Kris Connor/Getty Images for The Weinstein C
Harvey Weinstein speaks during a panel discussion after a screeing of the documentary "Bully" at MPAA in Washington, DC. The producer has become an outspoken critic of the "Open Internet," calling it "stealing."
In the ongoing battle between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over the future of entertainment, two major events - one tragic, the other, comical - have defined the last few weeks.
The tragedy was the apparent suicide of "Open Internet" activist Aaron Swartz. It provoked an outpouring of support for Swartz's at-times radical vision and returned the debate about whether online content should roam free of copyrigh to the national agenda.
The comedy was Kim Dotcom, whose Megaupload site was shut down by the U.S. government last year on the grounds that it was enabling Internet content piracy. Dotcom (not his real name) rolled out a new site last weekend, from the relative safety of New Zealand. He isn't even messing around with the "upload" part any more; the new site is simply called "Mega."
I will not be aggregated, only monetized, Disney Princess Sofia tells her animal friends.
At the New York Times, the always-worth-reading-no-matter-what David Carr has an entertaining take on why rumors of the entertainment and media industries' demise at the hands of disruptive technological forces are, for now, exaggerated.
Why? Because Old Media — in television and movies, anyway — turned in a better financial performance than the technology upstarts. I've characterized this as a battle between Big Content — Hollywood — and Big Tech, based in Silicon Valley. And according to Carr, Big Content actually isn't in full retreat [emphasis is mine]:
[W]orries about insurgent threats from tech-oriented players like Netflix, Amazon and Apple turned out to be overstated. Those digital enterprises were supposed to be trouncing media companies; not only is that not happening, but they are writing checks to buy content.
Another thing about those dinosaurs is that they aren’t really old media in the sense of, um, newspapers. When their content is digitized, it is generally monetized, not aggregated. Having learned from what happened in music and print publishing, entertainment companies, built on the still enormous riches of television, have carved their own digital route to consumers.
Hulu is one of those companies that stands squarely between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. CEO Jason Kilar stepped down on Friday.
Brian Stelter and Amy Chozick make the case on the New York Times' Media Decoder blog that Jason Kilar's exit from Hulu had a lot to do with the suits who own TV networks:
Mr. Kilar’s announcement did not come as a complete surprise. At times during his tenure he has clashed with the owners on Hulu, exemplifying the divide between new, disruptive modes of distribution like the Internet and the more traditional operations at major media companies. As the owners pulled back on the amount of ABC, Fox and NBC programming it provided to Hulu, the Web site invested in original, made-for-the-Web programming to fill the gaps and attract attention.
The last time it looked as if Kilar would exit Hulu, it was when Yahoo was coming off an executive scandal, with activist shareholder Dan Loeb of the hedge fund Third Point agitating for both board-level and CEO changes.
This is one in a series of year-end stories that look back at the most memorable pieces KPCC reporters worked on in 2012 and look ahead at a key issue that will be the focus of coverage in the coming year.
How much happened in the Golden State in 2012 when it comes to business? Lots. Lots and lots. The DeBord Report covered most of it.
The slide show above serves up the business year in pictures for the state with the largest economy and two of America's most storied industries: Hollywood and high-tech.
And if you want to review the business year in links to the original posts...well, I've got that covered, too.
9. The long, long, LONG Tribune Co. bankruptcy comes to and end. So who will buy the Los Angeles Times?
Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Malaria No More
Peter Chernin speaks in New York City. The former News Corp. executive was just named to the Twitter board.
Twitter announced last week that Peter Chernin, a former News Corp. executive who has morphed into an entertainment investor, will join its board. Given that Twitter is perhaps better integrated than any other social network or microblogging site with the entertainment and news businesses, this is a pretty interesting development.
It also shows that Twitter could be getting serious about bolstering its financial credibility ahead of a possible IPO. This has long been discussed, but so far Twitter has lagged behind some of its peers, including Facebook and LinkedIn.
From the L.A. Times:
Chernin had been mentioned for months as a likely new Twitter director. He joins Chief Executive Dick Costolo, co-founder and former CEO Evan Williams, co-founder and Chairman Jack Dorsey, venture capitalists Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Peter Fenton of Benchmark Capital, among others, on the board. He takes the place vacated by Flipboard CEO Mike McCue.