The News Corp. who owns the Dow Jones and Company which publishes the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s weekly business magazine among many others in the U.S. is considering a company breakup into two entities. It would separate the media giant’s underperforming newspaper business from its lucrative entertainment assets. Approximately 70 percent of the company profits come from television. The new newspaper business could include The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, The New York Post, and as many as other 175 newspapers worldwide. These publishing enterprises contributed $8.8 billion in revenue in 2011. On the other hand, the much more lucrative entertainment enterprises contributed $23.5 billion in revenue in 2011 to the media empire.
Rupert Murdoch who is the Chairman and CEO of the News Corp. built the company from a single newspaper in Adelaide, Australia into a billion dollar multi-media giant. The Murdoch family owns 40 percent of the empire and will continue to handle both parts once separated.
Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is valued at about $53 billion. A recent phone-hacking scandal at its News of the World British tabloid caused it to close the publication. It is faced with enormous financial strain and decline in print advertising revenue.
The 1970’s dominant music group, Bee Gees, singer Robin Gibb died on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at age 62 due to his long battle with colorectal cancer and intestinal surgery. The group included Robin and his two fraternal brothers Barry and Maurice. Robin Gibb was born on December 22, 1949 in Isle of Man and grew up in Australia and U.K.
Robin was a solo artist prior to Bee Gees and he became the lead singer for the group. Trio owned 1960’s pop songs like “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to you”. Bee Gees carrier spans more than five decades and sold over 200 million records worldwide. Robin was a singer as well as a song writer. The trio wrote most of their number one hits. Bee Gees were the gold standard for pop and R & B.
Bee Gees also produced materials for such artist like Barbara Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.
Robin Gibb received a CBE from the Prince of Wales for his contribution to music.
Robin’s twin brother Maurice died in 2003 and only surviving Bee Gees is Barry, age 65. Robin was married to Molly Hullis in 1968 and together they had two daughters. They got divorced in 1980.
Ross Bagdasarian Sr. spent $190 of his last $200 in 1958 to buy a state-of-the-art tape recorder that can playback at various speeds. He recorded “Christmas Don’t Be Late” with a fictitious group known as Chipmunks who sang with a high pitched obscure voice. The song later became the No. 1 Billboard chart, sold over four million copies and created the now famous three Chipmunks: Alvin, Simon and Theodore. Today, Chipmunks is a family owned business based in Montecito, California. Ross Bagdasarian Jr. with his wife now owns the right to the Chipmunks empire.
Over the years, Chipmunks popularity came in waves. However, Fox bought the three characters in 2007 and this resulted in creating three hit movies: Alvin and the Chipmunks, Squeakquel, and Chipwrecked. Besides the major movies, there are many other productions, a TV series, several movies on DVDs and other merchandize. The company is also exploring an idea to make a live show that can travel around the world.
The current owners are very involved with the business and tightly control the branding of Chipmunks. Once they refused a proposal to manufacture and market a sugary cereal using the brand name. The owners are also involved in several law suits to protect the brand from exploitation.
Dictionary explain box office as “a place at a theater or other arts establishment where tickets are bought or reserved.” As a result, the term box office is closely associated with the film industry and many use it to indicate how many tickets are sold for a movie or a theater production. So, it is more than a hole in the window or a kiosk inside a theater. Some claim that the practice started in 1786 with a theater production.
Box office, whether it is good or bad can influence the success or failure of a film or a theater production. It indicates the number of people seen the film or the production or the amount of money collected from ticket sales. This is why movie capital Hollywood pays close attention to box office.
Traditionally, weekly box office figures are taken from Friday through Thursday. They are published for domestic meaning U.S. and Canadian and foreign meaning all other countries. Major portion of this include the weekend box office meaning Friday through Sunday collection, a barometer that many uses to gauge the success of a film. Approximately one half of the revenue generated from a film goes to the distributor and the other half going to the movie theater.
The fifth largest network in the U.S. and most popular Spanish-language television network, Univision, is gearing up for an October 28, 2013 launch of a new 24-hour English news channel known as Fusion. Univision went on the air in 1962 as the Spanish International Network and changed the name to the current Univision in 1986. Its market share has been increasing over the last four years where all four major networks, CBS, Fox, NBC and ABC have seen their share of the market declining. It claims that it captures 96 percent of the Spanish speaking population in the United States. The Fusion is intended to cater to 18 to 34-year olds and it is a joint venture with ABC. Fusion will be headquartered in Doral, a Miami suburb closer to the Univision headquarters. The new program is estimated to cost $275 million.
Why an English programming from the mainly Spanish network at this time? It thinks its audience has changed within the last two decades. It believes that there is a Latino generation that speaks mostly English than Spanish. On the other hand, the Hispanic population in the U.S. now accounts for more than 43 percent.
The National Football League (NFL) is about to start its 2013 Football season. That means millions of Americans will be glued to the TV, especially on Sundays. More than 100 million households subscribe to pay TV, most of them to watch NFL. More than two million Americans pay over $300 per season to watch every game on Sunday Ticket on DirecTV. It brings in $450 to $600 million of revenue for Direct TV. Games on satellite or cable are the choices for many to watch NFL today and it generates over $160 billion a year for them.
It is no secret why others such as Google are trying to get in the action. NFL games via the Internet have been discussed for some time. Viewers are waiting for some time for now for a lower cost alternative to watch TV. There are still many obstacles for TV over the Internet. Download speeds is one of them and upgrades to broadband may make it possible sooner than later. The Internet also needs a willing partner. Instead of competing with cable and satellite most logical way to get TV on the Internet may be to partner with them.
On July 19, 2013 James Gandolfini died of an apparent heart attack in Rome, Italy at the age of 51 while vacationing with his young son. He was famous for his part as Tony Soprano, a troubled mafia boss in the television hit series The Sopranos. This role alone brought him three Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG), and two Golden Globes as Best Actor-Drama Series. He went onto winning other SAG awards for the same series. The award winning actor also appeared in many other productions including films.
Born on September 18, 1961 in Westwood, New Jersey, his career in acting started at Park Ridge High School in Park Ridge, New Jersey. At Rutgers University he studied communication studies receiving a BA in 1982. Later he studied acting at The Gately Poole Conservatory. Starting in 1992 he appeared in Broadway productions and landed a leading role in the famous HBO drama series The Sopranos in 1999. The drama series continued until 2007. He later went on to act, direct and produce films and dramas. Twice married actor survived by his young son and a daughter. His estate estimated at $70 million and he left majority of it to his son.
Even before the annual Cannes International Film Festival started on May 15, 2013, a jewelry heist in a hotel dominated the headlines. The annual film festival is held in Cannes, France each year usually from May 15 to May 26. This year is no exception. The invitation only film festival held yearly since 1946 except in 1948 and 1950 due to budgetary problems.
This year’s President of the Jury is one of the best American film directors, Steven Spielberg. Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman and other judges are included in the distinguished panel. Instead of holding official screening at a cinema, rumors say that they are watching in the luxury of Spielberg’s yacht which is equipped with an infinity pool and state-of-the-art cinema theater. Most prestigious award is given is known as Palme d’Or (“Golden Palm”) given to the best film and the favorite among the twenty competing for the honor include The Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis, Ashgar Farhadi’s The Past, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Colour, and Paolo Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza. In addition to the Golden Palm award, there are other awards including Grand Price of the Festival, Jury Prize, Best Actor and Actress, and the Best Director.
The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) takes place in Las Vegas at the beginning of each year. The Just concluded 2013 show was dominated by TVs. In the past smartphones and gaming devices dominated the show. This year there were many different TVs that mesmerized the attendees.
Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics displayed thin, curved, and OLED TVs. Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) are more energy efficient than those current TVs, provides a better quality picture, are thinner than those that are available today, and are curved to optimize the viewing angle. Another feature that was rolled out this year was the ultra-high-definition (UHD) or 4K. UHD contain four times more pixels than 1080p high-definition TVs. In order to benefit from this technology, the content needs to be recorded in UHD. The problem with that is it takes 2,500 times the data that takes to produce a typical HD movie. This alone makes it extremely difficult to stream a movie.
New technology is not cheap. An 84-inch TV from Sony is priced at $25,000. Smaller sizes may go for less but don’t expect less than five figure price tag. On average people replace their TVs in every six years.
In January 2012, Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP announced that it is funding up to $300 million to Ryan Seacrest Media to develop companies, content and television shows. Ryan Seacrest is the producer and host of the Fox reality TV show American Idol. In 2002, he began as a co-host of the show and a year later became the host of the show. More than 26 million watch the weekly show. In April 2012 he signed a $30 million contract to stay as the host of the show for two years.
Since 2004, he is also hosting numerous radio shows. He took over the American Top 40 from Casey Kasem in January 2004. In the same year he became the host of the Los Angeles based KIIS’s morning show replacing Rick Dees and the show is broadcast over 150 stations in North America.
In 2005, Ryan Seacrest became the executive producer and the co-host of the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Since Dick Clark’s debilitating medical issues and April 2012 death, he is hosting much of the show now. The 40th show attracted more than 22.6 million viewers giving the show number one spot. He has substituted in the CNN’s Larry King Live from time to time.
The final installment of the vampire franchise, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” was released on November 16, 2012 by Lionsgate in the U.S. due to its merger with Summit Entertainment. Based on the Novel, “Breaking Dawn” by Stephanie Meyer, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” will close the series. All three main cast members, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, are appearing in the movie.
The plot still revolves around Bella and her family. She is enjoying her life and new powers after the birth of her daughter, Renesmee. But they are threatened with a new menace. Vampire Irina believes Renesmee could challenge the power and existence of Volturi, so she rally Volturi to destroy the potential threat including Bella and Cullens. They assemble their allies and to launch a crucial, ultimate fight to protect their family. As the novel, Bella finally says “…then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever.”
The movie had a $340.9 million worldwide opening, which was the eighth largest ever and highest for the Twilight franchise. It is expected to dominate the Box Office in coming weeks in spite of the showing of “Skyfall”, a bond movie.