What Did TV CEOs Tell Investors About the Weak Ad Market?

August 20, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Now that second-quarter earnings are over for the media sector, we can finally take a good look at what senior media company executives actually said on calls to investors when they were in the hot seat at the end of the summer. Here are some of the reasons the market was down... and some of the spin. (If you'd like to check out the calls yourself, they've been helpfully compiled

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What Did TV CEOs Tell Investors About the Weak Ad Market?

August 20, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Now that second-quarter earnings are over for the media sector, we can finally take a good look at what senior media company executives actually said on calls to investors when they were in the hot seat at the end of the summer. Here are some of the reasons the market was down... and some of the spin. (If you'd like to check out the calls yourself, they've been helpfully compiled

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Islamic State Militants Exploit Digital Services to Disseminate Video of Apparent Murder

August 19, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The group calling itself Islamic State (ISIS) did something truly abominable by any humane standard today: They posted onto several Internet video services footage of a masked, black-robed man appearing to kill James Foley, a young freelance reporter who had moved to Syria to cover the unrest there and was abducted in 2012 from Aleppo. The video itself is about two minutes of President Obama discussing foreign policy with Arabic subtitles, then a forced speech by the captive Foley, the apparent murder, and some meandering threats of "bloodshed" by the murderer. I'm not going to post any links to the video here, so you can relax. Twitter was quick to respond to the breaking story, but unfortunately, much of the immediate reaction was simply reposts and screencaps of the video's most horrible sections and then immediate outrage. YouTube took action after a little while and removed the original post, but ISIS is exploiting a particular hole in the video ecosphere that has plagued law enforcement for a while: Anything that's disgusting or titillating enough gets posted, reposted and re-reposted with new tricks every few weeks to fool YouTube's automatic censors. For example, a few years ago, for a brief period, you could find any episode of a television show you wanted because uploaders had reversed the screen image; Marge vs. the Monorail was just as good flipped left to right, so for a while, illegal uploads flourished. Then YouTube got wise, and this trick no longer works. Recently, there's been a spate of video uploads that are simply a camerman filming a screen playing copyrighted content—that, too, is hard to flag, unless it's by hand, and YouTube says it deals with an average of 100 hours of new content per minute. With video content like the ISIS footage, the problem becomes even more complex, because users can upload and post information that is playing in a screencap, or is cropped or subtitled differently from the original post. Journo backlash to the post was swift—Foley was well-liked and his friends, colleagues and acquaintances were quick to push handout photos of him available at his family's website, which replaced his blog while he was missing. The site, FreeJamesFoley.org , seems to have been overloaded by traffic at this writing. More frighteningly, ISIS sympathizers tweeted bloody frames from the video at working journalists. Their accounts were quickly suspended, but their message was very clear. Indeed, plenty of accounts are still live with ISIS handles. Most journos responded with cutting remarks, but many said they were shaken by the experience. . @gladiatory48 thanks for my daily reminder that evil exists — Anthony B. L. Smith (@AnthonyBLSmith) August 19, 2014 And some services simply don't discriminate: LiveLeak has kept the video up and indeed, does a brisk business in gory images (another popular video on the site at the moment: Man Was Still Alive After He Was Hit by Train).

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Sharlto Copley and Michelle Forbes Will Star in PlayStation’s Powers

August 18, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Sharlto Copley will star as the lead in Powers, Sony PlayStation Network’s first foray into original programming. Copley , of District 9 and recent box office grand slam Maleficent, joins the lineup of stars in the drama adapted from a Marvel comic book series. FX had been trying to develop the series since 2011. Michelle Forbes of The Killing and Susan Heyward of The Following play other key roles in the crime series, which follows detectives assigned to investigate murder cases involving people with superpowers. The cast also includes Eddie Izzard , Noah Taylor, Susan Heyward, Olesya Rulin, Max Fowler and Adam Godley. Hannibal’s David Slade will direct the first two episodes, set to debut in December. Sony ordered 10 episodes of the show to be produced by Sony Pictures Television, according to Variety. At CES this year, Sony promised it would be competing with streaming video on demand (SVOD) providers Netflix and Hulu—companies whose services, particularly when used by apps distributed on the PlayStation Network, have grown in popularity over the last five years. In a June statement , Sony said PlayStation users will receive the first episode of Powers for free and the entire series will be free for U.S. Playstation Plus members. Powers was originally produced as a pilot starring Jason Patric and Charles S. Dutton. It was published by Image Comics in the early 2000s before moving to Marvel Comics’ Icon, where it continues today.

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Craig Ferguson May Get a New Talk Show

August 18, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Not only is Craig Ferguson not going away, he's showing up everywhere now. As predicted, Ferguson may return to the talk show circuit soon after he steps down as host of CBS' The Late Late Show in December:

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Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Twitter Fail: Being a Perfectionist

August 15, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who Maggie Gyllenhaal Age 36 Accomplishments Stars in the BBC/SundanceTV miniseries The Honourable Woman (Thursdays 10/9c on SundanceTV); appears in the movie Frank (in theaters Aug. 15) Base New York

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Is Product Placement the Savior or the Scourge of Entertainment?

August 15, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As movies, TV and video become increasingly flexible, on-demand forms of entertainment, most types of advertising have struggled to keep pace. The big exception? Product placement. When your branding appears right alongside the characters and action of popular content, it's almost certain to stay there forever, making product integration one of today's hottest marketing topics. That's why we dedicated this week's #adweekchat to the issue of product placement. When does it work? When does it derail a story for the sake of a plug? More than 340 marketers and movie buffs joined the conversation, so check out a selected transcript below to see the questions and some of our favorite answers. Viewing on mobile?

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Doctor Who on World Tour With New Star Peter Capaldi

August 11, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

British science fiction show Doctor Who is celebrating its 51th anniversary, 34th season, and the arrival of a new doctor with a seven-city world tour spanning five continents. The tour kicked off last week in Cardiff, Wales, the show’s home since its 2005 revival and London before making a stop in Seoul, South Korea on the weekend, and arrives in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday before continuing on to New York (Aug. 14), Mexico City (Aug. 16) and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Aug. 18). Peter Capaldi, the new doctor and the 12th incarnation of the Tardis-travelling hero, on-screen companion Jenna Coleman and lead writer/executive producer Steven Moffat are taking part in the world tour, attending fan events and talking up the series to press. The tour also features an advance screening of the first episode of the new Doctor Who series, as well as a question-and-answer session with fans. The new Doctor Who series is scheduled to premiere in the U.K. on Aug. 23 and will be available at 8 p.m. ET on the same day on BBC America.

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All of San Francisco Hates NFL Red Zone Advertising

August 11, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Here's an agreement between The Northern California Toyota Dealers Association and the San Francisco 49ers that seems to have caught viewers’ attention in all the wrong ways: During the team’s first 2014 preseason game on CBS affiliate KPIX last Thursday, computer-generated ads for the car dealers covered the red zone . The graphics appeared when the offense for either the 49ers or their opponents, the Baltimore Ravens, started a down inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. The messages remained onscreen during actual game play. So far it's only on local ads, but locals do not care for it. Other teams have also begun experimenting with red-zone advertising—much to the displeasure of the NFL’s target demo. Deadspin called the campaigns “horrifying,” and SB Nation used bold text and all caps when titling one of these

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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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