This was the quarter when Facebook left behind memories of its troubled IPO last year: As it reassured investors that it has a strategy to sell ads on mobile platforms, its shares closed Q3 at $50.23 — a 101.9% gain since the end of June. That’s the biggest jump on the list of media company stocks we track. The sector did well as the economy, and advertising, improved: The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index rose 8.3% beating the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+1.5%) and Standard & Poor’s 500 (+4.7%). Radio company Cumulus Media came in second in our group, rising 56%, followed by Netflix (+46.5%), Best Buy (+37.2%), Pandora (+36.6%), and Yahoo (+32%). Among Big Media companies, Viacom (+22.9%) saw the biggest improvement followed by Time Warner (13.8%), CBS (+12.9%), Comcast (+8.1%), Disney (+2.1%) and Sony (+1.7%). We left Fox and News Corp off the list for this quarter; their stocks were essentially brand new after Rupert Murdoch’s company split in two at the end of June. Companies that probably were glad to see the quarter end include 3D technology company RealD (-49.6%), Barnes & Noble (-19%), Rovi (-16.1%), and Outerwall — the parent of DVD rental kiosk owner Redbox — which was -14.7%.
EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation with multiple networks chasing, Fox has landed Chasing Skips, an hourlong action-comedy project from Cougar Town executive producer/showrunner Blake McCormick and the series’ co-creator Bill Lawrence. Written by McCormick, Chasing Skips centers on two down-on-their-luck guys in search of a way to improve their lives who decide to enter the world of bounty hunting, despite having no experience and very few skills. Warner Bros TV and Lawrence’s studio-based Doozer are producing, with McCormick, Lawrence and Jeff Ingold executive producing. Chasing Skips stems from a blind script deal McCormick inked with Warner Bros TV through Doozer in May in conjunction with his appointment as new showrunner of Cougar Town for its upcoming fifth season.
As Deadline reported in the summer, Warner Bros Pictures has found its replacement to fill the void left when Thomas Tull moved Legendary Pictures down the road to Universal. RatPac-Dune Entertainment has made a multi-year agreement to co-finance as many as 75 upcoming titles at up to $450 million. The announcement was made today by Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara and by Steven Mnuchin, Brett Ratner and James Packer of RatPac-Dune Entertainment, the film finance vehicle formed by Mnuchin and RatPac Entertainment to co-finance the Warner Bros Pictures slate.
The co-fi deal starts with the October 4 release Gravity, and the December 25 release Grudge Match. The studio laid off risk in the past with Village Roadshow Pictures and Legendary.
“We are very pleased to be entering into this relationship with RatPac-Dune Entertainment,” said Tsujihara. “This agreement gives us increased strength and flexibility in the motion picture division and an even greater ability to manage risk as we continue to produce high-quality filmed entertainment for the global audience. We look forward to working with their team as we move forward in this exciting new partnership with a truly great organization.”
Liberty Media’s John Malone and other execs are pounding the drums for cable and satellite companies to merge — in part to help hold down their rising programming costs. You’d expect outlays to …
IFC Films acquired North American rights to the Zach Clark-directed comedy White Reindeer, which stars Anna Margaret Hollyman, Laura Lemar-Goldsborough, Lydia Johnson, Joe Swanberg and Chris Doubek. Clark, who wrote the script, produced with Daryl Pittman and Melodie Sisk, Kevin Clark and Joan Peacock are exec producers. The film will …
The Breaking Bad series finale went out with a bang last night, clocking 10.3 million viewers – a record for the iconic AMC series. The finale skyrocketed 300% over last year’s finale in the demo, capping a historic run for the basic cable network. After that, an expanded Talking Bad delivered 4.4 million viewers. “Breaking Bad is simply unique,” said Charlie Collier, AMC president. “It all starts with Vince Gilligan who really only ever asked for one thing – the opportunity to end the show on his own terms. That is exactly what Vince did last night and, as always, brilliantly so. Congratulations to Vince and to every single person involved in this remarkable journey. We’re proud that AMC will forever be known as the birthplace and home of this iconic show and, at the same time, we tip our Heisenberg hat to the fans who made this a truly shared experience.”
The show – a media darling, but considered something of a niche show based on ratings — had been clocking in the 3-4 million range during its run. But, heading into the final few episodes, the show’s ratings shot up. One week earlier, the penultimate episode premiered to nearly 7 million and the week before that pushed past 6 mil. Expect broadcasters to cite Breaking Bad’s record highs (not to mention Showtime’s Homeland and Masters Of Sex launches) when explaining last night’s Premiere Week Sunday launch lows. Clever advertisers had anticipated the ratings spike; AMC told out its ad inventory for the finale and some of those 30-se spots you saw in the show last night cost as much as $400,000, which puts them in Modern Family range. The network did a masterful job revving up the show’s super-fans, with a full-run-of-the-series marathon last week – which played out nicely right after the TV academy crowned BB the year’s best drama series.
As part of TCM’s annual 31 Days of Oscar® showcase in February 2014, the network will present the world premiere of Oscar, a brand-new documentary tracing the history of the Academy Awards. Produced by Telling Pictures, Inc., in association with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (The Academy) and Hollywood Newsreel, this fascinating special will take movie lovers on a journey through Hollywood history as it tells its story of the little statuette that became the industry’s most coveted prize.
Oscar is set to have its world television premiere on TCM Saturday, Feb. 1, the opening night of the 2014 edition of 31 Days of Oscar. With the new documentary as its centerpiece, 31 Days of Oscar will be themed around the history of the Academy Awards. Featuring more than 300 Oscar-winning and nominated films, the month-long showcase will take a deep look into the world’s oldest, most important and most prestigious film award. Each night’s lineup will feature a complete set of nominated films that faced each other in a particular category, beginning Feb. 1 with all 10 Best Picture nominees from 1939: Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Of Mice and Men, Ninotchka, Wuthering Heights, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dark Victory and Love Affair.