Amazon on Top in Harris Reputation Poll

Amazon took the top spot in the 2018 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient Rankings.

Disney ranked high at No. 5, and Netflix, at No. 21, beat out fellow tech giants Google and Apple, ranked Nos. 28 and 29, respectively.

Among mass merchant/consumer electronics retailers, Costco (No. 17) topped Best Buy (No. 46), Target (No. 49) and Walmart (No. 69).

According to Harris, the Reputation Quotient is “technically designed to understand how a company is perceived in modern culture.” The measure takes the top most visible companies (for good or bad reasons) and evaluates them across six dimensions of corporate reputation attributes to arrive at a corporate reputation ranking. If a company is not on the list, it does not necessarily suggest that they have either good or bad reputation, but rather they didn’t reach a critical level of visibility to be measured.

The Weinstein Co., which has been embroiled in executive Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assault scandal, and Takata, with its infamously defective airbags, came in last on the list at Nos. 99 and 100, respectively.

Facebook Snags Rights to 25 MLB Afternoon Games

In a first, Major League Baseball has signed a deal with Facebook enabling the social media behemoth (1.4 billion active daily users) to exclusively stream one afternoon MLB Network game per week. The deal reportedly is worth upwards of $35 million.

The deal, which primarily involves Wednesday games, starts April 4 with the Philadelphia Phillies taking on the New York Mets. Facebook reportedly will include graphics and links during games to enhance the social media appeal among younger viewers.

Last May, MLB and Facebook partnered to stream select Friday night games – the league’s first regular-season live streams on a third-party platform beyond and Facebook previously streamed Spring Training games in 2011.

Unlike Netflix, which thus far is shunning live sports programing, Facebook, YouTube and Amazon have become active platforms/bidders for National Football League, UEFA Champions League soccer and NCAA basketball live contests.

“Much like the migration of sports from broadcast to cable, you’re reaching these milestones where the combination of the financial incentive and the audience allow you to make the next great leap,” industry consultant Lee Berke told “This is part of the next great leap.”

‘Carol Burnett Show’ Lost Episodes to Be Released Digitally for the First Time

Time Life will release The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes, Volumes 1-3 on both iTunes and Amazon March 9.

The three “Best of” compilations have never before available on any digital platform and feature rarely-seen episodes from the first five years of the series.

The compilations will be specially priced the first week of release at $9.99, with individual episodes available at $1.99 each. Following that, the compilations will be available at $14.99.

From 1967 to 1978, “The Carol Burnett Show” aired on CBS with a blend of comedy, song and dance. Burnett and her cast of comic actors — Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and later Tim Conway and Dick Van Dyke — entertained millions each week, joined by some of the biggest stars in the business. Ad-libs and the occasional flubbed line brought a spontaneity to the screen that was absent from most other variety shows. The Emmy Award-winning show survived the changing tastes of TV audiences to run 11 seasons and become one of the most iconic TV variety shows in history.

Volume 1 includes such classic sketches as “Carol and Sis,” “The Charwoman,” and “As the Stomach Turns”; among the guest stars featured are Lucille Ball, Eddie Albert, Chita Rivera, Bob Newhart, Jim Nabors, Paul Lynde, Bing Crosby, Don Adams, Phyllis Diller, Andy Griffith, Bernadette Peters and Cass Elliot.

Volume 2 features a “Salute to Warner Brothers” with Mel Tormé and Soupy Sales, Carol’s impersonation of Joan Crawford and the classic sketch, “The Ham Actors.” Showbiz icons and performers appearing include Jonathan Winters, Dionne Warwick, Joan Rivers, Sonny & Cher, Nanette Fabray, Shirley Jones, Ken Berry and a special cameo by Ronald Reagan.

Volume 3 includes more “Charwoman”; Harvey, Carol, Lyle and Lucille Ball lampooning modern morality in their version of the hit movie Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice; and Tim Conway’s “Oldest Man” masterminding a jewelry heist. Guest stars featured in this volume include Ray Charles, George Carlin, Mike Douglas, Martha Raye, Lana Turner and Ricardo Montalban.

Time Life has also released The Best of the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Volumes 1-3 on iTunes, and plans more digital releases for 2018.

Apple, Disney and YouTube Top Millennial Brands in New Report

Apple, Disney and YouTube, respectively, ranked as the top three most “intimate” brands among millennials, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2018 Report, which is the largest study of brands based on emotions. Brand intimacy leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand.

“We were surprised and pleased to see YouTube as an addition to the top three most intimate brands for millennials this year,” stated Mario Natarelli, managing partner, MBLM. “We believe its rise is due to our culture’s continued need for escape and the brand’s immediate, diverse content, personalities and growing offerings in movies and live TV. YouTube is clearly an established ritual in the lives of many millennials today.”

By comparison, in MBLM’s 2017 report, Disney placed first, followed by Amazon and Netflix.

The other brands that rounded out the top 10 were Target, Amazon, Nintendo, Google, Xbox, Netflix and Whole Foods.

The age group of 18-24-year-olds had a slightly different mix of top companies. The top 10 for that group were Apple, Amazon, YouTube, PlayStation, Starbucks, Nintendo, Google, Netflix, Coca Cola and Walmart.

The report analyzed the responses of 6,000 consumers and 54,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries in the United States, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. The full report will be released on March 13, 2018.

Amazon Studios Inks Deal With Oscar-Winning Filmmaker

Amazon Studios has closed an exclusive first-look deal with Oscar-winning filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan, who won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and a nomination for Best Director for Manchester by the Sea, distributed by Amazon.

The two-year deal for directing and writing will cover both film and television projects.

“I’m thrilled to renew my connection to Amazon Studios,” said Lonergan in a statement. “They’ve done amazing work wherever they’ve turned their attention. They did a perfect job with Manchester by the Sea, and it’s a pleasure to be in business with them again.”

“Kenny is one of the finest directors and storytellers of our time,” said Jason Ropell, VP of worldwide motion pictures, Amazon Studios, in a statement. “Following our successful and memorable partnership on Manchester by the Sea, we are excited to further our relationship and continue supporting his visionary work.”

Lonergan’s upcoming projects include Howards End, a four-part limited series starring Hayley Atwell, and the play “Lobby Hero” starring Chris Evans, Michael Cera, Bel Powley  and Brian Tyree Henry, set to premiere on Broadway in March.

Manchester by the Sea is available now for streaming and download on Prime Video.

Ex-FCC Chairman Powell Comes Out Swinging Against Net Neutrality, Tech Giants

Former FCC chairman Michael Powell calls the net neutrality debate old news, contending the real battle lies with the burgeoning power of tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook.

Speaking March 6 at the Cable Congress in Dublin, Powell – now CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association trade group, whose members include Comcast, AT&T, Charter, Cox and CenturyLink – characterized net neutrality as yesterday’s news, while calling for greater oversight on the “fairy tale stories” spun by tech companies that “do no evil.”

“Net neutrality has become like mindless trench warfare,” he said, adding that current Title II regulation of the Internet is antiquated and “designed for a slow-moving telecom monopoly in the 1930s.”

The FCC, under new chairman Ajit Pai, in December voted to repeal net neutrality guidelines approved in 2015 mandating open access to the Internet.

Powell advocates lawmakers in the United States not fight “the last war” and instead focus on the next one involving companies whose $2.8 trillion market capitalization he claims rivals the GDP of France.

“They are the market,” he said, as reported by The Economist.

Powell, a free market advocate, who was nominated to the FCC by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, contends government regulation should apply to social media platforms that “massively increase our subjugation to algorithms,” and, he believes, increasingly ignore privacy, social relationship and mental health concerns.

He says unregulated social media and Internet has resulted in global cyber security concerns, proliferation of fake news, sex trafficking and polarization of society, among other issues.

“Fragmentation is dangerous in a democracy,” Powell said. “This demands a government response.”


Barnes & Noble Narrows Q3 Loss

In an age of ecommerce, Amazon and free shipping, Barnes & Noble is putting on a brave face despite fiscal appearances of a “dead retail chain walking.”

The chain reported a third-quarter (ended Jan. 27) loss of $63.5 million, which was an improvement from a loss of $70.2 million during the previous-year period. Revenue declined 5.3% to $1.2 billion from $1.3 billion.

Specifically, retail sales topped $1.2 billion, down from $1.27 last year. Nook segment revenue, which includes digital, consumer electronics, dropped almost 20% to $30.9 million from $38.4 million.

The declines underscored a same-store decrease of 5.8% primarily due to lower foot traffic. Alarming, considering the period included the winter holidays when even non-readers frequent bookstores – and merchandise includes DVD/Blu-ray Disc movies and TV shows.

“While we were disappointed with our holiday sales, comparable store sales trends did improve in January,” CEO Demos Parneros said in a statement.

Perneros is Barnes & Noble’s fourth CEO since 2013, upgrading from the COO position last April after former CEO Ronald Boire was fired.

The executive is saying all the right things, including strengthening the core business by “enhancing the customer value proposition,” improving profitability through an “aggressive expense management,” which he says will fund growth initiatives, simplify the retail experience and innovate for the future.

“We have initiated a strategic turnaround plan that is centered on growing the business and enhancing shareholder value,” Perneros said. “In the short term we are focused on stabilizing sales, improving productivity and reducing expenses.”

In February, the chain implemented a companywide expense reduction plan, including a new store labor model that provides greater flexibility by eliminating tasks and allowing employees to focus more on customers. It estimates these actions will result in annual cost savings of about $40 million.

But short of becoming Amazon, which launched as an online bookseller during the dotcom era, B&N is treading water.

Indeed, purchasing Oscar-nominee DVD, Darkest Hour, at B& costs $25.17 — and $17.96 on Amazon.

Amazon’s Live-Streaming Academy Awards Companion Show

Amazon-owned website Internet Movie Database Feb. 28 announced it will for the second year offer a live streaming companion show to the 90th Annual Academy Awards, dubbed “IMDb Live Viewing Party.”

The live 4:30 pm (Pacific) event March 4 at the former CBS Radio Studio in Los Angeles will be available on, the IMDb mobile app, Twitter and Twitch.

The event will feature conversations with celebrity guests, past nominees, experts and industry insiders, along with IMDb data and information.

In addition to “The IMDb Show” co-hosts Tim Kash and Kerri Doherty, celebrities slated to appear include Aisha Tyler (“Criminal Minds,” “Archer”), Anne Heche (“The Brave”), Lea Thompson (“Switched At Birth”), past winner Tatum O’Neal (Paper Moon), two-time nominee Peter Fonda (Easy Rider), longtime Academy head writer Bruce Vilanch, IMDb’s founder and CEO Col Needham, Clifton Collins Jr. (“Westworld”), Tamara Taylor (“Altered Carbon”), and Boots Riley (“Sorry To Bother You”), among others.

“Our goal is to produce a multi-hour, live Academy Awards companion show that is worthy of Hollywood’s biggest night,” Needham said in a statement.

“Twitter is the place to see and join the real-time Oscars conversation,” added Kay Madati, global head of content partnerships. “We’re excited to collaborate with IMDb to bring fans this behind-the-scenes broadcast alongside the real-time commentary from experts and fans during one of Hollywood’s biggest nights.”

The Oscars will be broadcast on ABC at 5 pm (Pacific), and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

Gun Safety Activists Urge Tech Companies to Drop NRA TV Streaming Service

In the wake of the Florida high-school shooting that left 14 students and three teachers dead, gun safety activists are asking tech companies to stop streaming NRA TV, an ad-supported service of the National Rifle Association.

Launched in 2016, NRA TV features original programming supporting gun rights and other issues, in addition to covering conservative events such as C-PAC.

“Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense” and “Everytown for Gun Safety” are calling on companies such as Amazon, YouTube, Roku and Apple to stop carrying the NRA TV app, claiming the platform “promotes dangerous conspiracy theories, racially charged rhetoric and violent demonization of the NRA’s political opponents,” among other issues.

“Everytown,” which is fighting to close existing loopholes in gun purchase background checks and curbing the illegal trafficking of firearms, is helping spread hashtag #DumpNRATV.

The groups are also asking pay-TV operators such as DirecTV Now to cancel programming produced by the NRA.

“American businesses have the responsibility to make ethical decisions about the content they will provide on their platforms,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement.

Watts, a mother of five children, founded “Moms Demand Action” following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012 that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Roku spokesperson Tricia Mifsud took the high ground, saying the over-the-top video pioneer merely acts as a conduit to programming users voluntarily choose to stream.

“We operate an open-streaming platform; however, our content policies prohibit the publication of content that is unlawful, incites illegal activities or violates third-party rights,” Mifsud said in a statement to


Amazon Acquires Rights to Produce Space Opera TV Series From Writer Iain Banks

Amazon Studios has acquired the global television rights to the first novel from the space opera “Culture” series by Scottish writer Iain M. Banks.

Consider Phlebas features Banks’ fictional interstellar utopian society the Culture, in which a highly advanced and progressive society ends up at war with the Idirans, a deeply religious, warlike race intent on dominating the entire galaxy. The story centers on Horza, a rogue agent tasked by the Idirans with the impossible mission of recovering a missing Culture “Mind,” an artificial intelligence many thousands of times smarter than any human — something that could hold the key to wiping out the Culture altogether.

The series will be adapted by Dennis Kelly with Plan B Entertainment slated to produce and the estate of Iain Banks attached as executive producer.

“The story of the Culture is so rich and captivating that for years Hollywood has been trying to bring this utopian society to life on the screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, head of scripted series at Amazon Studios, in a statement. “We are honored that we have been chosen, along with Dennis Kelly and Plan B Entertainment, to make Consider Phlebas into a television series we think will be loved by fans for years to come.”

“Iain Banks has long been a hero of mine, and his innate warmth, humor and humanism shines through these novels,” Kelly said in a statement. “Far from being the dystopian nightmares that we are used to, Banks creates a kind of flawed paradise, a society truly worth fighting for — rather than a warning from the future, his books are a beckoning.”

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