BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY NEWS: XM Satellite Radio Reaches 2.5 Million Subscribers (more news)

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — XM Satellite Radio finished the third quarter 2004 with more than 2,500,000 subscribers. XM added more than 415,000 net new subscribers in the quarter and is on pace to exceed 3,100,000 subscribers by year's end. The XM subscriber gain during the quarter is 75% higher than the 237,000 net new subscribers added in the third quarter of 2003.

"We continue to be pleased with the cost-efficient growth of our subscriber base and the continuing strong demand for XM's products and programming in both the new car and aftermarket channels," said Hugh Panero, President and CEO of XM Satellite Radio. "Aftermarket sales during the third quarter would have been higher, but for a temporary reduction in Delphi XM Roady2 receiver production during a four-week period in the quarter while a low-yield component was being replaced. Roady2 production returned to normal capacity in late August."

"The second half of the year is shaping up very well, with third quarter subscriber gain reflecting consistent progress towards exceeding our 2004 year-end guidance of 3.1 million subscribers," added Panero. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

AT&T Wireless Lets Cell Phone Users Buy Songs For Download


LOS ANGELES (AP) — In the first foray by a U.S. wireless carrier into the online music market, AT&T Wireless is launching a service that lets subscribers buy songs using their cell phones and later download them to a computer.

Until now, mobile music sales have centered on ring tones, the song snippets used to customize ringer and other sounds on mobile phones.

Launched Tuesday, mMode Music Store, will offer roughly 750,000 tracks priced at 99 cents each. Full albums will start at $9.99.

To buy songs, an AT&T Wireless customer would use their phone's browser screen to search for tracks and, on some phones, listen to 30-second song samples. The mMode store also will sell ring tones.

Purchases would be billed to users' monthly wireless phone bill, with customers downloading songs over the Internet from a Web site in the Windows Media Player format. The files and could then be burned onto CDs or transferred to portable digital players.

"From our view, it really turns the mobile phone into kind of a remote control for buying music," said Sam Hall, AT&T Wireless' vice president of mMode Services in Redmond, Wash. "Our intent is to have the mobile phone become the discovery platform."

The skeleton of the music store was developed by Loud- eye Corp., which manages and distributes digital music and video.

AT&T Wireless is marrying the service with its Music ID feature, which can recognize songs played into a phone's speaker and send text messages to users with information on the track.

Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store remains the market leader in individual downloads. But AT&T Wireless' concept has potential to grow as increasingly powerful phones capable of storing large song files enter the market.

Tickets.com Gets Palace Theater Contract

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Tickets.com has signed a multi-year, comprehensive ticketing agreement with the historic Palace Theater, a 2,640 seat performing arts venue in Waterbury, CT, which will reopen for its first performance on November 12 after sitting dark for 18 years.

The new alliance provides the Palace with Tickets.com's signature Private Label web site technology, and the ProVenueMax product, which delivers a sophisticated fundraising, development and patron management system. Palace Theater attendees can now purchase tickets online at www.palacetheaterct.org, through Tickets.com at www.tickets.com, or by visiting or calling the Palace Theater box office at 203-755-4700.

"Tickets.com empowers us to reach a large audience seamlessly from our own web site, which is a great advantage," said Frank Tavera, executive director, Palace Theater. "The ability to buy single tickets, subscriptions and gift certificates, as well as the option of making donations online, makes Tickets.com an invaluable partner for the Palace."

"The Palace Theater is a notable addition to our expanding roster of performing arts clients. We look forward to maximizing the benefits to the venue and their patrons," stated Carl Thomas, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Tickets.com.

Through Tickets.com's fully-integrated ProVenue software, all patron information is compiled into individually recognizable accounts. The Palace Theater can then access membership and donation history, including guests' personal likes and dislikes from these accounts. Additionally, the Palace Theater's ability to view detailed patron information will support the development of more targeted marketing and membership promotions. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Sidney Kimmel Entertainment Expands To Beverly Hills

BEVERLY HILLS, CA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Veteran producer Sidney Kimmel (9 1/2 Weeks, Clan of the Cave Bear, The Emperor's Club) has formed Sidney Kimmel Entertainment in Beverly Hills, expanding his New York operations. Concurrent with its expansion, the company has hired key personnel and is committed to financing up to 10 independent, theatrically released features per year with mid-range budgets.

The company's West Coast office, which opened on October 1, office will be headed by Kimmel, chairman and CEO, vice chairman Alan Salke and chief operating officer Marina Grasic. Scott Nicolaides will oversee all aspects of physical production as senior vice president, Production. Andrew Karsch heads the company's New York team, with Rachel Horovitz, managing East Coast development activity.

"My decision to expand my operations to L.A. [Beverly Hills] have to do with my desire to be intimately involved in the development, production and financing of features, and to take a more creative role in the process," said Kimmel, who has produced films for over 20 years and is also well known in the fashion industry throughout the world. "I have long wanted to dedicate more time to the film industry and I'm grateful to have found the right team as well as the right balance between our work in New York and in Los Angeles."

With one film in production and two in the later stages of pre-production, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment projects include:

** Neverwas – Directorial debut of Joshua Michael Stern, who also wrote the screenplay, starring Aaron Eckhart, Sir Ian McKellen, Brittany Murphy, Nick Nolte, Alan Cumming, Vera Farmiga, Bill Bellamy and Michael Moriarty. Producers include Sidney Kimmel and Greg Shapiro; Deborah Gabler is a line producer. Joe Drake, Nathan Kahane, Amanda Mackey Johnson and Marina Grasic are the executive producers. Carsten Lorenz and Aaron Eckhart are co-producers. The film is currently shooting in Vancouver.

** Trust the Man – Comedy/Drama to be written and directed by Bart Freundlich. The film is currently in pre-production and will begin shooting on November 1, 2004. The company is currently in negotiations with Julianne Moore and David Duchovny to star.

** Alpha Dog – Youth-oriented drama written and to be directed by Nick Cassavetes, produced by Sidney Kimmel in association with A-Mark Entertainment and to be distributed by New Line Cinema. The project is currently in pre-production with an October 25th start date.

Kimmel is the founder of the Sidney Kimmel Foundation and its subsidiary, the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research, and is one of the nation's largest individual donors to cancer research. In addition, he has been very active in philanthropy benefiting his hometown of Philadelphia and Jewish education and continuity. He recently oversaw the opening of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. Along with his interests in filmed entertainment, Kimmel is a partner in Cipriani International, the acclaimed international restaurant and catering establishment, and is a part owner of The Miami Heat.

Salke, who will oversee business development for Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, is a former CEO of Sherwood Productions, and was involved in the financing and production of such films as War Games, Mr. Mom and Blame It On Rio. Grasic joins Sidney Kimmel Entertainment as executive producer of the Toronto hit Crash. She brings her extensive expertise to the company in the areas of feature film financing, packaging and producing. Nicolaides has experience in all areas of physical production having worked at both Touchstone Pictures and Buena Vista Pictures, overseeing many productions including several Miramax pictures. In addition, Rick Hess of CAA has represented Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and its current slate of film projects.

Sidney Kimmel Entertainment is located in the Union Bank building at 9460 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, and at 250 Hudson Street in New York. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Film Pirates Could Be Jailed – Under New Bill That Would Make Recording Films A Federal Crime

WASHINGTON (AP) — Using video cameras to record films in movie theatres would become a federal crime punishable by up to six years in prison under a bill passed Tuesday by the House.

The legislation, called the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act, also would make it easier for the Justice Department to prosecute Internet users who illegally distribute large amounts of music and other copyrighted works.

It encourages the FBI to use Internet providers to forward warning letters to subscribers whose accounts are being used for illegally downloading music and movies. That provision is aimed largely at parents who may be unaware of their children's activities.

"There seems to be a belief among America's youth . . . that copyright piracy is either an acceptable activity or one that carries a low risk of penalties," said Representative James Sensenbrenner ( R-Wis.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

In addition, the bill offers some copyright protections for fledgling technology that helps parents prevent children from watching movie scenes depicting sex, violence or foul language.

Supporters of the House legislation expected the Senate to consider the proposal as early as next week. The House passed on it on a voice vote.

Legal experts say about 10 states already prohibit people recording movies inside theatres. The House bill would make it a felony, which would permit local and state police to make arrests even when officers don't personally witness the illicit recording. Movie-goers caught would face up to three years in prison for a first offence, and up to six years for later arrests.

The bill makes it easier for the Justice Department to prosecute Internet users who illegally distribute more than 1,000 copyrighted files. Those users already face high civil penalties if they are caught and sued. College students have been frequent users of file-sharing services.

U.S. laws now require criminal prosecutors to prove that an Internet user "willfully" distributed music and movie files illegally. Some Internet users have complained they were unaware that by downloading files from these networks onto their own computers they also make the files available to others.

Under a lower standard in the House bill, prosecutors must prove Internet users "knowingly" distributed copyrighted materials with a "reckless disregard" that others might also copy them.

Cedric Kushner Promotions Forms Ckrush Direct

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Cedric Kushner Promotions, Inc. has formed a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Ckrush Direct, Inc. to focus primarily on direct response, pay-per-view, video on demand, and retail distribution of DVD's, home videos, and various consumer goods. Ckrush Direct products will include some programs and products created by Ckrush Entertainment, Inc.

Ckrush Entertainment was formed in 2004 by CKP, Inc. with a focus on filmed and television entertainment. In addition to its involvement with "Pledge This" starring Paris Hilton and Pauly Shore's "Pauly Shore is Dead", Ckrush is developing a number of other projects in the film and television category.

"The formation of Ckrush Direct reflects the next component of the CKP, Inc.'s business model," said Jim DiLorenzo, vice president. "We see enormous potential utilizing our assets in the direct response and retail areas." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Related Post