The Morning Fix: Albrecht's back (again)! Apple luring CBS and Disney to take a bite. Crashing China.
Tempted to bite the Apple. CBS and Walt Disney Co. are two of the big media companies considering a deal with Apple Inc.'s Internet TV service, per the Wall Street Journal. In a nutshell, Apple wants to build an iTunes-like model for the Web in which individual shows would be sold. Subscribers, however, would buy a monthly package that would run $30. Although that's a lot cheaper than most cable bills, getting most of the programmers to provide content on a so-called a-la-carte basis could prove to be a hard sell. Another look at what Apple is offering and what it could mean for the cable business from TechCrunch.
Albrecht's latest encore. Chris Albrecht, the former HBO chief who was bounced from the pay cable channel after his May 2007 arrest for allegedly getting into a physical altercation with his date after a boxing match in Las Vegas (which led to talk of previous bad behavior at the company), is going to take over running John Malone's pay cable unit Starz. Liberty's Starz, which is beyond an afterthought to HBO and Showtime in the original-programming department, has been trying to make inroads in that already-crowded arena. Gushing with the news of Albrecht's new gig is Deadline Hollywood.
Crashing China's walls. In a big win for Hollywood, the World Trade Organization dismissed China's appeal of WTO's decision that China had violated trade rules in its heavy restrictions on movies, books and other entertainment content. The Motion Picture Assn. of America praised the WTO's dismissal and said it could help in the fight against piracy. More from the Los Angeles Times.
Thanks for the memories. Since apparently we're entering a new decade (silly me, I didn't think the next decade started until 2011), the Hollywood Reporter looks at the 10 worst mergers and deals. Among them are Disney's purchase of Family Channel from News Corp. and CBS' deal for CNET. We're pretty sure the AOL/Time Warner marriage is in there somewhere. But since I was dumb enough not to pull out of Time Warner's 401k right after that one went down, I'm not exactly eager to see if it made it to No. 1 worst deal. I'm sure it did.Up in the [American] Air. So all those lovely shots of American Airline jets and terminals and Hilton Hotels in Paramount's "Up in the Air" were part of a product placement arrangement but not the kind you're thinking. It was an old-school barter deal where no money changed hands. Maybe that's why the brands and logos never seemed to overwhelm or distract the viewer. Details on the arrangement among the three iconic companies from the New York Times.
-- Joe Flint