ALL NETWORKS, ALL SHOWS -- IN YOUR POCKET

In a development that could revolutionize the way in which entertainment content is distributed to consumers, IBM unveiled today (Friday) breakthroughs in the field of nanotechnology that will eventually permit more than a trillion bits of data to be stored on a device no larger than the size of an iPod. The work, published in the journal Science, IBM scientists described progress in studying a "magnetic anisotropy" in atoms -- the ability of a single atom to store information. The work of the IBM researchers could eventually be incorporated into developing memory devices on a molecular scale that could store 30,000 feature films or the entire contents of YouTube on a tiny device.

NBC WANTS TO SING A DIFFERENT (I)TUNE(S)

Unhappy with the amount of revenue it receives by selling its TV shows through Apple's iTunes Music Store, NBC has decided not to renew its contract with Apple at the end of the year and to offer the programs via its own website instead, the New York Times reported today (Friday). NBC is the leading supplier of downloadable video on Apple's online store. In effect, the network wants to be able to determine how its programs should be priced and whether they should be offered as separate episodes or bundled -- possibly with movies from its corporate sibling, Universal Pictures. The NBC announcement comes just a day after the network said that it would begin testing a video download site called Hulu that it will operate jointly with Fox.

WHO'S INFRINGING WHOM?

Viacom has demanded that YouTube remove a video that it claims to own even though it may itself have infringed on the original copyright. The video was originally posted online by Christopher Knight, a former candidate for a seat on the Rockingham County, NC board of education. In it he poses as a kind of Star Wars warrior vowing to protect local education from the federal bureaucracy. Soon afterwards, the video appeared on YouTube and then on VH1's Web Junk 2.0 -- without permission from Knight. Nevertheless, Knight said that when the clip appeared, he was "delighted" to be recognized by the cable channel and made a copy of the segment and posted it onto YouTube. He soon received a message from YouTube saying that Viacom had demanded that the clip be withdrawn and that if Knight continued to violate copyrights, his account would be shut off. In an interview with the U.K. tech site The Register, Knight said, "Viacom says that I can't use their clip showing my commercial, claiming copy infringement? ... As we say in the South, that's ass-backwards."

EQUAL TIME NOT EQUAL FOR BROADCAST AND CABLE

Although NBC has said that it will stop airing all Law & Order episodes featuring Fred Thompson following the actor's announcement Thursday that he will officially declare his intention to run for president next week, TNT, the cable channel running reruns of the series, said it will not follow suit. Several news reports suggested that TNT may be defying FCC's "equal time" regulation by airing the Thompson episodes. Broadcasting & Cable, for example, said that although the regulation -- Section 315 -- "has not previously applied to cable systems, some cable networks have reportedly taken steps to avoid triggering the rule and setting a precedent." Writing about the Law & Order programs featuring Thompson, former FCC Chairman Nicholas Johnson said on his blog recently that the rule, as it might affect cable networks, is ambiguous and that Congress ought either to redefine "appearance" to exclude entertain meant programs or that the FCC specifically apply the "equal time" standard to cable.

WRESTLING GROUP SAYS IT'S CRACKING DOWN ON STEROIDS

While some may wonder how steroids provide any special advantage in contests where the outcome is generally thought to be scripted, the WWE on Thursday announced that it had suspended ten wrestlers for flunking steroids tests. They were not identified. The WWE says that about 160 wrestlers are listed on its payroll. A spokesman for the wrestling group said Thursday, "We are very actively working to eradicate the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs."

REUTERS DROPPED BY CNN

In yet another cost-cutting maneuver, CNN disclosed that it is dropping the Reuter News Agency as an information provider, effective today (Friday). The cable news network said that it was doing so to help "manage the continually rising costs associated with acquired assets." CNN indicated that it plans to use the savings to bolster its own news-gathering facilities.

CBS CLAIMS ADVERTISERS LIKE KID NATION

Apparently hoping to counter a raft of negative publicity concerning its reality show Kid Nation, CBS has begun showing a pilot episode to advertisers. The series is set to debut on Sept. 19, but the network has been hit with demands from child-welfare groups that it be canceled. A CBS spokesperson told today's (Friday) New York Post that the show was "well received" by some advertisers but that others took a "wait-and-see approach." In a statement, the network said, "A cautious approach from some advertisers to a show generating this much attention is very common."

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.