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BUSINESS
July 30, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Los Angeles nutritional products company Herbalife Ltd. is responding to criticism about its business model by changing the way it classifies its customers. From now on, those who buy Herbalife health and nutrition products for personal use will be called “members” instead of “distributors,” Michael O. Johnson, the company's chief executive officer, said during a conference call with analysts. The change comes eight months after hedge fund manager Bill Ackman called Herbalife a “pyramid scheme,” noting that most of its distributors lose money.
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BUSINESS
April 11, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer and Richard A. Serrano
The Justice Department and FBI have opened an investigation of Los Angeles nutritional products company Herbalife Ltd., which has been fighting critics who say it's operating an illegal pyramid scheme. Law enforcement sources confirmed the investigation. The FBI started looking into the company "more than several months ago," said a person who has been briefed on the investigation. "We are doing our job of getting to the bottom of this issue," said the official, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is ongoing.
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ENTERTAINMENT
May 23, 2013 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski
The initial bids are in for online media's most talked-about sale: Hulu. The online video site, which is jointly owned by News Corp., Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, attracted bids this week from two of Hollywood's digital media power-players and two pay TV distributors. The Chernin Group, a next-generation media company founded by longtime News Corp. executive Peter Chernin, submitted a bid together with Providence Equity, according to several people familiar with the matter.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 26, 2014 | By Joe Flint
Small cable operators think Viacom, parent of MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and several other networks, is trying to squeeze them. The National Cable Television Cooperative -- which represents more than 800 primarily rural cable operators and negotiates programming deals on their behalf -- charged that Viacom wants to dramatically increase the fees to carry its channels to prices that are 40 times greater than the rate of inflation. NCTC President and Chief Executive Rich Fickle said Viacom was punishing small operators because it could no longer get the rate increases it was accustomed to from bigger distributors such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 21, 2012 | By Joe Flint
BOSTON -- Rising programming costs are the biggest headache facing the cable industry, a group of industry analysts said Monday. "That is a very genuine and legitimate concern that imperils the entire ecosystem," said Craig Moffett, vice president and senior analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein Co. Moffett was speaking on a panel at the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. convention in Boston. Moffett said prices for programming have gotten so high that it is getting tougher for smaller distributors to cover their costs, and warned that further consolidation could be a result.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 26, 2014 | By Joe Flint
Small cable operators think Viacom, parent of MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and several other networks, is trying to squeeze them. The National Cable Television Cooperative -- which represents more than 800 primarily rural cable operators and negotiates programming deals on their behalf -- charged that Viacom wants to dramatically increase the fees to carry its channels to prices that are 40 times greater than the rate of inflation. NCTC President and Chief Executive Rich Fickle said Viacom was punishing small operators because it could no longer get the rate increases it was accustomed to from bigger distributors such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 10, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes said pay-TV distributors need to step up their game when it comes to video-on-demand. Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York on Tuesday, Bewkes praised the potential video-on-demand has for the entertainment industry in that it makes it easier for consumers to catch up on shows they've missed and discover new content. But at the same time, he chastised distributors for not doing more to not only promote VOD but also for having complicated interfaces that frustrate customers.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 26, 2012 | By Joe Flint
Sky Angel LLC, a distribution company that delivers content via broadband or "over the top," claims that programmers are resisting doing business with it for fear of upsetting cable and satellite pay-TV distributors. In written testimony submitted in advance of Wednesday's Future of Video hearing being held by the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Sky Angel Chief Executive Robert Johnson said, "The video distribution marketplace remains willing to engage in anti-competitive tactics in order to harm emerging competitors.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 22, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik and John Horn, Los Angeles Times
PARK CITY, Utah - A group of star-driven dramas and comedies, plus a half-dozen documentaries, have caught the fancy of buyers at the Sundance Film Festival, with distributors ponying up nearly $25 million in the last few days for movies they hope will return their investment in spades. Fox Searchlight paid close to $10 million for a Steve Carell movie, and Sony shelled out almost $4 million on a Jane Austen-themed comedy. Relativity Media spent $4 million for a Joseph Gordon-Levitt porn comedy and the Weinstein Co. put up about $2 million for a well-received drama, "Fruitvale.
BUSINESS
September 12, 1997 | BARBARA MARSH, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Triad Medical Inc. aims to raise $37 million in an initial stock offering that would fund the acquisition of 11 private distributors of medical products, according to a filing with regulators. Triad, formed last spring to create a nationwide distribution company, plans to sell 4 million shares of common stock at a price ranging from $10 to $12 a share. Money raised would be used pay $22.2 million in cash for stock of the companies it's acquiring and retire $15.3 million in debts.
BUSINESS
March 26, 2014 | By Roger Vincent
American Tire Distributors Inc., one of the nation's largest tire distributors, has agreed to rent a massive new $65-million warehouse near Bakersfield in the Kern County city of Shafter. Landlord Roll Real Estate Development will build the 1-million-square-foot distribution center for the North Carolina tire and wheel seller at Roll Real Estate's Paramount Logistics Park. The new industrial building for American Tire will sit on more than 45 acres and include 234 trailer stalls and 201 loading docks.
SPORTS
March 15, 2014 | By Chris Foster
Pac-12 officials remain unable to come to terms with satellite provider DircecTV to carry the conference television network, Commissioner Larry Scott said. The two sides have remained far apart since the launch of Pac-12 Networks two years ago. DirecTV has about 20 million subscribers. “We keep trying to open the door, trying to find solutions,” Scott said. “We have 65 other distributors. There is nothing more to say. There is no immediate   sign of a resolution.” If the conference were to cut its price demand to get on DirecTV, it probably would have to drop its price with other distributors.
BUSINESS
February 20, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Activist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman continued his relentless attack on Herbalife, releasing a report that accuses millionaire Herbalife distributor John Tartol of misleading others into selling the company's nutrition products. Ackman's company, Pershing Square Capital Management, said in the report released on its website Thursday that Tartol has made millions of dollars by misleading people into believing they can get rich as independent Herbalife distributors. “What took us that many years to do - 25, 30-plus years - you can all do in the next six, seven, eight years,” Tartol said at a 2011 Herbalife convention in Las Vegas, according to Ackman's report.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 11, 2014 | By Joe Flint
The Weather Channel is threatening to rain all over DirecTV if it can't come to terms on a new distribution agreement with the satellite broadcaster. The current contract between DirecTV, which has more than 20 million subscribers, and the Weather Channel expired at the end of last year. An extension was agreed upon, but now the Weather Channel is anticipating that DirecTV will drop the service because the two are still at an impasse. The current extension expires Tuesday. "For DirecTV to take us off their lineup would be deeply irresponsible to its customers who not only count on the Weather Channel on a day-to-day basis, but depend on us before, during and after severe weather events," David Kenny, the chief executive of Weather Channel parent Weather Co. said in a statement.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2014 | By Joe Flint
After four years and tens of millions of dollars spent on developing a new channel, WWE Corp. ultimately decided to bet on itself. Its new network, unveiled Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas , is not a traditional channel that will be distributed by pay-TV distributors including cable and satellite companies. Instead, it will be an online network that WWE fans can watch if they shell out $9.99 per month. By going the so-called over-the-top or OTT route, WWE is bypassing launching a network that would likely have been a slam dunk with distributors.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2014 | By Joe Flint
Satellite broadcaster DirecTV is less than thrilled with the WWE's plans to launch an online network and said it will have to rethink its relationship with the programmer and whether it will continue to offer its pay-per-view specials. As part of the WWE's online network, which will launch next month, its 12 pay-per-view specials including the hugely popular "Wrestlemania" will be made available to subscribers at a price tag of $9.99 a month. Traditional pay-TV distributors including DirecTV have for years counted on WWE's pay-per-view specials as a solid revenue source.
BUSINESS
February 15, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
The future of Herbalife is riding on Latinos. The Los Angeles company estimates that Latinos account for about 60% of its U.S. sales made through its network of independent distributors. And a growing slice of those sales are coming from informal nutrition clubs run out of people's homes and strip mall shops. It's a cultural phenomenon that got its start in Mexico and is quickly catching on among immigrants who have moved to Southern California. Budding entrepreneurs like Angel Perez, a 27-year-old from Inglewood, are forming the backbone to Herbalife's growth.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 21, 2009 | John Horn
There are two distinct classes of Cannes Film Festival visitors. A select few get invited to Paul Allen's yacht party, and most others don't. A handful of Cannes visitors stay in five-star beachfront suites, but pretty much everyone else squeezes into small apartments. And when it comes to buying films, the elite American distributors look for mainstream hits, while the masses are left to pick over the countless foreign-language titles, many of which will never be sold or seen.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Looking to bring an end to channels going dark as a result of contract disputes between broadcasters and pay-TV distributors, two lawmakers are proposing legislation that could radically alter the media landscape. Reps. Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren, both California Democrats, on Thursday introduced the Video CHOICE (Consumers Have Options in Choosing Entertainment) Act, which was praised by pay-TV distributors and criticized by broadcasters. "My bill would put an end to broadcast television blackouts and ensure consumers aren't held hostage by a dispute they have no control over," said Eshoo, who is ranking member of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 10, 2013 | By Joe Flint
After the coffee. Before seeing if 'Bonnie & Clyde' ratings held up. The Skinny: I was watching "Sideways" on HBO last night and remembering that when it first came out I thought it was a compelling story about two friends at the crossroads of their lives. Now I realize it's just a movie about a couple of drunks on a road trip. Nothing special. Tuesday's headlines include a rare interview with Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. Also, NBC wants to do another live musical and Forbes says Adam Sandler is overpaid.
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