Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #960: 2 Business Bits


A prominent stock analyst is giving media mega-corporation Viacom a downgrade to "under-performing" because of the poor performances of their Nickolodeon and MTV channels. Ratings first plunged at Nickolodeon which used to be an unstoppable juggernaut in the field of kid's entertainment.  This caused panic at Viacom, forcing them to pump millions into the struggling channel, which is now being blamed for a massive drop in the ratings at sister-channel MTV.

I think there's more to it than just where they've been shuffling money but with the fundamental business plans of the channels as a whole, especially at MTV.

I can remember when MTV used to be a music channel. It's specialty was music videos, concert specials, and anything else that could be loosely associated with rock and roll.  It's other specialty was a form of mild-corporation and focus group approved rebellion.

Over time the big wigs at Viacom figured that music videos weren't the way to go. So they started phasing out the videos in favor of, at first, game and reality competition shows, and then they hit what they thought was the magic formula.

That formula was to start a reality show stocked with the most obnoxious, narcissistic people that they could find and convince them that they're going to be massive stars for all time. Use the outrage caused by the cast's obnoxious on and off camera behavior and bloated salaries/lifestyle to attract a comparatively small, but demographically appealing audience of malleable and marketable teenagers. Then you take everyone on that show and put them in either every other MTV show, or in their own spin-offs until that once malleable audience is sick of the sight of them, and once the show is unprofitable, drop it like a hot potato, but keep rerunning the old episodes as filler until the tape wears out.

Now it's like an entertainment based Ponzi scheme, you can't really keep it going, because sooner or later the audience is going to start asking "Where's the Beef?" and flip the channel. 

As for Nickolodeon, I'm not really that much of an expert on its programming. However, one can assume that it suffers from a similar affliction to MTV, depending on a shrinking talent pool because new creators of new material either feel unwelcome, unwanted, or unfairly treated by Viacom.

Still, they're in better shape than Stan Lee Media...


First thing I have to state clearly at the beginning is that Stan Lee, the man credited with creating most of Marvel's superheroes has NOTHING to do with Stan Lee Media.

He started the company in the late 1990s with businessman Peter F. Paul to take advantage of the dotcom hysteria. It was supposed to create web-based entertainment for the world, but like every other business Stan Lee put his name to since he left Marvel it crashed and burned.

The company burned through its $370 million market capitalization incredibly quickly, Lee left, his partner Peter F. Paul fled to Brazil, hoping to dodge various charges, including stock manipulation, but was eventually extradited and convicted. Peter Paul's currently in prison and isn't up for parole until 2014.

Now bankruptcy and criminal charges hasn't stopped Stan Lee Media from operating. It just has a new business model and the key to that business model has been lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit.

Now most of these lawsuits have either been lost or dismissed, but that's not stopping them, and now Stan Lee Media is going after the biggest target.

Stan Lee Media is filing suit against the Walt Disney Company, and Marvel Comics claiming that they own the rights to all the Marvel Comics superheroes and are demanding BILLIONS OF DOLLARS in damages.

Disney and Marvel's lawyers will eat them alive.

Seriously, do they honestly think that Disney didn't done their due diligence when they spent several billion dollars on?

I fully expect Disney to come down on SLMI like Thor's hammer on the head of an ant.

The one thing I can't figure is where does a bankrupt company keep getting the money for the lawyers. There are a lot of billable hours going into these cases.



  1. Was Nickelodeon the top network for kids before Disney and Cartoon Network came along? And that's just basic cable.

  2. Since it is October, how about a list of the Greatest Horror Films of All Time.

    Or at least your personal favorite.

  3. Kit- I might do that sometime before Halloween.