Showbiz Sandbox 329: Television Gets Turned Off By Apple

Rumors about how Apple plans to conquer television have circulated for years. Initially it was thought the company intended to manufacture a television set. This led to speculation that it was putting together an over-the-top alternative to cable. Now reports have emerged that numerous deals between Apple and the TV industry have collapsed over the company’s aggressive negotiating tactics. Did Apple blow it by trying to tackle too much at once, or did television networks simply feel threatened?

We’ll also spend some time catching up on international movie box office. As much as Hollywood has discovered the benefits of doing business around the globe, so to have its movie stars and filmmakers. In addition, we discuss the flurry of mergers and acquisitions activity taking place among some of the world’s leading cinema chains.

In the publishing world it turns out that 2015 was a pretty good year with over $28 billion in sales just in North America. As well, it appears the release windows between formats like hardcover, paperback and e-books are collapsing or becoming non-existent.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including the official end of the VCR, Netflix nabs the new “Star Trek” series and why the final installment of the “Divergent” franchise is headed straight to television.

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Showbiz Sandbox 326: How Brexit Will Affect the Entertainment Business

Thanks to the passage of a referendum in the United Kingdom dubbed Brexit, Britain will soon be leaving the European Union. Entertainment companies beyond those in the UK suddenly face a lot of uncertainty and confusion over deals they have already made and will be making in the months and years to come. We discuss how the Brexit vote may affect the entertainment industry.

In other troubling news, the long awaited (as in 20 years) sequel to “Independence Day” opened to disappointing box office returns. This has led to industry pundits spouting erroneous lessons Hollywood can take away from its release. Knowledgeable nuggets such as don’t wait too long to make a sequel (or did they forget about “Star Wars”) and don’t make sequels without the original star (though “Jurassic World” proved that theory wrong just last year).

We also take a look at virtual print fees or VPFs. A letter from one of our listeners asked us to clarify how small independent distributors can afford them. So, we review the history of VPFs, how they work around the world and when studios will stop paying them to theater owners.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including a court decides that legendary rock band Led Zeppelin didn’t plagiarize its biggest hit, “Mr. Robot” gets more episodes in its second season and “Star Trek” fan films get a green light from Paramount Pictures (sort of).

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Showbiz Sandbox 315: China Becomes A Global Movie Superpower

In recent years, Chinese-owned companies have become the film industry’s biggest power players by scooping up production companies and cinema chains. The latest example came when AMC Theatres, owned by China’s richest man Wang Jianlin, announced it will acquire Carmike Cinemas to become the world’s largest motion picture exhibitor.

It’s easy to see why the Chinese are so hot on the cinema business given that their box office surpassed that of North America during the month of February for the second time ever. Yet if you were to ask some financial analysts, Hollywood Hollywood is starting to look like the video game industry before it imploded; bigger budgets, fewer winners and more losers. Is Hollywood about to shrivel up like Pac-Man?

Then there are those like Sean Parker, one of the founders of Napster and Facebook, who are trying to convince Hollywood that it’s time to start making big movies available in consumer’s homes the same day they hit theaters. Is there any business model in which that could actually work?

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including the authors nominated for this year’s prestigious Man Booker Prize, music sales in France plummet and Kevin Spacey won’t be heading up Relativity Media after all.

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Showbiz Sandbox 306: Deconstructing the 2015 Movie Box Office

Few, if any, can rival Paul Dergarabedian when it comes to analyzing the film industry’s global box office. Rentrak’s senior media analyst has been running movie numbers for upwards of 20 years now and is a regularly quoted box office pundit. Dergarabedian joins us to discuss how 2015 turned into a record breaking year at the box office all over the world.

We cover everything from how the winners at last year’s box office left little for the losers to the increasing role social media plays in the fortunes of any given movie, from the importance of international grosses to the record shattering “Star Wars” sequel. One big question is how 2016 could ever top last year’s figures or if that even matters.

We wind up in the music business where lawsuits are always a good indication on the issues affecting the industry. Two big new lawsuits target Spotify and Ticketmaster. We’ll explain what they are all about… and predict if they will actually make it to trial.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including why The Beatles agreed to put their music on streaming services, how Taylor Swift’s concert tour topped the charts last year and the sexual assault charge against Bill Cosby.

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Showbiz Sandbox 194: Tony Awards Prove Broadway Knows How To Put On A Show

Once again actor Neil Patrick Harris proved he knows how to host an awards show with a dazzling turn as master of ceremonies at this year’s Tony Awards last Sunday. The ceremony provided its share of surprises and dramatic speeches from the likes of Cicely Tyson and pop-star Cyndi Lauper as “Kinky Boots” walked off with six Tonys including Best Musical. Though the telecast may have been poorly directed, it was filled with a mixed bag of performances from this season’s top Broadway shows.

For Broadway play or musical, a Tony can provide a huge boost at the box office, though it’s no guarantee. There has never been a magic formula for investing in the arts which is something JP Morgan and its partners should have looked into before loaning Paramount Pictures a load of cash to finance movies. Now everyone is suing each other after the bank discovered their Hollywood investments weren’t as risk free as they had initially thought.

That kind of inside news is usually reported by the likes of Nikki Finke over at her Deadline Hollywood blog. However, if a scoop from a competing online news source is correct, Finke’s days at Deadline may be numbered. Has Finke’s conentious reputation finally caught up with her, or will a crosstown rival need to eat some crow?

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including Amazon’s European tax problems, Disney’s digital distribution plans, and the possibly illegal limitations of Microsoft’s new Xbox.

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Showbiz Sandbox 3: Award Season Redux

Star Trek

“Star Trek” cleans up at the box office earning $76 million in North America over the weekend while “Wolverine” pulled in another $27 million. Fox sets release dates for its blockbusters in Mexico, though actors may not start kissing on telenovelas for a while. “Billy Elliot” heads up the Tony Award nominations. Bono and the Edge are headed to Broadway with a Spider-Man musical, but Andrew Lloyd Weber is falling behind on his sequel to “Phantom of the Opera”.

“Slumdog Millionaire” and “Twilight” lead the MTV Movie Award nominations, but does anyone care. Big media and celebrities top the Webby awards. NBC announces its primetime schedule and there are rumors about a few CW shows. Looks like the “Gossip Girl” spinoff is a no-go. As scripted television looks to shrink their writing staffs, CBS debates whether they should bring back such game shows as “The Dating Game” and “Let’s Make A Deal”. A computer bug delayed nearly three days of Nielsen television ratings, however advertisers may want to start using more effective “engagement” ratings anyway.

Disney CEO Bob Iger discusses Hulu and informs everyone that new media is here to stay. The MPAA teaches everyone how to pirate DVD’s using a camcorder, in fact they prefer the method over the ripping of content off DVD’s. Revenue at Warner Music plumets as do satellite radio subscribers at Sirius XM. Looks like Roman Polanski isn’t going to return to see if a court will drop his 30-year-old rape charges. Finally, now that the William Morris/Endeavor merger has been announced, clients have started jumping ship in all directions.

“Star Trek” Draws $72.5 Million
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003414.html?categoryid=19&cs=1

Swine Flu Curbs Telenovela Kissing
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003390.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

Billy Elliot Leads Tony Nominations
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/06/theater/theaterspecial/06tony.html

Bono, The Edge Team Up For “Spider-Man” Musicalhttp://www.spin.com/articles/bono-edge-team-spider-man-musical

“Phantom” Sequel Delayed Until 2010
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003402.html?categoryid=15&cs=1

“Twilight”, “Slumdog” Lead MTV Kudos
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003151.html?categoryid=16&cs=1

MTV Movie Awards Ballot
http://www.mtv.com/ontv/movieawards/2009/

Celebrities Win Madeup Webbys, Big Media Wins Some Real Ones
http://weblogs.variety.com/technotainment/2009/05/celebrities-win-madeup-webbys-big-media-wins-some-real-ones.html

NBC Announces 2009/2010 Primetime Schedule
http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/nbc-announces-20092010-primetime-sked/

Fox Orders Second Season of Fringe
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003158.html?categoryId=14&cs=1

Nikki Finke On CW Upfront Rumors
http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/that-gossip-girl-spinoff-dead-at-cw/

Shows To Scrimp On Scribes
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003411.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

Networks Fume Over Nielsen Delay

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003280.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

TV Ads That Measure Viewer Engagement
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_20/b4131056581434.htm

Disney’s Bob Iger On YouTube Hulu: “New Media Isn’t Going Away” Planning Movie Subscription Service
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-disneys-iger-on-hulu-youtube-deals-new-media-isnt-going-away/

MPAA To Teachers: Don’t Rip DVDs, Just Record Your Television With A Camcorder
http://www.boingboing.net/2009/05/07/mpaa-to-teachers-don.html

Warner Music Hits Online Slump
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003337.html?categoryid=16&cs=1

Sirius XM’s Subscriber Drain
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/may2009/tc2009057_956955.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index+-+temp_technology

Polanski won’t appear in U.S Court
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003182.html?categoryId=22&cs=1

Endeavor Spins Recent Client Exodus
http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/endeavor-spins-recent-client-exodus/

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