Did The 'Entourage' Crew Really Put The Squeeze on Comcast and Time Warner?
My buddy Billy Walsh is always telling me he's evangelizing my company to the Hollywood types, even though I tell him we're a technology company providing a video ad monetization solution and have nothing to do with agents, actors, writers and producers. And Hollywood doesn't care about us techies unless it means more dollars or free alcohol bought after hours by some nouveau riche dot-com guy. But Billy tells me he doesn't care, and that sooner or later Panache will get some juice out of his efforts.
This past weekend Billy and I ordered up a couple slices at our favorite pizza spot in Hermosa Beach when in walked Turtle, Drama and E. Billy, who happens to know these guys well, introduced me to "his crew" and Turtle blurted at me, "So it was for your pals that Vince risked his career." I had no idea what they were talking about.
Anyway, E went on to explain that Vince was on his way to a "Tonight" show taping, when he realized that he hadn't seen any of his own shows! Obviously Vince didn't want to be caught by the media not being able to promote, so the crew grabbed a laptop with a cell card to watch episodes during the car ride. Since HBO didn't stream "Entourage" episodes -- probably because of affiliate conflicts -- Vince had E call Ari on the phone and say they were turning around and probably wouldn't do "Tonight" because Entourage wasn't streamed for them on demand, when and where they wanted. So they had to go all the way back home through LA traffic (which according to Drama takes days with Turtle at the wheel).
Vince told Ari he wouldn't do more episodes until he could get his show made available, as Vince coined it, as "TV Everywhere."
We all know how Ari took that! After berating his assistant for not knowing the 24-hour direct lines to Roberts and Bewkes, Ari found these guys up in Sun Valley, sparked the jet and went pushing for Vince's streaming rights. Supposedly, and this is where it gets really crazy, Ari told the cable boys that if the show couldn't be streamed online -- and fast -- he would "call his real life brother Rahm Emanuel, get a cable czar put in place, and the only stream they'd ever see is the one where they worked as worm baiters on a fish farm."
Billy looked at these guys and exclaimed "No freakin' way!" I didn't know what to say as I didn't believe a word of it but then Vince walked in, looked me in the eye and told me I owed him one (and took my second slice!). I still had my doubts but I wasn't going to say a word to Vincent Chase. Then, last week I received the following email:
"Steve, Vince says he wants me to do more. Give me four things you want done in your industry and I'll make it happen. Broadband and linear guys will hug it out in the end. Ari Gold. PS Vince wants stock options."
So I've come up with three but I'm looking for your ideas for a couple more to get back to Ari with, to push on Roberts and Bewkes. Here's what I have so far:
1) Provide consumers with HDMI cables to connect their computers to their flat screens as part of an annual subscription commitment.
2) Enable both programmers and operators to sell and insert ad avails into their shows with content enhancements and engaging ad units that add value to viewers, rather than keeping old-fashioned pods. Meaning, enable the revenue value chain to profit and match the capabilities of the platform so we have richer, more meaningful experiences!
3) Develop network DVR technology so that we can bookmark where we're watching and return to the show/frame location even if we switch to another device or platform.
Let me know your thoughts, and I'll see about getting them into the mix.