Posts Tagged ‘media’

Anne Sweeney Is Leaving Disney

March 11, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday announced that Anne Sweeney is leaving the company, effective January 2015, so that she may devote time to directing. An 18-year Disney veteran, Sweeney currently serves as co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney/ABC Television Group. John Skipper is the Mouse House’s other co-chair, and he also is president of ESPN. Sweeney joined Disney in 1996, signing on as president of Disney Channel and evp of Disney/ABC Cable Networks. Before that, she was president and CEO of FX Networks. Sweeney broke the news to The Hollywood Reporter . Shortly, after that story went live, Disney issued an official press release. “I’ve been a part of an amazing evolution in our business and our industry, and have achieved far more than I ever thought possible,” Sweeney said, by way of announcing her decision to move on. “But as wonderful as the experience has been, there has always been a nagging voice in the back of my head pushing me to step out of the comfort zone of the executive ranks and more directly into the creative arena that enticed me to TV in the first place.” Sweeney went on to add that while her plan to walk away from corporate life to pursue a discipline in which she is untutored may seem a bit peculiar, directing a TV series would prove to be the culmination of “a long realized dream.” She then thanked Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger for his “leadership, guidance and his friendship over the years,” before saying that Iger had offered her an extension on her contract. Sweeney will remain in place through the end of the year, where she looks to “position the TV Group for even greater success.” For his part, Iger credited Sweeney with growing Disney Channel into a global powerhouse while making ABC “a strong, successful content creation engine.” He went on to “applaud Anne for knowing what she wants out of life and for having the courage to follow her dream.” While a short list of executives is rumored to be in line to succeed Iger when he steps down in June 2016, Sweeney’s name is rarely listed among them

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The Story of Kids TV Mastermind Fred Seibert

March 11, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Fred Seibert is sitting in his New York office, filled with Legos and comic books, talking enthusiastically about his first big failure. Thirty-two years ago, Seibert was hired away from his agency, Fred/Alan, by Turner executive Scott Sassa after Turner acquired Hanna-Barbera , the animation studio behind series including Scooby Doo and Space Ghost. Ted Turner was in love with his new toy, though others at the company wanted to shut it down. “Ted won’t close the studio because he thinks it’s cool,” Sassa told Seibert at the time. Sassa didn’t want to close it either, though Hanna-Barbera was a seriously distressed asset. Please, Sassa asked Seibert—who had rebranded Nickelodeon a few years earlier—fix this thing. The first decision Seibert made was to green-light two cartoons: Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron (yes, this was the ’90s) and a much better series called 2 Stupid Dogs . Swat Kats, Seibert now admits, was a boring, by-the-numbers action cartoon he thought could capitalize on current trends, while 2 Stupid Dogs had that certain something he hoped could turn into a marketing bonanza: It was odd

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FCC Chairman’s Proposal to Prohibit Joint Sales Deals Strikes Partisan Nerve

March 10, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to inhibit joint sales agreements between TV stations is already shaping up to be a fight that will split along party lines. With Commissioner Mike O'Rielly's statement released Monday—which supports keeping JSAs as an option for small-market broadcasters—both Republican commissioners have publicly expressed their opposition to Wheeler's proposed change, which will be on the agency's agenda at the end of the month. Wheeler has called joint sales agreements, where one TV stations sells advertising time for another, a loophole in the ownership rules that allow big broadcasters to essentially own a second station without having that count as ownership.

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Turner, CBS Outdoor Tip Off NYC Subway Media Play

March 10, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In what’s being billed as the biggest underground digital out-of-home network to date, CBS Outdoor and Turner Broadcasting System have teamed up to bring a little dazzle to the New York City subway system. Under its recently launched Ignite: Innovations Lab initiative, CBS Outdoor has installed 10 big video screens in some of Manhattan’s busiest commuter hubs, including the MTA stations at Times Square, Herald Square and Columbus Circle. Standing 66 inches, or five-and-a-half feet high, and about three feet wide, the new video installations have been deployed ahead of CBS and Turner’s joint March Madness coverage. While Turner will use the screens to promote the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship , it will also stream promos for its entertainment and news programming on TNT, TBS, truTV, Adult Swim and CNN. While the screens have been set up to maximize impressions in advance of March Madness, the deal will keep the units lit through at least March 2015. According to Dennis Camlek, svp, Turner Media Group, the subway screen loops are about five minutes in duration, and all content is fed to the displays from the Atlanta campus. Camlek said that content can be swapped out practically in real time, with a lag of 30 seconds at the most. While the colors and images displayed on the screens are particularly dynamic, there is no associated audio feed. “That was something we went back and forth on,” Camlek said. “But because the MTA’s safety messages are of the utmost importance, we thought we’d hang back on the audio.” Camlek added that while the 10 screens will be seen by a great number of TV viewers—approximately 7 million commuters walk through the NYC subway turnstiles every day—the number of media buyers and other agency personnel that will pass the displays is a nice bonus. “It’s both consumer- and industry facing,” Camlek said

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Meet 12 of the Biggest Young Stars on YouTube

March 10, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In a way, it all started with Fred Figglehorn, a chipmunk-voiced, fictional 6-year-old with a dysfunctional family, manic energy and anger issues who proved to be catnip to young viewers on YouTube.

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Woody Allen and the Media’s Mob Hysteria

February 21, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

What’s my favorite Woody Allen movie? When I was asked, along with several other Variety staffers, to answer that question — long before Dylan Farrow posed it rhetorically to the world — for a 2013 sidebar to my own Allen interview, I picked “Husbands and Wives,” Allen’s raw and formally inventive 1992 drama of two... Read more

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Wait for Spring and Network with Talk NYC at The Ainsworth

Wait for Spring and Network with Talk NYC at The Ainsworth

Network with media and advertising professionals in New York on February 25th
February 15, 2014  |  Blog  |  No Comments

Who's tired of winter? The team at Talk NYC has similar feelings, and as we prepare for ENGAGE: The Digital Storytelling Conference in April, we are getting a case of cabin fever. If you are in the New York area, stop hibernating and come mingle with Talk NYC at The Ainsworth on February 25, 2014. You'll learn more about ENGAGE 2014 and meet other thought leaders and up-and-comers in the media and digital space! Plus, the first hour of this much-needed happy hour is open bar! ENGAGE: The Digital Storytelling Conference is coming up this April, and with speakers from Huge, 60 Minutes, Refinery29 and

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Here Are the Twitter Feeds Soledad O’Brien Finds Especially Helpful

February 7, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who Soledad O'Brien Age 47 Accomplishments Broadcast journalist; CEO of Starfish Media Group ; philanthropist; will be hosting two panels at the NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans Feb. 14-16 Base New York What’s the first information you consume in the morning? I hate to admit it, but I wake up and I grab my iPhone and go on Twitter . If you can cast a wide net of conversations on Twitter, you can get a really well-rounded sense of the world in the first 10 minutes that you’re up. I’m sort of obsessed with Twitter. Then I start answering my emails, which range from crazy family issues to work. And then I get out of bed. Are there any Twitter feeds that you find especially helpful? First, my friends, Kim Bondy and Bevy Smith, just to keep up with what’s going on in their lives. Ezra Klein is really interesting, and Ross Douthat is wonderful. Roland Martin tweets a lot of good information from his News One Now show. And Ryan Lizza is terrific

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Berlin: Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams Teaming in Prohibition Era Drama

February 1, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams have signed on to star in the Prohibition era drama “Ezekiel Moss” with Philip Seymour Hoffman directing. Exclusive Media’s Alex Walton, president of international sales and distribution, will introduce the film to buyers at next week’s European Film Market in Berlin. Producers are Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman, PalmStar Media Capital’s... Read more

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Viacom Is Creating a Full Division Devoted to Branded Content

January 22, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Viacom is doing at scale something that TV entertainment companies—especially those with a wide footprint in the unscripted world—are relying heavily on for growth: It's creating a full division devoted to branded content. (The Nickelodeon family of kids' networks isn't a part of this—those channels operate under very different advertising rules.) The new group is called Viacom Velocity and will work closely with the marketing divisions of every adult network in the Viacom portfolio, including Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, Spike, TV Land and BET. The original content part of the unit—creative solutions, run by Neils Schuurmans, formerly evp of marketing and exec creative director at Spike—will serve partly as a think tank for new ideas. One example is Comedy Central's recent half-hour prime-time special with Kevin Hart—called Serve & Protect—which led into Hart's new movie with Ice Cube, Ride Along. The other part of the venture will be working with existing talent. Evp Dario Spina will head the integrated marketing half of the equation, working on content that "weaves in and out of our existing programming," as Spina puts it. Both involve a significant amount of production oversight, as well as air traffic control between very different brands. "This is something we've been doing informally for the last few years and it's really reaching a tipping point of scale," said company ad sales head Jeff Lucas, who is also refreshingly frank about why the company is announcing the new unit now: "As we're approaching the upfront, we want to make some noise to get out there and broaden it." Indeed, it's a good time to formalize this setup—throughout television, it's harder every year to sell clients on a purely spot-based buy. Viewers skip ads, they pirate, they wait for the DVD set or the streaming air date, or they buy by episode on digital. But Lucas says this is the way forward. "We've spent years investing in content based on deep research," he told Adweek. "We can get closer to the creators of that content than anyone." (Both Spina and Schuurmans report to Lucas.) Network executives at several companies have been trying to do this on different levels for years—a few years ago at NBCUniversal, Lauren Zalaznick (who left the company late last year) instituted cross-network demo buys for women and Hispanic viewers that forced the sometimes internally competitive NBCU family to play nice together when it came to pleasing ad clients. Ad sales president Linda Yaccarino created a "client solutions group" with similar aims in October. Discovery purchased Revision3 last year in a bid to create more deeply branded properties that aligned with its existing linear networks; thus far its Animalist and Test Tube digital platforms (half-siblings of cable channels Animal Planet and Science) have yielded several sponsorships. And Turner has Funny or Die and a particularly deep client-network setup at Adult Swim—with the exception of reality, comedy content is the easiest to integrate. But Viacom has been doing this sort of thing well and for a long time: Spike, in particular, has been a focal point—it does Dick Clark-style countdowns to the release of new Call of Duty games, and the whole organization united to promote Relativity's raunch-comedy anthology (which is poised to sweep the Razzies this year). Hey, the money's green. So how will Schuurmans assemble the new team? "Some of it is just realigning people, but some of it is definitely bringing people in," he said. "It's just about rallying those folks and saying, okay, you're now working on dedicated creative content." And there are plenty of people at the company that were already working on just that

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