French Resistance Crumbles in Netflix Debut

September 15, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Netflix broke through some heavy French telecom resistance today as it debuted its video-on-demand service in six more European countries. One of France’s major telecom companies, Bouygues, announced that it would integrate Netflix in its TV set-top boxes starting in November, according to the Nasdaq news. Bouyges' move is just the news Netflix wants to hear because its video-on-demand service counts on reliable broadband pipelines, and the set-top boxes are how French TV viewers access their programming. France’s largest telecom company, Orange SA, has also signaled it would consider offering Netflix if the service is successful, according to the Nasdaq report. This last-minute breakthrough comes amid reports last week that European countries didn’t have the bandwidth to handle Netflix, an assertion flatly denied by a company spokesperson. Just to be safe, Netflix is increasing its server capacity in Paris. The pieces appear to be coming together from a technical standpoint, but when it comes to content, there is ample French pushback

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4 Things Marketers Should Know About This Season of Dancing with the Stars

September 15, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

By David Schwab, managing director of Octagon First Call Entering its 19th season tonight, ABC's Dancing with the Stars features a new judge (former pro dancer turned actress Julianne Hough), a large crop of new pros, and of course, a brand new cast. As marketers tune in this season, here are four things to keep top of mind throughout this cycle. • Contestants to Watch At first glance, season 19's most interesting name seems to be Bethany Mota, a YouTube star with a massive millennial fan base. She may not be a household name now, but her star has risen quickly as one of the faces of YouTube's national ad campaign, and she recently landed the cover of Seventeen magazine. DWTS will help boost her profile from computer screen to mainstream. We expect beauty, young fashion and technology brands to be playing close attention to her

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MasterChef Finalist Explains the Crossover Between Cooking and Advertising

September 14, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When she was auditioning for Season 5 of Fox’s hit cooking show MasterChef, Elizabeth Cauvel told producers she was an associate creative director at New York-based ad agency MRY, working on Johnson & Johnson brands like Listerine and Band-Aid. Their response: blank stares all around. “No one knows what that means,” they told her. That’s why she is referred to as simply “advertising executive” on the show, something that gives her agency colleagues a good laugh. It likely wasn’t her day job but rather her sophisticated spin on Southern comfort food that won over j udges Gordon Ramsay , Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot, who advanced Cauvel to the finals. A self-taught cook who hails from Georgia and who now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., Cauvel is the odds-on favorite to win the contest Monday night, along with a $250,000 cash prize and a cookbook deal. Speaking to Adweek before the show’s airing, she couldn’t spill the proverbial beans. Instead, she talked about cooking as great storytelling, advertising as assembling ingredients and eating as the ultimate high. How did you become a proficient home cook? No one cooked in my family, so I don’t have those stories about watching my grandmother simmer gravy all day. I grew up eating Kraft Mac & Cheese. But about 10 years ago, I got addicted to the Food Network and then magazines and cookbooks. I started trying things that came out pretty good. I realized I had a knack for it and that I was never happier than when I was experimenting in the kitchen. Why did you decide to audition for MasterChef and what did you cook? My husband and I had obsessively watched Season 4, and I thought it would be really cool to try to get on the show. I’ve been on plenty of commercial shoots, behind the camera, and found it stimulating and exciting. I Googled and happened to find an open casting call, and then I knew I had to perfect a dish

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Stand Up to Cancer Tops Nielsen’s TV Tweet Chart

September 13, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

A telethon that raised $109 million dollars to help fight cancer has topped Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings for the first week of September. The Stand Up to Cancer (@SU2C) event featured top tier performers like The Who and the Dave Matthews Band

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China Clamps Down on Foreign TV Streaming

September 12, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

China is reportedly getting ready to regulate the number of foreign television programs that online providers can stream in its country, The Wall Street Journal reported . The move means even fewer U.S. programs will make it onto the Chinese viewing menu. As of today, about half the content on popular Chinese streaming services comes from outside the country. But that all will change as the country limits foreign, streamed TV shows to 30 percent. (The Journal said it's unclear if that figure refers to the number of TV shows or episodes.) The U.S. shows that stand to lose are Netflix's wildly popular House of Cards and Warner Brother’s 2 Broke Girls. House of Cards, which is distributed by Sohu, one of the country’s largest video streaming services, reportedly attract millions of viewers a day despite its edgy storylines that criticize China. But popularity doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll stay on the air. In April, the country’s regulators yanked NCIS, The Practice, The Good Wife and The Big Bang Theory off Chinese video streaming services without giving a reason. The Big Bang Theory was reportedly pulling in 120 million viewers a month. The sudden blackout of popular U.S. shows is seen as an example of Chinese leaders keeping a tight grip on foreign media to counter the U.S.'s soft power and shore up China's own television industry. Last year, Chinese censors withheld box office receipts while negotiating a rise in tariffs on Western importers. Now, Chinese leaders want to become not only international exporters of finished goods but also dramas and soap operas, which amount to about 10,000 episodes a year

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Get Ready for Minority Report, the TV Series

September 10, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Fox has struck a deal with Steven Spielberg’s production company, Amblin TV, to produce a television pilot based on the director’s highly acclaimed sci-fi flick Minority Report, Deadline.com reports . The 2002 Twentieth Century Fox film, which starred Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell and Max von Sydow, was an adaptation of science fiction writer Philip K. Dick’s short story of the same name. The movie won very favorable reviews. The film and short story take place in the near future, when a "precrime" unit in Washington D.C. arrests people based on the visions of telepaths, before crimes are ever committed. Things go wrong for the protagonist when he is seen committing a murder in the future and goes on the lam with a kidnapped telepath, or "precog." The plot of the TV series is reportedly going to pick up the story where the movie leaves off. Taking place 10 years after the precrime unit is disbanded, the show will focus on one of the surviving male precogs who is trying to lead a normal life. The precog is haunted by visions of the future and meets a detective who is having trouble with her past. Max Borenstein, who wrote the screenplay for the latest film version of Godzilla, will reportedly handle showrunning duties for the Minority Report series. It remains to be seen if the series can match the movie’s sharp vision of a dystopian future of floating cars, invasive mini-robots launched by SWAT squads, and eyeball transplants by dodgy doctors to fool security systems. Fox has taken chances on other sci-fi series with varying degrees of success. This time, the channel is betting on the pedigree of Spielberg and the success of the original film.

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ISIS’s Sinister Media Strategy, and How the West Is Fighting Back

September 10, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Here's an ugly truth: ISIS has a really effective brand strategy. Al Qaeda terrorists had a manifesto that claimed to represent the common man (the name means "The Base") and some grainy, boring video, but ISIS is going after the supervillain look as hard as it can. It's got a scary acronym (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also referred to as ISIL and the less Twitter-friendly IS), a huge online presence, and—not kidding—flashy "annual reports" since 2012. The people attracted to the organization vary across metrics like cultural background, age and sex. Granted, the data is all anecdotal so far, but a pair of French girls were detained on suspicion of planning to join the group; a 19-year-old Colorado woman was arrested trying to board a flight to Turkey to meet her jihadist boyfriend; and NBC Nightly News scored an interview with a North Carolina man who'd been detained in Turkey and prevented from entering Syria.

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Luke Wilson May Singlehandedly Save Books, Newspapers and CDs

September 10, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who Luke Wilson Age 42 Accomplishments Co-stars in The Skeleton Twins with Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader (in theaters Sept. 12); writer and co-director (with brother Andrew Wilson) of the short film Satellite Beach Base Los Angeles What’s the first information you consume in the morning? I get The New York Times and the L.A. Times every day, hard copies. I don’t have a Kindle or anything like that. I’m in New York right now, and there’s a Barnes & Noble on Sixth Avenue I used to go to that’s gone now, and the St. Mark’s Bookshop has been moved and is significantly smaller. I feel like a wanted man. Do you have an iPad? I have one, but I haven’t learned to use it yet. That’s one of my goals. I’ve still got a BlackBerry.

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MAC Unveils Line of Simpsons Cosmetics, in Case You Want to Look Like a Cartoon Character

September 9, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

MAC Cosmetics is producing a Simpsons-themed cosmetics line —including eyeshadow, lip gloss, blush, mascara and nail stickers—to honor the show's 25th anniversary. One can only imagine the challenges they faced getting this out of R&D. For one thing, the show's color palette doesn't really look good on anyone. The dominant color is yellow, and one of the cartoon's enduring design characteristics revolves around not making anyone, including celebrities, look too attractive. This obviously clashes with beauty products. (The lip gloss colors alone are called Grand Pumpkin, Itchy & Scratchy & Sexy, Nacho Cheese Explosion and Red Blazer.) "We are celebrating the country's favorite animated family and its beloved matriarch Marge with a vibrant color collection that screams That Trillion Dollar Look," the brand says. "Our classic formulas and finishes you love are to blue dye for with an animated twist. All in limited-edition packaging that can only be described in one word: Eeeeexcellent." Also, the show has been bad to the point of unwatchable for at least 10 years, so they're chasing a vanishing audience that mostly watches out of habit with stuff that will make them look, at best, super weird. Not to mention, any real Simpsons fan involved in this project would have made at least one shade of lip gloss that referenced the monorail episode.

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Twitter Top 10: Packers-Seahawks Brawl Owns Social Media

September 9, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The Seattle Seahawks paddled the Green Bay Packers Thursday evening as the nation watched in horror on NBC, and that ruled the Twittersphere the week of Sept. 1. Though, fans who watched the 49ers beat the Cowboys on Fox talked trash louder and longer despite slightly smaller viewing numbers. The NFL's first games were a major hit for the social network, which partners with Nielsen to measure viewership and engagement. Interestingly, the Dallas-San Francisco game came very close to the Packers-Seahawks throwdown despite the fact that the former didn't air in prime time. Overall, it was a good week for football fans, with further good news on Monday, at least if you have an empathetic bone in your body. The Ravens handed Ray Rice his walking papers

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