MediaFile

from Summit Notebook:

EPIX CEO: Kids are media omnivores, industry must adapt

Remember when the "good" TV in the house only received 7 or 8 channels?

Most young people today cannot, and in many ways they could not care less. Even more, they probably think that it is just as odd that we "old folks" don't understand their ability juggle multiple devices and inputs. Therein lies a critical challenge for broadcasters using old media models to reach younger audiences, Mark Greenberg, president of cable channel EPIX said speaking at the Reuters Global Media Summit.

Hey, even Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group,  had to force her college-bound kid to take an actual TV to school.

Greenberg's EPIX offers a "screening room" service that allows subscribers to order a movie on EPIX's web site and share it with friends who are watching at the same time in other locations. In the meantime you can chat with each other about the film -- that's "chat", like, commenting about the star's clothing by typing "I want to buy those shoes" into a little box, not "chat" as in "dude, pass the nachos."

Greenberg explains that that is the world young folks, like his teenage son, live in:

I look at my 17 year old -- we tease him and refer to his bedroom as "the hole", because he has got his big screen TV, it is hooked up to a DVR, he's got his other TV set set up to his Xbox, his got laptop and his cell phone and he doing his homework. and by the way -- he's a great student, so i can't complain.

from DealZone:

DirecTV adds to media merger excitement

With media titans GE and Vivendi still negotiating a deal to bring cable operator Comcast into a mega-media joint venture, a management move at DirecTV is giving dealwatchers a fresh programming alternative.

Yinka Adegoke and Sinead Carew report the appointment of PepsiCo veteran Michael White (pictured below), who has no experience in pay TV, as DirecTV CEO is being read as a sign the company's parent, Liberty Media, just wants a baby-sitter until its sells the operation in the next couple of years.

Telecom leaders Verizon and AT&T approached Liberty earlier this year, they report. Both have cross-marketing deals with DirecTV and would leapfrog the rest of the market with the addition of DirecTV's subscriber base. But fears of insurmountable regulatory resistance put those talks on ice.

Not the Droid you’re looking for?

After a few weeks of mysterious adverts promising a better alternative to iPhone, Motorola’s $200 Droid phone finally hit the shelves in Verizon wireless stores on Friday. Unsurprisingly, the launch failed to attract anything like the frenzy of an iPhone launch, which had people camping out for days at its peak.

Still, all the advertising, and the positive reviews from bloggers and gadget gurus including David Pogue and Walt Mossberg, did help to lure some customers to Verizon stores.

Tech website Cnet’s Marguerite Reardon said that she found about 100 enthusiasts lining up for Verizon’s special midnight opening in New York under what could hardly be described as balmy weather conditions. This morning, in a follow up story, her headline read “Slow start for the Motorola Droid?”.

Tuesday media highlights

Here are some of the day’s top stories in the media industry:

Verizon Planning Its Own App Store (Business Insider)
Preethi Dumpala writes: “The main idea: Verizon wants to be the company connecting its customers with apps — not necessarily its handset partners. And it wants to avoid becoming an even dumber pipe. Depending on how it’s set up, this could clash with gadget makers’ plans.”

McGraw-Hill might ‘give away’ Business Week for nominal $1 (FT)
“McGraw-Hill might reap only a nominal $1 by selling Business Week, according to people familiar with the 80-year-old financial magazine’s record of losses. The publisher has appointed Evercore, a boutique investment bank, to sell the title after deciding it was non-core to a group that owns the Standard & Poor’s rating agency and an educational publisher, two people familiar with the decision said,” writes Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson.

Sinclair says it might consider bankruptcy (Baltimore Sun)
“The Hunt Valley-based owner of television stations, which depends heavily on automotive advertisers for revenue, said it might be obligated to pay $488.5 million of its total outstanding debt within the next 18 months. The company said it had $1.3 billion in total debt outstanding as of March 31,” writes Lorraine Mirabella.

Verizon cagey on phones, open about global ambitions

In a wide-ranging interview with Charlie Rose earlier this week, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg danced around questions about cellphones but was more forthcoming about the U.S. telecom giant’s long-term expansion ambitions.

Asked to confirm a report that Verizon will sell an Android-based phone from Motorola this year Seidenberg said, “It might be true what you said. I can’t quite disclose…”

And as for any plans to sell iPhone, the executive said that would be Apple’s decision.

Take the BlackBerry Tour

I’ve been pretty excited about the new BlackBerry Curve 8900 that my office handed me to replace a prehistoric 8800-series machine. Now there’s a new BlackBerry device, the Tour, which is making its debut this summer. So naturally, I rushed to check out the specs on the web to see what I missed.

Here’s what it’s got: 4.4 inches tall, 2.4 inches wide and 0.6 inch thick. There’s a 3.2 megapixel camera, enhanced media player with 256MB built-in memory, video playback and recording capability, and other consumer-friendly features. At under 5 ounces, it’s a little heavier than the Curve 8900, but it doesn’t look that much different.

But Research in Motion Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie told Reuters this latest phone is a “big step forward.” They’re calling it a “world phone”, which means globetrotters can easily access voice and data services on networks outside their home country.

from Summit Notebook:

Verizon and iPhone: Deal or no deal?

Verizon Communications Chief Financial Officer John Killian had a lot to say about how well his company's smartphone and data business is doing, but skirted the elephant in the room at the Reuters Global Technology Summit: Is his company going to strike an iPhone deal with Apple?

Killian refused to comment on whether Verizon is talking to Apple about selling the iPhone once rival AT&T's exclusive contract with the iPhone maker ends next year.

"Our PDA, smartphone and data business is growing incredibly nicely," Killian said. "Our strategy is to have multiple devices. I'm not going to comment on Apple or the iPhone, but... we don't feel we're going to be at a market disadvantage in the PDA space as we go through today or 2009."

Is WiMax the Betamax of mobile space?

Is WiMax wireless technology headed for the same fate as Betamax, which lost the battle against VHS as the video cassette standard in 1980s? A senior Verizon executive thinks so.

Recall that WiMax and Long Term Evolution (LTE) are key technologies for operators to cope with surging data traffic from smartphones and laptops with mobile data cards. At the moment, it’s a heated fight to become the industry standard.

“It’s going to be like VHS-Betamax thing,” Stuart Curzon, vice president of Verizon Business unit, told a news conference in Helsinki, Finland. “WiMax has been around for a few years now. If it would’ve taken off, it would’ve done it by now.”

Verizon launches interactive ads on FiOS

Looking to expand its options for video content,  Verizon has quietly started to emulate DVD video technology in its FiOS television system. This means that its on-demand video offerings will eventually include interactive options such as extra chapters, subtitles or files with information about the actors in a show, just like movie DVDs have offered for years.

It’s also a way for the company to offer interactive advertising, currently on display under the marketplace option in its FiOS TV service menu. So if you like a car ad, you could click on a option to see more before you buy.

And because the adverts can be made in the DVD format it means “advertising sooner, easier and cheaper,” according to Joseph Ambeault, consumer video product development director of Verizon.

Las Vegas telecoms show fizzles out

The CTIA’s annual U.S. wireless technology showcase in Las Vegas was quieter than usual this year as vendors sent fewer employees and rented less floor space for their booths in an effort to crimp spending due to the recession.

Aside from a lot of talk about cellphone applications and a software store launch from BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, the show offered few surprises.

A handful of operators and vendors, however, offered insights into their technology strategies — even if they were less than keen to indicate how their businesses were faring exactly. Some even launched new gadgets.
    
AT&T, the exclusive operator for the iPhone, used the show as an opportunity to talk up application sales for its less fancy phones, which have brought it $1 billion in revenue in the last few years. In comparison, it does not get a revenue share for iPhone apps, which kicked of the craze for application stores when they launched last year.