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 139: Why The Music Industry Is More Brutal Than Ever

With nine different streaming services there are more ways than ever to listen to music these days. With the likes of Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, Mog and Pandora all competing for our attention and media dollars, some have argued that there is too much competition in the market and is primed for a major consolidation. Which services will survive and why? Will Amazon, Apple or Google launch there own services? We try to answer all these questions and more.

Meanwhile Harvey Weinstein is once again fighting the MPAA over the ratings for one of his films. Public figures such as Rev. Jesse Jackson joined the chorus of those opposing the R-rating which the Weinstein Company’s school bullying documentary received. Unfortunately, if “Bully” is released without a rating, movie theaters may be forced to treat it as an NC-17 film.

Former co-host Karen Woodward, joins us to run down some of the top entertainment news stories of the week including, James Spader’s departure from “The Office”, Mike Tyson’s Las Vegas show, and Random House trippling the price of e-books for libraries.

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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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