Posts Tagged ‘network’

AT&T Unveils Pricing and Channel Lineups for Its DirectTV Now Streaming Bundle

November 29, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Starting Wednesday, cord-nevers, cord shavers and cord cutters will have a relatively inexpensive, easy new option to access live TV. AT&T finally unveiled pricing, channel lineups and more details about DirecTV Now, its over-the-top, streaming bundle service, which launches on Wednesday. The service, which doesn't require a set-top box, satellite dish, annual contract or credit checks, will debut with an introductory price of just $35 per month for more than 100 channels. "This is the foundation of how we're going to do things in the future," John Stankey, CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, told reporters who gathered at New York's Venue 57 for the product launch. He added, "For the first time in our history, we have control of the full stack," explaining that it will use data insights from subscribers to create more targeted advertising capabilities for brands, which will keep its pricing low. With the launch, AT&T is targeting the 20 million-plus U.S. households that don't have cable or satellite service. "We get to address a new audience," said Stankey. "This opens up a whole new segment of the market." (Brad Bentley, evp and CMO at AT&T Entertainment Group, noted that market includes the "5-6 million people" who attempted to sign up for DirecTV but were unable to pass a credit check.) And, the company hopes, it persuades even more subscribers to its "mobile-first" product to switch over to its wireless service. AT&T wireless subscribers will be able to use DirecTV Now without the streaming counting against their data plan. While the service contains almost all of the country's biggest networks, there are a few major omissions. "The only thing missing is CBS and Showtime, which we are working on, actively," said Bentley. (The CW, which is also part of CBS Corp, is also MIA.) While "we're hopeful and optimistic" that AT&T and CBS will come to terms, Stankey noted, "the demographic may be a fit" for a CBS-less lineup—i.e., millennials don't watch CBS. However, they do watch The CW, which isn't available either. And while subscribers in "owned and operated" markets like New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia will be able to stream broadcast content live on NBC, ABC and Fox, those in smaller, affiliate markets will have to wait until the next day, when they can access network prime-time programming on demand. (The company said it is working with affiliates and hopes to expand its live offerings in the future.) The service also doesn't include DirecTV's prized NFL Sunday Ticket package—Stankey said the company is in talks with the NFL—DVR capabilities (those are coming next year) or the ability to pause live TV. (However, many channels have "72 hour lookback" capabilities.) While Stankey said that subscribers in owned and operated markets will be able to watch NFL games live on Fox and NBC, the feed will not be available to mobile subscribers in those markets, as Verizon retains exclusive NFL mobile streaming rights.

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The Trump Phenomenon Delivered Massive Ratings for Cable News Throughout

November 9, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Say what you want about the outcome, but the 2016 presidential election cycle was unlike any the news media has ever experienced. As you might expect, cable news reaped significant benefits from the volatility of the race in the form of huge ratings. Fox News beat CNN in total audience on election night 2016 during the full coverage block, from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Per Nielsen data, FNC delivered 12.2 million viewers compared to CNN's 11.2 million. Fox News' viewership climbed on an hourly basis through midnight, while both CNN and MSNBC peaked at around 10 p.m. The ratings trends seem make sense considering now President-elect Donald Trump gained momentum as the night went on, while Hillary Clinton steadily lost steam. Fox News also beat CNN in the all-important 2-3 a.m. time period, when the race was called.

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Could Blind Hiring Be the Solution to Increasing Diversity at Agencies?

November 8, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In September, HP sent a letter to its agencies asking for a detailed plan on how each would up its diversity quotient within 12 months. A month earlier, General Mills had mandated its agencies to have at least 50 percent women and 20 percent people of color working on its accounts. Other marketers such as Verizon have followed suit, and now agencies are scrambling to find a solution. Some have turned to a practice already used by technology companies like Google: blind hiring, which seeks to remove any identifying factors—name, gender, ethnicity and even education—from the initial round of interviews. The hope is that it will take away a hiring manager's unconscious biases and keep them focused on the candidate's talent and not be influenced by where they come from or went to school. "For us, it's all about how do you take out bias anywhere you can," said Cindy Augustine, global chief talent officer, FCB. FCB is one agency, alongside others including Dallas-based Levenson Group, to test blind hiring. To date, FCB has activated the program in FCB Health's offices New York and Chicago for a select number of positions, including strategy and analytics, with plans to open the program up across the network in the next three to six months. FCB tapped tech platform GapJumpers, which allows employers to ditch resumes and instead post challenges for potential new hires online. These challenges test the perspective employee's skills through something similar to a brief, but more pointed at the position that person applied for. Levenson Group, for example, asked prospective creative content writers to attract young drinkers to vodka over whisky or tequila using Instagram. To date, GapJumpers has conducted over 1,200 blind auditions and recorded, through working with companies including Google and Dolby, measurable results. Nearly 60 percent of the top performers have been women, proving the service can get a more diverse group through initial rounds of hiring. Through working with GapJumpers, Levenson Group chief product officer Paul McEnany said the agency hired a female candidate with no agency experience or no marketing degree. "I'm not even certain we would have interviewed her in the first place," said McEnany. Singleton Beato , evp, diversity and inclusion for the 4A's, praised platforms like GapJumpers, likening it to hit TV show The Voice where coaches evaluate contestants based on talent, not appearance

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Last Year’s Biggest Freshman TV Hits Have Lost Momentum in Season 2

November 3, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

For a new TV series, the only thing harder than becoming a freshman hit is maintaining that momentum in Season 2. Several of last year's biggest critical and commercial hits, including Blindspot and Mr. Robot, have been felled by ratings and creative challenges in their sophomore seasons. Two of last fall's biggest success stories, NBC's Blindspot and ABC's Quantico, were hoping to grow their audiences in Season 2, but instead they've stumbled out of the gate. Blindspot, which averaged a 1.8 in the 18-49 demo last year, is off 30 percent, averaging a 1.3. However, much of that ratings drop can be explained by NBC relocating Blindpsot from its cushy post-Voice time slot on Mondays to Wednesdays at 8 p.m., when the network is much more vulnerable (and when the show is being trounced by another action-heavy series, Fox's Lethal Weapon). Quantico's fall is more alarming. It remained in the same time slot as last year (10 p.m. Sundays), but the series, which averaged a 1.2 in the demo last season, is off 33 percent with a 0.8. Last season's most promising freshman series for ABC is now the network's lowest-rated scripted series in the demo—though the network notes that it's had significant gains in delayed viewing

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Fox Hopes Its Brooklyn Nine-Nine/New Girl Crossover Will Boost Slumping Tuesday Ratings

October 11, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

We've seen The CW and CBS superheroes band together to defeat a common foe—and boost ratings in the process. Now, Fox is hoping that a team-up of its own comedy stars can help turn around its season. Tonight, the network is airing a crossover event for its two Tuesday night comedies, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl. It begins during the Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode at 8 p.m., when New Girl's Jess (Zooey Deschanel) crosses paths with Nine-Nine detective Jake (Andy Samberg). The crossover continues during New Girl at 8:30, where the whole New Girl cast flies from Los Angeles to New York and stumbles upon several Nine-Nine characters.

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BBC America Teases 2 New Shows (and the Return of Doctor Who) at New York Comic-Con

October 7, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

What's one huge lesson Sarah Barnett, president of BBC America, has learned from events like Comic-Con? "Be superfans of your fans!" That's the approach BBC America brought to this year's New York Comic-Con, where it took over Madison Square Garden, with panels and mini-screeners for conventiongoers, as the first TV network to expand its presentation into that massive theater. Comic-Con, which also takes place in San Diego every year, is a place where fans come first. TV shows and networks combine with high-profile movies and comic books to create a whirlwind of fandom. "This is one of the most pop-culture literate groups of people," said Barnett. "They know their stuff. And there's an openness to good ideas and content

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Here Are the TV Shows and Networks People Watch Live Most and Least Often

October 7, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

While broadcast viewers are thought to represent a more traditional TV audience than those watching cable, a new report says they are actually less likely to watch programming live than their cable counterparts, especially if the network in question is The CW. That information comes from TiVo Research's Q2 State of TV report, which was released today. The quarterly report tracks time-shifting using TiVo's Media TRAnalytics data set, which anonymously aggregates set-top box data from more than 2.3 million households including TiVo owners and other cable providers. According to the study, while the vast majority of TV viewing continues to be live, broadcast network prime-time viewing is more likely to be time-shifted than cable programming. Twenty-six percent of broadcast prime-time programming was time-shifted during the second quarter (23 percent overall was watched in the C3 window, from the same day to three days later; the other 3 percent was time-shifted four to seven days). In total day viewing, 20 percent of broadcast programing was time-shifted. For cable prime-time viewing during the quarter, 88 percent was viewed live, with total day viewing even higher at 91 percent. The CW is the most time-shifted of the broadcast networks. Only 56 percent of its viewers watch live in prime time.

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Here’s How The CW Is Forging Its Own Digital Path, Without Hulu

October 3, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

This week, as The CW begins to debut its season premieres, viewers used to streaming those shows on Hulu will be in for a surprise. The network's five-year deal with the streaming service has lapsed, which means that for the first time, The CW's website and apps will have exclusive in-season streaming rights to its shows like Supergirl , which has migrated over from CBS, Jane the Virgin and The Flash . It's a brave new digital world for The CW, which created its CW Seed digital platform in 2013 in part so it would one day be prepared to go it alone without Hulu. Last week, the network rolled out its CW app on Roku, Apple TV, Xbox, Chromecast and Amazon Fire, and will be amping up marketing efforts to direct audiences to the new digital destinations. "When you know this is the only place you have to go, that makes a big difference, and it helps our business model," said network president Mark Pedowitz. While ABC, Fox and NBC, whose parent companies jointly own Hulu, were able to sell a big chunk of their ad inventory on the streaming service, The CW was not given the same access to Hulu ad revenue. (That did not change when Time Warner, which jointly owns The CW with CBS Corp., acquired a 10 percent stake in Hulu in August.) "We had none of it, and I'm sure a lot of advertisers went there to get our shows," said Rob Tuck, evp, national sales for The CW. "The advertisers had been looking for more from us because our inventory was somewhat constrained, and we now have been able to release it. We've got a lot more available to us, and clients definitely responded. Our digital growth this year was really significant." Sources close to Hulu counter that the company didn't want to pay more to renew its deal, and be required to take on the entire network's portfolio without in-season stacking rights to all episodes of a current season when only The Flash and Arrow were generating meaningful traffic on the site. In addition to being the only network to offer unauthenticated access via its apps ("our median age on digital is 23, and our viewer does not want to authenticate," explained Tuck), Pedowitz and Tuck have reduced The CW's digital ad load this season, from 12 minutes per hour, which mirrored the linear load, to seven-to-nine minutes per hour. "We're trying to figure out what is the right load so that viewers feel that they've had a great viewing experience," said Pedowitz. While The CW ended its partnership with one SVOD, it has enhanced its relationship with another. In July, the network signed a lucrative, multiyear deal with Netflix, giving that company exclusive streaming rights to full seasons of each CW series, beginning just eight days after its season finale. Under its previous CW deal, Netflix did not get streaming access until several months after a season had concluded

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How the Unlikely Alliance of Ovation’s ‘Versailles’ and Fiat Benefits Both Brands

September 26, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

There's a sexy, lavish new series coming to cable TV, set in the 17th century, that brings a distinctly modern style to the story of King Louis XIV and his royal court outside Paris. But as contemporary as Versailles may be, don't expect the Sun King to hop behind the wheel of a Fiat , though the brand is the exclusive auto partner for the 10-episode show airing on the Ovation network . The partnership between period piece and marketer is playing out in branded content and behind-the-scenes vignettes that weave together the attributes of both, with nary an in-show product placement. It's part of a trend on television where fantasy, sci-fi, period, animation and unscripted series are increasingly creating what might on the surface seem to be unlikely pairings with brands. For Versailles, which centers on the 28-year-old French ruler and his impossibly beautiful courtiers, there's a focus on design, art and fashion, along with the obligatory palace intrigue, backstabbing and bed-hopping. (Think The Tudors with less gore.) "Even though it's a period piece, there's nothing stodgy about it," said Liz Janneman, Ovation's evp, network strategy. "It's a fashion-forward modern classic with a twist for a cultured audience." As it happens, Fiat sees itself the same way, with the partners collaborating on nearly 100 pieces of content that promote both the show and the carmaker's new 500X crossover sports utility vehicle. Those will include exclusive set visits, deep dives with show creators and historical perspectives, but no Fiats ferrying corseted characters. The alliance with Fiat, which is also sponsoring the limited-commercial, two-hour premiere on Oct. 1, isn't about "the literal connection" but the thematic one, Janneman said. Putting two such bedfellows together is "more challenging, but the result is more interesting," she said. Versailles is one of many such examples where marketers might have thought there was no room for them but found instead, via some creative thinking, that even surreal-world shows can include brands. These are what Kevin McAuliffe, branded content veteran who now heads Francis Productions, calls "contextual opportunities" that match a TV property and a brand with "similar belief systems." He said, "It's been an evolution, but brands are less about integration now and more about connecting with a message. You're driving value instead of just being exposed." Geico has used costume-clad marauding men to intentionally comic effect for its recent ties to History's action drama, Vikings, and Fitbit chose an appropriately creepy zombie theme for its link with AMC's massive hit, The Walking Dead. Ford sidled up to The CW's time-traveling superhero show, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and Fox's comic-based Gotham with commercials and digital shorts featuring the series' actors. The marriage doesn't even have to be within the same species or galaxy, said Marc DeBevoise, CBS Interactive president and COO, who noted that he's considering contemporary brands as partners for the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery. Or it could be closer to home.

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FX Will Show America’s Uncomfortable Truths in Its People v. O.J. Followup About Hurricane Katrina

September 19, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story has been more successful than even FX could have imagined. The miniseries won nine Emmys in all Sunday night, including outstanding limited series, and was watched by an average of 12.6 million people across all platforms. Now FX is shifting its focus to the second season of American Crime Story, which will focus on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The decision raised eyebrows when it was first revealed in January, given that the topic would seem to be less palatable to audiences than People v. O.J. was. Yet the network has never wavered in its Katrina plans, says FX Networks CEO John Landgraf, who noted that a 10-episode miniseries focusing on the Simpson trial was met with just as much initial skepticism as Katrina was. Katrina "was our only choice from the very beginning," said Landgraf. "If we're all honest—and I'll be honest on my behalf—when we heard they're going to make something based on The People v. O.J. Simpson, it was like, 'Really? Do we really need that?' Because essentially on its face, what we had is cheesy, self-serving, profit-seeking, poor narrative built around that story. The reason we wanted to do it was that we could see from Jeff Toobin's book and from [Scott] Alexander and [Larry] Karaszewski's scripts and through our producers, that actually it was something much richer and more humane and deeper." Then, after People v.

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