November 13th, 2008
12:28 PM ET
First of all, thanks for all your comments - and apologies to those who didn't get theirs published. We were inundated, particularly on the Sirius XM post.
(And thanks to the people who posted on iReport - we want more of the conversation to take place there.)
Speaking of Sirius XM, the overwhelming view was: Sirius and XM, you shoulda said something.
"As an XM customer since the beginning, I’m a little upset about the way Sirius has (has not) communicated to the XM customer base. I never received any communications from Sirius about why I should continue with them and not drop the whole thing," wrote Jaymie Massey.
"I’m a Sirius subscriber and was horrified this morning when three of my top 5 stations disappeared!" added Brett.
Indeed, the satellite radio companies provided little notice of the changeover. I had heard of some XM firings in trade publications, but - like most everybody else - had no idea what channels were staying and what channels were being trashed, and what day the changes would be made. Words like "sneaky," "disappointed" and "upset" run through the comments, along with threats to cancel Sirius XM subscriptions.
But, as midmofan noted, "Many are missing one of the key points about the merger: without it we might have lost BOTH Sirius and XM. Both were losing money and the merger makes the operation much more viable." That's true; both companies, despite growing subscriber bases, have struggled financially.
Satellite radio obviously has support - many Sirius fans wrote in to say what they like about the service - but with the merger and the economy, it's going to be a struggle. There are also other threats on the horizon: HD radio, which has had a hard time catching on; Internet radio, which will become more common as cars come equipped to receive it; and, of course, iPods, which are already the alternative of choice.
Like many of you, I've got an iPod as well, filled with my record collection. But I still like the idea of radio, of someone playing music I've never heard or offering opinions I don't expect, or programming familiar material in a fresh way. The new Sirius XM has its work cut out for it.
As for family films ...
"Seems to me that American studios take the least amount of time and effort with 'family' films. Kids don’t care if it’s good right? They’ll want to see anything if there’s enough marketing," wrote Stacie.
"In our home we have taken renting all the 'really old' movies with the contract actors. That was a time when the studios treated adults as adults," added Les Crimp.
There's a lot of debate, however, as to what constitutes a "family film." Some people believe that if it entertains children, it's fine. Others thought it should play to all ages (like "Babe" or "To Kill a Mockingbird," a couple favorites). Some people don't want their family films to have any sex, violence or off-color language. And a few commenters wrote that it was up to parents to decide what was appropriate for their children.
Still, there was a lot of disgust expressed at the studios who make these films, and why so few of the movies measure up to the Pixar standard of "Monsters, Inc.," "Toy Story," "Ratatouille" and the like. (I'd argue that Pixar's films aren't just some of the best family films of recent years, but some of the best films around, period.)
"Good screenwriting needs to be part of Hollywood’s plan to increase business into theaters. I’m surprised with the likes of [Steven] Spielberg ('E.T.'), Christopher Columbus ('Home Alone'), and Rob Reiner ('Princess Bride') running production companies that the focus on well-crafted stories has gone to the side for increased profits for video games rights and product rights (toys/clothing)," wrote Ryan. I don't agree with you on Columbus, Ryan, but your overall point is exactly right.
Still, if you want something for the whole family, they're out there. "Where are all the good family films? They are everywhere, but it does take some effort to locate them," wrote Mark Orsted. So read reviews, scan Netflix and your video store, and vote with your pocketbook: Hollywood always listens to the sound of money.
- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer
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