TECH & HOLLYWOOD Phrase of the Day: A Change in Direction
This morning’s news has already featured lots of shifts affecting media, entertainment and tech companies, and the day isn’t half over, at least on the coast where Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Seattle all sit.
To start, we have a big shift coming in News Corp., as the media giant’s board agrees to a plan to split the company in two.
Rupert Murdoch subsequently insisted the decision was not at all driven by the series of phone-hacking scandals in England that have closed one News Corp. newspaper, led to numerous journalist arrests and a gut-churning and lengthy panel of inquiry.
Just the same, Murdoch said his son Lachlan is not very likely to take over as CEO of the carved-off publishing wing envisioned in the split. Other Murdoch man James, you may recall, had to pull back from some News Corp. engagements as evidence mounted of his possible knowledge of some of the newspaper misdeeds that led to the Leveson inquiry.
So why is a little corporate shuffle like News Corp.’s, if it’s not related to overly aggressive and unethical journalists prying into the mobile messages of a murdered teen, connected to tech?
Because the major reason for the carve-off is that the publishing operations of News Corp., though dear to Rupert and fountainhead of his original success, are now a massive drag on the rest of the wildly diversified News Corp. Print ain’t it anymore, and even a stalwart supporter such as Murdoch is being forced to deal with the reality.
What’s it mean for print journalism? Nothing good, I fear.
Without the corporate subsidies provided by all those other profitable units, the newspapers will be left to fend for themselves.
A lavishly subsidized bully pulpit such as the New York Post may soon face savage cuts as an independent publishing organization struggles to maintain its numbers in a public market. And that is solely the fault of shifting business models that make Deadline possible and the New York Post wildly loss-making.
News Corp Officially Announces Plan For Business Split http://www.deadline.com/2012/06/news-corp-officially-announces-business-split/
Rupert Murdoch Says Split Plan “Not A Reaction” To UK Scandals http://www.deadline.com/2012/06/rupert-murdoch-says-split-plan-not-a-reaction-to-uk-scandals/
After breaking patent piggybank, AOL to pay off shareholders
Struggling Former Internet Giant™AOL is putting to immediate work much of that cash it cornered from selling off hundreds of patents to Microsoft recently with a stock buy-back plan.
If you can’t give consumers products they really want, and build profits that way, sell off your patrimony and buy off shareholder happiness for at least the short term. That’s innovation!
Patent sale to finance @AOL share repurchase http://www.deadline.com/2012/06/aol-says-it-will-use-proceeds-from-patent-sale-to-repurchase-400m-of-its-shares/
Vive la difference. Or not: Vivendi board, CEO part ways
Reports out of Paris say long-time Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy is heading out the door after fighting with his board over the structure and direction of the European media giant.
For those who have lost count, Vivendi sold off its NBCU holdings last year, but still owns the world’s largest music company, Universal; a majority of the world’s largest game company, Activision-Blizzard; and European TV giant Canal+. Oh, and they’re buying EMI, the smallest of the Big Four music labels.
Vivendi CEO to depart in division over direction of holding company http://www.deadline.com/2012/06/vivendi-jean-bernard-levy-resigning/
AMC, AT&T some really Mad Men over carriage
And here you thought only cable and satellite companies had fights with networks over fees and retransmission rights. Turns out, these disputes - pay more or go dark – have now come to the broadband-based alternative transmission system that AT&T put together, U-Verse.
Will a bunch of Mad Men cloak the U-Verse in dark matter, minus “Mad Men,” to comfort consumers on their journey? Stay tuned, space-keteers, though I’m betting An Amicable Resolution to the Dispute will be worked out.
AMC Networks May Go Dark On AT&T U-Verse Too http://www.deadline.com/2012/06/amc-networks-may-go-dark-on-att-u-verse-too/
At least Consumer Electronics Industry likes Ad-zapping; honors Dish
Nearly every network has chimed in legally opposing the very idea of the Auto Hop technology in Dish TV’s latest DVR, which automates the consumer process of ignoring all those bills-paying commercials in recorded shows. But no matter. At least Charlie Ergen and Dish can know the CEA Line Show loves their little paradigm-shifter.
Consumer Electronics Industry Honors Dish Network’s Ad-Zapping DVR http://www.deadline.com/2012/06/consumer-electronics-industry-honors-dish-networks-ad-zapping-dvr/