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'Lone Ranger' sees red. Twitter tension between networks and critics.

August 07, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • "The Lone Ranger" starring Armie Hammer, left, and Johnny Depp lost a lot of money for Disney.
"The Lone Ranger" starring Armie Hammer, left, and Johnny Depp… (Walt Disney Co. )

After the coffee. Before seeing what I can get for my autographs. 

The Skinny: I'm up extra early today to listen to a Time Warner earnings call (it was a good quarter). That's Time Warner, not Time Warner Cable, so don't get your hopes up about new news regarding the cable company's fight with CBS (see below). Wednesday's headlines include Disney confirming a big loss for "The Lone Ranger." Also, tension is brewing between snarky critics and the TV networks over how the former uses Twitter during media sessions sponsored by the latter. 

Daily Dose: There isn't a lot new on the CBS-Time Warner Cable standoff. As expected, politicians are starting to weigh in. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has asked the Federal Communications Commission to weigh in and try to get the two companies to come to a solution. But the FCC lacks the clout to do more than say "pretty please" to the two firms. Meanwhile, CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves and Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt have become pen pals

Hi-Yo write-down and away! Walt Disney Co. managed a slight increase in profits for its fiscal third quarter, thanks to its cable channels and theme parks. But the big news was how bad "The Lone Ranger" did, as the company anticipated a write-down of as much as $190 million. Disney CEO Bob Iger said "The Lone Ranger" would not discourage Disney from continuing its swing-for-the-fences approach to movies. More on the results from the Los Angeles Times and Reuters

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Snip snip. Although much of the pay-TV industry has long been in denial about customers cutting the cord to their subscriptions in favor of finding content online, the numbers are starting to tell a different story. According to Moffett Research, cable, telephone and satellite video providers lost almost 400,000 subscribers in the second quarter. Younger consumers are leading the charge, either dropping pay-TV or never signing up in the first place. The Wall Street Journal on cord-cutting. 

Contain your enthusiasm. Advance ad sales for the broadcast networks fall TV season -- known in the media industry as the upfront market -- has finally wrapped up. If the numbers are any indication, advertisers are not exactly bursting with excitement about September. According to the New York Times, the five broadcast networks (CBS, Fox, ABC, NBC and CW) took in about $9 billion, which is flat to slightly down compared with last year. CBS did the best with a take of about $2.5 billion. Remember though, these are commitments advertisers make and not checks that are written. In other words, take the numbers with a grain of salt.

Time to talk. Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen again expressed interest in getting together with rival satellite broadcaster DirecTV. During an earnings call Tuesday, Ergen told analysts that “there’s no question that putting Dish and DirecTV together makes a lot of sense.” Dish and DirecTV tried to merge more than a decade ago, but government regulators said no. More on Ergen's remarks from Multichannel News.  

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Backing off. After having his attempt to get Sony to spin off its entertainment assets rebuffed, activist investor Daniel Loeb told Variety that he felt his efforts would succeed in getting the company to bring more discipline to its movie efforts. He also tried to find common ground with George Clooney, who ripped Loeb as someone who knew nothing about the movie business and was just a greedy hedge fund operator. Deadline Hollywood, a sister publication of Variety, offered its own harsh take on Loeb and even encouraged the town not to read Variety or buy ads in the publication as punishment for giving Loeb a platform. 

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "We're the Millers." Mary McNamara on "Broadchurch," the British drama that debuts on BBC America. TV networks love Twitter execpt when a roomful of critics are attending a press junket and using the social media platform to take shots at anything that moves

Follow me on Twitter so I don't have to take a write-down. Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.


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