Posts Tagged ‘digital’

China Unveils Tough Controls on Foreign Media Activities

February 22, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Foreign-owned media or joint ventures in China will not be able to publish online without prior approval.

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Dan Harmon and Jack Black Bring History to Life in New Late-Night Comedy Block

February 18, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When you think late-night comedy, History probably isn't the first—or even the 10th—channel that comes to mind. But the network hopes to change that starting next Thursday, Feb. 25, when it rolls out a new late-night comedy block called Night Class. And it's enlisted a big name to bring the funny to History: Dan Harmon. Harmon, the man behind Community and Adult Swim's Rick and Morty, is one of several big comic names contributing to Night Class, which will air at 11:30 p.m. Thursdays following History's new series Join or Die with Craig Ferguson. The block's collection of short-form comedic series will help History target millennial men and the advertisers trying to reach them, both on TV and online. "When I see people talk about some of the things they're watching, it's on the fringes of the schedule, the things that really push the creative, like a late-night comedy experiment. And I realized that was new territory we could explore," said Paul Cabana, evp and head of programming for History. Great Minds with Dan Harmon is one of three series that will debut as part of Night Class's initial lineup. (Each half hour will air programming of varying lengths, and History will begin to rotate new series in after the first eight weeks or so.) Harmon, who hosts, will sit down with comedic actors playing some of history's smartest people (including Jason Sudeikis as Thomas Edison, Kristen Schaal as Amelia Earhart and Jack Black as Ludwig van Beethoven). Great Minds will also feature Sarah Silverman, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Kroll and Dana Carvey. As History looked for creators to contribute to Night Class, Harmon was one of the first to respond. "It turns out he is a rabid history buff, and he's like this pied piper for creatives and got all these people interested in the idea of doing a sketch about a historical figure," said Cabana. Great Minds with Dan Harmon was originally shot as a pilot for IFC last year but was completely reworked for History. Here is a clip from the Jack Black episode: Adweek responsive video player used on /video. The second series, Crossroads of History, will highlight what History calls "little known but historically accurate" moments in history—like Abraham Lincoln's alcoholic bodyguard stepping out for a drink shortly before Lincoln's assassination and Hitler's failed 1908 art-school admissions interview

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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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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 iSpot.tv 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, iSpot.tv 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. iSpot.tv 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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China’s Le Eco Scoops World Cup Rights in Hong Kong

January 15, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Le Eco, the Chinese group formerly known as Le TV, has picked up broadcast rights in Hong Kong to the 2018 World Cup soccer tournament.

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Yahoo Shutters Screen, Scales Back Original Series

January 4, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Just four days into 2016, Yahoo is making good on a plans announced at the end of 2015. The struggling tech giant has shut down Yahoo Screen, a 5-year-old digital video platform that housed its original series, its first livestream of an NFL game, and old episodes of Saturday Night Live. The remaining video properties on Yahoo Screen will be moved to the company's digital magazines, so like-minded content will exist side by side. "At Yahoo, we're constantly reviewing and iterating on our products as we strive to create the best user experience," said a Yahoo rep. "With that in mind, video content from Yahoo as well as our partners has been transitioned from Yahoo Screen to our Digital Magazine properties so users can discover complementary content in one place." The shutdown of Yahoo Screen, first reported by Variety, comes after a year in which the tech giant attempted to break into original content with the revival of NBC sitcom Community, the NBA-themed series Sin City Saints, and sci-fi comedy Other Space (from Ghostbusters director Paul Feig). It's a blow to the tumultuous tenure of CEO Marissa Mayer, for whom original video had been a priority. Despite the three original series, as well as a licensing deal with Viacom for Comedy Central shows and the entire catalogue of Saturday Night Live, Yahoo simply couldn't compete with streaming giants Netflix, Amazon Prime and even Hulu. Yahoo's originals contributed to a $42 million write down for the company last year. CFO Ken Goldman admitted at the time he "couldn't see a way to make money over time" on pricey original series

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Digital Domain Eyeing Sports Venture with China’s LeTV

December 18, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

The move would expand DDH’s growing involvement in virtual reality technology and content.

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A+E Networks Shows To Be Hosted on Hulu Japan

December 16, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

A large slate of programming from A+E Networks will be made available on Hulu Japan.

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Major Companies Urge Approval of Hong Kong Copyright Law

December 13, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Tempers flare after meeting of copyright lobby group. Government admits that proposed legislation does not go far enough.

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Bonnie Hammer Is Shaking Up Her NBCU Cable Portfolio, One Network at a Time

November 29, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Throughout her legendary career, Bonnie Hammer has learned just about everything there is to know about the television industry, except for one thing: how to rest on her laurels. "If you're not always thinking about the storms that are about to come, you're going to be in big trouble," she says. "I've never been afraid of change." That's why the chairman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group and Adweek's TV Executive of the Year has spent the past year shaking up the 10 networks she oversees—including heavyweights USA, Bravo and E!—keeping them fresh, exciting and relevant for audiences in a turbulent TV landscape. "It's taking a look at every piece of the organization, almost from a zero base," says Hammer. "If we were designing a world to compete in today, not last year or 10 years ago, how would you do that?" Last fall, Hammer combined Bravo, Oxygen, E! and the upstart Esquire Network into the Lifestyle Networks Group, unifying the brands in the same fashion NBCU ad sales chairman Linda Yaccarino sells them to advertisers. "Every single channel was a silo. With one overall voice, it made it neater, cleaner and more nimble in terms of everything from sales to early-stage development," explains Hammer of the reorg, which helped inspire similar ones at rival players like Viacom and A+E Networks. Hammer pushed several NBCU cable properties to launch scripted series for the first time (Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce and Odd Mom Out on Bravo, The Royals on E!, Spotless on Esquire), helping to diversify and fortify the nets when and if franchises like the Real Housewives and the Kardashians run out of steam. ("We keep waiting for the day—and it doesn't happen," notes Hammer.) Significantly, the new scripted projects add a vital new stream of revenue for the company. "What scripted provides that reality hasn't yet, and probably won't, is back end. If you can own content that has a nice, long tail, that is a moderate to amazing hit, it's money in the bank—it's just good business," explains Hammer, who also runs the in-house studios Universal Cable Productions (which handles scripted shows) and Wilshire Studios (reality and unscripted). Hammer's riskiest move involved the crown jewel of her portfolio, USA, moving the network away from its signature "blue skies" procedurals, which were no longer connecting with audiences. "We wanted to nail something in the zeitgeist," she says. "And that's where Mr. Robot came." This summer's sensational hacker drama was, at the outset, anything but a sure thing, but Hammer went forward with the gamble. "We all said, 'This could fail big. We all have to agree that this is an experiment, but we're willing to do it,'" recalls Hammer. Mr. Robot would end up taking viewers by storm, helping USA finish its 10th year as the most-watched entertainment network in prime time on basic cable. As for properties in her stable that remain a work in progress—like Oxygen, which is still struggling to connect with its 20-something female viewer base—Hammer is considering all options, including a possible OTT play

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