TOUGH TIME FOR MAVERICKS
Mark Cuban, owner of the cable network HDNet, Landmark Theaters, the production company 2929 Entertainment, and the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, was charged with insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. The complaint charges that in 2004, Cuban avoided losing $750,000 by selling stock in Momma.com after he became aware through inside information that the website would have a public offering that was likely to devalue its existing stock price. "This case demonstrates yet again that the commission will aggressively pursue illegal insider trading whenever it occurs," Linda Chatman Thomsen, director of the SEC's division of enforcement, said in a statement. "I am disappointed that the commission chose to bring this case based upon its enforcement staff's win-at-any-cost ambitions," Cuban said in his own statement. "The staff's process was result-oriented, facts be damned. The government's claims are false and they will be proven to be so."
MORE THAN A THIRD OF ALL HOMES NOW HAVE HDTV SETS
Over the past year, 22 percent of U.S. households purchased a high-definition television set, according to a new study. The study, "HDTV 2008: Consumer Awareness, Interest and Ownership," by Leichtman Research Group indicated that more than a third of U.S. homes (34 percent) now have at least one HD set, almost twice the percentage in 2006. Somewhat surprisingly just 22 percent of those who bought an HD set said that their principal reason for doing so was improved picture quality. The largest percentage (38 percent) said they had done so to replace an old or broken set. The study also suggested that a dwindling supply of non-HDTV was a major contributing factor. Household income was also a determining factor. Presently, 44 percent of households with annual incomes of more than $50,000 have an HDTV set versus 20 percent of those below $50,000.
TIVO AND DOMINO'S PIZZA TO TAKE YOUR ORDER
Owners of TiVo digital recorders connected to the Internet will be able not only to access movies and television shows on their devices but pizzas as well, thanks to a deal between TiVo and Domino's announced on Monday. The two companies said that TiVo subscribers will now be able to order pizza with a click of their remote button and track delivery timing. Domino's marketing exec Rob Weisberg said in a statement, "This is the first time in history that the 'on-demand' generation will be able to fully experience couch commerce by ordering pizza directly through their television set." TiVo suggested that the deal comes as a kind of response to advertiser concerns that digital TV recorders allow viewers to skip their commercials. TiVo ad exec Karen Bressner said that the deal with Domino's "offers yet another advertising solution as commercial avoidance continues to increase." Noting that Domino's stock has fallen 71 percent in the past year, today's (Tuesday) Wall Street Journal quoted analysts as blaming higher pizza prices due to higher ingredient costs on slowdown in the business. Pizza, it said, is no longer perceived as being a good value.
LIFETIME DRAMA OUTRANKS TWO BROADCAST NETWORKS
The major networks may have all but abandoned offering new programming on Saturday nights -- thereby giving cable the opportunity to move in. That's what happened over the weekend when the women's-oriented Lifetime channel attracted 4.2 million viewers for its original movie, The Two Mr. Kissels.. Earlier this year two other Lifetime movies, The Memory Keeper's Daughter and Coco Chanel drew 5.8 million viewers and 5.2 million respectively. The Two Mr. Kissels drew a larger audience than Saturday Night Football on ABC and the entire lineup of repeats on NBC.
LIPSTICK JUNGLE TO REMAIN ON NBC SCHED
Lipstick Jungle has apparently received an eleventh-hour reprieve. After reports appeared that the show, starring Brooke Shields, had been moved to Friday nights and that it had been canceled, the show dramatically showed a 50-percent increase in viewers after delayed viewing from DVRs was taken into account. NBC Entertainment Co-chairman Ben Silverman said Monday that it would remain on the NBC schedule.