Why Networks Are Going for Broke This Summer

May 26, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

For decades, the broadcast networks took the idea of summer vacation quite literally—programming reruns and other filler content from June through mid-September, much to the frustration of advertisers. Those days are finally over, as broadcasters follow the lead of cable and, more recently, Netflix, by packing their summer slates with big series presented in unique ways that help audiences more easily consume content and aid advertisers in reaching viewers. "Summer is a critical time period for so many advertisers: back-to-school, retail, summer movies," noted Darcy Bowe, vp, media director at Starcom. "You really want to get your message out there, but because the broadcasters weren't programming anything new, people were trained not to watch TV in the summer." NBC is the first broadcaster to pull a Netflix with the May 28 debut of limited series Aquarius, starring David Duchovny. Immediately after the network premiere, the entire 13-episode series will be available to stream at NBC's website, on its mobile app and via other VOD platforms. The network will continue to air new episodes each week, but audiences can choose to binge on the entire series at once. Meanwhile, CBS has partnered with Netflix for its big summer premiere, Zoo, which will stream on the service as soon as its CBS run has concluded. Cable is also trying a nonlinear approach to summer programming. USA comedy Playing House returns for Season 2 in August with a VOD windowing strategy. Each episode will be made available on VOD one week before it airs on the network, with creator/stars Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair partnering with advertisers to create customized content. "If you have Toyota or one of our other sponsors in there, you'll be able to create content that's about Playing House but also about the sponsor as well," said Chris McCumber, USA's president. Because these shows are airing outside the September-to-May TV season, broadcasters have the flexibility to experiment without affecting the traditional fall schedule. Robert Greenblatt, NBC Entertainment chairman, said his network was able to stream Aquarius in full (the ad load of the linear broadcast will mirror that of VOD) because production on the entire season had already wrapped—unlike with most broadcast production schedules, which are only a few weeks ahead of an episode's airdate. Thanks to CBS' deal with Netflix, Zoo (based on the James Patterson novel) will be profitable before the drama even debuts on June 30. That gives the network a safety net as it attempts to lure a different audience during the summer months. Like CBS summer series Under the Dome and Extant, "Zoo is a big, epic-looking and feeling show," said CBS Entertainment chair Nina Tassler. "And they're all highly serialized. We don't do that during the regular season, so summer allows us to recruit new viewers and bring them into fall." While USA routinely airs series during the summer, "we've always seen August as an opportunity because it feels like there's a little bit of a dead space there," said McCumber. "So we thought it would be a great space to put Playing House where it will get more attention … and on top of that create a new opportunity for advertisers to come in and sell it in a different way." Advertisers worry whether digital platforms will cannibalize viewership on terrestrial television

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Why CBS Is Replacing David Letterman With Reruns of The Mentalist

May 26, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

How do you follow an icon like David Letterman and his perfect Late Show finale last Wednesday? For CBS, the answer might seem surprising: Simon Baker. Do not adjust your television sets; CBS is indeed currently airing repeats of The Mentalist, starring Baker, in the 11:30 p.m. late-night time slot Letterman occupied since 1993. In fact, all summer, until The Late Show with Stephen Colbert debuts Sept. 8, the network will show repeats of a different CBS drama each week

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Alias Maria’

May 26, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

A sobering social-issue movie set in a milieu so different from our own that it practically feels like science fiction, Jose Luis Rugeles’ “Alias Maria” embeds audiences among a group of Colombian guerrillas, where children are forced to fight alongside adults.

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Chinese Thriller ‘Silent Witness’ to Get Korean Remake

May 24, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Chinese crime thriller “Silent Witness” is to be remade in South Korea.

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Cannes: Steven Paul Unveils Asian Talent Management Plans

May 24, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Veteran U.S. independent producer Steven Paul has unveiled plans to expand into Asian talent management.

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Two Friends’

May 24, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Some bigscreen love stories leave you wondering what the central couple saw in each other in the first place, but not “Two Friends.”

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Masaan’

May 24, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

“Masaan” is a heartfelt yet overambitious tale of class and gender inequality in contempo India, in which debuting helmer Neeraj Ghaywan can’t overcome script and editing weaknesses.

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USA’s Playing House Stars Hilariously Explain TV Industry Acronyms

May 22, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Acronyms were flying at the upfronts last week , which is why we brought you the guide to sorting out MVPD, SVOD and everything in between. NBCU Cable Entertainment had the same idea, only they tapped the eps, writers and stars of the USA comedy Playing House to give a more humorous take. In this video, which was played at the NBCU Cable Entertainment upfront, Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair break down the acronyms that dominate how TV is produced, sold and viewed.

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13.8 Million Watch David Letterman Finale

May 21, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

David Letterman's final Late Show was watched by 13.76 million viewers, making it the Late Show's largest audience since Feb. 25, 1994, on a night that saw CBS' coverage of the Lillehammer Olympics. The finale had his best delivery in the adults 25-54 and adults 18-49 demos since Dec. 1, 2005—the night of Oprah Winfrey's much-anticipated appearance. The final Letterman Late Show , which ran 80 minutes, also gave a boost to The Late Late Show with James Corden—it had its largest audience ever, despite starting 20 minutes late. As for how Letterman's final bow compares to previous late-night farewells: Johnny Carson's Tonight Show finale | May 22, 1992: 41.36 million Jay Leno's second Tonight Show finale | Feb. 26, 2014: 14.63 million Jay Leno's first Tonight Show finale | May 29, 2009: 11.9 million Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show finale | Jan. 22, 2010: 10.34 million The Letterman finale also gave a boost to several brands, according to Amobee Brand Intelligence analysis. Taco Bell saw digital consumption increase 103 percent in a day, while The Church of Scientology saw a consumption increase of 444 percent

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Cannes Film Review: ‘The Chosen Ones’

May 21, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Combining immaculate formal composure with intrepid thematic sangfroid in a comparable manner to fellow new-school Mexican filmmakers Amat Escalante and Michel Franco, David Pablos makes a purposeful, largely successful play for attention with his sophomore feature.

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