Morning Fix: ‘Battleship’ avoids scrutiny. Cable news ratings slip.

After the coffee. Before jumping on the Kings bandwagon.

The Skinny: I’m debating whether it is time for an iPhone but the keypad scares me. I’m open to advice. Thursday’s headlines include a look at why Universal’s summer bomb “Battleship” has avoided the tar-and-feathering that Disney’s “John Carter” received. Also, CBS has sold more than half of the ads available for next season’s Super Bowl broadcast, and cable news ratings tumbled in May.

Daily Dose: One way for companies to get around commercial skipping is to create their own shows. AT&T is doing that with a Web show that is a spinoff of the Fox drama “Touch,” which is about a boy with emotional issues who is able to see connections between people around the world that others can’t. Created by Tim Kring, the man behind NBC’s “Heroes,” it will feature “Touch"-like plots but also be a showcase for AT&T products.

Free pass? It’s been one of the early summer’s big disappointments, yet Universal’s “Battleship” has avoided the scrutiny and second-guessing that followed the release of Disney’s big flop, “John Carter.” One likely reason was that there were already a lot of doubts about the management at Disney’s studio prior to the release of “John Carter.” In other words, there was blood in the water. The Los Angeles Times looks at why one bomb got pounded by the press while the other got mostly kid glove treatment.
It’s not us, it’s them. Walt Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger is getting tired of people griping at how expensive its sports cable channel ESPN is for cable and satellite operators. Speaking to analysts, Iger said the real offenders are regional sports networks (such as Fox Sports West in Los Angeles or MSG in New York). “If you look at the cost of those channels versus the ratings they deliver, it’s not even close [to ESPN],” Iger said, according to the New York Post.


Better buy now. The Super Bowl is more than six months away but CBS, which carries the big game next season, has already sold more than half of the available commercial inventory. That comes despite the decision of auto manufacturer General Motors to abandon the Super Bowl because of cost. Spots during the game cost well over $3 million. More on the early ad sales from Advertising Age.

Tuning out. With a presidential election just months away, you might think ratings would be up at the cable news channels. Instead the numbers are down, across the board. CNN had its usual struggles, but Fox News and MSNBC were also off in May, compared with May of last year. Maybe some folks are getting tired of all the yelling. Details on the numbers from the New York Times.

Put that copyrighted material down! Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel of WME went to the tech-filled, Wall Street Journal-backed conference All Things D with a simple message: Tell Silicon Valley to stop condoning piracy. Deadline Hollywood quotes Emanuel telling attendees, “We need Northern California to figure out how to keep our intellectual property from being stolen." 

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Lions Gate took a loss in part because of marketing costs for “The Hunger Games.” Satellite broadcaster Dish Network landed the first blow in its fight with the broadcast networks over its new commercial skipping feature called the AutoHop.


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