• HBO Plans Series on U.S. Exodus
    Talk about perfect timing. HBO is working on a futuristic drama series that essentially asks: What if the current financial crisis in the U.S. becomes so severe that Americans start to flee the country? Supposedly set 25-40 years from now, when the precipitous decline of the U.S. leads to a mass exodus of its citizens, "Americatown" is about a cluster of newly arrived American immigrants in a Chinatown-like enclave in a big foreign city. "It presents Americans as immigrants, as both underdogs and heroes in the drama of global dislocation." The deal at HBO caps a decade-long ...
  • ESPN to Air More Live Games Instead of Shows
    ESPN's content guru John Skipper says he is going to add more live sports coverage across all of the network's media platforms while cutting back on scripted series, reality shows, original movies and other sports entertainment programming. He will pursue deals for more college games, and additional rights to major tennis and golf events. Eventually, he hopes to reclaim the National Hockey League, and will make a pitch on behalf of ESPN and ABC for the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games. Skipper's philosophy is the opposite of his predecessor Mark Shapiro, who started ESPN Original Entertainment in 2001 to produce ...
  • Canoe's Addressable System Likely to Fall Short
    David Verklin, CEO of Canoe Ventures, the cable company-owned television consortium, is preparing the way for Canoe's new ad system, due early next year. The new product, the Creative Versioning Platform, marries cable's 1,100 geographical ad zones with demographic databases. Advertisers will be able to buy ads from national TV nets and target messages to blocks of households based on characteristics such as income. About 55 million homes will be available, Verklin says. But the system falls short of the ultimate goal of household-specific addressability, says Jen Soch, MediaVest executive. "We're thrilled to see the MSOs working ...
  • NPR Adds Social Online Offerings
    National Public Radio is boosting its digital ambitions with this week's introduction of social-networking features akin to Facebook. The goal is to capture young people who aren't habitual radio listeners. In the next few months the organization will also make its popular podcasts more flexible and will expand its digital tools for sharing programs elsewhere. NPR's digital arm sometimes struggles to find common ground with member stations that rely on traditional, local radio offerings to draw contributions. The organization says the latest offerings have been developed with the stations' needs in mind.
  • 'Wall Street Journal' Offers Wine Promotion
  • Current TV Hacks The Debate
    Current TV, the cable television network co-founded by vice president Al Gore, melded a traditional televised presidential debate format with Twitter technology, incorporating viewers' real-time reactions into the broadcast. Current wrote software that fed filtered Twitter commentary to television screens. The commentary floated on top of the television images of the debate on Friday. At times, the two-liners floating at the bottom of the screen could be distracting, but the format added a much-needed face-lift to a shopworn regime that often felt wooden and rehearsed." Instead of seeing only the candidates, the audience also saw simultaneous feedback, ...
  • Revenue Growth At Largest Media Dips to 4.6%
    Last year, the nation's top 100 media companies saw their slowest growth since the recession year of 2001, a slim increase of 4.6%. In comparison, the country's GDP last year was up a tepid 2%. Media's biggest winner is no surprise: digital, with revenues up 10.8%. Cable-network growth was close behind, at 10.6%. The biggest loser: newspapers, down 6.8%. Time Warner topped the list with net U.S. media revenue of $35.6 billion. Time Warner collected 11.9% of Media 100 revenue -- nearly one of every eight dollars earned by the major media companies.
  • Sarah Ivens to Leave OK, Bonnie Fuller Eyed
    Celebrity editor Sarah Ivens is resigning from OK magazine, which she has been running for three years since British billionaire Richard Desmond launched it. She will be departing at the end of the year. Ivens worked in daily journalism and at British Marie Claire before landing at the British version of OK four years ago as its No. 2 editor. She was a last-minute replacement to run the American version of OK a year later. She insists she decided to resign months before Kent Brownridge became the magazine's new general manager. There is chatter that Brownridge would ...
  • McClatchy Revamps Debt, Other Papers to Follow
    Newspaper publisher McClatchy has renegotiated its agreement with lenders, winning concessions that help the company avoid a default as ad revenue continues to fall. In return, the company will put up more collateral and pay higher interest rates. McClatchy said the amendment takes into account its reduced cash flow "The company needs additional flexibility because it exhausted much of the room in its prior package," says analyst Mike Simonton. McClatchy is working to reduce its debt to about $2 billion, much of it from its 2006 purchase of Knight Ridder. Other publishers are finding themselves in similar ...
  • Senate Creates 'Copyright Czar'
    U.S. lawmakers approved the creation of a cabinet-level position of copyright czar as part of intellectual property legislation that sailed through the Senate on Friday. However, a measure allowing the Justice Department to sue copyright infringers on behalf of Hollywood and the music industry was removed after the White House lobbied against it. The intellectual property measure was strongly backed by the recording and movie industries, unions, manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Entertainment companies say they lose billions of sales a year to piracy. "This is a win for America's innovators, whose jobs rely on ...
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