JACKSON DEALS KEEP ON COMING
The recycling of Michael Jackson is about to begin. His performances on the syndicated Soul Train series covering more than 20 years are being culled from the original tapes and will be released on the Time Life label, Soul Train Holdings announced Monday. Videos include Jackson performing with the Jackson 5 in the 1960s, then as a solo act in the '70s and finally his appearances in the '90s on various Soul Train Music Awards ceremonies. In a statement, Peter Griffith, co-CEO of Soul Train Holdings, said, "Michael was a long-time friend of Soul Train, and his performances on the show are as legendary as the performer himself." Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
KOPPEL: JACKSON HYSTERIA GOOD FOR THE "NEWS BUSINESS"
In a commentary broadcast on National Public Radio today (Tuesday) former ABC Nightline host Ted Koppel observed that the media coverage of the Michael Jackson memorial is hardly unprecedented. "There's a reason it's called the 'news business,'" Koppel noted, "and sometimes the tackier the story, the more business it generates." He pointed out that in August of 1926, there was an "all-day riot" at the New York funeral home where the body of Rudolph Valentino was taken after his death at age 31 from a bleeding gastric ulcer. Some 80,000-100,000 people gathered outside. "People trying to get in smashed the windows. Several despondent fans were said to have committed suicide." And this was at a time before television and the Internet and when even radio was in its infancy. "The newspapers went to town on it. ... When the numbers go up, so does income. It was true 80 years ago. It's true now," Koppel remarked.
ABC DEBUTS ON HULU
ABC shows joined those from NBC and Fox on Hulu Monday, leaving CBS as the only major network not participating in the online video joint venture. First up was Grey's Anatomy, with Desperate Housewives, Scrubs, Ugly Betty, I Survived a Japanese Game Show and Superstars to follow within the next two weeks.
TELEVISION REVENUE PLUMMETS
Citing a study by BIA Advisory Services forecasting that TV station revenues this year will decline 17.3 percent to $16.6 billion and that Internet-related revenues will amount to only $556 million, Mediapost columnist Diane Mermigas commented today (Tuesday): "While other estimates vary, the overriding picture remains the same: Broadcast TV stations' best days are behind them unless they can reinvent themselves." She predicts that television is likely to experience the same fate as newspapers as the Internet continues to fragment the audience, and she takes note of predictions that 10 percent of commercial stations will fall into bankruptcy this year.
SYFY DEBUTS -- AND SO DOES NEW SERIES
The Si-Fi Channel became Syfy today (Tuesday), and with the rebranding has come the debut of an original series, Warehouse 13, that apparently warehouses the templates of any number of successful movies and TV shows. It is getting many terrific reviews, which may offset some of the ringing criticism about the name change directed at the channel's executives. Mekeisha Madden Toby, the TV critic for the Detroit News, calls the show "fun and imaginative" and remarks that while "building a show around the collection of creepy and terrifying tchotchkes is far from novel, Warehouse 13 is a whodunit or a whatdunit at heart, and mysteries, especially in the summer, are a great source of entertainment." And Los Angeles Times TV critic Mary McNamara writes, "In this loud and angry world of post-mythology and damaged heroes, how nice to see a television show satisfied with being simply entertaining." But Ginia Bellafante in the New York Times suggests that the show reveals what the change of the channel's name is really all about. She maintains that it is "meant to evoke a more welcoming invitation to a female viewership. This would explain why Warehouse 13 ... feels so girly."
WIMBLEDON CAPTURES HALF OF U.K.'S TV AUDIENCE
Half the entire television audience in Britain watched the BBC's coverage of the Wimbledon tennis tournament men's singles in which Switzerland's Roger Federer defeated America's Andy Roddick. During the last 15 minutes of play, the BBC claimed 55.9 percent of the audience. In the U.S., NBC's coverage of the match was watched by 12 percent of the audience, down slightly from last year's final match.
U.K. COUNTS 4.7 BILLION VIDEOS WATCHED
Some 21.8 million Internet users in the U.K. watched 4.7 billion videos in April, up 47 percent from the same month a year ago, according to a study by comScore Video Metrix. More than half -- 2.4 billion -- were viewed on Google's YouTube. No other site came even close, with the various BBC websites ranking second with 79 million videos viewed, followed by ITV's with 34.7 million. The same report also indicated that U.K. Internet users watched 971 million display ads on multimedia websites during the month. In a statement, Mike Read, who heads comScore's European operations, said that the numbers indicate that "online video is a powerful and growing vehicle for online advertising placement" in the U.K.