Frank Darabont’s screenplay from the opening episode of TNT‘s three-week television event Mob City is set to begin rolling out on Twitter today, 140 characters at a time. The line-by-line “adaptweetion” can be read on the handle @MobCityTNT, two days before the launch of Mob City on TNT, according to the network. The project is a collaboration between TNT and Deutsch NY. Twitter followers will be taken back to gritty 1940s Los Angeles as the story unfolds gradually over three days. The story begins just before the end of the first episode, when a shocking turn of events occurs. The “adaptweetion” will include real-time dialogue between characters, pilot footage, talent commentary and other exclusive content, says TNT. Mob City stars including Jon Bernthal (@jonnybernthal), Milo Ventimiglia (@miloventimiglia) and Ed Burns (@edward_burns) will add their own voices to the online conversation. You won’t get all the answers on Twitter, however. To find out what happens at the end of the premiere episode, you’ll have to tune in when Mob City premieres December 4 at 9 PM on TNT.
Roseanne Barr Slams NBC, Anderson Cooper & Hollywood In Twitter Rant: “I’m Never Going To Work In Television Again”
Roseanne Barr might not be heading back to primetime after all, according to the comedienne’s own Thanksgiving weekend Twitter rant. Earlier this year NBC set Barr to develop and star in a new sitcom co-written with Nurse Jackie showrunner Linda Wallem, but in a series of Tweets over the holiday Barr made her discontent with that project known. “I’m never going to work in television again. I’m never going to even attempt it,” she Tweeted. Without naming Wallem specifically, Barr wrote of a female showrunner who disappeared on her for seven weeks and turned in a script she didn’t like:
“[The] development process went like this: show runner disappeared for 7 weeks-never returned any calls from me-I was told she ‘goes in2 a cave’. I was also told that this was ‘her process’-and that the result would be fantastic. I asked why I had been removed totally from the process. They had less than no interest in including me in the development of a show that was built on ‘my brand’. It was horrible, but I kept on bc i kept on bc I had 2 C it thru-out of a bizarre interest in the insane outcome. The script didn’t resonate with me-I tried 2 b kind about it There were hardly any jokes in the script, and I didn’t connect with the characters at all. My family told me 2 quit-I kept on trying.”
Wall Street says it is shortly after the social media company went public this morning. Twitter’s valued at $24.6B with its stock price hovering around $46 a share. That makes it less valuable than Discovery Communications ($30.2B) — but more valuable than Dish Network ($22.3B), SiriusXM ($22.2B), and Netflix ($19.5B). It’s also way ahead of big names in traditional media including Liberty ($18.5B), Sony ($17.2B), and News Corp ($10.0B). Investors still put a higher value on new media companies including Yahoo ($34.6B) and Facebook ($117.3B). Twitter’s valuation is already too rich for Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser — who appears to have been the first analyst to downgrade the company to “sell” from “buy” today based on the 75%+ jump in its price following the IPO at $26 a share. “Twitter is simply too expensive” after it passed the high 30s, he says.
Twitter‘s market value increased by $11B just seconds after shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The company sold its stock for $26 a share. In the first few minutes of trading they hit a high of $50.08. Assuming that there’s no sharp change, Twitter should escape the criticism that hit Facebook when it went public 18 months ago — that the company had been too greedy and charged too much. Its share price fell shortly after the IPO, and didn’t return to the opening price until the middle of 2013. Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser said this week that he expected the stock price to rise rapidly after the IPO. He added, though, that it “will inevitably face some downward pressure at some point, whether because of sales due to lock-up expirations (which should occur in both February and May of next year), because of short-term mis-steps by the company (perceived or actual), competitive actions by competitors or because user trends fail to meet investor expectations.”
UPDATE, 4 PM: Twitter says (of course, on Twitter) that it has priced its initial public offering of 70,000,000 shares of its common stock at $26 a share — higher than estimates earlier this week of $23 to $25. The stock is expected to begin trading tomorrow on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TWTR.
PREVIOUS, MON. NOV. 4 PM: A mixed morning for the company newswise. Twitter says in an SEC filing that it intends to price its stock at between $23 and $25 a share — up from its previous target of $17 to $20. The change values the company at about $17B+, up from about $11B. Sounds like a lot to pay for a company that’s losing money. But it’s consistent with the values that Wall Street analysts have been putting on the company. For example, BTIG’s Richard Greenfield says today that he expects the IPO price to come in “at the bottom-end of the new range” — and even before this morning he “saw a path to $30 [a share] over the next year.” Others also have been optimistic. Last week Sterne Agee’s Arvind Bhatia said the stock could go to $32 over the next two years. And Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser put a target price of $29 on Twitter shares.
But Twitter also disclosed that IBM recently wrote saying that the social media company is infringing on at least three …
EXCLUSIVE: Earlier this fall, Fox bought a drama from Diablo Cody. Now the network has taken in a project from another female writer looking to translate her Internet following into a successful screenwriting career. Fox has put in development a single-camera comedy from Kelly Oxford, a Twitter star with more than 550,000 followers. The untitled project, which has a script commitment, is based upon Oxford’s real-life work in a retirement home and centers on a 30-year-old single mom who runs the recreation department of a senior center. Warner Bros TV is producing, with Oxford co-executive producing.
A Calgary stay-at-home mother aspiring to be a writer, Oxford started a blog in 2002 to share her experiences raising her kids and vent about things. The blog quickly gained traction, but it was the companion Twitter feed that exploded, propelling Oxford to Internet stardom. Her snarky, straight-up observational tweets (read a sample of her recent ones below) drew celebrity A-listers as followers, including Howard Stern and Jimmy Kimmel. Hollywood came knocking, and Oxford sold a family comedy based on the blog to CBS in 2011 with Jessica Alba producing and another family comedy to NBC last year. Also last year, Warner Bros picked up her feature comedy spec Son Of A Bitch.
The company hopes to go public at anywhere from $17 to $20 a share, it said today in an SEC filing. Twitter plans to sell 70M shares, putting the potential proceeds at about $1.3B. It also suggests that the company would be worth about $11B. That would be much smaller than Facebook (with a market value of $127.7B) and Yahoo ($35.2B) but bigger than AOL ($2.8B). Execs are about to go on a road show to sell the stock to institutions, The Wall Street Journal reports. Shares could begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange as soon as November 7.
“Excited to join @Twitter as Head of News in January. Leaving @NBCNews at year’s end. Grateful to my beloved colleagues for 2+ great years,” NBC News’ Chief Digital Officer of Vivian Schiller tweeted today, ending weeks of reports she’d been tapped for the gig. That puts her start date after Twitter begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange, as soon as November 7.
It’s a new post for the social media behemoth and one in which she will work to further develop partnerships with old-school news-gathering outfits — like broadcast and cable TV news operations, newspapers, NPR, etc.
The San Francisco-based giant had been looking for someone who could be its liaison with news gathering operations. Schilller’s solid resume includes stints at The New York Times, NPR, CNN, NBCU, and Discovery, though she resigned from NPR last March after a couple of embarrassing incidents, including the release of a video showing a staffer nicking the GOP and the Tea Party. Website AllThingsD reported earlier this month she was a done deal, but nothing was official until today. She’d been put into her most recent position, at NBCU, by NBC News chief Steve Capus, who has since left; Deborah Turness took over in May.
The decision, disclosed in an SEC filing, is a big victory for the New York Stock Exchange — and a disappointment for NASDAQ, which came under fire for technical problems last year when Facebook went public. Most major tech companies including Google and Yahoo are on NASDAQ. Twitter will trade on the NYSE under the symbol “TWTR.” It also updated some of its financial and usage info: The company had 232M monthly active users in the quarter that ended in September, up from 218M in the three months that ended in June. And sales appear to be growing nicely. Revenues in Q3 were up 104.8% compared with the period last year to $168.6M, mostly due to a 123.5% increase in ad revenue to $153.4M. The company’s net loss increased 199.2% to $64.6M. Twitter says that after it goes public it will disclose financial information to the public via tweets as well as through conventional SEC filings, press releases, and webcasts. Early this month Twitter made its initial filing with the SEC outlining plans to go public.
Sometime in November people who discuss TV shows or movies on Twitter will see a “See It” button. If they click on it, it will give them options to watch the show or, if it’s a current movie, buy a ticket via Comcast-owned Fandango. This will be a national service, but Comcast subscribers will be able to do things via their set-top boxes that others can’t. That includes using a mobile device as a remote control to switch directly to a TV show — something that could be especially useful when there’s breaking news. Comcast Chief Business Development Officer Sam Schwartz tells me that the company is “in advanced conversations” with other cable and satellite companies to include their set-top boxes as well. He adds that while the initiative will begin on Twitter, it could soon include other social network platforms. Initially the “See It” button will appear on tweets that have links to TV shows and movies, but the companies are working to include messages with hashtags about entertainment — and eventually to recognize when the text concerns a TV show or movie.
This could be a coup for Twitter. Last week it kicked off an effort to go public — and crowed in an SEC filing about its value as “a second screen for television programming” adding that ads on Twitter complement “offline advertising campaigns, such as television ads.” On Monday Nielsen formally unveiled its plan to count the number of people who read and write tweets about TV shows, which it says provides valuable information about how a program might perform. The new partnership with Comcast includes an arrangement for NBCUniversal to participate in Twitter’s Amplify program to embed sponsored video clips in tweets. The companies say that they are “exploring additional opportunities to integrate social TV conversations into Comcast’s X1 platform – the company’s entertainment operating system.”
Here’s the release:
This shouldn’t surprise anyone following the recent Nielsen studies including ones in March and in August that showed the volume of tweets about a television show provide an early indication of how well it might perform. The new Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings will consider the number of people who read TV-related tweets, not just the number of writers, the companies said today. The effort could help Twitter‘s plan to go public: It said last week in an SEC filing that while the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating won’t “directly generate revenue” for the social network company it “will enhance our attractiveness to users and advertisers.” Twitter added that it has value as “a second screen for television programming” and that ads on Twitter complement “offline advertising campaigns, such as television ads.” Here’s today’s announcement:
The SEC filing opens a treasure chest of data about the social network company — including the size of its financial losses. Last year Twitter lost $79.4M, an improvement from the $128.3M loss in 2011, on revenues of $316.9M, +198.1%. In the first half of 2013 the loss increased 41% to $69.3M vs the same period in 2012, on revenues of $253.6M, +107.3%. The company’s top execs were well paid by ordinary standards — but not compared to top media and tech moguls. CEO Richard Costolo’s 2012 package came to $11.5M ($200,000 salary, $8.4M stock awards, and $2.9M option awards). That’s roughly equivalent to what TiVo CEO Tom Rogers made. When it comes to operations, Twitter says it has more than 200M monthly active users who fire off more than 500M tweets per day. “Mobile has become the primary driver of our business,” the filing says. “In the three months ended June 30, 2013, 75% of our average [monthly active users] accessed Twitter from a mobile device, including mobile phones and tablets, and over 65% of our advertising revenue was generated from mobile devices. We expect that the proportion of active users on, and advertising revenue generated from, mobile devices, will continue to grow in the near term.” Investors who buy Twitter stock shouldn’t expect to make a windfall from a takeover. Directors will have staggered, three-year terms so a hostile bidder can’t unseat them all at once. Twitter also limits …
The 140-character giant today unveiled its biggest partnership for ad-supported video embedded in tweets — just in time for Premiere Week. Twitter and CBS announced a deal that includes 42 of the company’s programs across 20 brands, with the goal of getting clips in front of as many potential viewers as possible. “Second screen” interaction while watching TV continues to draw broadcasters’ attention; during last night’s Emmycast on CBS, for example, tweeting maxed out at 17,000 per minute as Carrie Underwood belted out the Beatles’ “Yesterday”. And showing ads simultaneously on a TV program and Twitter can help advertisers spread their message. Since signing up ESPN for the vid-clip service in May, Twitter has brought in such showbiz partners as Discovery, MTV and BBC America, but the CBS deal represents by far the most brands and shows so far. It’s Twitter’s latest move as it ramps up for an IPO.
Steve Jobs never did it but today Apple’s current boss Tim Cook made his social media presence official. Right now let’s just say Rupert Murdoch doesn’t have to worry about the executive Twitter competition. Unlike the wide ranging and often highly opinionated tweets the News Corp boss blasts out to his almost 470,000 followers, Cook, as you can see from his tweet on the left, kept it all very bland. His inaugural tweet Friday was about Apple and how proud he is of the company’s commitment to its customers. Still that didn’t prevent Cook form racking up followers. Within a couple of hours of the verified account’s first activity, Cook had over 85,000 followers on Twitter. More were joining him by the minute. Currently, the CEO himself is only following 11 people on Twitter including Job’s widow Laurene, who has yet to tweet herself, NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Cook’s not the only new Twitter presence from Apple – there’s an @iTunes account that started tweeting on September 18. The newly announced iPhones and iOS Update are not yet on Twitter, but give them time.
No surprise that today’s announcement came in a Tweet: “We’ve confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO. This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale.” A recent rule change at the SEC allows companies with annual revenues of less than $1B to make a confidential filing. That gives them an opportunity to clear things with the regulators before rolling out detailed plans to the public. CNBC says that Goldman Sachs will be the lead underwriter, and that Twitter could be valued at as much as $15B. The valuation will be key following the fiasco that took place last year after Facebook went public. It sold shares for $38 apiece, but the price quickly plummeted as investors saw indications that the company might lose advertisers as Facebook users increasingly accessed the social network on smartphones. The company has assuaged those fears in recent months and the stock recovered, closing Thursday at $44.75.
UPDATE, 10:05 AM: Tuesday’s hacking of the New York Times also included similar attacks on Twitter and Huffington Post UK, although those outlets were not as widely affected as the completely KO’ed NYT website. Twitter acknowledged a two-hour service issue “in which it appears DNS records for various organizations were modified” including one of Twitter’s image servers and HuffPo UK reported “minimal disruption of service.” All three website registrations went through Melbourne IT, which LAT reports was the source of the breach after a phishing attack on the firm gave hackers access to a company reseller’s username and password.
PREVIOUS, TUES PM: The New York Times has confirmed that its website domain name registrar Melbourne IT was hack-attacked earlier today “by the Syrian Electronic Army or someone trying very hard to be them.” That’s according to an internal email sent out by NYT Chief Information Officer Marc Frons. He also warned employees not to send sensitive info via email until security was restored. Hacker group Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for the NYT hacking on Twitter. Ironically it also claimed to have hacked Twitter’s domain today along with those of NYT and Huffington Post. As select NYT pages were restored this afternoon, the paper claimed today’s assault was its first hacking by the SEA.
EXCLUSIVE: In 1998, Darren Star took a book based on newspaper columns by a female writer, Candace Bushnell, and turned it into a hit comedy series, HBO’s Sex And The City. Fifteen years later, as the Internet and social media have taken over newspapers, Star is looking to do the same with The Honest Toddler, a book by Bunmi Laditan based on her successful Twitter feed. Star will develop and executive produce the adaptation of The Honest Toddler, which was published last month by Simon and Shuster’s Scribner imprint, with Laditan and producers Clark Peterson and Dennis Erdman. The show, described as “a Modern Family from a toddler’s point of view,” is eyed for broadcast or cable.
Laditan launched the Twitter account anonymously in May 2012 after a particularly difficult week with her then 2-year old daughter as means of cathartic release through humor. Laditan, who revealed her identity in the conjunction with the book’s release, has since amassed more than 238,000 Twitter followers and nearly 135,000 Facebook fans reading the observations of the “honest toddler,” who doesn’t mince words about how she feels about things. Example: “Tonight’s bedtime story was about three pigs struggling with repeat home invasions. Thanks for the new fear.” Laditan is repped by Resolution and Chalberg & Sussman.