Where Have All the Upfront Dollars Gone?

August 11, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It's obvious by now that something has gone wrong in the television advertising world— upfront dollar volume fell by 6.1 percent to $18.125 billion, including a 4.7 percent hit for cable, which dipped for the first time in four years to $9.675 billion. So, where are those dollars going? More than one source has suggested that we're finally seeing the advent of digital advertising: With so much inventory on the market, it just makes sense that some TV dollars are shifting to digital video, where it's easy to buy cheaply and in bulk for an ad to run next week. But even digital video sellers caution against making such a blanket assertion. Jason Krebs, head of sales at Maker Studios, has seen a "noticiable uptick" in marketer spending but isn't entirely sure where the dollars are coming from. "You can never tell where the money is coming from specifically unless the client verbally tells you, 'I have taken this money from my TV spend,'" and of course, nobody says that out loud," Krebs said. Krebs suggested that the shift may not be from a TV budget to a digital budget, but rather toward an overall video spend that includes everything on the market, given that many of the ads are the same on TV as online. "Advertisers say, 'Now we have a general video budget and we address it across screens where we see fit,'" Krebs said. "More and more people are video planners and buyers and from what we see that’s healthy, because as a Disney company we have many different platforms and work across all of them." Scatter prices may not go up What's interesting about the overall spending shift is that it seems to be away not necessarily from TV advertising in general but from upfront buying specifically. The implied threat to buyers who bow out of the upfront bazaar is that scatter prices will be higher once hits are established. During the upfront, buyers purchase inventory on new broadcast shows mostly on the strength of their gut feelings and their faith in the network to promote new material. But if everyone holds back cash from the ufpront at once—as appears to have happened this time around—there's not nearly as much scarcity when time comes to move the inventory in the fall. And with a dismal hit rate among broadcast networks and a rapid turnaround for new, high-end analytics on both television and digital platforms, the opportunity to place your ad dollars where you can know beyond a gut check that you're reaching customers—well, that may be worth taking that step back from the upfront market.

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Bon Appétit Joins Reality Foodie Fray With New Bravo Show

August 11, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

For the first time in its 58-year history, Cond

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The 10 Strangest TV Promo Items We’ve Ever Received

August 8, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Television series fight an uphill battle to get noticed. There's not just too much content on television for even the best team of TV writers to watch it all, there's too much good content. So when premiere dates approach, networks send out gimmicky press kits with all kinds of crazy stuff in them—bound books of photos, preview episodes, t-shirts, beach towels, branded water bottles—in order to get a reporter's attention. This stuff gets mostly piles up on desks or populates our giveaway table but, in the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that I have a whole collection of novelty flash drives. Sometimes, though, the promo items are so over-the-top weird (or fun, or both) that they really do manage to catch the eye. Although of course we try not to let stunt marketing affect coverage, we also cover marketing, and after a few years of seeing this stuff pass through the mailroom, we figured it deserved a post of its own, if only to show off how much work goes into a side of the entertainment business that consumers almost never see. Here are the 10 of the strangest TV industry press kits we've seen.

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MTV Brings Back House of Style as Multiplatform Native Ad

August 8, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Fans of MTV's House of Style can catch up on the latest fashion trends thanks to a Unilever -sponsored relaunch of the series online and on-air. "We're looking at it as a way to marry franchises with partners, taking advantage of the editorial clout that House of Style has and the timelessness that House of Style has," Rachel Baumgarten, svp of integrated marketing for Viacom Velocity Music Group, explained. The eight-episode Web series, which is hosted by rapper Iggy Azalea and special correspondent singer Rita Ora this season, kicked off on Thursday on MTV.com. The classic show will also have a presence in this year's Video Music Awards through special House of Style commentary segments mixed in throughout the Aug. 24 broadcast. A 30-minute TV special on the best looks from the VMAs will follow on Aug. 26. Azalea and Ora will also be performing at this year's music awards. Interspersed throughout this season will be product integrations for Unilever's Caress, Degree Women and TRESemm

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Missing Mad Men? Here’s Christina Hendricks Trying to Work in a Modern Office

August 7, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The final half of the seventh and final season of Mad Men won't premiere until next spring (although filming has wrapped—and according to Elizabeth Moss, there was a lot of crying going on as the cast shot the finale). For now, Mad Men fans have to snack on whatever measly morsels they can get—like Jon Hamm goofing around on Fallon, or Christina Hendricks trying to navigate a modern office in the Funny or Die video below. And good old Joan, she's still the sharpest person in the room even when she can't find the phone.

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The Deal Is Off Between Fox and Time Warner

August 5, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

That was abrupt: 21st Century Fox today withdrew its long-discussed bid to acquire a controlling interest in Time Warner Entertainment, a megamerger that would have made the resulting entity so big even noted takeover artist John Malone said the deal

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See How Slow Your Internet Connection Is by State

August 5, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Alas, Alaska. Also Arkansas. It's a terrible time to be living in the deep South or outside the Lower 48 if you're a web developer. At least that's what Tom Heppard over at BroadView Networks is demonstrating with this handy map. With this picture (click to see a bigger version), you can see exactly what's going on in your state. You can also take a look at a text ranking, best to worst, here .

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Hyundai Will Air an 11-Minute Sci-Fi Short Film During the Ad Breaks of TNT’s Legends Premiere

August 4, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Serious commercials are hard to do well, but when you're doing content specifically for TNT's upcoming Sean Bean spy thriller, Legends , it's sort of mandatory. So Hyundai and TNT turned to New Form, the ad shop run by movie idea guys Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, to create an energetic three-part story that will air over a combined total of 11 minutes during the limited commercial slots of Wednesday's Legends pilot. TNT

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John Oliver Quotes the IAB in Blistering Takedown of Native Ads

August 4, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

John Oliver's half-hour comedy news show on HBO has one really amazing regular feature: rather than a lengthy interview or a musical guest, Oliver goes on a hilarious, impeccably researched 12-minutes-and-change rant about a particular hobby horse. Past victims have included FIFA, the U.S. prison system and net neutrality. This week, he lit into native advertising as deceptive and antithetical to the idea of journalism, and used an IAB report to do it. Oliver quotes this July 22 press release in his monologue, noting that the IAB found that of respondents exposed to native ads, “less than half … [recognized] … that the material was advertising.”

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WWE Will Cut 7% of Its Workforce

August 1, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

World Wrestling Entertainment will slash 7 percent of its workforce after reporting operating at a loss in the second quarter due to the costs of ramping up its online-subscription service. WWE reported a net loss of $14.5 million, compared to a net profit of $5.2 million last year. "The staff cuts, and other cost-cutting moves, would help boost operating income before depreciation and amortization by $30 million in 2015," WWE said, adding that the cuts would effect around 50-60 staffers across all business units. WWE launched their WWE Network in February, making WWE the first entertainment company with a cable presence to offer a stand-alone online subscription service . Yesterday, WWE reported 33,000 WWE Network subscribers since April for a total of 700,000 subscribers—still 300,000 short of its year-end goal of one million. According to The Wall Street Journal , the company "noted that 1.3 million to 1.4 million subscribers would put it past a break-even point offsetting difficulties in pay-per-view." To increase interest in the service, WWE will add new payment options (the service was originally only available as a six-month subscription), including a commitment-free $19.99 monthly plan. "For us the payment options are one way to continue learning, to see how people approach it," George Barrios, WWE's chief strategy and financial officer, told The Wall Street Journal. "The fact that we've gone from 0 to 700,000 paying subscribers, I feel really proud."

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