Friday, July 31, 2009

Indian industry growing but slower....Film, television continue to grow, music contracting

Indian industry growing but slower

Film, television continue to grow, music contracting

July 30, 2009

By Nyay Bhushan
After a two-month cinema strike in the first half of this year, projections for the Indian entertainment industry reflect a slower growth, according to a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers India released Wednesday.
“Indian Entertainment and Media Outlook 2009” states that the industry will grow 10.5% cumulatively over 2009-13 to reach about 929 billion rupees ($20 billion).
A similar growth rate was also predicted in another report early this year by industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and consultants KPMG India that projected a 12.5% growth rate over the next five years for the industry to touch about $22 billion.

Last year's FICCI report (also prepared by PwC India) which projected a compound annual growth rate of 18% for 2008-12.PwC's India report this year --
part of the consulting firm's “Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2009-13” study --
also states that in 2008 the Indian industry slowed to 10.3% as compared to 16.7% in 2007 while growth in 2009 will be even lower at 8.3% but “will return to double digit growth in 2010.”
Advertising spending slowed to 11.3% in 2008 as compared to 20.7% in 2007.
Globally, the entertainment and media market is expected to grow 2.7% compounded annually over the five years to US$1.6 trillion in 2013.
This will see an expected 3.9% drop in 2009 and a mere 0.4% advance in 2010, followed by a much faster growth during the remaining period to 7.1% in 2013.
The slow growth in the Indian industry reflects “weaker overall economic conditions” compared to previous years where the Indian industry “consistently outpaced growth in domestic GDP” at around 16.6% during 2004-08, while annual average growth in nominal GDP was 14.48% in this period.
However PwC India leader India Entertainment and Media practice, Timmy Kandhari is optimistic “with India recording one of the highest growth rates in the E&M industry as well as in advertising spending in the world, along with China.”
A major drag on the industry has been the marked slowdown in advertising spending which is expected to touch 9.2% in 2009 after having posting a CAGR of close to 17.3% during 2004-08.
Television continues to be the major contributor to the overall industry, estimated to grow at a stable rate of 11.4% cumulatively over the next five years projected to reach about $9 billion by 2013, from an estimated $5.3 billion in 2008.
The film industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11.6% over the next five years, reaching $4 billion in 2013 from the present $2.32 billion in 2008.
Animation, gaming and visual effects will grow steadily at a CAGR of 22% to $923 million in 2013 from its current size of $339 million.
Animation will see a boost in domestic demand “as well as contribution from international co-productions” for both film and television content.
The music business continues to suffer and is the only segment in the entertainment industry showing a negative CAGR growth rate of 4.5%, dropping from 2008's $ 136 million to $108 million by 2013.
Last year saw a new low of a fall in 14.1% for the business over 2007.
The global music business will also see a 2.5% drop in growth from $29 billion in 2008 to $26 billion by 2013.
Robust growth is seen for radio, with the industry projected to grow at a CAGR of 18% over 2009-13, reaching $413 million in 2013 from the present $180 million in 2008, which will also see this segment increasing its share of the ad pie from 3.8% to 5.2% in the next five years.
Advertising grew by 11.3% in 2008 over 2007, which is much lower than 20.7 per cent in 2006.
Overall spending is expected to increase from the present $4.7 billion in 2008 to $ 7.9 billion in 2013, a cumulative growth of 11.1%.
Print and television continue to dominate their shares of total ad spend;
print advertising share is expected to decline from 47.9% to 41.5% while television's share will grow marginally from 39% to 41% by 2013.

Richard Greenfield on Global Appealing Content.....

Q&A: Richard Greenfield
Pali Research analyst isn't afraid to call Hollywood like he sees it

By Georg Szalai

July 28, 2009, 03:40 PM ET
(above, Illustration by Chris Morris)
Pali Research media and entertainment analyst Richard Greenfield has created heated debates on Wall Street and in Hollywood.
This year, he called for a change in AOL's management team -- just before one was announced -- and predicted the need for massive layoffs at News Corp.'s MySpace.
he also admitted that his "sell" thesis on Disney has been "dead wrong" in the early going.
The Hollywood Reporter:
Since March, media and entertainment stocks have run up with the rest of the market on hopes of a stabilizing economy.
How do you feel about the sector at this stage?
Richard Greenfield:
As we look at the next 12 months, we remain very cautious and concerned about the economic health globally and fear that recovery may not be occurring as fast as people expect.
While I don't think you will see local TV revenue down 25% in 2010, you could see it down 5%-10%.
And Disney's theme park business could continue to struggle as the consumer in this country struggles.
Those are key drivers of our negative thesis on both Disney and News Corp.
Relative to where the stocks are valued today, we think they are overvalued.
THR: How important is economic recovery to media stocks?
Greenfield: Most of the management teams in the media space have tied themselves to "the worst is over and it's getting better" theme.
As far as we can tell, it doesn't look like advertising is getting better.
We're still down year-over-year even as comparisons get easier, and it's increasingly concerning that we aren't seeing that recovery bounce.
It's down less, but it certainly hasn't been recovering.
That's going to be the real challenge for the whole sector from a stock standpoint during the next 3-6 months.
THR: What stock call this year have you been particularly happy with?
Greenfield: Getting positive on Time Warner in the $16 range after looking at the catalysts of management finally making the right decisions --
terminating the AOL management team, the windfall of being able to bring in an A-list hitter in Tim Armstrong (to run it) and
then announcing a separation of AOL all in the span of a few months --
has been very exciting to watch, and it's been very nice to see it actually play out in the stock.
THR: Which other stock do you like?
Greenfield: Discovery is another name with true organic growth where management change has led to a really good multiyear story.
You have a team led by David Zaslav with a group of assets that have been really under-utilized for a long period of time.
Only two networks out of the group make any substantial money.
They are taking Discovery Health, which really nobody cares or knows much about, and transforming it into the Oprah Winfrey Network.
A lot of these companies don't always have as good of a global platform, but Discovery has a strong U.S. story and then combines that with the ability to leverage content globally.
THR: You've chastised News Corp. for expanding its newspaper holdings.
What would you like to see conglomerates do with their print assets?
Greenfield: I don't know how you fix print.
I think Time Warner will get rid of its magazine business after it spins off AOL.
We wish News Corp. would dispose of its newspapers or separate them out.
I don't think it's going to happen, but that's a transaction we'd love to see.
THR: Which parts of the media businesses look solid to you?
Greenfield: Cable networks.
If you own your content and have the ability to exploit it across platforms and globally, that's going to put you in a superior position in the long-term --
even though most of the new platforms don't generate significant dollars today.
You have multiple revenue streams, and it's hard to see a substantial shift in the traditional multichannel world.
THR: So, you expect to see a continued shift from broadcast to cable TV viewership?
Greenfield: Broadcast TV networks are spending less and less on programming.
There's a clear shift to spending less between reality programming and Jay Leno coming on five nights a week.
That plays very well into driving viewership over the next several years to cable.
So I just think the overall cable network story, at least for the next few years, is going to get brighter.
THR: Any prediction for any major deal that could happen this year or early next year?
Greenfield: DirecTV is an asset that over the next 12 months could absolutely be acquired.
I think it will be essentially up for sale after the Liberty Media transaction that consolidates DirecTV into one company.
The obvious buyers are Verizon and AT&T, but given the strength of DirecTV's business and the strength of its cash flow, the net could be far wider.
I'll leave the rest to you.

Top concerts reselling at bargain prices
Volume of secondary ticket sales up 50% since 2008
By Sue Zeidler, Reuters
July 30, 2009, 05:16 PM ET

Paul McCartney (above,Getty)
Unemployment is up and consumer confidence is down, but one silver lining of the recession is that last-minute tickets to hear big acts like Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen are as little as $1.
According to eBay Inc's StubHub, the leading Internet ticket re-seller, last-minute concert ticket sales at sharply lower prices are on the rise for acts like Paul McCartney, Springsteen, Jonas Brothers, Coldplay, and U2.
"People often assume a secondary ticket site only offers inflated prices, but it's very challenging right now," said Sean Pate, a spokesman for San Francisco-based StubHub.
He said cheap prices were not showing up just for "nosebleed" seats or lawn seats, but rather in all seat locations for top performers.
"This trend of lower resale ticket pricing is very variable.
It's almost like a stock market and a barometer for pricing city by city," he said.
He said fans have already purchased tickets as low as $1 for Springsteen and Coldplay, $9 for Kenny Chesney and $10 for the Jonas Brothers this season, with tickets listing for as low as $16 for upcoming McCartney shows this weekend in Maryland.
According to Pollstar, a concert industry trade magazine, the concert industry in North America is off to another record year, with the top 100 tours grossing a combined $1.6 billion for the first half of 2009, up $113.5 million or 10.8 percent over the same period in the first six months of 2008.
Indeed, the nation's leading concert promoter, Live Nation Inc, said recently that U.S. concert ticket sales this summer were surprisingly strong despite a weaker economy.
And Pollstar said the average ticket price hit $64.61 for the top 100 acts, up 4 percent or $2.54 per ticket.
But Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni said prices will likely be moderated in the second half due to heavy discounts on general admission amphitheater lawn seats.
Live Nation has said sales were holding very strong, helped by discounts like fee waivers it introduced as a recession-year break for customers.
Many of the big tours are reportedly sold out through vendors like Live Nation, but anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of those tickets may find their way onto the secondary market on sites like StubHub or, being sold by a combination of ticket brokers and ordinary fans.
In some of these cases, given the economy, the tickets are not re-selling for their face value and are therefore selling for substantial bargain prices on the secondary market, Pate said.
While average concert ticket prices on StubHub have fallen 12 percent since 2008, Pate said overall volume was up more than 50 percent and thousands of tickets for shows like the McCartney concerts have also commanded significant premiums.
Typically, sellers pay 15 percent of any completed transaction through StubHub, which also collects another 10 percent fee on transactions.
Pate said for the entirety of his tour, McCartney seats have averaged $242, with the range for the Maryland show swinging from as low as $16 to as high as $1,053 a seat.
Similarly, veteran performers like the Eagles, Elton John with Billy Joel and Eric Clapton have all fetched an average ticket price of more than $200 to date this year, he said.

***After weeks of negotiations, Michael Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson and his ex-wife Debbie Rowe ( below ),

have reached an out-of-court agreement that gives Katherine Jackson full, permanent custody of the pop icon's three children, while Rowe will be granted "meaningful visitation rights."

Madonna is now a newspaper columnist.

In a front-page bylined article in Israel's Yediot Ahronot, the Material Mom says her life was changed by Jewish mystic Eitan Yardeni when she was pregnant with Lourdes 14 years ago.

"I suddenly realized that I spent my entire life worrying only about myself and soon I'll be responsible for the life of another person," she writes.

"I started seeing that being rich and famous is not the end of the road, but only the beginning."

***Jude Law has a little love child on the way.

reporters circled yesterday, the actor's rep released this statement to Entertainment Weekly:

"Jude Law can confirm that, following a relationship last year, he has been advised that he is to be the father of a child due in the fall of this year.

Mr. Law is no longer in a relationship with the individual concerned, but he intends to be a fully supportive part of the child's life.

This is an entirely private matter and no other statements will be made."

Law, 36, has three kids with ex-wife Sadie Frost.


***7.5 million toothpicks can be created from a single cord of wood.

***The plastic ends on shoelaces are called aglets.

***Ancient tribes of long ago that wanted to banish people without killing them would burn their houses down -- hence the expression "to get fired."

*** Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell.

***The elephant is the only animal with 4 knees.


"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.

To one without faith, no explanation is possible."

- Saint Thomas Aquinas.


Smoking in the Mirror


***The rock icons who played Woodstock 40 years ago got peace and love -- but they didn't know if they'd get paid.
"The promoters threatened that any band that demanded money would be exposed to the crowd,"
Dave Marsh reveals in the September issue of Relix, noting that one of the bands that struggled to get paid was The Who.

"The Who's management got the $11,200 owed them . . .
When Roger Daltrey ( above ) called it 'the worst gig we ever played,' he didn't mean the music."

Bewkes: 'TV Everywhere' Getting Closer to Reality

July 29, 2009,

Bewkes: 'TV Everywhere' Getting Closer to Reality

By Dylan Stableford

Time Warner held a conference call to discuss its first half financial performance this morning.

Despite lower revenues and profits, Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner’s CEO, said he is excited about TW’s future as a “pure content company.”

Part of that future appears to be “TV Everywhere,” the concept Bewkes has touted for months as entertainment industry’s answer to so-called micropayments in which cable subscribers would be allowed to watch programming on mobile and broadband devices at no additional cost.

“It is the right model for consumers,” Bewkes said during the call.

“Increasingly, consumers want to be able to watch programs when they want, where they want to watch them, and on whichever device they choose.”

More than that, Bewkes said, the concept is “right for the industry – it builds on cable programmers successful dual revenue stream business model,

helping the continued investment in high quality programming” and would allow programming “from broad appeal to niche to succeed financially.”

He said Time Warner -- which struck a trial deal with Comcast for “TV Everywhere” earlier this year -- is in “active discussions with a number of other distributors, cable and satellite distributors to do the exact same thing.”

But he wouldn’t disclose who those distributors are.

Bewkes said the success of HBO On Demand indicates that the market is ready for the concept.

(Bewkes, it’s helpful to note, truly bleeds HBO blood, moving up the ranks as its COO, CFO and eventually CEO between 1986 and 2002.)

“We think it's a very powerful and pretty obvious natural evolution of what consumers will easily embrace."

However, Bewkes admitted, most consumers will continue to watch programming on TVs “for the foreseeable future.”


Dr. Conrad Murray was suffering financially with nearly $435,000 in judgments and liens against him over the past two years, according to court documents.

Then he decided to leave his practice and work for Michael Jackson, getting paid $150,000 a month.

Before working with the King of Pop, Murray spent most of his time operating clinics in both Nevada and Texas after graduating from Meharry Medical College, a historically black school in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1989.

He spent his internship and residency years in California.

At the clinics in Houston, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nevada, his patients had been surprised to learn that he would be leaving his private practice to work with Jackson.


Whenever you feel like criticizing any one... just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.

The Great Gatsby (1925)

LBN-MUSIC INSIDER: ***Count Kid Rock out as a fan of Twitter.

"It's gay.

If one more person asks me if I have a Twitter, I'm going to tell them, 'Twitter this [bleep], mother[bleep]er,' " the shaggy-haired rocker tells Rolling Stone.

"I don't have anything to say, and what I have to say is not that relevant.

Anything that is relevant, I'm going to bottle it up and then squeeze it onto a record somewhere."


***Children grow faster in the springtime.

***On average, there are 178 sesame seeds on each McDonalds BigMac Bun.

***The Baby Ruth candy bar was actually named after President Grover Cleveland's baby daughter Ruth, not the famed baseball player.

***The United States has never lost a war in which mules were used.

***Minus 40 degrees Celsius is exactly the same as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.


"In nature, there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences." - Robert Greene Ingersoll.


Britain's Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Studio system still alive with Henry Jaglom

Studio system still alive with Henry Jaglom
By Martin A. Grove

July 10, 2009, 02:45 PM ET

Henry Jaglom (Getty) ( above )


Exclusive conversations with the industry's top directors and producers about the latest releases and trends in the feature film business.
There's little that's independent about indie filmmakers since they're dependent on distributors and financiers.
Exception: writer-director Henry Jaglom, whose 17th film "Irene in Time" is expanding after its mid-June L.A. launch.
Jaglom has achieved his own form of independence by recreating on a mini scale at his Rainbow Film Co. the studio system that prevailed in Hollywood's Golden Age.
First, he's got an actress under contract, Tanna Frederick, (above ) whose career he's developing.
He introduced her in his 2006 romantic dramedy "Hollywood Dreams" and now she's starring in "Irene."
They're already on their second three-year contract.

"In four years she's done three plays, two movies that have come out and a third that we've shot," he explained, referring to his upcoming "Queen of the Lot."

"I'm trying to find roles that excite what I think is her talent.

"That approach used to be routine in Hollywood.

"I'm in my David O. Selznick phase," is how Jaglom describes it.

When he discovered Tanna he thought, "Okay, I've been directing films for quite a while.
I've never wanted to do this before, but she has something magical -- but it needs a real push.

"Translation: She doesn't look like the kind of girl next door that studios sign for TV series.

Still, Jaglom says his reaction to Tanna's potential is what Selznick must have felt with Jennifer Jones or Ingrid Bergman.( below)
"Irene" reflects Jaglom's love for 1940's movies "where there is some magical element of love beating time."

Hence, this romantic dramedy about a father who died early in the daughter's life and the daughter who can't find anyone able to fulfill the kind of love she felt from her father.

In the end -- there are multiple interpretations -- time is defeated as father and daughter are happily reunited.

Jaglom's putting his money where his mouth is to make Tanna a star.

Most filmmakers couldn't do that because they'd have to answer to a studio or to moneymen who'd complain she's not bankable.

"The financing has worked out for years from a very simple formula," he told me.
In the early '70s Jaglom went to Cannes where Francis Coppola ( below )was selling foreign rights to "The Conversation."

Above ( Francis and Sofia Ford Coppola as photographed by Annie Leibowitz )

"He was going around selling a film that didn't exist yet."

Jaglom was there with a 16mm print of his first movie, "A Safe Place," which had failed in the U.S., and saw how Coppola was raising money territory by territory.
Jaglom asked his actor friend Zack Norman, who'd raised the financing for his first three films and has appeared in Jaglom's movies ever since, "Why can't we just do this on a smaller level?

If Francis is getting $300,000 from Germany, maybe we can get $60,000 from Germany.

"He cobbled together a million bucks for his 1976 drama "Tracks."

"My films started getting awards and doing well at art cinemas in Europe," he recalled, but he "couldn't get anybody to come in America."

As his reputation in Europe grew, distributors started advancing him money: "I remember one contract was called Jaglom's Number 6, 7 & 8."
He's been following that pattern happily ever after.

Holding the line on budgets -- "Irene" cost a little over $2 million -- maintains Jaglom's filmmaking independence.

This way Jaglom can finance his movies by selling their foreign rights but still retain ownership of their negatives for the U.S. and other English-speaking countries.

He distributes his own pictures plus acquisitions (like the Monty Python films and the Oscar-winning doc "Hearts and Minds") through Rainbow.

That gives him a dependable stream of financing to support his modest budgets and to make films the way he wants to. Jaglom (hammering the point home):

"The way I want isn't the way studios would like it.

This keeps me in business because I don't have to go to anybody.

"Looking back he shares some sage advice from Orson Welles, ( above )his great friend and mentor:

"The best thing about this is you have nobody looking over your shoulder."
No question Welles knew what that felt like.

Jaglom (sadly): "I think it was because I watched Orson and saw the way they made it impossible for him to make films in this town that I decided I'm never going to be dependent.

"Welles (to Jaglom over a long lunch):

"Never depend upon Hollywood to be your source of financing.

You do a couple of films that they're not going to like and you're going to be in trouble for the rest of your career.

"Ironically, Jaglom's approach is helping to keep the old studio system alive.

"In a mini-way," he suggests.

Jaglom loves reading Hollywood history and one of his favorites is the wonderful collection of Selznick's memos about how he produced classics like "Gone With the Wind," "Rebecca" and "The Third Man."

"His son, Danny Selznick, was at my screening last night," he told me, referring to "Irene's" premiere.
"He was saying something very nice about the film afterwards and I said, 'You know, if it weren't for your father, it wouldn't be occurring to me to be doing what I'm doing here.'"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Agents of Change.....David Lonner, Chuck Roven and Barry Mendel

'Funny People's' Mendel Boned Up for the Biz

Historically, few Hollywood agents have become successful film producers, and probably none in the past 50 years has done better than Barry Mendel, whose Judd Apatow film “Funny People” opens this week.

Twice nominated for Oscars, (“The Sixth Sense,” “Munich”), Mendel began agenting as a way to learn the business while figuring out his true path.

He talked with Eric Estrin about how he landed his first client -- and which line from “Rushmore” sums up his life.

I was in bands when I was young, and I moved to L.A. in hopes of making money as a musician.

It wasn’t terrible, but I was barely getting by.

After a while, I decided to just bail and give up the dream.

I thought maybe I could get a job as a creative executive in Hollywood -- I was a creative person, and I would see that job title when I read the trades.

But no one would hire me.

I somehow forced my way into interviews, and people would say, “There’s like a million people who want these jobs, and most of them are more qualified than you.”

Then I would ask how did they get started.

They all seemed to start in the mailrooms of agencies.

That’s where David Geffen started;

that’s where Bernie Brillstein started;

that’s where directors like Walter Hill and John Badham started.

Everything goes through agencies.

And then I thought:

I know a lot of movies, but I have no credits, no experience, no years in the business, no Type-A personality, no major relationships.

If I try to work in movies, what am I gonna bring to the table?

I thought, well, writers and directors of movies, and actors, too, respect people who know a lot about film.

That’s one thing I can control.

I decided to become the most well versed person about film in the room at the beginning of my career as a way of having a reason to be there without feeling like a complete faker.

I started watching movies and making lists of all the films that were nominated for Best Screenplay, or all the films that were nominated for Best Director, or all the films of Ingmar Bergman or whoever.

So over the course of five years, it was like my predilections came out by forcing myself to watch so many films.

Really, through that process I discovered who I was and what my taste was.

It happened in a very simple but unconscious way.

While that was going on, I got an interview for ICM’s training program, and I gave them the answers I figured they were looking for.

I got the job.

Then I found out this novelist who I’d really admired was also a very prestigious screenwriter, and that was Calder Willingham.

So I wrote him a two-page letter in care of his publisher, asking him why he hadn’t published anything lately.

He called me a few months later and asked me to represent him.

I wasn’t even a full agent, but he became my first client.

I began working with him and developed other clients as well and eventually got to become an agent and represent people.

When he died suddenly from lung cancer, I realized that doing that job for him was almost something I would have done for free.

It was a great learning experience -- I couldn’t believe I got to do it.

It almost made me euphoric in a way.

The rest of my work representing other clients and stuff like that was more of a job.

It was a good job; it paid well and it gave me great access, and I learned a lot about the business, but it was a job.

So after he died I was curious if there was a profession I could enter where I felt that great sense of euphoria all the time.

I came to believe that there was -- and that producing was it.

I was offered a lot of jobs as a studio executive when I was an agent.

I had really good clients that reflected my sensibilities, and people knew that I really worked hard on the scripts with writers or worked hard on the movies for directors and really helped those people with their creative decision-making.

Also, I had proven that I knew the business side.

So as the offers kept coming and I realized it was time for me to become a producer, I would just say, I don’t want to be a studio executive --

but if you want to work with me, here’s a way to do it.

I was fortunate enough to get that call from Hollywood Pictures at the time Michael Lynton and Charles Hirschhorn were running it in 1996, and they were kind enough to give me a deal and to stake me.

I failed pretty badly for a couple of years.

But then toward the end of my deal, the last people that I would have expected came around. Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson called.

They said, “Hey, do you want to produce this movie we’re trying to do … ‘Rushmore’?”

And right around the same time, I got a call from M. Night Shyamalan, who was interested in talking to me about working on the “The Sixth Sense.”

So at the last minute, it turned around for me.

Everybody spends a lot of time trying to figure out, “Do I make this move or that move,” and my belief is, No, you don’t need to do any of that.

Everybody has their own unique course of action.

You need to follow your own course and listen to yourself.

And if you do that, it’ll take you where you’re meant to go.

That’s actually what Max Fischer said in “Rushmore.”

The Bill Murray character asked him, “What’s the secret, Max?”

And he said, “I don’t know, I think you’ve just gotta find something you like to do and then do it for the rest of your life.”

I guess that’s the ticket.

Morris Agent Lonner To Join Chuck Roven

Former William Morris agent David Lonner( above ) isn't just finalizing his deal to become an independent manager.
I'm told he and Atlas Entertainment founder and workaholic film producer

Chuck Roven (The Dark Knight, Get Smart) want to join up in a

talent management company together.

Roven ( above )has always kept his hand in the management biz after starting two incredibly successful management companies --

for musicians with 3rd Rail's Bob Cavallo that was bigtime for 10 years, and for motion picture talent with Jimmy Miller that sequed into Mosaic for another decade.

"Look, Chuck is a great producer and smart businessman and he adds a lot of value to David," a source tells me.

There's no formal deal set, but I hear both parties want to get this venture up and running in the fall.

For the past 3 1/2 months since I first reported that Lonner wouldn't make the merge with WME, he's been talking to every significant management biz --

360, 3 Arts, Brillstein, etc.

But I hear Roven called him and said, "Look, I'll tell you what I told Bob Cavallo way back when:

you represent great talent, and I want to bet on you."

(Amazing to me that Variety left this info out of its Lonner story Monday.

The trade didn't know...)

pre Michael Jackson, IN 1943....this is how they did it......

LBN-SEE IT:....Super-model Kate Moss.....

The Crazy Career of Ben Silverman
From big parties to white tigers, the man certainly knew how to get attention.

By Daniel Frankel

Ben Silverman has been constantly scrutinized ever since he was at the William Morris Agency.

A look back at some moments that will define his career, both personally and professionally.

1992 -- Silverman, 21, graduates magna cum laude from Tufts University, where he majored in history.

1993 -- After a short stint in the international programming department at CBS, Silverman goes to work for Brandon Tartikoff at New World Entertainment, heading comedy and live-action development for the company’s recently acquired Marvel Entertainment property.

1995 -- Silverman joins William Morris, where he becomes the agency’s youngest division head, leading the international packaging unit and heading up the London office.

He develops a reputation for spotting foreign formats and closing deals. He also becomes known as an enthusiastic partier.

2002 -- Silverman becomes an independent producer, with Barry Diller’s USA Entertainment setting him up as the founder of Reveille.

The company has a hit almost right out of the gate with “The Restaurant,” which was co-created by Mark Burnett.

Notably, the show is financed almost entirely by integrated sponsorship from companies including American Express, Coors and Mitsubishi.

Other successful launches follow, including foreign-format adaptations such as NBC’s

“The Office” and ABC’s “Ugly Betty.”

May, 2007 -- Silverman is chosen as co-chair of NBC Entertainment, along with Marc Graboff, replacing the recently re-upped Kevin Reilly at the struggling network.

For Silverman, the honeymoon ends quickly.

July, 2007 -- Addressing a summer Television Critics Association session, ABC president Stephen McPherson suggests that Silverman should “be a man” and publicly explain his alleged role in having Reilly, McPherson’s Cornell fraternity brother, fired.

He also calls Silverman “either clueless or stupid” for trying to bring actor Isaiah Washington over to NBC, even though the actor is still under contract with ABC to do “Grey’s Anatomy.”

February, 2008 -- Still holding a significant stake in Reveille while pushing to get even more Reveille shows on the NBC schedule.

(Australian format adaptation “Kath & Kim,” among them), Silverman helps negotiate a $125 million deal with Elisabeth Murdoch, president of the U.K.’s Shine Entertainment, to sell the company.

March, 2008 -- Silverman crafts an innovative deal with DirecTV, in which the satellite operator will share production costs on “Friday Night Lights” in exchange for shared exclusive windows.

The deal keeps the critically lauded but ratings-challenged series on the air.

May, 2008 -- As he was settling into lunch at the Universal executive dining hall with studio chief Ron Meyer, Silverman was verbally acosted by agent Ari Emanuel,

who was seething after the TV executive had blown off meetings with clients David Maisel, president of Marvel Studios, and Peter Berg, executive producer of NBC’s “Friday Night Lights.”

Emanuel’s shakedown included references to Silverman’s lifestyle and the alleged affect it has on his job performance.

Indeed, at this point, Silverman’s reputation for big parties is beginning to get the best of him.

Earlier in the month, Silverman had hired bikini models to greet visitors at an upfront party. And several months prior, at an Emmy-related affair, he had a caged white tiger brought in.

December, 2008 -- With fall-season launches “Knight Rider,” “Lipstick Jungle” and “My Own Worst Enemy” all failing, it’s not Silverman who takes the fall but Katherine Pope, president of Universal Media Studios.

Silverman is accused of quietly undermining Pope. Also caught in the carnage are Teri Weinberg, exec VP of NBC Entertainment and reality head Craig Plestis.

July, 2009 -- With NBC still mired in the same position it was when Silverman joined the network two years earlier, last place, the executive leaves to once again partner with Diller on a new venture.

Here is Cab Calloway and his band doing "Jumpin' Jive," and as if that't not enough, he's joined midway through the song by the incomparable Nicholas Brothers:

and here's Michael Jackson and the Nicholas Brothers, 1977
***Netflix' recent contest, which offered $1 million to anyone who could significantly improve its movie recommendation system, ended on Sunday.
Two teams are tied but the winner will not be declared until September.
The New York Times takes a look at the contest, which began in October 2006, and the legacy it has left behind.
***According to a tipster, a meeting was called on Monday at the New York offices of William Morris Endeavor where Cara Stein, COO of WME-NY,
informed agency assistants, most of whom came from William Morris in the merger with Endeavor, that their salaries are being slashed drastically, some down to $10 an hour.
A rumor that such a thing might be happening was floated last month. Now it's been confirmed

***Revolvers cannot be silenced because of the noisy gasses which escape the cylinder gap at the rear of the barrel.
*** The largest rhinestone in the world weighs 59 pounds and is almost a foot in diameter.
It can be viewed at the Liberace Museum.
***Cats can hear ultrasound waves.
***Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.
***The highest point in Pennsylvania is lower than the lowest point in Colorado.

"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another."
- Jonathan Swift.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kutcher: Media Turning Back Over to Consumers.....

Kutcher: Media Turning Back Over to Consumers
Fortune confab focuses on Twitter, from philanthropy to politics to movies.

By Lucas Shaw

The focus moved to Twitter at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech Conference as Ashton Kutcher, who has nearly 3 million followers on the social network, extolled the many uses of the site -- from philanthropic projects to political campaigns to promoting a movie.

Still, Kutcher did also manage to go beyond the barrage of Twitter questions to note how the site embodies a far greater trend --
the emergence of digital media and the imminent dominance of the consumer as a content creator.

“We’re turning media back over to the consumers of the media,” he said.
“They are becoming the creators of the media and the editors of the media.
Through that collaboration that is existing on the web, that has and will forever change media."

Kutcher has tried to seize on this trend with his company, Katalyst Media, which has divisions for TV, feature film and digital content.
Though technically separate divisions, Kutcher emphasizes the overlap between them and tries to find ways to bring them together.

“We’ve been able to successfully produce content in other environments,” Kutcher said.
“We can produce it on the web and cross that over -- web content becomes TV content, and TV content becomes web content.”

Echoing IAC Chairman Barry Diller, who spoke earlier in the morning, Kutcher said that this convergence was furthering the decline of traditional advertising -- or in the case of the web, display advertising.

“People who have grown up on the internet have trained themselves to not really see it, remember it or retain it,” he said.

Others suffering from the transition to digital include Kutcher and his colleagues -- the movie stars.
“You can make good content for $3 or $5,000 and not pay movie stars,” he said.
“They are not going to be able to demand the fees that they get and will become less and less relevant.”

Kutcher, whose acting career has suffered of late, found increasing relevance through Twitter, where he has more followers than CNN.

Diller, Katzenberg Differ on Marriage of Hollywood and New Media

Diller, Katzenberg Differ on Marriage of Hollywood and New Media

One sees creative destruction; the other, eternal union.

By Lucas Shaw

Jeffrey Katzenberg and Barry Diller both worked together in Hollywood when Diller was the CEO of Paramount and Katzenberg was head of production.

But at Fortune's Brainstorm conference in Pasadenan on Friday, the two clearly had very different ideas of how Hollywood and the New Media interact.

Diller, now the CEO of IAC, forecast the technologies would mean “creative destruction” for traditional distributors like movie studios.

Katzenberg, now the CEO of Dreamworks animation, declared the eternal union of technology and the movie business.

“There’s a 20th century notion of the convergence of Silicon Valley and Hollywood,” he said at Fortune's Brainstorm conference in Pasadena.

"That is an Old School notion.

Today the level of integration between technology and Hollywood -- be it in creation, production or distribution of creative content -- is ubiquitous.

We're married, for better or worse.”

Katzenberg also said at the confab that 3D TVs would appear in households by early 2010 and be usable without 3D glasses “in a handful of years.”

Katzenberg called technology “the essence of what we do” and said that if DreamWorks were a car, “then Hewlett Packard is our engine.”

The creator of that engine, HP Chairman, CEO and President Mark Hurd, echoed Katzenberg’s sentiments regarding 3D, adding that it was now all dependent on content.

“I don’t think this is an issue of the base technology,” Hurd said.

“I’m on the board of a media company, NewsCorp.

We need content.”

Katzenberg countered that content, as evidenced by this year’s slate of 3D movies, is at a higher level than he could have imagined.

“There is a wave of extraordinary product coming that is taking what used to be a goofy gimmick and turned it into a great platform for storytelling,” he said.

“It’s a form of immersion in storytelling that I think changes the movie theater experience.”

Despite 3D’s looming invasion of the home, Katzenberg does not believe it can replace the experience of seeing a movie in a theater.

“Going to a movie theater in terms of the quality is like going to a live sporting event versus seeing it on a TV at home,” he said.

“There is no comparison.

You go to Lakers game -- be there in the auditorium with 18, 20,000 fans -- it's not analogous to the home.”

Not afraid to compliment his own product, Katzenberg noted few competitors to Dreamworks’ animated films among those public experiences.

“There is no out-of-home experience that is better,” he said.

“The ability to deliver a high quality dependable product, particularly in our case to families, is playing really well.”

Similarly, he trumpeted his company’s sustained success in the DVD market, which stands in contrast to the industry trend.

“Our movies are not a movie purchase but a toy purchase,” Katzenberg said.

“It is a DVD which your kids will watch 50 or 100 times.”

Still, the focus remained the two CEOs' collaboration and their mutual need of the other for success.

“Every aspect, every facet of our process of creating and producing digital images, which are getting more and more complex, is dependent upon not just the hardware that we get from HP but the [information technology] function,” Katzenberg said.

“I look at what Google is to search, HP has become that to IT.”


Describing the Internet as a system with three different revenue streams,

IAC chairman Barry Diller disputed the theory that the web is a free business environment and warned that “creative destruction” lay ahead for traditional distributors like televisions stations and movie studios.

“In the Internet there is this mythology that it’s a free system, which of course it really isn’t and is not going to be,” Diller said.

“Content was put out on the theory that maybe there’d be a business model for it, put out on the theory that we’ll get an audience and money will follow that audience.

”Diller, whose company has both retail sites like Expedia and the original content site The Daily Beast, spoke at the Fortune Brainstorm conference on Friday in Pasadena.

As for where the new revenue streams come from, the former head of both Paramount and Fox identified advertising, subscription and pure pay as the three sources.

However, he clarified that when it comes to advertising, traditional advertising was already a habit on its way out.

Part of the evolution of the Internet will be different kinds of advertising, Diller said, citing the example of a Bottega Veneta ad on IAC’s which was “more like the art advertising you see in Vanity Fair books.”

However, unlike the agglomeration that occurred among the studios, Diller predicted the reverse – the decline of traditional distributors.
Since anyone has the ability to publish content onto the web, Diller questioned how such distributors could continue to survive.

Diller conceded he could be wrong were “someone to come along and squeeze the pipe, as it was by distributors of the past, and be the toll bridge taker.”
But he quickly added that he did not think that would happen.

Apple joins forces with record labels

Apple joins forces with record labels

By Matthew Garrahan in Los Angeles, Kenneth Li in New York and Joseph Menn in San Francisco

Apple is working with the four largest record labels to stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads, in a move it hopes will change buying trends on its online iTunes store.

The talks come as Apple is separately racing to offer a portable, full-featured, tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution.
The device could be launched alongside the new content deals, including those aimed at stimulating sales of CD-length music, according to people briefed on the project.

Physical album sales have fallen sharply as music retailing has evolved from CD album purchases in retail outlets to digital downloads of songs from online stores.

Although consumers continue to purchase large amounts of digital music, they are buying individual tracks rather than higher-margin albums.

Apple is working with EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group, on a project the company has codenamed “Cocktail”, according to four people familiar with the situation.
The labels and Apple are working towards a September launch date for the project, which aims to boost interest in albums by bundling liner notes and video clips with the music.

“It’s all about re-creating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork, while you listened to the music,” said one executive familiar with the plans.

Apple wants to make bigger purchases more compelling by creating a new type of interactive album material, including photos, lyric sheets and liner notes that allow users to click through to items that they find most interesting.
Consumers would be able to play songs directly from the interactive book without clicking back into Apple’s iTunes software, executives said.

“It’s not just a bunch of PDFs,” said one executive.
“There’s real engagement with the ancillary stuff.”

The music companies declined to comment.

Album sales in the US fell 14 per cent in 2008 to 428.4m units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks retail sales data.

The new touch-sensitive device Apple is working on will have a screen that may be up to 10 inches diagonally.

It will connect to the internet like the iPod Touch – probably without phone capability but with access to Apple’s online stores .

Apple is gambling that it can succeed where everyone else has flopped, including Microsoft, which tirelessly pushed a tablet-ready version of its Windows operating system as a personal favourite of founder Bill Gates.

The entertainment industry is hoping that Apple, which revolutionised the markets for music players and phones, can do it again with the new device.

“It’s going to be fabulous for watching movies,” said one entertainment executive.

Book publishers have been in talks with Apple and are optimistic about their services being offered with the new computer, which could provide an alternative to Amazon’s Kindle.

Power of Attorneys

Power Lawyers Jake Bloom, left, Bert Fields and Patty Glaser know that desperate times call for desperate measures. (Illustration by Chris Morris)

Power of Attorneys

A tenacious Hollywood lawyer is more important than ever
July 23, 2009, 06:30 PM ET

"It's really rough out there."
That's a top talent attorney bemoaning the economic sea changes washing over every corner of Hollywood -- yes, even the lawyers are feeling the pinch.
And yet, as studios squeeze star salaries and the credit crunch slows the pace of deal activity, compiling The Hollywood Reporter's third annual list of the 100 most influential entertainment lawyers in America was no easy task.
From high-stakes litigation like the battle between Warner Bros. and Fox over "Watchmen" to the yearlong maneuvering that paired DreamWorks with India's Reliance Big Entertainment and Disney, the industry's most compelling dramas increasingly cast lawyers in the starring roles.
To put together the list, we again solicited nominations from the community on our entertainment law blog, then dove into our own research on the deals closed, the cases won and the clients signed.
Some attorneys are such mainstays in the business that they've made the list each year, others are appearing for the first time based on recent performance.
Only U.S.-based attorneys are eligible, and no full-time law professors or in-house studio or network lawyers are allowed --
except one,
Warner Bros. president of worldwide business affairs Steve Spira, who is this year's Raising the Bar Studio Lawyer Award honoree at THR's Power Lawyers breakfast on July 24.
To mix things up, we asked a few Power Lawyers veterans to give us some free legal advice.
Read closely, this wisdom usually costs hundreds of dollars an hour.
We consider this issue less a power list than a reference guide to 100 amazing entertainment attorneys.
It is really rough out there.
That's why you need a good lawyer.

-- Matthew Belloni

Mariah, Diddy, Lil Wayne and Several other albums delayed this summer

Several albums delayed this summer
Mariah Carey, Diddy, Lil Wayne projects rescheduled
By Mariel Concepcion, Billboard
July 27, 2009, 06:38 PM ET
Some of the most highly anticipated albums of the summer have been delayed, including Mariah Carey's "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel," Sean "Diddy" Combs' "Last Train to Paris" and Lil Wayne's rock-and-roll album "Rebirth."
Carey's "Memoirs," first slated for an Aug. 25 release via Island Def Jam will now be available on Sept. 15 according to the Universal Music Group business-to-business Web site.
Carey's new single, "Obsessed," is at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week.

Combs said via a video interview with MTV News last week that his project's been delayed partially because it's "Jay-Z time and Drake time --
enjoy those guys.
But the 'Train' is coming, baby," he said.
"Get your ticket; you don't want to be left out.

"Lil Wayne's label publicist confirmed to that his release date has also been moved, although a new date hasn't been scheduled yet.
"Rebirth" was last slated for a June 23 street date.
In addition, Amerie's long-awaited return, "In Love & War," which was originally slated for an Aug. 11 release, will now be available Sept. 8.
Lead single, "Why R U," reached No. 62 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart this week.

Wall Street awaits biggies' bounce.....

Wall Street awaits biggies' bounce
Investors want to see real evidence of recovery

By Georg Szalai

July 27, 2009, 06:59 PM ET

As publicly traded entertainment giants report their quarterly results during the next two weeks, Wall Street will read the tea leaves even more than usual as investors try to get a better handle on how fast to expect a more tangible recovery of the economy and the advertising market.
Given a rally in many media and entertainment stocks since the market's lows in March, a growing number of people have argued that real evidence of --
rather than just talk of --
improvement is needed now for stocks to continue the upward push.
During the previous quarterly earnings season, many sector CEOs highlighted that advertising seems to have bottomed out and could gain momentum in the back half of the year.
But ad conglom CEOs suggested in recent days that ads will return to growth mode only next year.
"We're still down year-over-year even as ad comparisons get easier, and it's increasingly concerning that we aren't seeing that recovery bounce," Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield said.
"That's going to be the real challenge for the whole sector from a stock standpoint over the next three to six months.
This earnings season and beyond, it will be interesting to see how management teams begin to alter their body language.
"Overall, expect sector biggies to post weaker bottom lines, even though operating profit, which excludes special items, could rise in some cases thanks to cost cuts.
The ad challenges mean that broadcast TV units will be a spot of weakness again this earnings season, while film departments will report mixed figures as a solid boxoffice will often be offset by weaker DVD sales.
Here is a look at some of the key trends and figures expected from the big publicly traded U.S. entertainment firms:

"Second-quarter ads firmed, but Paramount still a drag (Imagine That)," summarized Sanford Bernstein analyst Michael Nathanson in the title of a recent report.
The "Imagine" reference is to the expensive recent Eddie Murphy boxoffice flop, for which he expects a write-down of $40 million-$50 million.
UBS analyst Michael Morris expects Viacom's revenue to fall 12% to $3.39 billion, with a 26% drop in operating income to $582 million.
Results are expected to fall right into the broader trend of weaker ad and DVD sales, particularly given a strong year-ago home entertainment performance.
Plus, not enough of the better-than-expected boxoffice of recent Pixar release "Up" will fall into the current quarter to offset its marketing costs.
Still, Nathanson expects Disney to exceed Street views.
"Under CEO Bob Iger, Disney has been a 'beat' machine with upside surprises in 12 of the last 14 quarters," he said.
Morris predicts a 2.4% revenue decline to $864 million but eyes a 13.8% operating income gain to $258 million.
Time Warner

More than any other entertainment biggie, TW will get questions on possible deal activity -- from its planned separation of AOL this year to a possible sale of parts of the Time Inc. magazine unit and a possible bid for DreamWorks Animation, about which there has been some market chatter.
Morris projects an 8% revenue decline for TW to $6.85 billion and a 14% drop in operating income before depreciation and amortization to $1.38 billion.
News Corp.

With the latest quarter being its fiscal fourth, all analysts' eyes will be on its first operating income guidance for just-started fiscal 2010 and the baked-in ad market expectations.
For the quarter, Morris expects a 9% revenue decline to $7.83 billion and operating income of $934 million, down 37%.

CBS Corp.

What will the most ad-dependent sector biggie of them all say about the ad market outlook and the stalling upfront?
Most still expect major challenges, even if management often has been bullish.
"During the second quarter, we believe ad revenue declined at a similar rate to the first quarter (-16%)," Morris said.
He expects total revenue to be down 10.4% to $3.04 billion, with operating income off 66.8% at $211 million.
NBC Universal
The firm recently reported its quarterly results as part of General Electric's earnings, with the cable networks bringing in another solid performance, while the film operation was weaker amid fewer DVD releases and a flop in "Land of the Lost."
NBC Uni's second-quarter dropped 41% to $539 million, compared with a 49% decline at GE overall.
But the departure of NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman, announced Monday, grabbed more attention.
Given the strength of NBC Uni's cable networks, few were surprised that Jeff Gaspin expanded his oversight beyond them with the post of chairman, NBC Universal Television Entertainment.