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Monday, June 11, 2012

Buffo Big Box Office Weekend. Harry Potter Studios now WB London. Networks to begin stream-content ratings for Web. The Morning Fix: Mad for 'Madagascar'! Funny or Die gets big buys. Life without Oprah.

From the LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for the latest industry news.
After the coffee. Before seeing if the Kings wrap this thing up already. 

The major broadcast networks will start streaming-content ratings for their shows on their websites. They already rate their shows on television so this is just an extension of that system. The ratings range from TV-G, which means the content is safe for all audiences, to TV-MA, for mature audiences only.

However, there will likely be no age-verification requirement for online viewers. Also, the TV ratings are meant to be used in conjunction with the so-called V-chip, a feature on most televisions that allow parents to block their kids from watching certain shows.

Computers don't come with a V-chip so much of this is just window dressing. Parents can block adult content, but most Web shows run without any ratings. For example, the popular and bloody Web series "Bite Me" from Machinima has no rating on it.

Although the Federal Communications Commission has no oversight over Internet content, the regulatory agency's chairman nonetheless praised the announcement, saying "I applaud the networks’ commitment to empower parents. With our rapidly changing media marketplace, it is vital parents have tools to help them make informed choices.”

"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.""Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" finished first at the box office. Credit: DreamWorks Animation. (DreamWorks Animation / June 11, 2012
Big weekend. "Madagascar 3" took the top spot at the box office last weekend, taking in $60.4 million. Coming in a strong second was "Prometheus," which made $50 million. The strong starts helped end a slump at the summer box office. Ticket sales were up almost 30% compared with the same weekend in 2011. Not everyone was cheering. Box office for "Snow White and the Huntsman" was down about 60% in the movie's second weekend. That's not a good sign. Box office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.

The Skinny: Why couldn't the Commerce Secretary rear-end my car? That'd be a good story to tell. Monday's headlines include the box office recap, a look at life without Oprah Winfrey and how Funny or Die is winning over some big advertisers.

Funny and buy. The comedy website Funny or Die is best known for its often biting parodies of popular culture. But the website is also becoming a master of what used to be known as product placement but is now considered "branded entertainment." Its most recent clip is a spot featuring quarterback Tom Brady arguing with a clerk over his accent (or lack thereof). Amusing but also a not so subtle plug for sports apparel company Under Armour. Other big advertisers who have participated in Funny or Die spoofs include General Motors and Kraft. More on how Funny or Die is laughing all the way to the bank from the Wall Street Journal.

Life after Winfrey. Oprah Winfrey isn't the only one having to readjust without her daily talk show. Many of the TV stations that had Winfrey's talk show and now don't have had to get used to smaller ratings. Of course, if you want to look at the glass from the half-full perspective, Winfrey's show was very expensive and even if ratings are down, some stations are likely making more money. A look at what Winfrey's exit from daytime TV meant to the business from the New York Times.

London calling. Warner Bros.' London-based Leavesden Studios is officially open for business. Best known for being where the "Harry Potter" movies were made, Warner Bros. put $150 million into Leavesden with hopes of eventually becoming home to more than 30% of production in Britain. More on Leavesden from Variety.

Pixar Park. Next week, Walt Disney Co. will unveil its revamped California Adventure Park in Anaheim. According to Reuters, Disney spent $1 billion overhauling the park and almost half of the rides are based on movies from Pixar. Check our Radiator Springs!

A screenshot of "Aion," an online multi-player game developed by NCsoft.

Nexon pays $687 million for nearly 15% of NCsoft

Nexon, a Japanese game company, has purchased a 14.7% stake in the Korean online game firm NCsoft for $687 million.

The strategic investment bonds two of Asia's largest companies operating in the online game market.
Nexon, whose U.S. offices are in El Segundo, publishes free online games that make money by selling virtual items used within the games. Last year, Nexon notched $342.4 million in profit from $1.1 billion in sales. To continue click More.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: "Clybourne Park" and "Once" cleaned up at the Tony Awards.
Follow me on Twitter. It's only going to get weirder out there.

From the LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for the latest industry news.

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