Daily Marauder


Twitter has become a central channel for eyewitness accounts and news updates on the terrorist attacks in India, amid a local coverage black out. The service has been flooded with thousands of “tweets,” some from people trapped in the hotels where the attacks were taking place. (Iwantmedia 12/1, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/192cc2ae-bdb6-11dd-bba1-0000779fd18c.html?nclick_check=1 11/29)

I for one was glued to twitter for hours, watching the attacks unfold in real time on a monitor in front of me.  It brought me back to the dark place I felt after 9/11 in my upper west side apartment as I sat glued to CNN for hours on end.


The terrorists who attacked various locations in south Mumbai last week used digital maps from Google Earth to learn their way around, according to officials investigating the attacks. The terrorists are said to have used satellite phones and global positioning systems. (Iwantmedia 12/1, http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9121819&intsrc=news_ts_head 12/1)

Yesterday was the day that Facebook made their big press push for their Facebook Connect service, which was first announced last May. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/11/30/facebook-google-myspace-data 11/30)


The Web sites of Discovery Channel and several other content creators are preparing to join Facebook Connect, a new service from the social-networking site that allows users to let their friends know where they’re going on the Internet. Connect hopes to create pools of users who can, for instance, watch the same online video stream and discuss the content among themselves. The New York Times (11/30)


New research from NBC Universal suggests advertisers should continue spending while the economy is down and target women who do most of the purchasing. In previous downturns, companies that continued spending increased their market share, and it took years for companies that dropped ads to recover, says Susan Malfa, vice president of ad sales at Bravo and Oxygen. TVWeek.com (11/30)

What is fascination with Britney Spears? Maybe it’s a train-wreck kind of thing. Once again she tops Yahoo’s list of overall searches for 2008, just like she did last year. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/12/01/yahoos-top-searches-for-2008-are-the-same-as-they-were-for-2007 12/1)


U.S. cable and telecommunications companies are forging ahead with plans to radically change their familiar flat-rate monthly Internet plans, even as new options for watching movies and television online proliferate. “Usage caps” will penalize those who send and receive too much data. (http://www.smartmoney.com/Spending/Rip-offs/Get-Ready-to-Pay-More-for-the-Web 12/1)

Hulu.com performed an internal study offering users the option of viewing one two-minute ad or four 30-second spots, reports AdAge. An amazing 88% of Hulu visitors preferred the long form ads, which are opt in – allowing viewers to select from a variety of 2 minute commercials. Participating sponsors included Columbia TriStar, American Express, Hyatt, Paramount Pictures, Sprint and Capital One. (Cynopsis 12/1)


Pownce, the media-rich Twitter competitor once labeled by the New York Times as “the hottest startup in Silicon Valley”, is headed to the deadpool after being acquired by Six Apart. The service, which was co-founded by Digg’s Kevin Rose along with Leah Culver and Daniel Burka, will be closing its doors on December 15. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/12/01/pownce-deadpooled-team-moves-to-six-apart 12/1)


Parents hit with pre-holiday pleas for “Grand Theft Auto IV” have a new source for sorting out which video games are appropriate with the launch of AOL’s PlaySavvy.com. The new site offers parents a guide to games, from ratings and reviews to connecting with other parents. (Iwantmedia 12/1, http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticleHomePage&art_aid=95495 12/1)


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With Screen Actors Guild saying it might strike by mid-January, the threat is causing studio executives to produce broadcast network pilot projects under AFTRA contracts, per Variety. So far, SAG has not said when it will send members a strike authorization which would take approximately three weeks to complete and need a 75% approval of those members voting. Many actors are members of both SAG and AFTRA and if SAG does go on strike, those actors would be legally required to work on shows produced under an AFTRA contract. In July, AFTRA ratified a new three-year primetime agreement, despite strong opposition from SAG. (Cynopsis 11/26)


Nearing the end of their three-year commitment, Discovery Communications and former “Nightline” host Ted Koppel have decided to go their separate ways. In announcing the move, Discovery said that the parting was “amicable” and that its Discovery Channel “continues its focus on long-running series and specials in the … core nonfiction genres and emphasizes nonnews content that has a longer shelf life and appeals to audiences around the world.” Mediaweek (11/25)


Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution reupped TMZ, produced by Telepictures Productions through the 2010-2011 season on the Fox Television Stations. The entertainment magazine show will air on all of FOX O&Os including WNYW/New York, KTTV/Los Angeles and WFLD/Chicago. Currently season to date TMZ delivers separate 1.4 ratings among W18-34, W18-49 and W25-54. (Cynopsis 11/26)http://dailymarauder.com/2008/03/28/


The NBA and iTV enabler Jacked have entered into a partnership to produce interactive pregame, in-game and post -game sportscasts on team, regional sports networks and local telecaster sites. Jacked will provide its SportsTop widgets directly to NBA teams to offer through team sites, regional sports networks and local telecasters sites. Jacked will geo-manage and serve national, regional and local contextual ads from the platform. Content includes NBA video, photos, statistics, news, ticketing, merchandise, games, as well as live interactive blogs and chat. (Cynopsis 11/26)

BET founder Robert L. Johnson and ION Media are teaming up for a new cable TV channel devoted to black-themed, urban programming. Johnson and ION believe the channel, to be called Urban Television, will qualify for must-carry status under a “share-time” license. TVNewsday (free registration) (11/25) , Multichannel News (11/25)

In a follow up to Tuesday’s story about Alan Colmes departing Fox News Channel’s Hannity & Colmes program after 12 years, according to the New York Times, Sean Hannity will become the sole host of the political debate show. The network has not confirmed this report and Colmes will continue with announced plans to remain with the network as a commentator, develop a possible new weekend program and host his weekday radio show. (Cynopsis 11/26)

Ashton Kutcher’s production company Katalyst Films has two projects in development for The CW, cites Variety. The first is an ensemble drama about the dark side of the modeling industry called The Beautiful Life about male and females models living together in New York City. The second project is the 60m Chloe Gamble based on the upcoming book The One about a young beauty queen from Texas who moves to Hollywood with her family looking for fame and fortune. Both shows will be produced by CBS Paramount TV where Katalyst Films has an overall deal for scripted TV projects. (Cynopsis 11/26)

CBS is developing a spinoff of its successful series NCIS, reports EW.com. The network has plans to introduce new characters this season that will then spin off into a new show perhaps by next fall. (Cynopsis 11/26)

The business unit of Cox Communications is on track to bring in about $855 million in revenue in 2008, and it is looking to break the $1 billion revenue threshold by 2010, according to Phil Meeks, vice president of Cox Business. Meeks said the company, which has relied on small firms in the past, would branch out with midsize enterprises in the next few years. Light Reading (11/25)

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With an audience-retention rate of nearly 100% since its premiere Oct. 20, freshman comedy “Rita Rocks” already has proved to be a buzz-worthy hit on Lifetime’s Tuesday-night schedule. The network has rewarded that performance by ordering seven more episodes, which brings the show’s first-season episode total to 20. TVWeek.com (11/10)


Barack Obama’s two daughters have been invited to appear on the Disney Channel kids show “Hannah Montana,” said actor Billy Ray Cyrus, the father of “Hannah” star Miley Cyrus. The show has asked Malia, 10, and Sasha Obama, 7, to take part in an episode around April. (Iwantmedia 11/11, http://www.accesshollywood.com/malia-and-sasha-obama-to-visit-hannah-montana_article_12106 11/11)


Discovery Channel showcases new episodes of Man vs. Wild beginning late January with adventurer Bear Grylls at the helm. Eight new hi-def episodes will follow Bear to challenging locations such as Transylvania, Turkey, Belize, the Yukon Peninsula, Dominican Republic and the Bandlands of Oregon. These new episodes, produced by Diverse Productions, continues season three which began last August. (Cynopsis 11/11)


History unveiled its new series Shadow Force last Friday at 10p, delivering 585,000 A18-49 viewers, 616,000 A25-54 viewers and 1.1 million total viewers. (Cynopsis 11/11)

There have been layoffs at Current Media, the cable network co-founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.  A source close to Current told CNET News on Tuesday that 20 percent of the staff has been cut, and that some of the layoffs will take place now and others in January. Current had announced less than a day ago that it had partnered with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. to bring its network to Canada. (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10094101-36.html?tag=rtcol;relnews 11/11)

The notion that General Electric would like to sell NBC Universal has circulated for years. But the credit crisis has suddenly changed prospects of selling the unit. Analysts now don’t see the point in dumping NBC at a time when other GE businesses are struggling. (Iwantmedia 11/11, http://www.reuters.com/article/reutersEdge/idUSTRE4A92OC20081110 11/10)

The MLB Network secured carriage on Verizon’s FiOS TV service as part of a multi-year agreement. Verizon will add MLB to its Essentials and Extreme HD package when it debuts on Jan. 1 2009. Verizon will also offer the MLB Extra Innings package of out-of-market games to its subscribers. (Cynopsis 11/11)

The MGM HD channel has secured carriage through AT&T’s U-verse IPTV system. U-verse TV customers can receive MGM HD as part of the service’s HD Premium package, a new tier which can be added to an HD service subscription for an additional $5/month. (Cynopsis 11/11)

The FCC said it would seek additional information on the so-called “quiet period” being suggested around retransmission-consent agreements leading up to and following the country’s transition to all-digital TV signals. Cable companies have asked the commission to impose a quiet period that would start at the end of the year so that negotiations would not add to the confusion of the DTV switchover. Broadcasting & Cable (11/10)

Insight Communications turned in a stellar third-quarter performance, adding 9,300 basic-cable subscribers, 14,400 digital-cable customers, 20,500 high-speed data homes and 19,200 telephony subscribers. That solid growth in revenue-generating units helped the company earn $220 million in revenue during the quarter, a 17% improvement over the same period a year earlier. OneTRAK (11/10) , CED Magazine (11/2008)

Dish Network reported another bad quarter losing about 10,000 subscribers to end the quarter with 13.78 million overall subs. The company’s Q3 net income was $92 million – down 54% from Q3 2007. Like its competitor DirecTV, Dish warned it is likely to suffer from the loss of AT&T as distribution partner net year. AT&T subs accounted for around 17% of its gross subscriber additions so far in 2008. (Cynopsis 11/11)

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SCI FI Channel’s mid-season finale of Battlestar Galactica (10p) last Friday delivered 1.2 million A18-49, 1.2 million A25-54 and 1.8 million total viewers. (Cynopsis 6/17)

Click the image below to watch the full finale online.

The hotter-than-hot “Army Wives” continues to set records for Lifetime. A week after the Season 2 premiere pulled in 4.5 million viewers, a high-water mark for the female-focused channel, the net last Sunday night attracted 1.98 million women in the 25-to-54 demographic. (Broadcasting & Cable 6/16)

To check out full episodes on their vertical site, click below.

Documentaries from HBO and Cinemax will now be available online for purchase through Amazon-owned CreateSpace’s DVD on Demand offering. The first movie in the new deal, “When I Knew,” which looks at when people first knew they were gay, will be available June 26, a day after its Cinemax premiere. (World Screen News 6/16)

Investors say General Electric could help its languishing shares — now near 4 1/2-year lows — by selling off businesses in its portfolio. But the company is resisting calls that it should sell its 80% stake in NBC Universal. GE says it is committed to a diversified business model. (Iwantmedia 6/17, http://www.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idUSN1647648820080616 6/16)

News Corp. shares are getting a boost from their 52-week lows following a positive report by Lehman Brothers analyst Anthony DiClemente. The media giant is a good buy at the current price, DiClemente says, noting that MySpace continues to show strong revenue growth. (Iwantmedia 6/17, http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080613/news_corp_mover.html 6/13)

Multiplatform international sports broadcaster WCSN formed a joint venture with NBC Sports hoping to build a larger audience around sports largely overlooked by existing sports brands including Gymnastics, Track and Field, Swimming and Biking. The Universal Sports brand will replace WCSN’s linear digital channel later this summer – currently in about 2 million digital multicasts homes – and launch as the ad-supported web portal Universal Sports.com in July. (Cynopsis 6/17, Reuters/The Hollywood Reporter 6/17, The Washington Post/paidContent.org 6/16)

As part of its deal to separate from Time Warner, Time Warner Cable is looking to sell $5 billion in bonds to pay a cash dividend to shareholders of the parent company, according to one report. The spinoff is expected to give the country’s second-largest cable provider far more flexibility and freedom in charting its own future. (BusinessWeek/Standard & Poor’s Equity Research 6/17, Bloomberg 6/16, Reuters 6/16)

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