John Malone’s Virgin Buys Irish Broadcaster UTV

July 11, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

U.K. cable company Virgin Media, a subsidiary of John Malone’s Liberty Global, has signed a deal with British TV group ITV to buy Irish free-to-air commercial broadcaster UTV Ireland for €10 million ($11.1 million). More to follow.

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Karlovy Vary Film Review: ‘We’re Still Together’

July 9, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

The "we" of "We're Still Together" may refer to sorely tested individuals trying to keep their own disordered lives in one piece.

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Why This Agency Created an Ad-Free, Niche Cooking Magazine

July 8, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

A new magazine hit newsstands this week—a niche cooking magazine called Sous-Vide—and the team behind it might surprise you. The cover of Sous-Vide's debut issue. While the concept for the magazine came from company Cuisine Solutions, 95 percent of the content created for it was composed by creative agency HZDG's content studio. Yes, an advertising agency is behind a new glossy magazine that also happens to be ad-free. "There's a whole new sector of publishing bubbling up within the media landscape, there are a whole new stable of magazines that are focused on enthusiast audiences and hyper-niche subject matter," Sarah Schaffer, head of the HZDG Content Studio, said. "People are changing the way content is produced and consumed, so I don't think [producing an ad-free magazine] was that shocking to us." Selling for $9.99 at stores including Whole Foods, Costco and Trader Joe's, the magazine will publish twice a year for the time being. The magazine is meant to be a "cuisine solutions publication," for chefs and foodies across the country.

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Twitter Tests ‘Recommended Video’ Feature During National Shooting Coverage

July 8, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Publishers have flooded Twitter with video clips this week as they cover police shootings of civilians in Louisiana and Minnesota, and a shooting in Dallas Thursday night that killed five police officers. To help viewers stay informed, Twitter has quietly rolled out a recommended video feature that groups similar clips together, much like Facebook's suggested video feature. The videos autoplay silently in Twitter newsfeeds. When users click on a clip, the sound comes on and a landing page appears with more videos at the bottom. Here's what clicking on a clip from ABC News looked like this morning: Twitter did not immediately reply to press inquiries, but the move underscores the growing importance of social video in covering—and learning about—national tragedies. Recommended videos are only running in Twitter's iPhone app, and only appear when users click on clips directly from the newsfeed. They look similar to a feature Facebook rolled out last year called suggested video that bundles clips and ads into a stream. Similar to YouTube's revenue sharing program, Facebook gives publishers 55 percent of the revenue made from those ads. At the time of press, ads were not appearing in Twitter's recommended video player.

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How This Charity Used a Loophole on Mobile Payment App Venmo to Raise Money

July 7, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It's no surprise that nonprofits operate on shoestring-sized budgets and are constantly working to recruit a new generation of millennial donors. But Water is Life, a charity focused on providing clean water resources, found an interesting way to hack the popular mobile payment app Venmo, which could open the floodgates to creative and stealthy digital marketing from other nonprofits. Last week, the charity teamed up with Deutsch New York to zero in on millennials who use peer-to-peer app Venmo to send each other money. But there was a problem: Venmo doesn't let brands advertise on the app—likely because seeing a flood of ads alongside credit card statements would scare off its users. So, the charity and agency Deutsch found a tiny workaround by keeping a close eye on the app's global news feed, a feature that shows real-time public transactions between Venmo users. Starting on the Fourth of July—a high-traffic time on the app when millennials are paying their friends back for things like beer and food—Deutsch began sending personalized ads disguised as payments to folks who publicized their payments. The team sent each user a 1 cent payment attached to a 2,000-character message tailored to what they recently paid for. For example, the copy sent to someone who recently charged a friend for a beer may have read, "1 cent can't pay someone back for a beer, but it can help buy someone clean water for a day." At the bottom of the message, a call-to-action prompted consumers to donate to Water Is Life by going to a website. Once the tiny payment was sent, the message appeared in the user's news feed where all of their friends could see it, too

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GKids Buys U.S. Rights to Annecy Winner ‘Miss Hokusai’

July 7, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

GKids has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the Japanese animated drama “Miss Hokusai,” which won the jury prize at the recent Annecy Film Festival. “Miss Hokusai” will be released on Oct. 14 in New York and Los Angeles prior to a North American expansion. The production company is Production I. G. The film, directed by..

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Visit Houston Uses VR to Help Bust the City’s ‘Tumbleweeds and Cattle’ Stereotypes

July 7, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S., and one of the most diverse, yet it's still not a hugely popular tourist destination. "We still have to dispel beliefs that Houston is where the tumbleweeds and cattle are," said Mike Waterman, president of Visit Houston, the city's convention and visitors bureau. To do that, Visit Houston is launching a virtual reality experience that puts potential visitors at the center of the action. The experience, created with VR company YouVisit, will give viewers a 360-degree view of Houston's attractions such as the NASA Space Center, Minute Maid Park, the Houston Ballet and the city's museums and parks. It includes a tour guide avatar that offers brief explanations about each destination. "We're trying to provide new visitors with experiences that are memorable, and therefore marketable," Waterman said. "We sat down and thought about the 12 most interesting venues that would entice people to watch the content. The hope is that once people see the content, they'll be so excited that they'll book a ticket to Houston." People spend an average of 10 minutes watching YouVisit's VR pieces, which have also included experiences for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia and Alaska and Vietnam tourism. "In the online world, 10 minutes is an eternity," said Abi Mandelbaum, CEO of YouVisit. "For travel destinations, when you're able to put that perspective traveler in a VR set and give them a glimpse of what it would be like to be there, their desire to experience it in real life jumps dramatically." YouVisit also tracks viewer data, which will help Visit Houston inform its future marketing efforts based on how many people are watching, where they're located, and which destinations are grabbing their attention, Mandelbaum added. "It lets the data do the talking. You look at what they're spending their time on, and then continue to enhance the experience and marketing message to hone in on things they're interested in," he said. "That informs the messaging that the destination can use to continue to attract more visitors and drive better results." The VR experience should help Visit Houston reach its goal of 20 million visitors by 2018, an increase from 14.9 million in 2014 and 17.5 million in 2015, Waterman said. "When we go into a NASA buoyancy lab and capture astronauts training, or we film the Houston Ballet during the rehearsal, or the signing of the National Anthem at Minute Maid Park during an Astros game, that's content that people will want to watch. If we produce the right kind of content, people will want to consume it." Mandelbaum expects more tourism organizations to embrace virtual reality in their marketing efforts in the future. "It's an experience that you can't get from Trip Advisor or Yelp," he said. "When you can get a traveler to feel what it's like to actually be there, it changes the game and moves your destination to the top of the list because you've offered them something memorable."

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Chobani Tells Inspiring Team USA Stories in Its Multifaceted Olympics Campaign

July 7, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Olympic athletes need to put good stuff into their bodies in order to succeed. But good food alone won't win them any medals at this summer's games in Rio, according to Chobani's new multifaceted Olympics campaign in which athletes need to eliminate all the bad stuff in order to win. Stemming from the idea that Chobani helps power Olympic athletes with its all-natural products and a belief on the part of the brand's founder that "you can only be great if you're full of goodness," Chobani has launched a huge Olympics push, including TV spots, newly designed packaging, social components and more. The campaign, centered around the slogan "No Bad Stuff," stars a diverse crew of Team USA hopefuls including soccer star Alex Morgan, decathlete Ashton Eaton, boxer Marlen Esparza, paratriathlon competitor Melissa Stockwell and wrestler Jordan Burroughs, among others. The five athletes star in a larger anthem spot as well as shorter 30- and 15-second spots, created in partnership with agency Opperman Weiss, all meant to showcase how Chobani and the athletes don't allow bad things in their products, bodies or lives. "In order for these athletes to really reach their ultimate place of greatness it's not only that they can't let shitty food get into their body—they can't eat sugars and preservatives and chemicals and all that stuff—but they also can't allow negativity into their being and spirit, whether that's racism or hatred or jealousy or pride, all of those things that are blocks to greatness to athleticism," Jeff Weiss, Opperman Weiss co-founder, told Adweek. Chobani carefully selected the athletes featured in the campaign, spending roughly four months finding a diverse group of competitors that not only have the potential to win medals but have also overcome adversity to get to the level they're at today. But beyond selecting athletes with a chance to medal for Team USA in Rio, Chobani also wanted to work with athletes who love its product and consume it regularly, and also "have very strong values, beliefs and work ethics [and are] wonderful community citizens," Peter McGuinness, chief marketing and brand officer at Chobani, told Adweek. In the 30-second spots, Chobani dives deeper into individual athletes' stories, showing consumers how each one overcame adversity—Morgan's coach telling her, at the age of 13, that she would never be a great soccer player, for instance, or Esparza proving that women can kick butt in the boxing ring. Each athlete's story is, of course, inspiring. But perhaps most inspiring of the 30-second spots is Stockwell's

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Kids Talk About Their ‘First White President’ in BET News Spots

July 6, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Children under 8, who were born during the Obama administration, are about to experience a landmark moment—the first time they'll see a white person elected president of the United States. To raise awareness of election year issues, BET News launched a video with a roundtable discussion featuring kids talking about the election and what it will be like to have a white president. "Hearing from kids is always interesting, and any way we can start a conversation around social issues is good," said Nneka Norville, director of CSR at BET. The video also draws attention to BET's new campaign, "Vote Your Voice," which is aimed at increasing voter turnout among African Americans. While black voter turnout has been on the rise since 1996, only in the last two presidential elections—2008 and 2012—was African-American turnout on par with white turnout, according to BET. The "Vote Your Voice" PSA shows various influencers from the music, fashion, art and tech worlds staring into the camera in silence with the tagline, "This election, silence is not an option." "It was a risk to go silent, but we wanted to capture people's attention," Norville said. "We wanted to show that this is what it looks like if you don't vote. You're standing in silence, and it's not OK to be silent. You have to use your voice and vote. Given how noisy and dramatic this election season is, we thought that it would be ironic to go silent." A second set of ads will feature celebrities talking about issues that are important to them. The #VoteYourVoice section of BET's website includes more videos on election-related news and issues, and people also can register to vote on the website through a partnership with TurboVote. Since launching last week, the campaign has registered 800 voters. "As a network, we have so much brand equity in the African-American community," Norville said. "We're in over 90 million homes across the country, and people look to us not only to entertain them, but to educate them and inform them. This falls in line with that."

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Karlovy Vary Film Review: ‘Kamper’

July 5, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

The thesis that many thirtysomething men these days are essentially still children in larger (and often dirtier) T-shirts is hardly a revelatory one in the age of Judd Apatow, but "Kamper" nonetheless restates the obvious with self-effacing good humor and a sincere lump in its throat.

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