The Morning Fix: Paramount drags on Viacom earnings! Hulu chief mouths off. Wanna buy MySpace?
After the coffee. Before wondering whether making statements every day is part of the recovery process.
The Skinny: Glad Charlie Sheen is taking a break (if he is), but does he need to put out statements all the time and text people at E! and Radar? Speaking of keeping quiet, Hulu boss Jason Kilar may want to step away from the keyboard too.
So much for restraint of pen and tongue. In a bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you move, Jason Kilar, the CEO of online video site Hulu, criticized television for having too many commercials and said advertising on Hulu is more effective. The problem, of course, is that Hulu is owned by big media companies News Corp., Disney and NBC Universal, who not only make a ton of money from commercials, but also provide the online video distributor with most of its content. More on Kilar's rant from the Financial Times. In the meantime, Viacom struck a deal with Hulu to return its content, including Jon Stewart's "Daily Show," to the site. Of course, "Daily Show" and lots of other Viacom content have been available online already, so I'm not sure what the big deal is about this. Details on the Hulu-Viacom pact, from All Things Digital , which said it was at least a $40-million deal.
Even Snookie couldn't save Viacom. Media giant Viacom, parent of MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures, released its first-quarter results early Thursday morning and said profits dipped 12% to $610 million. Much of the hit was attributed to Paramount Pictures, which had a drop in earnings of almost 80%. The numbers were good for several cable networks including MTV, thanks to "Jersey Shore" and Comedy Central. I'm guessing the struggling VH1, though, did not contribute a lot to the bottom line. Early analysis of the numbers from Bloomberg.
Space to sell. News Corp. indicated it's finally ready to throw in the towel on MySpace, the social networking site it has struggled to make competitive against Facebook. On an earnings call, News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said, MySpace might benefit "through a new ownership structure," which is corporate speak for get this turkey off our balance sheet. More on that and the company's second-quarter results from the Los Angeles Times.
It's who you know. Dick Ebersol, the head of NBC Sports, put many of his longtime staffers in charge of the various sports properties he's inherited as a result of NBC's merger with Comcast Corp., including Golf Channel. He may also ultimately rename Versus, the Comcast sports network he now oversees, which would be a good move since that is one awkward name. Makes a lot more sense than taking the NBC Peacock off the stationary, which was new owner Comcast's first big move. More on the restructuring of NBC Sports from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
Get me Glickman! MGM has named Jonathan Glickman president of production. The move was not a surprise since Glickman worked for MGM's new chiefs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum at Spyglass. Oh, and Glickman is the son of former MPAA chief Dan Glickman. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
King of England vs. king of social networking. The Best Picture battle looks like a two-horse race between "The King's Speech" and "The Social Network." Hmmm, who do I want to see on stage less. More on the race between USA Today and Hollywood Reporter.
Where are you watching the game? Since we're only days away from the Super Bowl, a story from the Wall Street Journal about how the advancement of home technology and the growth of Super Bowl parties have taken a bite out the business bars and restaurants usually do on Super Bowl Sunday. Personally, I shy away from parties and bars with lots of people talking over the game, saying things that indicate they don't really watch a lot of football and getting sloppy drunk. Not fun.
-- Joe Flint
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