Beasty Boys Founder dead at 47 of cancer. Adam Yauch, one-third of the pioneering hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, has died at the age of 47, Rolling Stone reports. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
The Skinny: Is it too late to get tickets for a Saturday matinee of "The Avengers"? Get my assistant on that. Friday's headlines include a look at the weekend box office, a peak at pilot buzz at the networks and yet another story about the woes of Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications' OWN.
From the LA Times Company Town blog. Click here for the latest industry news.
All around the world. "The Avengers" opens Friday in the United States but it's already a blockbuster thanks to the $250 million the movie has raked in overseas. Here, it is expected to take in about $150 million this weekend. The record opening for a movie in North America is the $169.2 million for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2." Box office preview from the Los Angeles Times.
Take that! Samuel Jackson, star of "The Avengers," took to Twitter to bash New York Times critic A.O. Scott, who didn't give a totally glowing review of the blockbuster. "Avengers fans, NY Times critic AO Scott needs a new job! Let's help him find one! One he can ACTUALLY do!" Jackson tweeted. Hope Jackson at least tweeted a thanks to the paper for the glowing profile it ran of the actor in its Sunday magazine earlier this week. More on Jackson's tweet and the reaction from The Wrap.
It's not a pretty picture. The number of daily players for DrawSomething, a game developed by OMGPOP, has plunged 30% in the last 30 days on Facebook. The count has dropped to just over 10 million on Thursday from a little more than 14.5 million daily players at the beginning of April, according to AppData.
This likely is not welcome news for Zynga Inc., which paid $180 million, plus an additional $30 million if certain milestones are reached, for OMGPOP in March. The high price comes largely on the strength of DrawSomething, though OMGPOP has created more than 30 other games, none of which have drawn as many players.
Zynga declined to comment on the decline.
Stock analysts have expressed reservations about OMGPOP's ability to deliver on its princely acquisition price. "Zynga must improve monetization and retain gamers as the initial 'buzz' of the game wears off over the coming months in order to justify the ... price tag," Doug Creutz, an analyst with Cowen & Co., wrote in a note to investors in April.
Though traffic is not a perfect indicator of how much money a game is generating, a decline in players does mean that the pool of potential customers is shrinking. As a result, Wall Street investors like to keep close tabs on the "daily active users" charted above.
But the chart shows only part of the picture for DrawSomething, specifically the Facebook part. It does not count the game's performance on mobile devices, where DrawSomething is equally if not more popular.
Daily Dose: It was three years ago Saturday that the first "After the coffee" appeared in this space. While the Morning Fix's actual anniversary is a few weeks earlier (exact dates are hard to find in the archives), it was the "After the coffee" phrase that was the start of the column finding a voice. So to see how far this space has come, take a look back at the May 5, 2009 column. It looks pretty primitive.
Let the buzz begin. With just over a week until the broadcast networks unveil their new schedules to advertisers at the upfront presentations, executives are all locked away in pilot screenings deciding what new sitcoms and dramas will make the cut. Once that work is done, the schedulers jump in and try to figure out what show will go where. Then, in a final act of madness, the networks will premiere most of these shows in a two-week period in the fall and wonder why so many flopped. A look at how pilot season is wrapping up from Variety, Hollywood Reporter and Deadline Hollywood.
Focus on your strengths. Cablevision Systems Corp. said it wants to exit the movie theater business.
The Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable company said it plans to sell its Clearview Cinemas circuit, which has 230 screens in 45 locations, to concentrate on its core business.
"We think someone else could do better with that asset than we could,'' Chief Financial Officer Gregg Seibert said on a conference call with analysts Thursday. "Hopefully it will be a robust process."
The announcement came as Cablevision reported a sharp drop in earnings during the first quarter, when net income fell to $54 million compared to $104 million from the same time a year ago. Revenue was $1.7 billion, about the same as the first quarter of 2011.
The results reflected the sale of AMC Networks last year and an increase in spending to upgrade its network.
While Cablevision added more subscribers than expected -- 7,000 basic video subscribers -- shares in the company fell by more than 8% during early trading Thursday after results were reported.
Finding that special look. With period pieces on the rise in television, it is creating a lot of challenges for the wardrobe folks who have to come up with authentic yet still stylish outfits for actors. The Wall Street Journal looks at the lengths wardrobe people will go to find that look that just screams 1864!
Still not tired of reading about OWN? Business Week weighs in with its piece on the bumpy road Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications have been on with the cable network OWN, which has struggled to find an audience.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."
Pew Study shows teens v-chatting, sharing videos and texting more than phone or other communication.That stereotypical image of the American teenager glued to the phone needs an update.
A new study from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that 37% of Internet users ages 12 to 17 participate in video chats using such applications as Skype, Googletalk or iChat -- and girls are more likely to engage in v-chats than boys.
"As more and more devices in our lives have video capabilities -- as laptops and computers come with built-in video cameras, and many smart phones have cameras that allow for video chatting, for taking videos -- teens are taking advantage of that," said Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist with Pew Research Center.
Lenhart said teens enjoy socializing with friends and family -- and video adds another dimension to these interactions. Teens whose families earned $75,000 or more annually were more likely to use video chat, as were those who frequently send text messages, use the Internet and access social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the study found.
More than one in four Internet users in this age group records and uploads video to the Web, according to the study. Unlike six years ago, females are just as likely to share videos as males.
The study also revealed something parents might find surprising: 13% of Internet-using teens stream video live for other people to watch online.
"We don't know anything about the content of what's being served," Lenhart said. "It's important not to necessarily go straight to the negative. ... It could be live-streaming an event, or a video blogger live-blogging your experience."
The findings were culled from a survey of 799 teens conducted between April 19 and July 14, 2011, in which the subjects were queried about a number of online behaviors.
-- Joe Flint and others
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