Posts Tagged ‘cable’

Why GSN Will Do ‘More of the Same’ as Other Networks Scramble for New Ideas

March 8, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

During this upfront season, several networks will brag about their exciting new directions and evolutions. In fact, a couple of them have already done that . But not the Game Show Network, which held its upfront presentation Tuesday morning. Its ratings are rising, and the network is slowly but surely getting younger thanks to a brand refresh several years ago, which resulted in GSN doubling its original programming output over the past three years. "I'm proud to announce that we're going to be doing more of the same," said David Goldhill, president and CEO, of GSN, which airs a mix of original and classic game programming. "Our little niche television network is now a top 30 television network, up from the mid-40s a couple of years ago," said Goldhill, speaking with buyers at New York's Paley Center for Media. The statistic refers to total day ratings and total viewers, but excludes news and sports networks. "We are growing at a very difficult time," said Goldhill of the network, which is owned by AT&T Entertainment Group and Sony Pictures Entertainment. While linear ratings are falling for many broadcast and cable networks, GSN sees growth during prime time with original programming. "We have double-digit growth across all key demos," said Goldhill, adding that 60 percent of the network's new viewers last year were under the age of 50.

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ESPN Responds to Erin Andrews’ Claims She Was Forced Into an Interview About Her Stalker

March 1, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Fox Sports reporter and Dancing with the Stars host Erin Andrews was back on the stand today in her civil lawsuit against the owners of the Nashville Marriott Hotel. On Monday, Andrews broke down on the stand, describing the devastation she felt after being secretly videotaped while nude during a stay in the hotel in 2008. She also dropped a media bombshell when she accused ESPN, her employer at the time, of forcing her to go on TV and be interviewed about it all. "Because there wasn't an arrest, because we didn't know where this happened, my bosses at ESPN told me, 'Before you go back on-air for college football, we need you to give us a sit-down interview,'" she said . "That was the only way I was going to be allowed back. They were highly recommending it be GMA, because ESPN and ABC are the same, and they wanted it on GMA," she said. "Developments in the case have been interpreted by some to mean that ESPN was unsupportive of Erin in the aftermath of her ordeal," an ESPN spokesperson said this afternoon. "Nothing could be further from the truth. We have been, and continue to be supportive of Erin." A source with knowledge of the situation said that while Andrews was encouraged to do an interview, there was no ultimatum for her to do a sit-down before returning. The network's management did provide guidance for Andrews, including suggesting she go on Good Morning America. Ultimately, Andrews gave an interview to Oprah Winfrey

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NBCUniversal Will Start Selling TV Advertising Programmatically This Fall

February 24, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

After two years of selling its digital video and display inventory programmatically, NBCUniversal is finally allowing programmatic buys on its linear networks as well. Today, the company announced NBCUx for Linear TV, which will launch as part of this year's upfront. "It's the industry's first national programmatic TV offering at scale," Krishan Bhatia, evp of business operations and strategy, said during a conference call with reporters. It's an extension of NBCUx, which the company launched last year as a digital programmatic offering, after making its digital video and display inventory available for programmatic buying two years ago. "We've seen great success with it, and now we're extending those capabilities to linear television," said Bhatia. He said that starting in the fall, "advertisers will be able to use data and automation to build media plans for our premium linear TV inventory across NBCUniversal's entire portfolio of cable and broadcast networks." The fall start date means the technology won't be available for advertisers to use during the Summer Olympics in August. NBCU's data offerings, which also include ATP, its audience targeting platform, and its addressable NBCU+ Powered by Comcast platform, represent "a sea change in thinking about how we create value for our customers," said Dan Lovinger, evp, entertainment ad sales group. "Our advertiser partners have been asking for help with automating their media planning and buying in a data-informed way, and we expect that by adding premium TV inventory to our offering, we'll provide the help that they're seeking." As part of the new offering, "select advertisers now will be enabled to include traditional TV inventory in their automated media plans via a private exchange using a combination of their own data, third-party data sources and NBCUniversal's premium television inventory," said Lovinger. NBCU will make its inventory and pricing information available to "a select set of demand-side platforms," and the company's client and agency partners can combine that information with their own data sources to build a media plan against their own data sets and target audiences. "Then, those agencies and clients will issue a media plan that will be subject to inventory availability and pricing at the time and approval on our part," said Bhatia. While it automates only part of the linear television workflow process, he called it "a big step in terms of making that process simpler." Lovinger said the company wasn't worried that clients using the technology could ultimately save more money than NBCUniversal would like. "We feel that we've got a complete hold on what we're doing here," he said.

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Spike’s Upcoming ‘Caraoke Showdown’ Is Hitting the Wrong Notes With ‘Carpool Karaoke’ Creators

February 12, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It looks like Spike's upcoming special, Caraoke Showdown, is going to lead to a real showdown between the cable network and the team behind The Late Late Show with James Corden's Carpool Karaoke. Spike's Caraoke Showdown, which the network announced last week, is set in a car and includes a celebrity host, celeb guests and lots of singing along to tunes. In other words, the show sounds a lot like Carpool Karaoke, the popular segment on Corden's late-night CBS show that has become a viral sensation thanks to videos featuring Adele, One Direction and Justin Bieber. And that's not sitting too well with The Late Late Show's executive producers. "We're disappointed with that. We're disappointed that our idea would be taken by somebody else," said Late Late Show executive producer Ben Winston.

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Derek Zoolander Spoofs ‘The More You Know’ PSAs for NBCUniversal

February 11, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Zoolander 2 might not be much of a movie—the upcoming Ben Stiller comedy has been "critically savaged" —but the movie's marketing campaign has been epic. In its latest masterstroke, Paramount Pictures has teamed up with NBCUniversal for a multiplatform, cross-portfolio series of PSAs parodying NBC's "The More You Know" campaign. In the series of spots, called "The Outside Matters," Stiller's male model character Derek Zoolander will tackle society's most serious issues, like the importance of outer beauty. Stiller stars as Zoolander in all of the spots, which will air on NBC, Bravo, E!, USA and Telemundo, as well as the networks' digital and social platforms. The videos, which were created by Paramount and NBCU's in-house Content Innovation Agency (CIA), will be tailored for each network's audience. Fandango will release all the videos on its Fandango site (where bonus content will be available), as well as its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. "I can't underscore enough the power of contextually relevant content that engages fans of the franchise and attracts new audiences," said John Harrobin, NBCUniversal's CMO for advertising sales, in a statement. "That's exactly what this humorous campaign does, while staying true to the film's spirit. There is no one better to raise awareness about this movie than Derek Zoolander himself, through parody PSAs tailored to each of our diverse audiences at scale." Stiller and Paramount have gone all out to promote Zoolander 2, with marketing stunts that have included everything from a Fiat appearance to a bespoke perfume ad campaign . Last week, Derek Zoolander crashed Barbie's Instagram , while on Tuesday, Kiehl's opened The Derek Zoolander Center for People Who Don't Age Good in New York's West Village. Stiller got an early jump on his NBCU appearances last weekend, when he popped up on Saturday Night Live as Zoolander, alongside Owen Wilson's Hansel, to discuss politics. Yes, politics.

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To Thrive in the Era of Peak TV, HBO Is Turning Subscribers Into ‘Addicts’

February 11, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Are you hooked on HBO? The network sure hopes so. As the premium service competes with an ever-growing number of broadcast, cable and digital competitors, including streaming services like Netflix, the network has developed an interesting approach to keeping subscribers coming back for more each month: turning them into "addicts," according to HBO CEO Richard Plepler. HBO has 32.3 million U.S. subscribers as of the third quarter of 2015, according to SNL Kagan. Time Warner doesn't release HBO-specific figures but said Wednesday that HBO and Cinemax added 2.7 million subscribers in 2015

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How Pizza Hut Ended Up In The People V. O.J. Simpson

February 10, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The Ford Bronco was front and center during last night's episode of FX's hit miniseries The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which covered Simpson's efforts to flee authorities in pal Al Cowling's Bronco, setting off what became the most watched police chase in U.S. history. But another prominent brand also was on display in the show's second episode: Pizza Hut. As 95 million people are glued to their TVs watching the day-long ordeal culminate in a 2-hour police pursuit, the episode cuts to a scene in a Pizza Hut, which shows the restaurant has been so inundated with pizza orders that they have run out of their cheese supply, and are unable to make anymore pizzas. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski's script for that episode, called "The Run of His Life," initially set the scene in a different pizza chain. "It was originally Dominos, but we ended up getting permission to use Pizza Hut," said Nina Jacobson, the show's executive producer. "The idea was that the most popular pizza places ran out of cheese." Although Pizza Hut okayed its appearance in the miniseries, the company did not provide the production team with any 1994-era logos or material. "Our production designer put that together," said Jacobson. Adweek responsive video player used on /video

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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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Why FX’s Bizarre New Clown Comedy ‘Baskets’ Is Obsessed With Costco and Arby’s

January 28, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

FX's quirky comedy Baskets, starring Zach Galifianakis, is one of the season's strangest new series—it's the kind of show you'll either love or never want to watch again. The comedy, about a Paris-trained clown (Galifianakis) who's stuck working at a rodeo in Bakersfield, Calif., also features two unusual brand spotlights for Costco and Arby's, both of which are interwoven into the fabric of the series. And even though Costco and Arby's are featured throughout the entire first season, neither is an actual integration. "Both are brands that we just wrote it into the script and then asked them if we could do it," said Jonathan Krisel, the show's co-creator and executive producer. "There's no money involved. We're not advertising for them, but it's more about the authenticity of having the real thing and not having it be a fake brand. And both of them were accommodating in that we're not celebrating them; we're not making fun." Krisel, who grew up going to Costco with his family, said the idea to include Costco and its Kirkland products came from Baskets' production designer as a way to feature real brands on the show without having to clear them individually with multiple companies. "The production designer said, 'What if we clear Kirkland, the brand?

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