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December 8, 2011 | By Meg James, Los Angeles Times
Call it a cable squeeze play. Cable television networks may be the most lucrative divisions of many large media companies, but the networks are beginning to feel the pinch of dramatically higher programming costs. In 2006, TV sports giant ESPN spent $3.5 billion on programming for its flagship channel. This year, the channel's content costs have mushroomed to $5.2 billion — a nearly 50% jump from five years ago, according to consulting firm SNL Kagan. Programming expenses for Time Warner Inc.'s TNT channel have soared 55% since 2006 to $1.1 billion this year, propelled by sports rights fees for NBA and NCAA basketball as well as a lineup of original dramas including "The Closer" and "Falling Skies.
August 4, 2010 | By Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Los Angeles Times
Sidney Harman, the stereo industry magnate who announced Monday that he was buying Newsweek magazine, has made a lot of money in his life. Harman, who turns 92 this week, told the staff at the ailing newsweekly that he was not all that interested in making more, at least from his new acquisition. "I'm not here to make money," he told them, according to a Newsweek published account. "I'm here to make joy." They could use some. Newsweek, which has about 325 employees, hasn't made a profit since 2007 and lost about $30 million last year.
June 1, 2010 | By Sharon Bernstein, Los Angeles Times
A cable television commercial for the Redondo Beach restaurant Eat at Joe's features high-definition video, a cast of 40 and a catchy jingle that will leave you humming. Particularly enthusiastic about the slick new ad was Alex Jordan, the restaurateur who decided to take the plunge into television advertising after meeting an Altadena couple who were starting their own ad agency. They wrote and produced the 30-second spot for $5,000, and they helped him broker a deal to deliver it to 300,000 homes for $1 every time it ran. In a still tough economy in Southern California, hard times in advertising and media have led to a surprising bonanza for small businesses seeking to market themselves.
January 29, 2010 | By Joe Flint
Cable giant Comcast Corp., in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission seeking regulatory approval of its $30-billion deal to take control of General Electric's NBC Universal, said it didn't expect the transaction to significantly change the media landscape. The 145-page document accompanying a joint request by the companies to transfer control of NBC's TV station licenses, argued that there was "no plausible basis for claims that the proposed venture will have anti-competitive effects."
December 4, 2009 | By Joe Flint
The proposed marriage of Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable and broadband provider, with NBC Universal, a Hollywood powerhouse, presents the Obama administration with its first big chance to weigh in on the controversial issue of media consolidation. The deal, announced with fanfare Thursday at NBC Universal's Rockefeller Center headquarters in midtown Manhattan, had politicians and consumer activists calling for an intense review in light of the perceived market domination the new entity would enjoy when it comes to ownership and distribution of movies, TV shows and cable networks that get piped into the home.
July 28, 2009 | Joe Flint
Barry Diller, who warned last week at a media industry conference that the transition from old media to new media would be "bloody," is turning to Ben Silverman for help with triage.
June 15, 2009 | Ben Fritz and Dawn C. Chmielewski
In 2006, Shane Felux was on a makeshift set near his home in northern Virginia producing a Web video when he received an out-of-the-blue phone call from Barry Jossen, who was then executive vice president of production for Disney's ABC Studios.
June 4, 2009 | Maura Dolan
The California Supreme Court appeared divided Wednesday over how to handle a $15.6-million jury verdict won by a model who discovered his face on a jar of Taster's Choice coffee. The case is being closely watched by the entertainment and media industries. The Motion Picture Assn. of America and the Los Angeles Times have sided with Nestle USA Inc.
May 7, 2009 | Ben Fritz
Finishing up a dismal earnings season for media companies, News Corp. reported a 70% drop in net income and a 16% decline in revenue last quarter, with its broadcast TV, newspapers and MySpace divisions leading the way down and only its cable unit bucking the trend. Rupert Murdoch's media empire earned $300 million, excluding one-time events, on $7.38 billion in revenue. The numbers were a bit below analysts' estimates, but investors seemed pleased that News Corp.
March 17, 2009 | David Sarno
Visitors to Austin's South by Southwest conference arrived Friday to a sky like a wet blanket. A cold, wet blanket. We traipsed our way from panel to panel, grumbling from beneath convenience-store umbrellas, wondering about the possibilities for eating barbecue in a rainstorm. In the same kind of way, discussion at the new media portion of this year's conference was shot through with a chilly strain of winter.
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