Showbiz Sandbox 215: How Many Music Streaming Services Does It Take To Make A Profit?

Just when you thought the online music streaming space couldn’t get any more crowded or competitive, along comes Deezer. The French company already boasts 5 million paying subscribers in 80 countries and now plans to launch in the United States, where Spotify and Pandora are the market leaders. However, none of these companies are actually profitable, which may be why services like Rdio went through a round of layoffs in November and Turtable.fm is shuttering.

Profitability seems to be an issue for Sony Pictures too. The movie studio lost $181 million last quarter leading to the announcement of significant cost cutting measures in the wake of some summer box office duds.

Disappointing earnings and a declining subscriber base are also a problem at Time Warner Cable. As telcos and satellite providers continue to erode their market share, rumors have begun swirling that the second largest cable operator in North America might be acquired by one or more of its competitors, including Comcast.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including the Thanksgiving weekend’s record breaking box office, “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark” lowers the curtains on its Broadway run and the mediocre sales figures of Lady Gaga’s latest album.

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Showbiz Sandbox 123: DVR Data Can Save TV Shows From Cancellation

It turns out your DVR can be helpful beyond just recording your favorite television shows. Examining which commercials you skip past might be able to help predict box office flops and monitoring which shows you watch can save a borderline series from being canceled. We’ll debate whether television networks and movie studios can benefit from the data being collected from your DVR.

Apple however may be trying to make your DVR obsolete. The long standing rumors that Apple might be working on a next generation television set have heated up once again. Would you welcome Apple into your living room?

Dozens of entries make up this year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar list, though all of them will ultimately be nominated. We’ll explain how the list ultimately gets whittled down to just five movies.

We also cover the week’s top entertainment headlines including why Hulu is no longer for sale, why Jonny Depp’s “Lone Ranger” is back in production and how Amazon plans to make publishers unnecessary.

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Showbiz Sandbox 96: Why Facebook Is Becoming Your Friendly Neighborhood Video Store

In their never ending quest to replace declining DVD revenue movie studios have begun renting movies on Facebook. Such partnerships are focused on more than just sales, or finding a Netflix competitor, they are also about marketing. As Facebook users rent and purchase movies they’ll be transformed into a social marketing army.

Mel Gibson made headlines again last week accepting a plea deal in his spousal battery case. Whether moviegoers will forgive Gibson for recent ethnic slurs and racist comments will be tested when his next film, “The Beaver”, premieres at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Meanwhile, Carlie Sheen, in between streaming his wacky behavior on the Internet, was also headed to court to file a $100 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. and sitcom producer Chuck Lorre.

Julie Taymor joined Sheen on the unemployment line. After spending nine years bringing the Broadway musical “Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark”, Taymor was replaced as the director of the expensive, beleaguered musical.

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Showbiz Sandbox 28: Why Spider-Man Is Hard Up For $52 Million

We don’t always talk about theater on the podcast, but Los Angeles Times staff writer John Horn wrote a story too good to resist. The Broadway debut of “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” has found its greatest enemy is the budget. Horn joins us to talk about the story behind one of the most troubled productions in Broadway history and how he got the scoop (not to mention the musical’s script, soundtrack and a video promo reel).

But first, Michael Giltz eats another serving of crow this week, as the Michael Jackson rehearsal documentary “This Is It” held up respectably and indie-darling “Precious” grossed a stunning $1,800,000 on just 18 theaters over the weekend. “Precious” will no doubt be nominated for a few Oscars come awards season. Speaking of the Academy Awards, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are teaming up to host next year’s Oscar telecast. Karen Woodward though the decision to go with Martin and Baldwin was dated and hopes they don’t hijack the show. On the other hand, Michael and J. Sperling Reich thought it was a good choice.

In more frivolous news, Nicolas Cage is suing his former money manager, Samuel J. Levin, for $20 million in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming he enriched himself while “sending Cage down a path toward financial ruin.” Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 28: Why Spider-Man Is Hard Up For $52 Million

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