Power of cable: It's certainly seen in Time Warner Inc.'s third-quarter profits, which were nearly triple that of a year earlier. The company announced this morning that Time Warner Cable's revenue rose 44 percent, to $3.2 billion - much of that the result of picking up bankrupt Adelphia Communications. But it's more than that - the company has really pushed the bundling of cable with Internet and phone service (as new Time Warner Cable subscribers in Socal have discovered). Also looking good in the third quarter was AOL, which saw a 44 percent increase in ad revenue.
Disney ready to deal: LAT reports that the Mouse House is nearing agreement with cable giants Comcast and Time Warner on multiyear programming contracts. To give you an idea of the stakes involved, Comcast already pays Disney $1 billion in fees for the basic cable channels. For Disney, cable license fees amount to around half of its operating profit. The deal with Comcast would also have the cable company buying Disney's 39.5 percent stake in E! for $1.2 billion, according to the LAT.
Janitorial walkout: Not sure I understand this one, but unionized janitors in L.A. will be walking off their jobs today in a show of solidarity with Houston janitors who are trying to reach agreement on a new contract. No word on which buildings will be targeted or how many janitors will be participating. A similar job action was planned for Chicago. Don't forget that the organizing of L.A. janitors in 2000 was a turning point for the Service Employees International Union.
Trash talk: The chronic problem of downtown businesses dumping trash onto the city streets is finally being addressed by the City Council - thanks to the increased attention being given to the homeless. When the trash is put out, the homeless rip apart boxes and take what they want. The Council is considering a proposal to hire crews to remove the trash. What's there to consider?
Breeze business: As noted on LAO earlier, the sale of the Daily Breeze has been delayed through at least November, which could indicate that a deal may not happen at all. That was at least the suggestion by Breeze publisher Art Wible, who said that the downturn in the newspaper business "has complicated the process." He also said "we're not having a fire sale at the Breeze" and noted that if the Breeze remains part of the Copley chain, the paper will pursue partnerships with one of the three main competitors. Circulation at the Breeze fell, but not as sharply as several other papers in town. Could it be that Dean Singleton, who is rumored to be interested in the paper, has been low-balling Mr. Copley?
Fun with Bob and Harvey: The Weinstein brothers have stayed pretty much under the radar in their first year away from Disney and what had been their Miramax film distribution empire. But the Weinsteins are looking for Wall Street capital - plus they have a few new movies to promote - so they sat down with the WSJ. A few snippets:
WSJ: Harvey, are you as close to moviemaking as you were before, or is a lot of your time spent being entrepreneurial? Harvey Weinstein: The first six months in the new company, I was really concentrating on building an infrastructure. We have a vision internationally of partnering with the world's biggest individual broadcasters. And I got fascinated with animation and built an infrastructure for that. I didn't know that right out the box we'd have such a monster hit in "Hoodwinked." [The film grossed $101 million world-wide.] And now we're in production with "Hoodwinked II." Bob always kids me around. All the franchises and sequels were his. I never had one sequel in 25 years.
WSJ: Do you feel you're better at running your own company than working for a bigger corporate entity?
Bob Weinstein: When we were at Disney, we walked in every day with the attitude that we were running our own company. Perhaps that's why there was the friction.
WSJ: How's your relationship with Disney now?
Bob Weinstein: We have a very good relationship with [Disney Chief Executive] Bob Iger ... He's set a fantastic tone. There's no animosity. It's actually been good. We've wondered if we'd still be there.