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July 31, 2014

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Jeff Zucker talks about NBC, web content, and why Seinfeld wouldn't survive today

by Bob Sassone, posted May 29th 2009 7:02PM
When I first saw this I thought to myself, Jeff, a show like Seinfeld actually would survive if you stuck with it and didn't cancel it, just like NBC did back then. You don't have to cancel shows even today just because they don't get great ratings after two episodes.

This is a clip of NBC boss Jeff Zucker being interviewed at the All Things D conference. He talks about Hulu, iTunes, NBC's woes, and how the industry has changed over the years. (This is highlights from the interview - full report here.)

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SpongeBob on the iPhone

by Brad Trechak, posted Feb 5th 2009 7:01PM
SpongeBob SquarePantsIt looks like Nickelodeon is getting a little further into the games business by releasing both SpongeBob SquarePants, iCarly and Dora The Explorer learning games for the iPhone. They will be available later this year.

My question is this: do children of that age really use the iPhone or iPod Touch that much? Most of the people I know who own one or the other are adults or at least teenagers. While I can see some market for SpongeBob SquarePants (which has some adult crossover appeal), I just don't see the grown-ups buying iCarly or Dora.

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New Flight of the Conchords songs to debut on iTunes

by Mike Moody, posted Jan 12th 2009 1:10PM
flight of the conchordsHow hard is it to write a Flight of the Conchords song, really? I wrote one just now:

"Look at you pretty lady
You make me mess like a baby
Your sexiness doesn't even stop
For the crosswalk or for the cops
It runs right over that crime scene
Screwin' with forensic science and makin' me scream
Oh, oh, oh-oh,
You're gonna bulldoze that 60-story office building that survived four earthquakes and some really strong winds
With your super sexy sexiness, lady."

Yeah, I know, it's bad, but it would probably sound funny over some video of Bret and Jemaine making obscene gyrating motions on the streets of New York City. Just picture it.

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Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and his name is Stephen

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 4th 2008 6:07PM
America's favorite megalomaniac takes on America's least favorite megalomaniac and for once in this karma-deprived universe, the megalomaniac we were rooting for has won.

Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report called on his legion of fans/cult-like followers who would not only follow their leader into the gates of Hell, but also take his place in the seventh circle (the one that only gets QVC, C-Span 2 and late night knife infomercials) to help him vanquish his foes. In the past, he has used his followers to take on enemy combatants such as Chuck Norris, indie rock group the Decemberists and Oshawa, Ontario mayor John Gray.

This time, he's taken down someone more feared, despised and loathed than all three of those figures combined in a tragic teleportation device accident.

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Free HD episodes on iTunes

by Brett Love, posted Sep 11th 2008 12:04PM

Eureka in iTunesIf you were wondering just what that extra dollar buys you when you upgrade to HD in the iTunes store, you can get a free look. Our pals over at TUAW made note of a number of shows that have free episodes available, in HD. The files are large, with the HD versions clocking in at right around 1.5GB, so it will take a bit to download. Something that isn't helped by the fact that iTunes downloads the SD version as well.

I've been taking a look at them and I grabbed screenshots from Heroes, Life, and Battlestar Galactica to give you an idea of the difference in the picture. It's fairly dramatic. Those captures, and the full list of free episodes, with the iTunes links, are after the jump.

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NBC returns to iTunes, in HD

by Brett Love, posted Sep 10th 2008 9:03AM

Heroes in HD on iTunesIf you have been playing along with the home game, you'll no doubt remember last August when Apple and NBC had a little squabble over pricing. That led to NBC content being removed from the iTunes store, and lots of he said/she said over who was at fault. It would appear that time, and potential revenue, really does heal all wounds. NBC is returning to iTunes, and an HD option is being added.

The new deal was announced at the "Let's Rock" event, where Apple unveiled updated iPods. You'll also find shows from ABC, Showtime, USA, and Sci Fi in the HD mix. The shows are already available and have returned at the $1.99 per episode price for SD. The new HD option comes in at $2.99 per episode. Prices for seasons are a little less consistent. Upgrading to HD for season two of Heroes will cost you an extra $10. $12 more for season four of Lost. And apparently, medical shows are really awesome in HD, as Grey's Anatomy adds $15 to the season four price, and season four of House jumps $16 to $47.84.

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Dr. Horrible is back online - VIDEO

by Brett Love, posted Jul 29th 2008 11:02AM

Neil Patrick Harris - Dr. HorribleI guess it's the flexibility brought about by the nature of the Dr. Horrible production. Or maybe it's just a good way to keep making noise so people find the show. Either way, as announced on the Dr. Horrible Twitter feed, the formerly iTunes-exclusive episodes are back online over at Hulu, with a few changes.

The episodes now come with short sponsor messages, and you also have the option of watching the whole thing in one big 42 minute burst. Go ahead, your boss won't mind. If they didn't want you to be watching wacky super-hero hijinks on the company computers they would have prevented it at the server, right? In addition, the move to the regular Hulu site also enables embedding. See for yourself, as the full episode has been added after the jump. And in case you missed it, Keith has added video from the Dr. Horrible Comic-Con panel to his post.

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Dr. Horrible by the numbers

by Brett Love, posted Jul 23rd 2008 3:20PM

Felicia Day - Dr. HorribleNow that we've all had a chance to take in and digest the saga of Dr. Horrible, one of the big questions is "Did it work?" It certainly seemed to work for the viewers. In our poll, an astounding 74.2% of you gave it 5 out of 5. Another 22.5% went with 4 out of 5. The bigger question though, is did it work out for everybody on the money end? And I ask that rather selfishly. Sure, I'd like to see Whedon, Fillion, Harris, Day, and the whole crew make a few bucks. But really, I'm more concerned with getting to see more of the story. If the numbers worked out for all involved, the chances of that happening increase greatly.

Jeffrey McManus has made some educated guesses at just how the numbers shake out for those involved. The short version of McManus' analysis: At a million iTunes downloads he has the principle actors bringing in something in the neighborhood of $100,000 with Whedon coming in at around $4 million $2.6 million. I'm not sure how feasible one million iTunes downloads on iTunes is, but I do know that at the moment Dr. Horrible counts for 3 of the top 4 episodes and the top season on the U.S. lists. Add in the international markets and it's certainly not an outlandish goal.

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The Doctor is in...on iTunes, that is

by Richard Keller, posted Jul 23rd 2008 8:30AM

Doctor Who comes to iTunes in the U.S.

Back in February we reported on rumors that the BBC would be distributing some of its more popular shows, including Doctor Who, via iTunes in the U.S.. Well, they are rumors no more. To coincide with this week's appearance of the BBC at the San Diego Comic-Con, the BBC is releasing Doctor Who for purchase and download from the iTunes store.

Now, before you get all crazy and start searching for episodes of the show that featured Peter Davison as the fifth Doctor, the episodes that are being offered are from the new series only. And, you can't purchase and download shows from the current fourth series. However, you can download series one through three. This means you get both Christopher Eccleston as the gritty Doctor and David Tennant as the more exuberant Doctor.

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Watchmen - Motion Comic debuts

by Brett Love, posted Jul 20th 2008 7:13PM

Watchmen - Motion Comic
Our pals over at Cinematical are understandably excited about the upcoming Watchmen movie. There is a bit of fun in it for us over in TV land as well. As part of the Watchmen push, Warner Premiere's Motion Comics has launched Watchmen - Motion Comic.

As they put it in the press release - "Warner Premiere's Motion Comics draw on a massive amount of source material to bring a visually engaging experience to life through the use of subtle movements, voice-overs, sweeping music scores and stunning comic book artwork." If that doesn't make sense, think of it as a graphic novel treated to the Ken Burns effect, with bits of animation added in, and a voice over to top it all off. The first episode is available as a free download from iTunes, and well worth a look. So far it seems to be getting great reviews, with the exception of a number of complaints due to the choice of using a male voice for a female character.

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Things I Hate About TV: DVD release dates

by Brett Love, posted Jul 17th 2008 11:43AM

Chuck on DVDNo, it's not another lamentation about those overlooked shows that really do deserve a DVD set, but just can't seem to get them. I've grown accustomed to having Bob's weekly DVD release post arrive like a slap in the face as Beggars and Choosers is not on it, again. Instead, this is about those shows that do get their DVD set, but are late for no good reason at all. At least, not one that I can come up with.

I started thinking about it last week as I was talking with a friend and we were watching the Hellboy/Chuck promo. She commented that she really should start watching Chuck. In full agreement, I quickly pointed her to the Chuck page on Hulu. But wait, there are only three episodes available on Hulu. I guessed that it must be because they don't want streaming to cannibalize DVD sales. So I headed to Amazon. Chuck isn't out on DVD until September 16th. What the hell?

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Spike really wants you to give Factory a try - VIDEO

by Brett Love, posted Jun 17th 2008 11:02AM

Factory - SpikeWith our ever expanding channel lineups it is getting harder and harder for a new show, especially one tucked away on cable with no big name stars attached, to get noticed. Seeing a network release a show online before the premiere isn't new, but seeing one release a pilot on P2P networks with no DRM is a bit more original. And that is just what the folks over at Spike have done with their new show, Factory.

The network has made the show available on its website, at downloadable video stores like iTunes, and in working with the Jun group, on P2P networks. Although my first reaction at the mention of Limewire was surprise that people are still using Limewire, I do agree with their thinking behind the move. Todd Ames, marketing VP at Spike, said they went with the P2P as an acknowledgment of "what people are really doing, and the way consumers are really looking for content." He also notes that there are no plans to make any additional episodes available that way, but it's a step in the right direction that they are paying attention to the viewers.

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Did you know that Heroes is a top five show?

by Bob Sassone, posted May 21st 2008 2:22PM

ZuckerThat was one of the many insights that NBC head Jeff Zucker had on Charlie Rose last night.

Charlie wanted to know what the top five shows in the ratings were, and while Zucker mentioned shows like Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and House, he also included Heroes in that bunch. He named Heroes and four other shows and said "those are the top five." Now, I love Heroes as much as the next person, but I don't really remember it being in the top five that much (if at all). Top ten or twenty? Sometimes I guess, but not top five.

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Hulu now holding some episodes until 1 week after air date

by Brad Linder, posted May 19th 2008 12:01PM

Hulu

As I've mentioned a few times, I don't have cable or satellite. I have a computer with an HDTV tuner and a digital antenna sitting on top of our TV cabinet. I get crystal clear reception on every available network except for CBS and PBS, and I can pick those up with old fashioned bunny ears. And while I could supplement my free TV buy purchasing the cable-only shows I really want to see from iTunes or Amazon Unbox, Hulu has been saving me the trouble by providing new BattleStar Galactica episodes within a day or two of their original air date. So while most fans have been tuning into Sci Fi for their BSG fix on Friday nights, I've just fired up the old web browser on Saturday mornings.

And then this weekend things went horribly wrong. There was no new episode on Saturday morning. Or evening. Or Sunday. Today I checked out the Battlestar Galactica page on Hulu, and I found a note showing the air dates and "available on Hulu" dates. Apparently new episodes will not be made available online exactly one week after their original air date. Well, most episodes. If you look closely, you'll see that this past week's episode is scheduled to be online in about a thousand years. But I'm hoping that's just a typo because I'm not really sure I can wait that long.

Honestly, a one week delay isn't unreasonable. It makes sense that Sci Fi would want to encourage people to watch on television rather than their computers. I'm pretty sure they're still making more money from TV advertisements than web-based ads. And the latest episode is already available from Amazon Unbox for $1.99. So I either have to adjust my expectations and avoid spoilers for a week, or shell out some money. Seems fair enough.

Have you noticed any other programs getting a delayed Hulu release?

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HBO close to an iTunes deal

by Erin Martell, posted May 12th 2008 2:25PM
Larry DavidIn a few weeks you might be able to download your favorite HBO series from iTunes. Apple is in talks with the cable network to sell HBO movies and programs on the iTunes Store website. Different rumors are circulating about the deal, but it appears that HBO stands to profit more than other networks have from their iTunes arrangements.

One possible aspect of the deal is "flexible pricing" for HBO content. Single episodes could cost more than the standard $1.99. It's also possible that that price will remain the same, but that HBO will get a larger percentage of the per-episode profits.

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