Friday, August 21, 2009

A Little Of The Old In And Out

In: Ben Bernanke. From Jackson Hole, Wyoming -- where the Masters of the Universe are at play in the fields of the Lord -- Benjamin Bernanke gives a "hopeful assessment" on the state of the economy. From the WSJ:

"The Fed chief noted that the global economy is much improved since officials last gathered in Wyoming for the annual, two-day conference organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. 'Since we last met here, the world has been through the most severe financial crisis since the great Depression,' he said.

"Still, Mr. Bernanke said 'critical challenges remain.' As examples, he pointed to continuing strains in global financial markets and the continued difficulty businesses and households are facing in trying to obtain credit.

"Mr. Bernanke's comments reinforce a policy statement Fed officials released earlier this month, in which they reiterated plans to keep rates at their record low range near zero for an extended period of time. Some Wall Street economists believe the recession -- the worst financial crisis in decades -- has ended or is coming to an end."

It is almost a foregone conclusion that Bernanke, a Bush appointee, will be reappointed, as he is the favorite banker of Wall Street (and the Chinese who hold so much of our paper). Anyone other than Bernanke would probably startle The $treet at this moment of economic exigency.

A propos of nothing: Has there ever been another anomalous situation in American history where a President has reappointed the Fed Chair and the Secretary of Defense from his predecessor in an opposition party? Just curious.

Out: Shutter Island. You know Hollywood is hurting from The Great Recession when they shutter a Martin Scorsese picture. "Shutter Island," the next Scorsese-DiCaprio collaboration, which released a trailer in June, was supposed to be released on October 2nd. No longer. From Nikki Finke's DeadlineHollywoodDaily:

"This Shutter Island decision is now the second major studio pic to jump from Fall 2009 to February 2010 (after Universal's The Wolfman recently moved off November). But Paramount's adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel directed by Marty Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio looked entrenched for October 2nd and this coming awards season. For godsakes, the pic is already on people's Oscar list. Such a surprise delay is just going to compound all the buzz surrounding the picture and its great trailer released in June. An insider tells me. 'It tested in the high 80s/low 90s and Scorsese even brought it down to 2 hours.' So what's the problem? I hear that Paramount told the filmmakers it doesn't have the financing in 2009 to spend the $50M to $60M necessary to market a big awards pic like this. (But a studio source insists to me it's got the cash, just not the home video sales: 'Given where the DVD business is in 2009, our only hope is the economy and the retail business rebounds in 2010 because the hardest hit segment has been movies that play to an older adult audience,' a studio source tells me.)"

And we just looking forward to it from checking it out in its profile in Entertainment Weekly's Fall Movie Preview.

In: Rupert Murdoch. Redstone shrugged. Zell falls. Zuckerman's -- possibly -- bound. Agree or disagree with his philosophy and the philosophy of his media porerties, it is nice to see a little leadership on the U.S.S TheMediaIsDying. Murdoch is bringing a businessman's perspective to a field -- forgive me -- that, although peopled with tradesmen and women, has been run with an almost artistic disdain for economic realities. From Paidcontent:

"News Corp has hinted at it in bits and pieces over the last six months, but now Dawn’s reporting in LAT that he has been meeting with various media companies, in an effort to 'develop a forming a consortium that would charge for news distributed online and on portable devices.' This effort, in which Miller has met with publishers including New York Times, Washington Post, Hearst and LAT’s own parent company Tribune, is a broader one, the story says. As a part of this effort Jon was leading a feasibility study of a separate portable device for the company, a plan later patted down by Murdoch. The company has already announced a plan to charge for all or some parts of its news properties."

Perhaps -- if media-types could stop equating Murdoch with the Devil -- we can learn from his business sense? Sulzberger's TimesSelective vacillations on paying-for-content (or not) have left us, quite frankly, with a case of cognitive vertigo (Averted Gaze).

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