DiscoverA Little Skeptical - Media, Culture and the Modern Condition
A Little Skeptical - Media, Culture and the Modern  Condition

A Little Skeptical - Media, Culture and the Modern Condition

Author: (The Modern Fire)

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A show about media, culture, and the modern condition hosted by James Brown.
79 Episodes
A new poll of live music bosses says they’re hopeful gigs will be back sometime next year. Concerts have been scaled back and most cases eliminated by COVID-19. Digital Music News says more than half of the execs think concerts  “will return to full capacity in 2021.” About a third of the bosses think it’ll take another year. 15 percent have no idea. The largest concert ticket company, Live Nation, expects concerts and festivals to return “at scale” next summer.
iHeartMedia has added regular national, regional and local sports breaks to its 500+ radio stations, most of which are not sports focused. This is according to Sports Business Daily.  Sports personalities like Cris Collinsworth, Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick and Joy Taylor are expected to appear on non-sports radio stations as well.  The move is part of iHeartMedia’s launch of the iHeartSports Network. The company cites a study that said 83% of sports fans want daily updates and a Nielsen stat that says 89% of sports fans listen to the radio every week.
  Pre-pandemic, 60% of parents said their children spent no more than three hours on devices. Now, 70% estimate their kids spend at least four hours with screens. Games are a popular source of entertainment for children, with 70% of parents overall saying their kids interact with that type of content while on their devices. YouTube was the most popular entertainment platform among children of all ages, with 62% of parents saying their children use the video platform.
Covid-19 is making people wary of going to theaters. The morning consult polled 14,000 Americans on  how they feel about going to movie theaters.  Only 18 percent of them said they were likely to go to the movies in September, while 23 percent said they were likely to go sometime this year.  Nearly a third of the people who said they were uncomfortable going to a movie in September said being able to rent a theater for personal use would make them more likely to go.
Rob and Michele Reiner are reviving Castle Rock Entertainment with the help of Warner Bros TV. Castle Rock is a familiar name for TV and movie fans in the 80s and 90s. They’re Best known for When Harry Met Sally…, A Few Good Men,, Miss Congeniality and The Shawshank Redemption and more than 100 other films. It was also the producer of one of the most successful TV shows ever… Seinfeld.  The Reiners tell Deadline dot com that they have about a dozen projects in the hopper including half-hour comedies, dramas, political and period shows.
About a year after leaving Fox News Sheppard Smith is back on TV. He begins a nightly newscast Wednesday at 7 p.m. on CNBC. Smith will work out of a new studio that’s been built for him at CNBC’s New Jersey headquarters says the Associated Press. He replaces reruns of Shark Tank averaging 150,000 viewers and admits that It’s not an easy thing to start from scratch”  There’s really no other place to go but up.
A recent survey says the gulf between Emmy nominated shows and America’s favorite show is pretty big. Roughly 10% of U.S. adults named “NCIS,” “Yellowstone” or “This Is Us” as the best TV show so says the morning consult.  68 of more than 16-hundred surveys called “NCIS” the best program that aired new episodes in the past year. Just three surveys said “Watchmen,” the most nominated program of the year was their favorite. Seven of the top 10 programs named in the survey aired on broadcast television or ad-supported cable, though just two of the 10 programs that received the most Emmy nominations — “Saturday Night Live” and “Schitt’s Creek” — can say the same.
Axios is doing something rare for news in 2020: making money. The Wall Street Journal says that Axios is expected to make  nearly 60 million dollars this year up 30% from last year. And they are expanding CNN says they plan to create morning newsletters for local markets including Denver, Des Moines, Minneapolis and Tampa." Why those cities? People are already reading Axios there and they say there’s a good talent base in those cities. Population, demographics and economy are all said to also play a role.
Regal cinemas is closing its theaters temporarily. This after the latest James Bond Film was pushed to spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 500 locations will be impacted. Regal, the second largest movie theater chain in the US, reported a one point six billion dollar loss in the first half of 2020. And they say they need to raise more money to survive prolonged shutdowns.   The National Association of Theatre owners warns that “If the status quo continues nearly 70 percent of small and midsize movie theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or to close permanently.”
 Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen is dead. He was 65. His son said his father died of a "long and arduous battle with cancer."  Eddie’s group Van Halen is one of the biggest groups of all time. It’s largest album 1984 propelled them to decades of stadium rock stardom. hits like Jump, Dance the Night Away, and my personal favorite Right now  He was 65 ***** Howard Stern is getting a big raise.   Stern’s contract with Sirius XM expires at the end of December, and Bloomberg says the new deal is expected to reach 120 million.  Sirius XM CEO Jim Meyer told CNBC earlier this year that resigning him was a top priority  More than 34 million people pay for a subscription to Sirius, which offers more than 150 channels of live sports, music, talk and comedy. Meyer says another 65 million listeners use the company’s recently acquired pandora service.  The company generated $7.8 billion in sales last year and nearly $1 billion in profit. He’s been with the company since 2005.
Megyn Kelly is a podcaster. Kelly became a star on Fox News and flopped when she joined NBC three years ago. Now The Wall Street Journal says she’s funding her own venture which means complete independence. “I’ve been controlled by other people for too long,” Ms. Kelly said. “I don’t think I was meant to have a boss.” Kelly has been out of the spotlight for much of the last two years aside from a few talk show appearances  Kelly said podcasting offers the chance to tackle any issue in a way she hopes will be respectful, if at times irreverent.
Digiday recently reported that Discovery Networks is launching its own. streaming service early next year. Discovery plus has been trademarked. They will offer ad free and ad supported versions and no cost has been made public yet. Discovery’s core cable tv is thriving during the pandemic. In August 2020, Discovery Networks include HGTV, TLC, Food Network, the Discovery Channel and Investigation Discovery all ranked in top 14 cable networks in primetime. While most TV production studios were closed, several Discovery networks were able to produce quarantine specific, stay-at-home programs which are credited with some of its success.
Skip Bayless has resigned with Fox Sports, sources tell Front Office Sports. His contract was up at the end of September. Bayless is expected to get a slight raise on his $6 million annual salary in a new contract extension. Bayless was said to consider reuniting with his former TV partner Stephen A. Smith at ESPN’s “First Take.” Both have said they miss working with each other. But that will have to wait. Smith resigned with ESPN last year and is widely reported to be the highest paid employee there.
Wondery Podcasts is up for sale. A Bbloomberg report says it could fetch upwards of $200 million. The company’s revenue is up 75% year to year and reaches $9 million people a month.  The network features hit podcasts Dr. Death and Dirty John. Several of its shows are said to be in development into tv series. Record labels, streaming services and TV networks are all looking for podcasts producers to invest in. Most prominently Spotify: who spent hundreds of millions of dollars on podcast companies Gimlet Media, the Ringer, Parcast and licensing the Joe Rogan Experience. SiriusXM and IHeartMedia are also in the market for podcast buyers.
Variety’s Penske Media Corporation will take over operations of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Vibe so says an article from The Wrap.. The joint venture comes amid financial struggles for trades magazines, particularly The Hollywood Reporter.  Numerous cuts this spring are not enough to stop the need to cut “$9-$10 million dollars.” The cuts include fewer print editions. Even before the pandemic, The Wrap says the Hollywood Reporter has been losing revenue for more than a decade. The report says its worst years had losses as high as 30 million.
Fox is willing to spend as much as $2 billion a year to keep the NFL. That's a big increase from it’s current deal for Sunday afternoon games. It also airs games on Thursday nights. A Bloomberg report says that Fox is in for a fight with ESPN/ABC who wants to expand its coverage one way or another.  Under one scenario, Disney would buy Fox’s Thursday games and air them on ABC, while keeping “Monday Night Football” on ESPN. There’s also rumors of simulcasting the games on both ABC and ESPN.  The move would almost certainly get Disney back in the super bowl rotation. ABC hasn’t aired a super bowl since 2006.
Roku’s stock hit an all time high as result of deal with  NBCUniversal.  The deal will keep NBC News, NBC Sports, E!, Bravo and the rest of NBCUniversal's apps on Roku while adding Peacock, the new NBCU streaming service that Roku had up until now been unwilling to carry According to the Motley Fool the agreement came down to agreeing to share ad money in exchange for access to Roku’s 43 million active accounts. AT&T and Amazon have had similar disagreements. 
Major League Baseball and TBS are extending their tv and digital partnership. During the new agreement TBS will air more games than any other network, including a weekly Tuesday night game will air on TBS, and the digital rights for Bleacher Report and other WarnerMedia platforms will be expanded. Baseball agreed to keep the world series on Fox long term last year. Negotiations with ESPN about renewing that network's deal with baseball beyond next year are ongoing.  
Spotify continues to invest in moonshots. A report in the verge says Spotify wants to turn more of its original podcasts into TV shows and movies The company is partnering with Chernin Entertainment, to develop TV and movie pitches based on Spotify-exclusive IP and original podcasts.  Spotify says its library now consists of more than 250 original shows including those produced by The Ringer and Gimlet media.. Chernin Entertainment has produced the Fox sitcom  The New Girl as well as “Hidden Figures,” “Ford v Ferrari” and “The Greatest Showman”
Microsoft just bought ZeniMax for $7.5 billion dollars.  ZeniMax is responsible for games like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Quake and Doom improving and expanding the quality of Microsoft’s XBOX catalog of games.  Microsoft’s leaders say they will consider buying more video game companies in the future NBC News’s Dylan Byers says Microsoft will use its new titles to draw subscribers to Xbox Game Pass. Game Pass now has 15 million subscribers, up from 10 million in April.
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