After the coffee. Before getting back into work mode!
The Skinny: Are we all rested and ready for 2014? No? Then we should take another week off. If only we could. But since we can’t, let’s get back into our groove. Today’s headlines include the weekend box office report and John Malone’s latest serious move with Sirius XM. Also, Discovery CEO David Zaslav has a rich new deal and NBC’s about to hype the heck out of “Today."
Daily Dose: Outspoken BTIG Research media analyst Rich Greenfield has issued his media predictions for 2014 including a few that won’t win him any friends with the broadcast networks. Greenfield anticipates that Netflix will start making movies and pay Epix will produce original content in the year ahead. He also thinks the Supreme Court will side with a lower court decision saying Aereo, the start-up service that delivers local broadcast TV signals via the Internet, is legal. Broadcasters have argued that Aereo violates copyright law.
Beating the elements. Walt Disney Co.'s animated family film “Frozen” took in almost $21 million to finish first at the box office. With ice cold weather around much of the nation, those willing to brave the elements sought refuge in movie theaters. But apparently those who bundled up to hit the multiplex weren’t horror fans, as the latest chapter in the “Paranormal Activity” franchise took in about $18 million, far below industry forecasts. Box office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.
Getting Sirius. Liberty Media, which last year took control of Sirius XM, is now proposing to make the publicly traded satellite radio broadcaster a wholly owned subsidiary. The move is seen as part of Liberty’s efforts to boost its balance sheet for borrowing purposes and help Charter Communications with its efforts to acquire Time Warner Cable. Liberty has a 27% stake in Charter and has made no secret of its desire to see further consolidation among cable operators. More from the Wall Street Journal and Reuters.
Maybe if we shout louder. NBCUniversal, looking to boost the fortunes of its sagging morning franchise “Today,” is going to blast promotions for the show across all its cable and broadcast holdings to hype its new motto “Rise to Shine.” “Today,” which used to dominate mornings until being overtaken by ABC’s “Good Morning America,” is hoping that heavy promotional push will persuade viewers who left the show to give it another shot. Of course, if they left because they’re tired of Matt Lauer, then they’re out of luck. More on the hype strategy from the New York Times.
Big payday. Discovery Communications Chief Executive David Zaslav extended his deal with the cable programming giant and could end up with a pay package worth $100 million this year. The new contract runs for six years and his average salary will be $3.3 million. Well, he does have to put up with Honey Boo Boo and Oprah Winfrey, so maybe he does deserve a lot of dough. Details on Zaslav’s new deal from the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg.
Rewriting history. NBC released a new promotional spot for Jimmy Fallon, who takes over as host of “The Tonight Show” next month, that takes a little liberty with the recent history of the show and the botched Jay Leno - Conan O’Brien succession plan. Well, if you were them, wouldn’t you do the same thing? Variety on NBC’s version of “Tonight Show” history.
In case you missed it. A lot of you were on vacation last week (how dare you) so here’s my story on all that DirecTV needs to factor in while deciding on a new contract with the National Football League for the Sunday Ticket package.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: The backstory on Marcus Luttrell, the real-life soldier who inspired the movie “Lone Survivor.” Movie and music producer Saul Zaentz, who had his fair share of friends and enemies, died at the age of 92.
Follow me on Twitter for a great 2014. @JBFlint.