The Morning Fix: Cable tries to fight back. Rep. Darrell Issa is listening. Hollywood learns patience.
After the coffee. Before driving out to Pasadena to hear from Ms. OWN herself!
The Skinny: I have nothing against Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar making baseball's Hall of Fame, but why do the writers continue to snub Detroit Tigers stars Jack Morris and Alan Trammell? Lots of articles tied to the Consumer Electronics Show as everyone struggles to find a theme to this year's convention.
Fighting back. For an industry that says it isn't worried about people cutting the cord to their cable, pay-TV distributors are spending a lot of time figuring out ways to offer their services on new platforms beyond the TV. Have an iPad? Subscribe to Comcast? Now you can watch TV on your iPad at home. Of course, if you have a TV at home, why would you watch it on the iPad? Bottom line is that it is the content owners who ultimately decide where their stuff is available (except for piracy, of course) and the incumbent distributors are trying to protect their status as gatekeepers to entertainment. An overview from the Los Angeles Times.
Holding off on that new set. Despite all the hype around televisions with 3-D and Internet capabilities, consumers aren't rushing off to buy new sets. Many folks have already made the move to flat screens and high definition and are not ready to stomach another big investment in home entertainment. The New York Times on the state of TV sales.
Hollywood travels well. Overseas box office hit the $20-billion mark in 2010. According to Variety, China's box office was up over 60%. However, France and Japan were flat while other European countries were down. Among the studios, Warner Bros. was on top with $2.93 billion, followed by 20th Century Fox, which was a close second with $2.90 billion.
Opening doors. Youku, a Chinese online video company, has bought the streaming rights from Warner Bros. for the hit movie "Inception." China, of course, is more known for being a haven for pirated content. Like sites in the U.S., Youku is trying to move away from free content with advertising to a pay model. More on the potentially groundbreaking deal from the Wall Street Journal.
Can I do you a favor? Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), who is the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is reaching out to various industries, including broadcast television, to see what regulations they feel are stunting growth. More from Broadcasting & Cable, which said the cable industry's D.C. trade association had not had contact with Issa yet. Well, maybe the letter got lost in the mail.
Separate but equal. Walt Disney Co. has tapped an executive to oversee women and family for its Interactive Media Group, per the Hollywood Reporter. Brooke Chaffin, a former Yahoo executive, was given the unusual title of "senior vice president of women and family." Let me know who gets my application for the position of senior vice president of men and bachelors.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter because I don't have one of those apps that tells you where I'm eating or what I'm watching every second of the day. Twitter.com/JBFlint