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Thompson on Hollywood

Penske Buys Variety for $25 Million UPDATED

Well, the early reports are true. After seven months of negotiations, Penske Media Corp., backed by hedge fund Third Point, has won 107-year-old trade paper Variety for $25 million. Just months ago Variety was thought to be worth $50 mlllion, which was still substantially lower than its pre-recession peak value. Jay Penske, 33, outbid New York Hedge Fund Avenue Capitol and supermarket mogul Ron Burkle.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 9, 2012 12:14 PM
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Facebook Passes One Billion Users [ZUCKERBERG VIDEO]

In an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show, Facebook's 28-year-old CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that over a billion people are now using Facebook: "It's just this amazing honor. To be able to come into work every day and build things that help a billion people stay connected with the people they care about .... just unbelievable."
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • October 4, 2012 12:54 PM
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'Paranormal Activity 4' Invites Fan Participation

When found-footage movie "Paranormal Activity" premiered in 2009, Paramount digital marketing started engaging with movie fans in a direct way. They encouraged viewers to create their own spoofs and renditions of the D-I-Y film.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • October 1, 2012 7:01 AM
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Fandango Hires EW Vet and Oscar Expert Dave Karger as Media Front Man

As the LA Times' Geoff Boucher joins ex-USA Today writer Anthony Breznican at weekly magazine EW, 17-year EW vet Dave Karger is moving on. He is heading away from print reporting to a career as a professional video pundit and media front man. He will now grow his media profile at NBCUniversal's Fandango as the online ticketseller's first "chief correspondent." The main lure is increased visibility across NBCUniversal's media outlets.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 27, 2012 1:39 PM
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What Penske Could Do With Variety

The sands keep shifting under media professionals who thought they knew what they were doing.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 25, 2012 6:18 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Marketing Watch: 'Frankenweenie' E-Book Free on iTunes

Disney's promo materials on Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie" have been innovative and choice. Their latest offering is a content-rich e-book tie-in. "Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book" provides a behind-the-scenes examination of the world of the original 1984 short film that inspired the upcoming feature length production. Here's our "Fantastic Fest" review of "Frankenweenie"; latest clips and featurette are here.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • September 24, 2012 12:15 PM
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Netflix's Ted Sarandos Talks Original Programming

It is not news that chief content officer of Netflix Ted Sarandos is on the hunt for original programming for the content site, competing for content with the likes of HBO snd Showtime. That's why the DVD rental site, which has been making the transition to online streaming, chased down David Fincher's high-price series starring Kevin Spacey based on the British series "House of Cards."
  • By Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange
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  • September 20, 2012 5:59 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Internet Lobby Forms in DC: Facebook, Google, Amazon Join Up

It was an inevitable alliance. Silicon Valley pillars will join together in Washington to form a lobbying group in order to oppose federal restrictions to their industry. A group like this is the first in the Web's history. Called 'The Internet Association,' the roster includes Facebook, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Zynga, and Amazon.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • September 20, 2012 2:13 PM
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IMDb and Kindle Partner on X-Ray for Movies

IMDb and Amazon's Kindle Fire proudly introduce a useful interruption during your feature presentation: "X-Ray for Movies." By tapping on the screen of a movie, the user will be able to see the names and filmographies of each of the actors. The X-Ray program, exclusive to Kindle Fire at the moment, is backed with over 100 million data items from IMDb's resources. What does IMDb's founder and CEO, Col Needham have to say about this? That it's a revolution, twenty years in the making. “X-Ray for Movies revolutionizes the way we watch movies," Needham stated in a press release, "This is the culmination of everything we’ve been working on for over twenty years and is the result of a combination of sophisticated technology and old-fashioned hard work. "
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • September 10, 2012 2:44 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Check Out New IPad Magazine 'Backstory': Long, Gorgeous and Deep

You've got to applaud the chutzpah of ex-Creative Screenwriting senior editor Jeff Goldsmith, who has plunked his life savings down on bimonthly iPad publishing experiment: "Backstory." The gorgeously mounted magazine champions scriptwriters by telling their behind-the-scenes stories. Airily designed for the iPad, which doesn't need to cram columns of print into a small space, "Backstory" is easy to read via free iPad app. The first double issue is still available for free, and starting this month with new issue Number Two, the newstand sale is $4.99. A year's subscription is $24.99. "It feels like an eBook on crack," says Goldsmith.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 7, 2012 3:35 PM
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  • 2 Comments

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