New York, NY (PRWEB) May 3, 2006
The cast and crew of the hot new teen musical “In Your Dreams” -- http://myspace.com/inyourdreamsthemusical -- issued a statement today congratulating America’s largest entertainment conglomerate, Time Warner Inc., on its first quarter earnings surprise -- but in a unusual twist, urged the entertainment giant to consider a corporate name change to avoid an inappropriately calm earnings future.
Analysts had predicted Time Warner Inc. (TWX) would earn $0.20 per share on revenues of $10.89 billion, when it reports first quarter results. In the year-ago period, the company earned $0.18 per share on revenues of $10.48 billion.
“That’s a two cent rise,” noted Zeke Farrow, the Miramax-linked creator of America’s hottest new teen musical, “In Your Dreams,” which is taking on Disney Channel’s “High School Musical” in a hotly fought battle for the $170 billion teen entertainment market. “And that’s way better than a one-cent or even a no-cent rise. Multiply that by the extraordinarily large number of shares outstanding, and that’s a lot of wampum.”
But despite the firm’s continued profitability, Merrill Lynch recently lowered its estimates for Time Warner due to weakness at its AOL division. “There is widespread belief that the company's other divisions, namely HBO, Warner Brothers and Time Warner Cable are all doing well,” says Farrow. “And therefore the weakness at the AOL division would be mitigated.”
Looking forward, Time Warner is expected to launch a social networking product to be called AIM Pages in order to lift its ailing AOL unit, Farrow notes, and is reportedly contemplating a job cut at its magazine unit, Time, Inc.
Still, earnings remain unduly calm, and that should be a major cause for concern, Farrow feels.
“There’s a great song in our new teen musical that directly applies to the situation here called ‘Put the I in Team (If You Want to Scream 'I Win!'),'” says Farrow, who wrote “In Your Dreams” -- http://myspace.com/inyourdreamsthemusical -- in partnership with Marc Shaiman-protégé Lucian Piane. “And, on a broad, symbolic level, that is perhaps what Time Warner needs to do – send a message to consumers that consumers are the 'I' in the Time Warner team.”
What’s the best way to do that? According to Farrow – and other experts -– the solution may be to retire the firm’s current non-team-building moniker, Time Warner, and replace it with a more empowering corporate name, MyTimeWarner.
“In a similar vein, the firm should consider changing its magazine to 'OurTime,' and its new AOL product to ‘YourAIM,’” explains Farrow. “Our, my and your are consumer empowerment words. It’s the Tivo world, it’s the Google world – the power is with the consumer. Whether it’s Coke or Diet Coke, it’s your choice.”
According to Farrow, Yahoo pioneered this concept when it introduced a personalization service called My Yahoo in 1996. “That has now grown to about 55 million unique users each month, which may actually be a few more than AOL has," Farrow says. As Yahoo recently explained about its strategy, the “My Yahoo” name was chosen to "indicate to people it's a site they can create for themselves and can be personal to them."
Since then, the "My" trend has spread like wildfire, to include even Roger Ailes' newly launched Fox television network, My Network TV. "If you talk to people who like soaps, they'll say, 'That's my soap,' Or if you're a sports fan, what do you say? 'That's my team,'" explained MyNetworkTV CEO Jack Abernethy in a recent interview examining the trend.
Another example is Mycoke.com, which started as cokemusic.com but was renamed a year ago after extensive focus group testing determined that "what people loved to do most is take the site and make it their own, sharing music and film with their friends."
And there are many, many, many other examples, says Farrow. Farrow followed this advice himself when choosing the name for his hot new teen musical, “In Your Dreams,” an underdog challenger to the runaway Disney Channel cable hit, "High School Musical," the soundtrack of which has just gone triple-platinum.
“Our investors had wanted a more generic name – such as “Teen Musical” or even “The Teen Musical” -- but our focus groups ruled that out,” Farrow says. “We wanted the consumers of the musical to feel it had been created especially for them, that it was the result of something that they themselves had always hoped for and dreamed for but had never previously been quite able to identify or articulate –- hence the name, ‘In Your Dreams,’ with emphasis on the your. So while we were not the first to pioneer this ‘Your, My and Our’ strategy, we are certainly the most enthusiastic in implementing it.”
“In Your Dreams” is a large-scale, splashy, teen musical –- with just a dash of political satire. It centers around Helen, a seventeen-year-old girl who appears in three different incarnations: Black, Pink, and Blue. It opens with the bizarre introduction of Black Helen, a girl tortured by fellow students Melanie and Jordanna and secretly in love with Jared. We quickly learn that Black Helen is but a dream and as she fades and Pink Helen wakes up, we realize that Pink Helen’s life is a perfect, bubble gum musical. She is popular, she’s dating Jared, she has high hopes for a perfect day. And today is the day to beat all days. It is prom, and Helen is a front runner to win prom queen…until she learns that the “Popular Girls Caucus” has turned against her, and is even stuffing the ballot box to engineer her defeat!
What is helping to fuel the “In Your Dreams Express,” according to Farrow, are its 13 ingeniously lyrical songs, performed by a number of top Broadway singers, including “Trailer Park’s” Drama Desk-nominated Leslie Kritzer, “Wicked’s” Laura Bell Bundy, “Les Miserable’s” Jodie Langel, “Little Shop of Horror’s” Kerry Butler, “Thoroughly Modern Millie’s” Gavin Creel, “Hairspray’s” Jackie Hoffman, “The Full Monty’s” Sloan Just, and Anika Larsen, Danny Rocket and Anthony Rapp from “Rent.” Rhythm and blues artist Shayna Steele is also a contributor.
The stage version of “In Your Dreams” will see a showcase production at Ars Nova, the famed Manhattan performance incubator, later this summer, says Farrow.
Among those in the motion picture industry with a growing awareness of the significant market value that a theater-distributed rival to Disney’s cable-based “High School Musical” has to offer are Joss Wedon; Ryan Kavanaugh of Gun Hill Road; Thomas Tull and Scott Mednick of Legendary Pictures; Oliver Obst; Melrose Investors; Bob Osher; Steve Bing; Jeff Skoll; Tom Jacobson; Chris Meledandri; Nathan Lane; Philip Anshutz; Mark Platt; Elizabeth McCann; George Lane and Joe Keaton; Gus Gustawes and Kevin Morris of Just Keep Living; and Sarah Jessica Parker and Vanessa Taylor at Pretty Matches Productions, which is currently producing “The Washingtonienne,” a sit-com for HBO about a temptress who must turn tricks in the afternoon to pay her premium cable bill. Parker is also working on a project inspired by an incident in the life of a well-known New York publicist.
But to date the film rights remain unsold. “Ryan Markowitz and Mark Kaufman at New Line Cinema continue to pass, as does Christina Aguilera,” says Farrow. “And the woman at MTV remains vitriolic in her rejection of it.”
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