TV OR NOT TV? THAT IS NO LONGER THE QUESTION ... THE END OF TV AS WE KNOW IT IS NEAR
April 12, 2013
"The ruling underscores the U.S. Supreme Court's Betamax decision, with the court confirming a consumer's right to enjoy television as they want, when they want, including the reasonable right to skip commercials if they so choose."
-- R.Stanton Dodge, General counsel for the DISH Network, last November, when a judge denied Fox's request to stop DISH's "Hopper"
"In the digital era, the future is one in which consumers watch or listen to what they want to watch, when they want, at any time they want, on any device. This is a generation that will not wait for content to be delivered to them at a prescribed time." -- Carly Fiorina, then Chairman/CEO of Hewlett-Packard in her NAB keynote speech back in April 2004
Perhaps if more network TV execs had been listening to Ms. Fiorina's words when she spoke them nine years ago, all the scrambling going on in their offices for answers on how to win back viewers wouldn't be happening.
The first quote above comes from an article in The Hollywood Reporter titled 'Dish Network's Charlie Ergen Is the Most Hated Man in Hollywood ' and it is indeed a good read. Not just because it brings to the front the issue of "The Hopper," but because it talks about the power struggles between satellite and cable companies in structuring new deals for the future.
And as I write this, now this news: Merging with its rival DirecTV is one possible move for Dish, whose newly deep pockets feature "a record $10 billion in cash ... the most money among U.S. television and phone providers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg," writes Brooke Sutherland. This post offers plenty of speculation from analysts on what Dish CEO Charlie Ergen's shopping cart will look like. Ergen is "clearly getting ready for something," says one analyst. "Having that cash opens a lot of options."
And this: Two takes on cord-cutting, and both from the New York Times.
Jenna Wortham discusses how video subscription services are handling the current trend of sharing password information, which "appears increasingly prevalent among Web-savvy people who don't own televisions or subscribe to cable." Most subscription services don't allow more than one account holder to watch at one time, but they should wise up and allow family plans, for example, so "entertainment companies' business models evolve in tandem with users' habits," writes Wortham.
Vikas Bajaj explains how he was able to survive without cable or satellite TV for several months by using Netflix, Amazon Prime, and itTunes, though he knows he'll "want ESPN during college football season and you can't get that on Netflix. And it's still hard for online video services to beat cable's selection of current shows and movies. But what happens to cable when technology and non-cable media companies close these gaps?" he writes.
"It appears that cable TV may be in the early stages of a transition that began in the telephone business more than a decade ago when Americans started giving up their land lines and began relying mostly on cellphones. That change took time to gather momentum but then became unstoppable."
Then in Media Life there's a story about Internet use catching up to TV watching, with respondents to a recent Temkin Group study noting that "they spend an average 3.9 hours per day watching television, compared to 3.8 house per day going online on the computer outside of work," writes Toni Fitzgerald.
"Both numbers are the same as last year, but they represent a stark change from just a few years ago, when TV time doubled the amount of time people used the computer."
All of these signs point in one direction and (again) echo what Ms. Fiorina said almost a decade ago. It's the end of the world as the TV network execs know it, but we (the audience) all feel fine.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
SPOTIFY'S DANIEL EK ON THE FUTURE OF MUSIC
Your home's tunes controlled by a wave of the hand or a voice command? It could happen, and the big-thinking Swede believes his music service could be the soundtrack to that very plugged-in vision. Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
CAN APPLE'S iRADIO BE BETTER THAN PANDORA?
For labels, Apple's iRadio deal could be sweeter than Pandora. Apple is close to a deal with two major music labels to bring to life its streaming music service, which could pay labels better than Pandora does.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
A GREAT SEGMENT THAT AIRED ON NBC'S '30 ROCK' ABOUT THE BIGGEST HOAX SUPERGROUP EVER
I saw this segment on '30 Rock' last week, and if you missed it, you can watch it all on Rolling Stone.
What's it all about? "Back in 1969, there would have been no bigger supergroup than one that included John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, and Bob Dylan. So Greil Marcus created it. The former Rolling Stone reviews editor wrote a review of an album by the Masked Marauders, a supposedly secret collaboration among the Beatles, Stones and Dylan that Rolling Stone hyped as the "record of the year."
It was all nothing but a big joke. Read about it and watch the segment and see how a great review created a demand for the record at retail.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
PANDORA NOW HAS 200 MILLION USERS
Pandora on Tuesday announced hitting the 200 million user mark in the U.S. Launched in the summer of 2005, the online radio service reached 100 million registered users in July 2011, adding the next 100 million in less than two years.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
APPLE HAS THE TEENS, WHICH MEANS OF COURSE THEY HAVE THEM AS THEY AGE
Despite the best efforts of Samsung and other rivals, Apple remains the most desired smartphone brand among American teens, Fortune reports, citing Piper Jaffray's latest teen survey.
Overall, a full 91% of respondents said they plan to buy a smartphone for their next high-tech device. Within that group, 59% said they are likely to buy an iOS device, while 21% say they are likely to buy an Android device.
Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
3-D MOVIE ADMISSIONS DECLINE FOR FIRST TIME IN 5 YEARS
Movie theater owners fretting about the box-office slide and 3D companies looking to push those colored glasses are not going to like a new report from Fitch Ratings on the state of the exhibition industry.
Admissions will likely fall in 2013, and viewers are growing pickier about paying that 3D upcharge. Full story at TheWrap.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
THE 'DARK" GOOGLE?
CNNMoney.com calls Shodan "the scariest search engine on the Internet." Why? "Unlike Google, which crawls the Web looking for websites, Shodan navigates the Internet's back channels," it writes. "It's a kind of 'dark' Google, looking for the servers, webcams, printers, routers and all the other stuff that is connected to and makes up the Internet." Who uses such a service? Mostly penetration testers, security professionals, academic researchers and law enforcement agencies, thought cyber-criminals are thought to frequent Shodan, too.
Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
UH, IT'S ABOUT THOSE PC SALES ... OR LACK OF THEM
Reshaping the collective digital experience, consumers are rapidly losing interest in the PC. In fact, "Worldwide shipments of laptops and desktops fell 14% in the first quarter from a year earlier," The Wall Street Journal reports, citing new data from research firm IDC. "That is the sharpest drop since IDC began tracking this data in 1994 and marks the fourth straight quarter of declines."
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* AllThingsD reports that Apple has posted significant gains in both Smartphone hardware and operating system market share for the three-month period ending in February. The iPhone was the top selling Smartphone in the U.S., with a 38.9% market share -- up 3.9 percentage points from the November quarter. read more
* Apple's next iPhone will be available in two or three different screen sizes and launch in July, says an analyst with Topeka Capital Markets. iPhone 5S to offer multiple screen sizes, analyst says
* Monoprice's Noise Canceling Headphones are about 70% as good as the Bose QC15s for a little more than a third of the price. Read more
* How many iPhones were sold last quarter? Analysts chime in ... The median number weighs in at 37 million, according to a group of analysts polled by Fortune.
Short News Items ...
New dates continue to roll out for Paul McCartney's summer tour. Already confirmed for shows including Bonnaroo and Boston's Fenway Park, the once-and-forever Beatle has announced stops in Tulsa on May 29th and Washington D.C. on July 12th.
The late Nora Ephron is getting the documentary treatment at HBO. Ephron's son, journalist Jacob Bernstein, is developing what is being billed as an intimate portrait of his mother, the acclaimed writer/director known for such films as 'When Harry Met Sally,' 'Sleepless in Seattle' and 'You've Got Mail.'
THAT VOICE BROUGHT IN BIG BUCKS:
Casey Kasem of the 'American Top 40' fame has listed his home in West Los Angeles, California, with an asking price of $42 million. He had purchased the home for his wife, Jean Kasem, as a gift in 1989.
NEW MAC ON THE WAY:
Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham told a Philadelphia audience the band will release an EP of new material "in a few days. It's the best stuff we've done in a long time," said the guitarist.
Mick Fleetwood has filed for legal separation from his wife, Lynn Frankel Fleetwood, in Los Angeles, The Associated Press reports. The two married in July 1995.
MADE IN AMERICA:
Beyoncé, Nine Inch Nails, Deadmau5 and Phoenix are set to headline the second edition of Budweiser's Made in America Festival in Philadelphia. The lineup for the Jay-Z-curated fest, to be held on the city's Benjamin Franklin Parkway from August 31st to September 1st, also includes Queens of the Stone Age, Calvin Harris, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, A$AP Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, the Gaslight Anthem, Public Enemy and Solange.
Gregg Allman has sold the rights to his memoir, "My Cross to Bear," for a biopic by the filmmakers behind the forthcoming rock & roll movie CBGB.
Beck, the Avett Brothers and Feist are set to headline this year's Newport Folk Festival. The lineup also includes the Lumineers, Jim James, Old Crow Medicine Show, Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, Amanda Palmer, the Mountain Goats, Father John Misty, Phosphorescent and many more.
AN EAGLE COMES BACK:
According to guitarist Joe Walsh, former Eagles guitarist and co-founder Bernie Leadon will join the group on their upcoming History of the Eagles tour.
KID ROCK TO KEEP TICKET PRICES LOW:
Kid Rock will hit the road this summer with a special bargain for fans: tickets in all sections will cost only $20. The rocker will start off June 28th at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, and will travel across the country before wrapping up September 15th at Live Nation Amphitheatre in Tampa, Florida.
Justin Bieber, 19, leads the top 10 Twitter accounts for fake fans with around 45% of his following believed to be completely phony. This means Justin actually has around 17.8 million followers compared to Gaga's 19 million. Fake followers are determined as those who follow less than 50 and have less than one follower, have never tweeted or use Twitter to promote spam and use words including 'diet', 'make money' and 'work from home'. (Source)
ACM's WIN BIG:
With 15.38 million viewers tuning in, the Academy of Country Music Awards posted its highest ratings since 1998, CBS announced. This year's show was watched by 2.29 million more viewers than the 2012 edition.
Miranda Lambert took home the most trophies, but Luke Bryan pulled the biggest upset last night when he won Entertainer of the Year at the 48th annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. The moment proved a coronation of sorts for Bryan as the "Tailgates and Tanlines" singer beat out Lambert, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean and two-time Entertainer of the Year winner Taylor Swift, who went home empty-handed.
EDC HOPS ACROSS THE POND:
Electric Daisy Carnival is coming to London for the first time this summer to take over Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, one of the central venues for last year's Summer Olympics. EDC London will take place July 20th
SORRY EVA, BUT ENOUGH OF THESE SHOWS:
Eva Longoria's new reality series 'Ready for Love' premiered the following hour to a 1.6/4 and drew only 3.8 million total viewers.
THAT WAS QUICK:
Julie Taymor has reached a settlement in her ongoing lawsuit against the producers of the Broadway musical 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,' the parties said Wednesday. They did not release details of the settlement, but said that the agreement resolves all of the director's pending litigation.
Kenny Rogers, Cowboy Jack Clement and Bobby Bare were introduced as this year's Country Music Hall of Fame inductees at an emotional ceremony the Country Music Association held this week in Nashville.
Annette Funicello, one of the best-known members of the original 1950s "Mickey Mouse Club" and a star of numerous 1960s "beach party" films, died Monday at a California hospital of complications from multiple sclerosis, the Walt Disney Co. said. She was 70.
Andy Johns, the producer and recording engineer who worked on landmark albums by the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, died after a brief stay in the hospital. He was 61. No cause of death was available, but hard-rock guitarist Stacy Blades told Billboard he had been working with Johns until the producer went to the hospital last week with an unspecified liver ailment.
Tim Carr, whose career included signing the Beastie Boys to a key record contract, was found dead Wednesday in his rented apartment in Pattaya, Thailand. Carr, 57, had been in Thailand working on a movie about a rock band. Carr became a talent executive at record labels (Capitol, Warners, DreamWorks) in New York and Los Angeles, signing the Beastie Boys to Capitol where they recorded their landmark "Paul's Boutique" in 1989.
Quotes of the week
"We steal from everybody. Amateurs copy and pros steal, and we're professionals. We make no bones about the fact that we took from the people that came before us."
-- Aerosmith's Joe Perry, talking about his songwriting with Steven Tyler in Rolling Stone
"I would take a pay cut to play with AC/DC. It's one of my last things to do, go on tour with them. I don't really care about the money, and I don't care about some great review. It's more about the fans – it's always been about them."
-- Steven Tyler in Rolling Stone
"We're all so overpaid. It's ridiculous. People stopped going to concerts because they can't afford them. The Rolling Stones are charging $650 per ticket! That just makes me speechless. I love the Stones, but I won't be attending."
-- Kid Rock, in Rolling Stone, talking about his offering tickets on his new concert tour for just $20
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Local Band Expects Things To Take Off Following Glowing Write-Up In soundandfury.wordpress.com
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
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