Wouldn’t you think it strange if you read a magazine article about a historically significant boxing match three weeks before the high profile release of a Hollywood film with the same title about the same boxing match and the movie is never mentioned in the article?

There is an excerpt from Jeremy Schaap’s new book, Cinderella Man, in this week’s Sports Illustrated. On June 3, Universal Pictures will release the movie Cinderella Man. Notice the similarities in the title. Sports Illustrated is owned by Time Warner. Universal Pictures is owned by Vivendi Universal. Schaap’s book is published by Houghton Mifflin which is, as far as I can tell, one of the few independent media outlets remaining.

We live in an era of multi mega merger media companies. Click here to get an outdated yet fascinating look at the holdings of the seven largest media entities. Time Warner’s current holdings include forty eight music labels, four film studios, thirty four television stations, three professional sports teams, twenty five publishers and forty four magazines. You get the picture.

In addition to the hardcover edition of Cinderella Man, there is a large print edition and an audio book both published by Random House, which is a global publishing conglomerate all by itself. Its holdings include ten publishing groups which in turn own over fifty five imprints.

Time Warner’s current holdings include forty eight music labels, four film studios, thirty four television stations, three professional sports teams, twenty five publishers and forty four magazines. You get the picture.

I’ve seen Sports Illustrated do this in reverse. They wrote a story about Million Dollar Baby in the runup to the Oscar awards. The article called it possibly one of the best fight films ever. Million Dollar Baby was released by Warner Bros. which is, of course, owned by Time Warner. The readers were not fooled. Sports Illustrated itself printed a letter from a reader castigating them for pretending to write an independent review of the movie.

We know that there are not too many of those any more. Time Magazine is owned by Time Warner. The new big Hollywood film on its cover does not belong to a studio in a rival media company, we can be sure of that.

Even Google is clamping down. They’re changing the rules for Google news searches. The website you are currently visiting, mostvaluablenetwork.com, is registered with Google news. If you’re looking for the results of yesterday’s Yankees game, Google news will return a set of links that could include a link to yankees.mostvaluablenetwork.com.

But now Google is going to filter sites by the length of the article, the number of employees and the traffic to the website. The larger media outlets which are owned by even larger media companies are going to get a still larger cut of the pie, as if they needed it. I assume the media companies have lobbyists. I wonder if they visited Google.

So here we have a book and movie with the same title but different media parents coming out at the same time with the same title. What to do? Print an excerpt of the book in Sports Illustrated and act like the movie doesn’t exist. Call it piggyback press – free publicity.

I wonder who chose their title first?

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