MORNING ROUNDUP: Google Eyes Miramax's Film Library
Plus: Networks intensify their fight against online TV streaming, bankrupt Blockbuster launches first ad campaign in three weeks, lead found in souvenirs from Warner Bros' lot.
- Google is in talks with Filmyard Holdings, the group expected to soon own Miramax, about digital rights to the studio's archives as part of the Web giant's plans to make YouTube into a Web destination for longer-form content, the New York Post reports. Filmyard, run by Ron Tutor and Tom Barrack, is set to acquire the rights to more than 700 Miramax films, including Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction and No Country For Old Men. Netflix has also shown an interest in the studio's film library, the Post said. Google hired former Netflix executive Robert Kyncl in September to head up its content efforts.
- A New York judge has set a Monday hearing on the broadcast networks' request for a temporary restraining order against FilmOn.com, according to the Wall Street Journal. The effort is part of the networks' legal push against FilmOn and Ivi, both of which stream TV stations' programming online without the networks' consent. The Journal said the case against Ivi could be heard in the coming weeks.
- Blockbuster is launching its first national ad campaign in three years to remind people it is open for business even while undergoing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, the Los Angeles Times reported. The video rental giant also plans to highlight what it sees as its advantages over competitors Netflix and Redbox. "One of the biggest challenges for Blockbuster for the past few years has been public perception, and this is intended to remind people that we're still in business and we have a unique offering," CEO Jim Keyes told the Times.
- Wizard of Oz and superhero drinking glasses bought on the Warner Bros. Burbank, Calif. lot have been found to exceed federal limits for lead by 1,000 times, according to an investigation completed by the Associated Press. The decorative enamel on the glasses, featuring characters like Superman and Wonder Woman, contain between 15 and 30.2% lead. They also contain dangerous cadmium. Warner Bros. defends the glasses, saying, "It is generally understood that the primary consumer for these products is an adult, usually a collector." But the AP notes they're for sale alongside children's merchandise. Products created by McDonald's -- including glasses sold to promote Shrek in 2007 -- have also been found to contain toxic metals.