The Morning Fix: Netflix and Epix in epic deal! Leo should lighten up. Lions Gate has lot riding on Sly & Co.


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After the coffee. Before wondering, as Dan Patrick notes, why Howard Cosell isn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for broadcasters.

Netflix in an epic deal with Epix. Netflix, those folks who are knocking the tar out of Blockbuster Video with their business of DVD rentals by mail, announced this morning a deal with the pay cable channel Epix that could potentially shift the media landscape. The Los Angeles Times first broke the news that Netflix would get exclusive online rights to movies from Epix backers Paramount Pictures, Lions Gate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. What makes this a potentially big deal is that Netflix would get to stream the movies just three months after they pop up on Epix. Netflix, would no doubt love to have the movies the same day they premiere on Epix, but that would really make for tough relationships for the pay cable channel and its distributors. More on the deal from the New York Times and some analysis from Dave Poland’s Hot Blog. And soon HBO will tell us why this won’t change their ability to print money.


Google’s torment over privacy; plans on net neutrality. The Wall Street Journal probes the debates that go on inside Google over how to balance the privacy needs of its users and the commercial potential of the information the search giant has at its finger tips. Of course, what usually happens is companies do things to expose privacy then justify them or explain after that they had perhaps not taken all the considerations of their users into the decision. Just remember, don’t be evil. In other Google news from the WSJ, the company has unveiled its proposal with Verizon about how Internet traffic should flow for users and broadband providers. Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Verizon chief Ivan Seidenberg also took to the opinion pages of the Washington Post to explain their rationale, which is generating a lot of controversy from advocates of so-called net neutrality. This is one of those stories that Hollywood needs to pay attention to but hasn’t really yet. Think of that scene from ‘The Godfather’ where Sonny and Tom are trying to persuade the Don about the potential of the narcotics business. ‘If we don’t get a piece of that action, we risk everything we have -- I mean not now, but 10 years from now,’ Tom explained. OK, maybe that’s a reach, but I’m trying to dumb this stuff down and it’s not easy. Here’s the Variety take on the Hollywood angle.

Will ‘The Expendables’ make Lions Gate less expendable? The success of the Sylvester Stallone-led action movie ‘The Expendables’ may be crucial to the fate of Lions Gate, the entertainment company behind the film, which features a 1980s cast of action heroes. The company, as everyone by now knows, is in the midst of a power struggle with its largest shareholder, Carl Icahn, the activist investor who has been blasting management’s spending habits and has been trying to pull off a hostile takeover. Even Stallone is aware of the pressure, telling the Los Angeles Times that ‘it’s like the sword of Damocles hanging there as you walk through the front door.’ Meanwhile, Lions Gate’s efforts to fight Icahn probably weren’t helped by its somewhat disappointing first-quarter results. More on that from Bloomberg.

If you can’t beat them, join them. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is selling control stakes in its three TV channels in China to China Media Capital, a government backed firm. The move is seen as News Corp. pulling back from China after years of trying to grow in the market and constantly butting up against the country’s heavy regulations. Details from Reuters.

It’s not snakes on a plane, but anyway. The Wrap brings back its ‘Moguls on a Boat’ feature. If you’re a mogul and you don’t have a boat, you probably don’t want to read it and if you do have one, you’re not going to bother reading it. And if you’re neither, then be warned that Andy Samberg and T-Pain’s ‘I’m on a Boat’ will come blasting out as soon as you click on the link.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Leonardo DiCaprio needs to lighten up, says Betsey Sharkey. Big Picture columnist Patrick Goldstein thinks ‘Horrible Bosses’ could be the next big R-rated comedy.

-- Joe Flint

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