Web TV Players Turn Up the Heat on Cable Providers

March 18, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Just over two months ago, Dish unveiled Sling TV at the Consumer Electronics Show. It was a big deal: the service offers premium cable channels like AMC, Adult Swim and the 400 lb. gorilla of cable networks, ESPN, and at $30 a month, live. Its slogan? "Take back TV." Monday, news that Apple is planning a similar creation leaked to The Wall Street Journal—indeed, the service is set to include every broadcaster except NBC (and thus none of NBC's sister networks, either) and several cable channels, and to run between $30 and $40 a month. A few days earlier, Sony announced that its own TV service, revealed at last year's CES, was literally ready for primetime—it, too, will have broadcast networks (only ABC was still holding out) and several cable players involved, including Viacom, which owns all-important Nickelodeon. Sony's similar Vue service went live today

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Yes, Syfy Is Really Going to Call It ‘Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No’

March 18, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Sharknado 3, for serious, is going to be subtitled Oh Hell No, as though the entire film was a guest on the Jerry Springer Show that just found out its husband was actually a woman and had been sleeping with its dad. Its dad being Sharknado 2: The Second One. Springer actually has a cameo in the third film, by the by. We're disappointed the writers didn't go with any of our pitches , but we'll make do. The thing that's kind of awesome about the Sharknado movies is that they are freakishly popular despite, or perhaps as a result of, reveling in low production values, cameos by whoever happened to be wandering the halls of 30 Rock, and absurd set pieces. Fun fact: We actually talked to Ian Ziering about the scenes in Sharknado 2 where (spoiler!) he carves up airborne sharks with his chainsaw hand. He said he basically grimaces and poses dramatically in front of a green screen and they add the blood-spurting sharks in post production. Sharknado 2 got a 1.6 rating when it premiered and does reliably well in reruns, too—it's the network's equivalent of comfort food. Oh Hell No will star series veterans Ziering and Tara Reid. And Cassie Scerbo, who was in the first film, will return as Nova. The movie will debut on Syfy on July 22, just after Comic-Con International: San Diego. Nova's parents, obviously, will be David Hasselhoff and Bo Derek

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8 Ways Fox Could Keep Empire’s Momentum Going After the Season Finale

March 18, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Fox is about to have the happiest and saddest day of its 2014-15 season. No, that day is not today, even though tonight marks the two-hour season finale to its breakout hit, Empire. Instead, that moment will come tomorrow morning, when overnight ratings finally come in and will almost certainly reveal an unbelievable 10th week of growth in total viewers. The audience began at 9.9 million in its January debut and has continued growing to 14.9 million last week. Ratings in the coveted 18-49 demo have also grown from a 3.8 for the first episode to 5.8 last week. Could it crack a 6 tonight?

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CBS Gets Into the Big Data Game

March 17, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

CBS may have launched a new streaming service (and announced a new one for daughter network Showtime on the heels of the Apple press conference where HBO Now was unveiled), but traditional TV is where it's at, as far as the television company is concerned. Today, the company unveiled a new product designed to demonstrate TV's reach power to CBS clients, which it's calling "Campaign Performance Audit," or CPA. In a world full of official-sounding initials, CPA stands out for its amalgamation of third-party metrics into a single data set; CPA's info pulls together numbers from Nielsen units including Catalina Solutions, Buyer Insights, MotorStats, MRI Fusion, Brand Effects and Cambridge Media Demand Landscape. There's also some proprietary data on ad effectiveness done out of CBS's studio complex Television City, but the message here is pretty clear: CBS is in the traditional TV biz to stay. "Research shows that network television is the most powerful medium in building both brand awareness and equity for marketers," the network's chief research officer David Poltrack said in the company's statement to press. CBS's more-for-us attitude could reap dividends if its competitors choose to focus on digital properties in the coming months, which seems to be the direction the wind is blowing. As services like Apple TV, Sling and Sony's upcoming Vue service roll out and gain traction, plenty of players are casting about for sexier options than old-fashioned television. CBS is contending that TV is still the most efficient. The TV ad market is experiencing some trouble, efficient or not: the Standard Media Index reported today that ad spending had declined 4 percent last month when compared to the same time last year. Some of this was simply falloff across all networks reflected in the absence of the Sochi Olympics from the airwaves, the report said, but auto was down 21 percent and financial services was off by 18 percent. Telco, of course, was up.

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Researchers Find Optimum Times to Run March Madness Ads

March 17, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Selection Sunday just hit, but who's going to get paid? Turner and CBS, certainly. Ad sales for the 67 games are up a reported 10 percent, with digital sales accounting for fully $85 million of the ad bucks spent on the wall-to-wall basketball tourney as of Friday . But when are the best times to run those ads? Rolfe Swinton of RealityMine says the key isn't suspense. "People aren't necessarily watching the final days in the greatest numbers," Swinton said—if your team gets knocked out, you're less interested. Digital is growing but TV is still primary for Madness viewers, with 44.7 percent of consumption taking place there as opposed to 27.2 percent on computer (read: at work) and 16.3 percent on mobile. (The rest is radio.) Oh, and happiness increases over the course of the day. As does frustration, of course.

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3 TV Shows That Have Awesomely Come to Life at SXSW

March 16, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It's not just interactive technologies, film and music at the South by Southwest festival on March 13 through March 21. Several TV brands came to Austin and created experiential activations that let fans delve deeper into their favorite shows, as well as introduced the programs to potential new audiences. Here's a few of our favorites. The Simpsons Kwik-E-Mart Truck

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4 TV Shows That Have Awesomely Come to Life at SXSW

March 16, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It's not just interactive technologies, film and music at the South by Southwest festival on March 13 through March 21. Several TV brands came to Austin and devised experiential activations that let fans delve deeper into their favorite shows, as well as introduced the programs to potential new audiences. Here's a few of our favorites. The Simpsons Kwik-E-Mart Truck

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4 Warnings for Those Trying to Make the Next Jinx or Serial

March 16, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

This weekend, HBO won one of those queasy victories available only to true-crime documentarians and war-crime prosecutors at The Hague. The subject of the network's multi-part documentary series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, a wealthy guy who (at least as far as the show is concerned) pretty obviously murdered some people, was arrested shortly before the finale showed him

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Take a Tour of HBO’s Pretty Awesome SXSWesteros Game of Thrones Activation [Video]

March 14, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Austin is swarming with interesting and weird activations at this year's South by Southwest. And HBO's Game of Thrones experience, cleverly named "SXSWesteros," is a particular standout.

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The Walking Dead Spin-off Will Share Only 6 Seconds With the Original

March 14, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The upcoming Walking Dead spin-off on AMC will barely reference the original show. But fear not, zombie lovers. It will be a lot like the current show in one crucial way. As executive producer David Alpert puts it, it will be "really f—ked up." Alpert—who helped bring the original show and the sequel to AMC—spoke here in Austin on Friday night at a dinner hosted by ad agency Mullen and The Daily Beast. In a conversation with Beast editor in chief John Avlon, Alpert said the producers didn't want the typical type of spin-off. "We didn't want to do the traditional thing where you take Joey from Friends and create Joey," he said

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