Showbiz Sandbox 219: The Business of Show Was Profitable In 2013

January 6, 2014

Almost every sector of the entertainment industry saw record grosses during 2013. North American movie ticket sales reached a record $10.9 billion. Television audiences are tuning in to more shows than ever, especially sporting events. The top 20 concert tours made a whopping $2.43 billion. It all helped contribute to the bottom lines of many entertainment companies causing their stock prices to end the year on a high note.

The only category in which revenue declined was the music. Even sales of digital music declined for the first time since iTunes was launched back in 2003. Album sales were down 8.4% overall and some industry insiders concede this might be due to streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify.

And financial numbers aren’t the only ones increasing in entertainment. So are the sizes of televisions. They’re not only getting bigger, but the consumer electronics industry is pushing Ultra HD with 4K resolution, which is twice that of current HD televisions.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including the death of singer Phil Everly, the expansion and increased usage of UltraViolet and the manufactured controversy behind Martin Scorsese’s latest film, “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

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Showbiz Sandbox 181: Why The Grammys Telecast Matters More Than Ever

February 11, 2013

While winning a Grammy Award can boost a musician’s record sales temporarily, a knockout performance during the widely viewed ceremony can launch a career. Simply ask Mumford & Sons who stole the show during the 2011 telecast and on Sunday took home the 2013 Grammy for Album of the Year. Will the Lumineers, who performed at this year’s ceremony, follow in their footsteps?

David Wild, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine, helped write the Grammy telecast as he has for the past 12 years. He joins us to discuss how the show was put together, working with host LL Cool J and some of the elements that came off without a hitch (projecting images onto Carrie Underwood’s dress comes to mind). Wild even reveals John Mayer’s secret life as a joke writer.

Meanwhile, digital downloads are already outpacing physical sales in music and will surely do so with books and movies in the not too distant future. But what happens when you want to sell off all those media downloads in the now non-existent digital secondhand market? Amazon is trying to patent technology that will make such sales possible.

Of course we cover the week’s top entertainment headlines including how “The Walking Dead” continues to increase viewership, an end to Don Johnson’s lawsuit over “Nash Bridges” and why some concerts may be sold out before tickets ever go on sale.

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Showbiz Sandbox 151: Is It Time To Move Your Music To The Cloud?

June 11, 2012

If anyone is going to struggle with managing their digital music collection it’s Bob Boilen, the creator and host of NPR’s All Songs Considered, and a talented musician in his own right. Boilen created quite a stir a few weeks back when he announced he had just deleted all his music. Rather than keep tens-of-thousands of songs on his hard drive, Boilen has decided to move all his music to the cloud. He joins us for an in-depth conversation about the pros and cons of how we’ll all be listening to music in the future.

The 66th Annual Tony Awards were held over the weekend to honor this year’s best Broadway production and “Once”, based on the hit indie film, was the big winner this year taking home eight awards including Best Musical. Even host Neil Patrick Harris couldn’t liven up a lackluster show where the highlight was meant to be a number from a ten-year-old musical performed live from a Caribbean cruise ship.

When tickets went on sale recently for Justin Bieber’s upcoming tour they sold out all 48 shows in less than 60 minutes. Two concerts at Madison Square Garden sold out in 30 seconds. Yet, what might seem technically impossible at first becomes more understandable upon learning just how few tickets went on sale to the public.

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Showbiz Sandbox 144: Measuring Media Proves Difficult In The Digital Age

April 9, 2012

Whether trying to figure out how many users the streaming music actually has or why audiences have abandoned television shows in the ten o’clock hour, it turns out keeping track of media metrics often requires fuzzy logic.

In one instance the ratings for CNBC in the 18 to 49-year-old demographic plummeted when three people included in Nielsen’s measurement sampling turned 50. Meanwhile, Billboard’s new formula for ranking singles caused Justin Bieber to narrowly miss hitting the number one spot.

There have been no problems counting money at movie theater and Broadway box offices. “Hunger Games” has helped movie grosses continue their record setting pace for the year and over on the Great White Way, three musicals pulled in over $2 million during Easter break.

Of course, we also cover the top entertainment headlines from the past week, including Ryan Seacrest’s Olympic efforts, Vince Vaughn’s bad timing and YouTube’s confusing relationship with Viacom.

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Showbiz Sandbox 93: A Film Festival Fit For An iPhone

February 21, 2011

Innovative filmmakers have taken a liking to iPhones and Flip cameras that can record HD video. They’ve begun churning out creative pieces shot entirely on the tiny devices. Ruben Kazanstev co-founded the iPhone Film Festival to promote some of this new work. He is surprised at how popular the festival has been explains how the project has taken on a life of its own.

Maybe in the future big theater chains such as AMC and Regal will wind up playing movies shot on iPhones. They are taking on the studios by forming a joint venture to acquire and distribute independent films, but is such a move legal?

Charlie Sheen continues to make headlines for his erratic behavior. Many industry watchers are questioning the decision to allow the actor to return to work on “Two And A Half Men” before he tackles his substance abuse problem.

We discuss all the top entertainment news, including this year’s Bonnaroo lineup, Borders’ bankruptcy filing and plans for a Robocop statue in Detroit. During Inside Baseball we discuss how LCD Soundsystem hopes to beat scalpers selling tickets to their upcoming farewell concerts.

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Showbiz Sandbox 92: The Awards Otherwise Known As The Grammys

February 13, 2011

Indie rock darling Arcade Fire provided an upset at this year’s Grammy Awards by taking home the prize for Album Of The Year. Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild helped write the Grammy telecast and he provides an insider’s perspective on the show as well as a peak backstage. Unfortunately, nobody can explain why Lady Gaga arrived in a glass coffin.

Teen pop sensation Justin Bieber didn’t take home any Grammys on Sunday, but does he really care? After all, his concert film “Never Say Never” earned an astonishing $30 million during its opening weekend.

Meanwhile, the movie industry had their own awards show over the weekend and we’ll go over who the big winners were at the BAFTAs and how they might affect the Oscar race.

We also review and provide analysis on all the week’s top entertainment headlines, including how to get tickets to LCD Soundsystem’s last concert, Pandora’s IPO, Zooey Deschanel’s move to television and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to acting.

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Showbiz Sandbox 83: The Social Network Tops Critics Year-End Picks

December 13, 2010

Even the latest “Chronicles of Narnia” film can’t steal the spotlight from “The Social Network”. David Fincher’s little Facebook movie is the toast of critics groups throughout the country with most selecting it as the year’s best film. “Blue Valentine” may be getting overlooked when it comes to top awards, but the MPAA decided to downgrade the film’s NC-17 rating to a more marketable R.

Spotify, Europe’s leading online music service, still hasn’t launched in the United States thanks to licensing disputes with the record labels. We’ll just have to be satisfied with watching music videos on YouTube where artists like Rhianna, Eminem and Justin Bieber rake in millions from advertising.

Disney and ABC aren’t relying on YouTube to make money online with their television shows. Instead, they struck a lucrative licensing deal with Netflix who will stream the shows to to paying subscribers.

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Showbiz Sandbox 80: Disney Dumps Fairy Tales For Original Stories

November 22, 2010

As “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” debuted to $125 million in its opening weekend, Disney prepared to release its 50th animated feature film less than a week later. However, despite building a multi-billion dollar empire based on stories that feature princesses, according to Dawn C. Chmielewski of the Los Angeles Times “Tangled” may be the last fairy tale we see out of the studio. She joins us to explain how future Disney Animation titles will focus on original stories.

Reality shows continue to dominate television news, not to mention political news. The media seemed all abuzz last week over how Bristol Palin, the daughter of Sarah Palin, had not yet been voted off “Dancing With the Stars”. She even beat out pop stars such as Brandy. There were accusations that conservative Tea Party supporters were rigging the voting on the show.

Meanwhile, Justin Bieber swept the American Music Awards, winning four trophies including Artist of the Year. Unfortunately for Bieber though, nobody was watching since the telecast received the worst ratings in its history.

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Showbiz Sandbox 75: Hollywood Stunned By A Jackass (And It’s Not Perez Hilton!)

October 18, 2010

Everyone expected the latest installment of the low-rent “Jackass” franchise to bring in a few bucks, especially since it was filmed in 3D, but nobody expected the movie to take in $50 million in its debut weekend and set records for an October opening. Another surprise from this past week came when gossip blogger Perez Hilton told the world he would no longer “bully” or “out” celebrities on his popular website. Hilton has left everyone wondering if he is being honest, or just trying to grab a few headlines.

In television news, the big story was all about the Chilean miner rescue which drew huge ratings for cable news networks. As for some of the season’s new shows, we provide an update on which ones seem to be fairing well and which may be headed into a permanent hiatus.

The nominations for the American Music Awards were announced, though instead of pulling names from Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, the show relied on the Ultimate Chart published by BigChampagne.

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Showbiz Sandbox 74: Showbiz News Gets A Reboot

October 11, 2010

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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