The Morning Fix: Facebook IPO! Viacom earnings take a hit.
After the coffee. Before deciding whether to short Facebook stock.
The Skinny: Kodak wants to unload naming rights to the Kodak Theater, home of the Academy Awards. Wonder if I can persuade my bosses to buy the rights and name it Morning Fix Theater. Has a ring to it. Thursday's headlines include analysis of Facebook's IPO plan, Viacom's earnings drop and how TV networks try to pull fast ones on each other.
The Daily Dose: Former NBC Entertainment President Warren Littlefield’s book “Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV” is coming out in May and those curious about how NBC operated in its glory days of the 1990s will not be disappointed. Hollywood insiders looking for dirt on the complex relationship between Littlefield and his boss Don Ohlmeyer will not be disappointed. No punches are pulled.
Status update. Facebook filed paperwork for its much anticipated initial public offering that could value the company at $100 billion. Who knew looking up old girlfriends and avoiding the same people I used to avoid in high school could make so much cash. I'm on Facebook multiple times a day and not only have I never bought anything based on an ad that was planted on my homepage, I can't even tell you what ads I've seen. I know, I know, there are bigger things in the works at Facebook, including what will likely one day be a larger presence in entertainment. Wonder how much the Winklevoss twins will get. More on the social network's finances and who's going to get really rich from its stock offering from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and New York Times. Also weighing in is Variety on what this could mean for Hollywood.
If you're not cheating, you're not trying. The New York Times looks at the tricks the television networks use to try boost their ratings, such as manipulating information that Nielsen uses to figure out who watched what. Another classic ploy is to have a strong show "bleed" into the show that follows it so the latter's program gets an artificial boost. These moves, some of which annoy viewers, fool few in the industry, and none are about actually improving the quality of shows or how they are programmed. And the networks wonder why they're struggling.
Those darn kids. Media giant Viacom Inc., owner of Paramount Pictures and cable channels MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, reported Thursday that its fiscal first-quarter profit dropped 65% to $212 million. A big reason for the decline was less advertising revenue at the cable networks unit, including the kids channel Nickelodeon, which has seen its ratings tumble lately. An early take on the results from Bloomberg. Also, while Nickelodeon and Viacom executives have blamed ratings company Nielsen for the channel's declining numbers, Advertising Age speculates that it might be another company whose name starts with N -- Netflix -- that is hurting the network.
Time for me to get a YouTube channel. Ray William Johnson, a foul-mouthed comedian who sometimes likes to perform in a penguin suit, is the latest to get rich from putting his act on YouTube, the Google-owned online video site. The Wall Street Journal looks at the way folks such as Johnson change how media is consumed and beat a new path to fame and fortune.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. We'll get through the longest short month together. Twitter.com/JBFlint
Photo: The title character in Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants." Credit: Nickelodeon