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Archives: March 2006

‘Villian’ is Such a Tricky Word

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Quite a ‘loathsome‘ job of copyediting, wouldn’t ya say?

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EARLIER: Vibe Foils the ‘Villians’ [FishbowlNY]

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More good news: Record business continues downward spiral

Global music revenue fell 3 percent to $21 billion in 2005, with digital failing to make up for the dying CD format. istockphoto_63371_broken_blue_cd.jpg

Per Reuters,

“Digital music sales nearly tripled to $1.1 billion from $400 million the year before, split evenly between online services and mobile phone downloads, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said in a report on Friday.”

So, where’s the good news?
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Well, digital downloads nearly tripled. In Japan, digital is already making up for the decline of CDs, something that the States will start to do once everyone has a ‘Pod of one kind or another.

In other words, it’s Steve Jobs’ tune; we just hum along with it.

Where’s the ‘Anyone But Sharon Stone’ Option?

Howard’s Franken-quote: There’s out of context, and then, there’s the AP…

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You know, having just read the EW interview with Howard Stern today, it was abundantly, endlessly clear that Stern was kidding when he said that he resented those fans who hadn’t yet bought a Sirius subscription.

Indeed, within the EW piece itself, Stern is even described as laughing as he says:

“I want to say to my audience in this article, ‘F— you! You haven’t come with me yet? How dare you?’ [Laughs] ‘We’re up to wild, crazy stuff, the show has never sounded better. You cheap bastard!’”

This should be filed under playful, good-natured ribbing.

What is the AP’s reaction?

A headline that says “Howard Stern Lashes Out at Some Fans,” and a story that omits the laughter, making it seem as thought Stern is a raving psychopath with a persecution complex.

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“It’s insulting to me that everyone hasn’t come with me. I take it personally,” he says. “I want to say to my audience … ‘You haven’t come with me yet? How dare you? We’re up to wild, crazy stuff, the show has never sounded better. You cheap bastard!’”

I mean, we know wire services are suppossed to play it straight, but this is beyond the pale; it’s a reality TV “Franken-edit” unbecoming a major news organization.

We’re Going To Keep Testing You …

… until you get it right!

ABC News’ Brian Ross unit this week told viewers about investigators slipping fake nukes through U.S. customs, after two previous reports on ABC News doing the same thing. (We’d call it a “stunt,” but this is pretty serious stuff.) If the government behaves as in the past, they’ll:

1. Try to prosecute an ABC News producer.
2. Say that the way they were tested was completely contrived and unrealistic
3. Tell us how they’re shoring it up
4. Fail the next test someone puts them through.

Maybe Ross (who, for the record was always very nice to us) could start a new “government testing” channel all for himself.

WNT Webcasts (scroll down): “Investigators Were Able to Slip …”

Point Break Live?

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Point Break LIVE!, the absurdist stage adaptation of the 1992 Keanu Reeves extreme-sports blockbuster, surfs into Galapagos for an exclusive one-month engagement.

For the record, we had the idea for this, like, five years ago. But we were stuck on how brilliantly bad acting, awkward surfer dialogue and a horrendously cast love interest would translate onstage.

Point Break [IMDB]
Point Break LIVE! [SmartTix]

Sony’s UMDs turn out to be about as plentiful as WMDs

A year after it launched as the tonic that might grow green cash on the bald pate of Hollywood, Sony yesterday announced that the UMD, or Universal Media Disc may soon be usable only as a shiny coaster. psp4.jpg

Yes, the Hollywood Reporter (free) and the Motley Fool (paid) both offer takes on why, but we’ll summarize for you in a single quote:

“No one’s watching movies on PSP,” said the president of one of the six major studios’ home entertainment divisions. “It’s a game player, period.”

We wish we could be all snarky and bloggeresque and say “Duh.” – but the truth is, it wasn’t such a bad idea. After all, iPod’s that play video are a roaring success. Why not make game players that do the same?

Of course, as it turned out, making a portable game console that also plays movies is a bit like making a crackpipe that’s also a salad shooter: Most crackheads just aren’t jonesing for Salade Nicoise.

Media round-up

- What the Knight Ridder sale means for newspapers and you.

- Our comrades at FishbowlNY actually go to parties attended by Angelenos; meanwhile nobody invites us anywhere.

Creat/Ivity Before the Bash

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We were happy to meet Jay McInerney, Candace Bushnell, Luke Thornton and other media lights last night at the Soho House before the throbbing party in honor of Creativity magazine’s 20th anniversary. Thornton ‘s TV and film production company, Believe, was helping sponsor the festivities, but he was in town from L.A. to watch his N.Y. office shoot commercials for L’Oreal (with Scarlett Johansson, he said), Revlon and “a Coke product.” (We assume the “c” was upper case.)

McInerney was just off a book tour for his new novel and said he was up to “absolutely nothing” right now, though he does plan to get back to work, soon, in his nicely cocoonish Fifth Avenue digs, or at Soho House, which has a blissfully quiet writers’ room (No Cellphones Puhleaze!)that belies its jet-setty image at night. McInerney also told us his computer was on the fritz, and so he missed having a younger girlfriend right now because the other best thing they can give is great tech support.

Bushnell, looking predictably just-so in a fur half-jacket, shortly shorn blond locks and what looked like jeans, cheerfully signed copies of her new novel before heading out to Toronto to visit a number of people, including “Bret,” who’s up there working on a film, she said.

Read more

Showtime signs first-look deal with… the Smithsonian Institution?

No joke. Showtime and the Smithsonian will be launching a joint venture called the Smithsonian Network, which will draw upon the Institution’s vast collections and staff for documentary programming. The catch is that Showtime gets right of first refusal on the projects, and if you’re making a documentary for another network, you might not be able to have full access to the Smithsonian, which, after all, is a public institution. From the NYT:

Under the agreement, the Showtime-Smithsonian joint venture has the right of first refusal to commercial documentaries that rely heavily on Smithsonian collections or staff, said Linda St. Thomas, a spokeswoman for the Smithsonian. That means that a filmmaker who does not agree to grant Smithsonian Networks the rights to the film could be denied access to the Smithsonian’s public collections and experts, Ms. St. Thomas said.

“Our collections will continue to be open to researchers and makers of educational documentaries,” she said. In addition, programs that interview a Smithsonian curator as one of several experts on a broad topic like World War II would probably be allowed.

“But if you are doing a one-hour program on forensic anthropology and the history of human bones,” Ms. St. Thomas said, citing a subject on which the Smithsonian has extensive collections and leading experts, “that would be competing with ourselves, because that is the kind of program we will be doing with Showtime On Demand.”

Legal? I guess so. Good for the documentary community? I don’t know.

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