Posts Tagged ‘cable’

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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Brands Can Now Find Out in Real Time How Many People Watch Their TV Ads. Here’s How

January 25, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Advertisers won't have to wait hours or days after this year's Super Bowl to find out how many people watched their spots during the Big Game. TV ad tracking company has rolled out a new set of metrics that will offer brands real-time data on view rates, impressions and unduplicated reach for their ads. The service, which has tracked ad activity for three years, now provides this data for national and local ads watched on TV screens whether they're viewed live, time shifted, or via VOD or OTT. With all the changes in how audiences watch TV, "more and more ads are becoming decoupled from the programs themselves, and a lot of brands and networks are starting to move towards audience-based buying," said Sean Muller, founder and CEO. "On top of that, digital has taught brands the power of being responsive with their media in general. So now, brands are really trying to become more responsive with television." The company is utilizing technology embedded into the firmware of 10 million TV sets in the U.S. that detects any kind of content, including ads, on the screens. tags ads in its commercial catalog using fingerprint technology and tracks them on the screen with ACR, or automatic content recognition, no matter what kind of device is connected to the television

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Here’s How Mr. Robot Plans to Top Itself in Season 2

January 14, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

After shaking up the television landscape last summer with Mr. Robot, USA now has the daunting task of trying to top itself when the series returns for Season 2 this summer. Before production began on 2015's best new series , the show's stars and creator Sam Esmail assembled at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour today to talk about what is in store for Elliot (Rami Malek) and the other characters next season. "We could not be more proud of Mr. Robot," said Chris McCumber, president of USA Network. "This was a big week for the series," which won two Golden Globes on Sunday , for best drama and best supporting actor (Christian Slater). "The series struck a chord with fans that no television show has done in a while. From the moment we saw the pilot, we knew we had something special." Now Esmail's challenge is to keep that momentum going in Season 2, which will address the fallout from the big twists involving Malek and Slater's characters. "The whole show has been about Elliot's emotional journey, and I really wanted to focus on that and make it less about the plot. For me, the headline for Season 2 is: how do these two guys reconcile? How does Elliot reconcile with the fact that he's just seeing this fantasy? So that's the struggle that is going to take over in Season 2," said Esmail.

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Step Aside, Cord Cutters and Cord-Nevers. Showtime Is Targeting ‘Cord Cobblers’

January 13, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

We've heard about cord cutters, cord shavers and cord-nevers . Now, Showtime has a new term to add to the growing vernacular: cord cobblers. That's how Showtime's president and CEO, David Nevins, referred to his subscribers while discussing the evolution of his premium cable network at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "2016 is going to be the year of customized viewing," Nevins said. "Today's audiences are cord cobblers, individuals and households who creatively manage their content consumption with an assortment of subscriptions that work uniquely for their needs." Because of the availability of its stand-alone streaming service on iTunes, Roku and Android devices, and as add-on subscriptions for Hulu, Amazon Prime and PlayStation Vue, Showtime has "availability and visibility wherever those cord cobblers reside," he said.

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Despite Losing Mad Men and Breaking Bad, AMC Is More Popular Than Ever

January 9, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

AMC's president and general manager, Charlie Collier, knows that many competitors and onlookers were expecting his network to stumble after losing its two signature shows—Mad Men and Breaking Bad—in a year. But instead of imploding, AMC has just wrapped its most successful year ever. "We faced an important transition over the last two years, with both Breaking Bad and Mad Men coming to a close, and many looked at 2015 as a sort of, what's next here for the network? And we're very proud of what we've accomplished," Collier said at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. Before presenting the network's upcoming new shows for 2016, Collier noted that three of AMC's four premieres in 2015—Fear the Walking Dead, Into the Badlands and Better Call Saul—are the top three cable series launches of all time among adults 18-49 and 25-54. "At a time when many are focused on too much TV or measurement challenges and the impact of time-shifting, it's remarkable that viewership records can even be set anymore," said Collier, who added that AMC also ended last year "as the no. 1 destination for original programming in prime time, including broadcast, averaging nearly 4 million viewers in adults 18-49 and 25-54 all original episodes in live-plus-three." The network also became a top 5 cable network in primetime for the first time, in both the 18-49 and 25-54 demos. AMC has 14 original shows set to roll out this year, Collier noted. "We head into 2016 confident and optimistic about the future, and that's largely because we believe in the vision of the creative talent that's at the heart of our network," said the exec, who has so many shows in the pipeline that he is adding a fourth night of original programming: Tuesdays, alongside Sundays, Mondays and Saturdays. Among AMC's other TCA announcements: Fear the Walking Dead, AMC's Walking Dead prequel, will return on April 10 for Season 2. The 15-episode season will be split in two parts: seven episodes airing in the spring; the remaining eight later in the year

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Starz Plans Its Own Stand-Alone Service to Compete With HBO and Showtime

January 8, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

After previously insisting that it was "far away" from developing a stand-alone service to reach viewers without a cable subscription, Starz has reversed course. The premium cable network is now following HBO and Showtime's lead in preparing its own OTT app. "Yeah, we're in the midst of doing it," Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "Nothing to really talk about right now. To have your own app is the opportunity to be distributed, either by our current distribution partners in different ways … or potential other portals. It is early days with that stuff, but it seems as if the new and the old are willing to exist side by side for a while.

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