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from Breakingviews:

TV industry technophobia is a bad 1980s rerun

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reteurs Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The latest TV industry technophobia is just a bad 1980s rerun. U.S. broadcasters, including Walt Disney-owned ABC, have won support in their Supreme Court bid to shut down online video startup Aereo. The arguments echo those used 30 years ago when networks tried to block the VCR, after which business boomed. For a creative profession, Big Media sure can lack imagination.

So far, courts have favored Aereo, saying its method of using thousands of separate dime-sized antennas to stream free-to-air programming to customers over the internet doesn’t violate copyright law.

In a brief that backs the appeal from broadcasters to the top U.S. court, the National Football League and Major League Baseball threatened to move games to pay-TV channels that are beyond Aereo’s reach, essentially heralding a doomsday scenario where stations “will become less attractive mediums for distributing copyrighted content.” The Supreme Court must, they say, “prevent the unraveling of a marketplace” by the use of “technological chicanery.”

from Breakingviews:

Dan Loeb‘s breakup plan deserves Sony’s ear

By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Dan Loeb is taking Japan’s economic renaissance at face value: the hedge fund manager wants Sony to spin off its entertainment arm. Though activists rarely prevail in Japan, Loeb’s idea may have merits. The electronics giant should take him seriously.

from MediaFile:

Building the perfect smartwatch

In my tech predictions of 2013 I somehow missed that this would be the year of the smartwatch. But now the most established names in tech are realizing the future may be all in the wrist.

Smartwatches are shaping up to be the Next Big Thing about a decade after they were offered to the public and met with a collective shrug. Timing can be everything in tech. Microsoft marketed a stylus-enabled PC in 2001, but the tablet concept was a nonstarter until the iPad. Even the e-reader had a first life as The Rocket -- before the dot-com boom. But it was Amazon, in 2007, that reimagined the device and took the brass ring.

from Breakingviews:

Warner Music echoes some off-key EMI chords

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The music industry is littered with copycat acts. Warner Music is looking like one of them, unintentionally echoing off-key chords sounded by the old EMI. The deep pockets of billionaire owner Len Blavatnik don’t mean the music will play out any sweeter for Warner.

from MediaFile:

Adele close to the unheard of: 10 million albums sold

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Adele and all those Grammys (Photo: Reuters)

Adele, the soulful British songstress, has broken all kinds of records with her hugely successful sophomore album '21' since it was released in the US in Feb 2011. The album, which picked up 6 Grammys this year,  was by far and away the biggest selling album of last year with 5.8 million copies sold. And in 2012, at the halfway mark, despite endless plays in supermarkets, gyms and your dentist's waiting room, it's still burning up cash registers, moving another 3.7 million units through the end of June, or more than four times the next best-selling album (Lionel Richie's Tuskegee in case you wondered).

Combined, “21” has sold 9.5 million copies in 15 months, putting it just 500,000 copies shy of the magical 10 million-mark. That’s unheard of in today’s music business. To put that figure in perspective, consider that the most recent album to cross the 10 million sales threshold was Usher’s “Confession,” which only broke that barrier this year. “Confessions” was released eight years ago, in 2004!

from MediaFile:

Sony’s case of iPad 3 launch envy

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Sony, in a bout of bad timing, is hosting an event on March 7 in San Francisco for tech reporters at the same time as Apple's reported iPad 3 unveiling and the Japanese conglomerate wants to make sure it won't get ditched.

Sony, which some people consider to be the "Apple of the '80s", sent out a helpful e-mail on Tuesday informing invited members of the press of the scheduling conflict without mentioning the world's most valuable tech company. 

from MediaFile:

Cage, Witherspoon feature in box-office battle

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Three new movies compete for filmgoers over the long President's Day weekend in the United States. Nicolas Cage is expected to lead the pack of newcomers with Sony's 3D action sequel "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance."

Box-office watchers project Friday-through-Monday sales in the United States and Canada could roar to $30 million for the follow-up to the original "Ghost Rider," released over the same weekend in 2007.

from MediaFile:

More vampires and werewolves at your local cineplex

Impatient Twilight fans rejoice: vampires and werewolves are staging another movie-theater invasion.

This time, it’s the fourth movie in the “Underworld” series starring Kate Beckinsale, which distributor Sony projects will ring up U.S. and Canadian ticket sales in the low-$20 million range from Friday through Sunday. The newest installment, “Underworld: Awakening”, sees humans trying to drive vampires and werewolves to extinction.

from MediaFile:

Familiar script: Home entertainment spending slips

Spending on home viewing of movies and television, on a downward spiral in recent years, fell again in 2011 as sales of DVDs and rentals at video stores dropped.

Total U.S. consumer dollars spent on home entertainment -- including DVDs, video on demand and online streaming -- declined 2.1 percent to $18 billion for the year, according to industry group DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. Consumers continued to shift to lower-priced rentals from companies such as Netflix and Coinstar's Redbox kiosks, eschewing outright ownership.

from MediaFile:

Tech wrap: Samsung savors smartphone supremacy

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Samsung Electronics, the world's top maker of memory chips and smartphones, reported a record quarterly profit, aided by one-off gains and best-ever sales of high-end phones. The South Korean firm posted 5.2 trillion won ($4.5 billion) in quarterly operating profit, beating a consensus forecast of 4.7 trillion won by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Samsung, which surged past Apple as the world's top smartphone maker in the third quarter, only entered the smartphone market in earnest in 2010, but its handset division is now its biggest earnings generator.

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC recorded a worse-than-expected yearly profit decline in the fourth quarter, and the first decline in two years. The former investor darling shocked markets in November by slashing its fourth-quarter revenue guidance, sending its shares down 28 percent in two weeks and 15 percent to date. Investor concerns linger over whether HTC still has the innovative streak that catapulted it from an obscure contract maker to a top brand.

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