Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Asian media back on track...Long-term prospects returning to normal after recent dip


Knowing what you can not do is more important than knowing what you can do.

In fact, that's good taste. (1954)


***In a new interview with Wonderland, Megan Fox says that I definitely have some kind of mental problem and I haven't pinpointed what it is."

Perhaps one symptom is an outsized sense of her own significance?

In the interview, Fox compares herself to Marilyn Monroe, saying "I could end up like that because I constantly struggle with the idea that I think I'm a borderline personality or that I have bouts of mild schizophrenia.

Fox also uses the opportunity to bash Transformers director Michael Bay, who she says is like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous mad-man reputation.

He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is.

So he's a nightmare to work [for].

***Brett Ratner -- who directed the successful "Rush Hour" movies and "X-Men 3" -- lost on his investment in the Fontainebleau resort in Las Vegas, but he has no hard feelings against his old pal Jeff Soffer, the high-living developer behind Fontainebleau ventures in Sin City and Miami.

"Brett fell victim to the real-estate crash," a Miami insider said.

"He invested with Jeff, his childhood friend, and lost."

***Heidi Klum wasn't an overnight success.

"After [winning a German modeling contest], I thought, 'This is my ticket.

Things will happen.

' But they didn't," the Teutonic temptress says.

"I could never book a job.

I was walking around New York for three or four years," Klum recalls.

Then, Page Six spotted her at a Victoria's Secret show, dubbed her "The Body," and the rest was history.


Strange is our situation here upon earth.

Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose.

From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know:

That we are here for the sake of others...for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy.

Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.


1. I know actors who have taken more vacation time in the last six months than I have taken in the last 30 years.

No wonder their lazy asses are broke and unemployed.

2. I am like the Henry Higgins for the Eliza Doolittle of this E-Lert. Happily so.

3. Losers are losers because they haven't gotten clear in their own heads what they want to do.

4. Let's face it - Facebook is great for time wasting, kids hooking up and cyber stalking.

***Shout back at Ericka, e-mail - LBNElert@TimeWire.net (Please put Ericka T. Bass in the subject line).

***Note: The opinions of Ericka T. Bass are those of her and her alone and don't necessarily represent the opinions of the LBN E-Lert or it's staff).


*** Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott were seen hanging out on a beach in Malibu with children and friends.

*** Scarlett Johansson was spotted holding court at a private back table at Teddy's inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with husband Ryan Reynolds.

*** While in Vancouver to work on separate films, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens spent the night out together with Jenna Malone at Blue Water Caf & Raw Bar.

*** Kanye West chatted on his phone during a shopping trip at Intermix in Los Angeles with Amber Rose.

Asian media back on track

Long-term prospects returning to normal after recent dip

September 07, 2009

By Patrick Frater


The Asian media industry scene has been dented but scarcely damaged by the global recession.

After a brief slowdown in some sectors, the investment outlook for Asian media is much the same today as it was a year or two ago – it requires patience, but for investors taking a long-term approach, the prospects look rosy.

Versions of that message were repeated by delegate after delegate at Monday's Asia Media Summit conference in Hong Kong, organized by research house Media Partners Asia.

"The recession has had no noticeable impact on pay-TV subscriptions, though Average Revenue Per User has been flat," said Grant Ferguson, chief financial officer at Malaysia's Astro All Asia Networks.

"Indeed, radio has done better than we expected as some advertisers have traded down from TV.

"India slowed down, it didn't go negative," said Rajesh Kamat, CEO of hugely successful upstart Hindi broadcaster Colors, a joint venture with Viacom.

"India still has a young population and is buying like crazy.

"Hary Tanoesoedibjo, CEO of Indonesian pay-TV operator Media Nusantara Citra, said his company had enjoyed subscriptions growth in 2009 and that ad spend had climbed 8%.

"Free-to-air ad growth will remain at over 10% per year for the next five-year and grow as a proportion of GDP," he said.

In other cases the economic slowdown may have forced companies to rethink their business plans and restructure their businesses faster than they might have otherwise.

"People have reset their businesses because of things like access to the debt markets," said Ben Way, managing director and CEO of Macquarie Korea Opportunity Fund, who manages major stakes in TV businesses in Korea and Taiwan.

"Asia hasn't yet seen the full effect of the shakeup, there will be more cases of spin-offs and bringing in of strategic partners.

"Richard Shim, executive vice president of Korea's CJ Media, said that Korean media firms had definitely suffered in the macro-economic downturn, but as a result CJ Media is now looking more at international expansion.

This may include a home-shopping joint venture in India with STAR TV, similar to its pact in China with Shanghai Media Group.

MPA boss Vivek Couto forecast that media earnings will return to double-digit growth from 2010, with the rebound driven by various forms of digital media – by pay-TV platforms and broadcasters across the region and by online in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

Even in the biggest most mature markets like Japan, where the cost of digitization is hurting companies, growth is possible.

Tomoyuki Moriizumi, CEO of leading cable network operator Jupiter Telecommunications, said his company is stressing video-on-demand and high definition.

Last year, his company enjoyed 28% growth in VoD, with revenues hitting Y2.8 billion ($30 million).

Another recurring theme was that demand for local-language content is growing across the region.

"Ten or 12 years ago you could build a pay-TV operation on international product.

But Asia has refocused on itself.

There is an infinite demand for the vernacular.

The next best is internationalized or repurposed international content," said Ferguson.

There was a similar message from Bharat Kumar Ranga, COO of India's Zee TV, and who has launched a Russian-language service, a Bahasa-language service in Malaysia and HD channel Vevia in the U.S.

"South Asians are everywhere, they are affluent and Asian channels do well abroad."

Album sales down for July, August

Dipped 13.6% for combined two-month period

By Glenn Peoples, Billboard

Sept 4, 2009, 05:02 PM ET


August album sales were down 18.1% versus the same period last year and were 37.2% lower than the August 2007, according to Billboard analysis of data at Nielsen SoundScan.

In the combined period of July and August, album sales were 13.6% lower than the period in 2008 and 28.7% lower than 2007.

The horrible month of August, which had the worst year-over-year deficit of the entire year, was preceded by relatively good sales in July.

That five-week period, starting June 28 and ending August 1, was down only 10.3% versus the same five-week period in 2008 and 22.8% compared to 2007.

Year to date (through the week ending August 30), album sales were down 14.5% versus 2008 and 31.1% versus 2007.

Track Equivalent Albums (TEAs) are down 12.9% in August but only 6% in July.

For the three-month June-August period, TEAs were down 11.3%. Year-to date, TEAs are down 9.1%.

TEA is a metric that expresses both album and track sales in one measure.

To calculate TEAs, tracks are converted into albums and then added to actual album sales.

Using TEAs allows for comparisons of consumer spending over periods in which dollars are going to tracks instead of albums.

One reason TEAs are performing worse in recent months is weak sales of track downloads.

Since February, weekly sales of tracks has dropped from the 25 million-per-week range to 21-22 million in July and 20-21 million in August.

(January sales are not used for comparative purposes because of the seasonal, post-Christmas sales spike that extends through the month.)

It must be noted, however, that the cause of the drop in track sales - variable pricing and $1.29 at iTunes for most hit songs - has resulted in an increase in wholesale revenue to labels.

Due to the changes in wholesale prices at the most popular download stores, variable pricing makes today's TEAs less comparable to pre-variable pricing TEAs.

Neverland Owners’ Trademark Requests for Jackson Souvenirs

By: Roger Friedman //

Monday September 7, 2009

Michael Jackson’s partners in his Neverland Ranch, Colony Capital LLC, have filed 20 trademark requests to brand the ranch for souvenirs with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

I do mean lots of souvenirs.

Here’s a partial list of where Colony would like to see the Neverland name stamped.

If they’ve forgotten something, it beats me:

Games and playthings, namely: plush toys, paper dolls, dolls and accessories, toy action figures, toy vehicles, toy cars, toy trucks, toy bucket and shovel sets, roller skates, toy model hobbycraft kits, musical toys, jigsaw puzzles, badminton sets, bubble making wand and solution sets, toy banks, puppets, toy balloons, yo-yos, kites, baseball bats, balls of all kind, play wands, board games, playing cards, and children’s games to play during travel;

ornaments, and decorations for a Christmas tree; sporting goods, museum services- namely: operating a museum in Michael Jackson’s former home and providing tours thereof;

providing theme park services;

entertainment services, namely: live shows and events;

tennis and golf resort services; recreation and sporting club services;

organization of meetings and conferences as well as clothing, footwear, headgear, and printed matter, namely: post cards, holiday/greeting cards, art prints, art reproductions, bumper stickers, stickers, decals, tissue/giftwrap, printed tickets, posters, wall calendars, flags and pennants of paper, printed and paper emblems, brochures, catalogs, and merchandise bags;

books, namely: non-fiction books about Michael Jackson, activity books, address books, appointment books, coloring books, picture books, and comic books; paper and paper articles, namely: photographs, stationery, memo pads, notebooks, envelopes, pencil sharpeners, pen and pencil cases and boxes, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, paper weights, staplers, binders, notebooks, stationery consisting of writing paper and envelopes, memo pads, writing tablets, paper table cloths, paper napkins, paper coasters, and paper mats;

money clips, and in keeping with Michael Jackson’s theme of peace — toy rockets, toy guns, toy holsters.

Got the picture?

The requests were made on August 12, 2009. Sycamore Valley Ranch, which made the filings, is the joint venture of Colony Capital LLC and Michael Jackson.

Of course, the problem with at least some of this is that the town of Los Olivos, California, where Neverland fills 2,900 acres, is against the ranch being turned into a Graceland-style museum.

The road that leads to Neverland is a country two lane blacktop that runs through horse country.

A private school sits across the street from the Neverland entrance.

Colony has invested over $50 million in Neverland so far.

They probably figure they’re going to make their money back somehow.

Of course, they don’t seem to realize that Jackson had parted company with Neverland in June 2005 and didn’t want to go back.

And that there are many associations with the ranch, including police raids, searches for evidence and pornography.

Jay Leno is probably getting Back to School jokes ready right now.

But Thomas Barrack, who owns Colony, lives in the county and sources say he is pressing on the local government to give him what he wants.

Whether or nor he succeeds remains uncertain.

In the meantime, I think they should make Neverland into a Playmobil Playset where the gates open to find zoo animals, rollercoasters, and several Rolls Royces and Bentleys.

Featured characters could include Colony’s Tohme Tohme, Bubbles the Chimp, Shmuley Boteach, and Tatum O’Neal.

The, er, attempted selling of Michael Jackson continues.

(A tip of the hat to michaeljackson.hu)

Beatles join digital age with re-master, game

Re-mastered catalog is first overhaul since 1987

By Mike Collett-White and Douglas MacLaurin, Reuters

Sept 7, 2009, 07:17 AM ET

LONDON -- The Beatles take a step closer to selling their music online on Wednesday with the simultaneous release of the band's re-mastered catalog and the
MTV video game The Beatles: Rock Band.

The Beatles collection, available from 09/09/09, is expected to dominate the charts in key markets like the United States and Britain, bringing a windfall to the group's label EMI Music and the Fab Four's company Apple Corps Ltd.

Retailers who have seen physical music sales eroded over recent years are also gearing up for queues around the block for both the CDs and the video game, an added bonus after Michael Jackson's death in June saw a spike in sales.

While the re-mastered catalog, its first overhaul since 1987, is seen appealing mainly to Beatles' fans who would appreciate subtle variations and improvements that technology has brought, most excitement surrounds MTV's video game.

"I think this (the game) is significant because it will enable the music to be heard by a new generation of fans," said Gennaro Castaldo of music and gaming retailer HMV in London.

"It just keeps the Beatles mythology growing and growing, so that's why it is so significant.

"The fact that, according to Billboard, the Beatles will soon allow fans to buy at least some of their music in digital form as extra downloadable content for the game, underlines how close the digital age may be.

"I think the Beatles music soon will be available everywhere," Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer George and who produced the music for the game, told Reuters at London's Abbey Road Studios where the band recorded.

Fans of arguably the world's most successful pop band, with album sales of more than 600 million worldwide, have waited for years to be able to download the Beatles' coveted body of work, but have been frustrated partly by a trademark dispute.

The new music collection comprises 12 Beatles albums in stereo, with track listings and artwork as originally released in Britain, and "Magical Mystery Tour," which became part of the Beatles' core catalog when the CDs were released in 1987.

In addition, the collections "Past Masters Vol. I and II" are combined as one title, making 14 titles overall.

Allan Rouse, who oversaw the re-mastering, said improved computer software had allowed his team to improve the quality and sound of the Beatles' catalog, including through removing bad edits, electrical clicks and sibilance.

"Obviously the only people who are going to notice those little things are the fans, because they will know that they've gone," Rouse told Reuters.

"But on the other hand, for the future generation, they probably don't want to hear things like sibilance and pop and a bad edit.

It's very close to listening to a master tape.

"Another obstacle to appreciating the changes is the dominance of iPods, he added.

"The sad fact of it is that so many people ... are going to rip them into their computer and put them onto their iPods, so yes, listening on an iPod you probably will find it very difficult to tell the difference.

"The game offers 45 songs from the band's catalog, each member is animated in detail and real crowd noise from Beatles' performances is used.

With video game sales falling sharply in the United States, the makers of The Beatles: Rock Band are aiming to appeal to older consumers who have not yet experimented with the format but may be attracted by their love of the music.

"It's becoming a family event because it's moved from the bedroom to the front room where the whole family can play," HMV's Castaldo said.

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