Posts Tagged ‘television’

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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SAG-AFTRA, Companies Extend Contract Another 24 Hours

July 2, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

For a second day in a row, SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have agreed to extend the current TV and movie contracts for 24 hours. The deals had been set to expire at midnight tonight. As with Monday night, the union and the producers made the joint announcement less than... Read more

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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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This Shark Week Teaser Is a Chum-Tossing Celebration of Carnivorous Delights

June 30, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Just watching Discovery's Shark Week will make you feel like you're skiing on two great whites while a mermaid clings to your leg. Behold the resplendent CGI overkill of this internally produced Discovery Channel spot, featuring different kinds of sharks leaping around our chum-tossing "King of Summer." You’ll have to watch two or three times to catch all that's happening as he drives his great whites into a sea of seals, seagull snacks and fleeing penguins. The mustachioed hero basks in the carnage, a look of unadulterated glee on his face. And then the mermaid winks at us. It is cheesy for the sake of cheese, and it's blood in the water for Shark Week fans.

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Denis Leary Returns to FX With Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll

June 30, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Nearly three years after the conclusion of Rescue Me, Denis Leary is returning to FX. Eric Schrier and Nick Grab, the presidents of original programming at FX Networks and FX Productions, said today that the network had ordered 10 episodes of a new series created by and starring Leary called Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll. The show will be produced by FX Productions and Fox Television Studios and will premiere in 2015. Leary and Jim Serpico will executive produce, in partnership with their production company Apostle . SDRR will center around a washed-up rock star named Johnny Rock (Leary), who, 25 years after wrecking his and his best friend’s music career by overindulging in the usual slate of vices—booze, drugs, sex with the wrong people—is attempting to reunite his band, called the Heathens. The series also will star John Corbett, Elizabeth Gillies, Elaine Hendrix and Bobby Kelly. The pilot episode was written by Leary and directed by Michael Blieden. “As both actor and writer, Denis plunges into dazzlingly original arenas of dark comedy and, along with a stellar veteran cast, the results are just really funny,” said David Madden, president of Fox Television Studios. SDRR is one of several half-hour pilots that FX currently has in the works. According to the Hollywood Reporter , others include Charlie Kaufman’s How and Why, Simon Rich’s The Last Girlfriend on Earth, an untitled Zach Galifianakis and Louis C.K. entry and an animated show called Bigfoot.

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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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Programmers Are Frustrated by a Lack of Netflix Metrics

June 29, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When Breaking Bad scored three Emmy wins last fall, its showrunner, Vince Gilligan , credited Netflix for his show’s longevity and for heightening its popularity. Similarly, program execs in general have been thrilled with how streaming video services have made up for lost DVD revenue. But a little bloom is off the rose. Frustration with Netflix has set in as programmers renegotiate contract renewals (to the tune of more than $7 billion, according to some estimates). “The biggest concerns are about getting sufficient metrics about how their product is being consumed,” said Bruce Lazarus, CEO of Media Audits International (MAI), which helps programmers validate the subscriber information they receive from distribution platforms. “When you want to sell your content to the platforms, what’s the proper pricing model?” “We get a little information about which of our products are being watched on Netflix, but we get no data about who exactly is watching our shows,” noted John Kampfe, CFO of Turner Broadcasting System. Netflix declined to speak with Adweek for this story. “Oftentimes data is limited to stream starts and/or unique users, and neither provide meaningful insight into the value of a programmer’s content,” said Richard Taub, svp of broadcast and digital services at MAI. There’s no standard definition of stream starts; it could mean someone merely hit “play” and watched for either two seconds or two hours.

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Penny Dreadful Creator John Logan Explains Why He Loves Monsters

June 28, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

One of the most critically beloved new shows on cable, Showtime's Penny Dreadful is written start to finish by Skyfall and Hugo screenwriter John Logan and produced by Sam Mendes, with Eva Green, Timothy Dalton and Josh Hartnett in the leading roles. The Victorian Gothic mash-up features characters pulled from Frankenstein, Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray and other, stranger texts, but the key to

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ESPN Breaks Record as Fans Watch Instead of Working

June 27, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

ESPN metered market numbers for yesterday's 12 p.m. match between the U.S. and Germany got a 6.3 rating, including an hour of pregame starting at 11 a.m. That's great, considering the game kicked off in the middle of a day and much of the viewership would have been in workplaces. Indeed, the sports network's digital platform, WatchESPN, got so many concurrent viewers—a peak of 1.7 million, which breaks the platform's record—that the digital edition of the game sputtered and died for quite a few folks who wanted to contribute to that number. Still, that's more peak concurrents than the Super Bowl. Viewership on Univision's digital platform peaked around 750,000. Fast nationals for ESPN and overnights for Univision are not yet available, but the digital explosion suggests that networks and digital video providers can ill afford to buy data that doesn't include advertisements delivered in the workplace. Whether people are watching on their lunch breaks or surreptitiously in a tiny window when the boss isn't looking, it's become clear that if you're sitting in front of a computer all day with what is probably a faster Internet connection than you've got at home, you're going to watch TV.

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Rob Dyrdek Gets Renewals, Pilot in MTV Deal

June 25, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Celebrations are in order for MTV producer Rob Dyrdek. The network today that closed a "multi-year production deal" with Dyrdek and his company Super Jacket that includes pilot order for an as-yet unnamed project (potentially Dyrdek's fourth with MTV, if it lands a pick-up) and multiple renewals. The Viacom-owned network is bringing back Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory for a seventh season and has landed a multi-season renewal for Ridiculousness , the fifth season of which premieres July 10th. There will be a sixth, seventh and "additional" season of the latter as well, according to the network, though what "additional" means wasn't specified. Snack-Off , which premieres the same day, looks to be something of a dressed-down version of the Food Network show Chopped , with amateur chefs competing to create the best meals using snack food aisle ingredients, such as jellybeans and potato chips. Restaurateur and culinary-world enfant terrible Eddie Huang will host, while chef Jason Quinn, supermodel Chrissy Teigen and comedian Yassir Lester will serve as judges.

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