Big Plans for NBC News. Viacom pulls plug on free episodes of 'Daily Show,' 'Colbert' online.Viacom still off DirecTV, gets support from COX (including Las Vegas operations). Who's skipping Comic-Con.
Viacom is no longer offering free episodes of "The Daily Show" online. (Getty Images / July 11, 2012)
The move comes after satellite broadcaster DirecTV stopped carrying Viacom's cable channels Tuesday night. One of DirecTV's issues with Viacom is the amount of content the cable programmer puts online for free. DirecTV and other distributors fear that giving programs away online undermines the pay-TV business model.
Although Viacom did not announce a formal policy change, visitors to the Comedy Central website looking to watch "The Daily Show" or "The Colbert Report" were met with a message saying, "Full episodes are currently unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience."
DirecTV viewers are missing SpongeBob SquarePants' escapades on Viacom channels. (Nickelodeon / July 12, 2012)
The Skinny: I'm still waiting for my California tax refund. Anyone else out there still waiting? Wednesday's headlines include a look at who's skipping Comic-Con, the latest on the Viacom-DirecTV feud and the search for Bob Dylan's guitar.
Daily Dose: The longer the Viacom-DirecTV fight drags on (see below), the better it may be for some smaller channels. DirecTV has said Hub, the kids channel owned by Discovery and Hasbro, and PBS Sprout will be among the networks it will place in the channel that was occupied by Viacom's Nickelodeon.
We've got a situation. DirecTV subscribers are on Day 2 without Viacom's cable channels including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and VH1. The issues are not just about money. DirecTV is also upset at the level of content Viacom puts on the Web for free. While both sides are negotiating, viewers are griping about missing their favorite shows. We'll see how much griping they do after their bills go up when a deal is reached. Analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.
DirecTV subscribers are no longer getting Viacom channels including MTV, home to "Jersey Shore." (MTV)
Cox Communications Inc., the nation's fifth-largest cable operator with almost 5 million subscribers and a competitor to DirecTV, says the satellite broadcaster is right to fight Viacom's push to raise the price tag to carry its networks.
In a statement, Bob Wilson, a senior vice president of Cox Communications, said the fight is indicative of bigger market forces at work that need to be addressed.
“This is a reflection of an unbalanced multichannel video business model that has two major effects: continued significant increases in the cost of programming that are the main driver of rising cable and satellite TV service bills, and wide disparities between what large and small distributors pay for programming, resulting in similar disparities in what respective customers pay for service," Wilson said in a statement.
Often when a distributor is dueling with a programmer leading to channels being dropped, a rival distributor will try to use it as an opportunity to snag frustrated subscribers. Cox does not appear interested in going down that road.
Viacom's cable networks including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central have been off of DirecTV since Tuesday night. The two sides are trying to negotiate a new deal but are haggling over price.
Comcast is in negotiations to buy back the Microsoft portion of MSNBC. Public Radio International's Marketplace reports that it is logical, as NBC has three niche news operations to bring under one tent and MS has lost interests in cable or satellite TV, focusing instead on X-Box and direct to consumer games and programming. Plans are in the works for NBC to expand its on-air network news, to shore up CNBC Business and to shift MSNBC toward center as the flagship of a news organization that will do what CNN once did, report the news. Comcast is rumored to have plans a network of local sports and news operations, heavy use of Internet and new media delivery and to dominate the news market within five years.
Hollywood's movie studios are heading to Comic-Con with less spring in their step this year.
Stung by splashy presentations in the past that resulted in costly box-office duds like"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"and"Green Lantern,"the major studios will not arrive in full force in San Diego for the annual event that begins Thursday.
Although Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Bros. and Lionsgate are making presentations and trumpeting their wares for fans, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures are skipping the show this year.
With the absence of those three studios, footage from such movies as the Tom Cruise science-fiction epic "Oblivion," zombie film "World War Z" and superhero sequel "The Wolverine" that might naturally appeal to Comic-Con fans won't be seen by the estimated crowd of 130,000. Fox, Universal and Paramount appear to have concluded that it's not worthwhile to attend the show if they don't have clips, trailers or other materials ready that would sufficiently wow audiences. To continue reading the the Los Angeles Times click on More...
Why I should have been a lawyer. Here's a shocker. The lawyers for the plaintiffs in a class action suit against Ticketmaster for bogus processing fees are going to rake in the dollars while the actual folks who went after the ticketing giant will get ... some discount coupons. A hearing is scheduled in Los Angeles Superior Court, where a judge will hear the complaint of the lead plaintiffs about how much the lawyers got in the settlement with Ticketmaster. More from Variety.
Image from http://avengerswallpaper.net
It's hot in here. Every little kid wants to be a superhero. But it's not all glamor and girls. Those costumes can get mighty uncomfortable. The Captain America outfit that Chris Evans wore in "The Avengers" took him 45 minutes to get on. A look at the struggles of getting into character for Hollywood's superheroes from USA Today.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Everyone remembers when Bob Dylan went electric but what happened to the guitar he used may be a mystery.
Follow me on Twitter. I promise no Comic-Con tweets. Twitter.com/JBFlint