Time Warner has reached an agreement with YouTube that will allow clips of its movies and TV programming to appear on the video service. The content will range from Warner Bros. movies and cartoons to CNN news reports and other Turner Broadcasting content to syndicated television shows like The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The company already has a deal in place for HBO promotional content. In a statement, Time Warner said that the deal gives it the ability "to control and sell the ad time on YouTube." Chairman/CEO Jeff Bewkes said in the statement: "Working with YouTube, we expect to improve our ability to monetize this short-form content through new and creative advertising initiatives." The deal sharply contrasts with Viacom's position vis-à-vis the popular video site. The Time Warner rival is continuing to pursue a $1-billion copyright-infringement lawsuit against YouTube.
BLOCKBUSTER TO PROVIDE MOVIES TO MOTOROLA CELLPHONE USERS
Blockbuster plans to introduce an online video player that will function only on select Motorola cellphones that will give consumers access to its on-demand service. The movie-rental company said that owners of the handsets will be able to access "thousands" of movies -- but it did not indicate what the service will cost or whether new movies will be included. (Some producers have barred newly released DVDs from being made available via on-demand services.) Blockbuster said in a statement that it "eventually" plans to make its on-demand player available for use on numerous consumer-electronics devices and enable users to search its entire catalog and download available titles for rent or purchase, schedule movies for mail delivery or for in-store pickup or at one of its kiosks.
BRITISH THEATER CHAIN REPORTS 24.3-PERCENT GROWTH
The explosion of the overseas box office was brought home today (Thursday) when a major U.K. exhibitor, Cineworld Group, reported that its box-office receipts for the quarter that ended on June 30 were up 24.3 percent to $184 million, while admissions were up 18 percent to 24.3 million. The average ticket price rose 5.8 percent to $7.60, largely due to premium pricing for 3D fare. "This is a very good set of results which has been achieved despite an extremely challenging consumer environment," Cineworld CEO Stephen Wiener said in a statement. "Our investment in digital is already bearing fruit and, whilst it is still early days, the return on investment so far has been very encouraging. We are the clear market leaders in digital and 3D and believe further opportunities will arise from these exciting new formats going forward." The company noted that its results would likely have been greater still had it not been for the two-month strike by Bollywood producers over revenue sharing that ended in June. Cineworld described itself as the "U.K. market leader in showing Bollywood films" and said that its revenue from those films was down almost 60 percent versus last year.
OSHA INVESTIGATES DEATHS OF DISNEY EMPLOYEES
A federal investigation was launched Wednesday into three recent fatal accidents involving employees at the Walt Disney Co.'s Disney World theme park in Florida. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent investigators to the park following the death of a stunt performer, Anislav Varbanov, who suffered a broken neck while rehearsing a stunt for the theme park's "The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular." Only last week, another stuntman died while performing in "Captain Jack's Pirate Tutorial." On July 5th, the operator of a monorail train at the park was killed when another train collided with his. Performers at the park have sometimes complained that they are required to work in hot weather wearing heavy costumes five times a day, five days a week. Under Florida law, theme parks like Disney World are exempt from state government oversight and regulation, a situation that has given rise to several protest websites.