Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

from MediaFile:

Cell phones still No. 1 movie irritant for Regal CEO

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.

Campbell made news at a the 2006 Reuters summit by disclosing that Regal, the largest U.S. theater chain, had armed patrons in a few test theaters with gizmos that summon ushers to deal with problems ranging from rowdy audiences to a freezing auditoriums. Back then, Campbell reported that some patrons were "getting into physical battles in the theaters" over cell phones and that the chain had "had people assaulted with bats, knives and guns" over their electronic umbilical cords.

The program worked so well that Regal has now expanded it to 100 of its highest volume locations, and cell phone talkers and texters seem to be getting the message, Campbell said.

"We have noticed -- at least our perception over the last couple of years is -- we don't seem to be having quite as many issues there," Campbell said. "I think the message that we are trying to get out to customers, both subtle and not so subtle, is beginning to have some impact."

from DealZone:

Shane Kim’s crystal ball: videogame deals, new content

Microsoft's videogame chief Shane Kim came by our New York office this morning for the Reuters Media Summit and shared his thoughts on XBox 360 sales ("cautiously optimistic") and the outlook for the gaming industry amid the economic doom-and-gloom ("Who knows, maybe flat performance will be considered a remarkable achievement").

He also gazed into his crystal ball and served up some insights on the trends shaping the gaming business.

from MediaFile:

Mel says lost Sirius/XM channels worth every penny – to bottom line

If you're an old Sirius or former XM subscriber who lost one or more of your favorite channels after the two satellite radio companies merged earlier this year, CEO Mel Karmazin has a message for you: Tough luck, it's for the greater good.

Karmazin told reporters at the Reuters Media Summit in New York that the two companies had taken the best of breed in each music channel genre from either Sirius or XM as part of a $400 million cost saving drive.

Karmazin does it for love, not $

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Sirius XM Chief Executive Mel Karmazin is a serial monogamist when it comes to stocks. No matter where he’s worked, from Viacom to Sirius, he only buys stocks in those companies, he told the Reuters Media Summit in New York on Wednesday.

Lately, at Sirius, “every dime I’ve taken in has been spent buying stock,” he said. To show his fidelity, he wears special cufflinks in his shirtsleeves. One says “XM.” The other says “Sirius.”

from MediaFile:

Video game console obituaries premature – Microsoft

Gaming insiders who have given consoles the death sentence, get a life!

Shane Kim, VP of Strategy and Business Development at Microsoft Corp's Interactive Entertainment Business, said it's too soon to write off the Xbox.

"This console generation will have a long life cycle. I think it's way premature to say there will never be another Xbox," said Kim at the Reuters Media Summit.

from MediaFile:

Dial M For MySpace mobile advertising

MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe is bullish on the mobile advertising market, but says ad agencies and corporate sponsors haven't figured out to dial into it.

Speaking at the Reuters Media Summit, DeWolfe outlined MySpace's mobile efforts, such as its Blackberry application. He said the company was targeting more download applications for mobile devices. He said he saw big opportunities in the mobile-based advertising sector once there's some standardization.

from MediaFile:

Desperately seeking hits: MPG

Are people going to watch more TV because they've no money to go out? According to media buying and planning agency MPG -- a subsidiary of Havas, the world's sixth-largest ad firm -- the answer is no, unless the TV networks come up with better shows.

"That's inventory for us, that's our supply," MPG Chief Operating Officer Steve Lanzano told the Reuters Media Summit in New York. "The thing is, there are no hit shows out there on the big networks," he added. "And if there's no supply in the marketplace, that just makes it harder and harder for us."

from MediaFile:

It’s Midway or the highway for Redstone

Sumner Redstone is selling low -- way low. Here's The Wall Street Journal with the news:

In an effort to help resolve his debt problems, Sumner Redstone has sold his controlling stake in videogame company Midway Games Inc to a private investor.

Time Warner Cable and the Audacity of Hope

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It’s not every day that you have a top executive in big business talk about how nice it will be to see the back of the Bush administration. Republican presidencies typically tout their adherence to free markets, unbridled capitalism and, most importantly, a smaller pile of what corporations often consider burdensome regulations. That isn’t what they usually expect from Democratic administrations, even ones led by Barack Obama.

That’s why we thought it so interesting that Time Warner Cable’s chief financial officer, Rob Marcus, is happy for some turnover at the Federal Communications Commission. It is the FCC, after all, that has to approve some key licenses for Time Warner Cable’s split from its majority owner, Time Warner Inc. For some reason, the FCC can’t seem to find room on its schedule to do that, and that seems to have irked Marcus. It is, after all, preventing the two companies from separating by the time Time Warner Cable said it would.

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