Cell phones still No. 1 movie irritant for Regal CEO

December 3, 2008

People who talk and text on cell phones are still the number one source of movie theater complaints tracked by Regal Entertainment Group, Chairman and Chief Executive Mike Campbell told the Reuters Media Summit on Wednesday.

AP tries to help grumpy, cash-strapped members

October 24, 2008

More cracks are appearing in the newspaper industry. Things have become so tough that the Associated Press has agreed to slash $9 million from its membership fees. With newspaper’s reeling from depressed advertising revenue, they are looking to save money wherever they can, and have been clamoring for a break from the AP.

It’s budget cutting time

October 20, 2008

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In the media world, it looks like it’s time for a trim. Whether that’s jobs, travel expenses, or anything else, budgets are coming down… With the economy in the sick ward, what did we expect?

What to say at times like these?

October 7, 2008

wallstreet.jpgThe financial crisis is tough on everybody — Madison Avenue copywriters included.

Does the video games industry offer anything distinctively European?

August 25, 2008

Visitors play at an exhibition stand at the Games Convention 2008 fair in the eastern German city of Leipzig    At Europe’s biggest video games convention in Leipzig last week, evidence of a distinctive European flavour was largely absent, apart from in karaoke-style titles such as Activision’s Guitar Hero or Sony’s SingStar and sports games.
    Music from local bands and singers is a necessity for these titles, and the new World Tour edition of Guitar Hero delivered it in the form of artists such as Germany’s emo-lite Tokio Hotel, Swedish rockers Kent and Spanish 80s classic Radio Futura.
    Sony offered a more unusual twist with a Turkish Party edition of SingStar for release in Germany in November, to capitalise on the country’s large Turkish population as well as nostalgic holidaymakers.
    In the case of sports games, a title such the next annual revamp of Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer is understandably expected to sell better in Europe than the United States.
    But outside these two genres, industry executives struggled to pin down differences. Konami’s head of Europe, Kunio Neo, noted that Europeans did not take to games with manga-style graphics as readily as gamers in the company’s Japanese homeland. Konami also said it expected one game in development, Lords of Shadow, to appeal particularly to European sensibilities — early artwork leans heavily on director Guillermo del Toro’s film Pan’s Labyrinth, which was set in Spain.
    Neo’s counterpart at Electronic Arts, Jens Uwe Intat, made similar claims for Mirror’s Edge, which he said had a high-end aesthetic which he hoped would be particularly successful in Europe.
    But Intat in general saw little difference between what made a hit game in Europe compared to the United States.
    “With the exception of American football all franchises that work in the U.S. work in Europe too — though as in the movie industry you see slightly different top tens,” he told Reuters just before the start of the Leipzig event.
    Yet critics can easily point to distinctive traditions of French, Italian and British film alongside Hollywood and Japanese movies, which has no equivalent in video games. Why do you think this is? Does it bother you?

GM to ad agencies: We need to talk

August 7, 2008

general-motors.jpgHow tough are things at General Motors?

Not only has the car maker scaled back on its advertising budget, but now it wants the ad agencies it works with to cut their fees by as much as 20 percent this year and next, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

The drama builds in Hollywood

July 10, 2008

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We’re once again wondering who will blink first in Hollywood.

The Screen Actors Guild and the major firm and television studios are having another pow-wow today, and the subject is an ominous sounding “final offer” that management has presented to the union.

Look who’s advertising in Sun Valley

July 9, 2008

sag-photo2.jpgThe Screen Actors Guild ran an ad in the local paper on Wednesday seeking better labor terms. We’re not talking about the L.A. Times here, but rather the Idaho Mountain Express, straight out of Sun Valley, Idaho, where Hollywood’s elite are bumping shoulders at the annual Allen & Co conference.

The clock is ticking in Hollywood

June 30, 2008

hollywood.jpgTick, tock, tick, tock.

The countdown is underway in Hollywood, with just hours to go before the contract covering 120,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild expires. What happens next is anybody’s guess, though it would be some time before actors walked off the job.

NBC profits rise, but did the strike hurt?

April 11, 2008

Members of the Writers Guild of America carry picket signs at NBC television network studios in BurbankDid the strike hurt NBC’s wallet?

In a first quarter where scripted programming was severely limited by the effects of the lengthy Hollywood writers strike, NBC Universal managed to boost its revenue by 3 percent to $3.58 billion, and increase it profit also by 3 percent. But it fell far short of its target of 5-10 percent profit growth.