Karmazin: I’d have sold Viacom but for Sumner

November 29, 2011

Photo (Reuters): Mel Karmazin, CEO Sirius XM

Sirius XM Satellite Radio chief Mel Karmazin on Tuesday stopped by the annual Reuters Global Media Summit to talk about his company, its future and to occasionally go down memory lane on a range of what if’s.

Kids will be kids, even those of vid game executives

November 29, 2011

Bobby Kotick — CEO of Activision, “Moneyball” actor ––  stopped by the Reuters Global Media Summit on Monday to give us his take on Black Friday (Anecdotally: a success, though Saturday not so much) and to throw some cold water on rival  EA’s upcoming release of “Star Wars.”

Tech wrap: AT&T to be allowed to pull T-Mobile application

November 29, 2011


The Federal Communications Commission will approve AT&T Inc.’s request to pull its application for approval of its $39 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile USA, the Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday afternoon.

Micron enlists IBM to speed up memory chips

November 29, 2011

Micron has enlisted IBM to help build smart memory chips that could drastically speed up the high-performance computers and networking systems that make up the Internet.

ESPN’s new Skipper comes out fighting

November 29, 2011

We had the pleasure of incoming ESPN President John Skipper’s company on Monday at the Reuters Media Summit in New York. Skipper, whose promotion was announced just ahead of Thanksgiving Day, had been the No.2  to George Bodenheimer, now promoted to executive chairman.


In the last few years ESPN has become the 800-pound gorilla in the pay-TV industry through its mix of exclusive sporting licenses with many of the top sporting leagues and events. But those deals cost money — like the eight-year NFL TV rights that cost $15.2 billion. Even Skipper, in his first interview since his appointment was announced, acknowledged the deal as “expensive” but added the caveat that ESPN generates great value from NFL rights.


The high cost of sports programming is one reason ESPN is the most expensive cable network in the US at around $4 per subscriber. Most cable networks charge a lot less than $1.


But Skipper is adamant that ESPN is worth every penny and pushed back strongly at any suggestion that cable companies could create new tiers to help customers pay less if their package don’t include ESPN.



“It’s demonstrably true that ESPN provides more value to our distributors than any other network — by far, there’s not a close second. If you survey cable, telco and satellite customers they believe ESPN provides the most value. The distributors themselves believe we provide the most value.


I reject the notion (that ESPN high cost should see it placed on higher priced tiers). I  think the current package of pay-TV products that comes through on basic cable is a high value proposition to the consumer I don’t think breaking them up is going to provide the consumer better option. If they become broken up in an a la carte world the individual channels are going to more expensive. Consumers would get less channels and pay more money.


Every distributor will do deals with us because they believe the best protection I have against cord-cutting is having ESPN.”


 


 

Tech wrap: Kindle sales surge on Black Friday

November 28, 2011

Amazon.com said on Monday it saw a surge in sales of its Kindle devices, helped by its new Kindle Fire tablet, on the crucial “Black Friday” shopping day after Thanksgiving. Consumers bought four times as many Kindles on Black Friday as they did on the same day last year, when the company sold only e-readers, the largest Internet retailer reported.

‘Breaking Dawn’ wins holiday weekend box office

November 27, 2011

Vampires feasted at the Thanksgiving weekend box office, bringing the newest “Twilight” movie its second win in a row over a strong comeback for “The Muppets” and other family fare that filled theaters.

Tech wrap: Bargain hunting may hurt retailers

November 25, 2011

Broader bargain hunting driven by budgetary fears may depress overall holiday spending, mitigating any hefty gains retailers reaped from long lines of shoppers snaked around malls across the U.S.

Conde Nast digital incubator hatches Santa’s Hideout

November 25, 2011

Conde Nast  just launched the latest product from its digital incubator in time for the holidays called “Santa’s Hideout.” The site is a free gift giving service aimed at children that lets parents set up a list for each child to fill while  also allowing parents to don their Santa beard. The items on the lists can be divvied up for Santa only as well as for family and friends.

Tech wrap: AT&T, T-Mobile deal less likely than ever

November 24, 2011

The chances of AT&T’s bid for T-Mobile USA succeeding rapidly diminshed after AT&T said it would take a $4 billion charge in case its takeover fails. The telecommunications group and T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom, said they would continue to pursue anti-trust approval for the $39 billion takeover from the Department of Justice, but withdrew for now applications to the industry regulator.