Posts Tagged ‘television’

Here’s How Syfy Plans to Hook Viewers on Skippable Ads

December 10, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

You know how the old psychological theory goes: Someone tells you not to think of a white bear, and then that's all you can think about. To help promote its miniseries, Childhood's End, which premieres Monday night, Syfy is testing the phenomenon in the hopes it's all wrong. Using YouTube's TrueView skippable ad format—which allows viewers to clickthrough after five seconds—Syfy created three custom spots that implore viewers to watch the ads in full, telling them, "Don't skip the ad." "We're getting somebody's attention because we're saying, 'I'm paying attention to you right now and what you're doing,'" Sara Moscowitz, Syfy's svp of brand and strategic marketing, told Adweek. Based on Arthur C. Clarke's 1953 novel of the same name, Childhood's End centers on an ostensibly benevolent alien race that rules the earth. In one of the spots , Syfy incorporates that theme by telling viewers (within the first few seconds) they don't need to be afraid of the ad. In another, which you can see below, Syfy plays on viewers' familiarity with the actors by referencing their previous roles ( Tywin Lannister , anyone?). The third spot also plays on familiarity with the actors but in a more subtle way. It serves quick shots of all of them before showing footage from the new show

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For Its Year-End Video, YouTube Rewinds 10 Years

December 9, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

YouTube debuted its annual Rewind video today, a project that has been In the works since July. Within an hour it had been viewed more than 600,000 times and was the top trending topic on Twitter. The theme of the dance-filled, star-driven, five-minute video is "Rewind Replay." YouTube gathered more than 150 creators from all over the world to relive not just the best moments of 2015, but some of the most memorable viral clips from the first 10 years of YouTube. The video also features dozens of references to 2015 highlights, including Ball Pit Prank and Pizza Rat and includes cameos from late night hosts John Oliver and James Corden, musicians T-Pain and Omi, and model Karlie Kloss. Kevin Allocca, YouTube's head of culture and trends, called the creation of this year's video "a fun, long road." He then added this: An apology to teachers for ruining the productivity in your classrooms this afternoon #YouTubeRewind — Kevin Allocca (@shockallocca) December 9, 2015

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Nexstar Says Acquisition Talks With Media General Have ‘Reached an Impasse’

December 9, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In September, Nexstar Broadcasting Group gleefully played party crasher when it tried to scuttle Media General's $2.4 billion merger with Meredith Corp . by making an unsolicited $4.1 billion offer for the former. But today Nexstar lost a bit of swagger, announcing it has "reached an impasse" in its negotiations with the Richmond, Va.-based media company. Media General's board of directors rejected Nexstar's revised proposal, valued at $16.31 per Media General share, up from its initial $14.50-per-share offer. Nexstar said the Media General board countered with an "unreasonable" $18.61 share price. "The response from Media General is disappointing," said Nexstar chairman and CEO Perry Sook in a statement. "As a disciplined acquirer, we will only consummate a transaction that makes sense for both companies' shareholders." Irving, Tex.-based Nexstar has built up a portfolio of more than 100 TV stations across the country. It made its unsolicited $4.1 billion offer in September, a few weeks after Media General announced a $2.4 billion merger with Meredith, which owns 16 TV stations but may be best known as a publisher of storied magazine titles including Better Homes and Gardens, Shape, Parents, Family Circle, and More.

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Fox Isn’t Laughing About an ABC Sitcom Called ‘Fair and Balanced’

December 1, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes isn't amused by ABC's plans for a comedy called Fair and Balanced. The show, from ABC and Lionsgate, stars Kal Penn as a journalist who aspires to work for NPR, but instead takes a job at a cable news network that resembles Fox News Channel. Ailes, who was a comedy writer earlier in his career, told Adweek he doesn't find the idea of co-opting Fox's trademarked slogan at all funny. "They ought to call it an attempt at liberal comedy which will fail," Ailes said. "People tried to poke at this, and the whole Fair and Balanced concept. They wouldn't know fair and balanced if it hit them in the ass with a fish." Fox trademarked "Fair and Balanced" in 1997, and is looking into its use in the proposed title of the ABC sitcom. The series is currently in script development. ABC will decide by February whether to move ahead with a pilot. Still, Ailes is ready for a fight. "I might have the lawyers call," he said, adding: "I've got 24 hours a day to trash ABC programming. You guys can't program your way out of the men's room. "I have friends at ABC. Why do I want to trash these poor dumb bastards. But I thought, alright, one more guy's going to pick a fight with everybody else. Let's go," Ailes concluded. This is not the first time Fair and Balanced has been used as a comedic trope against the news network.

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How Bravo is Helping Fans Dress Like the Stars of Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce

December 1, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Call it the girlfriends' guide to style. With a second-screen experience called The Loobook, Bravo is helping fans of its sophmore series Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce dress just like the stars of the show. The Lookbook, launching today ahead of tonight's season 2 premiere, is a digital and social hub offering the same outfits worn by star Lisa Edelstein and the show's cast. Ulta Beauty has signed on as the exclusive beauty partner, in what is the retailer's first multiplatform brand campaign. Ulta's partnership includes a branded video web series hosted by style and beauty YouTuber Sona Gasparian. Style vignettes airing during each episode will point viewers back to The Lookbook, which will also feature behind-the-scenes videos, style guide profiles for cast members, curated product guides and click-to-buy partner sites. "Bravo's audience has an insatiable appetite for all things fashion and beauty, especially when it relates to our series talent," said Laura Molen, evp, lifestyle advertising sales, NBCUniversal. "Together with Ulta Beauty, we're excited to launch the ultimate shopping experience for our fans to more deeply connect with our programming, characters and our advertising partners." Girlfriends' Guide was Bravo's second most-watched freshman series to launch last year. Its 829,000 adults 25-54 and 749,000 adults 18-49 averages are an increase of 14 percent and 8 percent, respectively, compared to the average freshman scripted series on cable.

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ATF: France’s Federation Makes Market Debut With ‘The Bureau’

November 30, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Paris-based Federation Entertainment makes its debut at the Asia Television Forum with a timely lineup of scripted entertainment.

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Fullscreen Adds Former Hulu Chief as New COO

November 30, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Fullscreen continues to gear up for a big 2016. Less than a month after hiring its first chief marketing officer , the multichannel network has added former Hulu executive Andy Forssell as its new chief operating officer. Forssell will join Fullscreen's executive leadership team and the board of directors, reporting to CEO George Strompolos. Ezra Cooperstein, who had been president and coo will remain on board as president. "The media landscape is changing even faster than many of us would have predicted a few years ago, and Fullscreen is perfectly positioned to capitalize as that evolution accelerates," said Forssell. "I look forward to working with George, Ezra and the talented team at Fullscreen to continue building what is fast becoming a truly premier multi-platform media company." Forssell led Hulu as its interim CEO for a six months in 2013, after its founder Jason Kilar departed amid talks of a sale. Forssell departed later that year after Mike Hopkins was installed as the company's permanent CEO . Prior to that, Forssell had been Hulu's svp of content and distribution since its inception in 2007. More recently, Forssell served as CEO of the social video app ShowYou, which gives creators and content owners ways to build and monetize their own proprietary channels. Forrsell, one of the original purveyors of streaming video, comes to Fullscreen as the 5-year old network plans to launch its own subscription video service . Fullscreen's service will join an increasingly crowded SVOD world; Along with the major players Hulu, Amazon and Netflix (and CBS, Showtime and HBO), YouTube , Univision, NBCUniversal and Smithsonian Networks have all launched subscription products in recent months. "Andy is a proven leader who not only understands the new world of online video, he helped build it," said Strompolos.

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For Hallmark Channel, Christmas Is the Most Wonderful (and Lucrative) Time of the Year

November 30, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Now that Thanksgiving is over, most networks are preparing to roll out their Christmas-themed shows and specials for December. But Hallmark Channel is way ahead of them. The cable network's annual Countdown to Christmas, which features 55 straight days of round-the-clock holiday programming and more than 1,300 hours of content, has been going strong since Halloween. In its fifth year, Countdown to Christmas is bigger than ever for the family-friendly network, which is debuting 17 original holiday-themed movies (with titles like Angel of Christmas and Merry Matrimony), up from 12 last year. An additional four movies will premiere on sister network Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. "It's not just about the holiday programming because anybody could put that on 24-7," said Bill Abbott, president and CEO for Crown Media Family Networks. "It's the fact that our brand is so strong. Like ESPN is synonymous to sports, Hallmark is synonymous to the holidays." Christmas aficionados certainly agree. In 2014, Hallmark Channel was the No. 1 cable network in total day in households and women 25-54 for the duration of Countdown to Christmas, and last December was the network's highest-rated month ever in prime time in both women and adults 25-54. Last year's film Christmas Under Wraps was the top-rated telecast in Hallmark history, attracting 5.8 million viewers.

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Bonnie Hammer Is Shaking Up Her NBCU Cable Portfolio, One Network at a Time

November 29, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Throughout her legendary career, Bonnie Hammer has learned just about everything there is to know about the television industry, except for one thing: how to rest on her laurels. "If you're not always thinking about the storms that are about to come, you're going to be in big trouble," she says. "I've never been afraid of change." That's why the chairman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group and Adweek's TV Executive of the Year has spent the past year shaking up the 10 networks she oversees—including heavyweights USA, Bravo and E!—keeping them fresh, exciting and relevant for audiences in a turbulent TV landscape. "It's taking a look at every piece of the organization, almost from a zero base," says Hammer. "If we were designing a world to compete in today, not last year or 10 years ago, how would you do that?" Last fall, Hammer combined Bravo, Oxygen, E! and the upstart Esquire Network into the Lifestyle Networks Group, unifying the brands in the same fashion NBCU ad sales chairman Linda Yaccarino sells them to advertisers. "Every single channel was a silo. With one overall voice, it made it neater, cleaner and more nimble in terms of everything from sales to early-stage development," explains Hammer of the reorg, which helped inspire similar ones at rival players like Viacom and A+E Networks. Hammer pushed several NBCU cable properties to launch scripted series for the first time (Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce and Odd Mom Out on Bravo, The Royals on E!, Spotless on Esquire), helping to diversify and fortify the nets when and if franchises like the Real Housewives and the Kardashians run out of steam. ("We keep waiting for the day—and it doesn't happen," notes Hammer.) Significantly, the new scripted projects add a vital new stream of revenue for the company. "What scripted provides that reality hasn't yet, and probably won't, is back end. If you can own content that has a nice, long tail, that is a moderate to amazing hit, it's money in the bank—it's just good business," explains Hammer, who also runs the in-house studios Universal Cable Productions (which handles scripted shows) and Wilshire Studios (reality and unscripted). Hammer's riskiest move involved the crown jewel of her portfolio, USA, moving the network away from its signature "blue skies" procedurals, which were no longer connecting with audiences. "We wanted to nail something in the zeitgeist," she says. "And that's where Mr. Robot came." This summer's sensational hacker drama was, at the outset, anything but a sure thing, but Hammer went forward with the gamble. "We all said, 'This could fail big. We all have to agree that this is an experiment, but we're willing to do it,'" recalls Hammer. Mr. Robot would end up taking viewers by storm, helping USA finish its 10th year as the most-watched entertainment network in prime time on basic cable. As for properties in her stable that remain a work in progress—like Oxygen, which is still struggling to connect with its 20-something female viewer base—Hammer is considering all options, including a possible OTT play

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Why Advertisers Are So Eager for This Year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

November 25, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As broadcast TV ratings continue to plummet this fall, advertisers have fewer and fewer reliable options outside of sports when it comes to making ad buys for the holiday season. But tomorrow, they get a Thanksgiving treat: the robust audience tuning in for NBC's broadcast of the 89th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The telecast, which NBC will air live from 9 a.m. to noon (and repeat at 2 p.m., after the National Dog Show), has become one of the year's best bets for advertisers, especially given that Thanksgiving night/Black Friday sales begin just hours later. Last year's parade averaged 22.6 million viewers, and its 6.2 rating among adults ages 18 to 49 topped every other nonsports prime-time telecast on the broadcast networks last fall.

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