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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Since MTV started in 1981 with 'Video Killed the Radio Star,' record labels have treated videos as a marketing expense. Now, with album sales plummeting, music companies aim to make them a source of profit. That’s the goal of Universal Music Group’s venture with Google Inc.’s YouTube. Vevo.com, a new site announced last week, will stream videos from artists such as U2, Beck and the Rolling Stones. YouTube will then split advertising revenue with Universal, the world’s largest music company .. Over dinner earlier this year in Paris, U2 singer Bono urged Universal Music Chairman Doug Morris to get in touch with Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt about working together, according to a person with knowledge of the talks. The revenue-sharing plan is a shift from the 1980s and 1990s, when videos from artists such as Bon Jovi, Madonna and ‘N Sync were given free to MTV for marketing purposes. With album sales falling, music stores closing and MTV moving to a reality-television format, videos need to start paying for themselves." (Bloomberg)

"Jay Leno on Michael Jackson: 'Creepy. I had dinner with him. The chef put a plate down, then some mustached guy in a turban came out, tried everything on the plate for, like, four minutes. Then Michael eats it. I'm like, Who's trying to poison you?" (CindyAdams)



"(Pakistan President) Zardari is, as all acknowledge, a very shrewd operator, but he seems to have little feel for public opinion: by overturning the Punjab government, he had sown a whirlwind. One leader of the planned march pointed out to me that the government could have completely taken the breeze out of the lawyers’ sails by pushing the Supreme Court to decide in favor of the Sharifs rather than against them; such an act might well have made Chaudhry’s restoration seem unnecessary. But Zardari, who traffics heavily in metaphors of combat, seems to prefer either guile or trials of strength." (NYTimesMagazine)



(image via usmagazine)

"Mel Gibson does not want to pay his wife maintenance when they divorce, court papers say. The 53-year-old actor told Los Angeles superior court he had been separated from his wife of 28 years since August 2006. She seeks a share of his earnings and assets, estimated to be $900 million. The couple have seven children, but only one under 18. Robyn Gibson has requested joint custody of their son who turns 10 on Tuesday. Details of how the couple's assets will be divided were not spelled out in the court filings. Robyn Gibson is seeking jewelry and earnings and assets she accrued after the couple separated, and a share of the money and assets Gibson, 53, has earned during his nearly three decades as a Hollywood hitmaker. She wants the actor-director to pay spousal support and her attorney's fees." (Thisislondon)

"Alexandra Lebenthal’s Guest Diary yesterday about a Wall Street couple also elicited comment and much unsympathetic to the couple who are paring down in order to maintain some semblance of a lifestyle they’d become quite used to. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of sympathy for that. I don’t know. I have sympathy. I’ve lived better in my life, in terms of space and convenience, than I do now. I sometimes wish I could re-acquire that which I had. These people we’re talking about may have liked their high life. We can get used to these things quickly and they matter. Facing giving it up is just the same no matter how much you have. None of us likes having our lives under siege, shaken up. Worse, what threatens them, the haves has dire consequences for the rest of us, the non-haves. Especially the have-nots. If they were scamming the system like Mr. Madoff et al, I wouldn’t feel sympathetic. But the fact is New York is the town people come to make their fortunes, and fortunes were being made bigtime in the last several years. It’s been boomtime. And now fortunes are being lost by many of those makers, those boomers. It’s not like starving, that’s true; but it’s a little like dying, nevertheless, and so it’s hard." (NYSocialDiary)

"China surpassed the United States last year as the top country of origin for cyber-attacks targeting governments around the world, according to a new Symantec report released Tuesday. In 2008, 22 percent of all attacks on the government sector originated in China, up from 8 percent in 2007 when China placed fourth behind the United States, Spain and France. According to Symantec’s Government Internet Security Threat Report, the percentage of attacks against the government sector originating in China in 2008 was greater than the percentage of Internet-wide attacks from the country, which accounted for 13 percent of the total. Zulfikar Ramzan, a technical director at Symantec, said the increased percentage of cyber-attacks from China targeting the government sector could be attributed to several trends, but the biggest one is the amount of broadband being used in China. 'I think what we’re seeing is that there are a lot more machines that are online,' Ramzan said. 'Those machines then become more easy to compromise.' When a computer is compromised, Ramzan said, it can be taken over and used as a launch pad for an attack." (CQPolitics)



"The seaside, southern Indian city of Cochin is on 'India time,' which technically means nine and a half hours ahead of the West Village, but also denotes the leisurely, relaxed vibe of the area. The same could have been said last week of Vikram Chatwal--the 37-year-old Sikh man of leisure, erstwhile Bollywood actor, scion of a hotel empire--who was in town to launch the latest branch of his chic boutique hotel chain, Dream Cochin. Consider it an overseas warm-up for the big launch of his long-awaited new Manhattan lodge, The Chatwal, later this year--an event nearly a decade in the making. Everything was in place for the 14-story neon-trimmed Cochin hotel’s splashy opening party on Sunday, April 5: tribal drummers, models, journalists, government officials, a pair of festooned elephants. Everything, of course, but Mr. Chatwal himself .. Now, Mr. Chatwal commutes to Delhi once a month to see his daughter and wife; neither attended the hotel opening. And he’s more balanced. He keeps his ratio of partying to working at 50-50, down from 60-40. 'But,' he smiled laconically, 'maybe that’s because the hotel biz involves so much partying.'" (Observer)

"Film production may be stalling in Los Angeles, where filming is down more than 56 percent in the first three months from 2008. But it's blossoming once again here in Vancouver, where film and TV crews are almost as ubiquitous as looming Grouse Mountain. The worldwide recession is a faint echo among the TV and movie crowd of Hollywood North, where production activity is running well ahead of last year. Here’s how film and TV production broke down year-over-year for April, according to the British Columbia Film Commission: April 2008: 10 features, 3 movies-of-the-week, 2 pilots, 1 miniseries, 11 TV series. April 2009: 15 features, 5 movies-of-the-week, 5 pilots, 2 miniseries, 7 TV series Film and TV production spending in B.C. hit close to $980 million in 2008. And though the industry was hit by the closures and uncertainty of last year’s writer's strike and declining domestic production, that was almost $205 million over 2007." (TheWrap)

"One of the great ironies about the Sino-American financial relationship is that most Americans believe that China has been screwing the U.S. over through their massive accumulation of dollars, while most Chinese believe that America has been screwing China over through.... their massive accumulation of dollars. Well, what if the accumulation is not so massive? Yesterday's New York Times story by Keith Bradsher suggested that China was buying far fewer dollars than it used to, and therefore we can all breathe easier about China using its dollar holdings as a form of foreign policy leverage. It's necessary to separate China's willingness to use its reserves as a lever from the expectation that such a lever will net it significant concessions. As long as China is heavily dependent on the U.S. market as a source of economic growth, it is fundamentally constrained in using its reserves in a strategic manner. Regardless of its feelings towards the United States, Beijing will not take actions that shoot itself in the economic foot." (ForeignPolicy)

"Driving in to work. Howard Stern reruns." (Jon Favreau/Twitter)

"Despite the lousy economy, the cable upfront market would appear to be moving along much as it has in past years. Yet beneath the surface there’s a great sense of uncertainty among media sellers, and for good reason. Forecasters are projecting that the cable networks will pull in slightly less than last year's $7.8 billion, but they'll have to work that much harder to get there. And that's if all goes well. There's a looming worry that it might not, that the advertisers the networks are counting on won't show up for the annual spring auction of ad time. 'We’re all hurting right now,' observes Larry Novenstern, executive vice president and managing director of national and local TV investments at Optimedia. 'There are fewer advertisers willing to advertise.' Against that uncertainty, the cable networks are meeting with agencies to preview new shows, but they're also spending more time than in past years meeting one-to-one to gather a sense of just how much money is in the market and where buyers will place that money." (Medialifemagazine)

"I think I'm in love with john mayer, I watched a dvd of one of his concerts last night, on the bus. His guitar playing is mesmerizing. Sexy." (Lily Allen/Twitter)

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