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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Google Movie Rentals During Sundance Festival!

You Tube will enter the on-line video rental business with six independent films showcasing at Sundance this week. The films will become available for rental via Google owned YouTube for $3.99 before they become available in theaters, or by any other method (DVD or other on-line services). The New York Times reports that since last summer YouTube has been in discussion with major studios to set up on-line premium advance or first option rental for select films. The Sundance festival is a special even beta test for YouTube, which may offer other films after the end of the test January 30th.

From the New York Times:

“YouTube had a very close relationship with the independent film community since we launched,” said Sara Pollack, entertainment market manager for YouTube. Ms. Pollack said that the number of people watching videos online has grown quickly and that YouTube wanted “to offer a way for filmmakers to connect with these audiences.”

Ms. Pollack said that only a tiny fraction of the films submitted at Sundance were able to find some form of commercial distribution, and that YouTube would provide a new outlet for independent filmmakers.
The rentals — “The Cove,” “Bass Ackwards,” “One Too Many Mornings,” “Homewrecker” and “Children of Invention” — will cost $3.99 and will be available only from Friday to the end of the film festival on Jan. 31. Renters will pay for the movies using Google’s Checkout online payment service.

Strange Bedfellows

Apple is in talks with Microsoft to partner with Yahoo and MS on Bing!

The deal would allow Apple to optimize and help improve Bing! It would also make Bing! the default search engine on iPhones and eventually Apple Computers.

The talks are in their prelimiary stages, with strong opposition from Apple users groups, who feel "their" company has far more in common with Google and that Microsoft is "the enemy."

See also:

Google vs Bing!

Content exclusivity on Bing!

The Beginning of the End of Google?

Job Help from AFL-CIO


Everywhere you go, hardworking families are struggling to get by, and too often, they don't know where to turn for help. That's where the Unemployment Lifeline comes in.

Unemployment Lifeline is sponsored by Working America and the AFL-CIO. It is a one-stop guide that links workers to the resources in the areas they live, connecting them with everything from unemployment offices to veterans' services to child care. It also offers the opportunity to talk to others and share support and lessons learned. On this site you can find local resources, discussion boards, cost saving tips and advice.

The site is still new, and new resources are constantly being added. Make sure you pass this resource on to your friends and family members who could use some help.

Election Day After

Your thoughts and responses are invited in response to the shift in the US Senate represented by Tuesdays upset election in Massachusetts.

New Media Revolution: of 1949 (pt I)

The death of newspapers, decline to relegation of radio news to talk radio and gossip are all reported on heavily, with the demise of traditional media perhaps over-hyped and exaggerated. But it these come to fruition and the media I grew up on becomes an afterthought, how much of a difference will it make to future generations? Will anyone care? How will out society change? What will be lost? Or from the other perspective, what will we gain?

Blogs and media circles abound with posts on both sides, discussions at water coolers, diatribes in print and classroom discussions on the role of newspapers, television and traditional media in an ever changing society.

The US Post Office (Excuse me, Postal Service, since the Post Office is no longer an office of government for the people, by the people and of the people) is due to release a series of stamps commemorating the "Golden Age of Television", hoping to earn money from stamps sold but not used as collectors seek to remember the "good ol' days" of television. Around the country groups still gather to perform live readers theater adaptations of classic radio comedies and dramas. But how large is the audience and how deep the nostalgia?

Today radio seeks to find itself again in an age of Internet and satellite media, television deals with TiVo, DVR, the cable universe and declining advertising revenue, and newspapers have yet to find a way to pay for themselves as cost escalate, readership declines and people no longer wait for the morning paper to find out what is happening in their world.

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at at the last big media transition, and how quickly the wonders of network radio became lost to the new flickering wonder of television. How can this be applied to today's shift to on-line instant information and entertainment?

For as long as the link remains true, I bring you "the New Media Crisis of 1949" by Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal offers access by membership, free registration or for students. Started by financial journalist, it was once the financial newspaper in America. While it may now be owned by the owners of FOX and Skynews, Rupert Murdock and NewsCorp, until things change the Journal remains one of the primary business and cultural daily publications in America. I recommend subscription in one form or another.

Theater in Las Vegas: Insurgo

Insurgo Theater Auditions

The following is from press released by the Insurgo Theater. Any legitimate theater or film project may be promoted here on this blog is information is provided to

Includes is a reminder about "Othello" (see RJ review) and an announcement for audtions for "The Sex Comedies".

Tickets and Donations at
Request audition information at

Leno Experiment ends February 11th (updated 1/22/10)

January 7, 2010: Jay Leno's prme time show will end February 11th. Details on the update, as reported in The Wrap and The Hollywood reporter at

January 22, 2010
 Tonight is Conon Obrien's last Tonight Show. When he steps down tonight all of the "bits", "routeens", "segments" and "characters he created will stay behind, remaining the property of NBC. Meanwhile Obrien can now negotiate in good faith for his future, free of his no-complete contact as of September 1st. there is more in the Hollywood Reporter, Variety and the Wrap.

January 21, 2010

It's official...Leno will return to the Tonight Show March 1st, and Conon Obrien will be unemployed but well compensated, as will his staff.  NBC's severance comes to $40 million dolllars, with just under $33 million going to Conon and him companey, and the remainder to his staff. He argued for their compensation since many of the staff relocated to Los Angeles from New York for the program. He has indicated he will offer them additional compensation from his portion of the funds.

Another "give" on the part of NBC, is that Conon may resume his television career in the fall. He will be offered opportunities with Comcast-NBC-Unviersal but is free to shop his talents to FOX, ABC, CBS or wherever he chooses to. 

He has also agreed not to disparage the network in any way for three years.

Jay Leno is under a binding contract with NBC, the full details of which are not publie. For that reason no agent or manager were involved in Leno's part of the move, but insiders report Leno will receive additional compensation for premature cancellation of his prime time show and the move back to the Tonight Show.

Remaining is the rebuilding of audience trust by NBC, since Conon's fans were not necessarily Leno's, and many mistakenly blame Leno for the "shating" of Conon Obrien.

There is also a strong argument that in the age of the Internet, DVR's, Tivo, X-Box and hundred channel distribution, traditional talk host interview shows may be losing their audience. The format, once limited to network, is used on many cable channels, including those claiming to be news, and is openly availale on demand on the Internet (now including cell phones and other devices. 

The New York Times asks, what happened to ettiquate, good manners, contract honor and respect for employees and the work force? This entire "mess" represents a shift from the fabric that held society together to todays disrespectul and even blood lusting sensativity and mentality.


Update:  January 15, 2010

According to The Wrap, NBC will pay $30 million to buy out Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show contract in order to make room for Jay Leno’s return to that time slot.

January 19, 2010 Update

"Conan O'Brien is close to signing a nearly $40 million deal to walk away from his dream job hosting NBC's "The Tonight Show," bringing down the curtain on one of the entertainment industry's biggest debacles in years. The comedian's exit agreement, which could be completed as early as Tuesday, bars Mr. O'Brien from bad-mouthing his former NBC bosses, according to people familiar with the matter, but paves the way for him to land another television gig within a year."

-Wall Street Journal

UPDATE January 14, 2010:  
The Washington Post is reporting that Jay Leno will return as the host of the "Tonight Show" saying he has no ego attached to a show with his name on it and that he, like Conon Obrien, believes in the history and tradition of the program in its 11:35 time slot. That is UNLESS Conon renigs on his stand and agrees to a move to midnight. Another possiblity is for both to co-host, perhaps expanding the program across both time slots. Obrien is said to be in negotiations for a buy out, with a possible move. Fox network and cable interests are said to be seeking the late night personality. Splash news, an entertainment blog, reports that Obrien may be gone as soon as next Monday


January 10, 2010 Leno back to late night, trio will remain but not happy in late night, more jobs for actors on horizon. 

This blog post first posted January 6, 2010 and updated since....