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    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Reuter site - Hulu challenges cable with first original drama

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    Hulu challenges cable with first original drama

    Sun, Jan 15 16:05 PM EST

    By Yinka Adegoke

    (Reuters) - Hulu, the popular online video service, has taken another step to becoming a full-fledged alternative to cable television by commissioning its first scripted original TV show to go live next month.

    The new political documentary-style drama "Battleground" is set in Wisconsin and executive-produced by JD Walsh, Hagai Shaham and Marc Webb. It follows Hulu's first original documentary series Morgan Spurlock's "A Day In The Life."

    The majority of Hulu's programming to date has been licensed from its parent companies, News Corp, Walt Disney Co and Comcast Corp's NBC Universal, as well as other program makers.

    Andy Forsell, Hulu's programming executive, said Spurlock's show had been a success based on data it collected on its audience, but he declined to reveal the program's view counts.

    Spurlock's series is being followed up with a second season and being joined by another six-episode documentary series called "Up to Speed" by Richard Linklater, who is perhaps best known for movies "Dazed and Confused" and "School of Rock".

    The challenge for Hulu is to ensure it can generate a return on investment in expensive content like scripted drama, which is typically more costly than producing a documentary or reality show.

    "We can make the economics work, I've got a budget for originals but there's not the same pressure as a traditional network since we don't have worry about filling airtime," Forsell said.

    The original shows will be available on Hulu's free Web service rather than just to its paying Hulu Plus subscribers as the start-up increases its user base and builds its reputation for original programming. But Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar said the dual revenue model of advertising and subscription fees is key to Hulu's future.

    "At scale, our model allows us to profitably pay content owners approximately 50 percent more in content licensing fees per subscriber when compared to other similarly priced online subscription services," Kilar said in a blog post on Friday.

    PAYING SUBSCRIBERS

    Hulu said on Friday it had more than 1.5 million paying subscribers at the end of 2011, and revenue grew 60 percent to $420 million.

    Early last year, Kilar forecast that Hulu would generate around $500 million in revenue during 2011. The revenue miss was indirectly blamed on a "soft advertising market" in the second half of the year.

    Like other Web companies trying to bring more TV shows and movies online, Hulu is in a race with rival Netflix Inc to buy and develop more content to add to and maintain its subscriber base.

    Kilar said the company will spend around $500 million on content in 2012 covering new content acquisition, re-licensing existing content on the service and originals. It is an increase from the $375 million it said it spent last year.

    Netflix, which has some 23 million U.S. subscribers, said last March it had secured exclusive rights to the 26-episode television series "House of Cards" a political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and directed by David Fincher.

    It was reported last year that Netflix would spend around $100 million to produce the show.

    Services like Netflix are increasingly being recognized as direct competition or replacements for premium cable channels such as Time Warner Inc's HBO and CBS Corp's Showtime.

    (Reporting By Yinka Adegoke, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

    I blog, I tweet, I rock. I think I'm Rupert Murdoch.

    Here ye here ye, Rick Perry says Pee Pee

    Reuter site - Rupert Murdoch turns to Twitter to attack Obama

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    Rupert Murdoch turns to Twitter to attack Obama

    Sun, Jan 15 13:11 PM EST

    By Ilaina Jonas

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Media baron Rupert Murdoch used his new Twitter account this weekend to attack the Obama administration's opposition to parts of proposed legislation designed to combat Internet piracy.

    "So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery," News Corp's chairman and chief executive officer posted on his personal Twitter account Saturday.

    Murdoch, whose media empire includes Fox TV, The Wall Street Journal, Fox Studios and the Sun newspaper in Britain, continued with several tweets, attacking Google as the "Piracy leader" for streaming movies free. In later tweets he called Google a "great company."

    Google could not be reached for an immediate comment. The White House declined to make any other comment beyond their statement issued Saturday.

    At issue are the concerns White House officials raised on Saturday about elements in the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) pending in Congress.

    Google and Facebook already have decried as heavy-handed and Hollywood studios and music labels say is needed to save U.S. jobs.

    In a blog posting, three advisers to President Barack Obama said they believed the act and similar bills could make businesses on the Internet vulnerable to litigation and harm legal activity and free speech.

    "Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small," said the officials, including White House cyber-security czar Howard Schmidt.

    The House of Representatives' SOPA bill aims to crack down on online sales of pirated American movies, music or other goods by forcing Internet companies to block access to foreign sites offering material that violates U.S. copyright laws.

    U.S. advertising networks could also be required to stop online ads and search engines would be barred from directly linking to websites found to be distributing pirated goods.

    Those who support stricter piracy rules reacted strongly to Saturday's White House statement, which darkened prospects for legislation already expected to struggle to clear Congress in an election year.

    Schmidt and the other advisers said the Obama administration was ready to work with lawmakers on a narrower, more targeted approach to online piracy to ensure that legitimate businesses -- including start-up companies -- would not be harmed.

    Murdoch, who opened his Twitter account this year, has used it to colorfully opine on a number of topics. Tweeting last week, Murdoch praised New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's latest proposal to overhaul the city's public schools, but referred to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo as "chicken Cuomo."

    He also admitted in a post to his company's mishandling of social network MySpace, which News Corp bought in 2005 for $580 million. Today the site is nearly irrelevant.

    "...we screwed up in every way possible.." Murdoch posted last week.

    (Reporting By Ilaina Jonas, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

    Reuter site - Perry defends Marines accused of urinating on corpses

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    Perry defends Marines accused of urinating on corpses

    Sun, Jan 15 15:14 PM EST

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Texas Governor Rick Perry, scrambling to keep his U.S. presidential bid alive, accused the Obama administration on Sunday of over-reacting to a videotape that shows four Marines appearing to urinate on dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

    "These kids made a mistake. There's not any doubt about it. They shouldn't have done it. It's bad," Perry told CNN's "State of the Union" program.

    "But to call it a criminal act, I think, is over the top," said Perry, who faces a possible make-or-break performance in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary on Saturday.

    The U.S. Marine Corps named an investigative officer last week to decide what, if any, charges to bring against the four Marines shown in the widely circulated videotape.

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other members of the Obama administration have denounced the action by the Marines.

    "Defiling, desecrating, mocking, photographing or filming for personal use insurgent dead constitutes a grave breach of the (law of armed conflict)," Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti, who heads day-to-day Afghan operations, wrote the troops last week.

    Perry, a former Air Force pilot, said the four Marines should be appropriately punished. "But going after them as a criminal act, I think (is) really a bad message," he said.

    Suggesting that armed conflict can alter personal behavior, Perry noted that "there is a picture" of legendary Army General George Patton urinating in the Rhine River in Germany near the end of World War Two.

    "Although there's not a picture," Perry added, British Prime Minister Winston "Churchill did the same thing on the Siegfried line," a massive wall of German defenses.

    (Reporting By Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Sandra Maler)

    Reuter site - Hacker says to release full Norton Antivirus code on Tuesday

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    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE80C1QW20120114

    Hacker says to release full Norton Antivirus code on Tuesday

    Sat, Jan 14 13:12 PM EST

    NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A hacker who goes by the name of 'Yama Tough' threatened Saturday to release next week the full source code for Symantec Corp's flagship Norton Antivirus software.

    "This coming Tuesday behold the full Norton Antivirus 1,7Gb src, the rest will follow," Yama Tough posted via Twitter.

    In the past week Yama Tough has released fragments of source code from Symantec products along with a cache of emails. The hacker says all the data was taken from Indian government servers.

    (Reporting By Frank Jack Daniel)

    Reuter site - Romney opens 21-point lead in South Carolina: Reuters/Ipsos poll

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    Romney opens 21-point lead in South Carolina: Reuters/Ipsos poll

    Sat, Jan 14 20:45 PM EST

    By Jeff Mason

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has opened a wide lead over his rivals in the South Carolina primary election race, trouncing Newt Gingrich and gaining momentum in his march toward the party's nomination, a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows.

    Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, could all but quash his rivals' presidential aspirations with a victory in South Carolina on January 21 after winning the first state-by-state nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

    Voters in South Carolina - who have favored Republicans in nine of the last 10 presidential elections - appear to have shrugged off attacks on Romney by rivals who accuse him of killing jobs as a private equity executive for Bain Capital in the 1990s.

    The poll showed 37 percent of South Carolina Republican voters back Romney. Congressman Ron Paul and former Senator Rick Santorum tied for second place with 16 percent support.

    Gingrich, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, has fallen far back after holding a strong lead in South Carolina in December. He was in fourth place at 12 percent in the Reuters/Ipsos poll.

    "In primary races things can change quickly but it does look like Romney is in position to win South Carolina, and if he wins ... that's sort of the end of the road for most of his challengers," Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson said.

    MITT VS NEWT FEUD

    Romney is clearly winning a feud with Gingrich that began in December before the Iowa caucuses and has become the most bitter fight in the selection of a Republican challenger to Democratic President Barack Obama in November's general election.

    In a question asked of Republicans and Democrats, the poll found South Carolina voters would favor Romney over Obama by 46 percent to 40 percent.

    Asked who they would choose if the nomination contest were solely between Romney and Gingrich, 62 percent of Republicans picked Romney and 30 percent went for Gingrich.

    Senior Republican figures and business executives have berated Gingrich for painting multi-millionaire Romney as a ruthless corporate raider. Many Republican voters are also turned off by the attacks, highlighted in a video documentary produced by a funding group that backs Gingrich.

    "I think those attacks are misguided. The process of any economy has long been one of creative destruction. Some things grow and some things disappear," said Steve Matthews, a lawyer from Columbia, South Carolina, who plans to vote for Romney.

    Romney argues that many more jobs were created by Bain than were lost in his time there.

    Santorum, who surged into second place in the Iowa caucuses before fading in New Hampshire, got a boost on Saturday when Christian conservative leaders meeting in Texas endorsed him.

    After Gingrich, Texas Governor Rick Perry placed next in the Reuters/Ipsos poll with 6 percent support. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who was third in the New Hampshire primary, came in the lowest in the South Carolina poll with 3 percent support.

    "Even if Romney loses South Carolina by a point or two, he's got the organization, he's got the financial backing to do the long battle of attrition that other challengers really don't," said Jackson of Ipsos.

    Romney's campaign announced this week it raised $24 million in the last three months of 2011, while Paul raised $13 million and Gingrich raised $9 million. Obama is way ahead of the Republicans in fundraising.

    The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online from January 10-13 with a sample of 995 South Carolina registered voters. It included 398 Republicans and 380 Democrats.

    Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online surveys but this poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5 percentage points for Republicans and 3.4 percentage points for all voters.

    (Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan in South Carolina, Editing by Alistair Bell and John O'Callaghan)

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