Posts Tagged ‘street-journal’

French Resistance Crumbles in Netflix Debut

September 15, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Netflix broke through some heavy French telecom resistance today as it debuted its video-on-demand service in six more European countries. One of France’s major telecom companies, Bouygues, announced that it would integrate Netflix in its TV set-top boxes starting in November, according to the Nasdaq news. Bouyges' move is just the news Netflix wants to hear because its video-on-demand service counts on reliable broadband pipelines, and the set-top boxes are how French TV viewers access their programming. France’s largest telecom company, Orange SA, has also signaled it would consider offering Netflix if the service is successful, according to the Nasdaq report. This last-minute breakthrough comes amid reports last week that European countries didn’t have the bandwidth to handle Netflix, an assertion flatly denied by a company spokesperson. Just to be safe, Netflix is increasing its server capacity in Paris. The pieces appear to be coming together from a technical standpoint, but when it comes to content, there is ample French pushback

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NFL Has a Lot of Leverage in Negotiating TV Deals

September 5, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When the NFL negotiated with TV networks on the rights to broadcast eight "Thursday Night Football" games this season, the contract stipulated that term was only for one year, that games would air simultaneously on the league's own NFL Network and that the winning bidder would cover all production costs on all sixteen "Thursday Night Football" broadcasts (including two Saturday games). “Media companies lined up to bid anyway,” The Wall Street Journal reported. CBS ultimately prevailed, agreeing to pay $300 million for the broadcast rights, with the first game in the new lineup premiering next week (tonight's season opener is being broadcast by NBC as part of an earlier agreement). The negotiation and what CBS paid illustrate the extreme leverage the NFL wields with networks. NBC, CBS and ESPN together have contracts that make up between $5 and $5 billion per year to broadcast NFL games through the 2021-22 season. "It's almost like the networks are afraid to say no to the NFL," one senior executive told The Wall Street Journal. Anyone in a traditional TV exec’s shoes would be. While networks face threats like the rise of streaming video services, the NFL offers a bankable product that consumers won't just wait to catch on Netflix. According to securities firm Jefferies Group, 97 percent of all sports are watched live. Add to that the NFL's short season and 17.4 million average regular season game viewers in the 18-49 demo and each game becomes a hot ticket. At the same time, the NFL is amping up its digital push by offering new or expanded online programs. This includes NFL Now, a new online video service offering NFL-made films, shows, documentaries and new footage from teams for $1.99 per month. The NFL also is strengthening a one-year agreement with Twitter to tweet highlights from in-progress games and increasing the number of games streamed to smart phones as part of a four-year, $1 billion agreement with Verizon. As The Wall Street Journal notes, both of these deals include rights denied of the NFL's television broadcast partners. What's more, some television executives fear that NFL Now will stream games directly to fans. Brian Rolapp, evp of media for the NFL, doesn't rule out such a possibility. "If the world shifts dramatically as people think, it'll be nice to have an asset like NFL Now just like it's nice to have NFL Network," he told the Journal, adding that "selling game-streaming rights to an online company is a matter of 'when, not if.'" DirecTV also finds itself backed against a wall in negotiations with the NFL.

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WWE Will Cut 7% of Its Workforce

August 1, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

World Wrestling Entertainment will slash 7 percent of its workforce after reporting operating at a loss in the second quarter due to the costs of ramping up its online-subscription service. WWE reported a net loss of $14.5 million, compared to a net profit of $5.2 million last year. "The staff cuts, and other cost-cutting moves, would help boost operating income before depreciation and amortization by $30 million in 2015," WWE said, adding that the cuts would effect around 50-60 staffers across all business units. WWE launched their WWE Network in February, making WWE the first entertainment company with a cable presence to offer a stand-alone online subscription service . Yesterday, WWE reported 33,000 WWE Network subscribers since April for a total of 700,000 subscribers—still 300,000 short of its year-end goal of one million. According to The Wall Street Journal , the company "noted that 1.3 million to 1.4 million subscribers would put it past a break-even point offsetting difficulties in pay-per-view." To increase interest in the service, WWE will add new payment options (the service was originally only available as a six-month subscription), including a commitment-free $19.99 monthly plan. "For us the payment options are one way to continue learning, to see how people approach it," George Barrios, WWE's chief strategy and financial officer, told The Wall Street Journal. "The fact that we've gone from 0 to 700,000 paying subscribers, I feel really proud."

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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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Networks Are Writing Discounted C7 Deals, But Not Everyone’s Biting

June 2, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Even with Kevin Reilly out at the News Corp broadcaster and ratings declines from an aging American Idol, Fox has managed to score a serious deal: GroupM, arguably the biggest media agency network, is buying C7 guarantees. GroupM didn't respond immediately to requests for comment, but one of the networks is said to be dangling a 3 percent pricing discount in front of agencies that will agree to C7 guarantees. It hasn't even been that long since the networks started selling C3—the shift to C7 is something buyers have long resisted, given the length of time it takes to process the data and the need for immediate returns on ads such as movie trailers. With C7 guarantees, you may see that your ad was delivered, but if your ad was delivered on unskippable VOD on Tuesday and your movie opened on Friday, it's probably not a great feeling to shell out cash for that delivery. And GroupM does represent Paramount Pictures among many, many other big-name clients including Unilever and AT&T.

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Networks Will Write Discounted C7 Deals, but Not Everyone’s Biting

June 2, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Even with Kevin Reilly out at the News Corp broadcaster and ratings declines from an aging American Idol, Fox has managed to score a serious deal: GroupM, arguably the biggest media agency network, is buying C7 guarantees. GroupM didn't respond immediately to requests for comment, but one of the networks is said to be dangling a 3 percent pricing discount in front of agencies that will agree to C7 guarantees. It hasn't even been that long since the networks started selling C3—the shift to C7 is something buyers have long resisted, given the length of time it takes to process the data and the need for immediate returns on ads such as movie trailers. With C7 guarantees, you may see that your ad was delivered, but if your ad was delivered on unskippable VOD on Tuesday and your movie opened on Friday, it's probably not a great feeling to shell out cash for that delivery. And GroupM does represent Paramount Pictures among many other big-name clients including Unilever and AT&T. It's a gamble (and probably not a gamble the media agency is taking on all of its clients), but it's one head buyer Rino Scanzoni has said he's comfortable with as recently as three weeks ago. "It all comes down to economics," Scanzoni told the Wall Street Journal . "Clients are obviously getting that audience when people play back their programs post-three days; if they’re not fast-forwarding the commercials, that exposure exists. Ultimately I do see the business going onto a C7 metric because as we try to drive the business to a cross-platform metric, you probably need a longer time frame than the C3 window to optimize that. We will eventually be going there. It’s a matter of working out the economics initially to make the transition one that’s acceptable to both sides." So let the message go forth: The economics are acceptable at the moment

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John Malone Maps Out Succession Plan

February 19, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In what would appear to be a succession-planning move, John Malone has offered Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav the right of first refusal to buy his voting stakes in the Silver Spring, Md.-based media company. In a Schedule 13D document, or “beneficial ownership report,” filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Liberty Media chairman said Zaslav will have the right to vote Malone’s 29.5 percent stake in Discovery “in the event Mr. Malone is not voting the shares.” According to the SEC filing, if and when Malone elects to sell his shares of Discovery Series B stock, “Zaslav (individually or through an entity he controls), will have an exclusive right to negotiate to purchase such shares.” Should the parties fail to come to terms on a transaction of said shares, Zaslav “will have [the] right to match the offer made by [a] third party.” Malone’s stake in Discovery is currently valued at around $500 million. Zaslav in January extended his contract with Discovery , inking a new deal that will keep him in the driver’s seat through 2019. A similar offer was made to Michael Fries, CEO of the European cable outlet Liberty Global . Malone controls 27.5 percent of the Liberty Global voting shares. Malone will celebrate his 73rd birthday on March 7.

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No Ads for New Nickelodeon Channel (Yet)

January 15, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

My Nickelodeon Jr. is set to launch on Verizon in the coming months—and presumably on other systems soon thereafter—but there's one thing you won't be seeing on the network at launch: advertisements. The network is a hybrid digital/linear offering that will sit next to toddler-focused Nick Jr. on the Verizon dial, but won't feature that net's sponsor support (Nick Jr. doesn't have interstitial ads, but it does run sponsored spots aimed at parents between shows). Programming will be Nick library content, at least initially. The new network will be programmable, along seven pre-made tracks with names like "super-sonic science" and "get creative," according to The Wall Street Journal , which broke the news this morning. Viacom tested the channel in France last year, where it said results were encouraging. Interestingly, within the WSJ article is one of the few times a Viacom exec has admitted that part of the precipitous viewer decline at Nick a few years ago (from which it has in large part recovered) may have been its own strategy of selling content to over-the-top distributors like Netflix. "You haven't seen that cannibalization effect" president and chief exec of Viacom International Bob Bakish told the Journal. And a Viacom source tells Adweek that Nick hasn't ruled out the possibility of ad support just yet. It's getting less difficult to monetize digital content with traditional ratings measurements—Nielsen's DPR ratings product, which tracks mobile and digital viewership and ad delivery, launches this year, and the blended CPM programmers have been pushing in lieu of a real ratings metric may finally get pushed aside by something a little less jury-rigged. For parents, the new network is certainly a boon: it's an easy way to control not just the kid-friendliness but the specific content types your kid has access to on television. It's an interesting shot across Netflix's bow at a time when the streaming VOD provider is looking more threatening to kids' networks—the company's animated feature film spinoff, Turbo: FAST, premiered just three weeks ago, and it's bought a slew of kid and tween programming in recent months.

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In Wake of Delivery Delays, Amazon Offers Gift Cards to Customers

December 26, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Amazon announced Thursday that it would offer a form of restitution to its aggrieved customers after shipping problems prevented orders from being fulfilled in time for Christmas. The online retail giant is offering $20 gift cards and waiving shipping charges to customers who did not receive their gifts in time for the holiday, as was first reported by the Wall Street Journal . The delays, however, were out of Amazon’s hands. Both UPS and FedEx admitted fault, saying the volume of packages this season far exceeded their expectations. “Demand was much greater than our forecast,” a UPS spokesperson told the Journal. The company also cited inclement weather as a factor in the delays. The snafu comes as retailers like Amazon reported some of the biggest holidays sales seasons ever — though, as always, Amazon declined to give any hard numbers. Daily deals site Groupon also provided an ad hoc form of apology to its slighted customers, offering $25 gift cards to those who didn’t receive their Groupon-related gifts in time

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In Wake of Delivery Delays, Amazon Offers Gift Cards to Customers

December 26, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Amazon announced Thursday that it would offer a form of restitution to its aggrieved customers after shipping problems prevented orders from being fulfilled in time for Christmas. The online retail giant is offering $20 gift cards and waiving shipping charges to customers who did not receive their gifts in time for the holiday, as was first reported by the Wall Street Journal . The delays, however, were out of Amazon’s hands. Both UPS and FedEx admitted fault, saying the volume of packages this season far exceeded their expectations. “Demand was much greater than our forecast,” a UPS spokesperson told the Journal. The company also cited inclement weather as a factor in the delays. The snafu comes as retailers like Amazon reported some of the biggest holidays sales seasons ever — though, as always, Amazon declined to give any hard numbers. Daily deals site Groupon also provided an ad hoc form of apology to its slighted customers, offering $25 gift cards to those who didn’t receive their Groupon-related gifts in time

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