MediaFile

‘Think Like a Man’ ends ‘Hunger Games’ streak

 The box office competition finally overwhelmed “The Hunger Games” as the romantic comedy “Think Like a Man” beat expectations with a chart-topping $33.0 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales over the weekend. 

Love story “The Lucky One” also exceeded forecasts to finish second with $22.8 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates. The two films pushed the blockbuster “Hunger Games” to third, ending its four-week streak at No. 1. 

“Think Like a Man” is based on comedian Steve Harvey’s best-selling, non-fiction relationship guide “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.”  

 The movie follows four couples trying to work out various issues and stars Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Romany Malco, hip-hop singer Chris Brown and Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson. Harvey was executive producer and has a small role playing himself. 

The film cost a modest $13 million to make, and received positive feedback in pre-release screenings, said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Corp’s Sony Pictures studio.  

Watch out: A hearts and minds battle for your wrist

A Kickstarter project for a device you wear on your wrist, but that needs a smartphone to do anything really interesting, has raised more than $5.3 million in eight days. This is this far and away the most anyone has ever raised on Kickstarter, and it’s happening – with a gadget in a category that has a pretty dismal track record – at a sales pace that would make even Apple sit up and take notice.

Mind you, Pebble, “The E-Paper Watch” looks very snazzy. At $115 (only 200 were available for $99, and it will retail for $150 when it goes on proper sale) it’s not terribly expensive. And there is a bit of the Kickstarter effect for things that get lots of favorable press: It’s great to get an insider deal and to get in on the ground floor on something cool. And to risk nothing: If the entrepreneur’s funding requirement isn’t met, you don’t get charged a penny.

Within two hours the people behind Pebble got what they asked for: a measly $100,000. By the time the funding round closes on May 19, they’re on pace to have more than $30 million in orders.

from Paul Smalera:

All your Tumblr are belong to Them

Forget Instagram’s billion-dollar payday. Forget IPOs, past and future, from Facebook, Groupon, LinkedIn and the like. And ignore, please, the online ramblings of attention-hungry venture capitalists and narcissistic Silicon Valley journalists with the off-putting habit of making their inside-baseball sound like the World Series. Their stories, to paraphrase Shakespeare, are tales told by idiots, full of sound and fury, but signifying very little about the impact of technology on most of our lives. (Sure, some of their tales are about great fortunes, but those are only for a select few; to summon the Oracle of Omaha rather than the Bard of Avon, only a fool ever equated price with value.) Their one-in-a-million windfalls are just flashes in the pan. Or, actually, they are solitary data points, meaningless when devoid of context.

That context is here. It’s come, in part, because of the cunningly simple social and curatorial tools that media companies like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Pinterest give away to their users. But making sense of our social world is only possible with the the tools and technology behind what we call Big Data. The massive information collections spawned by our digital world are too big to address directly, so smart scientists have used fast computers to carve the data into real knowledge. This is how Big Data is already changing the way the world works.

But Big Data is young; though there are hundreds of accessible data sets already, there are still many more chaotic stores of information its tools can tame. Take, for example, social media: Yesterday, social media API company Gnip announced that it is providing customers with all of Tumblr’s data, what in techspeak is called the firehose. What Gnip and competitors like DataSift are providing to customers are Social Big Data firehoses that can be perfectly filtered into gently babbling brooks lined with digital gold nuggets. When the tech media wonder out loud how social companies will ever make a buck – sifting the gold out of their user-generated content is a huge piece of the puzzle.

Nigeria’s central banker could turn author

Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Lamido Sanusi (Photo: Reuters)

What does a Central Bank governor do after leaving office? Many return to the private sector in some sort of consultancy role. Others, especially when they’re as outspoken as Nigeria’s banking chief Lamido Sanusi, tend to turn to politics. But Sanusi told Reuters in a recent interview he has no interest in politics and sees himself instead as something of a “public intellectual”. “I can do more good outside of government.”

To that end Sanusi says he plans to spend his time after the Central Bank writing his memoirs around the dark days of the Nigerian banking crisis in 2009. It’s not a priority right now, an aide tells us, but it’s something he’s thinking about.

Sanusi has received a lot of credit at home and around the world for his handling of the implosion of several major Nigerian banks which threatened to completely destabilize Africa’s most populous country.  On his watch the authorities also recovered millions of dollars in ill gotten gains from top bankers and had several arrested and jailed.

As Gannett’s brand morphs, print still top of mind

Gannett's Detroit newspapers

 

For a handful of years now,  several newspaper companies have attempted to re-brand themselves into something — anything! — that doesn’t associate them with newspapers. Gannett is one of the latest examples trying to put some distance between itself and the industry despite the fact that it is still the largest newspaper chain by circulation in the U.S.,  it still derives the heft of its revenue from ink on paper, and it still is  a bellwether for other companies that count big iron as an asset.

The USA Today publisher  trips all over itself with its description.  Here is part of the boiler plate the publisher and broadcaster uses:

“Gannett Co., Inc. is an international media and marketing solutions company that informs and engages more than 100 million people every month through its powerful network of broadcast, digital, mobile and publishing properties.”

Kleiner-backed Cooliris launches new website for photo-sharing service

Another photo sharing website has come into play. But this one is not new and already has a fairly decent following in the all-important mobile space.

LiveShare, the brainchild of Palo Alto startup Cooliris, is currently available as an app on iOS and Android mobile devices. But the company has now created a presence outside of these mobile platforms by launching a Web-based platform, which makes the service a bit more independent.

The website, which went live today,  is targeted mainly at  students, digital moms, young professionals and ex-pats who want to communicate effectively, Cooliris co-founder and Chief Executive Soujanya Bhumkar said. The app, in particular, has some streed cred amongst the ex-pat community.

Discovery Channel upstaged by murderers, stalkers

If the low ratings at Oprah Winfrey’s OWN weren’t evidence enough of viewer disinterest in programming that inspires, then perhaps the massive ratings growth at Investigation Discovery, a network whose shows are almost exclusively populated by murderers and stalkers, can provide convincing.

Investigation Discovery, the crime-themed cable channel that launched in January 2008, is not just getting better ratings than OWN, it is also doing better than the Discovery Channel itself. Over the last two weeks, ID averaged 275,000 total viewers, or 8,000 more than the 267,000 viewers that Discovery averaged, according to Nielsen. OWN, which launched in January 2011, only averaged 180,000 total daily viewers during the fourth quarter.

Given those ratings, who needs to spend millions on shows like “Planet Earth” when you can just air cheesy non-fiction crime programming like “I (Almost) Got Away With It” and “Who The (Bleep) Did I Marry. Those kind of shows have the fingerprints of ID president Henry Schleiff all over them. After all, Schleiff built Court TV into a cable network powerhouse on the back of similar programming.

Even when Apple is losing, it wins

The Department of Justice, as anticipated, filed suit Wednesday against Apple and five of the Big Six publishers over alleged price-fixing. Three of those publishers have entered into a proposed settlement with the DOJ, but Apple is still on the hook.

We won’t know until we know whether Apple will win, lose or settle (and now there are 16 states piling on the charges, too), but in a way it’s a sort of hapless victim. If the DOJ theory is correct, Apple did participate in a sort of conspiracy, but one driven (again, according to the allegations) by publishers that were determined to keep controlling e-book prices. In the beginning of the e-book industry it was the publishers, not Apple, that had the upper hand.

It’s important to remember the climate in which this alleged conspiracy unfolded. Amazon, against publishers’ wishes, was going rogue with $10 e-books. The mammoth online retailer – which got its start in print books but essentially created the e-book business – was widely thought to be making nothing, or next to zero, on its proprietarily encoded e-books, the better to boost demand for the Kindle.

Race On: Will the media outpace U.S. GDP growth as Veronis forecast?

Athlete Alyson Felix in training for this year's Olympics. Will U.S. economy keep pace? (Photo: Reuters)

 

The world is a wonderful place if you’re in the U.S. media business, according to the mid-term update from Veronis Suhler Stevenson.

The private equity firm forecasts the U.S communications industry–which includes everything from Hollywood and cable to education publishing and Yellow Pages–will grow faster than the U.S. economy in 2012. The total communications industry is project to grow by 5.6  percent compared with 4.4 percent GDP growth for the United States.

Top Patch editor’s “bittersweet” exit

In case you haven’t had your fill of AOL news this week: Patch editor-in-chief Brian Farnham surprised employees today by declaring he will be out the door May 4.

The once-mighty Internet corporation stunned Silicon Valley just days ago by announcing it was unloading the majority of its patents to Microsoft for more than $1 billion. Now, Farnham’s imminent departure raised questions about the future of a once highly touted hyper-local news and community site that reportedly lost $160 million in 2011 alone.

AOL’s media business now also spans TechCrunch, Engadget, and the Huffington Post — all under the auspices of Arianna Huffington.