Archive for July, 2013

Cheryl Boone Isaacs Elected President of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

July 31, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

New president will succeed Hawk Koch.

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Review of Google’s New Chromecast

July 31, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

[ See post to watch video ] Google is trying to change television watching again, after the tepid response to its Google TV product a few years back. This time, instead of building a complex system to bring apps and Internet video to the TV, the search giant is taking a simpler approach. It has built a small, inexpensive device called Chromecast that wirelessly streams to the TV screen the video and music from tablets, smartphones and laptops you already own and know how to use. Chromecast is a small fob, about the size and shape of a USB flash drive, that plugs into a standard HDMI port, the kind found on almost every HDTV. It costs just $35. It connects to your Wi-Fi network and can stream video and audio from tablets and smartphones running Google’s own Android operating system, as well as Apple’s iPhones and iPads. It can also stream Web pages to the TV from Google’s Chrome browser running on Apple’s Mac laptops, Windows laptops and Google’s top-of-the-line Pixel Chromebook laptop. What users see while waiting to start beaming content from a device to Chromecast

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Brett Ratner, Nicolas Chartier, Robert Luketic Board Thriller (EXCLUSIVE)

July 31, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Brett Ratner and Nicolas Chartier have come on board to produce indie thriller “In the Company of Lies” with Robert Luketic directing. Chartier’s Votage Pictures will finance and produce with Ratner’s Rat Entertainment producing alongside Sentinel Pictures. Luketic just wrapped “Paranoia,” starring Liam Hemsworth and Harrison Ford. “In the Company of Lies,” written by Chris... Read more

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Facebook to Make TV-Size Video Ad Play: Up to $2.5 Mil per Day

July 30, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Facebook is gearing up a bid to siphon off ad dollars away from TV — aiming to mimic the reach of television to millions of eyeballs, but combined with the targeting of the Internet. It’s not clear whether Facebook users will “like” TV-like ads shoved into their newsfeeds, but the social-media giant believes it can... Read more

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Google’s New Nexus 7: The Budget Tablet to Beat

July 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

[ See post to watch video ] Does size still matter? Just a year ago, Google introduced its Nexus 7, a mini tablet for $199 that posed a real challenge to Apple’s bigger, pricier iPad. Three months later, Apple retaliated with its own small tablet, the iPad Mini, though its $329 price wasn’t, well, mini enough for some. Now, a year after the introduction of the first Nexus 7, Google has unveiled a revamped version of its mini tablet with better features and a slightly bigger $229 price tag. Starting July 30, this new Nexus 7 is available in a dozen retail outlets including Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Amazon. I tested it for the past week and found myself drawn to this sturdy, elegant, responsive device from a company once known primarily for its search prowess. The most notable difference between this new Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini is screen quality: The Nexus has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 with 323 pixels per inch, and the iPad Mini’s screen resolution is just 1024 x 768 and 163 pixels per inch. It is also slightly lighter than its Apple rival. So what’s not to like about the new Nexus 7? For one thing, its 7-inch screen isn’t as big as the nearly 8-inch iPad Mini’s. While an inch of difference isn’t remarkable, smartphone screens are growing to over 5 inches, making the Nexus 7 look more like one of those than a tablet. Another drawback: In my test, the new Nexus 7′s battery life was underwhelming. Compared with the same battery test of the iPad Mini and first Nexus 7, it fell short at just six hours; the others clocked in at 10 hours and 27 minutes and 10 hours and 44 minutes, respectively. Google claims the battery life can last over nine hours, but the company tests it in Airplane mode (Internet connection off), with screen brightness set to 44% while playing video.

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NBC Closes Final Upfront Deal

July 30, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In what will go on the books as one of the most drawn-out upfront seasons in recent memory, NBCUniversal has finalized its last major agency deal. Having finished its business with GroupM, NBCU closes the door on a particularly contentious upfront bazaar. While Fox , CBS and the CW effectively finished their deal making in early- to mid-June, NBCU faced pushback from buyers who refused to yield on price. That said, NBCU appears to have achieved its objectives, dramatically improving the CPMs at USA Network while fetching much more competitive rates for NBC prime-time programming. Years of underdeliveries had so stunted NBC’s value that inventory in big-reach shows like Revolution initially sold for a relative pittance. Per SQAD NetCosts data, a 30-second spot in Revolution last fall fetched $90,000 ; sources said NBC secured much higher rates for many of its upcoming series, including The Michael J. Fox Show and The Blacklist. NBC locked in CPM premiums of 7 percent to 8 percent over last year’s rates. Buyers said that the higher rates at the flagship and at USA Network were balanced out by much more moderate increases across NBCU’s portfolio. Given the price increases and an 80 percent sellout rate, NBC is likely to have booked nearly $2 billion in advance commitments. That’s well above analysts’ early projections , which suggested that NBC was likely to achieve volume of $1.8 billion—flat versus the 2012-13 bazaar. Sources said NBCU CEO Steve Burke was called in to help close the GroupM deal. The network did not reply to inquiries into its upfront status. NBC’s final upfront deal was hashed out on the eve of Comcast’s second quarter earnings call. The broadcast and cable TV segments in 2012 accounted for a little more than one-fourth (27 percent) of Comcast’s overall revenue. In Q1, the cable portfolio (which includes USA, Bravo, Syfy, E!, NBC Sports Network, Oxygen and the soon-to-be-rebranded G4) generated $2.23 billion in total revenue , while NBC’s broadcast operations took in $1.52 billion. With NBCU having folded its tent, ABC is the last broadcaster still seated at the negotiating table. The network is at an impasse with GroupM over pricing, holding firm on a 7 percent CPM hike. While NBC and ABC toiled well beyond the unofficial July 4 deadline, this sort of foot-dragging upfront seems to happen every three or four years. The last time negotiations dragged into August was in 2009, when a crippling recession erased nearly $3 billion in broadcast volume

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ESPN Picks Its 10 Favorite SportsCenter Commercials

July 30, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

ESPN's "This Is SportsCenter" is among the handful of classic sports ad campaigns of all time. Launched in 1995 by Wieden + Kennedy in New York, the campaign—originally inspired by the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap—hasn't changed much over the years. And why would it? You don't mess with a winning formula. The premise of the ads, as we've noted before, is that ESPN's Bristol, Conn., offices are the center of the sports universe—a surreal yet mundane fantasy world where athletes and mascots live and work together with anchors and journalists. Where other marketers portray athletes as superhuman, "This Is SportsCenter" presents them as comically, relatably human. Eighteen years and more than 400 spots later, the campaign continues. As part of the Adweek story linked above, W+K drew up a list of its 10 favorite SportsCenter ads. Now, ESPN has one-upped its agency—devoting a whole special to its 50 favorite SportsCenter spots of all time. The show, airing this Thursday at 8 p.m. ET and hosted by Jason Sudeikis, will feature anecdotes and stories about the top 50, and fans are encouraged to vote for their favorite spot over on Facebook. Sudeikis will announce the winning spot on the show. (More than 1 million votes have been cast so far.) Check out the program on Thursday, and click the link below for a sneak peek at ESPN's official top 10 favorite "This Is SportsCenter" commercials. Video Gallery: ESPN's 10 Favorite 'This Is SportsCenter' Ads

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Pepe Aguilar Signs with WME

July 30, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Mexican singer-producer Pepe Aguilar has inked with WME. The four-time Grammy winner has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide and has also founded several music labels dedicated to traditional Mexican music and Spanish-language rock. Aguilar is the son of Mexican film and music icons Antonio Aguilar and Flor Silvestre. He is also repped by... Read more

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MIT Releases Report on Deceased Activist Aaron Swartz

July 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has released a review of its actions in a case involving Aaron Swartz, the Internet activist who committed suicide last year. The report concluded that MIT’s actions were “reasonable, appropriate and made in good faith,” but that the university “missed an opportunity to demonstrate the leadership that we pride ourselves on.” A number of activist groups immediately condemned the report, including Swartz’s partner Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, who called MIT’s findings “a whitewash” of the facts.

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