Mar 20, 2018
1:14 am

Whoa! You Won’t Believe How Many Billions We U.S. Consumers Spend Annually on Streaming Services (Hint: It’s About Twice as Much as We Spent Domestically Going to the Movies Last Year) (Variety. Deloitte)

“Americans are watching more streaming video than ever,” and now pay to subscription streaming video services – such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu – an estimated $24 billion annually, reports Variety.

It’s more than twice the $11 billion that we spent going to movie theaters last year.

“That’s according to the Deloitte’s 2018 Digital Media Trends Survey, which found that 55% of U.S. households now subscribe to at least one video-streaming service (up from 10% in 2009),” Variety says.

The article continues, “The average streaming-video subscriber pays for three different services — amounting to $2.1 billion per month in revenue, according to the study. Deloitte calculated the figure based on the Census Bureau’s estimate of 126 million U.S. households for 2017.

“At the same time, Deloitte’s survey found a drop in pay-TV subscriptions: 63% of U.S. households subscribe to a traditional cable, satellite or telco service, down from 74% in 2016. Pay TV’s decline is especially pronounced among Gen Z (ages 14-20), millennials (ages 21-34) and Generation X (ages 35-51). Indeed, 22% of millennials say they have never subscribed to a pay-TV service.”

Here are two other findings from the survey, according to Variety:

“Binge watching continues to grow” and “pay-TV unhappiness remains high.”

To read a lot more details about this item, please click here, which will take you to the Variety story.

You can read Deloitte’s own comments about its survey if you click here.

Mar 19, 2018
5:49 pm

Tronc Chairman Exits Amid Allegations (Deadline)

Just hours before allegations of sexual misconduct went public, the chairman of the board of Tronc, Michael Ferro, stepped down, Deadline reports.

“The controversial multi-millionaire, who led the drive to cut staff at the corporation’s publications while negotiating a $15 million consulting contract for himself, announced his plans to ‘retire’ ahead of a Fortune magazine story detailing unwanted sexually advances by Ferro,” Deadline reports.

“The article quoted two women with separate, on-the-record allegations that Ferro acted inappropriately in private meetings,” Deadline adds. “One woman, Kathryn Minshew, said Ferro had agreed to provide a $750,000 cash infusion for her startup, The Muse, in 2013, when he was chairman of the Wrapports investment firm. At his suggestion, they met later that evening at a corporate apartment in downtown Chicago under the guise of talking about a bigger funding round. It was there that he forcefully attempted to kiss her, she said.”

The report adds: “Three years later, Hagan Keppler said she found herself in a similar situation at a private dinner in Ferro’s Aria hotel suite during the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. She told Fortune she thought she was meeting with Ferro to discuss thermostats. Instead, she said she was subjected to unwanted advances — including groping her breasts.”

Mar 19, 2018
5:44 pm

Epic Upsets in First Week Break All 17 Million-Plus ESPN March Madness Brackets (Variety)

“A string of stunning upsets and wild finishes in this year’s NCAA March Madness men’s basketball tourney have officially left a grand total of zero brackets perfect in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge game,” Variety reports. “The finishing blow came Friday, after supreme underdog U. of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) became the only No. 16 seed in tournament history to defeat a No. 1 team, the Virginia Cavaliers — busting the only 24 perfect picks up until that point among ESPN’s 17.3 million players.”

The report notes that only 3.4% of all users had picked UMBC to upset Virginia.

“In another bracket-busting upset, Florida State (No. 9) defeated No. 1 Xavier in their Sunday night Round of 32 matchup,” the report adds. “This year marks only the fourth time that two No. 1 seeds failed to advance to the Sweet 16 since the NCAA expanded the tourney in 1985 to 64 teams (from 53 the year prior).”

ESPN said that with the Sweet 16 teams now set, only three of the 17.3 million brackets picked 15 of the 16 teams to advance, with not one bracket correctly picking all 16 teams.

“Meanwhile, 62,559 of ESPN Tournament Challenge players incorrectly predicted all 16 games,” Variety adds.

Mar 19, 2018
5:31 pm

Government’s AT&T-Time Warner Antitrust Case Opens (Variety)

“The antitrust trial over AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner started on Monday, a case that has huge ramifications for the future of Hollywood and other massive media mergers in an age of consumer disruption,” Variety reports.

“The first morning was devoted to the question of just what types of evidence should be admitted into the case, but it also offered a glimpse of what will happen in the weeks ahead,” the story reports. “AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes are expected to testify, and the government is planning to call executives at rival companies to argue that the transaction will harm their competitive positions.”

Variety notes that the Justice Department, which is suing to block the $85 billion merger, wants to enter emails from AT&T and Time Warner executives, including what one of the government’s attorneys, Eric Welsh, called “some very startling statements” from corporate executives.

Mar 19, 2018
5:09 pm

Massive Pay Hikes for ‘Stranger Things’ Cast Members (THR, Netflix)

The success of the Netflix series “Stranger Things” will be trickling down to the Emmy-nominated show’s stars. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed cites sources saying new deals for the show’s child actors are worth about 12 times as much as their previous deals.

Additionally, Netflix is said to be shelling out as much as $350,000 an episode to each of the show’s adult cast members.

“Insiders say the deals closed last week as production on season three is scheduled to begin April 23,” THR reports. “Netflix declined comment.”

The report adds: “According to sources, the main actors are divided into different pay tiers. Winona Ryder (Joyce) and David Harbour (Jim Hopper) make up the ‘A tier’ and are making up to $350,000 an episode. The ‘B tier’ consists of the young stars — Finn Wolfhard (Mike), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas) and Noah Schnapp (Will) — who are each collecting $250,000 per episode. Meanwhile, the actors in the ‘C tier’ — onscreen teenagers Natalia Dyer (Nancy), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan) and Joe Keery (Steve) — are each pocketing roughly $150,000 an episode.”

The report notes that it remains a mystery how much the show’s 14-year-old breakout, Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), will be making, as “her camp has been tight-lipped throughout the dealmaking process.”

Mar 19, 2018
3:51 pm

‘Sex and the City’ Actress Runs for Governor (AP, TVWeek, YouTube)

One of the stars of the HBO comedy series “Sex and the City” declared today that she will challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary for governor of New York. The AP reports that Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda on “Sex and the City,” took to Twitter to declare her candidacy.

Nixon also set up a campaign website, CynthiaForNewYork.com, and released a campaign video, which you can watch below.

We reported earlier this month that Nixon was considering a challenge to Cuomo. At the time she had reportedly held talks with veteran Democratic political operatives to discuss running.

“Her announcement sets up a race pitting an openly gay liberal activist against a two-term incumbent with a $30 million war chest and possible presidential ambitions,” the AP reports.

Nixon says in her campaign video: “We want our government to work again. On health care, ending massive incarceration, fixing our broken subway. We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us.”

The AP adds: “Nixon has her work cut out for her. A Siena College poll released Monday showed Cuomo leading her by 66 percent to 19 percent among registered Democrats, and by a similar margin among self-identified liberals. Nixon did a little better among younger and upstate Democrats, but didn’t have more than a quarter of either group.”

The poll was reportedly conducted March 11-16.

“Nixon has in recent months given speeches and interviews calling on Democrats nationally to run ‘bluer’ in 2018 and carve out a strong, progressive liberal identity rather than being merely ‘the anti-Trump party,'” the AP report adds.

Mar 19, 2018
3:07 pm

Action Star Accused of Sexual Assault in Casting Session (AP)

Prosecutors in Los Angeles County are reportedly looking into a case in which an actress says she was sexually assaulted during a casting session when she was 17. The AP reports that the allegations against action star Steven Seagal stem from an incident in 2002.

“Faviola Dadis said at a news conference Monday that she had recently moved to the U.S. from the Netherlands when she was invited to a Beverly Hills hotel room to audition for Seagal for a film he planned to make about Genghis Khan,” the AP reports. “The 33-year-old former model says only Seagal and his bodyguard were in the room when the actor reached under her bikini top and then grabbed her genitals.”

The AP adds: “Dadis said she ended the audition and immediately left. She says she feared being blacklisted if she reported Seagal, and only recently filed a police report.”

Mar 19, 2018
2:59 pm

NBC Renews Prime-Time Series
(The Futon Critic, TVWeek, YouTube)

NBC confirmed today that it has ordered another season of a prime-time series that has done well not only on domestic television but also in the global marketplace. The Futon Critic reports that the network ordered a 13-episode sixth season of “Hollywood Game Night,” hosted by Jane Lynch.

The season will consist of 13 episodes, with the premiere date and celebrity guest list to be announced later.

The report quotes a network spokesperson who provided ratings data for the show: “Last summer’s run of ‘Hollywood Game Night’ averaged a 1.1 rating in adults 18-49 and 4.7 million viewers overall in ‘live plus seven day’ Nielsens, for a jump of +38% in 18-49 and +1.6 million persons or +50% versus the show’s spring-summer averages for the prior year. The summer 2017 edition of ‘Hollywood Game Night’ ranked #1 in its timeslot among the Big 4 networks with each of its final five telecasts in adults 18-49.”

The report notes that the show has also been a global success with sales to 19 different territories, including Greece, French Canada, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Hollywood Game Night” is produced by Hazy Mills Productions, Mission Control Media and Universal Television Alternative Studio. Sean Hayes, Todd Milliner, Michael Agbabian, Dwight D. Smith and Michael Binkow are executive producers.

Mar 19, 2018
2:31 pm

Did the DA in New York Bungle the Harvey Weinstein Case? (AP)

The District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan is under pressure over its handling of a sexual abuse case against Harvey Weinstein. The AP reports that members of the Time’s Up initiative are calling for the governor of New York to investigate the DA’s Office over its decision not to prosecute the case in 2015.

“In a statement, the group says a report in New York magazine is disturbing because it suggests the district attorney’s office may have been improperly influenced by Weinstein and sought to intimidate an Italian model who accused the disgraced media mogul of groping her,” the AP reports.

The statement reportedly says: “An independent investigation into the full decision-making process in this case, including a full review of the correspondence within the office and with any representatives for Mr. Weinstein, must be undertaken immediately to ensure that prosecutorial integrity was maintained and to restore faith in the DA’s office.”

The AP reports that the New York article “centers on the case of Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. In 2015, police conducted a sting after she accused Weinstein of groping her, secretly recording Weinstein apologizing for this conduct.

“Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. ultimately decided there wasn’t enough proof and didn’t bring a case. Following criticism over the decision last year, prosecutors said police arranged the sting without their knowledge and there were other proof issues, but police pushed back saying they’d presented enough evidence.”

Mar 19, 2018
2:19 pm

Martina Navratilova Reacts to News That John McEnroe Was Paid 10 Times What She Earned in the Broadcast Booth (Deadline)

Following the revelation of how much John McEnroe was paid for his role as a commentator on the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon, Martina Navratilova said she was “shocked” to learn that he earned at least 10 times as much as she was paid for a similar job on the telecast.

“Navratilova, who was crowned Wimbledon champion nine times, has told the BBC’s Panorama series she was paid about $21,000 (£15,000) for her role as commentator and pundit at the UK tournament while McEnroe earned between $210,000 (£150,000) and $280,000 (£199,999),” Deadline reports. “McEnroe’s remuneration was revealed in a list of the BBC’s top earners last summer.”

Navratilova is quoted saying on the program: “It was a shock because John McEnroe makes at least £150,000 … I get about £15,000 for Wimbledon and unless John McEnroe’s doing a whole bunch of stuff outside of Wimbledon he’s getting at least 10 times as much money. … It’s shocking this happens, but for me it’s a part-time job — two weeks of my life. For women that work full time, maybe the discrepancy isn’t so large, but it adds up over a lifetime.”

Deadline adds: “The embarrassing news comes as fellow UK broadcaster Channel4 today revealed that it has a startling 28.6% mean pay gap and 47.6% mean bonus gap between genders, a statistic the broadcaster’s chief executive Alex Mahon said made for ‘uncomfortable reading.’ The revelation was made in a pay report by the broadcaster and comes less than a week after media company ITN, which makes news programmes for UK broadcasters ITV, Channel4 and Channel5, revealed it has a pay gap of 19.6%.”

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