NBC Says It Will be a ‘Huge Disappointment’ if Super Bowl Doesn’t Break Ratings Records

January 16, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

What is NBC shooting for when it comes to this year's big game? Oh, just 115 million people. It's expected that each Super Bowl

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ABC’s Success With Diversity Comes From Focusing on Creators, Not Just Stars

January 15, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

ABC has changed mainstream television's diversity makeup more than any of its broadcast counterparts in recent years, and executives say the commitment is paying off not just in ratings, but also in quality. Already seeing success with shows like Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Black-ish and Cristela, which star a variety of minority actors and have brought underrepresented perspectives to prime-time, the network will soon add midseason series Fresh off the Boat (prime time's first Asian-American sitcom since Margaret Cho's All American Girl in 1994) and American Crime (created by 12 Years a Slave scriptwriter John Ridley). "I think it's our job to reflect America," said ABC entertainment president Paul Lee at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour this week. "I really believed from the beginning that the demographic changes in America were just as important to our revolution as the technological changes." (A skeptic could still point to ABC's dating competition shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, which remain predominantly lily white. "You are going to see diversity as we go through that," vowed Lee, though this wasn't the first year he'd made that promise.)

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NBCUniversal Is Using Big Data to Launch Its Audience Targeting Platform

January 15, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

That was, in corporate terms, fast. After 18 months of development, NBCUniversal is leveraging third- and first-party data to create what the company is calling its Audience Targeting Platform (ATP). In conceptual terms, it's not too different from what outside outfits like Simul Media and the recently acquired PrecisionDemand have done for clients; practically, though, it's got a lot more data behind it. The third-party info isn't that different from what we've seen before in the space, but NBCU's own properties provide information no one else has seen—not including Comcast's own set-top box information (an earlier version of this story said that Comcast's set-top info would be used in this initiative; NBCUniversal tells us this not the case). "We're using an extensive list of data suppliers," explained Linda Yaccarino, newly promoted to chairman of ad sales and client partnerships. "They will be category-specific. If I'm going after auto, I might use Polk data, but I might also use Fandango first-party data (NBCUniversal owns Fandango). You're able to take brand direction from the customer, run all that through the ATP and come up with an inventory allocation recommendation." The set-top box data will be provided through third parties across the country; there are plenty of large firms that do this kind of targeting—Acxiom and Experian are the two largest. That means about 30 percent of NBCUniversal's inventory—the good stuff—will be pulled, run through this system and offered to people it can serve the best

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NBCUniversal Is Using Big Data to Launch Its Audience Targeting Platform

January 15, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

That was, in corporate terms, fast. After 18 months of development, NBCUniversal is leveraging third- and first-party data to create what the company is calling its Audience Targeting Platform (ATP). In conceptual terms, it's not too different from what outside outfits like Simul Media and the recently acquired PrecisionDemand have done for clients; practically, though, it's got a lot more data behind it. The third-party info isn't that different from what we've seen before in the space, but NBCU's own properties provide information no one else has seen—not including Comcast's own set-top box information (an earlier version of this story said that Comcast's set-top info would be used in this initiative; NBCUniversal tells us this not the case). "We're using an extensive list of data suppliers," explained Linda Yaccarino, newly promoted to chairman of ad sales and client partnerships. "They will be category-specific

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Nickelodeon Says It’s Growing Audience by Adding Sports to the Mix

January 14, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It's been four months since kid-focused cable network Nickelodeon took the leap of dedicating a 2-hour prime-time block to sports programming. So how is it working out? Pretty well, say the numbers. Since its September debut, NickSports has grown the Wednesday block by 15 percent with boys ages 6 to 11 and 19 percent with kids (girls and boys combined) in the same age group. "We are hitting all the touch points everyone wants to be involved in," says Keith Dawkins, svp and general manager for Nicktoons, TeenNick and NickJr. Michael Strahan hosted 2014's Kids' Choice Sports Awards, drawing 2.7 million viewers. The idea for the programming block, airing from 9 to 11 p.m. ET,

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With Support From Yahoo, Community Now Looks to Go Beyond ‘6 Seasons and a Movie’

January 14, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Community has managed to cheat death more times than Jason Voorhees . This year, the cult sitcom pulled off its most improbable comeback yet: after NBC's cancellation, finding a home not on Hulu (where its studio, Sony, already had a digital syndication deal ), but Yahoo Screen. The show's sixth season will debut on the streaming service March 17, with a two-episode premiere, and additional episodes following each Tuesday after that. But the Yahoo deal barely came together, creator Dan Harmon said at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. It was finalized June 30, with Harmon getting the news just hours before his cast's contracts were set to expire . "It was very last minute," recalled Harmon, who admitted not knowing why talks with Hulu collapsed . The Yahoo Screen version of Community will be free but ad-supported. "The

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TV Guide Network Relaunches as Pop, With Original Shows and No Annoying Scroll

January 13, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

On Wednesday, free of scrolling listings, the TV Guide Network is relaunching as Pop, a network catering to "enthusiastic fandom" in pop culture. Pop is targeting a 35-45 audience that grew up in the late '80s and early '90s, a group that network president Brad Schwartz is calling the "modern grown-up" (Pop has copyrighted the term, which is the network's version of Bravo's "Affluencer" and Syfy's " Igniter ."). Instead of emulating E! or Bravo, Schwartz said the channel is patterning itself more after the pop culture-worshipping sensibilities of Jimmy Fallon and Ellen DeGeneres. As Pop launches, all of TVGN's license agreements with its distributors remain intact, since the network—which will debut in more than 80 million homes—is still considered a general entertainment channel. "We're putting a different logo on it and a new energy and new programming, but we're still certainly exactly what we're defined to be," says Schwartz (who oversaw the rebranding of Fuse, as well). "We couldn't have turned this thing into a military channel or a sports channel or a kids channel, but what we're doing is exactly what our definitions are." Pop's "great channel position" also hasn't been affected by the rebranding, aside from the "more analog distributors, where TV Guide was still channel 5," who have relocated next to channels like E! Even better, all market agreements for TVGN's much-maligned TV listing scroll—which had been the network's initial reason for existing—finally lapsed six months ago

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Workaholics Star Adam Devine’s Bedtime Routine Includes Instagram Stalking

January 12, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who Adam Devine Age 31 Claim to fame Star of Comedy Central's Workaholics (Season 5 debuts Jan. 14) and Adam Devine's House Party; voices Pizza Steve in Cartoon Network's Uncle Grandpa; plays Bumper in Pitch Perfect and the upcoming Pitch Perfect 2 Base Los Angeles Twitter @ADAMDEVINE What's the first information you consume in the morning? I just Google myself , see if there's any news out there, get on Twitter and look around. It's weird, that's where I get my news now. Like when [ESPN anchor] Stuart Scott died, I actually found that out through LeBron James' Twitter. We had an earthquake here in L.A. a few months back, which woke me up from my sleep, so I hopped online and looked at Twitter, and it was just, "Earthquake, earthquake, earthquake … Yep, that's it." Who do you follow? Other comedians like Chris D'Elia, Rick Glassman, but also a lot of people that aren't in my industry. I'm a huge L.A. Clippers fan, so I follow Blake Griffin. It's pretty rad how you're able to connect with your fans through Twitter, but also, all of a sudden, my idols are hitting me up too. Like during Comic-Con a couple of years ago, Blake Griffin messaged me on Twitter, and I almost shat my pants. I just kept yelling, "Blake Griffin is my homeboy!" all night. How are your Workaholics fans different from your Pitch Perfect fans on Twitter? With the Workaholics fans, they'll tweet me like, "If you ever come through Boston, man, we're smoking weed!" The Pitch Perfect fans are more like, "Oh, you look so cute in that shirt!" I'm like, how do you even know what I'm wearing right now?

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From Stage to Superhero: The Flash’s Grant Gustin Has Always Been on the Fast Track

January 12, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It's the biggest show on the CW and on track to become the network's most-watched series ever. The Flash, it appears, really can outrun everything. As with any prime-time property, especially one on the vanguard of a comics-driven movement reshaping the television landscape, it is essential to get the right guy to play the lead. The network found an unlikely—but ideal—superhero in Grant Gustin, whose most recent major role had him playing a conniving villain, the backstabbing Sebastian Smythe, on Fox's Glee. In The Flash, the six-foot-plus, 24-year-old theater veteran plays a crime-fighter who hasn't quite grown into his mask yet. It agrees with him. You started out dancing before you played a superhero who runs, right? Yeah, kind of from an early age I just did what I loved to do, which, at 8 years old, became tap dancing. Why was that? Because of Gene Kelly and Singin' in the Rain, specifically, and Donald O'Connor

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College Football Playoff Quickly Becomes a TV and Social Media Power Player

January 11, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

College football, which culminates Monday night with its first playoff championship game, is either in the process of building its own version of the Super Bowl or is setting the stage for a much bigger version of March Madness. The NCAA's inaugural football playoff —which consisted of a pair of semifinal games on Jan. 1—drew more than 28 million households on ESPN, making the contests the two most-viewed cable TV programs of all time. Those numbers easily bested last year's college basketball Final Four (18 million households) and are roughly equal with the 2014 Grammys. Ads for ESPN's playoff games cost between $800,000 to $1 million for a 30-second spot, up 25 percent from last year's record shattering rates. (Advertisers for the title game include mobile gaming company Supercell, AT&T and General Motors, according to an exec with knowledge of the deals.) Only the Super Bowl, the NFL playoffs and the Oscars will likely tower above college football in the TV ratings game for the remainder of the year.

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