It’s not hard to see why newspaper companies, saddled with plunging circulation and big iron presses , are so ecstatic over tablet devices. They bring a form of hope that hasn’t crossed this industry’s path since newspapers dominated classified advertising in the 1980s and 1990s making them fat with revenue and profits. Tablet computers, like Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, just might spark renewed interest in wilted newspapers among consumers and help ease the legacy costs of paper and ink.
So you know the story well by now: Fox Networks’ Fox 5 and My 9 channels have been off the air for Cablevision’s 3 million odd homes in the New York area since midnight on Saturday morning because both sides have been unable to reach a carriage deal. As a result New York football fans have missed a key Giants game versus Detroit Lions (pictured) and could miss more if this continues. As you might expect, the argument between Fox and Cablevision is over money.
Ever wonder what News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch thinks about the direction this country is going and how President Obama is handling his job? If you were on hand during the opening panel at The New York Forum last night in mid-town Manhattan, you got an earful.
Last night, The Wall Street Journal held a party at Gotham Hall for a slew of media, advertisers, bigwigs (Barry Diller, the cast of In the Heights!) to introduce Greater New York, a souped up metro section that debuted on Monday. Perhaps you have heard of it.
Everybody loves free. But free has a price. And that price might just be $9.95 a month, according to The Los Angeles Times, which writes that Hulu, the second most popular video site in the U.S, will soon start charging for a premium version of its site called Hulu Plus. We haven’t been able to confirm the details yet (Hulu’s staffers are sticking to the ol’ decline to comment). But rumors of premium version of Hulu have been doing the rounds for the last year. Back in October an NBC executive said the company was experimenting with various business models, including subscription content.
Hulu, the video site owned by NBC, News Corp and Disney, is safely ensconced in the No.2 most viewed video site in the U.S. according to latest February data from comScore. And Hulu is making progress not just in the quantity of views but in the quality of views: Users watched a record amount of video per person during the month. The average Hulu users watched 23.3 videos at 2.4 hours of video per viewer. This compares with the average online video length at 4.3 minutes.
Football, sorry, soccer has never quite been a big money maker for the U.S. cable TV industry. But Fox Networks has long wagered that the popularity of the game with the little leaguers and the changing demographic of the country will eventually translate into the kind of big bucks that parent News Corp is used to in the U.K. with Sky Sports.
We were not completely surprised when Fox Soccer Channel went dark on Sunday afternoon while we were watching West Ham take on Chelsea. (It’s not that the cable bills hadn’t been paid). Seemed the most likely cause was the really bad snowstorm here in New York and the rest of the U.S. northeast.
Time Warner Cable, the normally placid No.2 U.S. cable operator, is getting ready for a fight with its programming partners at the cable networks and broadcasters over rising affiliate fees. In truth, TWC has always been ready for a fight with the programmers. This time, it wants to make the first move and get its 14 million subscribers behind it.
I wrote an analysis on Monday about the possibility that News Corp might take its news search results away from Google and list them on Microsoft’s Bing search engine instead. My conclusion: This one isn’t such a hot idea. Then I read John Gapper’s Financial Times item about how it *could* be a hot idea.