Showbiz Sandbox 330: Rio Olympics Faces Competition for TV Viewers

The 2016 Summer Olympics are underway in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and there are more ways to watch the games than ever before. In the United States, NBC is broadcasting 6,800 hours of coverage from Rio across 11 television channels and 41 live online streams. We look at the declining TV ratings and whether all the action is happening in primetime or online. And does that even matter?

What didn’t seem to matter at all were the dozens of negative reviews movie critics skewered threw at the latest DC Comics adaptation, “Suicide Squad”. After being universally panned, the film went on to break global and North American box office records when it opened over the weekend.

The Television Critics Association summer press tour has proven to be a hotbed of video streaming news. For instance, Time Warner bought a 10% stake in Hulu and NBC let slip they will be announcing their own streaming plans soon. Meanwhile, rumors are circulating that Apple wants to build a TV guide to let everyone know how and where there favorite shows can be found.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including Oprah’s latest book club pick, the albums nominated for this year’s Mercury Prize and George R. R. Martin books another TV series.

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Showbiz Sandbox 223: The 2013 Worldwide Box Office – Who Won, Who Lost and Why

Thanks to surging theatrical grosses in countries such as Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia, the international box office more than doubled North American earnings in 2013, topping out at a record $25 billion. Though Hollywood studio content continues to dominate globally, receipts for local productions are beginning to play a more significant role in many markets. We provide a breakdown of the annual box office for of all the major territories and explain why some fared better than others.

Speaking of breaking records, the telecast of this year’s Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos had an audience of 112 million viewers. That makes it the most watched television show in U.S. history. As is often the case, the commercials proved more interesting than the game.

Last week the industry also mourned the tragic death of Oscar winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from what appears to be a drug overdose. Unfortunately, obit writers were also kept busy with the passing of folk musician Pete Seeger, studio executive Tom Sherak and legendary animator Arthur Rankin Jr.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including an Oscar nomination for Best Song gets rescinded, “Back to the Future” is being turned into a Broadway musical and Disney plans to reboot Chip ‘n Dale.

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Showbiz Sandbox 209: Why Twitter and Facebook Are Watching You Watch TV

Facebook and Twitter have entered into a fierce battle to hold sway over the conversations taking place around television shows. The social media giants intend to mine the viewing habits of millions of users for data that might be useful to television networks. Karen Woodward, a leading entertainment industry social media consultant, discusses whether social chatter can lead to higher ratings and more advertising revenue.

Meanwhile, as the end of the year nears everyone is talking about awards season. Thanks to the fall film festival circuit and industry previews, virtually all Oscar hopefuls have already been seen and the handicapping of frontrunners has begun. However, it may take a while to view all entries for Best Foreign Language Film that were submitted by a record 76 countries.

The popular music streaming service Spotify turned five this past week and shared a few figures behind its success. One bit of data revealed that of the 20 million tracks hosted by service, 4 million have never even been streamed… not even once.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including the rise of a 16-year-old pop star from New Zealand, “Fifty Shades Of Grey” loses a cast member and the Jonas Brothers cancel their upcoming tour.

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Showbiz Sandbox 172: The TV Industry Has Its Head Up Its Ass

Kevin Reilly, chairman of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting, realizes the ways people watch TV have radically and irrevocably changed. He believes the industry has not even remotely caught up to that fact yet. Or, as he puts it, “We have our head up our ass.” We’ll discuss the checklist Reilly provided at recent industry event which touched on every facet of the business.

As the year draws to a close the awards season has begun to heat up as both the Gotham Awards and European Film Awards were handed out last week. We’ll give you a rundown of who the big winners were and which movies are topping the first few year-end critics polls.

In theater news one can make it big with an Off-Broadway production, they just can’t make big money. A few recent hit shows are closing after barely breaking even or never turning a profit.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment headlines including a list of top earning musicians, Jeff Zucker lands at CNN and why China may surpass the United States as the biggest movie market in the world.

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Showbiz Sandbox 74: Showbiz News Gets A Reboot

Anne Thompson of Thompson On Hollywood discusses her new role at IndieWire and the recent shuffle of entertainment journalists between media outlets. She gives us her take on the future of IndieWire and the current state of entertainment news coverage.

The Social Network continues to clean up at the box office and if a recent screening of the film for Academy members is any indication, the movie may continue its successful run during awards season. Hopefully, the producers will remember to pay the cast. This seems to be an issue for the cast of the Academy Award winning film “Crash”. Just ask Matt Dillon who is suing producers over the films profits.

The FCC still hasn’t approved the Comcast – NBC Universal merger, though that hasn’t stopped Comcast’s Steve Burke from taking over the reins of the organizations. He takes the place of former NBCU head Jeff Zucker who received a two year paid vacation to the tune of $7.8 million per year. Maybe Zucker can help Google TV get off the ground during his downtime.

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Showbiz Sandbox 73: Handicapping This Season’s New TV Shows

With the new television season already underway our hosts debate which of the new series will get a full season order from the networks and which won’t make it to October. Will the revival of “Hawaii Five-O” make the cut? What will be the first show to get canceled? Let the arguments begin.

Oliver Stone got passing grades this week with “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”. The sequel to his iconic 1987 film topped the box office with just over $19 million. Of course, if Hollywood studios have their way, video-on-demand might start being included in opening weekend numbers. In an effort to supplement sagging DVD sales, the studios are planning to offer movies via premium VOD shortly after their theatrical release. At $25 per film audiences may just be willing to wait a few months.

Meanwhile, shares in Netflix soared when Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy, though the DVD-by-mail powerhouse may be facing some stiff competition as it migrates to a movie streaming business model.

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Showbiz Sandbox 41: Live Nation Becomes The Master Of Tickets

We swear we’re trying not to talk so much about Avatar, and although this seemed like a good week to skip the Ava-chat (congrats “Dear John!”), alas, the news cycle had other ideas.

But wait! There was also some important television news! Namely, the Super Bowl, which drew an average of 106.5 million people, just edging out “MASH’s” 106 million people in 1983. And football fans didn’t just watch the Saints win; they also watched the ads (which are sometimes the best part of the Super Bowl). This year’s favorite seems to be the Leno-Oprah-Letterman ad, but you be the judge. Where was Conan? Probably negotiating with Fox? It certainly seems like Rupert Murdoch plans on playing hardball with Team Coco (whenever he’s not unofficially greenlighting “Avatar 2”).

A company that doesn’t appear to be negotiating is Hulu, or is it NBC? During a Congressional hearing last week to investigate Comcast’s proposed acquisition of NBC, a representative asked NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker, “What about Boxee?” Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 41: Live Nation Becomes The Master Of Tickets

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Showbiz Sandbox 38: Gender Matters In Hollywood

The New Year may have started off slow, but 2010 is heating up! “Avatar” is on track to top “Titanic” as the highest grossing film of all time, The Golden Globes were handed out on Sunday and of course the late night talk show war has really taken some interesting turns.

Dylan Stableford who writes The Wrap’s Media Alley column joins us to talk about his post, “The Vilification of Leno: Loud, Nasty and Fleeting.” Will audiences warm up to Jay Leno again? Who was the bad guy in all this fracas? Leno, Conan O’Brien, or NBC?

In movie news, director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire dropped out of “Spider-Man 4” and Sony now says it plans to reboot the franchise with a younger actor.

Finally, though she didn’t win a Golden Globe, director Kathryn Bigelow is earning critical praise for her film “The Hurt Locker.” Academy Award nominations have yet to be announced, but she appears to have a lock on one, and may be the first woman to win the best director Oscar in the history of the awards show. Women in Hollywood and the film industry is a topic we discuss frequently here on Showbiz Sandbox thanks in part to Karen Woodward. Joining us to discuss the issue today is Matthew Hammett Knott Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 38: Gender Matters In Hollywood

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