Posts Tagged ‘television’

FX CEO Says ‘Human Curation’ Is Still More Important Than Data

April 5, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Just a month into upfront season, and the buzz around data has already become deafening. But at least one company, FX Networks, is making the case to advertisers that their upfront buys should be based on more than just audience targeting. "I think something's really getting missed in the focus on data, which is the quality of attention," FX Networks CEO John Landgraf told Adweek. "It doesn't really matter how well you can target people. You need to give them something valuable enough to really command their attention, and not only the attention to engage with your content but the advertising associated with that content." Landgraf said FX's slate—which includes shows like American Horror Story, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and Fargo—has value to advertisers that is "vast orders of magnitude greater than anything you can get from somebody watching 30 seconds or a minute of amateur content [online]." The CEO argued that getting a consumer to engage with a show for 30 minutes, the average time spent viewing FX's digital programming, "is way more valuable than associating a commercial with a short, disposable clip which the viewer will not remember five minutes after she sees it [on Facebook or YouTube]." "Year after year, we work really, really hard to try to make things of extraordinary value to the audience on the theory—and I think it's a valid theory—that it creates extraordinary value for advertisers," Landgraf said. "So you can have all the sophisticated data and targeting in the world, and you can put an ad in front of a specific viewer. But if you don't provide them with a piece of content they love, you can't get them to watch the commercial." It was a point the network drove home last week when it kicked off its annual upfront bowling party (now in its seventh year) at New York's Lucky Strike Manhattan by screening the riveting finale of The People v. O.J. Simpson, which airs tonight

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Ratings Plummet for NCAA Championship After Its Move to Cable

April 5, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

At the beginning of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, Turner Broadcasting president David Levy claimed the difference between broadcast and cable "is almost non existent anymore." However, despite a National Championship game that will go down as a classic—Villanova defeated North Carolina on Kris Jenkins' three-pointer as the clock expired—the NCAA title game averaged 10 million fewer viewers than last year. This was also the first year the title game aired on cable TV. Monday night's game averaged 17.8 million across TBS, TNT and truTV, down 37 percent from the 28.3 million that watched Duke beat Wisconsin last April on CBS. In terms of household rating—the metric by which sports ad sales are sold— Monday's game notched a 13.2, down 38 percent. It was the lowest-rated National Championship game ever. From now until the end of the rights deal—through 2024—CBS and TBS will alternate airing the Championships and Final Four. But attributing the steep drop to moving the game from broadcast to cable only tells part of the story. Cable networks, even those with wide carriage like TBS, still have a far smaller reach compared to their broadcast counterparts. But they can still draw a crowd.

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How It Feels to Go Viral, Then Watch Your Content Get Stolen All Over the Internet

April 4, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

On a Tuesday morning in December, I uploaded my late-night talk show's 449th video to YouTube, then went about my day. By the afternoon, I was thinking this one—a mockumentary called "Instagram Husband" created for our Springfield, Missouri-based show, The Mystery Hour —might be different. The next day, when it hit 1 million views, I knew it was different. And by the time the next week rolled around, I didn't know which way was up anymore. When I came up with the idea for "Instagram Husband," I had a vague sense it had the chance to go viral, because when I shared the idea with people they enthusiastically related. I thought people I know would share it, the team that helped create it would share it, fans of my show would share it, and it would be a nice little feather in the cap. I never would have guessed just how big it would become. It's hard to accurately describe the feeling of going viral for the first time. The best I can come up with is that it's like you're dropped into the ocean with stray planks of wood, nails and a hammer. As you're frantically treading water, you're also trying to figure out how to build your boat at the same time. I'm proud that we built The Mystery Hour slowly from underground hit, to television, to syndication with good, live crowds—all in Springfield. The operative word here is "slowly." We slowly built things in a nice stair-step fashion. Then, with one video, I was getting calls and emails from press around the world and from people in the entertainment industry in New York and Los Angeles

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Will Scandal’s Sixth Season Be Its Last?

April 4, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Kerry Washington's hit series Scandal anchors ABC's vaunted TGIT lineup—and is the network's third most popular series in the 18-49 demo. But the drama could be nearing its conclusion. The network last month renewed the series for a sixth season, but creator Shonda Rhimes affirmed with Adweek last summer that "Scandal is a limited story," unlike her series Grey's Anatomy , which she suggested could continue for years to come (and which was just picked up for Season 13). "I am not watching [Washington's character] Olivia Pope grow up," explained Rhimes. "I am watching a specific moment in time, and I feel like in order to tell the story correctly, you have to end it." Rhimes has remained silent about when she plans to wrap up the series, however. For her part, Washington says she hasn't talked with Rhimes about when Scandal will close shop, adding that she is happy to leave that decision solely in her boss' hands. "I trust her," she says. "We are where we are because of her decision-making." Washington's co-star Tony Goldwyn, who plays President Fitzgerald Grant, is also in the dark. "I know my boss too well to do that," he says of asking Rhimes her plans for the show. But he suggests that next season could be the series' logical end point

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ATV, World’s Oldest Chinese TV Channel, Closes Down

April 2, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Hong Kong's Asia Television, the world’s first Chinese-language TV broadcaster, closed down a few seconds before midnight on Friday

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Discovery Communications Is Thinking Globally (and Digitally) With Advertising Bouncing Back

March 31, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Discovery Communications will be interacting with U.S. buyers and advertisers during this year's upfront presentations as always, but the company has shifted to a global focus on its content. "The basic elements of our business have turned significantly more positive," said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications, at an upfront press breakfast today. "We're spending more money on content and our brands. Our primary focus is growing audience around the world." (The company spends more than $2 billion annually on content.) For a second year, the company is eschewing its traditional upfront gala in favor of holding 14 agency presentations around the country. As part of his upfront message, Zaslav pointed to "deceleration" of Discovery's recent U.S.

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Launching a Subscription Service of Its Own, Fullscreen Joins a Crowded Streaming Market

March 30, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The past half decade has seen the rise of the multichannel network, where thousands of creators produce hundreds of hours of content to satisfy millions of subscribers. They are video collectives built on the back of the free service YouTube. But as such networks grow up, they are realizing "free" (or ad-supported only) content won't pay the bills. Defy Media, AOL and YouTube have recently launched paid services. The newest entrant is Fullscreen, the 5-year-old brainchild of YouTube veteran George Strompolos, who's hoping that among his 600 million subscribers, there are enough superfans willing to pay $5 a month for premium content with no ads. And Strompolos knows just who to target. "We're very specifically going after the teen and young audience that grew up in the social and mobile-first environment," Strompolos said. Fullscreen is not looking to compete with big-time SVOD services like Netflix and Hulu. Instead, Strompolos is looking to monetize younger viewers—the 13-30 set—who are already watching. Fullscreen's subscription service, called fullscreen, launches April 26 and will cost $4.99 per month, cheaper than YouTube Red ($10 per month) and more in line with NBCU's Seeso ($3.99) and Defy Media's Screenjunkies Plus ($4.99). It will be available on iPhone, iPad, some Android devices and Chromecast. So, what sets Fullscreen's subscription service apart from the others? Strompolos says it's all about community. "[Other services] do a really good job of giving you content," he said, "but they haven't necessarily succeeded in creating an environment where people discuss content." Strompolos wants the service to feel more like a hangout where subscribers chat about the content and become creators themselves. "They can make GIFs and riff off the content, really create the foundation for a community," he said. The service will feature a mix of original content from Fullscreen creators and licensed content. The originals are anchored by Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart's revival of Sid and Marty Krofft's 1970s TV series, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl; Paul Scheer and Jonathan Stern's Filthy Preppy Teen$; and Jack & Dean of All Trades

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Viceland Launches VR Partnership With Samsung and Downplays Weak Early TV Ratings Data

March 28, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As it nears its one-month anniversary, Viceland is expanding its stable of advertising partners by striking a new virtual reality deal with Samsung. But the network is also downplaying early ratings data that indicates soft initial audience interest in the cable network that replaced H2. Viceland and Samsung unveiled a major partnership today to create new virtual reality content for both companies' platforms. The companies are enlisting big names in film, music and gaming to create VR projects for Samsung Milk VR, Samsung's virtual reality content service which is exclusive to the SamsungGear VR headset. The first one will focus on VR pioneer Chris Milk (founder and CEO of Vrse) and highlight his work in the VR space. The partnership launches with this two-minute spot, which will air tonight on Viceland. As part of the partnership, Viceland and Samsung will co-produce a documentary series about the VR creators as they work on these projects. They will premiere as native ads on Viceland prime-time programming, while 30-second versions of each documentary will run during Viceland commercial breaks. "We want to pioneer storytelling 'beyond the frame' and to connect with audiences in completely new, and emotional, ways," said Eddy Moretti, Vice's chief creative officer and Viceland's co-president, in a statement about the new efforts. The new partnership is part of Viceland's efforts to shake up TV advertising by reducing ad load and running more native ads . Viceland hopes to have native ads—which are created by Vice Media to look more like editorial content—represent half its ad inventory within the year. "Vice has always been more successful when it's done native advertising and interesting custom partnerships with brands, and then you extend that idea to this TV network also," said Guy Slattery, general manager for Viceland, told Adweek earlier this month. Early ratings woes? The announcement comes three days after an International Business Times report said ratings had plummeted since Viceland replaced H2 on Feb. 29. According to the story, which cited data from Rentrak, Viceland's average daily viewership over its first three weeks (55,000) is 77 percent lower than H2's numbers during its final three weeks (241,000). A Viceland spokesman said that Rentrak data was "inaccurate," noting that it doesn't focus on the 18-34 demo that Viceland is targeting, which is much younger than the 25-54 demo that had tuned in for H2.

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How Hollywood Is Successfully Tapping Into Faith-Based Audiences

March 22, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Hollywood, sometimes considered the last place to find anything divine, has seen the light lately, releasing a flood of faith-infused entertainment that includes TriStar's Heaven Is for Real, Focus Features' The Young Messiah and a live musical version of The Passion on Fox (which aired on Sunday, March 20). And just in time for Easter, the uplifting family drama, Miracles From Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah, is expected to hold its own against the big-budget dystopian thriller The Divergent Series: Allegiant. "Hollywood is churning out faith content with a pace and frequency that has not been seen in a generation," said Chris Stone, founder of advocacy and marketing group Faith Driven Consumer. "There's been a real effort to improve the quality, and we've gone from $2 million movies to $20 million movies aimed at the faith crowd." Among the recent hits: Sony's resurrection story Risen has pulled in a respectable $32 million since its February release, and last fall's paean to prayer, War Room, nearly dethroned Straight Outta Compton for the top box office spot, opening at $11 million on one-third as many screens as the N.W.A. biopic. It eventually made $67 million. God's Not Dead 2, a sequel to the $60 million-grossing original about religious freedom, launches April 1. One of the most anticipated films of the year, Paramount and MGM's remake of the iconic swords-and-sandals epic Ben-Hur premieres in August, the same weekend that Lionsgate opens The Shack, based on a best-selling Christian novel. Marketing for values-centric projects, often aimed squarely at the country's churchgoers, has added sophisticated microtargeting and extensive social media to its arsenal, going "direct to pew" to tap into a traditionally underserved audience, Stone said. Grassroots tactics still lead the way, with studios and for-hire Christian outreach firms setting up church screenings and group ticket sales, gathering pastors and Bible study groups for early endorsements and producing educational and sermon-ready materials. In essence, everyone's using the playbook written during the massive on-the-ground campaign a decade ago for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, the most successful faith-based film in history. That approach is often still effective, but there are digital-age updates

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Showtime Experiments With Binge Viewing for Andrew Dice Clay Comedy

March 22, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Showtime CEO David Nevins predicted 2016 would be "the year of customized viewing." Now his network is showing how. On Sunday, April 10, the pay TV network will release the full six-episode season of a new Andrew Dice Clay comedy on its streaming service. Dice, as the show is called, will be available at midnight, ahead of the series' TV premiere at 9:30 p.m. that night. Showtime will continue to run episodes of Dice in that timeslot as it would any other series. The semi-autobiographical scripted comedy follows the raunchy comedian as he attempts to revive his career in Las Vegas. Dice previously appeared on the final season of HBO's Entourage as another fictionalized version of himself. The series also stars Kevin Corrigan, and features guest appearances from Natasha Leggero, Lorraine Bracco, Adrien Brody, Michael Rapaport, Wayne Newton, Criss Angel and Rita Rudner. "With its six episode run, we feel this comedy is ideally suited to being consumed all at once," said Gary Levine, president of programming, Showtime Networks. "We're always looking for new ways to make our programming stand-out, and we're confident that a 'Dice binge' will appeal to both fans and skeptics alike, and help spread the word about his very funny new Showtime series." Showtime is also considering a similar tactic with its upcoming Twin Peaks revival , releasing episodes in batches instead of weekly. The all-at-once release is just the latest example of how TV networks are experimenting with new multiplatform viewing models and ways of delivering episodes in a time-shifted world. In January, TBS premiered the first season of comedy Angie Tribeca as a 25-hour marathon . Last summer, NBC became the first broadcast network to try this strategy when it released the full season of Aquarius following the drama's TV premiere

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