Daily Marauder




Steve Baller: CEO Microsoft

The big news from the keynote last night was the launch of Microsoft 7 for registered beta Microsoft beta users and January 9th for everyone else.  Here’s a quick recap of the highlights…no shockers here.

  • Windows live search will come pre-installed in all Dell computers as of February.
  • Windows live essential is no longer in beta and now comes a bit more synchronized with Facebook allowing users to automatically post photos on Microsoft Live from posting on Facebook.  That’s nice.
  • Microsoft live will also be implemented on all Verizon feature phones.
  • Release of a windows mobile app to allow management of the Netflix queue

Everything else was a bit of old news.  No expected mention of the Zune.  No real excitement here.

An Australian musical comedy group called Tripod performed to poke light at the gaming lifestyle…sounding strikingly like the Flight of the Conchords, a New Zealand music improve group on HBO currently in season 2.  They should have some falsetto wars.  One performed last year during the Comcast keynote.  The other performed this year during the Microsoft keynote.  Flight would kill it in a deathmatch…

Robbie Bach then took the stage to note how men really are from Mars, women from Venus…somehow ignoring the building female gamer market.  Hey Bach, ever heard of the Wii or Guitar Hero on your own gaming console platform?  Guess not.

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Next month HBO brings back a third season of hour-long series Big Love on January 18 at 9p followed on the same night by the second season opener of half-hour comedy Flight of the Conchords at 10p. (Cynopsis 12/15)

Happier holidays demand more wives. . .

Big Love on HBO


Screen Actor Guild (SAG) leaders in New York are distancing themselves from SAG leaders based in Hollywood and have asked the guild to halt its strike authorization vote, writes Variety. The NY division leaders cite the nation’s crippling financial crisis as their reason to stop the strike vote. In a statement released last Friday, the New York board said: “While issuing a strike authorization may have been a sensible strategy in October, we believe it is irresponsible to do so now, in the face of widespread layoffs, cutbacks and reduced programming.” (Cynopsis 12/15)

The “George Lopez” family-friendly sitcom helped Nick at Night rise to the top of the ratings heap among 18- to 49-year-old viewers. Now, according to Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group, the network is talking to the star about other projects, including a variety of specials. TVWeek.com (12/14)


Actress Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls) will soon be seen again in primetime, this time on ABC as the network okayed a production commitment for a new comedy starring Graham, cites Variety. The yet-to-be-titled half-hour is about a female self-help instructor who fails to follow her own advice when her boyfriend leaves her. (Cynopsis 12/15)


The pay-TV joint venture featuring Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate will be named Epix, according to this report. The cable channel, which was announced last April, is expected to launch next fall and compete directly with premium programmers such as HBO and Showtime. MediaPost Communications (12/12)

Liberty Media board members have given approval for a new, asset-backed stock, hopefully calming investors’ fears that Chairman John Malone would use Liberty Entertainment to prop up other assets. Analysts quoted in this article said AT&T might be interested in a merger or purchase of the new unit. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (12/15)

After all the recent executive shifts, NBC Universal President/CEO Jeff Zucker confirmed Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio will remain with the company and will soon sign a new contract, reports B&C. (Cynopsis 12/15)

FCC has canceled its meeting scheduled for Thursday after two lawmakers, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., sent a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin urging him to concentrate the commission’s time and resources on the transition to digital television. The scheduled meeting was to have considered a number of potentially controversial issues, including the rules governing cable-retransmission-rights agreements with broadcasters. Reuters (12/13) , Multichannel News (12/13) , The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires (subscription required) (12/12)

Top 10 “Timeshifted” Primetime TV Programs
Rank Program                   Network % Increase in Viewership
1       HEROES                       NBC            35%
2       FRINGE                        FOX            26%
3       LOST                           ABC            25%
4       BONES                         FOX           21%
5       GREY’S ANATOMY         ABC            20%
6       HOUSE                        FOX            18%
7       SURVIVOR: GABON      CBS            18%
8       AMERICAN IDOL-Tues  FOX            13%
9       THE MENTALIST          CBS             13%
10     AMERICAN IDOL-Wed.  FOX            12%
Source: The Nielsen Company
Data from Jan 01, 2008- Nov 23, 2008.  Percent Increase in viewership is based on absolute difference between Live Household Ratings and Live+7

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The second season of “Dogtown: Saving the Michael Vick Dogs” premiered last Friday night on the National Geographic Channel, attracting 3.1 million viewers and earning a 1.05 household rating. It was the network’s highest-rated second-season premiere and its top Friday-night opener. Multichannel News (9/8)

HBO’s comedy series Flight of the Conchords started production for season two in New York on ten new episodes. The series follows the musical/comedy pair Jermaine Clement and Bret McKenzie from New Zealand who now live and perform in New York City. The new episodes are scheduled to debut in early 2009. (Cynopsis 9/9)

Over two nights in December, HBO will present a four-hour biopic on the rise and fall of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The movie, which was co-produced with the BBC and aired in the U.K. last summer, begins with Saddam’s taking power in a 1979 coup and ends with his capture in Tikrit by coalition forces. Broadcasting & Cable (9/8)

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin should focus on the country’s transition to all-digital TV signals and not get sidetracked with trying to force a la carte programming on the cable industry, according to a letter to the FCC chief from Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, and co-signed by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. “Pursuing contentious policy initiatives, such as the unbundling of wholesale subscription television channels, would divert attention of the bureau at this critical time,” Inouye said. Multichannel News (9/8)

Subscribers of AT&T’s U-verse video service will be able to use the providers’ DVR service with as many as eight TVs under a new policy designed to compete with rivals. AT&T, which already offers multiroom, or whole-house, service in the San Francisco area, said it would expand that policy to the rest of the country by year-end. The Wall Street Journal (free content) (9/9)

Mediacom Communications, the eighth-largest cable TV firm, announced plans to buy back 30% of its Class A common stock from Shivers Investments in a deal that is expected to close in the fourth quarter. The move gives Shivers $110 million in cash and full control of a newly formed Mediacom subsidiary with 25,000 basic-cable subscribers. CNNMoney.com/Associated Press (9/8) , CED Magazine (9/2008)

More than 635 million homes — half the world’s households — will watch digital TV by 2013, according to a new report from Informa Telecoms, and almost half of them — 290 million — will get it via cable TV. The study goes on to say that the worldwide total will reach 343 million by the end of this year, an increase of 67 million over 2007. The Hollywood Reporter (9/8)

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Time Warner Inc.’s HBO and Apple Inc. Tuesday said they have signed a deal to make HBO programming available for purchase and download from the iTunes Store. (http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2008/05/13/afx5002151.html 5/13)

Image from iTunes

And here’s the Programming/Pricing

The Wire$1.99 per 1 hour episode

Flight of the Conchords $1.99 per 30 min episode

Sex and the City$1.99 per 30 min episode

Rome$2,99 per 1 hour episode

Deadwood – $2.99 per 1 hour episode

The Sopranos$2.99 per 1 hour episode

MySpace, Facebook and Google are announcing similar-sounding moves over the past week to open up their sites to external applications. The moves suggest that social-media tools and services will spread throughout the Web, say observers. Social networks will be “like air.” (Iwantmedia 5/13, http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=127012 5/12)

NBC Universal has announced that next month it will create the NBC Digital Health Network, which will allow three Web sites to distribute health-related video segments from NBC News, NBC local stations and Healthology.com. The content will be made available to Web sites Healthline Networks, Your Total Health and RightHealth, which, together, have 27 million unique viewers a month. (ClickZ 5/13)

Last.fm launched a new video channel spotlighting interviews and concert footage of artists such as Moby, Santogold and Spoon. The CBS-owned music community site also announced a partnership with Lollapalooza, the granddaddy of indie music festivals. (Cynopsis 5/13)

The broadcast networks are not the only companies trolling for advertising dollars during the upfronts this week. The new video Web site Hulu, from NBC Universal  and News Corp., is throwing itself a party to highlight its stable of television content and entice advertisers. (Iwantmedia 5/13, http://tvdecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/12/upfronts-hulu-wants-that-loving-feeling 5/12)

Twitter is an efficient technology for spreading and harvesting concise ideas. Unfortunately, it’s not so great for sharing rich media. Want to broadcast a video? You’ll have to settle for a TinyURL to YouTube, or maybe switch over to Seesmic altogether. Pownce improves on the Twitter model by supporting file transfers and at least one new data type: the structured event. It also appears to be evolving into a better system for trading music, possibly with a full-featured music player.But if music is indeed a significant part of Pownce’s future, then Blip is one step ahead. Call it “Twitter for Music” since it’s essentially just that: a way to suggest music and share your thoughts about it with a network of contacts. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/05/12/twitter-for-music 5/12)

In other NBCU upfront news, mun2 put a multiplatform spin on its presentation announcing year-to-year increases of holamun2.com including +138% in unique visitors and +95% in total usage, according to Omniture. The network hopes to spark more cross platform creativity such as the magazine show HolaMun2.com: El Show, which became the highest rated premiere in the channel’s history. A new quiz show called You Said What? will poll users online and on mobile devices and utilize their response on air. (Cynopsis 5/13)

Buoyed by early success with shows such as Lunchbox, IFC.com is pledging to launch at least one new original web series a month throughout the summer with a line up of commissioned and acquired fare. IFC.com’s “cyber season” includes the Australian cult hit series, Wilfred about a pot-smoking dog; a third season of Young American Bodies, a co-production of IFC and Nerve.com; as well as Good Morning Internet!, a morning parody show from the creators of Hipster Olympics. (Cynopsis 5/13)


Strangely enough, I think this series is pretty great.  Maybe it’s just the Australian accents. . .

Whether actors must give consent for snippets of their video work to be displayed online is the No. 1 disputed issue cited by the Screen Actors Guild after labor talks broke down last week. Studios want to pay actors a flat fee to distribute clips of television shows and movies. (Iwantmedia 5/13, http://www.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idUSN1233346620080512 5/12)

Scientists working for The Walt Disney Co. will begin measuring viewers’ biometric responses to advertising on platforms such as the Internet, mobile phones and high-definition TV. The studies will use programming from ESPN and ABC and will measure things such as heart rate, skin conductivity and eye activity. (International Herald Tribune/Associated Press 5/13)

Clear Channel is negotiating with Pandora to offer the company’s customized radio service across all its Web properties nationwide. Pandora is a personalized Internet radio service that helps users find new music based on their old and current favorites. (Iwantmedia 5/13, http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3i595b48df06c95e2e82ee2ef140401133 5/12)

As television, newspapers and other media are digitized and move to the Internet, Google’s advertising system will become the financial platform on which many of these businesses depend, according to industry observers. Google is “sitting on a goldmine.” Its momentum “seems unstoppable.” (Iwantmedia 5/13, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ae08cfd8-2051-11dd-80b4-000077b07658.html 5/12)

Google extended its video market share lead to 38% thanks to the more than 4.3 billion videos viewed on YouTube during March, according to comScore’s Video Metrix. U.S. Internet users viewed 11.5 billion online videos during the month, representing a 13% gain versus February and a 64% gain versus March 2007. (Cynopsis 5/13)

Top U.S. Online Video Properties by Videos Viewed – March 2008
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Property                       Videos(000)     Share (%) of Videos
Google Sites                   4,358,306              38.0
Fox Interactive Media         477,621               4.2
Yahoo! Sites                     328,087               2.9
Viacom Digital                    249,285               2.2
Microsoft Sites                  245,453               2.1
Time Warner – Excl. AOL     159,009               1.4
Disney Online                    108,055                0.9
ABC.COM                         100,051                0.9
AOL LLC                          100,044                0.9
ESPN                                89,760                0.8
Total Internet              11,476,886              100.0
Source: comScore Video Metrix

February 22, 2008, 9:57 AM
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Get Retro continues with a bit of a swerve.  A swerve is my terminology for anything that attempts to combine the past with either the future or current.  Let me introduce the Lasonic High Performance Portable Music System. The updated Lasonic version is 15 lbs and includes a dock for plugging in your iPod.  The 26-inch wide boom box won’t rock the boulevard at 15 watts per channel, but it will be loud enough to bring Rakim to your part of the subway platform.

The unit premiered at CES a month ago but still hasn’t been officially released as of this posting.  Priced at $169, the boom box also supports USB flash drive.   

Another example of a swerve is the Flight of the Conchords camera phone merging a cell phone with a camera.  Hottness.

A Swerve


The Lasonic Ghetto Blaster recalls a time when walking around with a boom box on your shoulder while blasting Eric B was just a normal part of everyday life.  Just to remind you of the boom boxes from yesteryear, check it.

Boom Box Family


Turns out, Madonna also loves the boom box.  The boom box was a featured character in Madonna’s 2005 music Video, Hung Up.

Madonna Hung Up


For more of the Get Retro series: 


The Talk Box


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