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Viacom’s Philippe Dauman “Frustrated” By Lower Nick Ratings But Patient: UBS Confab

Viacom shares are down about 3.5% at midday on an otherwise up day for the market after CEO Philippe Dauman punted on the big question on the minds of analysts attending the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference: What’s up with the steep decline in Nickelodeon’s ratings — which he said last month was due to a problem with Nielsen’s measurement system? “There’s nothing new” to report, he says. ”No one’s more frustrated than myself.” He didn’t continue his attack the ratings company, which said today that it made a mistake in calculating the number of kids who watch TV — but added that it’s unrelated to the double-digit change in Nickelodeon’s ratings. ”However imperfect Nielsen is, it’s the only game in town, so we have to live with it,” Dauman says. “It is what it is. We’re going to move on.” He acknowledged that the channel’s ratings dive is “unfortunate” because “this is by far the most important quarter for Nickelodeon” due to the number of toymakers who flock to the channel to advertise holiday gifts. But he says the Nick problem will become less significant after the holidays are over. ”One way or the other we’ll move forward” with growing profit margins. Viacom has “more new shows coming to Nickelodeon than we’ve ever had.” He adds that “next quarter we expect to see stronger ad sales growth because we won’t have that issue” with the ratings. Read More »

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‘Ghost Protocol’ To Launch Early In France On IMAX Screens

Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol has added another layer to its rollout plans with the news that the film will preview in France in IMAX two days ahead of its official Dec 14 release in the territory. Paramount has confirmed to me that this will mark the first paid shows worldwide.

The latest chapter in the Tom Cruise franchise will premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival on Dec 7. Five days later, it will play on 5 of France’s IMAX-equipped screens in Paris, Lyon, Toulouse and Rouen. The film’s official run then begins in France on Wednesday Dec 14. Ghost Protocol will also be released in IMAX in the UK on 16 screens on Dec 21, 5 days before it opens wide in that territory. IMAX previews begin in the US on Dec 16, 5 days before the film’s regular bow there on Dec 21.

The film features more than 30 minutes of scenes shot with IMAX cameras. On IMAX screens, those sequences will expand to fill the entire canvas. A featured sequence includes Tom Cruise’s now-famous stunt of scaling the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai, the world’s tallest building.

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Hot Trailer: ‘Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol’

Mike Fleming

Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions has released a full-length trailer for Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, the fourth installment of the franchise that was once left for dead after Tom Cruise’s acrimonious departure from the studio. Cruise and JJ Abrams produced the film and put back together the pieces, and it looks like they’ve put the money on the screen. The last film was released five years ago. Is it me, or does Cruise seem not to have aged a day? Brad Bird directed the film and Jeremy Renner has been added to the cast.

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