Don’t trust people when they tell you how much time they spend watching video on their smartphones and tablets. The ratings company learned that lesson the hard way after it changed the way it measures average monthly viewing from surveys to actual observations. The old numbers were off by a factor of — wait for it — 538%, TV station trade group TVB points out this morning. Using surveys, Nielsen‘s widely followed quarterly Cross-Platform Report last year put the monthly mobile video viewing average in Q4 at 5 hours and 23 minutes. But the new report, out yesterday, quietly restated that to just 1 hour — growing to 1 hour and 23 minutes a month in the last three months of 2013. “This disparity is an important reminder of the dangers inherent in trusting consumers’ claimed behavior and calls into question many recent studies that have proclaimed the demise of traditional media based on self-reported approximations of time spent with digital devices,” TVB Chief Research Officer Stacey Lynn Schulman says.
Warrior Poets, the New York-based production company founded in 2004 by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and his producing partner Jeremy Chilnick, has promoted Matthew Galkin to partner. Galkin will continue to executive produce, direct and develop original content. Since joining Warrior Poets more than four years ago, Galkin has worked closely with Spurlock and Chilnick to grow the company and has worked om such documentary films, TV and Web series as One Direction: This Is Us, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, ESPN Films’ 30 For 30 documentary The Dotted Line, CNN series Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man and Web series A Day In The Life for Hulu and Failure Club for Yahoo! “During his tenure at Warrior Poets, Matthew has brought his unique energy, creative experience and storytelling mastery to projects in both the top-tier documentary film world as a director and producer and in the reality/non-fiction TV world as a show runner, producer and director,” Spurlock said. Galkin’s previous credits include HBO’s Kevorkian and Family Bonds and Style’s Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane.
Gold Medal Ice Dancers Meryl Davis And Charlie White Headline ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Cast Heavy On Athletes: Video
Fresh off their gold-medal win at the Sochi Olympics, ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White will headline the all-star lineup of ABC‘s competition series Dancing With The Stars when it returns for its 18th season – part of a celebrity lineup that’s heavy on athletes. Davis and White, who have been skating partners since 1997, will compete against each other on Dancing. They’ll be joined by double-amputee snowboarding champ Amy Purdy – a world-champion adaptive snowboarder and the show’s first Paralympian to compete. And, Sean Avery will be the first former hockey player in Dancing history. Also in this year’s celebrity cast: swimmer Diana Nyad, who became the first person to complete a historic 110-mile swim from Cuba to Key West in September of 2013 on her fifth attempt.
Joining the athletes in the battle for the mirrorball trophy: The Wonder Years star Danica McKellar, comedian turned game show host Drew Carey, actor Billy Dee Williams, former Full House actress Candace Cameron Bure, Real Housewives reality star NeNe Leakes, Australian pop singer Cody Simpson, and Big Time Rush actor-singer James Maslow.
Studios’ failed effort in 2012 to promote the Stop Online Piracy Act (or SOPA) made it clear: Big Media companies had better not mess with Silicon Valley. Too many people love the Internet, and they’ll crush anyone deemed to be a threat to the medium by its biggest service providers including Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, and Netflix. That’s why Comcast needs to make peace with tech companies as the cable giant promotes its planned $42.5B acquisition of Time Warner Cable — and suggests that the new interconnection deal with Netflix is the first of many agreements with tech world Goliaths. If they’re unhappy, then they may embolden Washington regulators reviewing the TWC acquisition to demand a long list of concessions –and under extreme circumstances could even block the deal.
While terms with Netflix weren’t disclosed, the agreement will ensure that Comcast’s broadband customers receive, as the companies put it, “a high-quality Netflix video experience for years to come.” Bernstein Research’s Carlos Kirjner says this morning that he’d be “surprised” if the Comcast-Netflix agreement “was not conditional on a tacit (if not explicit) agreement by Netflix not to lobby regulators” to demand detailed promises to protect Internet access. Others, including Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil, are waiting to hear about additional terms with Netflix, including a promise to add the service to Comcast’s set top box so subscribers don’t have to switch to a different input when they want to watch the streaming service on their TV sets.
Frank Pavich’s Jodorowsky’s Dune debuted in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar in Cannes last year before being acquired by Sony Pictures Classics and playing the fall fest circuit. A trailer has dropped for the documentary about veteran Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s ill-fated attempt to bring Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel, Dune, to the screen. In the mid-1970s, Jodorowsky (El Topo, Holy Mountain, Santa Sangre) came up with an ambitious take on the tome and spent two years in pre-production. The film was to star Jodorowsky’s own 12-year-old son Brontis alongside Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine and Salvador Dali, set to a musical score by Pink Floyd with art design by H.R. Giger and Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud. But the project ultimately went unrealized and the rights lapsed. David Lynch made his own version of Dune in 1984 with Kyle MacLachlan, Sting and Sean Young. Here’s a look at what might have been:
Well, guess we know what President Obama will be doing this long weekend while hanging out in Rancho Mirage after meeting with the King of Jordan: binge-watching the new season of Netflix’s House Of Cards. “Tomorrow: @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please,” tweeted Obama’s Twitter feed today of the 13 new episodes of the political drama set to premiere simultaneously at midnight tonight.
Tomorrow: @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 13, 2014
Now there was no “BO” after the tweet, which is the indication it came from the Commander-In-Chief himself, but we know Obama is a fan of the DC-based drama and its ruthless soon-to-be VP Francis Underwood. “I’m just wondering if you brought advance copies of House Of Cards?” the President was heard asking Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings during a White House meeting in late December. After an offer from Hastings to do a cameo on the award-winning streaming series, Obama also made a crack that Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, is “getting a lot of stuff done” and “I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient” in the real-life DC. That drew a big laugh from Hastings, Apple’s Tim Cook, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and the 12 other tech bosses in attendance. Maybe with this tweet, Obama is taking Hastings up on the offer. We’ll see in the recently formally announced Season 3.
Two days after landing the male lead on the NBC comedy pilot Marry Me, Party Down alum Ken Marino has signed with Paradigm for acting representation. The multihyphenate is bolstering his ties to the agency, where he already is a lit client. Marino recently wrapped a role in the Veronica Mars movie and had a seasonlong arc on the final season of HBO’s Eastbound & Down. He also played a strip club owner in last year’s hit comedy We’re The Millers and starred in and directed the Yahoo/E! series Burning Love, which he co-created with partner Erica Oyama, for Ben Stiller’s Red Hour. Marino, who is managed by Principato-Young, and Oyama also are writing the Fox 2000 feature Go The F*** To Sleep.
Ken Marino is set as the male lead opposite Casey Wilson in Marry Me, NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot from Happy Endings creator-showrunner David Caspe, Sony TV and Jamie Tarses’ Fanfare. The project, directed by Seth Gordon, is said to be in the vein of Mad About You and revolves around a young couple (Marino and Wilson) who get engaged, something they quickly realize is harder than it looks. Party Down alum Marino, repped by Principato Young, recently wrapped the Veronica Mars movie and had a seasonlong arc on the final season of HBO’s Eastbound & Down. He is writing the features Go The F*** To Sleep with Erica Oyama for Fox 2000 and Return Of The Jocks for 21 Laps and 20th Century Fox. He starred in and directed the popular Yahoo/E! series Burning Love, from Ben Stiller’s Red Hour, and has directed episodes of Super Fun Night and Trophy Wife.
Disney Interactive is laying off about 200 employees as the fallout continues from the unit’s restructuring that began last fall. The latest job cuts, which are expected to come in the next two or three weeks, were not unexpected after Jimmy Pitaro was tapped to run the division solo in November. ”This is part of Jimmy’s long-term plan to move the division into the black,” an insider told me today. Previously, Disney Interactive laid off 50 employees in September 2012, when the unit sported about 2,000 employees. Pitaro was co-president of Disney Interactive with John Pleasants before the unit’s Games and Media divisions were merged and Pleasants exited. The pair were installed in 2010, when Bob Iger brought in Pleasants to run the games biz and the social gaming acquisition Playdom alongside Pitaro, who came from Yahoo to head digital media at Disney Online. The layoffs come despite the success of the Disney Infinity multiverse game, which after delays launched in August 2013.
Last April, Walt Disney Studios laid off about 150 as part of a broader reorganization affecting other divisions. The restructure comes as a result of an internal review ordered in late 2012 by CEO Bob Iger and CFO Jay Rasulo to pinpoint superfluous positions and increase efficiency.
In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom catch up on the many highlights from earnings season announcements, beginning with those by possible dance partners Comcast and Time Warner Cable and what their news might mean for Comcast’s takeover bid. They also take the market temperature on Viacom and tech giants led by Google — which sold off its Motorola Mobility unit after owning it just two years — and Facebook, Apple, Yahoo and Amazon. They also look at exhibitors’ demands for shorter movie trailers and whether studios will play along.
There’s something in the filing that’s making investors anxious. Yahoo shares are down more than 4% in post-market trading even though, on its face, the company’s Q4 results either matched or exceeded the Street’s expectations. On an as-reported basis, net income came in at $351.7M, +87.1%, on revenues of $1.26B, -6%. Without traffic acquisition costs, revenue came in at $1.2B, -2%. Analysts expected revenues of $1.2B. Adjusted earnings at 46 cents a share topped forecasts for 38 cents. It’s clear why CEO Marissa Mayer recently dumped COO Henrique de Castro after seeing the anemic ad sales number for the quarter. Not including traffic acquisition costs, display ads fell 6%to $491M. Although the number of ads sold increased 3% vs the same period last year, the price per ad fell 7%. Search revenue was up 8% to $461M with a 17% increase in paid clicks somewhat offset by a 3% drop in the price per click. “I’m encouraged by Yahoo’s performance in Q4 and 2013 overall,” Mayer says. “We saw continued stability in the business, and our investments allowed us to bring beautiful products to our users and establish a strong foundation for revenue growth.”
Here’s how the results look:
The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index fell nearly 2% today as Wall Street dealt with the biggest single-day stock selloff it has seen since June. The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 2.1% as investors bailed out of stocks and currencies from emerging markets including China, South Africa, and Turkey. All Big Media companies lost ground today with Disney (-2.8%) followed by Viacom (-2.5%), CBS (-2.2%), News Corp (-2.2%), Time Warner (-2.0%), Fox (-1.5%), Discovery (-1.4%), Comcast (-1.3%), and Sony (-0.4%). In the broader group of companies that we track, big losers included New York Times (-5.5%), DreamWorks Animation (-4.3%), Best Buy (-4.0%), Facebook (-3.9%), Yahoo (-3.8%), Google (-3.2%), and Pandora (-3.2%). Only a handful of companies advanced including SFX Entertainment (+2.7%), RealD (+0.8%), and Regal Entertainment (+0.5%). Two stocks that have been rising of late touched new 52-week highs during the day: AMC Entertainment (which closed +0.5%) and World Wrestling Entertainment (+0.4%).
Ritesh Batra’s debut feature The Lunchbox recently screened in the Spotlight section of Sundance. It earlier played Toronto, Telluride and the AFI Fest. But the film first came to international attention when it charmed Cannes Critics’ Week audiences. That’s when Sony Pictures Classics acquired it for North America. In September, the film became the focus of some controversy when India did not select it as the Foreign Language Oscar entry. Many felt it had real chance at a nomination, or at least a shortlist slot, but India instead went with Gyan Correa’s The Good Road (it did not make it past the first stage). Sony Classics will release The Lunchbox in the U.S. on February 28. The film follows widower Saajan who is delivered the wrong lunchbox by the local dabbawalas. The meal has been prepared by Ila, a woman whose marriage is in crisis. When she learns of the error, she sends a note to Saajan in the lunchbox, kicking off their epistolary romance. Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur star. Check out the trailer:
Multi-media studio Young Hollywood has signed with CAA. They were with UTA. Founded by R.J. Williams in 2007, Young Hollywood specializes in celebrity and lifestyle videos. Its owns a library of over 2,500 hours of celebrity content, garnering over 2 billion views to date via its distribution network that includes such partners as Yahoo, Hulu, and YouTube, where Young Hollywood has a branded premium channel. It has a broadcast studio set up at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles. Young Hollywood has recently expanded into long-form programming, with four series currently in production, and plans to produce over 500 hours of original programming annually. The company continues to be repped by attorney Dave Feldman.
EXCLUSIVE: In 1984, The Cosby Show revived the sitcom genre and fueled NBC‘s ratings resurgence. Three decades later, Bill Cosby is looking to bring some of that magic back to NBC, which has been going though a rough time with comedies. The network has made a deal for a half-hour family comedy to star Cosby. As he did in the ’80s, Cosby has partnered with producer Tom Werner, whose company with Marcy Carsey produced Cosby Show. The new comedy will be built around Cosby, who will play the patriarch of a multi-generational family and, like the comedian’s previous family sitcoms – Cosby Show and Cosby on CBS — will channel his take on marriage and parenting. Cosby and Werner are meeting with writers on the project, which has been put on off-season development track.
Cosby and Werner had been mulling doing a family comedy for a while with the goal to reach a wide audience. “They would like to see a married couple that acts like they love each other, warts and all, children who respect the parenting, and the comedy of people who make mistakes. Warmth and forgiveness,” Cosby told Yahoo TV in November. “So I hope to get that opportunity, and I will deliver the best of Cosby.” In addition to the family comedy, CAA-repped Cosby also has been working on a reboot …
Sony Pictures Classics has released a new action-packed trailer for Gareth Evans‘ martial arts sequel The Raid 2 ahead of its Sundance bow tonight. This is a hot ticket in Park City where the first Raid film screened after making a splashy debut at Toronto in 2011. Iko Uwais reprises his role as Rama, the Jakarta cop who battled his way through a tenement filled with criminals in the first pic only to go undercover in the sequel to uncover the corrupt baddies at the top of the food chain. Arifin Putra, Tio Pakusadewo, Oka Antara, and Julie Estelle join the fray in The Raid 2 which also sees the return of Raid actor/stunt choreographer Yayan Ruhian. SPC releases The Raid 2 on March 28 but they’re not the only studio banking on the Raid team. Yesterday at Sundance RADiUS-TWC pre-bought North American rights to Evans’ next project, The Night Takes Us, to be directed by Timo Tjahjanto (Killers) and produced by Evans with original Raid cast members starring.
In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom take up Charter Communications’ $61.3 billion bid for Time Warner Cable; the potential impacts of an appeals court ruling throwing out FCC net neutrality rules; a stalling home-entertainment industry and Best Buy’s bad holiday. They also look at the surprising shakeup at the top of Yahoo, coming as it does just a week after the company’s big CES shindig. Now at least one much ballyhooed hire departs 15 months later after arriving and there are reports that at least another top executive is out.
Walk Of Shame‘s long walk to release started when its original premiere date of September 2013 was pushed by original distributor FilmDistrict, eventually landing on a March 2014 date. Then FilmDistrict and Focus Features combined, and in the divvying up of titles this one ended up at Focus’ alternative distribution arm Focus World, which finally set a date of April 25. Elizabeth Banks stars as an aspiring reporter whose dreams of becoming a network news anchor are compromised when a one-night stand with a handsome stranger (James Marsden) leaves her stranded in downtown LA without a phone, car, ID or money — and eight hours to make it to a big job interview. Steve Brill wrote and directed. Here’s the first trailer:
Henrique de Castro was a top ad guy for Google and, in October 2012, Marissa Mayer‘s first big hire after she became Yahoo’s CEO. But the relationship soured as Yahoo‘s ad sales failed to inspire — and the company says today in an SEC filing that he “will be leaving the Company effective January 16, 2014.” Yahoo reported disappointing ad sales in Q3, leading Bernstein Research’s Carlos Kirjner to observe that “the core remains challenged, particularly in its display advertising business.” Don’t cry for de Castro: With special sign-on incentives, his compensation package in 2012 totaled $39.2M, beating Mayer who made $36.6M. He’ll now collect much more in severance benefits.