Deep Dive with Hollywood Reporter Editor Alex Ben Block

"The Future of Content - Transmedia and Cross Platform Storyelling" panel (l to r): Alex Ben Block (Hollywood Reporter), Kathy Franklin (Lightstorm Entertainment), Brian Seth Hurst (Opportunity Management Co.), Pablo Frasconi (USC School of Cinema), Zak Kadison (Blacklight Transmedia), Alex McDowell (5D)
"The Future of Content - Transmedia and Cross Platform Storyelling" panel (l to r): Alex Ben Block (Hollywood Reporter), Kathy Franklin (Lightstorm Entertainment), Brian Seth Hurst (Opportunity Management Co.), Pablo Frasconi (USC School of Cinema), Zak Kadison (Blacklight Transmedia), Alex McDowell (5D)

This is an exclusive interview with Alex Ben Block, editor of the Hollywood Reporter.


00:30 Eric Schwartzman introduces Alex Ben Block, the former editor of the Hollywood Reporter and Television Week, who will be discussing how new technology is changing the broadcasting business as we know it.

00:39 Eric plays a snippet of Alex’s triple play theory –cable, video, high-speed data, and telephone/voice service.

1:15 What is OTRO; how to subscribe to OTRO; Eric’s description of his public relations firm; “PR guy by day, podcaster by night,”; past guests of OTRO; go to for past guests; suggestions for new guests; comments line and upcoming guests such as David Pogue and Rob Barret

3:15 Portable Media and Podcast Expo in Ontario: Eric will record a podcast at the LA Podcasters “Freeway Series.”

4:22 Alex Ben Block's background: former president of LA Press Club; eric and Alex go to the same Temple of the Arts, nationally known because they broadcast on TV; discuss the culture of celebrity at the Temple.

5:26 How Alex Ben Block decides the front page; daily vs. weekly editorial decisions; editors prioritizing, the goal is “Try to make it as interesting as possible.”

6:43 Eric brings up Noam Chomsky’s theory of bias regarding selection for front-page news; bias in trade publications—does it exist?

7:40 Relationship between advertisements and editorial in the trade; news sources and advertisers are also your readers, and what you write can affect business; reporting in Hollywood with Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Broadcasting & Cable, and TV Week; what readers are going to believe; “Ultimately, you have to serve the truth.”;

11:24 Newsworthy news that is not good for business; how do you cover bad news without alienating sources? your job is to act responsibly and fairly, treading that fine line between friends and sources

13:04 Alex Ben Block's days as an editor at Hollywood Reporter/working in all different departments; the process of editing and filing stories and getting a paper published five days a week and ultimately working six days a week, great work colleagues now at Washington Post; TVGuide; Video Business; International Hollywood Reporter edition; managing a paper; generating stories; ABB’s job before the Hollywood Reporter gig.

17:42 Alex Ben Block discusses leaving TV Week to write his third book but staying on as a columnist. Alex talks a bit about the book about how the television industry is changing and what is in store for the future.

21:40 In-depth discussion about the new changes advertisers are taking to adapt to the television technology; ABB says more superb choice and portability are HUGE issues; video iPod’s future; delivery of content over cell phones; merging the computer screen and the television.

23:52 How it all affects terrestrial broadcast; Local broadcast stations’ future: ABB points out KTLA has both analog and digital formats and is involved in the internet; the importance of local news still powerful; using an intelligent syndication schedule; promotion and offering product overall media; “smart companies will adapt.”

26:30 IFC and Tivo Deal; making a product available directly to viewers without going through a broadcaster; Eric goes a little into Long Tail Theory and Ecast Inc. ABB gives his thoughts about on-demand media consumption and how technology will be changing that; ABB thinks companies are smart enough to be adapting to all technological advances; also thoughts on convergence and how media companies present that to the consumers.

36:49: Verizon’s spending money and time to become a competitor to cable television; unprecedented lobbyists efforts; taking on satellite and cable “saying ‘we can do it better”; triple play theory again; ABB puts bets on Comcast to emerge as a leading company.

39:25: Alex Ben Block shares a brief insight into his book and touches on something he wrote about for TV Week called “All-Menu TV,” tailoring interests to what people want to watch; Friedman’s op-ed column defining “podcasting;” Alex Ben Block and Eric discuss speakers at the temple during high holy days including Robert Spencer and his book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam”; Eric’ future podcast on how religion is portrayed in the media.

43:56: The interview concludes with Eric explaining where to download the podcast, past guests, and topics.

Photo by createasphere

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