BLACK FRIDAY WILL BE BLU
Ads by some major retailers set to run over the "Black Friday" (November 28) weekend have begun leaking online, and they show aggressive pricing on Blu-ray disc players, Blu-ray discs, and standard-definition DVDs. Video Business reports on its website that Midwest retailer Meijer, which operates 163 stores in five states, will be selling a Sylvania brand Blu-ray player built by Funai for $149.99, $100 below its current price. Wal-Mart is reportedly planning to sell a similar Magnavox player, also built by Funai for $128. Despite Circuit City's bankruptcy filing, the retailer also plans to cut prices on players and software, with some Blu-ray classic titles being priced as low as $8.99 on Friday and Saturday and recent DVD movies, including You Don't Mess With the Zohan, The Incredible Hulk and The Happening going for $9.99. Both Meijer and Wal-Mart are also expected to slash prices on dozens of standard DVDs to $1.99.
CBS's The Mentalist, regarded as the No. 1 hit of the new season (it placed eighth in last week's Nielsen ratings), lost 12 percent of its audience on Tuesday, placing third in its timeslot behind ABC's Dancing With the Stars and Fox's Fringe. CBS's NCIS, which posted its best numbers ever a week earlier, lost 12 percent of its audience on Tuesday.
GAY MARRIAGE SUPPORTERS TARGET CINEMARK THEATERS
Opponents of California's gay marriage ban, which received 52 percent of the vote in the November 4 election, are urging people planning to see the upcoming Milk, about gay legislator Harvey Milk, to do so at any theater except those operated by Cinemark. They object to the fact that the CEO of Cinemark, Alan Stock, donated $9,999 to the Yes on 8 campaign. A notice on the website, www.nomilkforcinemark, says in part, "If 1,000 of us commit to see MILK at a competitor's theater instead of Cinemark, at an average cost of $10 per ticket, that's $10,000 of lost revenue."
UNIVISION REVENUE DOWN -- BUT NOT AS MUCH AS ENGLISH NETS
Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcast network in the U.S., said Wednesday that its TV revenue had dropped to $397.2 million during its third quarter from $406.5 million during the same quarter a year ago, a 2.4-percent decline. But in a conference call after its earnings report was filed with the SEC, Univision CEO Joe Eva said that things might have been worse, pointing out that the TV industry as a whole saw a 9.4-percent drop in net revenue. He added: "The Univision Network is currently boasting its best season start ever with Univision seeing year-to-year audience growth among all major demographics for the first several weeks of the new season. All of the other major networks ... have seen their own audiences dwindle."
THE FULL MONTY (PYTHON) ON YOUTUBE
In the latest example of an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" strategy, the members of the '70s satirical group Monty Python have launched their own YouTube site, where they have posted dozens of clips from their TV shows and movies. In a statement posted on the site, the Pythons -- John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam (another Python, Graham Chapman, died in 1989) -- said that they had stood by while "youTubers" had been "ripping us off" by posting "tens of thousands" of their videos on YouTube. "Now the tables are turned," they said. "It's time for us to take matters into our own hands. We know who you are, we know where you live and we could come after you in ways too horrible to tell. But being the extraordinarily nice chaps we are, we've figured a better way to get our own back: We've launched our own Monty Python channel on YouTube." In return for posting high-quality clips from their TV shows and movies they said, they want something in return: "None of your driveling, mindless comments. Instead, we want you to click on the links, buy our movies & TV shows and soften our pain and disgust at being ripped off all these years."
BBC SPANISH-LANGUAGE KIDS SHOW COMING TO U.S.
BBC Worldwide is making the jump into the lucrative market of Spanish-language TV in the U.S. by bringing its CBeebies Channel, aimed at preschoolers, to the DISH network. DISH will provide a live feed from BBC's Worldwide Latin American network, based in Mexico. In a statement, Darren Childs, managing director of BBC Worldwide Channels, remarked that the introduction of the channel into the U.S. Hispanic market represents "a momentous achievement" for the broadcaster. "It means that we're able to reach out to millions of Americans for whom Spanish is their first language." The English language CBeebies, BBC Worldwide said, is the U.K.'s No. 1 children's preschool channel and also is carried in Africa, Australia, Poland, India and Asia. The announcement was made on the same day that DISH Network announced the launch of DishMEXICO, designed specifically for Mexicans living in the U.S. The package includes 50 channels, including the BBC's CBeebies. The package is being offered for $9.99 per month.
U.K. VIEWERS OUTRAGED OVER DEPARTURE OF DANCE CONTESTANT
More than 2,100 viewers have flooded the BBC with complaints following the withdrawal of former news correspondent John Sergeant as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, the U.K. version of Dancing With the Stars. Week after week Sergeant had received the lowest marks from the show's judges but had been brought back by voting viewers. At a news conference on Wednesday, Sergeant said he decided to withdraw because he had "the frightening thought" that he might win. "Even for me that would be a joke too far," he said. "If the joke wears thin, if in fact people begin to take it very seriously, and if people really are getting so wound up that it's very difficult to carry off the joke, then I think it is time to go," he added. The BBC said that Sergeant will perform a "farewell" dance during Saturday's telecast. It also said it would offer to refund the cost of phone calls made by viewers who voted for Sergeant.