1. THE INFATUATION ACQUIRES ZAGAT FROM GOOGLE: Restaurant review website The Infatuation has acquired restaurant review brand Zagat from Google. The New York Times: “The deal will bolster the profile of the nine-year-old The Infatuation. But it also raises questions about whether Zagat, once the 800-pound gorilla of restaurant recommendations, can remain relevant when a slew of younger digital competitors have emerged and thrived. ounded by Tim and Nina Zagat as a survey of their friends’ opinions on New York City eateries, Zagat and its quotation-mark-laden reviews—appearing in the company’s distinctive burgundy-colored guidebooks—once made the publisher synonymous with searches for restaurants. Then Google bought the company—under the direction of Marissa Mayer, who went on to become Yahoo’s chief executive—to integrate it into its mapping service. Life under Google has sometimes been rocky for the business, including a de-emphasizing of Zagat content in favor of Google’s own collected recommendations. … Now Zagat’s future lies with a nine-year-old business founded by Mr. Stang and Andrew Steinthal, two former music industry executives who initially wanted a way to recommend restaurants and bars to their friends. That side project eventually became The Infatuation, whose in-house team of reviewers covers restaurants in cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. The company has succeeded in part by embracing technologies both new and old: It popularized ‘#EEEEEATS’ as a branded hashtag on Instagram, and runs a slew of food-related accounts on the social network. It also rolled out Text Rex, a texting recommendation service staffed by humans to recommend eateries for users’ particular situations.” http://nyti.ms/2CZC8Ej
2. N.F.L. FORMS NEW TICKETING PARTNERSHIP WITH SEATGEEK: Mobile ticketing start-up SeatGeek has become the new distribution partner of the N.F.L. Bloomberg: “The partnership lets New York City-based SeatGeek, a relative newcomer to the industry, sell verified NFL tickets through its own marketplace starting this year. That could include primary tickets sold directly from clubs as well as resale tickets listed by fans, inventory simultaneously listed through the other companies. 'Our goal has been to prove to teams that they will benefit from being open, as opposed to the closed, legacy systems,' said SeatGeek co-founder Russ D’Souza. 'Now the largest league in the world is embracing the concept, and we’re thrilled to be part of that network.' ... The new approach to ticketing allows NFL franchises to sell in more places, all while keeping data from the transactions, which is important for both security and fan outreach. Many in the ticket industry consider it the future of the marketplace, and the NFL is the first U.S. sports league to embrace it with all of its teams. For SeatGeek, the deal moves it alongside the industry’s biggest companies for access to NFL inventory. Football fans will be able to buy tickets instantaneously and transfer them seamlessly through the SeatGeek site—all with the guarantee that the ticket is real and hasn’t been double-sold. Such fraudulent sales are rare, but they do happen, and the specter looms over the entire resale industry. D’Souza compared the open ticketing model to what ride-sharing apps like Uber have done for transportation: now that rides are available at the click of a button, more people take them." https://bloom.bg/2H92rKy
3. OSCARS RATINGS HIT NEW LOW: The ratings for the 90th Academy Awards hit a new low with 26.5 million viewers on Sunday. Los Angeles Times: “The average audience for the broadcast was down 19.5% from last year's 32.9 million viewers and under the previous low of 32 million viewers in 2008, according to data from Nielsen. ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel was the emcee of Sunday's telecast, his second consecutive year in the role. Jon Stewart hosted in 2008. The steep decline can be attributed to the challenge that all major television events face: the emergence of streaming online video. With so many programming options, even a major awards telecast that is perennially the most-watched entertainment program of the year is no longer an automatic default choice for viewers. The Grammy Awards and the Super Bowl both experienced ratings declines this year. The Oscars' television audience also has been dropping in recent years as voting members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences have tended to celebrate smaller movies. The 2018 winner for best picture, ‘The Shape of Water,’ has earned $57.4 million at the box office in the United States and Canada, making it the highest-grossing honoree in the category since ‘Argo’ in 2013.” http://lat.ms/2FUcGmw
* LOCAL NEWS *
LOS ANGELES: The 19th annual Newport Beach Film Festival will take place April 26-May 3 at venues in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, and Santa Ana.
For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles
MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA: Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s 17th annual Ruby Gala will take place May 19 at Hilton Miami Downtown. Presented by Wells Fargo, the event will honor corporate and individual supporters of the Miami-Dade L.G.B.T. community.
NEW ORLEANS: The Jung Hotel & Residences has opened in the Biomedical Innovation District. The 207-room hotel has 21,000 square feet of meeting and event space, which includes an exhibit hall and a rooftop pool deck. The hotel can host receptions for as many as 900 guests.
NEW YORK: Insecure star and creator Issa Rae will host the C.F.D.A. Fashion Awards June 4 at the Brooklyn Museum. C.F.D.A.: http://bit.ly/2H6b9Js
The William Vale, a multi-use destination in Williamsburg, has appointed Deanna Thomas director of sales and marketing.
For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork
ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA: Dezer Development has purchased the former Artegon Marketplace for $23.7 million. The developer plans to turn the 104-acre property into an entertainment complex called Dezerland Action Park, which will include a relocated Dezer Collection Auto Museum from North Miami.
TORONTO: The TIFF Kids International Film Festival will take place March 9-18. The event will screen more than 100 films from 40 countries.
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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.
BizBash Daily is the must-read digest of event industry news from BizBash.com.
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