Here’s one way to ditch a dominant fandom for the next: On the eve of his Star Trek Into Darkness release and impending space jump to Disney‘s Star Wars Episode VII, avowed Star Wars kid J.J. Abrams took to The Daily Show to admit again that he was “not really a fan” of Star Trek growing up:
The prop weapon created for Star Trek‘s William Shatner was only expected to bring in $50,000 on the auction block. But Saturday’s $231,000 score led a slew of film-related memorabilia sales at Hollywood Legends’ two …
New Top Programmer At Australia’s Ten
Beverley McGarvey starts tomorrow in perhaps the most challenging job in Australian commercial broadcasting: chief programming officer at Network Ten, the network languishing in third place in the ratings behind Seven and Nine. A six-year Ten veteran, McGarvey had been acting in that role since August 24 following the ousting of the respected and long-serving David Mott. Last week Ten reported a net loss of $A12.9 million ($13.3 million) in the year to August 31 and embarked on another round of cost-cutting, with plans to shed more than 100 jobs in the news and production departments. Before joining Ten as network head of programming in 2006, McGarvey served as director of programming for New Zealand’s TV3. Previously she was head of program scheduling and promotions at Ireland’s TV3. –Don Groves
With an eye toward boosting overall subscription revenue Sky Deutschland is betting that its growing customer base will accept higher rates and fewer discounts. The German pay-TV provider half owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp this month raised premium packages by €1 ($1.31) monthly for the first time in nearly 2 years. CFO Steven Tomsic said he eventually hopes the market will accept further increases in the current €32 ($41.92) average monthly bill of as much as €5 to €10 ($6.55 to $13.10). Unlike European peers such as British Sky Broadcasting Group, also partly owned by News Corp, Sky Deutschland hasn’t raised prices regularly. Tomsic believes subscribers will be attached enough to the service to accept the increases. Bloomberg noted that Sky Deutschland stock is up 133% this year. CEO Brian Sullivan hopes the company will be able to reach its target for operating profit in 2013, which would be its first since News Corp began investing 5 years ago.
BREAKING: Star Trek‘s Chris Pine has co-written and will star in Mantivities, a comedy that has been set up with Waterstone Entertainment heads Jeff Kalligheri and Stephen Bowen. Pine wrote the script with his buddies Will Greenberg, Drew Howerton, Robert Baker, Ian Gotler and Tony Liebetrau. Michael Patrick Jann is attached to direct. The comedy focuses on a group of friends in their early 30s, all in various stages of permanent adolescence. They get together with the aim of helping one of them grow up. Pine will produce with Sarah Babineau, Jordan Foley and Waterstone’s Kalligheri, Bowen and Steven Garcia.“I couldn’t be happier to begin the adventure of making Mantivities knowing how much fun we all had writing it,” Pine said. “‘Somehow I get to laugh with my friends and call it work.”
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) announced today it has entered into agreement with CBS Consumer Products to manufacture and globally market a variety of products based on the STAR TREK property beginning in 2013. The toy line will launch in support of the STAR TREK movie sequel from Paramount Pictures, which will open May 17, 2013.
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.
CEO Philippe Dauman told the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference that Viacom will see “high-single-digit” growth in ad sales in the current quarter. That put a scare into investors who anticipated double-digit growth. Viacom’s down about 6.5% in mid-day trading, ahead of the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500, which is off about 3%. Dauman tried to cast a flattering light on the situation: ”Despite the macroeconomic headlines, the tone of the advertising market remains strong,” he said. Specifically, he says that Viacom has held on to orders made in the upfront market while scatter prices are “in the teens above upfront. … We had a good quarter, and the next quarter looks good.” He also said that he has seen no weakness in many of the most important ad-sales categories for Viacom’s cable networks including auto, toys, and movies. The overseas situation is mixed: “Some (markets) are strong and some are weaker.” Although acknowledging that the market shifts with the economy, as Viacom’s ”new shows kick in, we have positive momentum.”