NBC CHIEF: TV BEING HAMMERED BY THE WEB
Television executives are being forced to confront an upheaval in their industry as the Internet continues to fragment audiences, advertisers reduce their spending, and the cost of production soars, NBC Entertainment Chairman Marc Graboff told the Variety Entertainment and Technology Summit in Santa Monica, CA Monday. Graboff said that he and his colleagues in the industry face the challenge of "TV anytime, anywhere," in which the Internet allows viewers to watch programs at their convenience, not during the time periods scheduled by network programmers. One of the responses to the challenge, he said, may be charging viewers who wish to take advantage of such convenience viewing (as opposed to the appointment viewing of the past.) While saying that a merger with Comcast was still "speculative," he nevertheless observed that the cable company has been exploring new ways of monetizing content and its executives are likely thinking, "'If we own a content company, we can help drive how the model changes usage.' That must be one of their motivations for doing this." He said that one way of generating revenue "is to make a show more immediate, such as streaming it for a dollar the next day." While Hulu, the online video service that NBC co-owns, already does that free, he indicated, it may have been a mistake not to charge for the service.
TWO EX-FOX EXECS ADVISING COMCAST IN NBC DEAL
Peter Chernin and Peter Liguori -- two former top executives at Fox -- are now advising Comcast in its effort to gain control of NBC Universal, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Tuesday), citing executives who asked not to be identified. The newspaper noted that Chernin owns vacation homes next to those owned by Comcast CEO Brian Roberts in Martha's Vineyard and by Comcast COO Steve Burke in Yellowstone, Montana. A source told the newspaper that Chernin is serving as "more than a friend but less than a consultant" in advising the Comcast executives and that he has no interest in running the merged company if the talks prove fruitful. On the other hand, the Times said, Liguori is indeed acting as a consultant and is expected to become part of Comcast's management team if a deal is struck.
BOSTON FILM CRITIC CALLS LENO SHOW "AN EXPERIMENT GONE WRONG"
The television critic for Jay Leno's hometown newspaper The Boston Globe has joined the chorus calling for NBC to pull the plug on The Jay Leno Show. In today's (Tuesday) column, the Globe's Matthew Gilbert calls the show "an experiment gone wrong ... a low point of primetime." The show, he writes, "is paced like a turtle. With arthritis. In slo-mo. ... What is a mild sedative in late-night is a sleeping pill in the more creatively energetic environment of primetime." Meanwhile, Craig Dubow, CEO of media giant Gannett, said Monday that his company's NBC affiliates have been harmed by NBC's Leno strategy. Gannett is the largest owner of NBC affiliates. In an interview with the Dow Jones News Service, Dubow said. "Right now we would probably be in a little better position with the traditional [primetime programs]." However, he conceded, "It's awfully early to tell at this point."
ADAM LAMBERT'S SINGLE LEAKED ONLINE
The recording industry was presented with yet another example of the pitfalls posed by the Internet when Adam Lambert's first post-American Idol single, "Time for Miracles," was leaked online Monday. It had been scheduled for release on October 27 to help hype the November 13 premiere of the movie 2012, in which it is played behind the closing credits. (It is also included in the Idol runner-up's first album, due to be released on November 23.) Demonstrating how difficult it is to control such releases, Billboard magazine reported Monday that "Time for Miracles" was first posted on Apple's iTunes store in Italy, where it was grabbed and then uploaded to YouTube.