By Joe Flint
7:26 AM PST, February 5, 2014
After the coffee. Before the Time Warner earnings call.
The Skinny: The winter blahs are settling in and I'm not even on the East Coast. Might be time for stronger coffee. Wednesday's news includes a look at Olympics producer Jim Bell and Time Warner's fourth-quarter results. Also, a recap of the one awards show I wish I was at.
Daily Dose: Last month, Charter Communications launched an unsolicited and since-rejected bid for Time Warner Cable. Since then, Charter has attacked Time Warner Cable brass, saying the pay-TV giant is mismanaged. Time Warner Cable has fired back, saying it is run better than Charter and the offer was too low. While there may be no deal talks at the moment and the companies are at war with each other, the two sides also have to try to come to terms on the new Dodgers channel that Time Warner Cable is selling. That should make for some awkward conversations.
Bet the after-party is a real wingding. The XBiz Awards is the Golden Globes to AVN Awards' Oscars. And if you don't know what either are, then you haven't spent a lot of time in an adult bookstore or on your pay-TV distributor's adult entertainment channels. Good for you. But if you want to know what you missed at this year's show, here's a look from the Los Angeles Times. It's one of those rare moments in the adult entertainment business where the performers put clothes on for their job instead of taking them off.
Carrying the torch. Beside the athletes and the security team, the person who may have the most pressure on him during the upcoming Winter Olympics is Jim Bell, who is executive producing the event for NBC. The network is banking big numbers to promote not only its prime time lineup, but also Jimmy Fallon, who takes over for Jay Leno as "Tonight Show" host after the games end. Oh, and the network will want to make a few bucks on the Games, which are being held in Sochi, Russia, which means everything will be on tape-delayed. Bell has been involved with NBC's Olympic coverage for over 20 years and also used to run NBC's "Today." A look at Bell from the Wall Street Journal.
"Gravity" lift. Time Warner released its fourth-quarter earnings early Wednesday morning. Thanks to the success of "Gravity," revenue was up. The company also started breaking out HBO and its Turner networks. HBO had revenue of almost $5 billion and operating income of $1.7 billion. For the quarter, the company made $983 million, a decline from the $1.11 billion for the fourth quarter a year ago. More on the early numbers from Reuters.
Guggenheim gold. Guggenheim Capital has invested in Media Rights Capital, the production firm behind the hit movie "Ted" and the Netflix drama "House of Cards." For Guggenheim, it is yet another move into the entertainment world. There are lots of variations on Guggenheim and I'm not going to try to figure out which unit does what at this hour, but companies with Guggenheim in their name also own the Dodgers, Dick Clark Productions and the Hollywood Reporter. Details from Bloomberg.
Campaign strategies. As this analysis from Variety points out, there really is no way to determine the best approach to campaigning for an Oscar nomination. Some worked the rooms and it paid off, while others did nothing and still got a happy phone call in the early morning. Either way, some public relations firms cashed a big check for their brilliant strategy.
Follow me on Twitter before I run out of steam. @JBFlint.
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