Daily Marauder



Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience” debuted at No. 2 in U.S. movie theaters this weekend, bested by “Tyler Perry‘s Madea Goes to Jail,” which held the top spot for the second straight week, surprising analysts. Perry’s film is a hit among audiences “Hollywood ignores.” (Iwantmedia 3/2, http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2009-03-01-boxoffice01_N.htm 3/1)


Broadcast networks are facing a deep advertising recession that is hitting both them and their local stations, while cable rivals are propped up by subscriber fees. NBC Universal boss Jeff Zucker warns that broadcast TV is “in danger of becoming” like the newspaper industry. (Iwantmedia 3/2, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/28/business/media/28network.html?_r=1 2/28)

Former HBO head Chris Albrecht has brought in Tom Fontana to write a 12-episode historical drama – The Borgias – for the US audience and abroad, reports Variety.  Based on the notorious Borgia clan, known for numerous dastardly deeds and terror across Europe, dating back to the 15th century, the production of The Borgias will be shot in Europe beginning this fall.  Albrecht has teamed up with another former HBO exec, Anne Thomopoulos who will serve as Exec Producer on the project.  Albrecht and Thomopoulos were brought into the project by Helion topper Steven Bawol and Atlantique CEO Takis Candilis. (Cynopsis 3/2)


Viacom, Lionsgate and MGM plan to premiere Epix, a new premium television service, on the Internet in May, followed by a launch as a cable-TV channel in October. The service will run movies about nine months after they first appear in theaters — earlier than other premium channels. (Iwantmedia 3/2, http://www.usatoday.com/money/media/2009-03-01-viacom-lionsgate-mgm-epix-channel_N.htm 3/1)

PricewaterhouseCoopers is issuing a report gauging how the economic downturn will affect media business fundamentals. Companies are expected to continue to divest non-core assets. Veronis Suhler Stevenson is forecasting spending on media to drop 0.4% in 2009. (Iwantmedia 3/2, http://www.thedeal.com/dealscape/2009/02/reports_illustrate_medias_decl.php 2/27)

General Electric is slashing its quarterly dividend by nearly 68%, a move expected to save about $9 billion a year. The parent of NBC Universal has been paying a regular dividend for more than 100 years. Shares of GE have fallen nearly 70% since mid-September. (Iwantmedia 3/2, http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/GE-slashes-quarterly-dividend-save/story.aspx?guid=%7B618EAEEE%2DE61D%2D4522%2DA8B3%2D21D8DE89E8FE%7D 2/27)

Sumner Redstone is entering a deal with bankers to restructure his family company’s huge debt. The agreement still requires that the $1.46 billion debt be paid by the end of next year. (Iwantmedia 3/2, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-redstone28-2009feb28,0,7540054.story 2/28)

Time Warner is developing an initiative dubbed TV Everywhere that will allow viewers to watch networks such as CNN, Cartoon Network and TNT online — as long as they can prove they subscribe to cable, satellite or a telecom TV service. “If you want to watch your favorite TV network or shows through broadband on any device — PCs or mobile — you can do it as long as you subscribe to any multichannel provider,” said Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes, adding that TV Everywhere could be ready for testing sometime this year. “It’s a natural extension of the existing model.” Advertising Age (3/2) , TVWeek.com (3/1)

Univision has undergone layoffs of 6% of its staff base, resulting in the loss of approximately 300 staff positions.  While Univision is not reporting the specific of those cuts, they have said it reaches across all areas including the television network, affiliated stations, radio and in the company’s corporate offices.  (Cynopsis 3/2)

Heading into the upfront selling season, NBC Universal’s Bravo cable network is hoping that the value of its upscale, educated, trendy and engaged audience will translate into value in the marketplace. The network has been a bright spot for NBCU, and first-quarter ad sales are 20% ahead of last year. TVWeek.com (3/1)

Scripps Interactive’s Food Network experienced a 44% increase in online revenue in January, as recipe lovers search out just the right ingredients at FoodNetwork.com and Recipezaar.com. “Being in tune with the consumer palette allows us to think smartly about what people are thinking about on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis,” said Deanna Brown, president of Scripps Networks Interactive. Advertising Age (3/2)

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