4-18-14 CYNTHIA LOPEZ New York Mayor Names Producer Cynthia Lopez Film Czar New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has named Cynthia Lopez as the city’s film czar, Variety has learned. Lopez will take over immediately as commissioner of the … Read More ›

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SCG EXECUTIVE SHUFFLE 4-18-14

CYNTHIA LOPEZ New York Mayor Names Producer Cynthia Lopez Film Czar New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has named Cynthia Lopez as the city’s film czar, Variety has learned. Lopez will take over immediately as commissioner of the Mayor’s … Read More ›

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How D.C. Is Giving the New York Media Industry a Run for Its Money

Vox Media: Ezra Klein, the geeky guy with the wonky eyewear on MSNBC (that narrows it!), has been given a site all his own. It’s Vox.com, with the humble ambition of reimagining how news is conveyed online — or, as CEO Jim Bankoff puts it, “engaging audiences [with] new palates, new people and new practices.” Like the other sites within Vox’s guy-centric empire — SB Nation (sports), The Verge (tech) and Polygon (gaming) — Klein’s runs on elegant visuals, high-velocity posting and lots of video. It’s a winning formula: Vox’s sites are among the fastest-growing news and information destinations. Atlantic Media: Its transformation from a sleepy clutch of news magazines (The Atlantic, National Journal) into a digital powerhouse (The Wire, Quartz) with 13.6 million unique visitors in February often is credited to former president Justin Smith, who became CEO of Bloomberg Media Group in July. But owner David Bradley deserves credit, too: He moved The Atlantic from Boston to D.C. in 2005. Read More ›

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Barclays Center vs. Madison Square Garden: New York’s Latest Rivalry Heats Up

The Brooklyn Dodgers vs. the New York Giants. Brownstones vs. high-rises. Grimaldi’s Pizzeria vs. John’s of Bleecker Street. And now: Barclays Center vs. Madison Square Garden, the latest intrametro rivalry pitting borough against borough. Actually, the war between the two giant sports and entertainment arenas has been fairly civil by Big Apple standards — mostly because Manhattan’s MSG was partly closed for renovations when Brooklyn’s Barclays opened its doors 18 months ago. But since the refurbished Garden started selling tickets again in October, there have been signs that the crosstown dissing is heating up. “Barclays got a stroke of luck that the Garden was closed,” sniffs heavyweight music manager Irving Azoff (the Eagles, Van Halen and Christina Aguilera, among others), who last year partnered with MSG on a new management-publishing-production company called Azoff MSG. “I’d give Barclays a 3 out of 10. The Garden, that’s a 9.5. Unless you’re stupid, you play the Garden.” Read More ›

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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Pens Open Letter to Hollywood

As acting debuts go, mine went pretty smoothly. It was on The Good Wife, one of my favorite shows, and I was playing an over-the-top version of myself. In between takes — and I’m proud to note that I only needed three — I marveled at the crew as they bustled around me, doing a hundred different things in unison. From the camera crew to the makeup artists to the caterer, so many skilled professionals contributed to my brief moment in the spotlight. My peek behind the scenes reinforced something I’ve always believed: The TV and film industry is central not just to New York’s cultural vitality, but to our economic strength as well. The numbers are truly astounding: Every year, an average of 200 films are shot in New York City. For the 2013-14 TV season, 29 series are based here, and that’s not counting the late-night shows, talk shows, reality series and news programs. All told, some 130,000 New Yorkers earn their living by working behind the scenes in film and TV production. Read More ›

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ESPN Execs Talk Fox Sports 1 Competition, Outline Programming Strategy

Walt Disney’s ESPN has locked up the rights to so many sporting events that it has left a “bleak desert environment” in its wake, network president John Skipper told investors and analysts on Thursday. Skipper, speaking in Bristol, Conn., at Disney Investor Day at ESPN, showed a graphic representation of the rights the network holds to a plethora of sports, including the NFL and Major League Baseball through 2021, and some lesser sports and college rights as far out as 2034. Skipper acknowledged, though, that its NBA and Big Ten Conference rights run out in the next couple of years and bidding from recently launched Fox Sports 1 will likely drive the costs higher. “Obviously, competition puts pressure on rights fees,” Skipper said. “Sports rights cost more money.” Read More ›

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SCG EXECUTIVE SHUFFLE 4-17-14

MICHAEL KANTOR LESLEY NORMAN WNET WNET has appointed Michael Kantor as Executive Producer of American Masters. In addition, Lesley Norman has been promoted to Production Executive in the networks programming department. CYNOPSIS DAVID WISNIA TVGN Names David Wisnia President of … Read More ›

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Twitter Goes After a Facebook Cash Cow

Sometimes the rivalry between Twitter and Facebook is like a children’s game of copycat. Facebook copied Twitter’s hashtags and trending topics. Twitter copied Facebook’s profile page design and automatic display of images in the feed. But those are cosmetic changes. The money is in the advertising products. And on Thursday, Twitter announced that it would now formally offer the product that bootstrapped Facebook into mobile advertising: application install ads. So-called app install ads are exactly what they sound like — ads that pop up on your mobile phone urging you to install a new app (or in the latest variation, nudge you to fire up an app you haven’t used in a while). For a new game or messaging service or utility trying to stand out from the hundreds of thousands of other apps in the Apple and Google stores, the ads are a great way to get in front of potential customers. Read More ›

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How Hulu Found a Subscriber Lure in Obscure Films

In the warring factions that dominate pay TV, big-budget original series have become the weapon of choice for almost every player, from HBO (TWX) to Netflix (NFLX) to Amazon (AMZN). Hulu has plenty of its own originals, but for the past three years it has battled for new subscribers with what some might consider an oddity: obscure art films that are, for the most part, known only to cinephiles. The Criterion Collection, a New York video distributor that has also restored the technical quality of much of its aged library, says it sells films that are “the defining moments of cinema” from a range of acclaimed directors such as Akira Kurosawa, Luis Buñuel, Charlie Chaplin, Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, and François Truffaut. Read More ›

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Five findings about digital video news

News audiences are watching more digital news video than ever before and newsrooms are investing in creating more video content. The challenge—as is the case with other digital ad revenue—is that big tech firms such as Google and Facebook are poised to pocket a large share of the digital video ad dollars because they are able to more effectively monetize video content. As part of its State of the News Media 2014 report, the Pew Research Center surveyed U.S. adults about their digital video habits to get a sense of that marketplace today. Here’s what we found: 1. The digital video advertising market is relatively small, but it is growing rapidly. According to eMarketer, digital video advertising in 2013 accounted for about 10% of the overall digital advertising market. But digital video ad revenue reached $4.15 billion in 2013, which represents a 44% increase from 2012 and almost a tripling of the revenue from 2010. YouTube is estimated to account for 20.5% of that that $4.15 billion in digital video advertising, and eMarketer estimates that its share will continue to grow, leaving fewer ad dollars for news organizations. Read More ›

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