Money makes the world go round: A blog about the business and culture of all things entertaining in the world of theater, television, film, music, art, gadgets, gizmos and other life necessities (and probably other things, knowing myself)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The President v. Fox News

In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, President Obama said Fox News was "destructive" to the growth in America:

“[Fox] is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world.”  

The war between the Obama administration and Fox News has been ongoing ever since our current President stepped onto the public scene. In Sept. 2009, Obama agreed to appear on all major news television networks but decided to keep Fox News at bay. As a result, a Fox News host called the Obama administration "crybabies."

As a  media giant backed by Rupert Murdoch, I guess if anyone was going to call our president a crybaby, it would have to be Fox.

With popular conservatives such as Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, Fox News has acquired a reputation of being less of a reliable news network and more of an organization comprised of bias viewpoints leaning very low towards the right.

In essence, it is not mainstream media - merely highly opinionated editorials that you can turn to when you're not really sure where you stand on an issue or when you just want to hear what the other Americans are thinking.

However, the ousting of a president against a television network could hand it a couple more high ratings as people tune in to see what the fuss is all about.

In reality though, who in the world actually use Fox News as their only news source? As intelligent human beings, we all know what an opinion is compared to something as unbias as humanly possible. Or at least we can only hope so.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Blockbuster bankruptcy

The fragile economy has forced the most innovative ideas to reconsider taking out that bank loan for a new business venture; so I have often wondered how Blockbuster has managed to stay afloat after all these years, especially with a Redbox around every corner. Then there's that genius way of watching all your favorite movies without ever having to leave the apartment: Netflix...and of course, iTunes.

It came as no great surprise to me when Blockbuster most recently announced they have filed for bankruptcy protection - a fancier way of saying: "Please help us slow down on closing down!" 

The bankruptcy protection will allow Blockbuster to keep most of their creditors at bay and reduce their $1 billion of debts to a mere $100 million. But the largest U.S. video rental corporation is still crashing hard - last year alone, their sales dropped by $1 billion and more than 1,000 stores have closed across the nation in the past two years.

In every successful business, there must be a revolutionary idea present - something that sets your product apart from similar competitive markets. But Blockbuster has lacked this gene for quite some time now. Remember when they finally eliminated late fees a couple of years back? Unfortunately, the initiative took place five years too far in the future. By that time, several video rental companies were already soaring high on profits and had no such thing as a late fee since the beginning.

After many struggling years, the Dallas-based company is determined to keep CEO Jim Keyes on board. This has caused some controversy in shareholders who have lost quite a handful of money as Blockbuster's stock continued to plummet off the charts.

No one can really be sure of Blockbuster's destiny - although some may claim to know - but Blockbuster has much to look forward to. They have been given another chance for innovative changes - consider a partnership with Nintendo and the Wii or even discuss an app with Apple.

And the next time you enter a Blockbuster store, help them out and buy some of those used DVDs on sale.

Craving more information? Read this.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Strategies. Strategies

In the past decade or so, Bollywood has witnessed a major popularity soar throughout the international film world.
And of course, everyone knows once you're hot, you can't stop there.

CBS Studios International has recently announced a new partnership with India's Reliance Broadcast, Network Ltd., affiliated with Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, most known in the western world as DreamWorks' partner in crime.

The new partnership will deliver three major English-speaking entertainment channels: BIG CBS Prime, BIG CBS Spark and BIG CBS Love.

The joint alliance, newly named BIG CBS Networks, hopes to reach 134 million viewers and three million digital televisions throughout India. The collaboration will also produce India's first ever "women's channel," similar to the concept of America's Women's Entertainment Network.
The partnership will permit the three new channels to air popular shows from CBS's programming library, which includes "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Charmed," "Entertainment Tonight," and "America's Next Top Model."

America's film industry could learn a thing or two from Bollywood's tactics...take the world by storm through international collaborations and produce complex and intriguing storylines over and over again. The current growth rate for the Hindi-language film industry tops America's produced and distributed films in a very traumatizing way.

In very strategic efforts, Bollywood is focusing their energy on English-speaking entertainment channels since this will, undoubtedly, allow them to reach an expanded breadth of international audiences. When the film industry's golden crown lands safely in India, Bollywood can then switch their focus to Hindi-language films. By this time, the world will be so enamoured, we won't mind sitting through one closed captioned film after another.

Very strategic, indeed.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hollywood kneeling to Bollywood

Acquiring $4 billion in debts would force most to reconsider the way past businesses have been conducted.

Unfortunately, this tune also rings true for the 86-year-old Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, responsible for classics such as "Gone with the Wind" and the "Wizard of Oz." Shocking reports have been confirmed that a $2 billion bid on MGM will soon lead the all-American production and distribution film studio abroad into the hands of Sahara India Pariwa.

The major deal is still a work in progress and specific details have not yet been released, but the new collaboration will be the second example in recent years of how the once-major players in Hollywood should really watch out for the young and exotic Bollywood.

Similar to the downward turn of the economy, America's film studios have been facing serious financial turmoils for years and in 2008, Dreamworks Pictures announced it would end its partnership with Paramount Pictures for a chance to work alongside India's Reliance ADA Group. Today, Dreamworks Pictures is 50 percent owned by Anil Ambani's Reliance corporation.

What can this all mean for avid movie-lovers? The changing of international major players could lead to a significant modification in the way movies are produced in the future.

An example?

Aside from a change in production names and logos, even once familiar fictional characters could be slightly, yet significantly altered. With the unforeseen future of MGM, the next movie in the James Bond 007 series - originally scheduled to be released in 2011 -  has been halted for an unknown amount of time. After all, the new partnership could give the heroic British spy a slightly changed accent or even name.

And the world is definitely not ready for that!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Summer of "cold" Movies

A report for the summer’s box office revenues has been published and the numbers aren’t looking so hot – actually they’re looking pretty much the opposite of hot.

With budgets for the summer blockbusters hitting a record high, Hollywood assumed the same could be anticipated for its theatrical revenues.


Ticket sales have hit a record low - the lowest number of actual movie tickets sold since 1993, according to a report by

So where were the movie-goers this summer?

I blame it on the inflation of ticket prices since it is now a luxury for me  – and most of my close friends – to plan a trip to the movie theatre. For at least $10 bucks a flick (plus popcorn and soda expenses), the experience I get for my hard earned dollars doesn't seem to quite match up so well. Thus, I am rarely satisfied.

The summer of 2010 produced seven 3D movies; I saw one of them: “Shrek Forever After.” In my opinion, the final installment of the series was decent, but not worth the extra bucks I paid to see it in 3D.

Then there was “Sex in the City 2,” which lacked a storyline, and "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," which only made me angry.

So again, where were all the movie-goers?

Well, I guess we’re really tired of poorly written scripts and soaring ticket prices. The next time I visit the theatre, I'll first log onto facebook and twitter to seek any updates on the movie of interest.

Monday, September 13, 2010

New gadgets. New gizmos. Ancient televisions.

Depsite how flat Samsung or Sony is making those screens these days, I will not be tricked into judging the television set by its new plasma appearance.

If you’ve been hibernating under a rock, let me catch you up to speed: the Golden Age for television has passed. If you want images of hour-long shows that captivated entire families or news broadcasted to a wholeheartedly trusting public, then watch an American film from the ‘50s.

As a product of my society, I don’t even remember the last time I watched television from…well, a television set. Who has the time to run home and catch the live airing of a show?

Thank goodness for the other mediums that we actually use or how else could I catch the finale of the Emmy-winning comedy series Modern Family or find out who the mother ISN’T in How I Met Your Mother? And if I’m really behind on my schedule, I can always watch the episodes weeks later on

With more people flocking to watch their favorite shows online, networks are coming up with new alternatives to staying financially afloat in a bleak economic era for television. A NYT article reports how media companies, such as CBS and Comcast, have agreed on a new deal that will restrict internet access of full episodes to people who have not paid for cable or satellite services.

But in our modern society, will this soothe out the financial distress of major television networks? Similar to the business of newspapers, the business of television networks will have to stay continuously innovative to be anywhere near the top of the game.