How Big Cable Is Stemming the Cord Cutting Tide

February 4, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

A funny thing happened this week on the way to that big cable box in the sky: three of the largest U.S. cable operators actually added subscribers. In releasing their fourth quarter and full-year earnings for 2015, Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Charter Communications all posted subscriber gains for the past quarter. While it's common for cable operators to see a bump in subscribers at the end of the year, both Time Warner Cable and Charter– which are planning to merge –posted full year subscriber gains, ending years of declines. Time Warner Cable added +54,000 subs in the fourth quarter, after it lost more than -300,000 during the same period last year. For the full year, TWC added +32,000 subscribers for its first full year of growth since 2006. Charter, which released earnings this morning, had its best full year in more than a decade by adding +11,000 subscribers, including +33,000 during the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Comcast had its strongest fourth quarter in eight years by adding +89,000 subscribers, though it posted an overall decline in 2015 of -36,000. That is a huge improvement vs. 2014, when the nation's largest carrier lost 194,000 subscribers. The gains by the three cable operators come amidst the worst year for the overall pay-TV sector; MoffettNathanson predicted cords would be cut in -514,000 homes in 2015, down from 1.2 million in 2014. And it appears the slowing of cord-cutting among cable operators is hurting the satellite and Telco services. Telco growth, including Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse, dipped from 1.06 million new subscribers in 2014 to just 118,000 in 2015. Satellite, including DirecTV and DISH, was projected to lose -560,000 subscribers for the year, more than cable. Last week, AT&T reported a loss of -26,000 subscribers between its DirecTV and U-Verse services for the fourth quarter.

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Philippe Dauman Named Executive Chairman of Viacom, As Sumner Redstone Steps Down

February 4, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Just 48 hours ago, Sumner Redstone was the executive chairman of both CBS Corp. and Viacom. But now, he has been replaced at both companies. Today, Viacom announced that its president and CEO Philippe Dauman had been named executive chairman, replacing the ailing Redstone, who is 92. Yesterday, CBS Corp. appointed Les Moonves as its chairman , after Redstone had resigned on Feb. 2. Redstone, who vowed never to retire (even going as far to declare that he would never die ), is now chairman emeritus at both companies. The news comes two weeks after Viacom and CBS were sued by a shareholder , who questioned Redstone's mental competence—which led investors to wonder whether Redstone should continue running both companies. "In choosing a successor to Sumner, the board considered the need for seasoned leadership in this time of unprecedented change, Philippe's business experience and unparalleled knowledge of Viacom and his long-term vision for the company," said Viacom board member William Schwartz in a statement. "We believe his becoming executive chairman is in the best interests of the company and all shareholders." Dauman's appointment had been challenged by Redstone's daughter, Shari, who is vice chair of CBS and Viacom. She said in a statement yesterday that while she fully supported Moonves as CBS chairman, "it is my firm belief that whoever may succeed my father as chair at each company should be someone who is not a trustee of my father's trust or otherwise intertwined in Redstone family matters, but rather a leader with an independent voice." That was a slap at Dauman, who was given authority last October to make healthcare decisions for Redstone if he should become incapacitated. Following CBS' lead yesterday, Viacom had initially offered Shari the position of non-executive chairman, but she declined and will remain in her current role. "I am honored to succeed my friend and long-time colleague Sumner in the role of executive chairman. His steadfast belief in our company and the power of entertainment will always be an inspiration for me and I look forward to carrying forward his leadership role as a champion for all shareholders.

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India’s Reliance Entertainment Unveils Plan C Joint-Venture

February 4, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Akshay Kumar-starring, “Rustom” is the first movie from Plan C Studios, a joint venture between Reliance Entertainment and Friday Filmworks

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Les Moonves Is Named Chairman of CBS, Replacing Sumner Redstone

February 3, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Les Moonves, CBS Corp.'s CEO and president, has been named chairman of the company. He replaces the ailing Sumner Redstone, who resigned Tuesday as executive chairman, but will remain as chairman emeritus. Moonves, who joined CBS in 1995 as CBS Entertainment president, was unanimously elected by the CBS board after being nominated by Shari Redstone, Sumner Redstone's daughter and vice chair of the board. Moonves will continue on as CEO and president. Redstone, who is 92, also served as executive chairman of Viacom (when CBS and Viacom split in 2005, he was chairman of both companies), but there is no word yet about his future at that company. UPDATE: "The Viacom board of directors is scheduled to meet tomorrow," Viacom said in a statement late Wednesday afternoon

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Stephen Colbert on a Possible Late Show Sidekick and Regrowing His ‘Colbeard’

February 3, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When Stephen Colbert sat down with Adweek for his first major interview since starting The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in September , he had a lot to get off his chest. So much, in fact, that it couldn't all fit into this week's cover story about his post-Super Bowl show on Sunday. Yesterday, he talked about how Jon Stewart earns his keep as one of The Late Show's four executive producers . Here are six other bonus elements that weren't able to fit in our cover story. 1.

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How CBS Has Spent the Past Year Trying to Get You to Watch Super Bowl 50

February 3, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When George Schweitzer was researching CBS's coverage of the very first Super Bowl as part of his preparation for the network's Super Bowl 50 marketing campaign, he made note of a Washington Post article from January 1967. "It said in the TV column, 'CBS is pulling out all the stops and promoting this game all over, using their celebrities,'" said Schweitzer. "And I was imagining, what were 'the stops' in 1967?" Whatever they were, they don't come close to the exhaustive, yearlong marketing effort Schweitzer, the president of CBS Marketing Group, and his team have concocted as they try to attract as many viewers as possible for Sunday's Super Bowl telecast. "We were there for the first one in 1967," he said of Super Bowl I, which was jointly televised by CBS and NBC. "Since then, it has really transformed into a national day of celebration." And CBS is hoping the game's 50th year will yield its biggest celebration yet. "This one is very special," said Schweitzer, who is working on his sixth Super Bowl for CBS. "The Super Bowl is the singular biggest event in our culture, in our business, in the mainstream, in everything. It has so many moving parts beyond the game. What we've learned over the years is how to activate all those other moving parts, because it attracts, obviously, people who don't watch a football game all year long." Because of that, CBS didn't waste any time in starting to promote Super Bowl 50. The network rolled out its very first promo last Feb. 2, just one night after NBC aired last year's Super Bowl (which drew 114.4 million viewers), and debuted the network's manta for the coming year: "We were there for the first. We'll be there for the 50th." Adweek responsive video player used on /video. "That was what I would call a 'plant the flag' kind of spot," said Schweitzer. "Once the other one was over, we established CBS immediately as the home of the 50th." Taking his cue from the traditional 50th anniversary color, Schweitzer created a campaign that seemed to bathed in gold. "We've embraced it in a big way," he said, "because we think it helps achieve what we want, which is to turn this into more than the event itself, and make it look like it's very coordinated and cohesive on CBS. And that went from not just the network, but our local stations, our O&O [owned-and-operated] stations, our affiliate stations, our 120 radio stations, all of our online and streaming services. Anything that isn't nailed down around here is part of our gold celebration." For the Super Bowl 50 campaign, the network shot around 40 of CBS's prime-time, news and sports celebrities in various football scenarios and traveled to a smelting plant in California, where it photographed molten gold getting poured into a mold, using that footage for promotion. The gold motif extended to CBS's fall campaign, so= even when the network wasn't specifically promoting the Super Bowl, it retained those promos' key elements. On Dec.

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Graphic India to Expand Blockbuster ‘Baahubali’ to Comics, Animation

February 3, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Arka Mediaworks has teamed with Graphic India to expand blockbuster “Baahubali” into comic books, novels, animation and gaming.

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How Jon Stewart Is Still Making an Impact on Late-Night TV

February 2, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If you're lamenting Jon Stewart's departure from The Daily Show last August and wishing he was still a presence in late night, your wish has come true. In the end, Stewart's late-night hiatus didn't even last a month: the former host has been an important force on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he serves as one of the show's four executive producers, Colbert told Adweek during his interview for this week's cover story . While Stewart's inclusion as a Late Show executive producer was a surprise reveal on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert's Sept. 8 debut , his exact role on the show had remained unclear, until now. Colbert said Stewart has been a part of his Late Show plans since April 10, 2014, when CBS first revealed that Colbert would leave The Colbert Report and take over the show after David Letterman's retirement. "The minute it was announced that I was going to be the new host, that day, he called me up to congratulate me and I said, 'Thank you. Would you come help with the show and be an executive producer?'" said Colbert. "I had many motivations for that. One is I'm very grateful to Jon for everything I learned from him at The Daily Show and for him putting his weight behind my last show [The Colbert Report] getting on the air and helping us with that show. I wouldn't have this position if it hadn't been for what Jon did for me. So on one level it's gratitude and loyalty to Jon," said Colbert. "But on another level, he's been immensely helpful, because he's also a real consultant. As a matter of fact, the reason this interview started late is that I have not had a moment for him to download his thoughts to me. We were talking about ways to open up the show, how to make it more play, less planned

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Film Review: ‘The Little Gangster’

February 2, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Its amusingly developed narrative presumably lifted whole from Marjon Hoffman’s source novel, “The Little Gangster” is lively and playful enough to keep adults as well as kids entertained.

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Film Review: ‘A Present From the Past’

February 2, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

An utterly guileless charmer in which the helmer’s tender filial devotion and emotional commitment will disarm the most cynical auds.

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