NEWS BRIEFING FOR FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2008 Members of the 360 newsroom are gleefully hording peanuts and Cracker Jack. Good morning.
The British are coming! The British are coming! At least the BBC is, The Wall St Journal says as it reports on feisty chief exec Mark Thompson and his quest to rule the Internet. He’s placed nearly all the Beeb’s linear programs online. Using the iPlayer, a free computer program offered on the BBC’s Web site and Apple’s iPhone, anyone in the U.K. can download and watch the BBC shows one week after they’ve been on television. Thompson “is spending heavily” to “build out” BBC America, the paper says and BBC A chief Garth Ancier is keeping BBC’s best for his network, including Torchwood and Robin Hood. Some traditional customers of BBC programs—such as networks in the U.S. and Canada—have blanched at the more aggressive approach. Ancier, for example, is about to renegotiate a deal with PBS to force affiliates to broadcast fewer BBC news bulletins. The bulletins, Ancier believes, may be reducing interest in BBC World News America, the new daily newscast. [WSJ]
More concern over Google’s ads. Data in February again show a decline in the number of people clicking on its search ads, which contribute the bulk of Google’s revenue, The Wall St Journal says. Some analysts believe the downturn simply reflects the less buoyant economy. Google maintains it’s the result of efforts to reduce accidental clicks. Shares have fallen more than 40% since November’s high of $747.24 [WSJ]
Negotiations over NY State’s film and tax incentive bill are going easier in the wake of the Spitzer scandal, The Hollywood Reporter says. [THR]
AT&T plans to offer a mobile-TV service in May, The Wall St Journal reports. It will partner with Qualcomm’s MediaFlo network, which broadcasts live video to mobile phones. Verizon already has such a service. AT&T originally planned to offer mobile TV last year. [WSJ]
Of Showtime’s The Tudors, which returns Sunday, The NY Times says, “No matter how much sex [it] has given us…it is a show that never gets quite dirty enough.” [NYT] Faring much better is Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union. [NYT]
Tom Cruise and Sumner Redstone haven’t spoken since Redstone ousted Cruise from Paramount pictures in ’06. The two lunched together in Beverly Hills Thursday. It wasn’t immediately clear who picked up the check. [WSJ]
Clear Channel’s pending buyout hit a major snag when private-equity firms were unable to obtain funding. [WSJ]
Today’s most curious story: Sprint Nextel offers phones that allow users to track where their friends are throughout the day. Verizon Wireless plans to do the same. The target audience: 18-24-year-olds. [WSJ] Got a tip? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Today in CableFAX Daily: More, more, more. That’s what Kevin Martin wants from Comcast on network management. And CableFAXies winners.