Monday, December 28, 2009
When it comes to media, Los Angeles is the ultimate company town. LA writers who follow and report on the media, have a unique perspective on trends and what we should expect. The LA Times’ Joe Flint is no exception.
In 2010, we ahould expect another turbulent year.
Newspapers: Nearly 150 newspapers in 2009, including the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and even the Christian Science Monitor stopped print editions. Some, including the latter two, live on in Internet-only distribution. It’s probably safe to say 2010 will be even more brutal. At this time next year, odds are most of you will read our 2011 predictions on a computer, smart phone, e-reader or tablet. How we’ll get you to pay for it is another question.
Movie Studios: The financially ailing Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) will be sold. Even relatively successful movie companies like Lions Gate Entertainment and Summit Entertainment could be next. And, after years of old-media giants eyeballing video game publishers, 2010 might be the year they snap up a few.
Jay Leno: He will be gone from prime time. Averaging fewer than 6 million viewers a night, his 10PM show is doing poorly — so poorly that it’s spilling over and pummeling the still-important 11PM newscasts of many local NBC affiliates. As a face saver, NBC will cite future owner Comcast’s “commitment to quality programming” in declaring its return to one-hour drama shows in the hour. Less obvious is what Leno or NBC will do next. Conan O’Brien has yet to show that he can fill Leno’s seat. But bumping O’Brien off to bring Leno back to late night would cost NBC $40 million in penalties. That might actually be a small price to pay in the long run; otherwise, don’t be surprised if Jay bolts to ABC.
Hulu will start charging viewers: Hulu, the free video site owned by News Corp., NBC Universal and Disney, will require people to pay to watch its content. This will cause a rift internally as Hulu CEO Jason Kilar resists switching to a pay model, and leading to his exit. But will viewers agree to pay to watch Hulu’s content? Most cable TV providers offer a cheapo or even DVR for viewers to record programs they missed. So will viewers embrace a fee service from Hulu? By 2011, Hulu could be gone forever.