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Warner Bros. wants to beef up TMZ

Warner Bros. wants to expand TMZ, the tabloid news website and TV show that has become the bane of every celebrity's life for its scathing -- and usually accurate -- reporting on the rich and the restless.

LEVIN TMZ, which was the brainchild of lawyer turned muckraker Harvey Levin, has been run as a partnership between Warner Bros.' Telepictures unit and America Online since it launched in December 2005. Now though, as AOL prepares to spin off from Time Warner, TMZ will become 100% owned and operated by Warner Bros. AOL will continue to feature TMZ on its home page to drive traffic to the site for the next year, but Warner Bros. is also going to start establishing relationships with other portals in an effort to broaden its reach.

Often dismissed as a bunch of kids going through celebrity garbage cans, TMZ gained new prominence when it was first to report that pop star Michael Jackson died. It also has been out front on the Tiger Woods scandal. According to regulatory filings, TMZ had revenues in 2008 of $25.4 million. Warner Bros. wants to grow TMZ's news operation, people close to the operation said. At the same time, though, the company does not plan on investing more in TMZ even though it is now losing its partner.

Instead Warner Bros. wants to get more aggressive and effective in selling advertising across the TV show and the site. TMZ, a person a familiar with the company said, attracts more upscale consumers, and Warner Bros. thinks it can boost ad revenues substantially. TMZ also is increasing its presence on mobile phones, which Warner Bros. thinks it can exploit better now that it is the sole owner. 

One thing that is not planned for now is a TMZ cable channel. We think they're missing an opportunity there. How about combining TMZ with Time Warner's Headline News. A Nancy Grace-Harvey Levin combination would be something to behold. It would also be really scary, but anyway.

-- Joe Flint 

Photo: TMZ's Harvey Levin. Credit: TMZ / Warner Bros.

Comments () | Archives (7)

Shame on Warner Bros. They've got countless more lucrative properties that could use a shot in the arm and they want to dump more money in this inane, juvenile sleazefest and into the pockets of creepy scumbag hypocrite Harvey Levin?

Who wants to bet that Harvey'll throw the money at attracting more hot boot-licking young men to mutually fawn over? Granted, my knowledge of the show is only from the first episode and from countless promos thereafter. But in most of the promos, there's always a clip of a gaggle of young bucks trying to score points with Harvey and he's loving every minute of it. I don't know if it's more pathetic for the vacuous himbos or for ol' Harv herself.

interesting to me that Warners, who is dependent upon stars for all their product, backs a show that chases, hassles and bugs those same stars to no end. Would be interesting to study the stars that TMZ hounds....are they attached to Warners? or does WB management hand TMZ a Do Not Disturb list of talent? Check that out.....

I hope WB doesn't run interference with TMZ coverage. There seemed to be a distinct bias earlier this year to softpedalling scandals of WB stars like Christian Bale.

Ted, maybe you should pay more attention to what you're reading before you go off on a rant on them dumping more money into TMZ.

As the article states, "the company does not plan on investing more in TMZ even though it is now losing its partner."

So if you go by what that says it means that TMZ will be getting less money because it's losing a partner and not more. Warner Bros. is just trying to increase revenue from the show by adding other things that have to do with TMZ such as advertising among other things.

I'm sure they're some bright people doing the analysis at Warners who believe that this is a lucrative subsidiary. High NPV and high ROIC with little, if any, investment.

Good move.....

I enjoy watching TMZ. It's really entertaining when the celebs will talk to the paps who ask them entertaining questions. I can't believe those like Khloe and Kim Kardashian are so snobby and won't answer any of the questions.. They are no where near like Meryl Streep....

what a joke..but this is where society is headed...selling garbage and pilling on people's misfourtune...


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