April, 2009

Disney wins the race to be third on Hulu

In Hollywood, there’s always a race to be the third studio into any new platform, format or distribution channel. No one ever wants to go first, because it usually means pissing off your existing distribution partners, some of which (Wal-Mart) have the leverage to make their displeasure hurt. Going second is okay, but you still take some heat and you look like you’re just me-too-ing the leader. The best place to finish is third. Read More »

Taking the "news" out of newspapers

Eric Gertler has a very smart post up about the future of newspapers over at the Huffington Post. Gertler, the former head of business affairs at the Daily News and the founder of nydailynews.com among other senior positions in publishing, argues correctly in Media Wonk’s view, that when it comes to surviving online, newspapers need to dump the “news” as well as the “paper.” Read More »

Hatch reminds Hollywood it's rich

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on Tuesday reminded a luncheon crowd of studio chiefs and other Hollywood heavyweights here in Washington for the day that they’re rich–and the rich pay taxes. Lot’s of them. And they will soon pay even more taxes under the Obama Administration, which intends to raise the top marginal income tax rate for individuals who earn more than $250,000 a year, a category that included a good portion of Hatch’s audience (although, sadly, not Media Wonk).

Hatch offered his pointed comments on taxes and the administration at the end of otherwise light-hearted remarks at the Business of Show Business event organized by the MPAA to showcase Hollywood’s economic firepower in front of lawmakers and appropriators.

Hatch’s goal, presumably, was to remind the heavily Democratic Hollywood crowd that they’re going to take a hair cut under the guy many of them helped elect, and that it is Republicans (although he didn’t say so directly) who can be counted on to look out for the fortunate. Read More »

Charging for news

Lots of buzz this a.m. over a new project backed by Court TV-founder Steven Brill and former Global Crossing CEO exec Leo Hindery called Journalism Online LLC. Most of the stories have focused the company’s plan to offer newspaper publishers ready-made tools to administer and manage various schemes for charging readers directly for content online, as well as a plan to launch a global subscription tool that would give users access to content from all participating publishers for a single flat monthly fee.

The really interesting news, however, is the company’s third planned initiative, described in the press release as a plan to “negotiate wholesale licensing and royalty fees with intermediaries such as search engines and other websites that currently base much of their business models on referrals of readers to the original content on newspaper, magazine and online news websites.” Read More »

Hey AP, forget Google, think eBay

For a minute there I thought the Associated Press might have a good idea. In an interview with BusinessWeek posted today, AP CEO Tom Curley said the news agency was planning to create its own news portal to compete with Google News, which the AP accuses, along with other aggregators, of “misappropriating” its content. Google News is a far-from perfect tool and there’s certainly room in the market for someone who does news search better.

But then I saw this: Read More »