Posts Tagged ‘video’

From Reducing Ad Loads to Declaring War on Netflix, Here’s How the TV Industry Is Gearing Up for 2016

January 20, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The broadcast and cable networks, along with streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, have spent the past two weeks at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, sharing their plans for midseason and beyond. (You can find all of Adweek's TCA coverage here .) In addition to trotting out the new shows they hope will connect with audiences, the networks also addressed the industry's larger issues—chiefly, how to stay relevant in a dramatically-shifting landscape—and how to solve them. Here are the five biggest takeaways from the TCA winter press tour, and the most significant ways the industry will change this year: 1. Reducing ad loads to entice and keep viewers. "TV is the best advertising delivery mechanism ever invented. It's unparalleled for building brands and moving consumers, but we have overstuffed the bird" and diluted the effectiveness of ads, said Kevin Reilly, president of TNT and TBS, and chief creative officer of Turner Entertainment. That's why as part of his dramatic overhaul of TNT and TBS, Reilly is going to reduce the ad load on TNT's three new dramas this year by more than half , which will add eight to 10 minutes of program time per hour. (Turner is pursuing a similar strategy for truTV .) Fewer, more effective ads are essential to "create a better viewing experience," Reilly said. And if networks want to keep audiences from flocking to Netflix, reducing their "overstuffed" ad load is a solid first step. 2. The best way to make a series premiere stand out: Drop the ads. Sensing a trend here? Sometimes reducing ads isn't enough: Some networks are eliminating them altogether in order to make a splash of their series premieres. Syfy led the charge with The Magicians debut last month , and at least one other network is following suit. WGN America will premiere its next two series—Outsiders on Jan. 26, and Underground on March 9—without ads. "In today's competitive landscape, we felt it was important for viewers to get as pure and as uninterrupted an introduction to these worlds as possible," said Matt Cherniss, president and GM for WGN America and Tribune Studios. 3. Even more TV is on the way—for at least one more year. A record 412 scripted series aired last year , along with an additional 750 unscripted series.

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Symphony Brushes Off Netflix Attacks on Its Ratings Metrics

January 19, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If Netflix was hoping to intimidate Symphony Advanced Media into submission when it blasted the company's data —which, for the first time, revealed how many viewers are watching Netflix's original series —it is going to have to switch to Plan B. Symphony Advanced Media told Adweek today it is standing by its metrics, which Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos derided as "remarkably inaccurate data" that "doesn't reflect any sense of reality of anything that we keep track of." Despite Sarandos' scoffing, "we have confidence in our data," said Laura Bernstein, Symphony's svp of client solutions. She said that Symphony's multiplatform measurement tool, VideoPulse, also measures broadcast and cable programming, and the company's partners and clients—which include NBCUniversal, A+E Networks and Viacom—have said Symphony's numbers echo the data they receive from other ratings sources like Nielsen. "There's some variation—there's different methodologies to data collection—but for the most part, we're very in line with other published numbers and with what our clients would expect. So our methodology is where people would want it to be on the broadcast and cable, where there is a comparison, which gives us a lot of confidence in what we're seeing in the streaming originals," said Bernstein. NBC kickstarted Symphony's battle with Netflix last Wednesday, when NBCUniversal's ratings guru Alan Wurtzel shared Symphony's Netflix data with reporters during the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. Wurtzel claimed Netflix doesn't yet pose a "consistent" threat to broadcasters. To make his point, Wurtzel incorporated data from Symphony Advanced Media, which has been tracking Netflix ratings metrics for the notoriously tight-lipped streaming service with VideoPulse, the multiplatform measurement tool Symphony unveiled last September . (Symphony does that by using automatic content recognition, or ACR, software embedded on a mobile app to recognize and match a program's audio files, as well as URL matches for streamed content. The company also sends a targeted survey to its panelists twice a week, asking which platform they watched specific programs on, to determine whether a show like Quantico was viewed via Hulu, VOD, ABC.com or DVR.) Among the Symphony data that Wurtzel shared: Each episode of Marvel's Jessica Jones averaged 4.8 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic within 35 days of its November premiere. Master of None drew 3.9 million in the demo and Narcos was third with 3.2 million. Sarandos returned fire on Sunday, blasting Symphony's methodology and data. "It's a bold statement for them to make," said Bernstein of the company's response. "We've never had a conversation with Netflix, so I'm not even familiar with what they know of our methodology." And while Sarandos argued that the 18-49 demo "means nothing" to Netflix, Symphony counters that the demographic is in fact incredibly important to the industry. "It's the demo that matters to the people who are selling advertising, so I do think that makes it an important demo," she said.

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How Hulu Is Helping Shows Like Dawson’s Creek and Melrose Place Find New Audiences

January 9, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

While most outlets are using their time at Television Critics Association's winter press tour to focus on upcoming shows, Hulu took a different approach to part of its presentation: showing how the streaming service has helped bring new audiences to beloved series of the past. "We've signed a multi-year agreement with Sony, which is going to bring a tremendous lineup of programming, including all episodes of series like The Shield, Party of Five, Dawson's Creek and a vast movie library to Hulu," said svp of content Craig Erwich. Also included in the deal: Damages and Happy Endings . Several TV creators who have shows streaming on Hulu talked about how subscription video on demand (SVOD) services are giving their projects new life—and a new revenue stream. "We're excited about the fact that new audiences are discovering our shows," said Darren Star, creator of '90s hit programs Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place. As for the financial benefits of appearing on Hulu, Star said he's not making anywhere near the estimated $180 million that Hulu paid to secure SVOD rights to Seinfeld last spring. "There's an income stream, but I read that Seinfeld story , I was like, wait a second, that's a lot of money! I'm not sure that's happening here," said Star.

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Yahoo Shutters Screen, Scales Back Original Series

January 4, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Just four days into 2016, Yahoo is making good on a plans announced at the end of 2015. The struggling tech giant has shut down Yahoo Screen, a 5-year-old digital video platform that housed its original series, its first livestream of an NFL game, and old episodes of Saturday Night Live. The remaining video properties on Yahoo Screen will be moved to the company's digital magazines, so like-minded content will exist side by side. "At Yahoo, we're constantly reviewing and iterating on our products as we strive to create the best user experience," said a Yahoo rep. "With that in mind, video content from Yahoo as well as our partners has been transitioned from Yahoo Screen to our Digital Magazine properties so users can discover complementary content in one place." The shutdown of Yahoo Screen, first reported by Variety, comes after a year in which the tech giant attempted to break into original content with the revival of NBC sitcom Community, the NBA-themed series Sin City Saints, and sci-fi comedy Other Space (from Ghostbusters director Paul Feig). It's a blow to the tumultuous tenure of CEO Marissa Mayer, for whom original video had been a priority. Despite the three original series, as well as a licensing deal with Viacom for Comedy Central shows and the entire catalogue of Saturday Night Live, Yahoo simply couldn't compete with streaming giants Netflix, Amazon Prime and even Hulu. Yahoo's originals contributed to a $42 million write down for the company last year. CFO Ken Goldman admitted at the time he "couldn't see a way to make money over time" on pricey original series

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Tastemade Serves Up $40 Million Funding Round

December 17, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Tastemade has had quite the year. The company, known for its quirky short-form videos in the food, travel and lifestyle space, hit the 100 million monthly active viewer mark, with more than 1 billion monthly views. On Facebook alone, Tastemade grew its audience from around 100,000 fans to more than 5.7 million. This year, the company launched on Apple TV – the only food and travel channel on the platform – linked up with Facebook's Anthology and Suggested Videos, partnered with Spotify on the streaming music company's video service, and landed one of the 15 prized spots on Snapchat's Discover platform . As Tastemade, which was founded in 2012, heads into its fourth year, it will do so with deeper pockets. The video publisher announced this morning it has closed a $40 million Series D funding round led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from existing investors Redpoint Ventures, Raine Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Liberty Media, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Tohokushinsha Film Corporation. With the extra cash in hand, Larry Fitzgibbon, one of Tastemade's co-founders, wants to continue Tastemade's momentum, especially when it comes to working with brands. "All of that work has culminated into us reaching the exact consumer we thought we would at a scale we thought we would as well," said Fitzgibbon. "We are truly becoming the brands for our categories for that audience." Fitzgibbon noted that they're seeing an increased appetite from advertisers who want to appeal to that young, millennial, mobile-first audience

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With a Record 409 Scripted Series in 2015, Did TV Reach Its Peak?

December 16, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

"Peak TV" has a name, and now it has a number: 409. That's how many scripted series (drama, comedy and limited) aired on all broadcast, cable, streaming and OTT services in 2015, according to Julie Piepenkotter, evp of research for FX Networks. (Excluded from the tally: reality, news, sports, made-for-television movies, specials, daytime and children's programming.) Even if you binge-watched one scripted season every day of the year, you wouldn't be able to get through all the available content. "The unprecedented increase in the number of scripted series has reached a new milestone in 2015 with a record 409, nearly doubling the total in just the past six years," said Piepenkotter in a statement. "This was the third consecutive year that scripted series count has grown across each distribution platform—broadcast, basic and pay cable, streaming—led by significant gains in basic cable and digital services. This statistic is staggering and almost unimaginable from where they were a decade ago." The number represents a 9 percent increase over 2014, which had 376 scripted series, and a staggering 94 percent jump since 2009 (211)

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The 10 Best New TV Shows of 2015

December 16, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

On Tuesday, I shared my picks for the best shows of 2015 . With so many superb returning and concluding shows, only one new series managed to crack the list. Yet 2015 was actually a splendid year for freshman shows despite a weak fall season. This year’s overabundance of quality TV warranted a second list featuring the best new programs from broadcast, cable and streaming outlets. It’s no surprise that streaming has the largest representation on the list (four shows in total, plus five more that narrowly missed the cut). Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have all taken ambitious swings to entice audiences with exciting original series that rival anything on cable or broadcast. As overwhelming as your TV choices already are, these newbies are more than worth making time for. Here’s hoping their second seasons are even stronger.

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Streaming Services, and Mr. Robot, Elbow Broadcasters Out of Golden Globes Nominations

December 10, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If last year's Golden Globe Awards heralded the streaming services' arrival as major television players, this year's list of nominees shows streaming networks have suddenly become the dominant forces. Netflix led all TV networks with 8 nominations , while Amazon had 5 and Hulu landed its first nomination. Those picks came at the expense of the broadcast networks, which managed just 11 nominations in all—4 for ABC, 4 for Fox, 2 for The CW and 1 for CBS—while NBC, which will broadcast the Golden Globes on Sunday, Jan. 10, was shut out completely. (NBC's cable sibling, USA, landed three nominations for Mr. Robot.) The streaming services accounted for four of the six shows nominated for best TV series, musical or comedy: Casual (Hulu), Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon), Orange is the New Black (Netflix) and last year's winner, Transparent (Amazon). The other two nominees were for HBO shows Silicon Valley and Veep. No broadcast TV series made the list. On the best drama side, a single broadcast show—Fox's Empire—made the cut. It will compete with three cable shows (HBO's Game of Thrones, USA's Mr. Robot and Starz's Outlander) and one Netflix series (Narcos)

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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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13-Year-Old YouTube Star Died of Undiagnosed Heart Condition, Family Says

November 10, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The family of YouTube star Caleb Bratayley announced today the 13-year-old died of an undiagnosed heart ailment. "The doctor confirmed today that Caleb passed away from a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy that went undetected in his yearly checkups," a post on the family's Instagram revealed. "Caleb didn't have any symptoms so the doctor said there was nothing we could have done differently." The teenager's death on Oct. 1, which was also announced on Instagram, engendered an outpouring of grief from fans, and left many unanswered questions. The final video involving Caleb was called Dear Future Self. "Unfortunately Caleb passed away the day after we made this video. He will never get to meet his future self," the family wrote as the video drew to a close. The Bratayley family YouTube channel has more than 1.9 million subscribers, up from 1.7 million at the time of Caleb's death. The Maryland family, which is aligned with Maker Studios, has been vlogging since 2011. The stars are the children, including Caleb's younger sisters Annie and Hayley. "The girls' hearts were just recently checked and thankfully look the way they should right now," today's Instagram post reads. "The sadness of losing someone you love is unimaginable. Thank you to everyone who has reached out, your kindness and support continues to help our family." In an interview in 2014, mom Katie LeBlanc (the family's real last name) said she started making the videos because her husband was often away for military duty

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