The Morning Fix: Olbermann and Current feuding! Netflix stock hot.
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After the coffee. Before cleaning cat hair off my jacket.
The Skinny: Anyone who thinks I’m a challenge to work with (and I am, I admit it) should just be glad I’m not Keith Olbermann. Thursday’s headlines include the latest drama around Olbermann and his employer, Current TV, how Netflix stock is hot again and why Comcast and Disney have signed a big distribution deal.
Sumner Redstone’s not tweeting! It does not appear that any other media big shots are eager to follow News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch on Twitter and start tweeting random thoughts. Company Town checked with Viacom as to whether its chairman, Sumner Redstone, would be on the social networking site soon and the answer was no. Similar responses regarding Comcast’s Brian Roberts, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes, CBS’ Leslie Moonves and Walt Disney Co.’s Bob Iger. Now it’s time for me to create mock accounts for those folks and have some real fun! I’m kidding. Really.
Disney on the go. Walt Disney Co., parent of ABC and cable networks ESPN, Disney Channel and ABC Family, has struck a big deal with cable behemoth Comcast that will make Disney’s channels available on computers and portable devices. The deal is the latest sign of the willingness of programmers to put their content on new platforms. The catch for consumers is that you still need a cable subscription if you want to watch ESPN on your iPad. After all, why would you pay to get something in one place if you could get it free somewhere else? Coverage and analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Variety.
Here we go again. Commentator Keith Olbermann, who has a long history of clashing with his bosses, is at it again with his new employers at cable channel Current TV. Tensions heated up this week over the role Olbermann and his show, ‘Countdown,’ would play in the network’s coverage of the presidential primary season. The fight is basically over what control Olbermann has over the 8 p.m. hour in which ‘Countdown’ runs. Olbermann, who previously battled bosses at ESPN, MSNBC and Fox Sports, told the Hollywood Reporter that he was “not given a legitimate opportunity to host under acceptable conditions.” Not quite sure if that means Current was trying to change the green room coffee from Starbucks to Peet’s, but whatever is going on, Olbermann is steaming. Additional coverage from the New York Times.
Netflix surges. After a tough 2011, Netflix shares may be hot again. The stock’s price jumped 11% on Wednesday after the company said its customers streamed more than 2 billion hours of content in the fourth quarter of last year. Media analyst Rich Greenfield said if Netflix were a TV network, it would be ranked 15th, ahead of CNN, FX and History. Of course, 10 years ago you probably could have calculated how much time people spent watching Blockbuster movies and come up with a similar figure. Would we have been impressed? More from the Los Angeles Times.
Stick to your own spot. Everyone wants to get an edge when it comes to advertising in the Super Bowl. General Motors apparently has been toying with putting its products in the commercials of other advertisers — say, maybe a GM truck pulling the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales. That’s right: product placement in a commercial. However, the plan would create a lot of headaches, as Advertising Age columnist Brian Steinberg notes, and may never get off the drawing board.
Left at the alter? ‘Bridesmaids’ star Kristen Wiig is not up for any sequels to the summer smash, according to the Hollywood Reporter. ‘We aren’t working on that,’ Wiig said. If this is not a negotiating ploy for more cash, then I say good for her. Why ruin the original with a lame sequel that would just be raunchier without the charm of the original?
Payback time. Tom Freston, who was the key architect behind Viacom’s MTV and rose to president of the media giant before being pushed out, is advising Vice, a media company that targets the same cool kids that MTV goes after. More on Vice’s grand plans from Forbes.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: The broadcast industry is gearing up for a Supreme Court showdown with the FCC over the regulatory agency’s indecency rules. NBCUniversal is dropping plans to build a new complex.
-- Joe Flint
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