DirecTV CEO Makes $12.5M In 2013, A 31% Drop Due To Cut In Option Awards

By | Thursday March 20, 2014 @ 1:56pm PDT

At first glance the compensation for Michael White listed in DirecTV‘s new proxy statement looks like a big pay cut. Michael WhiteBut it may simply reflect an accounting fluke: The satellite company gave him $12M in option awards in … Read More »

Comments (3)

DirecTV Plans To Simplify TV Program Offers And Bills

By | Tuesday March 11, 2014 @ 10:38am PDT

Pay TV is “a pretty imperfect market. It isn’t like anything sold at Walmart, I can tell you that,” DirecTV CEO Michael White said as he outlined his initiatives to an investor group. Michael WhiteBy mid-year he plans to “simplify … Read More »

Comments (15)

DirecTV CEO Vows To Resist Cable Concentration, And High Charges For Weather Channel And Dodgers

While he hasn’t decided whether to oppose the deal in Washington, DirecTV CEO Mike White says Comcast’s $42.5B pact to buy Time Warner Cable would result in “unprecedented media concentration in one company.” DirecTV Weather channelThe No. 1 satellite service provider is “still assessing some of the competitive implications” but White wants to “ensure it’s appropriately scrutinized” — especially the “effective broadband monopoly they might have in two-thirds of the country.” The owner of NBCUniversal also would have a lot of power to raise content prices. That “creates some significant changes in the competitive landscape that we have to think hard about.” Couldn’t Comcast use its clout, with 30M subs after a merger, to slow the rate of increase in programming costs? Perhaps, but “it’s a complicated dynamic because that leverage may not flow through to its competitors.”

White says he’ll continue to resist high programming costs.”None of our customers have an income like those of us on the call here.” He wouldn’t comment on the state of the carriage negotiations with The Weather Channel, which went dark on DirecTV in January, but says that his company “may have lost a few thousand customers in the first quarter” due to the dispute. “Fundamentally I continue to believe if your viewership goes down ….that should be reflected in the price.” Read More »

Comments 66

DirecTV Considers Dropping Channels And Offering An Internet Video Service

By | Thursday December 12, 2013 @ 11:15am PST

The No. 1 satellite company will look at set-top box data to “determine cost/value tradeoffs” different channels offer — and then “prune/drop less popular channels when necessary” — it said today in an Investor Day gathering.DirecTV_logo ”Programming costs is the biggest issue affecting our industry,” DirecTV CFO Pat Doyle says. He hopes to hold the annual growth in U.S. programming costs to between 7% and 9% a year through 2016, roughly even with this year’s 9%. Execs are eager to persuade the Street that the company’s annual U.S. revenues will grow by “mid-single digit” rates through 2016 — possibly ahead of the consensus estimate of 4.4%. They also forecast “high single digits” annual cash flow growth, beating expectations for 6.6%.  New businesses could add $1B to the top line in a few years — and one could be an Internet video service. “We’re going to be opportunistic in looking at that space,” CEO Mike White says. It probably would be less ambitious than, say, Intel’s attempt to offer a full-fledged pay TV service on the Web. That “wouldn’t make sense” as broadband providers move to usage based pricing. Noting that a niche service might work, White added “we’ll have more to say about that later in the year.” Meanwhile, he has little interest in integrating Netflix into DirecTV’s set top box. Although it’s “not that hard to do,” it wouldn’t be in his interest to “undermine our pay-per-view movie business.” About 30% of DirecTV subs currently also subscribe to Netflix. Read More »

Comments (5)

Murray Miller Inks HBO Deal, Gets Upped To EP On ‘Girls’, Sets Project With Mike White

By | Monday December 2, 2013 @ 3:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

millermurrayGirls co-executive producer Murray Miller has closed a two-year overall deal with HBO. Under the pact, he will be bumped up to executive producer on Lena Dunham’s comedy series. Additionally, he has teamed with Enlightened creator Mike Read More »

Comments (5)

NBC Nabs Chef Comedy From Mike White, Joe Port & Joe Wiseman As Put Pilot

By | Monday September 16, 2013 @ 2:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: A quarter century after Doogie Howser, another teen prodigy is looking to headline a comedy series. Enlightened creator/exec producer Mike White has teamed with Joe Port and Joe Wiseman for an untitled single-camera comedy, which has gone to NBC with a put pilot commitment. Written by Port and Wiseman, the ensemble workplace comedy centers on a driven but naive 16-year-old prodigy chef who gets a job working in the kitchen for his idol, a temperamental and unpredictable celebrity chef. It was inspired by Flynn McGarry, a 14-year-old Los Angeles chef who has been making national headlines. McGarry will serve as a producer on the series, from White’s RipCord Prods and 20th Century Fox TV where Port and Wiseman are under an overall deal. White, Port and Wiseman executive produce with RipCord’s David Bernad (Enlightened). Enlightened, which ended its two-season run on HBO, was nominated for two Emmys this year, including for lead Laura Dern. This marks Port and Wiseman’s return to NBC where they wrote and exec produced another comedy through 20th TV last year, Joe Joe And Jane, which went to pilot. Read More »

Comments (12)

Will Dish Network And DirecTV Resist Wall Street’s Pressure On Them To Merge?

By | Wednesday August 7, 2013 @ 12:40pm PDT

Investors are becoming so obsessed with the idea of a DirecTV-Dish Network merger that it seems to be just a matter of time before the companies succumb. Questions about the possibility kept popping up in Dish Network’s quarterly earnings call yesterday. Company watchers “seem to be fixated” on the subject, Brean Capital’s Todd Mitchell says. And execs don’t seem to mind. Last week DirecTV CEO Michael White said he’d “never say never.” And Evercore Partners’ Bryan Kraft says he has “never heard [Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen] speak as openly and positively regarding the possibility of a combination with DirecTV” as he did yesterday. The FCC blocked a satellite TV merger in 2002 on the grounds that it would leave many rural subscribers, who don’t have cable, with just one pay TV provider. But Ergen says that the business is “materially different” than it was then. Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse serve many markets. “And then of course, you have almost an unlimited number of people now on digital Internet getting into the business, whether it be from Netflix to Hulu to Amazon to everything else that you can do on the Internet,” Ergen says. “And that’s only going to grow.” Later he added that “there’s not any question that putting Dish and DirecTV together makes a lot of sense…. If you just wanted to create short-term value, that would be probably your No. 1 option.” Read More »

Comments (5)

DirecTV CEO Michael White’s $18M Package For 2012 Gives Him A 200%+ Raise

By | Friday March 22, 2013 @ 5:27am PDT

That may raise some eyebrows among DirecTV shareholders who will also vote on whether to require the company to split the chairman and CEO jobs — Michael White currently holds both titles — when they meet on May … Read More »

Comments 41

Sundance: Filmmakers Say Cable TV & Online A Good Place To Land

Traditional methods of getting a project made and finding an audience are evolving rapidly toward smaller screens, a panel of directors and producers agreed today at the Sundance Film Festival  “Every time I’ve had a movie I couldn’t get financing for recently, the next question is always ‘could this be a TV series?’ It’s a business model. It’s boring but it’s real,” said Richard Linklater. “It does feel like great quality is going to TV and online… because the studios make tentpoles and not adult dramas,” added Fast Five director Justin Lin, who also co-created the YOMYOMF YouTube channel. Linklater and Lin were appearing on the Power of Story: Independence Unleashed panel along with Enlightened co-creator Mike White and director Jane Campion. Linklater is back at Sundance this year to premiere his Before Midnight, the second sequel to 1995’s Before Sunrise. Campion also returns to the Festival with her seven-part crime mystery BBC/Sundance Channel TV series Top of the Lake starring Holly Hunter and Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss. White is at the Festival as one of the producers of Writer/director Sebastián Silva’s Magic Magic. Lin is a Sundance alumni, having had his directorial debut Better Luck Tomorrow premiere here back in 2002.
Read More »

Comments (6)

DirecTV CEO Takes On Sports Programming Costs In Lakers Fight: “The Industry Is Broken”

DirecTV CEO Mike White is no stranger to taking a stand against rising programming costs, pulling 16 Viacom channels off his service during the summer for 10 days before reaching a carriage deal. Now his company and Dish Network are the lone pay TV providers serving Southern California who don’t have an agreement to carry the LA Lakers’ newly created TV homes: Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes. The satellite companies are balking at the $3.95-per-sub-per-month price that TWC reportedly wants. (Verizon, AT&T, Charter and, as of today, Cox Communications have made deals and are carrying the channels.) DirecTV, with about 1.2 million subs in SoCal, also is holding out on making a deal for a third rookie regional sports net, the Pac-12 Networks. It says that costs are out of control. (A fine Sports Business Journal report on the LA mess calculates providers must pony up about $10 per sub per month to carry all the RSNs in town). White was, well, direct during his company’s earnings call yesterday when asked about negotiations. Sounds like the Lakers, who play their fifth game of the season tonight in Utah, won’t be on DirecTV anytime soon:

In terms of Los Angeles, I think it’s another example of how broken this system is. People take the same content, package it up, bid it up for 3 times the national average on a per-game basis and then try and stick it back to the other distributors in the geography. And I think that’s very unfortunate. We have a system of very carefully tracking churn by day to look at kind of what we think our customers will be most interested in. We are continuing to have active discussions about the Lakers network. We hope to have a deal on that content. But all of these new channels that – everybody here wants a new channel and they want to stick it into the bundle, is not right. I mean we are taxing most of our customers who wouldn’t be willing to pay for that content. And I’ve said before, I think the regional sports network structure in the industry is broken. And it is. But I’m probably not going be able to change that overnight. But adding other stuff to the bundle that the average consumer can’t pay for without allowing it to be sold to those that want to pay for it is just not right. So we’ll continue to stand strong for our customers.

Read More »

Comments 23

Mike White Signs Overall Deal With HBO

By | Friday October 12, 2012 @ 2:43pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Enlightened creator/executive producer Mike White has signed an overall deal with HBO for his production company RipCord Prods. Under the pact, White, along with producing partner David Bernad, will create and develop new projects for the pay cable network.

RipCord recently wrapped filming the second season of White’s dark HBO comedy Enlightened, which will premiere in January. The series, starring Laura Dern and Luke Wilson, received Golden Globe nominations for best comedy series and best comedy series actress, winning for Dern’s performance. RipCord has several projects in development at HBO, where the company had a first-look deal, including an untitled comedy from writer Steve Conrad. RipCord also produced digital series The Boring Life Of Jacqueline, created by Sebastian Silva, which launched in August on HBO GO. Read More »

Comments (9)

DirecTV Announces $6B Stock Repurchase As U.S. Sub Growth Slows In Q4

By | Thursday February 16, 2012 @ 4:50am PST

Shares are up in pre-market trading as the satellite company performed well in Q4, with a lot of help from Latin America. DirecTV had net income of $718M in the year-end quarter, up 16.2% vs the period in 2010, on revenues of $7.5B, up 12,7%. The revenue figure slightly beat the $7.4B that the Street anticipated. Earnings at $1.02 a share were well ahead of the 92 cents forecast. At the main business, the U.S. satellite service, revenues were up 9% to $6B as rate increases and higher sales of NFL Sunday Ticket subscriptions outweighed the growing number of discounts DirecTV offered to new customers. The company ended the year with 19.9M domestic subscribers, up 3% vs the end of 2010. The net addition of 125,000 customers in the quarter represents a sharp retreat from the period last year when DirecTV added 289,000 U.S. subscribers. Read More »

Comments (3)

Golden Globes TV: Showrunners Of First-Time Best Series Nominees React

By | Thursday December 15, 2011 @ 5:04pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Golden Globes TV: ‘Homeland’, ‘New Girl’, ‘Enlightened’, ‘Boss’ & ‘AHS’ Bring In Fresh Blood; Pay Cable Hot

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. went for an extreme makeover on the TV series side, snubbing a lot of long-time favorites for first-time nominees. Seven of the 10 best series nominees are freshman shows: dramas Homeland (Showtime), Boss (Starz), Game Of Thrones (HBO) and American Horror Story (FX) and comedies Enlightened (HBO), New Girl (Fox) and Episodes (Showtime). Five of them hail from pay cable where audience reach is limited. Earlier today, Deadline contributor Ray Richmond spoke with the showrunners of some of the first-time best series nominees, Mike White, Farhad Safinia, Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa, Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk and Liz Meriwether, about the nominations and their impact on the rookie shows:

Mike White, creator of HBO’s Enlightened, nominated for best comedy series and best actress, Laura Dern:

“Getting Golden Globe attention could really make a difference for Enlightened. That’s what makes it so cool. I mean, shows like Glee and Modern Family, I can’t see how the Globes are going to get them new viewers. They’re already part of the landscape. But for a show like ours, it could really have an impact. I don’t want to be presumptuous, but it could be a perception changer and game-changer. Because we’re struggling to find a bigger audience, and we’re still waiting to hear about getting renewed for season two. So this really puts the spotlight on us a little bit. HBO could be deciding our fate even as we speak, and they sounded really stoked about this today. We’re still kind of in the gray. Something like this gives you validation, gives you more ammunition to convince them that this is a show they should be proud to have and want to keep making.”

“We were hoping that maybe Laura (Dern) would get nominated. But we didn’t dream much beyond that…It’s so weird. I had this dream the other night where I was looking online to see if we were nominated, and there was a show called Enlightened on the list. But it was like in the children’s category. So I have to say I’m glad we weren’t accidentally categorized as a kids show.” Read More »

Comments (3)

Craig Gillespie Exits Lionsgate’s ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Craig Gillespie is exiting Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, becoming the latest filmmaker to walk away from the Lionsgate project. The screen adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel mixes the 1813 Jane Austen classic with a legion of bloodthirsty … Read More »

Comments 27

Craig Gillespie Set To Direct ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’

Mike Fleming

Lionsgate has made it official. Craig Gillespie has been set to direct Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the movie adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel that mixes the 1813 Jane Austen classic with a legion of bloodthirsty zombies. Gillespie, who … Read More »

Comments (9)

Craig Gillespie Poised To Direct ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’

Mike Fleming

Craig Gillespie will soon be set as director of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, Lionsgate’s adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel that enhanced the Jane Austen classic with a smattering of flesh-eating walking corpses. Now, Gillespie has been a … Read More »

Comments (11)

Craig Gillespie Frontrunner For ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’

Mike Fleming

Fright Night director Craig Gillespie is front runner to direct Pride And Prejudice and Zombies, the Lionsgate adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel. No deal yet, Lionsgate says. Mike White had the job but  dropped out because of a scheduling … Read More »

Comments (12)

Mike White Off ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Mike White has just dropped out of directing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel that injects flesh-eating corpses to Jane Austen’s 1813 literary classic. I’m hearing that White had a preexisting commitment at … Read More »

Comments 25

Mike White Sinks Teeth Into ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’

Mike Fleming

Lionsgate has closed a deal with Mike White to direct Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel that spices up Jane Austen’s time-tested 1813 literary … Read More »

Comments (16)
More Deadline | Hollywood »