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Matthew Weiner Heads to Amazon for His Next TV Move After Mad Men

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 18:30:30 +0000


A year and a half after wrapping his iconic TV series Mad Men, the show's creator, Matthew Weiner, has finally picked his next TV project.

The creator is leaving AMC for streaming, making a $70 million deal with Amazon and The Weinstein Co. for his new, modern-day series. While Amazon often allows its subscribers to vote on its pilots before deciding which ones to pick up to series, Weiner's show has received a straight-to-series order, as was the case with the streaming service's recent drama Goliath and Woody Allen's Crisis in Six Scenes.

According to Deadline, which first reported the news, Weiner's new series is a "contemporary anthology set in multiple locations worldwide." Weiner will be creating, writing and executive producing the show, and directing several episodes.

Since finishing Mad Men's seven-season run last May, Weiner has laid relatively low as he plotted his next move. He directed an episode of Orange Is the New Black's most recent season, and wrote a novel, Heather, the Totality, which is due out next fall.

Weiner's choice of Amazon, which like Netflix releases an entire season's worth of shows at once, is somewhat surprising given that Weiner said last year that he'd prefer to have his shows released weekly. If he ever were to make a show for Netflix, he said shortly after Mad Men's finale, "I would try to convince them to let me just roll them out, so there was at least some shared experience. I love the waiting, I love the marination. I think when you watch the entire season of a show in a day, you will definitely dream about it, but it's not the same as walking around the whole week saying, 'God, Pete really pissed me off!'"

There was no immediate word from Amazon about the release schedule for Weiner's new series.

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September Broadcast Ad Sales Dropped 13% Due to FanDuel and DraftKings' Rapid Decline

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 17:58:11 +0000

The demise of last fall's two biggest fantasy football players turned into an ugly reality for broadcasters' bottom lines in September. According to new data from Standard Media Index, broadcast television spend fell 13.2 percent in September versus the previous September, when revenue swelled because of the freewheeling spending of dueling fantasy football companies DraftKings and FanDuel. Those companies—which rose quickly last year and fell even quicker—spent nearly $100 million less last month across broadcast and cable than they did the previous September. Last September alone, DraftKings spent $65 million on U.S. advertising while FanDuel spent $53 million, according to analysis from MoffettNathanson. They accounted for 3 percent of all advertising revenue across 14 broadcast and cable networks for the month. In SMI's findings, which tracks 70 percent of national ad spending from global and independent agencies, prime-time revenue fell 16 percent year over year, while the average unit cost in prime time (excluding sports) for the four major broadcast networks was $86,000, a 7.6 percent decrease from $93,300 a year earlier. Upfront spend for the month was down 25 percent—SMI said many advertisers held back their upfront spends for the month after committing so many ad dollars to the Rio Olympics—while scatter for the month was up 32 percent. By night, NBC took home the most broadcast revenue on Monday and Tuesday in September, fueled by The Voice and fall's biggest freshman hit, This Is Us. Wednesday was split between ABC, with its comedy block and Designated Survivor, and Fox, where Empire continues to be its most lucrative show. CBS was on top Thursday with Thursday Night Football, while NBC is the Sunday night revenue champ because Sunday Night Football. Without sports, ABC would win on both Thursday—thanks, Grey's Anatomy—and Sunday, where SMI said it has double the ad revenue of CBS and quadruple that of Fox. On the cable side, ESPN remained on top in September, but its revenue was down 10 percent versus last year, and the price of an average 30-second spot fell 4.5 percent. The presidential election helped the three big news networks see double-digit increases in revenue and the cost of average spots. Fox News had 16 percent revenue growth, CNN jumped 25 percent and MSNBC surged 28 percent. SMI found that the average 30-second spot for all networks showing NFL games in September was $489,193, which is a 4 percent increase from last September. While Fox and CBS had an 11 percent increase in cost for an NFL spot, Thursday Night Football was flat for CBS and ESPN fell by double digits. The automotive category purchased the largest quantity of ads across all NFL games in September, followed by telecommunications, insurance and consumer electronics. "Our new cost level data clearly shows that while ratings on football have been under pressure early in the season, average unit costs continue to increase. This demonstrates that live sport and the huge audiences it attracts are an outstanding drawcard for major brands. On the flip side, primetime and late night programming doesn't provide the same pull. Poor ratings are directly linked to falls in revenue and average unit cost declines," said SMI CEO James Fennessy in a statement. "While some of September's falls can be attributed to a post Olympics hangover, evidence shows the biggest contributor to broadcast's significant fall was driven by the fantasy leagues spend almost completely drying up under the numerous legal actions they face. Cable's gains are directly related to the terrific results delivered by the news networks, which we fully expect to continue through the November election cycle." [...]

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How Martha Stewart Conquered Facebook Live, One Viral Cooking Video at a Time

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:37:15 +0000

"Martha!" gasped 9-year-old Madeline Zakarian in awe, as Martha Stewart walked into one of the test kitchens in one of her many headquarters, located along the Hudson River in Manhattan.  Everyone else sitting in the kitchen-slash-studio agreed with that sentiment. Seeing Martha Stewart in person can have that effect. On the second day of her American Made Summit this past Saturday, Stewart was preparing to take part in seven Facebook live videos, all while being a welcoming hostess to the many panelists, speakers and lunch-goers. The summit is, essentially, Comic-Con for homemakers. "They reminded her what she was going to cook while she was walking here," whispered Liz Malone similarly in awe, a publicist for Martha Stewart Living. You'd never know it, though, because Stewart is always prepared for anything. "She can be told with a switch of a hat that she is making something different, and it's no problem," said Malone. In the first test kitchen, 40 or so gold ticket summit participants watched as Stewart and Geoffrey Zakarian, a chef, TV host and father of three (including Madeline), baked maple-pecan shortbread cookies, which were crumbly, sweet and as perfect as you'd expect a recipe from Martha Stewart to be. Another 57,000 people watched live on Facebook. Ever the businesswoman, Stewart adroitly promotes brands in the live videos. In this case, Bob's Red Mill brand of flour, which was also one of the sponsors of the summit.                    The videos are highly prepared but not scripted, so the conversation can flow anywhere she wants it to. "For Facebook Live, Martha sticks to the brands she would naturally use in the kitchen when cooking for herself," said Marci Greenfield, director of content marketing. "She loves certain products and loves to point out which ones she loves!" Just like most Facebook live videos, Stewart's are typically shot on a smartphone, with the handy dexterity of Samantha Schutz, senior producer and videographer of Martha Stewart Living. For the larger segments filmed during the summit, Schutz stood on boxes at the back of the makeshift studio using a slightly more sophisticated camera than her iPhone. "It's different every time, and even though Martha is full of spontaneity and surprises, she's guided by her own intuitive way of doing things," said Schutz. She'll answer anything during the broadcast, from the best types of butter (she prefers French), to the difference between grade A and B maple syrups (she finds the rumor that grade B syrup has a stronger flavor "debatable"), and even to whom she's voting for come Election Day. "Both Snoop [Dogg] and I are voting for Hillary Clinton," she said. And when Zakarian said he doesn't discuss politics, or religion, Stewart replied: "This year, I think you have to." (Let's not forget she and Snoop Dogg will co-host a dinner party TV series for VH1 which premieres Nov. 7.) Her live videos run the gamut. Some of the most popular are simple How To's, like how to iron a shirt or plant a garden. Most importantly, she always wants to be the first to adopt these new technologies. She was one of the first to start using Facebook's live video option, and her fans were quick to respond with bright enthusiasm. It takes a village to produce the controlled chaos of these segments, mostly led by segment producer Judy Morris. Days or weeks go into planning them, as sometimes a celebrity guest will be assisting Stewart in the kitchen. Occasionally the weather will interfere with their plans and a different video will end up happening on the spot. Stewart once had to scrap a video idea due to strong winds and answered viewer questions for an hour instead. "We have had times where we have had to change the subject or recipe within hou[...]

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In Global Rebrand, National Geographic Drops 'Channel' From Its Network Name

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 13:01:01 +0000

National Geographic Channel's recent reinvention, and National Geographic's expanded partnership with 21st Century Fox last fall, is ushering in a global rebrand for the entire company. As part of the rebrand, all of National Geographic's global properties have a new tagline, "Further," while National Geographic Channel will be dropping "Channel" from its name, and will be known simply as National Geographic going forward. National Geographic will have one brand logo across all of its media platforms as part of the overhaul, which will include a redesign of its magazine, website, all digital and social channels and even the company's D.C. headquarters. The charge, said Declan Moore, CEO, National Geographic Partners, was to "reinvent National Geographic for the 21st century and in so doing, establish the world's leading premium brand in science, exploration and adventure." That also means dropping "Channel" from the name of its flagship network. The word "suggests this linear television destination, and increasingly, that's not the only place that people are consuming us," said Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic global television networks. "That does seem a little bit archaic." Monroe said she hadn't talked to advertisers about the name change before unveiling it to the press, but the company has "slowly" been having conversations with select advertisers and affiliate partners about the rebrand. The rebrand will coincide with the Nov. 14 premiere of the network's event miniseries, Mars, which "marks a real turning point in the transformation of our network," said Monroe. "What began as an exercise to overhaul the look and feel of the television network has become a comprehensive rebrand of every single National Geographic consumer touchpoint." As part of the rebrand, "we sought a brand tagline, something that could define us, that could really serve as our north star," said Monroe. The company settled on "Further," which is "a rallying cry, an ever-shifting marketing of progress. ... by definition, it never ends. It knows no bounds," she said. The tagline conveys to audiences and advertisers that "we embody a relentless pursuit to go deeper." The company also considered "Farther," but that word only implies distance. "You can 'further' your understanding of the world, but you can't 'farther' your understanding of the world. So we liked the double meaning, and it does translate around the world," Monroe said. Since she was promoted last November, Monroe has been overhauling National Geographic Channel, stressing quality programming over quantity as she shifted to fewer shows with a higher budgets and A-list talent, and indicated to Adweek earlier this year that more expansive, company-wide changes would be coming by year's end. Her upfront presentation featured an emphasis on scripted programs, and the company also reduced its ad load by up to 50 percent for new series and specials, with documentaries airing commercial-free. Because Monroe's work at rebranding the network over the past year inspired the global rebrand, the network's content won't change beyond what she had already put in motion a year ago. But the network will have a new on-air look, with revamped IDs and brand animations, and a new campaign with talent including Jason Silva (Brain Games), Neil deGrasse Tyson (StarTalk) and Richard Bacon (Explorer). National Geographic worked with branding agency Gretel NY on the rebrand. Next year, the overhaul will extend to include a Further section in National Geographic magazine (covering the latest in exploration and science), a Further web series and more. A year ago, 21st Century Fox expanded its partnership with National Geographic—the companies had worked together on the comp[...]

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It Might Surprise You That Transparent Star Amy Landecker Is in These TV Ads

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 23:07:16 +0000

Specs Name Amy Landecker Age 47 Claim to fame Stars as Sarah Pfefferman in Amazon Prime's Transparent Base Los Angeles Twitter @AmyLandecker Adweek: What's the first information you consume in the morning?  Amy Landecker: The very first thing I'm doing is [opening] my New York Times app. And then the second thing I'm doing is going to Politico. Before I even go to the bathroom. It's become almost an addiction during the election cycle. Sometimes even in the middle of the night, I'm checking my newsfeed. It's not good. [Laughs] Is there anyone you're following closely on social media? I'm really into Lena Dunham and Lenny and the pro-Hillary voices out there. I'm also reading The Washington Post and very happy to work for a man [WaPo and Amazon owner Jeff Bezos] who I feel has been instrumental in unearthing some things that might change the way this whole thing goes. Your father is a famous Chicago talk radio and oldies DJ. Did you ever want to go into radio? Absolutely. In fact I went to the University of Wisconsin to major in communications and journalism and thought I was going to be a broadcaster. But I got sidetracked into the acting department basically because I had a crush on my TA, and my whole life sort of changed. I did end up making my living for most of my acting career as a voiceover [artist], which I felt was an offshoot of broadcasting, and it has always been something that I've adored. How did you end up doing audio dialogue replacement (ADR) for Julia Roberts? Julia Roberts was the voice of AOL—I think it was the late '90s or early 2000s—and she was pregnant with her twins so she went into voiceover for a little while. People kept congratulating me, including my own father, on my campaign [because it sounded like me]. And I found out it was Julia Roberts, so I told my agent if you ever get a casting for a voice double for her, I clearly sound like her because even my own father thought that was me. Well, now she can do ADR for you on Transparent. Yeah. I would like Julia to do my ADR. [Laughs] I think it would be great for her to do the sound effects during scenes with Pony where I'm getting flogged against a tree. [Laughs] "Julia, I can't make it. Can you step in please?!" You've also done some ads. I was the voice of Cymbalta for almost 10 years, which is an anti-depressant. I was a Chicago girl with Leo Burnett and J. Walter Thompson doing Hallmark for a while and did a lot of McDonald's ads. I'm currently the "good cow" in the Lactaid commercials. I'm the voice of Linzess, which is the constipation medication. I do Pam cooking spray. That's how I've survived this long. If I had to rely on on-camera, I would have quit this a long time ago. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="406" scrolling="no" src="" width="650"> allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="406" scrolling="no" src="" width="650"> What TV shows do you watch? I'm a big Voice junkie I have to say. Bad reality shows still work for me in terms of like relaxing and unwinding and just kind of shutting off. But I mean I am so typical classic lefty—Rachel Maddow every night, Lawrence O'Donnell every night, Chris Matthews. And my [Chicago] Cubs. … I'm very excited. Shifting to Transparent, what was your favorite scene this season? Definitely when I go to the synagogue to meet the board and [my character] Sarah just goes on this rambling talk where she ends up doing the sounds of dinosaurs representing millennials. And it's this very classic Transparent experience where [Transparent creator] Jill [Soloway] is off camera—and also this happened during the wedding in Season 2—where she's just like calling things out to me. And my second favorite would [...]

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Netflix Releases Much-Anticipated Gilmore Girls Revival Trailer

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:33:21 +0000


With one month until the premiere of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, it's time to commence freaking out.

Netflix released a brand new trailer today, full of unseen footage from the new series, which will air Nov. 25 with four 90-minute episodes.

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The characters must deal with the passing of Richard Gilmore, the patriarch of the family, and Rory and Lorelai's seemingly stagnating careers and relationships, respectively.

Previously, the platform promoted the show with pop-up diners/cafes, which featured a Snapchat element that was immensely popular with fans.

As the Gilmore Girls (and Netflix) Twitter accounts also uploaded the trailer, fans were rocked to their emotional cores, as was to be expected:

Nielsen Will Measure TV Viewing in Places Like Bars, Hotels, Gyms and the Office

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:13:04 +0000

Nielsen is taking a big step today to close one of its biggest TV ratings measurement gaps: its inability to accurately account for out-of-home viewing in public places like sports bars, gyms and hotels. In April, the company is launching a new national television out-of-home measurement service using its portable people meter, or PPM, technology and panelists. Clients who subscribe to Nielsen's new service will receive ratings estimates (including C3 and C7) that combine in-home viewing—which is based on the company's national TV ratings panel—with this out-of-home viewing using its PPM panels. Nielsen said the service—which will provide ratings for live through live-plus-7 days of viewing—will launch in April, and contain data going back to January 2017. Shortly after launch, it will add data that stretches back to September. The new offering will launch as a stand-alone service, but Nielsen plans to eventually add the out-of-home data to its national ratings. The PPM device, which panelists carry with them, will allow Nielsen to measure television viewing in places like restaurants, bars, airports and waiting rooms. Nielsen will rely on data from more than 75,000 PPM panelists located in 44 local markets, which the company can use to project out-of-home viewing in more than half of the U.S. population. "Measuring where consumers watch content, regardless of platform and location, is at the core of Nielsen Total Audience, and this includes out-of-home viewing," said Sara Erichson, evp, client solutions and audience insights for Nielsen. "While consumers have always watched TV outside the home, that viewing has not been measured. This new measurement enables both buyers and sellers to understand the incremental reach of advertising messages." The measurement will be a boon to news and sports networks like CNN and ESPN, which have a large out-of-home audience that has never been properly measured, so it's no surprise both companies are on board with Nielsen's new service. "We know that ESPN is viewed virtually anywhere there is a screen–from sports bars to gyms, hotels and the workplace," said Artie Bulgrin, svp of global research and analytics for ESPN, in a statement. "While C3, C7 and beyond are useful to measuring catch-up viewing in the home, this new service gives us the ability to capture out-of-home viewing precisely as it happens, and helps us double down on the power and delivery of live sports, while transacting on new, valuable audience segments for advertisers."  Added Howard Shimmel, chief research officer at Turner, "For brands like CNN and Turner Sports with huge and valuable out-of-home audiences, we need to be able to measure consumption regardless of the platform, screen or location. In collaboration with Nielsen, we were first to market using PPM technology for custom out-of-home solutions for CNN. Nielsen's new National TV Out-of-Home Measurement Service will help us drive these capabilities forward." Nielsen has been announcing several ratings overhauls as the company works to complete its total audience measurement rollout by March. It will finally stop using paper TV diaries, which are relied upon in 140 local markets, in 2018, and last month launched its digital content ratings metric. [...]

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Chris McCarthy, President of VH1 and Logo, Will Now Also Head Up MTV

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 16:05:05 +0000


Hours after Sean Atkins announced his departure as president of MTV, Viacom has named his replacement: Chris McCarthy, who already serves as president of two other Viacom networks, VH1 and Logo.

McCarthy will continue his oversight of VH1 and Logo, and will report to Doug Herzog, president of Viacom Music and Entertainment Group.

"Chris has infused every brand he's led with creativity, strategic clarity and distinctive talent—driving results that defy this extraordinarily competitive landscape," said Herzog in a statement. "MTV is an iconic brand full of opportunity, and Chris has demonstrated the vision and ability to grow its expansive reach and powerful cultural impact."

McCarthy was named GM of MTV2 in 2010, and added Logo in 2014. He was named GM of VH1 in July 2015, and was promoted to president of VH1 and Logo last June.

He replaces Atkins, who announced in a staff memo this morning that he was leaving, and would be staying on as an advisor through January. "This was in no way an easy decision for me," said Atkins. "You will all be in very good hands as I move on, I assure you." Sources said McCarthy's promotion had been in the works well before Atkins' memo.

Atkins' MTV reign was brief: He was hired in September 2015 to run MTV, MTV2 and mtvU. He helped revitalize the once-dominant MTV News brand, and put together an ambitious upfront slate, including the return of Unplugged and Cribs, to return the network's focus to music and reverse its ratings slide.

But the ratings turnaround never came; McCarthy, meanwhile, had worked ratings magic at VH1, which saw its biggest year-over-year ratings growth in almost 15 years. He revived America's Next Top Model (which started at VH1 before heading to UPN, which later became The CW) and the Hip Hop Honors franchise.

"I'm humbled by the opportunity to lead MTV, the place where I grew up and learned from some of the most gifted, creative and genuine leaders," said McCarthy in a statement. "The power of the MTV brand is its ability to let go of everything it knows and reinvent for the next generation of youth, and I'm excited to push the boundaries of what it can be in this transformative time."

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AT&T and Time Warner's CEOs Explain the Benefits of Their $85 Billion Merger

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 13:17:58 +0000

After a whirlwind weekend in which AT&T announced its $85 billion deal to acquire Time Warner, the companies' two CEO sat down to explain what it all means. In the megamerger, the telecommunications powerhouse will buy Time Warner for $107.50 per share, or about $85 billion, half in stock, half in cash. The new behemoth will combine Time Warner's hefty film and TV properties (including Warner Bros., HBO, TNT, TBS and CNN) and AT&T's robust broadband (U-Verse), wireless (AT&T) and satellite (DirecTV) offerings. AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson and Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes appeared on CNBC's Squawk Box this morning to talk about the deal, which stems from a lunch they had together two months ago. "We meet regularly and we were talking about what's happening in media," including SVOD [subscription video on demand] and the increase in mobile consumption of video, said Bewkes. "We realized that if we had ourselves together, that we could create more innovations for consumers." The deal came together quickly because "once you get conviction, and you agree on what the deal should look like, you move. And that's what we did," said Stephenson. One of the biggest advantages of the merger will be more effectively targeted advertising. "There's going to be basically more effective advertising, so it won't be as disruptive. You'll have more efficiency there. And that means that more of the cost of all the great programming that's on TV can be borne by advertising and it can be advertising that's useful to you, rather than something you're not interested in," said Bewkes. "Last year, more than half of the growth of advertising in the United States went to two companies, Google and Facebook. We need to increase competition for advertising across television, internet companies," Bewkes continued. "When you do that, what you end up with is more of the burden being born by advertising companies, less of it being borne by consumer." The deal is all about speed. "The world of distribution and content is converging, and we need to move fast," said Stephenson. AT&T wants to curate content differently for mobile environments, and give consumers the ability to make clips of content and share it quickly via social media. As a result of the merger, "we're going to be pushing really, really hard to innovate and iterate much faster," said Stephenson. He expects the demand in this mobile environment to drive demand for his company to invest in 5G, which will deliver 1 GB speeds in mobile technology. "We could have a viable nationwide competitor to … Comcast," he added. Because of the added competition, "If I'm an advertiser, I love this. If I'm a content creator, I love this," said Stephenson. The companies anticipate that it will take a year for the merger to win the necessary regulatory approval. "The nature of this deal is unique from anything we've done before in that it's a vertical integration," said Stephenson, noting that most of the deals that haven't survived regulatory scrutiny have been horizontal mergers. "This has none of that. There are no competitors being taken out of the marketplace." Six years ago, said Stephenson, the biggest regulatory issues surrounding the Comcast/NBCUniversal merger were the government's efforts to preserve net neutrality and protect over the top players. Now, net neutrality is "done," he said. "On OTT, I somehow think Netflix is going to make it. … Amazon just might make it too." Stephenson said the reports that indicate AT&T would restrict access to Time Warner content to outside companies are[...]

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