Friday, November 30, 2012

Zynga stock falls following new Facebook deal

CEO Mark Pincus at a Zynga event in June
An amended agreement with Facebook sent Zynga stock down on Friday. (Paul Sakuma)
Shares in troubled Zynga fell another 4% Friday after the Web gaming giant revealed new terms with Facebook that led to investor concern it would lose preferential treatment on the world's No. 1 social network.
Under the terms of an amended agreement between the two companies, disclosed by Zynga late Thursday, Facebook is no longer prohibited from making its own Web games, ending its role as the special partner. The gaming company is now covered by Facebook's "standard terms of service."
The amended agreement also allows Zynga for the first time to offer games on other websites, including its own. It is also no longer obligated to display Facebook ad units or use Facebook credits as in-game currency.
That could help bring new players to the company, which has experienced slowing growth in many of its games this year, and seen others flop completely.
But investors were skeptical, concerned that the terms of the new deal could do more harm than good. Zynga shares were down 4% at $2.52 on Friday afternoon.
Both companies issued statements in an apparent effort to mitigate Wall Street's concerns.
"Our amended agreement with Facebook continues our long and successful partnership while also allowing us the flexibility to ensure the universal availability of our products and services," Zynga chief revenue officer Barry Cottle said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"We're not in the business of building games and we have no plans to do so," added a Facebook spokesperson.
So far this year, Zynga stock is down 74%.

Dotcom's impact still felt, but MPAA take exception to findings

MPAA slams study finding Megaupload's closure hurt films' revenue

Kim Dotcom founded Megaupload.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has been charged by the U.S. Justice Department with copyright infringement. Above, Dotcom in custody in New Zealand in January. (David Rowland / EPA / January 20, 2012)
Hollywood's chief lobbying group is taking issue with some academic research suggesting that the shutdown of popular file-hosting website Megaupload has hurt some movies' box-office revenues.
Researchers at the Munich School of Management and the Copenhagen Business School recently posted a two-page summary concluding that the closing of Megaupload in January had a negative effect on box-office revenues of some movies, particular independent films that may benefit from the exposure to file-sharing sites.
"The information-spreading effect of illegal downloads seems to be especially important for movies with smaller audiences," the authors wrote in an abstract published on the Social Science Research Network. The findings were seized on by some bloggers and opponents of efforts to shut down websites offering illegal downloads of movies and TV shows.
But Julia Jenks, head of research at the Motion Picture Assn. of America, said the findings were "flimsy" and relied on a questionable methodology, including comparing the performance of movies before and after Megaupload was closed. Among other things, Jenks said, the report failed to account for various factors that affect box-office performance, including audience taste.
"It is impossible to evaluate the validity of the approach or the reliability of the conclusions based on the abstract, which does not fully present the methodology or results of the study," Jenks wrote. "In fact, in its present form, this abstract raises more questions than answers."
The U.S. Department of Justice shut down New Zealand-based Megaupload in January and charged its founder, German Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, with copyright infringement. Dotcom, born Kim Schmitz, has denied wrongdoing and is fighting attempts to extradite him to the United States.
Video project enables indie filmmakers to tell L.A. stories

Dr. Lynch

It is official, I am now 
Dr. Art Lynch, PhD in Education.

I have the approval of the dean, the committee and the handshake from the chair.

Paperwork may take a while.

Wanted you to know.

-Art Lynch

"Go On" SAG Foundations Conversations Sunday

Screen Actors Guild Foundation
Screening followed by a Q&A with Matthew Perry, Laura Benanti, John Cho, Julie White, Suzy Nakamura, Brett Gelman, Tyler James Williams, Sarah Baker, Seth Morris, Tonita Castro, Bill Cobbs, Allison Miller
Sunday, December 2nd

SAG Foundation Actors Center
5757 Wilshire Blvd, Mezzanine
Los Angeles

Matthew Perry ("Friends," "Mr. Sunshine") stars as Ryan King, a recent widower and sports talk radio host ready to get back to work after the loss of his wife. Ryan's alpha-male boss, Steven (John Cho, "Star Trek," "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle"), has a different plan in store for Ryan, making him attend grief counseling before returning to the air.
A reluctant Ryan finds himself in a support group for "life change" where he meets an oddball cast of characters, all with their own backstories filled with varying degrees of loss. Ryan's total lack of interest in "the healing process" proves distracting, and he soon butts heads with the by-the-books group leader. Back at work, Ryan is confronted with the fact that he hasn't really processed his grief and realizes Lauren and the other members of the group might be key in helping him move on.
Conversations with  EMILY MORTIMER
The Newsroom, Hugo, Shutter Island, Lars and the Real Girl
Saturday, December 1st

SAG Foundation Actors Center, 5757 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
Seats are not guaranteed. We encourage you to arrive early.
Late arrivals will not be admitted. Please read event rules carefully.
You must present your current SAG-AFTRA card - 10/31/12 card is fine.


Improv at Nevada SAG Conservatory Saturday

SAG-AFTRA Nevada Conservatory
Get Reinvigorated Through Improv
Liz Allen
Feeling uninspired lately in your performance life? Are you getting gigs, but not enjoying them as much as you'd like? If you're looking for something to put some zing back into your craft, then it's time to improvise. There's nothing to be apprehensive about - this isn't competitive, fast-paced, TV-improv...this is old-fashioned, meaningful improv designed to remind actors/musicians/artists about the thrill of emotional free-fall and the true joy of making discoveries in a creative setting. Never improvised? Doesn't matter. Improvised a ton? Great - you'll be challenged. Liz believes improv is a fantastic tool for reinvigorating any artist - you'll get your juices flowing and have a lot of fun in this workshop.

When: 1 - 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012
12:45 p.m. Check-in

Where: Mirabelli Community Center
6200 Hargrove Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89107
Parking: Free parking is available on site

Cost: Free for Nevada Conservatory members or $20 per workshop.

Nevada Conservatory Cost: $40/year for union members. $80/year for non-union members. You will need your SAG-AFTRA card to join as a member and please remember to bring your headshots and resumes.

Check the Nevada Local hotline for updates or SAG-AFTRA members should contact Local Executive Director Steve Clinton by email at if you have any questions.

Hotline: (702) 737-8818

RSVP: No RSVP necessary but please check the local hotline at (702) 737-8818 or (800) 724-0767, option 7 for any last minute changes to the Conservatory program.

This seminar is for informational purposes and does not constitute SAG-AFTRA’s endorsement of any particular product, service, or provider. 

Net Neutrality...who controls the Internet? Soft start likely for 'Killing Them Softly'; Zucker's CNN challenge. How much are you willing to pay?

Killing Them Softly
A soft start is expected for "Killing Them Softly." (The Weinstein Co. )

Daily Dose: Although Federal Communications Commission rules prohibit a company from running more than two TV stations in an individual market, Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group

Jeff Zucker, a onetime wunderkind news producer who later stumbled as chief executive of NBCUniversal, will be president of CNN's worldwide operations. (Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images / May 17, 2010)
Songwriter-producer Jimmy Jam
Songwriter-producer Jimmy Jam testified on Capitol Hill in opposition to passage of the Internet Radio Fairness Act(Kris Connor / WireImage for NARAS)

Net Neutrality? Internet Radio Fairness Act debate opens in Washington. The jockeying has begun on Capitol Hill over congressional legislation known as the Internet Radio Fairness Act, or IRFA (HR 6480 and S3609), with many musicians, record companies and performing rights organizations lining up in opposition to the bills that are supported by Internet radio operators and other big tech companies such as Google.
Wednesday’s first day of hearings included testimony from producer-songwriter Jimmy Jam, SoundExchange president Michael Huppe, Hubbard Radio President and CEO Bruce Reese, Venrock investment partner (and former eMusic chief) David Pakman, economist Jeffrey Eisenach, andPandora Radio CEO Joseph Kennedy.
Pakman and Kennedy have lobbied for passage of IRFA, which is sponsored in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). It would reduce the royalties that Internet radio operators pay to owners of the sound recordings that are the foundation of their businesses because they claim the fees they are required to pay by the Copyright Royalty Board make their business models unprofitable.
Jam, Huppe and others testified that musicians are already getting the short end of the stick from Internet, satellite and broadcast radio (with the latter paying no royalties for the music they broadcast) and reducing royalty rates, in effect, would add injury to insult.
To continue reading in the LA Times click on More.

Jeff Zucker named president of CNN
Tough job. Former NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker's new job as president of CNNWorldwide will be no easy gig. While CNN is very profitable and has a huge global presence, here at home it has struggled against Fox News and MSNBC. If Zucker can improve CNN he'll also return some luster to his reputation as a media executive, which has taken a beating over the past several years. News and analysis from the Los Angeles TimesNew York TimesUSA TodayHollywood Reporter and New Republic (yes, the New Republic!).

Leslie Moonves, the president and chief executive officer of CBS, tells WSJ's Simon Constable 
how he turned the network around and why "wireless is useless if you're hitless."

He's in charge. You wouldn't think the chief executive of a major media company would get involved with the casting of supporting roles on a cable drama. Most wouldn't but CBS CEO Leslie Moonves does. The successful run Moonves has had at CBS is due in large part to his attention to details and his love for what actually goes on the screen. The Wall Street Journal takes a long look at Moonves' career and what's ahead.

Black out. Satellite broadcaster DirecTV is at odds with Gannett Broadcasting over a new distribution contract. Gannett owns more than 20 stations in major markets around the country. If the stations are dropped, there will be a lot of angry football fans. More on the latest retransmission consent fight from Broadcasting & Cable.

How much are you willing to pay? Are cable and satellite pricing themselves out the market? The cost of sports, adding Hispanic programming, first run programming, specialty networks, distribution and new gadgets (technology) are growing rapidly. How much are consumers going to continue to pay for more than they actually use or care about.
Sports rights drive programming costs
While subscriber growth is slowing for cable television companies, the cost of content continues to rise.
According to a new report from Nomura Equity Research analysts, the money that distributors such as Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable shell out for programming rose 8.2% in 2011 and is likely to jump 8% in each of the next two years.
Although the typical cable household gets more than 100 channels these days, most of those channels are owned by a handful of companies including News Corp., Time Warner Inc., Comcast, Discovery Communications, Viacom and Walt Disney Co. Overall, cable and satellite companies coughed up $33.5 billion to content providers in 2011.
Walt Disney Co., parent of ESPN and Disney Channel, two of the most expensive cable channels, accounted for almost 25% of that $33.5 billion, according to the report. ESPN, of course, spends very large sums on sports rights, including the National Football League. 
Time Warner, parent of TNT, TBS, CNN and HBO, received 21% of the overall spending. Comcast, which owns USA, MSNBC and Bravo, accounted for 16%. News Corp., whose holdings include Fox News and FX, had a 14% slice of the pie. Combined, those four companies account for 75% of cable programming costs.
Cable programming isn't the only cost that is increasing. Broadcasters such as CBS, News Corp.'s Fox Broadcasting, Comcast's NBC and Disney's ABC are now getting fees from cable and satellite operators as well. Nomura said that in 2011, the big four broadcast networks took in almost $400 million in so-called retransmission consent fees, more than twice what they made in 2010. In 2012, the figure is expected to double again to $750 million. Nomura said Fox and CBS are the most aggressive among broadcasters.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "Killing Them Softly."
Follow me on Twitter: I don't tweet "flash," I just tell you what you need to know. @JBFlint.

Madrigal Dinner

Playing this weekend, Theatre in Las Vegas


NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 2, 2012 ...

by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
directed by Gus
produced by Olde English Productions
currently running through December 1
Onyx Theatre – 953 East Sahara Avenue #16, 89104

November 30-December 2
Troesh Studio Theater – Smith Center

by Edward Padilla
Saturday, December 1, at 7:30p
Center for Spiritual Living - 1420 East Harmon Avenue
Proceeds will benefit ActionRED, Golden Rainbow, and AFAN.

by Tom Stoppard
directed by Christopher V Edwards
produced by Nevada Conservatory Theatre
November 30-December 9
Judy Bayley Theatre – UNLV


Helen McCready Workshop

Call for more information

 Helen McCready Casting Director Workshop.

December Monday, December 3rd.
Tuesday, December 4th.

6pm-10pm both days.

Casting Call Entertainment
2790 E Flamingo Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89121

Only $49.00 

Limited Seating Available.

Click here to purchase

NOTE: Casting Director Workshops are not auditions. They are informational seminars. California law requires consumers are told that no casting occurs and that seeing a casting director at a paid workshop is not how talent is casts. Nevada has no such disclaimer. Lobby your legislature for stronger industry regulations.  -Art Lynch



Saturday Workshop

  • This location is shown only to members
  • Price: $10.00/per person
  • This weeks workshop is on
    We will discuss and practice the various ways that Physical Action
    adds the a variety of character portrayals. This is a open 10X class so
    bring a notebook and pen and be prepared to get plenty of fun camera time.

PGA Announces Documentary Film Nominees

The guild's awards winner 

will be announced Jan. 26.
Searching For Sugarman - Trailer Thumbnails - H 2012
"Searching For Sugarman"
The Producers Guild of America has nominated five films, ranging from Aaron Yeger's A People Uncounted to Malik Bendjelloul's Searching for Sugar Man, for its Documentary Motion Picture Award. The nominees also include Dror Moreh's The GatekeepersJonShenk's The Island President and Marius A. MarkeviciusThe Other Dream Team.
The nominees tackle a range of social issues and feature a number of striking personalities.
A People Uncounted looks at the history of the Roma people of Central and Eastern Europe, also known as gypsies, who faced annihilation under the Nazis, while The Other Dream Team, which is being distributed by Lionsgate and Film Arcade, tells the story of the 1992 Lithuanian basketball team.
Samuel Goldwyn Films' The Island President profiles Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives, and his efforts to save his island nation from the surrounding seas.
Sony Pictures Classics has two films among the nominees: The Gatekeepers, which offers interviews with six former heads of Israel's domestic secret service agency, the Shin Bet, andSearching for Sugar Man, which tells the story of the '70s singer/songwriter Rodriguez, who became a huge star in South Africa even while remaining an unknown in his hometown of Detroit.
The nominations in all the other categories at the PGA Awards will be announced Jan. 2. The awards themselves, at which special honors will be presented to Bob and Harvey WeinsteinJ.J. Abrams, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and Russell Simmons, will be held Jan. 26 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Las Vegas Latino Film Festival at Boulevard Mall Saturday

China to be world's largest movie market by 2020, study predicts

Iron Man
"Iron Man 3" was announced this year as a U.S.-Chinese co-production. (Marvel Entertainment)

Media and entertainment companies doing business in Chinacan expect double-digit growth in the world’s most populous nation but must be prepared to overcome a number of regulatory and piracy issues, according to a report released Wednesday.
The “Spotlight on China” study, prepared by Ernst & Young, was released to coincide with the accounting firm’s media and entertainment conference in Shanghai.
The report estimates that China's media and entertainment industry will grow at a 17% annual rate between 2010 and 2015, significantly faster than the country's economy overall.
Part of that surge is driven by theatrical box office revenues. China recently surpassed Japan as the world’s No. 2 movie market and Ernst & Young says China will move past the United States to claim the top spot by 2020.
With all of the growth, though, come any number of obstacles. Chinese consumers have "constantly shifting" tastes and "have traditionally paid little or nothing for traditional content and have easy access to pirated digital content," the report says.
Even with Chinese authorities trying to rein in piracy, media and entertainment companies will “struggle to get fair value for their products and services,” the report says. And, as has been the case with Chinese quotas on imports of American movies, government restrictions “limit or close certain sectors from either domestic or foreign private participation.”
“The challenges for media and entertainment companies to penetrate China are still considerable, however the vast potential of the market makes it impossible to ignore,” Ernst & Young’s John Nendick said in a statement accompanying the report. “Companies will need to understand that investing in China is a long-term proposition, and those who can make that commitment will be in a much better position to succeed.”
The report was particularly bullish on China’s middle class and overall spending on media and entertainment. In 2010, the report said, Chinese spending on entertainment and recreation was $350 billion, which jumped to $547 billion last year.
That spending was largely driven by the middle class, which numbered 247 million people in 2011, or 18% of the population. The study said experts predict the Chinese middle class will grow to more than 600 million by 2020.
Media and entertainment companies, the report concluded, “need to understand and anticipate both the complexity and the enormous possibilities. Companies with the agility, adaptability and patience to make a long-term commitment to the market will be best-positioned to succeed.”

New 'Call of Duty' appears to be selling less than predecessor

A scene from 'Call of Duty: Black Ops II"
Indications are that "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" is selling fewer copies than previous "Call of Duty" games. (ActivisionNovember 30, 2012)

It's beginning to look like not as many gamers are answering the "Call of Duty" this year.

Though publisher Activision Blizzard has revealed very little sales data for the latest installment of the most successful franchise in the console video game business, mounting evidence indicates that this year's "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" is selling fewer copies than last year's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3."
On Nov. 16, Activision reported that "Black Ops II" grossed more than $500 million worldwide on its first day. For the past three years, however, Activision has reported day one sales information only in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, making this year's data difficult to compare to past years.
In addition, over the past three years Activision has reported worldwide sales data for its "Call of Duty" games over the first five days. This year it did not.
At the Credit Suisse Technology Conference on Tuesday, Strauss Zelnick, chief executive of Activision competitor Take-Two Interactive, told a group of investors and analysts, "The most recent ['Call of Duty'] title has not performed as well as last year's title, as I understand it."
And in a reprt released Thursday, Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia estimated that sales for "Black Ops II" will ultimately sell 10% to 15% less than "Modern Warfare 3" based on current trends.
"Modern Warfare 3" initially sold more than the prior year's "Call of Duty" sequel "Black Ops," but ended up selling less, according to analysts.
The apparent slowdown in sales for the blockbuster military shooter franchise is surely troubling for Activision and its shareholders. The slippage comes as Activision has also seen declines in the number of subscribers to its "World of Warcraft" online game, though combination game/toy franchise "Skylanders" has been a growing success for the company.
Bhatia downgraded Activision stock from "buy" to "neutral," noting that "weakness in this franchise ['Call of Duty'] is cause for concern."
An Activision spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.