Content everywhere? More like content nowhere

March 2, 2012

Will Big Media and Big Tech companies ever stop punishing their biggest fans?

Like many people, I woke up yesterday and reached for my iPad for my morning hit of news, entertainment and information, so I could start my day. (And like many, I’m embarrassed to admit it.) Padding to the front door to get a newspaper still sounds more respectable, but my iPad gives me a far more current, rich and satisfying media experience than a still-warm printed Times could ever produce.

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.”


 


 

Disney comes to YouTube and Google TV

November 23, 2011

Photo: Reuters

When it comes to Hollywood movies and TV shows on the Web, all the focus is on Netflix, Hulu and even BlockBuster’s online ambitions. Yet YouTube, the daddy of the online video space with some 3.5 billion views a day,  has been quietly bulking up its traditional studio content. All this while there’s been a lot written about its $100 million investment to create hundreds of new cable channels of the future.

Tech wrap: New Nook Color on the way?

October 31, 2011

Barnes & Noble sent out invites on Monday to a Nook-related event coming up on November 7. Most tech watchers expect the company to use the occasion to unveil a new version of its Android-powered Nook Color tablet e-reader, which could sport a better screen and upgraded hardware.

Disney TV heads north to reach millennials

October 26, 2011

Millennials, the massive generation of teens and young adults aged 15 to 34, are luring Disney television north of the border.

Advertising weak? Quit worrying so much already

September 22, 2011

Viacom Inc’s not sweating it, Time Warner Inc. isn’t all that concerned. Why, CBS Corp and Discovery Communications Inc. are cool as cucumbers. Disney certainly sounds confident, as does Scripps Networks Interactive.

Brace yourselves: (former?) video titan takes aim at Netflix

September 16, 2011

By Lisa Richwine

It’s getting crowded in Netflix-land.

The field of players battling for customers in the fast-growing online video market may soon get another big-name entrant: Blockbuster, reinventing itself under new owners Dish after a disastrous run, looks ready to launch its long-awaited move into instant video streaming next week, another shot at grabbing customers frustrated with Netflix.

Disney’s channel chief latest Mouseketeer to hit the road

September 15, 2011

For the second time this month, a senior Disney executive is heading for the exits.

Disney’s dodgy boyfriend problem

August 12, 2011

Psst! Wanna buy a cheap stock?

For the second time in just over a year another boyfriend of a Disney staffer has been accused of insider trading.

Time Warner Cable’s unique ESPN Web deal

September 3, 2010

Many media business journalists let out a collective sigh of relief at the news that Time Warner Cable had finally inked its deal WorldCupwith Walt Disney to keep carrying its programming, including ABC, Disney channels and various ESPN networks.  The programming fee negotiations had gone late into the night past their Wednesday midnight deadline and hacks, who had seen this movie before, were just starting to tire of waiting for another midnight watch.