The Morning Fix: Hulu setting pay wall. Weinsteins and Cuban square off! Accepting overtures for Overture.
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After the coffee. Before wondering how the Redskins will blow this year’s draft.
Hulu to set hoops. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Hulu is preparing to unveil a pay wall, according to the Los Angeles Times. The plan would still allow users to see new shows for free, but access to older shows (and older can mean a few weeks or a few years) would cost $9.95 a month. The owners of Hulu, which includes Disney, News Corp. and NBC Universal, have been pushing for a pay wall in part because they don’t want Hulu cannibalizing the television business. The revenue it generates is not enough to replace the potential lost revenue from people not watching TV. We know what you’re thinking: So why’d they invent the darn thing in the first place? Mostly to fight piracy. Remember that Woody Allen movie “Take the Money and Run” where Woody’s character keeps getting his glasses broken by bullies and finally in one scene when he is confronted he takes them off himself and smashes them? Well, that’s the kind of logic the industry used on Hulu.
Weinsteins battle Mark Cuban. It was a busy hump day for the Weinstein Co. Looking to wrap up a deal with Ron Burkle to acquire Disney’s Miramax (the deal in which Burkle helps buy it and the Weinsteins run it), one of the shareholders of the Weinstein Co. mouthed off to the press about it. Mark Cuban, the Internet billionaire who now owns the Dallas Mavericks and has a huge 2.3% stake (yes, that’s sarcasm) in the Weinstein Co., first told Bloomberg he had “issues” but wouldn’t elaborate. Turns out his issues were with how the Weinstein Co. released “The Road,” a movie he had invested in that flopped. Cuban, when asked by the Los Angeles Times if his outburst was about “The Road” or the Weinsteins’ role in the Miramax deal, said they go “hand in hand.” Looking to stamp out any rumblings of trouble over this deal from their own company, the Weinstein Co. issued a statement from one of its board members saying the entire board is behind the Miramax deal. Does your head hurt yet? Mine does. Here’s our coverage.
P&G endorses Winfrey’s OWN ... sort of. The Wall Street Journal breaks that packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble has signed a three-year, $100-million pactto advertise on Oprah Winfrey’s and Discovery’s OWN network. On the surface, this sounds like a big deal but the cynic in me can’t help but point out that it is hardly a big surprise that one of the biggest makers of products aimed at women would be buying time on a channel whose primary audience will likely be women. While the $100 million sounds big, it’s over three years and P&G spends close to $3 billion a year advertising in the U.S. alone. In other words, pocket change. That said, if P&G wants to throw some of that love to the Morning Fix, we have a big female audience too.
Accepting Overtures. Liberty Media is moving ahead with plans to unload Overture, its tiny production company. Variety says there are three potential suitors for the company, including insiders Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett.
Do what I say, not what I do. MSNBC bagged a weeklong show called “America the Angry” after one episode mentioned its own Keith Olbermann in an unflattering light, according to the New York Times. The program, hosted by Donny Deutsch, was looking at, among other things, the role the media play in creating a hostile environment and dividing people. Guess Deutsch proved his point.
Just remember, imitation is the sincerest form of television. The Hollywood Reporter has landed the first draft of HBO’s “Tilda,” a program the pay cable channel is developing about an over-the-top Hollywood blogger. Will the inspiration for said project sue? Depends on whether the blogger likes being portrayed as shut-in with a rat problem. Why not? It’s more publicity. The bigger question is whether I’ll drop HBO if the show hits the air. I like to leave work at work when I get home.
And you thought Tom Cruise gets mad. Wednesday’s episode of “South Park” was altered after threats from a Muslim group angry that the show was going to depict the Prophet Muhammad. The latest on what wasn’t shown or heard from the New York Times.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: A Senate panel dealt a blow to plans for a box-office futures exchange. John Horn looks at Jennifer Lopez’s career on the eve of the release of “The Back-up Plan.” Sad news as CBS marketing executive Ron Scalera died Tuesday morning.
-- Joe Flint