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Saturday, September 29, 2012

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Google becomes online advertising king...
Gooogle has become the US market leader in online display ads, and now leads all categories for internet advertising including search and mobile, a market research firm said today. The firm eMarketer said Google will top the market for online display advertising with $US2.31 billion ($2.2 billion) in revenues -- 15.4 per cent of the market -- in 2012. Google will thus overtake Facebook in display, after the social network dethroned longtime leader Yahoo! last year, eMarketer said. The milestone means Google now holds more share than any other company in each of the US search, display and mobile advertising markets. Google will see a 38 per cent jump in online display ad revenue this year, the report said. Facebook, the consultancy said, will earn $US2.16 billion in US display ad revenues this year, up 24.4 per cent from billion last year. Facebook's share will be 14.4 per cent. Yahoo! will see nearly flat revenues for display ads, which will mean its market share will fall to 9.3 per cent this year from 11 percent last year and 14 percent in 2010. The eMarketer estimate said the overall US display ad market will grow 21.5 per cent to $US14.98 billion from $US12.33 billion in 2011, aided by mobile growth; and increased spending growth on digital video advertising, especially on Google-owned YouTube.
Renner: Avengers stunts were blast'...

Jeremy Renner has raved about his time in Hollywood blockbuster Avengers Assemble - because he loved the catering. The Hurt Locker star plays Hawkeye in director Joss Whedon's action movie, which also stars Robert Downey Jr, Samuel L Jackson and Mark Ruffalo. Jeremy revealed: "Shooting the Avengers was a blast... there's much better food on set." Of the stunts and training, Jeremy admitted: "I actually didn't have to do very much archery training because I was using CGI arrows and I was shooting CGI monsters." He added: "It's like learning a new language or a dance." Co-star Tom Hiddleston, who plays villain Loki, also expressed his joy at the film's action scenes. He said: "I love doing the stunts and flying around on wires. At the very beginning, the first I had to do was jump off a platform, do a 30-foot leap and spear somebody in the chest. "Joss [Whedon] wanted me to fly beyond the horizontal, so they attached a harness to me under my costume, which enabled me to dive headfirst towards the camera. I felt like I was part of a circus trapeze act! It was fantastic." Avengers Assemble is out now on DVD.

Joss Whedon: 'The Avengers isn't a perfect movie'...

Joss Whedon has claimed that The Avengers isn't "a great movie".

The film has met with critical acclaim and outstanding commercial success, becoming the third highest-grossing film of all time in just a few months, but Whedon, the superhero blockbuster's writer and director, is determined to keep his feet on the ground.

In an interview with Vulture, the 48-year-old claimed that the box office numbers became, ultimately, "meaningless".

He said: "They're large, and you can't really count that high."

Describing what his goals were with The Avengers, he claimed: "I felt like I had a particular mission in making what I felt was a slightly old-fashioned movie, because I grew up wanting to make summer movies and wanting to make superhero movies, and I got to do both at once.

"I felt like summer movies haven't been what I remember them to be, so I felt like I would love to evoke something that's less hip and ironic and more heartfelt and character-driven, and apparently, other people cared about that in a large way."

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly creator then conceded: "I don't think it's a perfect movie. I don't even think it's a great movie. I think it's a great time, and I'm proud of it, but for me, what was exciting is that people don't go to see a movie that many times unless it's pulling on something from within, unless there's a need there. That's very gratifying."

The film is set to increase its box office even further this weekend, after being re-released in the US to take advantage of the Labour Day holiday.

Whedon will oversee a Marvel-produced SHIELD television show for ABC, before starting work on the Avengers sequel, due for a summer 2015 release.


The Avengers Crosses $1.5 Billion At Worldwide Box Office...

While the re-release of The Avengers at the U.S. box office might have failed to break into the top ten Labor Day weekend movies, it did help The Avengers reach another major milestone. The Avengers has become the third movie in history to cross the $1.5 billion mark at the worldwide box office.

While retaining its number three position on the worldwide box office list, The Avengers took in another estimated $1.7 million over Labor Day weekend, which brought The Avengers U.S. box office total to $619.5 million and The Avengers worldwide box office total to $1.501 billion.

Interestingly enough, The Dark Knight Rises also reached a milestone today, surpassing $1 billion at the worldwide box office, which means that combined The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises have accounted for $2.5 billion at the worldwide box office this year. If you add in The Amazing Spider-Man, which currently sits at number four on the 2012 worldwide box office list with $734.9 million, then the total rises to $3.2 billion. It’s definitely a good time to be in the superhero movie making business.





bwin.party to Be Taken Over?...
The London and Vienna-listed gambling group is said to be an acquisition target. The Austrian-British sport betting company may be taken over, the newspaper “Guardian” says. According to rumors, there are three potential buyers. One of them is the Malaysian Genting, a second one should be an Australian betting company. The third potential buyer is a financial investor, insiders say. Bwin.party is expected to record net losses this year. In its half year report for the six months ended 30 June 2012, a solid growth in Clean EBITDA (+13%) was recorded. Losses were down from € 41m to € 21.3m.

Bwin.party losing its poker face...

LONDON (SHARECAST) - Online gaming titan bwin.party says revenues in the first half of 2012 grew at its casino and gaming offerings but poker has been hit by strong competitors and difficulties in southern Europe.

The group was formed last year by the merger between German outfit bwin Interactive Entertainment and British firm PartyGaming and still has co-Chief Executives Norbert Teufelberger and Jim Ryan.

On a pro forma basis (comparing the results of both companies before the merger), total revenue increased by 3% to €410.0m (2011: €398.0m). This was achieved despite an 11% increase in gaming taxes so that the pro forma “clean” earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased 13% to €92.3m (2011: €81.9m). This is better than the forecast of €89m made by analysts at Peel Hunt.

Bwin.party has also had to take a nasty one-off charge of €31.5m after the Spanish authorities contacted all of the major online gaming operators making clear any online operator that had ever accepted customers from Spain had an obligation to pay Spanish taxes.

The group offers four online “experiences”: sports betting produced revenues of €128.1m in the first half, versus €125.7m in 2011; casino and games delivered €139.7m, against €124.3m in the prior year; bingo was down from €33m to €31.5m; while the weakest performance was from poker, which fell from €104.9m to €96.4m.

In a joint statement, Ryan and Teufelberger said they were "determined to return [poker] to growth through execution of a detailed plan that includes pooling our poker liquidity as well as repositioning our flagship PartyPoker brand.”

The interim dividend has been increased by 10% to 1.72p per share although the company warned that net gaming revenue since June has fallen 8% as the end of the Euro 2012 Championships and a late start to the Bundesliga hit takings.


Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment: PartyCasino gets new 'Under the Sea' slot game

Check out PartyCasino via the Media Man network for more on this exciting new slot game which can be played for free or played for money. Bwin.Party is one of the most financially stable gaming companies on the planet and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. They also high security and high excitment online poker, sports betting and more.


New Trailer For Marvel Heroes...

Gazillion Entertainment is proud to show off a new trailer for Marvel Heroes. The new trailer announces 3 new playable heroes in the game – Daredevil, Punisher, and Squirrel Girl. The trailer made its debut at the Marvel Heroes panel at PAX 2012. The panel featured Gazillion President David Brevik (one of the creators of Diablo!), legendary Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man! Avengers vs. X-Men! And) and Marvel’s mighty VP of Games Production TQ Jefferson. If you look closely, you’ll also see a bunch of villains were also revealed in the trailer, including Mr. Fisk the notorious crime lord.

Website:
http://www.youtube.com/marvelheroesonline

About Marvel Heroes...

Marvel Heroes is a FREE-TO-PLAY action-packed massively multiplayer online game created by David Brevik, the visionary behind Diablo and Diablo 2. Set in the iconic Marvel Universe, Marvel Heroes combines the core game-play style of Diablo and MMOs with the expansive library of heroes from the Marvel Universe. In the game, players can collect and play as their favorite Marvel Superheroes (including Iron Man, Thor, Wolverine, Hulk, Spider Man, Captain America and many others). Team up with friends and try to stop Doctor Doom from devastating the world with the power of the Cosmic Cube in a story crafted by comic-book super-scribe Brian Michael Bendis.



Echo CEO Larry Mullin in shock exit as Packer target loses second key player...

Echo Entertainment has risked further antagonising its key investors with the shock decision to replace chief executive Larry Mullin in a bid to repair damaged relations with the NSW government and bring a more operational focus to the management of the embattled casino group. The board's decision agreed over the past week to replace Mr Mullin, which is understood to have also prompted the surprise resignation of long-serving director Brett Paton on Tuesday, was yesterday questioned by some of Echo's institutional investors who were taken by surprise by the decision.

Australian TV Ratings - 25th September 2012... 1. Seven News (7) 1.29 million 2. Nine News (9) 1.14 million 3. ABC News (ABC) 1.03 million 4. A Current Affair (9) 1.02 million 5. Big Brother, Nominations (9) 979,000 6. 2012 Brownlow Medal (7) 956,000 7. Today Tonight (7) 955,000 8. Big Brother, Daily Show (9) 938,000 9. Australian Story (ABC) 932,000 10. Four Corners (ABC) 847,000

Crown execs paid more despite warning - 26th September 2012

Most of Crown's senior executives received pay rises last financial year despite a rejection of the previous year's pay policy by shareholders. Casino operator Crown has made no changes to its executive pay policy despite the threat of a board spill in the event of another shareholder backlash. Four of the company's six senior executives received a larger pay package in the 2011/12 financial year, and all base salaries rose or remained the same as in 2010/11. Crown's executive pay report for the 2010/11 financial year received a 55 per cent `no' vote from Crown shareholders, and a `no' vote of at least 25 per cent against the 2011/12 report would result in the majority of board positions being vacated and put up for re-election. But Crown said in its 2011/12 annual report, released on Wednesday, it had made no change to its pay policy and had instead focused on providing a clearer explanation of its pay structure. "The Crown board remains confident that Crown's remuneration policy and the level and structure of its executive remuneration are suitable for the company and its shareholders," it said in the report. Chief executive Rowen Craigie was paid $6.875 million in the 2011/12 financial year, including a bonus of $800,000, up from $600,000 in the previous year. Mr Craigie's remuneration totalled $7.7 million in 2010/11, due to the inclusion of a $1 million benefit from the revaluation of share-based long-term incentives. His base salary remained stable at $2.98 million in 2011/12. Executive deputy chairman John Alexander's total remuneration also remained steady, at $1.5 million. Chief financial officer Ken Barton, Burswood CEO Barry Felstead, Crown Melbourne deputy CEO Greg Hawkins and executive vice president of strategy Todd Nisbet all received an increase in salary and total pay in 2011/12. Executive chairman James Packer receives no remuneration or bonuses from Crown. In the event of a board spill, Mr Packer could use his major stake in the company to effectively ensure the re-election of those board members forced to vacate their positions. Crown shareholders will vote on the report at the company's annual general meeting on October 30.

Star Casino boss Larry Mullin quits, moves back to America - 27th September 2012...
A Star casino spokesman has confirmed Mr Mullin will leave his job on January 31 “by mutual agreement” with the board of Echo Entertainment, the parent company of The Star. He will be leaving the job almost one year to the day after the man he brought in to run the Star, Sid Vaikunta, was sacked over a sexual harassment scandal. The casino spokesman said Mr Mullin was from America and had not intended to stay in Australia forever. He denied it was linked to the Vaikunta scandal or attempts at a takeover by billionaire James Packer. Since Vaikunta quit, the board has rolled chairman John Story in favour of John O’Neill, another non-executive director Brett Paton left this week and now Mr Mullin is departing.

Brooklyn, Barclays Center bracing to steal show...

Consider Madison Square Garden on watch. Luring the Nets from New Jersey was only Step 1 in Brooklyn's metamorphosis into an entertainment hot spot. Next up for the borough, a ruthless bid in stealing the spotlight and the stars from MSG, New Jersey's Prudential Center, and any other venue that books boldface names in music and sports. There's a new kid in town, folks, a state-of-the-art arena in Brooklyn that is gobbling up acts at an alarming rate. Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Andrea Bocelli are just a few of the marquee attractions coming to the new Barclays Center, a facility that will house the NBA's Brooklyn Nets and so much more. College basketball is on the way, as are the Harlem Globetrotters and World Wrestling Entertainment, and before the lockout was announced, an NHL preseason game was even on tap. Indeed, it appears Barclays has balance and boom in its acts, and will stop at nothing as it quickly makes a sudden statement that it is a desired destination in an attractive borough. And the other facilities in and around New York may never be the same again. "In the past, Brooklynites had to leave our borough for world-class entertainment and sports and head over to Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Nassau County ... Newark or East Rutherford," Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said. "Hello. Not anymore." Brooklyn is going hard and if this current clip keeps up, it may become the No. 1 tour stop in the region. Jay-Z, the Nets' part owner and hip-hop icon, will christen the Barclays Center with eight sold-out shows opening Friday. Holla! "Without Brooklyn, I wouldn't be standing here right now," Jay-Z said at a Barclays Center press conference. He's not alone. Barbra Streisand, a Brooklyn native like Jay-Z, will perform for the first time in her native borough Oct. 11. These megastar acts will raise the curtain on what Barclays expects to become a 220-event-a-year center, and create a little competition with the world's most famous arena. The budding Barclays-MSG bidding war, in fact, is already more heated than the Knicks-Nets rivalry. The Golden Gloves finals dumped MSG for the first time in its 86-year history for the 19,000-seat Barclays. Bocelli had played nine straight holiday shows at MSG before bolting this year for a Dec. 5 concert at Barclays. Other defections from MSG and New Jersey arenas include college basketball's Coaches vs. Cancer tournament, the Legends Classic and the Atlantic 10 tournament. But without question, none of the other facilities are intimidated by Brooklyn. This is after all, the New York market we're talking about, and there will always be plenty of acts to book. Robert Sommer, president of Rock Entertainment Management at the Prudential Center, declined comment. And MSG insists it doesn't feel threatened by the younger, hipper arena at all. "While we always respect any competition, The Garden will always be The Garden," MSG President and CEO Hank Ratner said. "Madison Square Garden is located in the heart of New York City, sitting on top of the busiest transportation hub in the nation, and has been a destination for New Yorkers and visitors to the city for over 130 years. The Garden is New York's living room, we host over 400 events annually, and are in the midst of a comprehensive, top-to-bottom transformation that has already received amazing feedback from fans." The world's most famous arena underwent an $850 million upgrade that gutted the arena from the ground up — all without changing the building's familiar hatbox-shaped exterior. Madison Square Garden was completed in 1968 and had not had a major upgrade since 1991. And, let's not forget, the Garden is the Garden. There's no price tag, after all, on the legendary sports moments and the iconic concerts that called MSG home. Ali vs. Frazier. Willis Reed limping through the tunnel and onto the court for the 1970 NBA Finals. Mark Messier and Stephane Matteau leading the Rangers to the Stanley Cup in 1994. Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen rocking the joint. Ricky Nelson's Garden Party. On and on. "You can bring a new venue into another borough, but you can't erase history," said Sammy Steinlight, a former MSG executive, now of Steinlight Media. "You can't just instantly have a brand. It takes time, it takes years. It takes really special and unique moments created over time." Barclays is trying to speed up the pace. Yet, not every act is choosing only one stage. The Who is booked to play Nov. 14 at Barclays, Dec. 5 at Madison Square Garden, and Dec. 6 at the five-year-old Prudential Center in Newark. While WWE remained committed to booking events at Madison Square Garden, the WWE's own Brooklyn Brawler should feel at home when the sports-entertainment promotion holds its monthly pay-per-view event Dec. 16 at Barclays. There are plenty of entertainment dollars to spread around, of course. Brooklyn's population of 2.5 million is the largest of the city's five boroughs, and is home to $3 million condominiums and four-star restaurants. The New York metropolitan area is so massive, there should be enough acts and dates for both. Barclays' honeymoon period will eventually fade. But for now, business should boom — especially with top tickets hitting $600 for Streisand at face value. "Because the building is new, artists know the level of business they can do is higher at a brand new building," said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the trade publication Pollstar. "The fact that it's new on the market means that the local population will turn out in great numbers, great force than you would otherwise see. That means more money in the artist's pocket." In a bustling market, the two arenas should be able to play nice. But bidding wars could spark for the top-dollar stars. The Minneapolis Target Center and the St. Paul Xcel Energy Center are separated by 10 miles from one Twin City to the other. The buildings regularly fiercely compete to land selected artists, a boon for concert promoters looking to keep down costs. "Concert promoters are certainly aware of the two buildings and they'll often bid the two buildings against each other," said Jeff Pellegrom, chief financial officer of Minnesota Sports and Entertainment, the company that runs the Xcel Center. "They'll lock or hold dates in the two different arenas and then they'll look for the best financial deal they can get. I don't blame them for this, by the way. It makes perfect sense." The Nets, the vibrant arena's anchor tenant, are focused on settling into their sparkling $1 billion digs and not the calendar of events at Madison Square Garden. "We don't concern ourselves with being better than what they do or what the Garden does," Nets general manager Billy King said. "We have a new building and we're excited about being there." So, it seems, is the rest of the entertainment industry. (MSG)

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