The Morning Fix: Viacom and Discovery post strong results. Bewkes is nice to Netflix. Disney gets ready for `Prom.'
After the coffee. Before saying farewell to the best editor I ever had.
The Skinny: It's earnings season again. Viacom and Discovery are smiling as a strong advertising marketplace has boosted their bottom line. Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes is changing his tune on Netflix. The media need to look at their part in the Obama birth certificate story. On a personal note, good luck to Company Town editor John Lippman. If you liked something I wrote over the past two years, thank him. If you didn't, well you can blame him.
Thanks, Snooki. MTV parent Viacom Inc. reported on Thursday morning a second-quarter profit of $376 million, a gain of more than 50% from the same quarter a year ago. Much of the gain can be attributed to MTV and its hot shows including "Jersey Shore." Yes, your guilty pleasure is lining Viacom's pockets. Do you feel good about that? Early coverage from Bloomberg.
Do they get free rides? Comcast and General Electric Co. face their first big financial decision since forming their NBCUniversal partnership as private equity firm Blackstone has said it wants to unload its 50% piece of Universal's Orlando theme parks. Things get really complicated if NBCU does not buy the stake. Details from the Wall Street Journal.
I don't know even where my birth certificate is. While broadcast and cable news outlets were often dismissive of debates over President Obama's citizenship, the amount of coverage they gave certainly threw some gas on the fire. Just this weekend, while the CNN show "Reliable Sources" was ripping Donald Trump for all the free publicity he was getting on the subject, the network was promoting its own Anderson Cooper special on the topic. The New York Times looks at the media's part in keeping this "story" alive.
Change of heart? Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes has been quite outspoken about his lack of regard for Netflix, which many industry analysts see as a competitor to HBO. In an interview on Wednesday, though, he seemed to soften his tone on the company. This led Deadline Hollywood to question the Time Warner chief's mental state and the wisdom of his top communications specialist and led me to chuckle a little bit.
Everyone wants to take on Netflix. Looks like satellite broadcaster DirecTV wants to see if it can do battle with Netflix. The company is taking a survey of its customers to see if there would be interest in renting movies online. Dish, another satellite broadcaster, is also kicking those tires. The news from tech blog Zatz Not Funny. Really, that's its name.
Guess that $40-million pay package was well deserved. Discovery Communications, whose CEO, David Zaslav, had a compensation package worth more than $40 million in 2010, posted strong first quarter results Thursday morning. Profits at the cable programming giant jumped 80% to $305 million. Early coverage from the Hollywood Reporter.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: A look at Disney's new teen movie "Prom," which is the first film to have been given the green light by studio chief Rich Ross. Comcast makes a big push into video on demand. Weather Channel Chief Executive Mike Kelly has a sunny forecast.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. It will bring us closer together. Twitter.com/JBFlint