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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Do Not Forget to Review Older Posts

At the bottom of this column is a link to "Older posts". These may be the same day or very recent. Please take the time to review and comment on any post that interests you

-Art Lynch

Reason for Merger: The Media is merging and changing rapidly.

Amazon is now partnering with Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Pictures, and other divisions) for distribution of their product and production of original content.

Redbox and Verizon are forming a new company to compete with Amazon and Netflix.

Google/You Tube are producing original programming, setting up networks and continuing to grow in the distribution industry.

Netflix is launching original programming, expanding its product range and offering expanded distribution opportunities.

Apple will soon launch its full service streaming networks to go along with Apple TV and iTunes.

Sony has its own distributing system (mostly outside the US) along the lines of Amazon and Netflix.

Newscorp is taking FOX on-line and direct to sets taking full advantage of on-demand and mobile for launching new programming and supporting existing product on all of their networks.

Six corporations control 99% of all product produced and over 80% of distribution. They increasingly package and combine programs, films, revenue and marketing costs decreasing income for the creative people who produce the product that corporations now call "software."

Companies, such as Redbox and Verizon, are forming new joint companies, as others allow studios to "buy in" rather then take over entirely. The web is growing and part of the goal is to decrease the cost of labor...meaning talent.

Consider this SAG and AFTRA members as you get your ballots at the end of the month.

Amazon and Viacom (Paramount, MTV, Comedy Central and other divisions)Strike Content Deal, Compete with Netflix and Redbox/Verizon. Apple has yet to launch its updated service.

Dear Customers,

We just wrapped up another deal — this time bringing in content from MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, TV Land, and VH1 — to add 2,000 new titles to Prime Instant Video. Together with the existing movies and shows from CBS, Fox, Disney-ABC, PBS, NBC, Sony, and Warner Bros., we now offer, at no additional cost, unlimited instant streaming of more than 15,000 titles.

We’re adding something for the family with Nickelodeon favorites like Avatar: The Last Airbender, Dora the Explorer, iCarly, and Yo Gabba Gabba. We’re adding comedy with titles like Chappelle’s Show, The Sarah Silverman Program, Strangers with Candy, and Hot in Cleveland. And we’re adding reality TV with several past seasons of The Real World, Basketball Wives, and Jersey Shore.

With free two-day shipping on millions of items, free access to books in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, and instant streaming of thousands of Prime Instant Videos, Prime is an outstanding value and remains only $79 a year.

Watch Prime Instant Videos on your Kindle Fire, Mac, PC, or Roku and select TVs, set-top boxes, and blu-ray players.

Millions have already joined Amazon Prime...
unlimited streaming free two-day shipping free access to Kindle books Amazon Prime
If you’re already a Prime member, start watching now. If not, start your one-month free trial today.

Thank you for being a customer.

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO

P.S. You can also rent or buy more than 100,000 new release movies and day-after-broadcast TV shows instantly at our Amazon Instant Video Store, no Prime membership required.

'Rango' wins three, 'Apes,' 'Hugo,' 'Transformers 3' Win Two Categories Each at VES Awards

The Eyes Have It
Twentieth Century Fox

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, click here for full coverage and news.

Three Oscar contenders in the visual effects category -- Hugo, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Transformers: Dark of the Moon -- took home two awards each in live action feature categories at the 10th annual Visual Effects Society Awards, Tuesday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Rango, meanwhile, won the most trophies, earning four awards in the animated feature competitions.
Apes won the category of outstanding visual effects in a visual effects driven feature, topping a category that included Transformers 3, Captain America: The First Avenger, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Apes also won the animated character category for Caesar, the performance capture-based ape that was played by Andy Serkis.

PHOTOS: 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes': The Many Faces of Andy Serkis

Oscar contender Hugo was nominated in and won the competition for outstanding supporting visual effects, which is awarded where the work is intended to be more “invisible” rather than “visual effects driven.” It also was recognized in the virtual cinematography category.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon was honored for models and created environment.

In the previously nine years that the VES Awards were handed out, the winner of the category for outstanding visual effects in a visual effects driven feature has gone on to win the Oscar each year except twice. In 2005, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban won the VES Award and Spider-Man 2 claimed in the Oscar. And in 2008, The Golden Compass collected the Academy Award though the original Transformers earned the VES Award.

At this year’s VES Awards, Rango won four awards in animated feature categories including outstanding visual effects, animated character (Rango), created environment and virtual cinematography.

In television, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones each garnered a pair of awards. The VES Awards additionally recognized visual effects in commercials, special venues and video games.

Stan Lee received the Lifetime Achievement Award and visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull received the Georges Méliès Award.

Patton Oswalt hosted the ceremony.

The winners of the 10th annual VES Awards are:
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture
Rise of the Planet of the Apes:  Dan Lemmon, Joe Letteri, Cyndi Ochs, Kurt Williams

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
Hugo:  Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning, Rob Legato, Karen Murphy

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Rango:  Tim Alexander, Hal Hickel, Jacqui Lopez, Katie Lynch

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie, or Special
Inside the Human Body: Phil Dobree, Sophie Orde, Dan Upton

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series
Terra Nova – Occupation & Resistance:  Kevin Blank, Colin Brady, Adica Manis, Jason Zimmerman

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones - Winter is Coming: Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor, Angela Barson, Ed Bruce, Adam McInnes

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Live Action Commercial
Dior J'adore:  Pascal Giroux, Julien Meesters, Stephane Pivron, Manuel Souillac

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Commercial or Video Game Trailer
Diablo III: The Black Soulstone:  Nicholas S. Carpenter, Graham Cunningham, Chris Thunig, Taka Yasuda

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Transformers the Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle:  Lori Arnold, Yanick Dusseault, Delio Tramontozzi, Jeff White

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Caesar:  Daniel Barrett, Florian Fernandez, Matthew Muntean, Eric Reynolds

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Rango – Rango:  Frank Gravatt, Kevin Martel, Brian Paik, Steve Walton

Outstanding Animated Character in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Canal + The Bear:  Laurent Creusot, Guillaume Ho, Olivier Mitonneau, Michal Nauzin

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - 155 Wacker Drive:  Giles Hancock, John Hanson, Tom Martinek, Scott Younkin

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Rango - Main Street Dirt:  John Bell, Polly Ing, Martin Murphy, Russell Paul

Outstanding Created Environment in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Game of Thrones - The Icewall:  Markus Kuha, Dante Harbridge Robinson, Damien Mac, Fani Vassiadi

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Hugo:  Martin Chamney, Rob Legato, Adam Watkins, Fabio Zangla

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Rango – The Dirt Saloon:  Colin Benoit, Philippe Rebours, Nelson Sepulveda, Nick Walker

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Gears of War 3 - Dust to Dust:  Niles Heckman, Richard Morton, Vernon Wilbert Jr.

Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture
Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Driller:  Tim Brakensiek, Kelvin Chu, David Fogler, Rene Garcia

Outstanding Models in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Boardwalk Empire – Georgia Peaches:  Matthew Conner, Eran Dinur, David Reynolds, Szymon Weglarski

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture
Captain America: The First Avenger – Skinny Steve:  Casey Allen, Trent Claus, Brian Hajek, Cliff Welsh
Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Boardwalk Empire - Gimcrack & Bunkum:  Anton Dawson. Eran Dinur, Austin Meyers, David Reynolds

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project
a.maize:  Roman Kaelin, Falko Paeper, Florian Wittmann

'Bridesmaids' sets VOD record. Amazon starts escalation against Netflix and Verizon-Redbox. Recession may be over as theme park attendance grows once again. Fox News's owner still apolotizing for hacking.

Bridesmaids hoto: Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy and Wendi McClendon-Covey in "Bridesmaids." Credit: Suzanne Hanover / Universal Pictures.

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

'Bridesmaids' sets Video on Demand Record. Last year's hit "Bridesmaids" has followed up on its box office bonanza with a record-setting run on video-on-demand, where it has been ordered 4.8 million times and grossed more than $24 million.

Universal Pictures on Wedneday took the unusual step of disclosing data on one of its movie's online rental and sales in order to tout the success of the raunchy comedy co-written by and starring Kristen Wiig. The film sold $169.1 million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada last summer, making it the second most popular comedy of the year behind "The Hangover Part II."

But the movie was No. 1 online. In addition to beating previous video-on-demand rental records, "Bridesmaids" also proved popular as a digital purchase and traditional cable pay-per-view. In total, Universal said, the movie was rented or downloaded more than 7 million times across all those categories, with consumers spending more than $40 million to watch the picture.

On DVD and Blu-ray, "Bridesmaids" has generated more than $100 million in sales, a healthy figure as well.

The movie is nominated for two Academy Awards: best original screenplay for Wiig and Annie Mumolo and best supporting actress for Melissa McCarthy.
HarryPotterDeathly2Photo: A scene from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2." Credit: Warner Bros.
Time Warner Turnaround. Time Warner released its fourth-quarter results early Wednesday, reporting profit of $773 million, about even with the same quarter the year before. While ad sales and subscription fees were up at the media giant's cable unit (TNT, HBO, TBS, CNN), the company's box-office take dropped almost 40% with no Harry Potter movie in theaters in the latest period. An early peak at the numbers from Bloomberg.

Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes touted his company's digital initiatives for television and film while also promising to invest more in content in 2012 as the media conglomerate reported improved results for the final quarter of 2011, slightly beating analysts' estimates.

Revenue for the New York-based company was up 5% during the fourth quarter and 8% for the full year to $8.2 billion and $29 billion, respectively. Net income rose a fraction of a percent to $769 million for the quarter and $2.89 billion for the year.

In the company's networks business, which includes TNT, TBS and HBO, revenue grew 5% in the fourth quarter to $3.5 billion as both advertising and cable subscription fees increased. TV networks continued to be Time Warner's most profitable business, with operating income up 26% to $1.14 billion for the fourth quarter.

Movie studio Warner Bros. saw a 9% jump in revenue to $3.9 billion due in large part to the DVD launch of the final "Harry Potter" movie, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2" and the success of the video game Batman: Arkham City. The film unit's operating income was flat at $427 million.

Time Warner's challenged magazine publishing business revenue was flat at $3.7 billion, while operating income increased 21% to $207 million.

On a conference call with analysts Wednesday morning, Bewkes said Time Warner will continue to increase its investments in producing and buying content at both the TV and film divisions this year. The CEO also focused on digital initiatives that will be key to the conglomerate's future growth.

 Bewkes said that with the technological systems now in place behind TV Everywhere, which allows cable subscribers to watch channels they pay for on a variety of digital devices, more content and distribution is needed. "TV Everywhere needs to offer a robust amount of content for every network and needs to be on multiple devices, including [Internet] connected televisions," he said.

Bewkes noted the company's HBO Go has been very well received by customers but also acknowledged that business disputes have caused delays in getting it into all subscribers' hands. The on-demand service only became available to Time Warner Cable and Cablevision subscribers in late 2011. "There has been a little friction and not as much speed as we'd like in having consumers get HBO on every device," he conceded.

The CEO also praised the late 2011 launch of UltraViolet, a multi-studio initiative that lets DVD buyers also get a copy of a movie in the "cloud" that they can access on any device. Warner Bros. was the leader in pushing UltraViolet's public launch and also took flack for what some saw as a complex system compared to other digital movie options.

"It's certainly early but the consumer response we've seen so far reinforces how much pent-up demand there is for an easy way to manage and access movie collections," he said.

To further spur sales of UltraViolet movies directly through the Internet, and not in connection to a DVD, Bewkes said he would support making digital downloads available even before the discs go on sale. "A powerful thing would be to have [download sales] start earlier," he said. "We don't think it would cannibalize theatrical [revenue] and it can fit into our retail business."

Bewkes also praised Warner's decision to impose a 56-day delay on DVD rentals through Netflix and thus far unsuccessful effort to impose the same delay on Redbox. He said it has had a positive impact on the studio's DVD sales.

Time Warner also announced that it would increase its quarterly cash divided by 11% to $1.04 per share.

This Means War release is delayed
 Photo: A scene from "This Means War." Credit: 20th Century Fox 

Now what will I do on Valentine's Day? The Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy/action movie "This Means War" was supposed to open wide Tuesday -- Valentine's Day -- but now is being pushed to the weekend to further distance it from "The Vow," a weeper starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. I'm not sure the date change will help much. When I saw the TV spots for the 20th Century Fox movie I thought it was an ad for one of those cutesy "characters welcome" series on USA Network. More on the date change from the Hollywood Reporter.

So sorry. In what is becoming a common event, an editor of a News Corp.-owned newspaper has again apologized for a lapse in ethics. This time it is the editor of the Times of London telling a judge the paper misled him about email hacking done by a reporter at the paper. More from the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal.

The Daily Dose: The judge has told them to settle, but the odds seem long that the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and Dick Clark Productions will follow his advice and reach a peace accord in their legal battle over TV rights to the Golden Globes awards show. Early on in the trial, which wraps later this week, people close to the HFPA, owner of the Globes, said a deal was not in the offing. Although Dick Clark Productions, producer of the awards show, appears ready to play ball, the fractious HFPA, whose membership consists of about 80 journalists, may be too divided to restructure its relationship with the production company.

Can't we just get along? Testimony wrapped in the Globes trial Tuesday, with a former HFPA president testifying that there has been tension between the association and Dick Clark Productions for almost a decade. Details on the bench trial from the Los Angeles Times.

Here comes Amazon. Looks like Netflix is going to get even more competition. Reuters reports that Amazon is definitely moving forward with much-anticipated plans to launch a stand-alone streaming service and has a new agreement to get content from Viacom's Paramount Pictures and MTV Networks. Amazon has already been gobbling up content from other media companies.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Theme parks and cable networks drove Walt Disney Co. to report a 12% jump in profit for its first quarter. Theater geeks are loving "Smash."  It's time to give Diana Ross some Grammy love.

-- Joe Flint and others

Follow me on Twitter. Even when I'm not there, I'm there.

Results for U.S. Republican Presidential Primaries and Caucus'











Overall, Romney has 107 delegates, including endorsements from members of the Republican National Committee who automatically attend the party’s national convention and can support any candidate they choose. Santorum has 45 delegates, Newt Gingrich has 32 and Ron Paul has nine.

The race for delegates is still in the early stages. It will take 1,144 delegates to win the GOP nomination.