THE END OF TV AS WE KNOW IT?

Sony's "experiment," in which it plans to stream Hancock, starring Will Smith, to Internet-connected Bravia TV-set owners immediately after its theatrical run (and before it is released on DVD), may set the stage for companies to bypass traditional content distributors like networks, cable TV, and satellite companies, the New York Times indicated today (Monday). The newspaper quoted Sony CFO Robert Wiesenthal as saying, "The Internet is not only a great place to reach Web sites, but it's also a great way to deliver conventional content. And at the end of the day, it's about getting entertainment back into the living room." But while Sony may be using its film studio and consumer electronics units to experiment with new ways of delivering home entertainment, it is unlikely that it can corner the market in that area, the Times article suggested. It noted that following Sony's announcement, Pali research analyst Richard Greenfield wrote, "While the content offered is only from Sony today, we expect other studios to follow if consumer interest becomes apparent."

NETWORK TV AUDIENCE GETTING GREYER

The median age of the television audience is now 50,according to a study released by Magna Global's Steve Sternberg and reported in today's (Monday) Daily Variety. The median age -- different from the average age -- represents a dividing line. In the case of the Sternberg study, half the U.S. television audience is younger than 50; half is older than 50. The latest figures represent the first time that the median age has fallen outside the 18-49 demographic, advertisers' most desired demo. "The median ages of the broadcast networks keep rising, as traditional television is no longer necessarily the first screen for the younger set," Sternberg wrote.

CNN CLOSING GAP WITH FOX NEWS

CNN has virtually erased the huge gap that separated it from Fox News in the primetime ratings for viewers 25-54, the New York Times reported Saturday, citing estimates from Nielsen Media Research. In that demographic, Fox attracted 530,000 viewers during the first five-and-a-half months of 2004, while CNN attracted 248,000. Through the same period this year Fox is now drawing 440,000, only 20,000 more than CNN. Moreover, while MSNBC was broadcasting to 122,000 25-54-year-old viewers four years ago, it now reaches 303,000, mostly thanks to Countdown With Keith Olbermann. The Times described the results as displaying an "ominous trend for Fox News."

TIME INC. TO LAUNCH "NETFLIX FOR MAGAZINES"

Time Inc.'s Maghound plans to borrow a page from Netflix's video-rental service and apply it to magazines, giving its subscribers the opportunity to pick and choose magazines they are interested in receiving each month -- and not just those published by Time Inc. According to FolioMag.com, beginning in September Maghound members will be able to receive three titles for $3.95 per month, five titles for $7.95, seven titles for $9.95, and $1 per title for eight titles or more. The company said that it expects to line up some 300 magazine titles by its September launch.

FORMER CHICAGO/PHILADELPHIA ANCHOR RON HUNTER DEAD AT 70

1970s' Chicago anchorman Ron Hunter, who was said to be a model for Ted Baxter, the character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show played by the late Ted Knight, has died in Las Vegas at age 70, the Chicago Tribune reported Saturday. After stints at other television stations in Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans in the 1980s, he turned to talk radio but was fired in 1990 after his wife Marilou, while lying next to him in bed, shot herself in the chest only hours after calling his talk show to talk about her marital problems with a sex therapist Hunter was interviewing. "He fell on hard times after that," the Tribune said in its obituary.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.