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Archive for July 15th, 2009

Bad Reporting, Gizmodo Style

Hey, we call out the mainstreamers often enough, only fair to note when a bleeding edge Web outlet drops the ball. Gizmodo attempts to stick the content dons at Universal with the oopsie of disabling embedding of the 30 year old — gah! — Buggles classic “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

“Universal will keep protecting its property by slowly killing it, and their unembeddable video will continue to kill their radio stars. Maybe in 30 more years they’ll have figured out how to survive on the internet, but at that point there will probably be something else that’s come along that will take them a decade to figure out,” Giz-boy Adam Frucci snorts.

Except that Universal is evidently quite fine with embedding, provided you use the MTV portal. YouTube they don’t like, MTV they do. So plainly the problem is not with embedding, contrary to the Giz-spin, it must lie with the coinage/legal ink flowing from the host sites. Nothing confusing or self-defeating about that.

And you know what that means, don’t you?

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Forced Vacation Burndowns at Uptown Paper?

Other McClatchy outlets have instituted them in an attempt to reduce the liabilities the company carries year-to-year. Couple that with the rather gaping holes in some coverage of late and it makes me wonder if MNI Uptown is trying the same thing, resulting in a seriously pinched reporting staff.

Case in point, there was no July 1st new local laws round-up. The political beat here in the middle of filing season has been spotty at best. Entire campaign events have gone uncovered, straight up legit news that left veteran operatives baffled by the uniform disinterest. And there has been nothing that I’ve seen on this BofA backstop fee issue, a topic that has bloomed into a national story over the past couple days. Today’s A section carried exactly three local bylines — and one was previous blog entry and another a featurey new biz col.

Maybe things pick up next week. Or maybe this is the new baseline standard.

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Concord Mills a No-Opinion Zone

Fascinating window on corporate crap-speak via Concord Mills mall. The mall is essentially booting Free Market Warrior from its premises because it does not like the bumper-stickers and buttons it sells.

But the mall will not admit that. It has officially clammed up. I’ll bet dollars-to-donuts corporate has received some trumped up boycott threat that has them quaking in their loafers.

Maybe if conservatives played the same card things might even out.

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Will Waxhaw Get Wet?

hhWill Waxhaw town voters say yeah! to liquor-by-the-drink next fall? The town board voted last night to put the measure on the fall ballot, but it is a strict standard.

Licensees would have to get 50 percent of sales from non-booze, up from the state standard of 30 percent. Other municipalities looking to draw in your basic Applebee’s-Chili’s line of casual chains have gone this route with success as casual chains get less than 20 percent of sales from alcohol. But I really wonder if a locally-owned, funky watering hole/neighborhood pub could hit that 50/50 booze-food breakdown.

Interesting choice then for Waxhaw’s expatriate urbanites: Opt for some booze outlets, even they are likely to be of middle-brow, non-hip variety or chuck the lot in a spasm of anti-cookie cutter fervor.

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Now Playing: A 600% Tax Hike on Movie Tickets

It is already a big hit in Raleigh amongst the tax-and-spend crowd. Heard about it?

Jumping the North Carolina sales tax on movie tickets from 1% to 7% is all part of scraping together enough revenue to pay for $20b. worth of state spending this year and $21b. next year and so on. If you voted for Bev Perdue you had to understand that this was coming. Government never has enough money to do all the good it can do — for the children.

So what is another 50 cents or so in the grand scheme of things? Going to the movies already costs an arm and leg, what’s another bit of flesh?

Bonus Observation: When is the “tourism industry,” the CRVA and assorted hangers-on in all of this? Suddenly shy.

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Congress to Ken Lewis: Pay Up

David Mildenburg updates the saga of the yes-we-did-no-we-didn’t backstop agreement Bank of America had — or didn’t have — with the feds and the $4b. in fees the bank should — or should not — pay back to the Treasury.

The upshot, even if no written agreement on the $118b. in federal support was ever finalized, the bank surely gained from the markets being told such a backstop against Merrill Lynch losses was being constructed, therefore Lewis should pay something for that gain.

Me, I am waiting to hear where Republican Financial Services Committee members J. Gresham Barrett, Patrick Henry, and Walter Jones stand on this issue.

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The ACC Network?

Fantastic job of burying the lede by The Baltimore Sun in this interview with ACC commish John Swofford, who lets drop that the ACC is considering forming its own TV network similar to what the Big Ten has done. The proximate cause of this consideration is the hellalot of money the Southeastern Conference landed for its own TV rights.

Recall last year the SEC got $3b. from ESPN and CBS for a 15-year football and basketball deal. Swofford says the ACC is also looking to package both sports together in any new deal, and the package concept likewise lends itself to a league-branded network.

The problem for the ACC is that SEC football bigfoots anything the ACC has to offer in markets like Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Columbia and is at least a push in places like Orlando. ACC hoops is just not a TV draw outside of the Carolinas. Add limited TV pull for Boston College even in Boston let alone the rest of the Northeast and Swofford has a real problem on his hands. His time would be better spent trying to poach WVa and Rutgers from the Big East, killing it as a BCS conference, while strengthening the ACC’s presence in the mid-Atlantic region both in football attendance and TV eyeballs.

That’ll never happen, though. But the ACC could get backed into this ACC Network thing.

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