The Morning Fix: Networks near deal with Apple to rent shows! Sumner Redstone's may be a little lighter. Vampires bring the green with the red.
After the coffee. Before making up my mind on whether the NFL should expand to an 18-game season.
Is 99 cents enough to potentially risk cannibalizing your audience and alienate advertisers? Apple's negotiations with broadcast networks to cut a deal to offer rentals of television shows for 99 cents an episode on iTunes are heating up. Consumers can, of course, already buy television shows for as much as $3.00, but the networks have been wary of rentals. That's because the more platforms shows are made available on at lower prices, the more that means viewers can drift away from the television (although that horse may have left the barn already). Since the iTunes talks apparently are for shows without inclusion of commercials, it sends a nice signal to Madison Avenue about how the networks are doing their best to protect the value of a 30-second commercial spot. Then there are the affiliate TV stations that are being pressed to pay for the programming they get from the networks (they already pay with their advertising inventory, but anyway), seeing what little exclusive claims to content they have slip further away. But it sure sounds cool. No surprise that so far it is ABC parent Disney, on whose board Apple chief Steve Jobs sits, is likely to say yes, followed by News Corp., whose chief Rupert Murdoch seems obsessed with the iPad. More on the talks from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Bloomberg.
Sumner Redstone coughs up. The Daily Beast, which has made tracking the antics of Viacom and CBS Chairman Sumner Redstone into a full-time job, reports that the mogul has paid off a senior CBS staffer with a seven-figure check to avoid a lawsuit regarding his allegedly hostile behavior toward her. The behavior, according to the Daily Beast's Peter Lauria, included throwing the occasional plate at her.
Are the Redskins worth about $22 a game? DirecTV, rights holder to the National Football League's popular "Sunday Ticket" package, which allows subscribers to see every football game, is now offering the same service online to consumers without requiring a subscription to the satellite broadcast service. The only catch is that you have to prove to DirecTV that there is a legitimate reason that you can't pay for the service. In New York City, for example, most apartment buildings don't allow satellite dishes. The package would cost about $350 a season. While the number of consumers that will likely opt for this is relatively small (does anyone watch something on a computer or iPad by choice?), the idea of it will still irritate Fox and CBS, which will see it as potentially eroding its Sunday ratings. And once it becomes real easy to hook the computer up to the TV, look out! Details from USA Today.
Vampires have bite. The Hollywood Reporter looks at the financial impact of teens' obsession with vampires and says those fang lovers have brought in about $7 billion in revenue over the last few years. We can't vouch for their math but it's a good thing that those obsessed with vampires can come out during the day, otherwise those numbers might be a lot smaller.
Disney passes on animation awards show. Walt Disney Co., parent of Pixar, is backing out of supporting the International Animated Film Society's Annie Awards. Variety quotes Disney-Pixar President Ed Catmull saying, "We believe there is an issue with the way the Annies are judged, and have been seeking a mutually agreeable solution with the board." While Disney is pulling the plug on its participation, individual animators can still submit their work.
News Corp., Fox News and the ground zero controversy. The battle over whether a center that will include a mosque should be built near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks has given lots of material to cable news, particularly Fox. But now focus is being turned by some to Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who has financial ties to the project and is one of the biggest shareholders in Fox News parent News Corp. More on the coverage of the coverage and the relationship between News Corp. and Alwaleed bin Talal from New York.
Dog gripes about other dog's bark. The Wrap's Sharon Waxman takes aim at the tone of rival Hollywood Reporter under its new editor Janice Min. Of course, if the Hollywood Reporter is seen as becoming alienating or too tabloid or less industry-friendly then the other trades, who benefits?
-- Joe Flint
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