The Skinny: Ever spend too much time online and your eyes hurt? That's how I felt yesterday. I hate Internet hangovers. Today's roundup includes more coverage of the drama at Rupert Murdoch's media empires. Also, cable networks don't feel they are getting their fair share of ad dollars from Madison Avenue.
Daily Dose: Viacom is in a nasty fight with hundreds of small cable operators over fees for its networks, which include MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. Small operators charge that Viacom is looking to gouge them to make up for Viacom being gouged by big cable and satellite operators who have more leverage in negotiating contracts. The current agreement Viacom has with the National Cable Television Cooperative, which negotiates on behalf of small operators, expires at the end of the month, and more than 5 million consumers could lose the channels.
All in the family. Yes, I know I had stories about the new roles for media mogul Rupert Murdoch's kids Lachlan and James in yesterday's column. But these are the Murdochs! You knew there would be more stories today with lots of palace intrigue and Shakespearean overtones and recaps. Plus, few can pass up an opportuity to dive back into of all the professional (phone hacking scandal) and personal (divorce from Wendi Deng) drama that Rupert Murdoch has endured over the last few years. More on the Murdochs, 21st Century Fox and News Corp. from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed and Capital New York.
Here we go again. About every six months a story pops that satellite broadcasters Dish and DirecTV are in talks to merge. The stock prices of both companies go up and industry analysts issue breathless reports about why this makes sense. Then a few weeks go by and nothing happens. One day it probably will happen, but not yet. Here's Wednesday's Bloomberg story on the "talks" and my jaded follow-up.
Does hair product come with the purchase? Freemantle Media has bought a big stake in 495 Productions, the company that was behind the MTV hit "Jersey Shore." No price tag was disclosed, but Variety said the acquisition was valued at $40 million to $50 million. The deal is the latest example of consolidation among reality show production firms. Broadcasting & Cable took a look at the deals and what they mean for the business.
Playing catch-up. No doubt that cable has achieved parity with broadcast in the eyes of viewers and TV critics. In fact, many would argue that cable's original programming surpasses broadcast. But when it comes to ad dollars, Madison Avenue still pays more for broadcast content vs. cable. Obviously some of this has to do with who has the bigger ratings, but there are also still perception problems for much of cable TV when it comes to advertisers. The Hollywood Reporter looks at how cable is again pushing to take more ad dollars from broadcast.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: John Horn on how "Rob the Mob" director Raymond De Felitta had to pull off a minor miracle to make sure his comedy didn't end up sleeping with the fishes. Willow Bay, a former ABC News anchor and the wife of Disney CEO Bob Iger, has been named director of USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
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