The Morning Fix: Time Warner, Comcast profits up. RIP Gil Cates.
After the coffee. Before bidding on the Dodgers.
The Skinny. We're still Kim Kardashian-free! Wednesday's headlines include appreciations of the great Gil Cates as well as early reports on Time Warner and Comcast financial results, and a preview of the American Film Market.
RIP. Producer Gil Cates, who restored luster and glamour and brought humor to the Academy Awards, died Tuesday at the age of 77. Although best known for the Oscars, Cates was also a prolific movie, television and theater producer and founder of Westwood's Geffen Playhouse. Additionally, Cates was a force in the industry behind the scenes as well, serving two terms as president of the Directors Guild of America. "There are few people in the history of the guild who have matched Gil's vision and influence on the organization and our industry," said DGA President Taylor Hackford. Obituaries from the Los Angeles Times, Deadline Hollywood and Variety.
It's the cover-up that gets you. Britain's Parliament has published a slew of documents related to its investigation of the phone hacking scandal at News Corp.'s now-shuttered News of the World tabloid that don't paint a pretty picture of how the media giant handled the crisis. In particular, the information released by Parliament's Culture, Media and Sports Committee strongly suggests that the top brass at News International, the unit of News Corp. that housed the tabloid, were warned by outside counsel in 2008 of the severity of the matter. Next week, James Murdoch, son of Rupert and the head of international operations, is scheduled to appear before Parliament again, where he will likely be grilled on what appear to be contradictions in his earlier remarks before the government body. Details on the documents and what it could mean from The Guardian.
Potter profits. Time Warner Inc., parent of Warner Bros. HBO and Turner Broadcasting, released its third-quarter results early Wednesday morning and reported profits of $822 million, up 57% from the third quarter of 2010. The company had revenue of $7.07 billion, an increase of 11%. Much of the success was attributed to more revenue at Warner Bros., thanks to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” and rerun sales of "The Big Bang Theory." More from Bloomberg.
Cable boosts Comcast. Also releasing third-quarter results is Comcast, the nation's largest cable company and parent of NBCUniversal. Thanks to a boost in Internet subscribers and a slowing of a decline in cable subscribers, Comcast had earnings of $908 million, up 5% from a year ago. The cable and broadband side helped deflect a bad quarter at Universal Pictures and the continuing struggles of NBC. Early analysis from Reuters.
Why pay if you don't have to? If a company can set up a page promoting its product on Facebook on the cheap, why would it spend millions advertising on the social network page? That's the question Facebook is going to have to answer as it tries to beef up its commercial revenue. The Wall Street Journal looks at how Ford spent $95 million on an ad campaign for its Ford Focus that got a lot of promotional attention via Facebook. But of that $95 million, less than 5% was spent online.
Shocker! The debut of the NBC's newsmagazine "Rock Center" did not pump billions of profits into the network or turn around its prime-time fortunes. This is, of course, not really a surprise, but given all the attention around the show by some reporters, one would think that newsmagazines have been big ratings winners for broadcast TV for generations instead of (with the exception of "60 Minutes") viewing of last resort. In my opinion, the show was solid except for the Jon Stewart segment, which was too jokey. Also, lose that big red bowl on the table. A look at the numbers from Vulture.
-- Joe Flint
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