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Les Moonves is trying too hard

Published: Sunday, July 06, 2008

There are many questions hanging over Viacom and CBS, both were separated in an effort to create shareholder value and in our opinion to end the battle of the successors between Les Moonves and Tom Freston who at the time were Co- CEOs of the combined company known as Viacom. Since the companies went their separate ways, the only thing that was created was more headaches for all parties involved. Both companies have been struggling to gain footing along with its competitors. CBS CEO Les Moonves spent big trying to land CBS on the good foot but none of his well publicized acquisitions has added any value to CBS that is worth mentioning. Some of his most recent splurges include the purchase of Wall Street blog, Wallstrip.com which to this day we still don’t get. He scooped up Lastfm.com only to re-launch it with much fanfare promoting its new free internet radio format, something already available all over the web. There is the whole Katie Couric hiring which failed big time and is costing the company a lot of money due to her salary and ad dollars. His most recent splurge was on Cnet Networks, a digital media company which produces websites like, Cnet.com, Chow.com and ZDnet.com. As far as CBS’s whole digital push, its Les Moonves swinging at marble sized balls with a broom stick hoping for a direct hit. These expensive splurges and CBS’s lack of love on Wall Street at the moment will ultimately lead to Moonves’ ouster. Hell. we think Sumner Redstone’s finger is already on the trigger. We campaigned (if you will) for Les Moonves when he was the shining star in Sumner Redstone’s eye.

We called for him to be installed in dual rolls as CEO of both CBS and Viacom. But that was just us being naïve and jumping on the bandwagon (yeah we have the balls to admit it). But what seems to have happened here is that Les Moonves got a little too sure of himself and got a big head to go along with an even bigger ego. This is the man who spent big to get into the record business by re-launching CBS Records when the record business was trying to get out of the record business. This is the man who spent big to get into film with high salary hires. Les Moonves was trying too hard to please and in doing so, spent money where he didn’t need to, or perhaps shouldn’t have at all. Les Moonves is just an analog executive trying to survive in digital world and in doing so gambled big, not only with company money but perhaps with his job as well. Some of the things Moonves should consider moving forward if he is still around is to spin off the radio business and sell book publisher Simon & Schuster. Doing this would probably tighten the focus at CBS a bit. Moonves needs to also hold off on anymore Internet acquisitions. Sumner Redstone can’t be too happy with Moonves at the moment.

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No major media company made the Businessweek 50, is this a good thing or a bad thing, and do big media CEOs even care?

Published: Monday, March 31, 2008

This week’s issue of Businessweek is all about the Businessweek 50 (BW 50). It’s a list of the 50 best performing companies in their respective industries. It is no surprise to see companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon on the list. It’s also no surprise that there are no major media companies on the list. Why? Well with the exception of maybe Disney, media companies haven’t really been performing well at all. Companies like News Corp dropping cash left and right for other companies doesn’t mean all is well. The BW 50 is dominated by companies in tech, energy, beverages and science. So should big media CEOs take this as a sign that they need to ramp up their businesses or do they take lists like the BW50 as just that, a list? We’re sure most of them wouldn’t have mind having their company listed as one of the best performing. Guess they just didn’t meet the requirements.

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Bertelsmann AG needs to take on America

Published: Friday, March 07, 2008

There are the known media giants and there the known unknown media giants. Germany's Bertelsmann AG (Bertie) that country's biggest falls into the known unknown bucket. For years the company has stuck to what it knows, books, tv, movies and music, but those areas are somewhat exhausted especially the music business and Bertie, whether they want to admit it or not, needs a jolt. No one outside of Bertie knows the company’s exact financial state because the company is privately held, reclusive and secretive much like that country……. Oh yeah North Korea. Bertie doesn’t seem interested in opening up and embracing the rest of the media world face to face outside of Europe. Just like Korea or any other reclusive country anyone who attempts to change that, is terminated. Thomas Middelhoff was canned for trying to bring Bertie into the current times. Now the company is under the hand picked leadership of new CEO Hartmut “we call him Hart” Ostrowski and even though the company is private, many await any changes the new man in charge may be planning. Bertie desperately needs to do more here in America.

Sure they have book and marketing businesses here as well as their 50% in Sony BMG, but that’s not enough. Bertelsmann needs to make a big splash in America, and they can do so by buying their way in. By this we mean Ostrowski should sniff out possible acquisitions in traditional and/or digital media. Bertie compared to its U.S. counterparts has no significant digital media holdings if any, so this is perhaps were Ostrowski should focus. Bertie has some content, all they need is a foundation to build on. With some major U.S. media companies looking to shed some weight, this could be a great opportunity for Bertie to pick up what those media companies drop and make it their own. One cool idea would be for Bertie to transform the Bookspan brand into an online social network for book worms.

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German media giant Bertelsmann AG wants out of the music business?

Published: Thursday, March 06, 2008

The word around Germany is that Bertelsmann AG is looking to exit the music business via a sale of its 50% stake in Sony BMG something we said they should seriously look into doing. If this is indeed in the works then we have to applaud new Bertelsmann CEO Hart Ostrowski for making what could be his first right move since taking office. Bertelsmann is the only major media company still attached to a major music group. Time Warner saw the writing on the wall some years back and sold its music division (Warner Music Group) to a private equity firm who took the company public. The company's stock has since been struggling to survive. The music industry is faced with numerous problems that will only bring down a big media parent company when earnings report time comes around. Bertelsmann should be able to pocket a nice chunk of cash from a sale of its 50% stake in Sony BMG and perhaps invest their take in building up their internet and digital media business. Well there goes any shot at seeing Hart Ostrowski escorting Sony BMG artist Beyonce to a major music event. We just hope they don't sell their 50% stake and then a year later announce plans to invest millions into launching a new record company. No more flip flopping!

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Barron's : Disney is a well oiled machine

Published: Monday, February 25, 2008

Other media companies are looking to cut jobs, and chop up assets to create value and drive revenue. Others are dumping cash into deals to give the impression that they know how to digitize their content but sometimes the deal makes no sense. Others are just there, slugging along. But over at Disney, all joints are well lubricated and moving in unison thanks to the leadership of the Iger Administration. The business weekly Barron's owned by News Corp, says that Disney stands out for its management stability and financial discipline, two things some of its competitors lack. Barron's credits Bob Iger who was hand picked by Former Disney CEO Mike Eisner, for focusing on creating brands and deploying them across the company like the very annoying Hannah Montana, which if you have kids, invades your living room every weekend. Iger does seem to be focused on taking the organic route over dropping tons of cash to grow Disney and its brands like his competitors. However the organic route may be working well for Disney due to its content. Disney can monetize its content in ways that its competitors can't. For example the Hannah Montana brand. This went from cable, to music releases to more recently a stage show and a movie. All this in addition to a slew of branded merchandise allows Disney to build and expand from within. Iger doesn’t necessarily have to go looking outside for the next big thing. He can create it from within using Disney’s tween targeted content as a foundation. The Disney.com web portal is a perfect example of this. The properties Rupert Murdoch now owns through it's Down Jones acquisition seem to be big fans of Iger. It was Dow Jones' Marketwatch.com that named Iger 2006's CEO of The Year.

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Media CEOs could learn a thing or two from HP CEO Mark Hurd

Published: Wednesday, February 06, 2008

As some media CEOs struggle to get their companies back on good footing they constantly have their radars up for the next big thing that they hope will generate growth and additional revenue. But sometimes it’s not the lack of having what you may think is the next big thing in your stable. Sometimes what the company may need is an overhaul, a streamlining, and a revamp or whatever you want to call it. Sometimes it’s the CEOs lack of discipline and outdated management style that is holding the company back. Some media CEOs may look to their predecessors for advice or a legend in their business who has retired. By doing so, a media CEO is likely to get the same recycled advice. So where then should he/she turn for a fresh take on running a tight ship? Outside the media ring of course. One person comes to mind right away and that’s HP CEO Mark Hurd. Hurd took over a troubled company from the spotlight loving Carly Fiorina and whipped it into shape. He barely makes appearances, not to make a statement, but because he is actually huddled with his management team working. Hurd is loved by his board for his operational and cost cutting skills as well as his management style among other things. Such qualities could help many of the struggling media companies around today who are in a battle to make their mark on the digital playing field and sometimes loses focus on the business itself. Oh yeah those media CEOs who publicly say that their top priority is the shareholder, you are already off on the wrong foot. For Mark Hurd, the consumer is king!

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Operation Regime Change

Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Barry Diller built IAC Interactive Corp via acquisitions of profitable web properties bringing them under one roof to form his internet holding company which is home to well know web destinations like, Expedia.com, Match.com and more recently collegehumor.com. But if you ask us, Diller may have just been put on notice by Liberty Media boss John Malone who holds a reported 30% stake. During an interview late last year, Malone said that he no longer thinks Diller brings value to the company. Now Malone is acting on this statement by trying to kill the Diller era. In a bold but expected move, Malone asked a court for the go ahead to force Diller out, and perhaps hand the CEO title to a younger more energetic fresh thinker from within or outside the company who will perhaps bring that value Malone claims Diller lacks?

Diller has to be feeling the Neuse tightening around his neck. Clearly Malone and company are congregating on IAC’s borders for a full scale attack with the objective of regime change at IAC. But will Malone’s potential invasion be unilateral or will he bring others on board? Malone is not known for raiding corporations and forcing change like the Suge Knight of corporate America Carl Icahn. But he carries more weight than many of the CEOs of the companies he holds shares in. When Malone upped his stake in IAC, Liberty Media claimed at the time, they upped their stake in IAC to take advantage of IAC’s low stock price. But only an idiot would buy that. If Barry Diller were to look out his office window through binoculars, he will see Malone and his troops looking right back at him through their binoculars just waiting for the right time to take the kill shot. Rupert Murdoch came out alive from a possible Malone attack, will the same happen for Diller?

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Media stocks around the world taking a beat down

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Media stocks are feeling the pain of a looming global recession which is good but bad news for people like Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes whose appointment as CEO has yet to tickle the stock. The whole world just seems to be fucked financially right now and the media industry which was already not looking too good is looking even worst. Disney is down 11.7%, News Corp is down on class by shares 8.9% and Time Warner, well Time Warner has been down since the whole AOL thing. Its not only here though. Media industry stocks overseas are also in a free fall.

In London, jitters about the U.S. economy and the woes of financial services giants sent the FTSE top 100 shares down 323 points to 5,578, a plunge of 5.5% to the index's lowest level since 9/11 territory. Big media stocks were off, but not quite as much as the overall U.K. market. Shares in satellite broadcaster BSkyB lost 3.3% to close at 506p ($9.83), while shares in commercial broadcaster ITV were down 3.7% at 70.2p ($1.36). Germany's DAX index slid 7.2%. In line with that decline, shares of pay TV giant Premiere ended down 7.3% at EUR13.30.

The Mohn Family of Germany's Bertelsmann AG must have big smiles across their faces reading news like this. They are hell bent on keeping their company private.

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The FCC's Martin under fire

Published: Wednesday, January 09, 2008

FCC Chairboy, Kevin Martin has been coming under increased fire for his management style and decision making procedures. But it doesn't look like Martin will take any hits from his enemies without hitting back. Now the House Energy and Commerce committee has launched an investigation into whether or not under Martin, the agency has been fair and transparent when coming up with regulations. In other words they want to see if Martin's firm stand to ease media ownership restrictions was benefiting anyone specific, like, you know some big media exec or anyone else other than who he claimed would benefit.

"The practices at the commission I run are very similar to how the commission has been managed under previous Republican and Democratic commissioners and chairmen," Martin, a Republican, told reporters after speaking to the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition's and Citizenship Education Fund's Wall Street Project economic summit in New York.

FCC chairman defends commission practices [Reuters]

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Media big wigs gear up to hunt at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas

Published: Monday, January 07, 2008

In search of their next digital delivery method, media and entertainment execs will hop on their corporate jets and head down to Vegas for The Annual Consumer Electronic Show. During breaks from gambling and boozing, they will no doubt prowl and brown nose the techies to hopefully get in on the next big thing, where they could possibly push their content in our faces. Newly appointed Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes apparently just found out that we are moving rapidly into a digital way of life. -SDH

"This company has to move fast," Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner's newly appointed chief executive, said on the company's latest quarterly conference call with analysts. "The world is changing fast. It's going digital. It's going global."

Media moguls are looking to annual tech extravaganza in Las Vegas as they try to keep up with change [Marketwatch]

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ABC on CNN: Politics brings CNN and ABC News together

Either CNN Prexy Jon Klein had nothing for the 7-8pm time slot tonight, or he loved the New Hampshire debates that ABC News broadcasted so much he had to air it on his network. Dian Sawyer was even on CNN which was kinda weird. In an interview CNN's Jon Klein said that he believes the lines between media giants are slowly being erased and CNN airing ABC's content is just another step forward in the no barriers direction. Now we can start speculating about some kind of deal in the works and this is just a public test run, but we won't. Jon Klein spoke about how the whole thing came about saying, he called his good buddy David Westin, who is President of ABC News who was getting on a plane to head to New Hampshire and asked if he could re-air the New Hampshire debates and it was a go. Is this really where big media is headed? Will we see Jeff Bewkes calling Sumner Redstone asking if he can air Nickelodeon content on the Cartoon Network? Or Rupert Murdoch calling Jeff Zucker at NBC asking if he could air Mad Money on Fox Business Network? Ok so that’s a stretch. But is no barrier, media industry workable where media companies trade content? Sure media companies buy syndication licenses to air shows of other networks that are no longer on the air but that’s the norm. What was the agreement on the back end of CNN airing ABC's New Hampshire debates? Is ABC News getting a cut from Ad revenue or was it just an agreement between two friends, CNN's John Klein and ABC News's David Westin. -SDH

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Media companies know when you're eating

Published: Saturday, January 05, 2008


Do you spend your lunchtime sitting in your dingy cubicle watching videos on the web while stuffing your face, -AKA- "Video Snacking" then chances you are one of the individuals some major media companies are banking on to make their lunch time web videos successful. However we find it a bit disturbing that you wouldn't want to spend your lunch time doing something more useful, like smoking a joint or chick watching. Hell you can get laid in an hour too, assuming you do get an hour for lunch.

In 2007, a growing number of local television stations, including WNCN in Raleigh, N.C., and WCMH in Columbus, Ohio, began producing noon programming exclusively for the Web. Among newspapers, The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., and The Ventura County Star in California started posting videos at lunchtime that have young journalists as hosts and are meant to appeal to 18- to 34-year-old audiences.

Noontime Web Video Revitalizes Lunch at Desk [NYT]

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So who will drop $5 Billion to tell people the weather?

Published: Thursday, January 03, 2008


Putting all the rumors to rest Landmark Communications Inc. owner of the Weather Channel and some boring newspapers confirmed earlier today that it is putting itself on the block for a reported $5 billion. But who will step up and drop the green? We definitely don't see a major media company making a play for this. We are more leaning towards a private investment group.

"At this early stage, we cannot speculate on where this process will lead," Landmark Chief Executive Frank Batten Jr. said in a statement, confirming earlier media reports of a possible sale.

Is $5 billion too high though?

Landmark confirms may sell Weather Channel, assets [Reuters]

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Bertelsmann’s Ostrowski should exit the sucky music business

Hartmut “Hart” Ostrowski is only 3 days in (U.S time) as the new CEO of German media giant Bertelsmann AG –AKA- Bertie, and surely he is combing through everything to see where the company needs to be focused. We know for sure that for Bertie, books are huge. However music may be something they need to get out of. Sure they confused us when they announced that they wanted to get back into the music publishing business after selling off their music publishing arm to Universal. But under Ostrowski, will Bertie be in the music business for long? The current state of the business can’t be looking good to Ostrowski at all. Sales are in the toilet and digital piracy continues to be at an all time high. So is Hart looking at this and is considering getting out of the business once and for all? We sure hope so. Earlier last year rumors were running wild that Bertie was seeking to sell its 50% stake in Sony-BMG, either back to their Japanese partners at Sony, or to an outside buyer. Maybe Bertie was thinking about selling at that point and floated the story themselves to see if any potential buyers would emerge, but apparently none did.

Ostrowki’s focus is on internet, books and the education sector, which itself falls under books. Bertie isn’t exactly the digital player that former CEO Thomas Midelhoff was working hard to transform it into, so we can see why this would be one of his main focuses. Bertie should sell off their 50% in Sony BMG and use that money to ramp up these areas since these are strong areas for them. None of their counterparts currently have a hand in the music business, at least not a whole hand, maybe a finger tip. Big media owning record companies are so 1990s and in a way, Bertie may be stuck in that era. -SDH

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Media company in the mirror: Time Warner could take on a familiar face

Published: Thursday, December 27, 2007


Do you remember that MTV show where fucked up teens went under the knife to look like their favorite celebrity? Well as the time comes closer for the beginning of a new era at Time Warner, speculations continue to grow regarding what the mighty media company will look like in about a year. Analysts continue to predict that new Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes will do a drastic makeover of the company that many are saying will resemble Viacom. Is such a remake in the works and is Bewkes using Viacom as his template? Jeff Bewkes may be realizing that in today's media environment, size doesn't matter.

Bewkes may spin off the cable-television division and sell the AOL Web and Time Inc. magazine units, said Gamco Investors Inc. fund manager Chris Marangi and National City Bank analyst Daniel Poole. The remaining company, anchored by the film studio and cable-TV networks, would resemble Viacom Inc. -- and accordingly command higher multiples, Marangi said.

Time Warner May End Reign as Largest Media Company (Update1) [Bloomberg]

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Jeff Bewkes looks to the founding fathers for answers

Published: Monday, December 24, 2007


In 6 days yet a new era will begin at Time Warner with the Bewkes Administration taking office. Many have high hopes for the company under the leadership of Bewkes, but he still seems to looking for answers regarding the future of the world's biggest media company. When searching for answers, who better to look to for answers than the founding fathers.

Before the top 200 executives at a ballroom in Miami’s Mandarin Oriental hotel, Mr. Bewkes invoked the legacies of Henry R. Luce and Ted Turner in ticking off the accomplishments of the assembly’s predecessors: inventing the newsmagazine (Time), and spearheading cable news (CNN) and pay television (HBO), according to three executives in attendance who spoke on condition of anonymity because it was a private meeting.

What Would Henry Luce Do? Looking Forward at Time Warner [NYT]

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The Viacom plot to terminate Jamie Lynn Spears

Published: Saturday, December 22, 2007


With the recent bomb dropped by pop star Britney Spears's little sister that she is with child, it wouldn't be far fetched to think that Viacom's Nickelodeon is already stewing up a scheme to politely quietly drop her from their line up. Even though they have said publicly that they are behind her, that statement is standard corporate response to situation that has sealed the fate of a top star of a top network. There is no one out there, at least with kids anyway that can truly say, Spears should be able to return to her show on Nickelodeon whose audience ranges from 9-14. Bottom line, Nickelodeon should put at the top of their list for 2008, to drop the younger spears ASAP. However Nickelodeon has to put on their thinking cap when they drop her because dropping her from their roster of tween stars due to her pregnancy can lead to lawsuits and protests by rights groups.

But it can be done, if Nick plays up the fact that keeping her on air, will send a wrong message to young girls and boys which at the end of the day is true. Keeping her on air can also send ripple effects all the way up the ladder to parent company Viacom. The plan to drop spears should be one that Viacom legal eagles have a heavy hand in, but it should not lead back to them. You may say then what about those naked pictures of Disney star Vanessa Hudgins? If you are indeed asking this, then you're as stupid as the chair you're sitting on, because come on, really! If you ask me, entertainment/media companies should include in their contracts with individuals some kind of image and behavior clause that gives them the right to drop or suspend talent in situations like these with no ifs ands or buts. Jamie Lynne Spears is a product being marketed by Nickelodeon and unfortunately the product has to be pulled permanently or temporarily.

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Rupert Murdoch wants to celebrate but not everyone is in the mood for celebrating

Published: Thursday, December 13, 2007


Rupert Murdoch and his News Corpians are so happy that they finally got the keys to Dow Jones, they plan to celebrate via a $2 million ad campaign set to go live tomorrow touting the company's accomplishments. The company bought up ad space in major newspapers but not all of them want to share in Murdoch's joy. The Financial Times and the China Daily - have so far declined to run the in your face ads,but that won't stop News Corp from sharing their joy.

News Corp. official said it was the first time the company has done branded advertising. Spanning three pages and playing off Dow Jones' motto, the headline is "Free People, Free Markets, Free Thinking," and trumpets Murdoch's convention-challenging accomplishments over several decades. Those include the launches of the Sun tabloid and BSkyB satellite broadcasting in England, the creation of Fox television (and The Simpsons) in the United States, the Fox News Channel, and the purchase of MySpace two years ago.

"It's the first time we've given the company a narrative that expresses how we've gone against convention in providing greater choice and diversity in entertainment and information to consumers around the world," said a company insider.

What better way to rub your accomplishments in the face of your competitors but taking out ads in the very papers your fellow media CEOs probably read. WE LOVE IT!

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Viacom's Philippe Dauman showing Tom Freston & Les Moonves how it’s done


With the prediction by some analyst on Wall Street that the media industry is in the shitter, we never thought we would hear of one media company that is actually looking good on paper. Viacom, of all media companies, is sitting pretty in the black, thanks to cable and movies. It looks like the apple of Sumner's eye, Philippe Dauman, coming in to tighten things up is paying off, and somewhere in the hills of Hollywood, old man Sumner Redstone is doing naked back strokes in his pool as Paula looks on with a "WTF" expression on here face. Anyway with Viacom looking sweet, overpaid analysts have nothing but nice things to say.

Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst with Global Crown Capital says: “What I like about Viacom is that they are not going out and doing these multi-billion dollar deals. They have not made splashy acquisitions but they have done some smart things with their brands online"

Frederick Moran, an analyst with Stanford Group, adds: “Viacom has clearly begun its financial comeback. I suspect you will see accelerated growth in the fourth quarter and through the early part of 2008 despite general softness in advertising,” Moran said. “The only thing that could sidetrack it would be major economic slowdown. Viacom’s stock should outpace other major media companies for the next couple of quarters.”

Viacom “transforms” into a winner [CNN Money]

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Hot Asian guy says media industry not looking good for 2008

Published: Tuesday, December 11, 2007


If media CEOs were looking forward to the new year to mark a fresh start, they had better think twice because according to Bear Sterns senior Analyst Spence Chang, everything is in a slow nose dive, and media giants will surfer more at the hands of Internet broadband networks. Man this is a real gloomy outlook. What the hell is going on in the media business?

"In our opinion, 2008 will represent a tipping point for incumbent entertainment firms," analyst Spencer Wang said in a note. "More specifically, we expect that the digitization of media, ''long tail'' economics and growing competition for consumers'' time from broadband Internet, largely a theoretical risk to date, will start to more directly slow growth for entertainment firms."

Bear Stearns downgrades entertainment sector on 'deteriorating' fundamentals [AFX News]

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On Jeffrey Immelt's orders, Jeff Zucker will fuck up the Holidays for many

Published: Thursday, December 06, 2007


There goes the Holiday's for some at NBC Universal. CEO Jeff Zucker, on orders from his rulers at General Electric will trim the fat where needed so that NBC Uni will look better on paper, or perhaps they need the cash to pump into Hulu.com. This is Zucker's second bloodbath since taking over as CEO. The people who remain should prepare for their work loads to double because it looks like Zucker won't be filling the spots in the future. Maybe there was another way around all this though. Like perhaps employees would have been cool with paying 100% for their health coverage or something?

Sources inside or close to NBC yesterday claimed the cuts, which are expected to come down this week or next, will be weighted evenly between NBC News and MSNBC. CNBC staffers are being shielded from this round of cuts because Zucker wants the network to be at full strength now that the battle with Fox Business Network has begun. (FBN is owned by News Corp., which also owns The Post.)

Guess those lucky bastards at CNBC should thank Rupert Murdoch for saving their jobs.

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Some media execs still got big pay for doing shiteous jobs

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Wow! those media execs who are actually doing good jobs must be pissed right now. Because some of their counterparts still got big pay even though their companies were reporting below the belt results. Then again it's all one big club. Its no secret that when a media exec gets canned, they leave with more cash than most of us will ever see in our lifetime. Some of these companies are even laying off tons of workers but the CEOs themselves aren't taking any pay cuts to help offset any losses. Should media boards have a tighter grip on what their CEOs take home? Jeff Zucker is one media exec, clearly making buckets of the green stuff.

Across all main-market listed companies, in the past three years, media businesses offer their chief executives and finance directors about 15 per cent more than the average. However, Paul Wolstenholme, director of Halliwell, said that in the same period, media companies had offered disappointing results for their investors.

"The media sector is not performing well, but this research shows that all the executives are taking bucketloads of cash out of the businesses."

Media executives' pay outstrips performance [FT]

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If you're a media heavy, and steve jobs didn't personally send you an iphone, you aint shit

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Media big shots love to hate iGod and Apple CEO Steve Jobs because well, they hate that he controls how and where some of their digital content is delivered and at what price. Michael Wolff's article in the new issue of Vanity Fair talks about this but also touches on how Steve Jobs may be slowly losing that grip to consumers who are gaining more control over what they watch, where and how they watch it,and Google's top secret gPhone. Should Steve Jobs really be worried, or will he always be able to hold his spot in "Gadgetism" and distribution. They say super powers come and go, I mean look at this country of ours.

Men with big jobs in big corporations have a word for this anywhere-anytime (let-us-help-you-steal-it) breakdown in distribution norms: anarchy. They’ve, in fact, had laws passed to inhibit it. But more and more, as gadgetism explodes, as it undermines every fixed notion of who delivers what to whom, as the big men with big jobs try to develop their gadget strategies, it’s comedy too. Everybody in charge of distribution channels is running around like a chicken with its head cut off. People at music companies, television networks, movie studios, cable providers, phone companies, and satellite systems are all trying, vainly so far, to figure out their place in a gadget-driven world, and are, mostly, looking like fools. NBC, in a huff, recently pulled its stuff from Apple’s iTunes downloading service because it believes its shows are worth more than $1.99 apiece. Then, in an about-face, the network announced it will give away its shows for free—figuring that somehow they’ll rig it up, those technological geniuses, so that after you download a show to your gadget and you see it once or twice, the show will dissolve or explode, or some such.

Generals, Gadgets, and Guerrillas [Vanity Fair]

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FCC chairboy kevin martin's new proposal confuses us


What FCC Chairboy Kevin Martin is proposing will probably open the consolidation flood gates. The FCC chief has submitted his proposal to relax its ban on the cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in the 20 biggest U.S. cities. The deal is designed to help newspaper publishers save their papers by allowing them to perhaps buy a TV or a radio station which some how some way would help. We don't even think Kev knows what he is proposing.

"A company that owns a newspaper in one of the 20 largest cities in the country should be permitted to purchase a broadcast TV or radio station in the same market," Martin wrote his newspaper column. "But a newspaper should be prohibited from buying one of the top four TV stations in its community."

FCC chief proposes to relax media ownership ban [Reuters]

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Bertelsmann also has liars and thieves as board members who buy their way out of trouble

Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2007

German media giant Bertelsmann (Bertie) like other media companies is no stranger to scandal. The latest for them comes via a gasbag by the name of Werner Weidenfeld , a member of the board of Bertie's foundation who was being investigated for booking private bills as company expenses. Weidenfeld who is one of the best known political scientists in Germany will excuse himself from the board come November 30th. What was he billing to the company? Who knows? Perhaps prostitution services or supplies for a Science project he was working on? We will probably never know because the bastard bought his way out of trouble leading prosecutors to close the investigation. Perhaps a deeper look would have revealed a wider involvement of other Bertie board members and senior execs. Of course in a statement Bertie made nice the situation.

The Munich prosecutors' office, which had begun an inquiry after an anonymous complaint, said Monday it offered to close the investigation in exchange for a payment of €10,000, or $14,000, from Weidenfeld. Prosecutors found some documents backing the allegations, although the "potential extent of the damage" was not "significant," Anton Winkler, a spokesman for the office, said Tuesday.

Weidenfeld has been a board member of the Bertelsmann Foundation since 1992. Bertelsmann and Weidenfeld decided to end their collaboration by mutual agreement, the company said.

Director steps down from Bertelsmann [IHT]

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Note to FCC member Michael Copps: News Corp already has that influence you are soooo worried about, dummy

Published: Friday, October 26, 2007

So, as usual there is always someone at the FCC trying to play hero. This time it's Commission member Michael Copps, who apparently woke up one morning and said to himself "Holy shit, that Rupert guy is too powerful" But what Mr. Copps doesn't know is that he is like a little too late. Copps is concerned that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, now the baddest motherfucker in media, will have their hands in too many pots.

``It will create a single company with enormous influence over politics, art and culture across the nation and especially in the New York area,'' Copps said today in a letter to FCC Chairboy Kevin Martin, a Republican.

Copps, one of two Democrats on the five-member panel, said the deal shouldn't proceed until the FCC studies the potential impact on competition, diversity and local-broadcast obligations in the New York market. The Federal Trade Commission granted early termination of an antitrust waiting period in August.

FCC's Copps Wants Review of News Corp.-Dow Jones Deal [Bloomberg]

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Barry Diller: Build, don't just buy your way in

Internet mogul Barry Diller is telling it like it is when it comes to these big media companies and the Internet. With the exception of News Corp, Time Warner and a few others big media doesn't know shit about the Internet. This is something we've been saying for a while now. In usual big media fashion, they are all hopping on the bandwagon, spending loads of money hoping for a win. Perfect example of this is CBS boss Les Moonves who has been spending money on Internet sites that are all now sitting their for the sake of making up the CBS Interactive. But we won't come down too hard on Leslie, because it's too early to judge.

His advice to media executives is to build new things online from scratch, and he praised Time Warner for doing just that in the form of TMZ.com.Technology companies, Diller said, understand the value of research and development, whereas Hollywood does not.He said many executives don't invest in their companies as they should because they are overly mindful of how Wall Street might punish their stocks for overspending. Such fearful companies should learn from Amazon's example and ignore the naysayers who might have preferred the company take a more frugal approach to technology expenditures.

Wonder when Barry's site geared towards brown people will launch off?

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Stiffies at S&P; see major swallowing of blogs in the future

Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2007

They reach large, loyal audiences, they're fairly cheap to run, and they can be lucrative. Media companies have their checkbooks ready.

From Standard&Poor's Equity Research. From Standard&Poor's investing newsletter The OutlookFirst came social networks. Then virtual worlds. Now blogs are dazzling the eyes of major media publishers as the next takeover targets.Blogs--especially the big-name brands such as TechCrunch, Gawker, GigaOm, Boing Boing, and the Huffington Post--appear to have attractive business models. This is good news for traditional media companies that are being marginalized online and off, and are hoping to catch up to--and cash in on--a rapidly evolving Web 2.0 world.

Over the years some blog owners like Nick Denton have stepped on talk about selling off their companies, but we all know the saying right? Money talks and if you're offer isn't sweet enough then fuck off! Who will lay on their back and spread em for the right price? The guys over at Sugar Inc already gave Jeff Zucker a taste.

Blogs: The Next Takeover Target? [S&P]

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The king looks to expand his reach yet again

Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The real king of all media, Rupert Mu