For Trojan, Inventive Packaging Made the Sale When Advertising Wasn’t Allowed

December 27, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The year 2016 saw a lot of talk about the state of American manufacturing—about jobs making stuff for great American brands. And while most of the discussion centered on products like General Electric light bulbs and Carrier air conditioners, it’s worth pointing out one brand that’s received very little press—even though all of its manufacturing takes place in the U.S. (in Colonial Heights, Va.); even though untold numbers of the 500 million products it turns out yearly are used every day of the week. Well, maybe more like every night of the week. The product? Trojan condoms. Condoms are big business in the land of the free. According to Zion Research, Americans are forecast to spend nearly $1.6 billion on them by 2020

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Film Review: ‘The Dark Wind’

December 27, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Clearly stories from the Yazidi community deserve further cinema exposure, but until then, “The Dark Wind” is a respectable beginning that builds to a certain power.

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Film Review: ‘Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim’

December 27, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Sherif El Bendary’s feature debut is a buddy film with surrealist touches, crowned by an unexpectedly warm-hearted finale that asserts the primacy of love.

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Film Review: ‘Monster Trucks’

December 26, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Paramount's over-priced and long-delayed creature feature recycles scrap parts from classic kid movies to re-imagine what's under the hood of those giant gas guzzlers.

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Why ‘The OA’ Is One of the Year’s Most Important Films

December 24, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Of all the ways 'The OA' might blow your mind, what it means for cinema — and the future of narrative storytelling — is the most significant.

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As a Dad, Watching Movies For the First Time

December 22, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

It's moving to discover you'll wrangle with art differently for the rest of your life.

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More Customer Service Brands Are Getting Creative With Twitter’s New Curated Profiles

December 21, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Earlier this summer, Twitter started beta testing a new feature that gives brands more creativity and control over how their accounts appear. Now, it seems to be rolling out the feature to a wider swath of brands. The design tool—dubbed featured tweets—essentially breaks a company's page into three sections instead of having a running string of chronological tweets in Twitter's website and mobile app. In the top two sections, brands can pick around 10 tweets and a handful of photos to promote. Beneath the curated sections, all of the brand's tweets appear in a normal timeline. In theory, featured tweets are meant to highlight a marketer's best posts, much like a Facebook Page that can pull in multiple pieces of content. Twitter has also been encouraging brands to pump more video and pictures into their feeds as part of the platform's move to become a video hub over the past year or so. In July, Marketing Land reported that AT&T and Alaska Airlines were using the custom design, and now it appears that a slew of customer-service oriented brands including Starbucks, Hyatt, Citibank, Hotels.com and Airbnb have created custom profiles. "This is a continuation of the testing we kicked off earlier this year as we continue to explore ways to surface the best content from brands using Twitter," a rep said via email. For customer service-oriented businesses, featured tweets is a way to show users a few pretty pictures or a smattering of curated tweets before they scroll down to see thousands of replies to consumers' complaints. Take Hotels.com, for example. The brand cherry-picked four pictures and a handful of tweets that either contain a photo or video, including an Instagram contest and a video campaign with spokesman Captain Obvious .

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Viacom’s Upheaval Continues With the Exit of Music and Entertainment Group President Doug Herzog

December 21, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Viacom finally has a new CEO and isn't merging with CBS after all, but that hasn't put a stop to the company's 2016 upheaval. Doug Herzog, president of Viacom's Music and Entertainment Group, announced today that he'll be leaving the company next month. He oversees MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike and Logo. In a memo sent to staff, Herzog said he'll be leaving Viacom as of Jan. 12. "It was a helluva run, and I would wish it on anyone. I loved every minute of it," he said. Just last week, Viacom's parent company, National Amusements, which owns 80 percent of the voting shares of both Viacom and CBS, decided to pull the plug on discussions of a potential merger. That same day, the company announced that Bob Bakish, who had been serving as acting president and CEO since Nov.

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With 455 Scripted Series Released This Year, ‘Peak TV’ Has Yet to Actually Peak

December 21, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The phrase "peak TV" was coined by FX Networks CEO John Landgraf last year to describe the "overwhelming" increase in scripted series, but it seems as if the glut of scripted television shows still hasn't peaked yet. An estimated 455 scripted series aired this year on broadcast, cable and streaming services, according to FX Networks Research. "This estimate reps an 8 percent increase over just last year (421 in 2015)―but an astonishing 71 percent increase over five years ago (266 in 2011) and 137 percent over a decade ago (192 in 2006)," said Julie Piepenkotter, evp, research, FX Networks, in a statement. While the number of broadcast, premium cable and basic cables shows all fell in 2016, that decline was more than surpassed by the output from streaming services. That number doubled in one year, from 46 shows last year to 93 shows in 2016. Expect that trend to continue in 2017, as Netflix plans to double its output once again. In August, Landgraf estimated that 2016's scripted series output would probably top out at 450, while 2017 could see an astounding 500 scripted shows. That's in addition to the 750-some unscripted shows that also air. The television business is "probably unsustainable" for more than 500 scripted series, Landgraf said at the time. Landgraf, who last month was named Adweek's Television Executive of the Year, told Adweek that the number of scripted series will finally start to drop off by 2019. But despite the deluge of scripted shows, his greatest challenge is the same as when he took charge of FX in 2005. "For FX to be relevant to people as a brand—for there to be a reason for people to continue to pay attention to what we do and to seek us out—we have to give them an experience they just can't get somewhere else," he said. "You have to continually replenish your brand equity." And that requires big swings like The People v. O.J. Simpson and Atlanta, both of which became commercial and critical hits this year. "You can't just be different," Landgraf said. "You have to be different and good."

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ABC Will Create Original Series for Snapchat, Starting With a Bachelor-Themed Show

December 21, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Yet another big media company is teaming up with Snapchat in a bid to reach millennials. This time, it's Disney-ABC Television Group, which is partnering with Snap Inc. to produce original series for the platform. The first show out out of the gate is Watch Party: The Bachelor, which debuts Tuesday, Jan. 3, the morning after The Bachelor's 21st season premiere on ABC. Watch Party will feature a rotating group of celebs, comedians, Bachelor superfans and past Bachelor and Bachelorette personalities as they watch and joke about the most recent Bachelor episode. The weekly Snapchat series, which will debut every Tuesday morning, will consist of 10 original episodes and one Live Story. Several other shows based on DATG properties will roll out on Snapchat in the coming months

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