The Morning Fix: Comcast in fight with Level 3! Ryan Seacrest staying on radio. `Winter's Bone' has good night in Gotham.
After the coffee. Before deciding which of three events tonight to bail out on.
The Skinny: Was that a dog of a Monday Night Football game or what? It's shopping season, but I'm guessing you won't be buying a new Wii for your kids, which is bad news for Nintendo. Comcast is in a battle with a company called Level 3 that is hard to explain but actually a big deal. Ryan Seacrest will continue his radio show for another three years, and I'll continue to listen to anything else instead.
Level 3 fight. This one is a little complex, but it's important, so try to follow along without falling asleep. Earlier this month, Netflix struck a deal with Level 3 -- a so-called content delivery network (CDN) company -- to basically be the middle man that gets the content you order from Netflix to your cable operator to feed to your computer. About a week after Level 3 announced its Netflix partnership, Comcast said it was going to start charging Level 3 a toll of sorts for access to its broadband platform. Faster than you can say "Net neutrality," Level 3 started complaining and has accused Comcast of playing favorites with Web traffic. The implication is that Level 3 was hit with a toll because it is working with Netflix, a rival content distributor. Comcast countered that was not the case and that Level 3 wants to overload its broadband system and pass along the costs. We'll offer four different stories on this spat and hopefully at least one will have done a good job explaining why this matters. Here are takes from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Bloomberg.
Seacrest in! Ryan Seacreast has renewed his radio deal with Clear Channel Communications for an additional three years, at a price tag estimated to be in the $20-million-a-year neighborhood. The "American Idol" host and reality-show producer, who hosts a morning radio show here in Los Angeles, will continue with that gig and try to develop a record label and concert series for the radio giant. Here's the release from Seacrest and Clear Channel and the story that preceded it by a few hours in the New York Times.
Wood out! Terry Wood, the top creative executive at CBS' syndication unit, said she is leaving the company, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Among the shows launched under her watch were "Dr. Phil" and "Rachael Ray." Hmm, wonder where she is headed. Wonder if there is a cable network being launched by a big daytime-TV star that she used to work for that will need of lots of content and that might want Wood on board.
Space to sell. News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said the media giant is open to unloading MySpace, the social networking site it shelled out almost $600 million for only to see it become an afterthought to Facebook. Speaking at a conference sponsored by Reuters, Carey said MySpace needs to become profitable right now. "It's not years. ... We need to deal with this with urgency," he said. At the same conference, Disney Media Networks Co-CEO Anne Sweeney said the company is still talking with Google about the search engine's efforts to get into TV distribution business, but that Disney remains concerned about piracy.
Yeah, it was a nice debut, but it wasn't quite Pixar, was it? Walt Disney Co.'s "Tangled" took in almost $70 million and appears to be the strongest animation film from the studio in nearly two decades. But despite the opening success for Disney, it still can't compete with the company's Pixar unit. The Hollywood Reporter looks at what the success of "Tangled" says about the company's animation unit versus Pixar. I'll just say that because Disney owns Pixar, this seems to fall under the category of luxury problem.
"Winter's Bone" gets tossed one. "Winter's Bone," the grim but gripping indie movie about a girl's search for her drug-dealing and -using father was the big winner at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, and that could mean good things for the film come Oscar time. More on the awards from Variety.
-- Joe Flint
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