Archive for September, 2013

Legends of the Fall TV Season

September 30, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Projecting a TV series’ long-term prospects on the basis of a single broadcast is a puzzling seasonal compulsion, a ritual on par with the creation of back-to-school macaroni art. Just as you can’t accurately predict that your kid is going to grow up to be the next Robert Rauschenberg on the basis of his facility with elbow macaroni and Elmer’s Glue, nor can any meaningful conclusions be drawn from Premiere Week ratings. Still, who are we to tamper or dally with tradition? (Besides, what sort of monster begrudges macaroni art?) Here’s what the first week of Nielsen data tells us about the 2013-14 TV season: 1) Broadcast isn’t dead. It’s not even sick. Through Sept. 26, the Big Four were up 5 percent in the 18-49 demo versus the year-ago period. Some of that had to do with healthy sampling of new series— Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) bowed to a brawny 12.1 million viewers and a 4.7 rating, NBC’s The Blacklist drew 12.6 million viewers and a 3.8 in the demo, and CBS’ The Crazy Ones scared up an insane 15.6 million viewers/4.0 rating—but the returning series were no slouches, either. The CBS warhorse NCIS returned to a whopping 20 million viewers, The Big Bang Theory put up a monster 5.6 rating, and NBC’s The Voice surpassed expectations with 15.0 million viewers and a 5.1 in the dollar demo. 2) Crime pays. Genre slays. Along with the aforementioned NCIS, CBS’ Criminal Minds and NBC’s deathless Law & Order: SVU continued to pack ’em in

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Brad Schwartz Discusses the Upcoming Challenges for the Fastest Growing Network in the Country

September 30, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who Brad Schwartz New gig president, entertainment and media, TVGN Old gig svp, programming and operations, Fuse Age 42 So what’s your mission at TVGN? We are still in the early days of our evolution and we’re working very hard to define our “why?” so I will have to get back to you on the mission. Our goals, though, are easy. We want to build a strong and differentiated brand. Build a team of crusaders. Inspire bold content and creative. Create an emotional attachment to audiences, deliver an engaging environment for advertisers and build a successful business and have a blast doing it. Will you be changing the network’s name? We have a wonderful brand project. We have 83 million homes, we have two great owners, we’re the fastest growing network in the country. We have to package all that up into a personality that makes an emotional connection with audiences. That’s the first thing you do. What you’re called, what you look like—that’s the window dressing once you know who you are. I can’t say definitively that we’ll be changing the name, but if we do it will be the very last thing that happens. Will the ubiquitous TVGN programming grid continue to be part of the schedule? No. By the end of this year we’ll be a full-screen entertainment destination in 95 percent of our homes. Who’s your target audience? We have a very dedicated female audience and roots in celebrity, entertainment and pop culture. Those are two anchors of the brand’s future and the basis of our content strategy

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Ad Agencies Flock to MIPCOM In Search of Branded Content

September 30, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Jeffrey Schlesinger, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Television, first noticed the changing vibe at MIPCOM a few years back. The global programming bazaar held every fall in Cannes, France, had for decades attracted many of the same distributors and content producers—an ocean away from the business-as-usual domestic TV business. But the same tectonic changes in technology and media that disrupted domestic TV have since spilled onto the beaches of the French Riviera, opening all sorts of global business opportunities for the old guard.

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Film Review: ‘Love Is the Perfect Crime’

September 30, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

A typically riveting turn by Mathieu Amalric keeps this twisty and increasingly bizarre thriller from going off the rails.

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Revolution Ventures Closes $200 Million Fund

September 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Revolution Ventures, the venture capital arm of Revolution LLC, run by former AOL CEO Steve Case, has closed a new $200 million venture fund. Led by Case and partners Tige Savage and David Golden, the group plans to take a targeted approach, making a small number of annual investments in early-stage startups. The group will bring four of its previous portfolio companies — BenchPrep, Booker Software Inc., Homesnap and RunKeeper — into the new fund. “Indeed, in some ways, the Revolution Ventures fund is a ‘throwback’ to the early days of venture capital,” the group said in a company blog post. “We are not just investors, but experienced business builders who have the expertise and passion to be actively involved with the companies we back.” “In keeping with that throwback VC model, we appreciate the value of multiple, smart perspectives and often welcome other leading investors to join us as backers of promising companies,” the post said. The new fund’s investment focus, according to the announcement, will be companies aiming to “disrupt large industries in markets where people are already spending lots of money.” Savage and Golden will handle day-to-day business and leadership for the fund.

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15 A-List Actors Who Made the Leap to the Director’s Chair

September 29, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, “”Don Jon,” sparked an intense bidding war at Sundance, with Relativity Media forking out $4 million with a commitment to spent $25 million for P&A. With “Don” opening this weekend with $9M at the box office, Variety opened the archives to see what our critics and reporters said about other established... Read more

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Blockbuster iPhone Sales and Flipboard’s New Round: AllThingsD’s Week in Review

September 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Apple The 5c iPhone comes in green, blue, yellow and pink, as well as white. Another busy week in the digital world has passed, complete with our full coverage. Here’s a download of the top news this week, in case you missed it: Despite concerns from analysts and pundits, Apple managed to sell a whopping nine million new iPhones over the first weekend of release. Those numbers, however, weren’t broken out in terms of how many were 5s devices versus 5c — perhaps we’ll hear more on the quarterly earnings call. The NYPD would really love it if all Apple mobile device users — especially those buying new iPhones — would download iOS 7. The new software comes with added security features, which could help deter theft. Flipboard, the social magazine startup, raised a hefty $50 million in a round led by Rizvi Traverse Management and Goldman Sachs. The company seems to be growing steadily, too; at last count, CEO Mike McCue said Flipboard has more than 85 million users. It was round two for Microsoft’s Surface tablets, as the company released the next generation of its mobile computing devices. You need to read Peter Kafka’s hilarious account of the launch . IHS tore apart the guts of the latest iPhone releases to figure out how much it costs Apple to build them. The result? Around $200 a pop — not entirely different than the last generation.

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‘Nebraska’ Widens Oscar Buzz After Weekend Screenings

September 29, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

When Paramount's "Nebraska" bowed in Cannes, the reaction was positive, but a little muted; most of the attention was on the performance of Bruce Dern (who went on to win the prize for best actor).

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Electronic Arts Reaches Settlement With College Athletes in Lawsuit

September 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

EA Sports, the athletic division of game-making giant Electronic Arts, agreed this week to settle ongoing lawsuits with college athletes whose likenesses the company used it its games. The lawsuits, which were filed more than four years ago by retired UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon, called into question current practices around how athletes’ images, names and likenesses are used in videogames and on broadcast television. It could have implications on whether players would have a share in the millions in profits involved around college sports. Earlier this week, Cam Weber, EA Sports general manager of American Football, said in a company blog post that E.A. would not be publishing a 2014 college football title, and will continue to mull the future of the company’s massively successful franchise. “The ongoing legal issues combined with increased questions surrounding schools and conferences have left us in a difficult position,” Weber wrote. “One that challenges our ability to deliver an authentic sports experience, which is the very foundation of EA Sports games.” As a result of the individual settlements, the terms of which were not disclosed, only the NCAA remains as the sole plaintiff in dispute with EA.

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Wireless-Charging Firm PowerbyProxi Lands $4 Million Investment From Samsung

September 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Wireless-charging startup PowerbyProxi announced on Sunday that Samsung’s venture arm is investing $4 million in the company as part of an ongoing Series C funding round. PowerbyProxi’s wireless-charging system is designed to allow multiple devices to be placed on a single charger, and permits more flexibility in how the devices are positioned. “Receiving this investment from the world’s leading consumer electronics brand is a clear endorsement of our wireless power IP portfolio,” PowerbyProxi CEO Greg Cross said in a statement. Samsung Ventures America senior investment manager Michael Pachos will join PowerbyProxi’s board, and the two companies are also forming a strategic partnership. “We believe that wireless power transfer is going to significantly change the way consumers use and interact with their devices at home and on the go,” Pachos said in a statement. “Our investment in PowerbyProxi is consistent with our strategy to work closely with established market leaders. PowerbyProxi is a technology leader and has built a significant business in the wireless power transfer space. The company has demonstrated both a technical and business vision in driving the adoption of wireless power transfer and we look forward to contributing to its progress.” Earlier this year, PowerbyProxi joined the Wireless Power Consortium , the backer of the Qi standard. The WPC is one of several competing efforts, including the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and Power Matters Alliance . Starbucks gave a jolt to the Power Matters Alliance, announcing in July that it was doing an expanded trial in Silicon Valley using that group’s technology.

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