Posts Tagged ‘network’

Insiders Say NBC Has the Best Chance at Getting the NFL’s Thursday Night Package

January 27, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The National Football League is poring over a handful of formal offers for a new Thursday night TV package, and sources with skin in the game believe the top bidder will be revealed within the next seven to 10 days. While the bids are effectively sealed, insiders say NBC has the best shot at landing the single-season showcase. Submissions from current rights holders CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN are in hand, as is an offer from former NFL partner Turner Sports. (TNT carried a slate of eight September-October NFL games from 1990-97.) Handicappers last week said that NBC likely has the upper hand in the silent auction, given its oft-demonstrated willingness to outbid rivals for high-profile sports rights and a pressing need to repair the sucking chest wound that is its Thursday night programming lineup. “ [NBC] spent $2 billion on the NHL and another four and change on the Olympics ,” said one rival sports executive. “They outbid ESPN and Fox by $1 billion to hang onto the Olympics for another 10 years, so why wouldn’t they dig deep [for a second NFL package]?” NBC Sports is staying mum on its Thursday night prospects, but network chief Bob Greenblatt has endorsed the proposal. “We’d love to have more NFL games,” the NBC entertainment chairman said during last week’s Television Critics Association gathering. “Thursday night games might be really interesting to us.” A second night of NFL games also would go a long way toward alleviating the pressure on the Peacock’s Thursday comedy lineup, which is currently averaging a miserly 1.1 in the adults 18-49 demo. While NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football is the league’s lowest-rated package, the 2.8 it delivered this season would be nothing short of a godsend for NBC. Sources said the NFL was hoping to scare up between $750 million and $800 million for the slate, although plans to simulcast a number of the games on NFL Net are likely to drive the price down. (The addition of five TNF telecasts allowed the network to boost its affiliate fee to $1.34 per sub per month, making it the second priciest channel on the dial. Removing games would violate the terms of NFL Net’s carriage agreements.) Naturally, the NFL isn’t looking to beef up revenues at the expense of its own network. “For the foreseeable future, we’ll have 13 games,” NFL Media COO Brian Rolapp told Adweek before the start of the 2012 season. “There are no plans to put those on and take those off.” Unless Fox comes away with the new slate, expect the NFL to keep the winning bid under wraps until after the Super Bowl (Feb. 2).

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Fox to Secure Controlling Stake in YES Network

January 25, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

21st Century Fox on Friday announced it would take a controlling stake in YES Network , upping its of Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network, raising its ownership position

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‘Wipeout’ Renewed by ABC for Seventh Season

January 22, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

ABC will be hitting the “Wipeout” obstacle course for a seventh run, the network announced today. Season seven of “Wipeout” will feature a fresh twist, as well: the Tournament of Champions. “We are always looking for ways to keep the show fresh and exciting,” said show creator and exec producer Matt Kunitz. “This year, we... Read more

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Viacom’s Branded Content Play Is the Latest Among Cable Giants

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 treating like the advertising success of the future: 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.

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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).

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How IFC Got Alex Prager to Shoot Portlandia Ads in the Style of Her Fine-Art Photos

January 16, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

IFC just released the key art for season 4 of Portlandia, and the photos are fantastic. Not only did the network get the great young photographer Alex Prager on board—she decided to shoot the ads in the style of her "Face in the Crowd" photos (many of which are on display through March 9 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and at Lehmann Maupin in New York through Feb. 22). It's almost like getting a couple of non-advertising Prager originals as gift. AdFreak spoke on Thursday with Blake Callaway, IFC's svp of marketing, about how Prager got involved, and how the two photos will be used differently in the media buy. How did Alex get involved with this

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WWE Network Will Stream on Connected Devices, Not Cable

January 9, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

At the Wynn Hotel and Casino on Wednesday evening, wrestlers including Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin and WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon dropped another bombshell in the streaming wars. The oft-announced WWE Network will in fact become reality on Feb. 24 at 11:05, for a frankly surprisingly low $9.99 a month, and it will include all of the network's pay-per-views, including WrestleMania. It will not be carried in cable subscriptions; it will simply stream on every device you own. Reading between the lines, it doesn't look like originals of Raw and Smackdown, two mainstays (and perennial ratings-getters) for NBCUniveral's USA Network, will be included in the deal--but old episodes will be available on the new network, as will pre- and post-show content. It's an undeniably gutsy move for the entertainment company and one likely to raise its profile, but it's also a costly one.

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FCC Complaints Never Fail to Disappoint

January 1, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

CBS may clean up with its prime-time comedies, but if the volume of complaints received by the Federal Communications Commission is any indication, many Americans would like to wash the network’s mouth out with soap. According to documents unearthed by the Government Attic website via the Freedom of Information Act, the CBS comedies 2 Broke Girls and Two and a Half Men have generated reams of informal FCC complaints, the majority of which have to do with viewers’ concerns with sexual innuendo and coarse language. Between Sept. 2011 and Dec. 2013, 2 Broke Girls was the subject of at least 91 informal complaints to the FCC , while Two and a Half Men, over a four-year span (2009-2013), garnered 98 complaints. While much of the criticism is justified—both prime-time series traffic in crude, single-entendre jokes about genitalia and their various manipulations/intersections—some of the written communiqu

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‘Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson: ‘We All Learned A Lot’

January 1, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Fox News’ Bill Hemmer tried his best but “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson kept his comments innocuous in the first interview from a family member since his father was briefly suspended from work on the hit A&E Network reality show. Robertson and his wife Korie did a live appearance on Fox News Channel’s “All American... Read more

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Phil Robertson Flap Stings A&E

December 26, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

While Duck Dynasty isn’t expected to return to A&E until mid-January, the flap over the network’s suspension of Phil Robertson already seems to have taken a bite out of its ratings performance. According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, in the days after the Duck Dynasty patriarch was benched for his anti-gay remarks to GQ writer Drew Magary , A&E experienced a significant downturn in its deliveries. In the week of Dec. 16-22, A&E averaged 1.51 million viewers in prime time, down 13 percent from 1.73 million in the year-ago period. The target demos took a bigger hit, as adults 25-54 dropped 22 percent to 678,000, while members of the 18-49 set fell 18 percent to 646,000. Total-day deliveries also slumped, as overall viewers were down 11 percent to 792,000, while adults 25-54 dropped 20 percent to 361,000. A&E’s standing among adults 18-49 declined 15 percent to 367,000. Robertson was suspended on Wednesday, Dec. 18; as such, the controversy overshadowed five of the seven rated days. Since A&E announced that it had put the Duck Commander founder on "hiatus," some 250,000 fans have signed the "I Stand With Phil" petition .

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