Thursday, December 25, 2014

MIX BAG BLOG #11: CHRISTMAS EDITION: SONY HACKERS, HBO MOVING TO L+7 RATINGS, AND SOME PERSONAL CHRISTMAS THOUGHTS

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all of you out there. Since it's the holiday, we're taking a break from our planned "TV Viewing 101" post for now. And frankly, since it is the holidays, we don't want to take up too much of your time today, so, when those times come when there isn't anything going on in the entertainment industry that I think is worth devoting a whole blogpost about, once in a while, we do a little Mixed Bag Blog, where instead of a more in-depth analysis of a single subject, we simply touch lightly on a few different subjects perpetuating the modern entertainment world and news, and we're doing one of those today. Enjoy.


YES, I'M TALKING ABOUT SONY HACKERS AND "THE INTERVIEW," BUT IF YOU WANT AN OPINION, YOU MIGHT NOT GET ONE.


As of today, if you have a few dollars, you can go and watch "The Interview" in a few movies, and on a few websites, including Youtube, for $5.99. (BTW, I'm not planning on buying/watching it right now; believe it or not, I'm in no particular rush to go see it; I'll get to it later) I'm not go over the entire timeline, but basically, these hackers, were able to convince Sony Pictures Entertainments, that based on their threats, their actions, including hacking into Sony Pictures, and taking everything, really everything that Sony has, and then releasing some of the more salacious details about their practices, until they finally, pulled the movie from the theaters, under some belief that the cyberterrorists' threats were indeed legitimate, and that people could've gotten killed had they screened it. Now, this set off, so many other things, that I can't keep track of. Eh, basically, the government thinks North Korea is involved in these cyberterroristic attacks, and the hacker underground groups like Anonymous are supposedly shutting down North Korea's internet for a day, and now the debate over whether to screen the movie, if they're able to (Remember the theaters were the ones that were pulling out first, before Sony, the chains were refusing to screen it.) and everything. Look, I have actually made a conscious effort to avoid commenting my opinions, because, I don't know enough about this. I use a computer, but I am no security expert on them, and I am no hacker. That said, I do know a couple, and I've been in constant discussions with them about this, as they sort through, not the details of whatever was in Amy Pascal's emails that day (And BTW, Aaron Sorkin's article is right; I know it won't stop the press from publishing them, but they really shouldn't and frankly we should stop reading them, 'cause they're not what they seem. Nobody really thinks that about Angelina Jolie, or whoever, it's just, sausage-making; they're trying to get the best deals and make the movie as well as they could; I've produced movies before, you start talking like Ari Gold, really fucking quickly when you're doing that, doesn't mean anything) they're looking, through all the news, and updates, from Sony, from the government, who are involved in trying to figure out who these hackers are, and if we're able to catch them. Last I checked, they don't think it's North Korea necessarily. They suspect it could be but right now, basically, the only evidence that the government has really revealed is that, the Malware used in the Sony attack was also used in South Korea, not North Korea, South Korea, which to my friends indicates nothing. This can easily be two ten-year-olds in Van Huys, although it probably isn't. They were sophisticated hackers who took, everything. Sony, is basically gonna have to spend millions right now in replacing the entire infrastructure of the entire company, across the board, if they're smart, and re-up their protections, and lord knows how much that'll cost. Hopefully, they'll make enough back on "The Interview," but if since we don't know enough details really, about the hackers and even the hack itself, the how did they dod this, and especially where it's coming from, I'm not criticizing Sony's decisions here. I frankly wouldn't know what to do either. They got the CIA on one side investigating, they got their secrets being released every day, they got the the terrorists threatening to attack people on Christmas day, in the theaters showing "The Interview", this after, they threatened to hack on a massive scale, and then they did. Ugh! I wouldn't know what to do either in Amy Pascal's shoes, and I'm pretty sure both me and her are out there trying to learn as much as they can very quickly about computer security, hoping to even understand the battleground that this attack is going on. If you want to take a beginners course, I've been watching "Security Now" on Twit. There's a Youtube clip of their Best of for the year episode, below are links to the latest episodes below, where they do go into details about Sony:

http://twit.tv/show/security-now/485
http://twit.tv/show/security-now/486

Steve Gibson is the guy, who-, I don't know, invented computer protection software, or whatever the hell he did, but he's an expert at this, and they talk mostly about, the weekly news in Computer security. We'll probably investigate and discuss more of this as more and more about the attack comes out. In the meantime, don't read the e-mails. They're stolen, and frankly, they're not what they sound like anyway. Alright, so Franco gets paid to drive himself to work, who gives a shit frankly. And, the who wrote who about what, it's all sausage-making folks, it really is. It's not as shocking as it seems. You'll see the movie, in the nice little package, you don't always want to know all the details about how it was made, well, we're seeing a glimpse of it now, but still, it's not what you think.


HBO AND OTHERS, STOPS RELEASING OVERNIGHT RATINGS, WILL START ISSUING LIVE +7 RATINGS, AND THEY AREN'T ALONE

This story, kind fell under the radar and it frankly, is an inevitable, but basically all internal information on rating for HBO, and it's not just them, CBS, FX too, their not releasing the overnight Neilsen ratings for their programs, instead, they're only gonna release the Live +7 ratings, which, is basically a symbolic gesture 'cause Neilsen has their own ratings, but basically their no longer looking at the overnight ratings as legitimate indicators. There's always been a few different ratings, even with Nielsen, but basically, once overnights come in, they traditionally were usually an accurate indicator of what the eventually ratings are. That seems hard to believe, but when you consider the sampling data that they pull from, it actually isn't that illogical, at least it didn't used to be until the age of streaming date kicked in. This is what the L+7 and the L+3 ratings account for. HBO right now, and despite them still having major ratings hits on live initial viewings like "Game of Thrones" and "Girls", the streaming ratings on HBOGo actually makeup a bigger margin of the overall ratings. But, in a news cycle, even an entertainment news cycle, and even in the day-to-day business cycle of running a network, the overnights were traditionally the ratings that come out first and that had the highest eventual impact. HBO and a few others, working with Nielsen are working on changing that, hence the recent string of networks now vowing not to release overnight ratings anymore. It'll take a week now before we get to hear the ratings for HBO, but with television movie ever-so-quickly and more forcefully into the streaming avenues, this basically is going to be how in the future, we start to consider ratings, and clearly the networks, are actually there. The issue is still gonna be, on the systems on which people stream, HBO took the first big jump, offering HBOGo without a cable subscription, and that's pissed a lot of the cable companies off, and CBS is now getting into a similar streaming service, model, although I think that's gonna have somewhat less success considering that CBS is pretty free to begin with, and unlike, the other network channels, most of which invested or made deals with Hulu, sometimes on top of their own streaming options, CBS, has had high live overnight ratings across it's whole channel, and I think the most under-discussed reasons is because they came late to the streaming venture, but- we'll see how this inevitably plays out. By next year those, most of the major network, cable and otherwise will be including streaming numbers somehow into their ratings system, and hopefully this'll mean a complete re-map of how the Neilsen's formula works.

PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON THIS CHRISTMAS DAY

You know, the older I get the more low-key we try to make the holidays, especially Christmas, mostly out of want moreso than necessity, actually. I appreciate all you readers, but you should know that it really hasn't been too great for me lately. I don't talk much about my regular day-to-day life, and frankly part of why I pursue entertainment is so I can go into other worlds and universe, distract ourselves from the problems of the world. A place to get away from all your worries, and the rest of the theme song to "Cheers". I watch my autistic brother during the days and nights frankly, I even get paid for it now, because I'm basically not really able to go out and pursue my career in film properly. And frankly, we're not exactly rich either, and frankly, the holidays comes off more of an obligation nowadays, although every year we try to get into the spirit. We're getting into it this year, but by tomorrow, it'll just be another cold winter day here in Vegas, and not much had changed. This blog, helps me connect to you readers, and helps me through a lot, but in the near future, I'm gonna start being less active on here. Don't worry, my presence will not go away, my reviews, my opinions, and whatnot , we'll cover the Oscars and Emmys and you'll hear from me, don't worry, but it's another year, and I need some new challenges. I might be changing the look more to this blog, I'm already adding new features and making it easier to navigate and it's becoming more interactive with the FB page and the Twitter, and I'm even becoming a presence on Google Friend now, even participating in google hangouts when I can. That said, I'm gonna start taking longer between posts soon, I've already had way more delays and late postings than I ever want, even though I know I shouldn't be so concerned over a fictitious deadline, but it does annoy, and it bothers me when I can't get to put out things for you, the readers, in a timely manner. As fun as it is though, it's time for me to rethink my priorities and begin working towards getting not only a new approach to my outside work and pursue those dreams and goals, but I gotta come up with new approaches here. So, we're gonna do a few different thing. Play around with the look, I know some don't like the black background on the white, I kinda get that, although I do prefer it, but I'll give it another try to find something new look, but I also want to bring in new voices, so if you're interesting in occasionally an article to this blog, let me know. Plenty of way to get ahold of me, two FB pages, my own, and the blogs, Twitter, let me know your ideas or what you want to talk about, and if it's something that fits into the milieu of the blog, or it's just something interesting in general, I'll post your work as a guest blogger, you'll be credited, and I'll even put some contact information for you. I want this to be more interactive, elsewise. So hopefully you'll still hear a lot of me, assuming you're willing to tolerate that, but also some other people with their thoughtful insights and observances. We'll start doing these things after the New Year, when we really should be doing things new. Well, those are the thoughts I've had this Christmas. I wish it was more, peace on Earth, good will towards men, but I do want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a Happy New Year,
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