Posts Tagged ‘networks’

This Is How the NFL Is Getting Butts Back in the Bleachers

August 26, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Atlanta Falcons CMO Jim Smith is rewarding loyal season ticket holders with the kind of stadium “memories” they can’t get from watching on TV at home. For the second year, Smith is offering season-long fans game-day “experiences” such as a visit from team cheerleaders to their seat. Or a spot on the field during player introductions at the Georgia Dome. Illustration: Kyle Fewell It’s not like some drunk up in the nosebleed seats can simply request a cheerleader like he’s ordering a beer. Using the free Experience app , season ticket holders must redeem “memory points” on the Thursday before a home game. Security guards are on hand just in case—but are rarely needed. “We never put our cheerleaders in danger. That sensational crap is so unfair to the cheerleaders—and the fans who request it,” says Smith, who adds that most of the visits are ordered by parents for their cheerleader daughters. “It’s truly about an experience that a parent, or a bunch of friends, want to have.” So goes the NFL’s marketing game plan to get its fans off the couch—and back into stadiums. High ticket prices, personal seat licenses (PSLs) and rowdy fans have led some die-hards to give up live games in favor of watching for free from home. The $10 billion league wants these couch potatoes back. And it wants season ticket holders—the lifeblood of the league—to keep coming, explains Brian Lafemina, the NFL’s svp of club business development. The league and its 32 franchises are pushing the marketing envelope to do it. The NFL is in some ways a victim of its own success and innovation. As its TV networks add more coverage, more camera angles and more replays, the gap between the at-home and in-stadium viewing experiences has grown wider. Throw in the two RedZone Channels (which whip viewers around to potential scoring plays) offered by the league and DirecTV, and it’s a wonder fantasy players and bettors ever leave the Barcalounger. “TV has fundamentally changed the way people watch our game—and that’s a great thing,” says Lafemina. “We have to do the same inside the stadium.

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TV Gets Undressed

August 24, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

To say that this wedding is unconventional doesn’t quite capture the essence of the nuptials of reality show contestants Ashley and Alika. First off, the bride and groom met with the TV cameras rolling and decided to get hitched after just three months. Six other couples who are attending the wedding fell for each other under the same televised circumstances. A shaman presides over the ceremony, with backup from a chanting yogi and drum circle. Nowhere in sight can one find the usual trappings—no flower girl, no ring bearer, no tulle or tuxedos. Boutonnieres are also in short supply—though bug spray could come in handy. Some of the invited guests are more anxious than even the happy couple—who, even if they don’t get cold feet, may well experience sunburn. For you see, everybody here—the bride and groom, wedding party and guests—is butt naked. Even if you haven’t been tuning into VH1’s summer hit Dating Naked —which has attracted more than 1 million viewers per episode and plenty of social buzz to boot—you might want to cue the DVR for television’s first all-nude wedding, airing Sept. 18 at 9 p.m. To be sure, it’ll be a spectacle not to be missed. For the Viacom-owned basic cable channel, it was a no-brainer to film the union and televise it as an hour-long special, extending the series’ 10-episode run with what are likely to be big ratings.

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What Did TV CEOs Tell Investors About the Weak Ad Market?

August 20, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Now that second-quarter earnings are over for the media sector, we can finally take a good look at what senior media company executives actually said on calls to investors when they were in the hot seat at the end of the summer. Here are some of the reasons the market was down... and some of the spin. (If you'd like to check out the calls yourself, they've been helpfully compiled

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What Did TV CEOs Tell Investors About the Weak Ad Market?

August 20, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Now that second-quarter earnings are over for the media sector, we can finally take a good look at what senior media company executives actually said on calls to investors when they were in the hot seat at the end of the summer. Here are some of the reasons the market was down... and some of the spin. (If you'd like to check out the calls yourself, they've been helpfully compiled

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See How Slow Your Internet Connection Is by State

August 5, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Alas, Alaska. Also Arkansas. It's a terrible time to be living in the deep South or outside the Lower 48 if you're a web developer. At least that's what Tom Heppard over at BroadView Networks is demonstrating with this handy map. With this picture (click to see a bigger version), you can see exactly what's going on in your state. You can also take a look at a text ranking, best to worst, here .

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ABC Taps New Programming Sales Chief

July 11, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

ABC has hired Mike Dean as its new vp, programmatic and data-driven sales, The Wall Street Journal reports . Dean joins the Disney-owned network from ad tech firm Videology, where he was vp, media platform sales and solutions. Before Videology, Dean served as director, publisher services at Vibrant Media and business development manager - Bing for Microsoft. "Mike has a wealth of experience in digital and new media sales," said Pooja Midha, senior vice president of digital ad sales, in a statement. "We are very happy that he will lead the ABC sales team as we continue to lead the way in finding innovative solutions for all of our clients." The move comes following ABC's announcment at its upfront in May that it will be teaming up with video ad firm FreeWheel in launching a programmatic video effort. That move was seen largely as a reaction to Comcast's purchase of FreeWheel, which, according to The Wall Street Journal, caused media executives to voice "concerns privately that Comcast...is gaining too much clout in the growing digital TV business."

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Does America Now Like Soccer? Yesterday’s Ratings Hint at it

July 2, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Yes, that's it for the U.S. in the World Cup, but we went out with a bang: ESPN boasted its second-highest rating ever for a soccer match with a whopping 9.6 rating (people are all watching this during the middle of the day, so from your boss, shame on you, and, from the networks, thank you). Univision generated a 1.8 (representing 2.4 million viewers). The latter's streaming video didn't crack under the strain of its mammoth viewership (ESPN had a brief outage during the Germany Algeria match two days ago, but that still reached 1.7 million concurrent viewers) with a new high watermark of 1.8 million. It helps Univision's streaming numbers in particular that its digital service is free and unauthenticated ( until midnight , at least). The contest has been a major moment for U.S. soccer fandom, which in recent years hasn't exactly been an area of major focus and concern for marketers. But the 2014 contests have been a huge attention-getter for brands including sponsors like Visa, Coke, Adidas and Sony; and other johnny-come-latelies capitalizing on whatever meme they can attach to their brand at the time of a given game (check out our handy compendium of waffle jokes from yesterday, for example). Ruling the rapid-response promo roost, however, has been ESPN, which started off with an over-the-top Kiefer Sutherland paean to America (never mind that Sutherland is Canadian) and came out yesterday with this gem: The Americans lost, but still: USA! USA! USA! Strictly in terms of TV and digital viewership, of course.

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Community Is Getting Its Six Seasons (No Movie Yet)

June 30, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Well, that was close. Sony's offbeat sitcom Community, canceled at the very last minute by NBC, has been renewed at the very last minute (a few hours before contracts with Sony were set to expire, in fact) by Yahoo Screen . Thirteen episodes of the sitcom will air on Yahoo starting in the fall. At the Digital Content NewFronts this year, companies like Yahoo, YouTube and Crackle were voluble about a commitment to premium content; now Yahoo, at least, will be able to say that, like Netflix, it has a sitcom with huge cult appeal (albeit some very low live viewership ) and, unlike Netflix, it's selling ad inventory against that show. Community essentially lived on goodwill and fandom for five years on NBC; after two consecutive half-season orders (during which time the network inexplicably pitted the geeky comedy against the Death Star of geeky comedies, CBS's unbeatable nerdfest The Big Bang Theory), NBC president Bob Greenblatt finally pulled the plug. Showrunner and creator Dan Harmon was initially blas

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With Broadcast Volume Down, TV Inventory Is Going to Get Expensive

June 29, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If everybody waits out this upfront for better inventory in the fall, will anybody get enough of it? Brian Wieser, analyst at Pivotal Research (and a former head forecaster for Magna Global), said he’s predicting volume decreases on the order of between 5 percent and 10 percent across what was a $9.25 billion upfront bazaar last year (where networks saw strong interest in upfront commitments), which was followed by a weak season. That puts the upfront haul (which is, of course, largely theoretical anyway—clients can cancel up to 25 percent of their commitments) comfortably south of the $9 billion mark. But it also means more of the real buying will get done after the season’s hits are established, and at a hefty markup. “Scatter is going to be pricey,” said one network exec flatly. Don’t confuse this talk with the CPM gains networks tout during the upfront —those can be valuable, but they can also be a smokescreen when dollar volume is down. “We’ve had a couple of years where it seems like all of the scatter business was pushed into the upfront markets, and that, surprisingly, continued into last year from the year before,” explained Wieser. “Because [the trend] didn’t break last year, we had virtually no volume in the scatter market [since new shows couldn’t deliver the ratings].” Clients, Wieser said, are asking themselves why they’re putting so much money down in the upfront when that money just gets redistributed at midseason to atone for underdeliveries. Why not hold back that money and spend it when it’s clear what the hits are, rather than have money languish at a network where your customers aren’t watching? Well, buyers are about to find out whether or not the trade-off—better shows for higher prices—is worth it. “‘Why don’t we look to see what pops up in the middle of the year and whose seasons are strongest?’” Wieser asked rhetorically. The glum ratio of hits to misses isn’t new—even the networks themselves joke about how bad it is—so if you don’t have to lock in your buys, why bother? But if every advertiser decides that this is the season to cut back on upfront budgets and put the remaining cash into scatter inventory on the season’s established hits, scatter pricing is going to go through the roof.

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Turner Nears the Upfront Finish Line

June 27, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As broadcast closes out this week, big kahuna cable conglomerate Turner is working on the last of its deals, with CPM increases around the 6 percent range and flat volume (a good thing in a market where volume is flat to down across all of television and down quite a bit in broadcast), according to an industry source familiar with negotiations.

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