Well Hooray ... NBC/Universal's CEO "Gets It" Re: TV's Future
April 11, 2014
"We think that having broadcast be a 35-week season is an anachronism. We live in a completely different time now,"
-- NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke
A decade ago, I first ran this quote from Carly Fiorina, then Chairperson/ CEO of Hewlett-Packard, from her NAB Speech, April 2004: "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. "
I've run the quote several times over the same time period in various commentaries about the sad landscape that is deteriorating on the major broadcast networks. Ms. Fiorina's comment was a clarion wake-up call to all TV programmers, but little paid attention.
I talked in past commentaries about how the whole concept of summer reruns did nothing to garner any new audience, or retain existing audience for any network, because cable gave the viewing audience too many options during that same time. And of course, people being creatures of habit, they started watching more and more cable, and the major broadcast networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX) all watched as shows like HBO's 'The Sopranos,' 'Boardwalk Empire,' and now 'Game of Thrones,' and 'True Blood,' got network type ratings on occasion.
Now, the biggest drama on television isn't on any major network, it's 'The Walking Dead' on AMC. Now we have had DVRs, TiVo. Again, more evidence Ms. Fiorina was right.
One would have thought that network programming heads would have tried to fight cable and satellite's incursion into all those homes and come up with something that would engage the audience other than "America' Got Talent," reruns, and simply bad programs.
One would have thought as they saw they the growth of TiVo and DVRs incursion into all those homes and come up with something that would engage the audience other than "America' Got Talent," reruns, and simply bad programs.
Now, a decade later NBCU CEO Steve Burke says it's time for a 52-Week TV Season, and it's time for networks to abandon the traditional 35-week September-through-May TV season and to start programming year-round — and being judged by their year-round performance. Read the story at TheWrap
Yup, we absolutely "live in a different time now."
Too bad it took so long for somebody at some broadcast network to come out and admit it and hope the industry can make changes to retain audience.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
'WHY VINYL?' WATCH THIS 10-MINUTE YOUTUBE VIDEO
"Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don't have any surface noise. I said, 'Listen mate, LIFE has surface noise." - John Peel,
Watch this short documentary asking the simple question: Why Vinyl?
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
FROM CNET 'SPOTIFY FINALLY GETS COLLECTIONS'
Last week, Spotify unveiled a new design with a ninja-black color scheme.
But in a truly stealthy move, the update was actually one of the most significant content upgrades in the company's history. Why? The company finally released its long-promised "collections" feature, which lets users save albums and browse music by their covers.
Called "Your Music," the feature also lets you order by artist and individual songs, which means no more navigating laundry lists of unwieldy playlists. Check out some of the other changes here. READ MORE
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
'AMERICAN IDOL'S DECLINE
If you have watched any of this season's 'American Idol,' you might have found yourself looking for a can of Red Bull, a cup of black coffee, or anything to keep you awake.
Every show lucky enough to last 13 seasons hits highs and lows — but few shows climb as high as "American Idol," so few shows slide as far.
The show hit an all-times ratings low last Thursday of 1.7 in the key 18-49 demographic, less than a sixth the show's average rating peak.
A look back at the rise -- and fall -- of a television phenomenon. The story at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
READ THIS CNET REVIEW OF HBO'S 'SILICON VALLEY'
The premiere of HBO's most anticipated series offered naivete, brutality, hope and despair. It's 'At play in the fields of the techies.'
No, we're not talking about "Game Of Thrones." We're talking about Mike Judge's "Silicon Valley."
It was terrific in my opinion, and it spared no one ... not even some of Silicon Valley's most beloved names. And, wow ... how about that nasty comment about Radiohead? Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
* Nils Lofgren on Springsteen, Lou Reed Collabs
* Led Zeppelin Preview Unreleased Live Tracks
* Gregg Allman Scorches 'Midnight Rider'
* Billy Joel Set for 'Town Hall' Q&A With Howard Stern
* ACM Awards 2014: Full Winners List
* The 10 Most Controversial Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Moments
* Paul Stanley Calls Kiss the Rock Hall's 'Worst Nightmare' (Video Q&A)
* Joan Jett + Nirvana: Five Reasons Why She's a Good Pick for Rock Hall of Fame
* Music Photos of the Week
* Lady Gaga Closes Down Roseland Ballroom With NYC Venue's Final Show
* 28 Amazing Old Photos From The Roseland Ballroom's 95-Year History
* 20 Acts Still Not in Rock Hall of Fame
* 10 Rules to Live By for the Independent Artist – Part 2
* Justin Timberlake's 20/20 World Tour to Make North American Return
* Five Myths About Songwriting Success
* You Can Now Buy Elvis Presley's Honeymoon Estate
* 11 Brilliant Clues Hidden in Famous Movies and TV Shows
* Google Chromecast vs. Roku Streaming Stick (video)
* The tablets to look out for this spring (pictures)
* V-Moda XS on-ear headphones
* Amazon Fire TV not DIY-friendly, teardown reveals
* High five: Samsung's best phone gets better
* How to protect yourself from the 'Heartbleed' bug
Short News Items ...
Nirvana were the sum of decades of groundbreaking music: early Beatles, Seventies punk, '80s alternative. Here are 15 tributes from artists as diverse as John Fogerty and Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, who says, "I was so in love with the music that it made me feel sick." Read More
'GAME OF THRONES' RULES:
HBO's "Game of Thrones" came roaring back with its Season 4 premiere, grabbing 6.6 million total viewers — a handy victory over last year's Season 3 premiere, and the network's most-watched program since 2007's series finale of "The Sopranos." Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming, announced that he has renewed GAME OF THRONES for a fifth and sixth season.
CRAZY IS AS CRAZY DOES:
Canadian dentist Dr. Michael Zuk has previously said that he wants to clone John Lennon from a molar he bought at auction by figuring out how to "fully sequence" Lennon's DNA. Now he claims he has a plan on how to rear the bogus Beatle, according to NME.
R&R HALL OF FAME REUNIONS:
Unless there's a minor miracle, the original members of Kiss will not perform at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction Thursday. But the Hall has a history of getting feuding bands to reunite for one quick performance, from Cream to the Police. Read More
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers will be the first artist to headline Outside Lands twice when the festival returns to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco this summer. The festival, taking place August 8th-10th, also boasts headlining performances from Kanye West, the Killers, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, the Arctic Monkeys and Tiësto. Tickets went on sale on Thursday, April 10th at 10 a.m. on the Outside Lands website.
AND WHO'S NEXT FOR R&R HALL?
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock & roll, and even longer if you hope to make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This year Nirvana joins the acts inducted in their first year of eligibility. The list of artists soon to be eligible includes Pearl Jam, Biggie and Oasis. Read More
MACCA BACK IN THE U.S.A.:
Paul McCartney is getting back 'Out There' and the first U.S. shows of 2014 confirmed: June 19th: New Orleans, LA - The Smoothie King Center; June 26th: Louisville, KY - Yum! Center; July 5th: Albany, NY - Times Union Center; July 7th: Pittsburgh, PA - Consol Energy Center
For the 15th time, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is set to light up the desert. From Lorde and Pharrell to garage rocker Ty Segall and New Orleans horn man Trombone Shorty, here are 20 acts well worth your investment in sunscreen. Read More
QELLO ON ROKU:
Hypebot reports that Concert streamer Qello launched on the Roku streaming platform today. Qello Concerts provide a massive collection of full-length HD concert films and music documentaries on demand including The Rolling Stones' "Live at the Max" and Lady Gaga's "The Monster Ball Tour: Live at Madison Square Garden," as part of an All-Access Pass subscription for $4.99 every month. Read More
COLBERT TO REPLACE DAVE:
CBS has named Stephen Colbert as new host of the "Late Show," effective when David Letterman retires. "Stephen has always been a real friend to me," Letterman said in a statement. "I'm very excited for him, and I'm flattered that CBS chose him. I also happen to know they wanted another guy with glasses."
THE BOSS JUMPS:
Bruce Springsteen crowned the Final Four champion in Dallas, closing out the March Madness Music Festival with a set that went into triple overtime. The show kicked off with a cover of Van Halen's "Jump." Read More
Mickey Rooney, the pint-sized actor who was one of MGM's giant box office attractions in the late '30s and early '40s, died on Sunday at his home in North Hollywood. He was 93. As adept at comedy as drama and an excellent singer and dancer, Rooney was regarded as the consummate entertainer. During a prolific career on stage and screen that spanned eight decades ("I've been working all my life, but it seems longer," he once said), he was nominated for four Academy Awards and received two special Oscars, the Juvenile Award in 1939 (shared with Deanna Durbin) and one in 1983 for his body of work. He also appeared on series and TV and in made for television movies, one of which, "Bill," the touching story of a mentally challenged man, won him an Emmy. He was Emmy nominated three other times. And for "Sugar Babies," a musical revue in which he starred with Ann Miller, he was nominated for a Tony in 1980.
Entertainment industry business manager/CPA Gary Haber died on Monday at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. He was 68. The Haber Corporation was established in Encino, Calif. in 1977. Haber would later open a branch in Nashville, Tenn. in 1990, where he spent a good deal of time. The two offices combined employ more than 80 people. The company expanded again in 2000 to better respond to the global market by joining forces with Mark Robertson to open Loire Valley-based Haber & Robertson International, LLC. Haber served on the boards of directors for Alliance of Artists Recording Companies (AARC); the Academy of Country Music (ACM) and ACM Lifting Lives, where he was also a past president; the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, where he was also CFO; and the TJ Martell Foundation (West Coast)
Peaches Geldof, daughter of musician Bob Geldof and Paula Yates, died on Monday, the BBC reports. She was 25. According to the BBC, police arrived at an address near Wrotham, Kent, in response to a report on Monday afternoon. The Kent police department classified the death "unexplained and sudden."
Standup comedian John Pinette -- best known for his role as the guy who got mugged in the "Seinfeld" finale, was found dead in his Pittsburgh hotel room Saturday. According to reports the medical examiner did not perform an autopsy because Pinette's personal physician said the actor had been suffering from liver and heart disease. He was 50.
Quotes of the week
"We believe that genre is no longer viable. There are just too many outlets with not enough big gets for a pure talk show to thrive any longer. And just because CNN has always done a talk show at 9, it doesn't mean that's what we should be doing there going forward."
-- CNN'S network president, Jeff Zucker, at CNN's first upfront presentation to advertisers. (Yup, there are far too many talk shows Jeff. The worst of them all was Piers Morgan)
"We're an old fashioned rock band. You know what? We're still f***ing together, we still have the passion, and we still fight and we still make up and it's still alive. It's still rock & roll."
-- Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler in Rolling Stone, talking about the announcement for a new Aerosmith world tour, which begins May 14th in Istanbul, Turkey. Slash and his band the Conspirators (with singer Myles Kennedy) will be Aerosmith's support act on the North American Let Rock Rule Tour beginning July 10th in New York.
"Paul is not only the nicest person in the world and he's not only a Beatle, but he is an incredible musician. Sometimes you forget that he can be the most badass bass player you've ever seen in your entire life. He just wants to jam."
-- Dave Grohl, talking about Paul McCartney on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show this week
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Top Of Mt. Everest Pulling Away Majority Of Hollywood Films With Generous Tax Credit Program
KHUMBU, NEPAL—On the strength of the location's generous tax credits, cash rebates on production costs, and fee-free onsite filming, more than half of major Hollywood motion pictures are now being shot at the summit of Mount Everest, the weekly trade magazine Variety reported Friday.
"Originally we'd planned to shoot our new Josh Duhamel rom-com in Toronto, but when we considered the financial package offered by [Everest's] Advanced Base Camp, we realized we could film the whole thing there at 60%of the cost. Assuming the cast and crew survive the ascent up the Khumbu Icefall, how do you say no to that kind of deal?" said Sony Pictures executive Evan Green. Read the rest and laugh
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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"And the beat goes on, the beat goes on ... drums keep poundin' rhythm to the brain."
"Work is life, you know, and without it, there's nothing but fear and insecurity." -- John Lennon