Universal Music Group, the largest music company on earth, says it will no longer offer music videos for free or at nominal cost to television networks and Internet companies that offer VOD services. Universal, owned by Vivendi Universal, said companies must negotiate licensing deals for Universal's music videos or remove them from their on-demand services.
HBO's megahit "The Sopranos" is coming to ad-supported cable -- and fetching a record sum. A&E Network will pay $2.5 million apiece for about 78 episodes of the story about a New Jersey crime boss's family and his business problems. The deal is a windfall for Time Warner's HBO unit and could bring a younger audience to A&E.
Some of the biggest players on Wall Street are betting that the bidding war for Hollywood Entertainment isn't over. Ricky Sandler, founder of Eminence Capital LLC, and investor Carl Icahn have placed bets that video-rental giant Blockbuster eventually will win control of Hollywood Entertainment. And institutional investor Artisan Partners is hedging its bet that rival Movie Gallery can succeed in its attempt to merge with Hollywood Entertainment.
A TV spot by USAction, an advocacy group opposing a Bush administration effort to pass legislation designed to trim awards and limit standing in medical malpractice lawsuits, was rejected by all four networks because of internal standards. The group sought airtime before Bush's State of the Union address on Wednesday. CNN, which accepts advocacy advertisements, will run the spot.