up for grabs as billionaire magnates Barry Diller and Rupert Murdoch square off as consumers continue to cut ties with traditional TV services.
While attending the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas this week, News Corp.'s COO Chase Carey threatened it may end Fox’s 26-year run as a free broadcast channel if US courts continue to allow the Diller-backed Internet startup Aereo to retransmit broadcast programming for free.
News Corp. and Aereo are goalposts at opposite ends of the television playing field. The former pays billions for quality content ranging from NFL games to The Simpsons, Glee, The Following and New Girl. Aereo pays nothing for content that it captures from over-the-air broadcast TV signals via small antennas, which it delivers to computers and smartphones—comparatively cheaply.
News Corp., defending its fee model for cable and satellite companies, says it is willing to lose viewers and switch to a pay-TV-only offering to undermine and protest Aereo.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 18, 2013 02:43 PM
It's no secret that the print news industry is suffering, but according to Pew's 2013 State of the Media study, consumers think that's no excuse for poor news quality.
While the industry continues to throw its hands in the air, baffled by the onslaught of digital, consumers are getting more savvy—and critical—of coverage, which, according to Pew, is contributing to the dwindling number of readers. 31 percent of the 2,000 consumers surveyed said they stopped consuming news from a particular outlet because the coverage no longer satisfied their news needs, according to the study.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 4, 2013 04:47 PM
The UK's Galaxy chocolate has caught some flack for its new TV campaign: a spot featuring actress Audrey Hepburn in a scene from her film Roman Holiday. The actress—who passed in 1993—is captured searching for a digitally inserted Galaxy chocolate bar in her purse and later eating the candy bar in the back of a car.
The Mars-owned brand's commercial is the latest in a growing number of spots (remember Dior's commercial with Charlize Theron that "co-starred" Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich?) that have been criticized for using deceased figures, as the latest volley in a growing firestorm over the increasing use of CGI in Hollywood, which includes plans to take more deceased performers' holograms on tour.
It's also not the first attempt at reviving Hepburn, who has been featured in a controversial Gap commercial as well. While a bit jarring, the technology behind the ads speaks to the incredible accomplishments of visual effects (VFX) artists.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 12, 2012 05:05 PM
You know things are bad when the BBC is covering itself under the banner, "Crisis at the BBC." The British Broadcasting Corp. has fallen from its venerable pedestal, with its latest embarrassment triggering the resignation of senior executives, who are taking the fall for the corporation's newsgathering operation failing to maintain the ethical and journalistic standards at the heart of its brand promise.
BBC director-general George Entwistle resigned on Saturday, after only 55 days in the role, holding himself responsible for "unacceptable journalistic standards" on the BBC's flagship current-affairs program, Newsnight, after it failed to verify an accusation it aired against Lord McAlpine, a former Conservative Party treasurer, of child sex abuse in Wales. The BBC's director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, have also stepped down.
No wonder Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, is calling the network a "ghastly mess."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 26, 2012 04:47 PM
Al Gore’s embattled, progressive cable news channel, Current TV, is on the block. Spinning it in a positive light, CEO Joel Hyatt confirmed the rumors to the New York Post, commenting, “Current has been approached many times by media companies interested in acquiring our company. This year alone, we have had three inquiries. As a consequence, we thought it might be useful to engage expertise to help us evaluate our strategic options.”
Co-owned by former Vice President Gore, Hyatt (who made his money with Hyatt Legal Services) and several private backers with similar left-leaning political views, Current is available to about 60 million homes, and receives about 12 cents per subscriber from pay-TV operators carrying it, around $82 million last year, according to SNL Kagan, with ad revenue in 2011 estimated at $16.9 million. But that's still not enough to make the media brand an attractive enough standalone play for its owners.
The channel launched in August 2005 as a youth-centric, user-generated service, fueled by Gore’s personal crusade against global warming. Positioned as a bid to "democratize" the media business, putting more power in the hands of viewers to produce and distribute their own content (and then user-generated ads, called V-CAMs, short for "viewer-created ad messages"), the ill-fated service has gone through programming and personnel upheavals since the moment it went live.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 18, 2012 11:39 AM
We are living at an pivotal moment in history as the dominance of words shifts from print to digital in the biggest change since Gutenberg’s press first made the word accessible to the masses in 1440. Newsweek is the latest victim and after 80 years in print, it's changing its name to Newsweek Global and its format to digital-only.
“Newsweek will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013. As part of this transition, the last print edition in the United States will be our Dec. 31 issue,” stated the official announcement from verteran magazine editor Tina Brown. The veteran magazine editor became editor-in-chief of Newsweek and sister digital news site the Daily Beast in Nov. 2010. The Washington Post had sold the title three months earlier to audio pioneer Sidney Harman for $1.00 and assumption of liabilities, with Brown coming on board as a result of Barry Diller's IAC taking an ownership stake.
Now, it's a new era for the brand, which has been undergoing restructuring since 2008. "We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it," said Brown in a memo to staff. "We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism, that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 24, 2012 10:09 AM
It's a black day for News Corp. as eight of its former newspaper executives in the U.K. have been formally charged in the phone hacking scandal that has rocked the nation's elite political and media circles, and shaken confidence in the public. Ex-News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson and six others are facing 19 charges relating to phone hacking in connection with murdered 13-year-old schoolgirl Milly Dowler and other alleged victims, as the year-long scandal escalates to a new level of accountability.
Together, they're “facing charges of conspiring to intercept communications…related to 600 alleged victims between 2000 and 2006.” After reading the charges, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) legal adviser Alison Levitt QC said, "This statement is made in the interests of transparency and accountability." Coulson swiftly denied the charges and any tampering with the Dowler case. Echoing his outrage, Brooks (who was indicted in May) responded in a statement, "I am not guilty of these charges. I did not authorise, nor was I aware of, phone hacking under my editorship."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 26, 2012 04:31 PM
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has confirmed a report in its own newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, that it's considering dividing itself into two companies, separating its publishing division in order to focus on its much larger and more profitable entertainment arm.
"News Corporation confirmed today that it is considering a restructuring to separate its business into two distinct publicly traded companies," was the comment in its one-sentence statement.
Top editors and publishers from the company’s newspapers gathered in New York (according to the New York Times) to discuss the proposal along with Murdoch, his son James Murdoch, Chase Carey, COO, and Joel I. Klein, CEO of News Corporation’s education division and a trusted adviser.Continue reading...