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Adweek : Television


Amazon Inserts Its Own 'Man of the Year' Issue in Time to Promote Man in the High Castle

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:08:18 +0000

If you thought Time's new person of the year cover featuring Donald Trump echoed the magazine's pick of Adolf Hitler in 1938, wait until you see what's inside. Each person of the year issue features an advertising booklet insert from Amazon Studios with a mock Time man of the year cover ostensibly from 1963 honoring The Man in the High Castle. It's part of Amazon's provocative marketing campaign for the return of the drama, with Season 2 streaming beginning Friday for Amazon Prime customers. Based on Philip K. Dick's 1962 novel of the same name, the series takes place in a world in which the Allies lost World War II, and Japan and Germany split up the United States. While Amazon does not release ratings for its streaming shows, it has said The Man in the High Castle is its most popular original series in the history of Prime Video. The six-page Time insert includes a feature story on the mysterious Man in the High Castle, whose identity remains a mystery at this point though he will be featured in Season 2, and a conventional ad for the Amazon series on the back cover. Its tagline: "The future belongs to those who change it."   It's an eerie parallel to the Trump cover, which many people have compared to Hitler's being named man of the year in 1938. The Amazon insert further highlights those parallels. Time's cover line for Trump calls him "President of the Divided States of America," wording Trump took issue with, telling Today on Wednesday that it was "snarky," and adding, "I'm not president yet. So I didn't do anything to divide." But Amazon's faux Time issue includes a map in which the United States literally is divided in two, as it is on the series—Germany controls the East Coast, and Japan is in charge of the West Coast. The Amazon insert was part of a larger Amazon ad buy for the show within Time Inc., though Time was the only booklet insert. Amazon also ran a faux cover on People in December 2014 to promote the first season of Transparent. While other brands have spoofed or reimagined Time's person of the year issue in the past, this appears to be the first time it was done as a booklet insert within the issue itself. While Time said Amazon was given no advance indication of its choice for person of the year, Trump was an obvious front-runner. This isn't the first time Amazon has taken an eye-raising approach to marketing the series. Last year, it briefly plastered a New York City subway train with Nazi and Imperial Japanese imagery before the ads were quickly pulled. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="367" src="" width="652">   [...]

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ABC Ad Sales Chief Geri Wang Is Stepping Down in March

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:26:47 +0000

After a brief hiatus, this year's exodus of ad sales chiefs has begun again. Geri Wang, president of ABC Sales, announced today that she will retire in March. "It has been an honor and a privilege to represent ABC for these past 27 years," Wang said in a statement. "I truly love ABC: the people, the programs, the ideals. It's been a magnificent journey, and I want to thank my team for all of their hard work, their brilliance and their friendship. No one is luckier than me." Ben Sherwood, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney|ABC Television Group, said in a statement: "While we all understand and respect Geri's decision, she will be greatly missed—both inside Disney|ABC and around the globe with our many clients. Geri is a force of nature—one of the best and brightest in our business. Relentless in her commitment to ABC, formidable at the negotiating table and a fierce advocate for all clients, she has raised the standards of everyone who works with her. We all wish her the very best, no one more than I." Wang, who was No. 9 on this year's Adweek 50, has led ABC sales since 2010. She started working at the company as a daytime planner in 1990, and in 2000 was promoted to svp of prime-time sales. Even though the network slipped to fourth place last season in the 18-49 demo, Wang was able to deliver CPM upfront gains of as much as 10 percent, double the previous year's increase. Wang is the second broadcast ad sales chief to depart this year, following the surprise exit of Fox Networks Group's Toby Byrne in September. (His role has yet to be filled.) Overall, she is the sixth major ad sales chief to step down in 2016. In addition to Byrne, AMC Networks' Arlene Manos said in September she'll transition to president emeritus at year's end. Two days earlier, NBC Sports said Seth Winter would be stepping down as its ad sales chief and will stay with the company as an advisor through 2018. Dan Lovinger has stepped in as the new sports ad sales chief. Joe Abruzzese, who spent 46 years in the business, announced his retirement from Discovery Communications in July, while Jeff Lucas announced in June that he was exiting Viacom to become Snapchat's vp and head of global sales. [...]

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7 Moments From 2016 That Show Periscope Still Draws a Crowd

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:40:14 +0000


Facebook Live, which is currently running an extensive TV campaign, has brought the idea of livestreaming into the mainstream. But what about Periscope, the app that in 2015 truly made live video "a thing" people talked about?

Well, despite many folks thinking Facebook Live has already won the battle for the space, Twitter-owned Periscope has had some very intriguing moments this year. Reps for the app gave Adweek a list of 2016 highlights, and these are the seven that caught our eye. 

1. Hurricane Matthew
ABC affiliate WCIV in Charleston, S.C. captured this September Hurricane, and its real-time effort—which went on for 12 hours—garnered 760,000 individual viewers. At about the 7-hour, 35-minute mark, the channel cut to live hurricane action as seen on the streets and beaches. 

7. Turkish parliament bombing
On July 15, the world's attention was turned to Ankara, Turkey, as a military coup—that ultimately failed—raged on. More than 119,000 people tuned in on Periscope thanks to the personal account of Turkish lawyer Ayse Sula Köseoğlu.

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Hairspray Live! Doesn’t Have the Ratings Staying Power of The Wiz and Fox’s Grease

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:14:41 +0000

The Hairspray Live! cast declared "You Can't Stop the Beat" during last night's live musical, but the audience didn't necessarily agree. The ratings for the telecast were down from last year's The Wiz Live! numbers, and they lagged behind Fox's Grease: Live earlier this year. While final ratings will be out later today, in the overnights, Hairspray Live! earned a 2.3 rating among adults ages 18 to 49, and was watched by 8.9 million viewers overall. Because the telecast ended at 10:54 and those early numbers include those six additional minutes, they could be adjusted upward in the final ratings. But for now, Hairspray Live! is NBC's lowest-rated modern live musical, with numbers even lower than Peter Pan Live! two years ago. Update: In the "fast official" Nielsen ratings, Hairspray Live! maintained its 2.3 demo rating, though its total audience average rose to 9.0 million. Still, those numbers solidify its position as NBC's least-watched live musical. This year's ratings falloff is bad news for the sponsors who signed up for live and branded content spots during the show. Oreo Cookies enlisted Hairspray: Live Derek Hough—in character as Corny Collins—for a live spot immediately following one of Corny's biggest numbers in the show. Reddi-wip, which partnered with NBC for The Wiz Live!, returned with a taped branded content spot in which a milkman hung out backstage and interacted with the Hairspray ensemble. And Toyota ran a live spot for the 2017 Corolla patterned in the style of a '60s car advertisement. NBCUniversal also used picture-in-picture during two commercial breaks, running spots from brands like Capital One, Verizon Wireless, Geico and Royal Caribbean while live, behind-the-scenes content featuring the Hairspray cast and crew played simultaneously in a smaller window. Still, NBC said the ratings represented its highest-rated in-season Wednesday night demo rating in two years. But when measured against the ratings for NBC and Fox's recent live musicals, NBC doesn't have much to be happy about. The numbers are well below Fox's first live musical, Grease: Live, which drew 12.2 million viewers and a 4.3 rating in the 18-49 demo in January. Those Grease ratings topped the 11.5 million viewers and 3.4 demo ratings for NBC's The Wiz Live! last December, which was a big rebound from NBC's lowest-rated live musical, 2014's Peter Pan Live!, with 9.21 million viewers and a 2.4 demo rating. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="367" src="" width="652"> But none of these live musicals has come close to NBC's inaugural and most successful effort, 2013's The Sound of Music Live!, which had 18.6 million total viewers and a 4.6 rating in the demo. While NBC's previous live musicals had been restricted to New York sound stages, this year it took a page from Fox's technically ambitious, sprawling staging of Grease: Live, shifting production to the Universal Studios backlot in L.A. While the production hired the same director that worked on Grease: Live (Alex Rudizinski), it was beset by many more sound, lighting and camera miscues than Grease had. One big scheduling change that could have dented the ratings: While NBC's previous musicals aired on a Thursday night, Hairspray Live! was forced to shift to Wednesday this year after NBC landed a portion of the NFL's Thursday Night Football package this season and next. The lower ratings won't put an end to NBC's live musicals as Peter Pan Live! almost did two years ago. NBC has already locked in Jennifer Lopez to star in Bye Bye Birdie Live! next December, and ran a promo for that show last night during Hairspray Live! Separately, the network has announced plans to air a live version of Aaron Sorkin's Broadway play, A Few Good Men. [...]

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Turner and Snapchat Expand Deal to Include Original Shows and a Bleacher Report Discover Channel

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:41:10 +0000


Turner and Snapchat are expanding their partnership. The new deal, announced today, will bring a Bleacher Report Discover Channel to U.S. users (it was previously only available internationally) and the companies will work to develop new Snapchat shows from Turner brands.

Turner and Snap will work to develop original shows, producing content exclusively for Snapchat that's based on Turner brands like TBS, Adult Swim, truTV and its mobile-first digital content venture Super Deluxe.

Bleacher Report, Turner's millennial-themed digital sports brand, will launch a Discover Channel for U.S. Snapchat users on Jan. 4. Meanwhile, the CNN Discover Channel will feature more daily content. CNN and Bleacher Report were Snapchat Discover launch partners back in early 2015.

"Millions of Snapchatters value the authoritative and credible reporting by CNN and Bleacher Report every day and we are excited about offering more frequent news updates and expanding Bleacher Report's Discover coverage to the U.S.," said Nick Bell, Snap's vp of content, in a statement. "We're also thrilled to be building on two years of our Live Story coverage of March Madness with expanded sports content."

"This deal marks the latest strategic move for Turner to innovate within the digital arena and provide complementary viewing experiences for a younger, mobile-centric audience," said Turner president David Levy in a statement. "Snapchat is a powerful outlet to directly connect with the millennial generation and perfectly aligns with our portfolio-wide strategy to engage with audiences at every touch point."

Turner will continue using Snapchat's Live Stories to offer expanded coverage of its sports broadcasts like the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship and PGA Championship.

The two companies will team up on ad sales for this new offering: Snap will lead efforts on the Discovery Channels, while Turner will take point on Live Stories and Shows.

This is the latest major deal that Snapchat has made this year with a TV company. The company launched a partnership with Viacom in February, and teamed with NBCUniversal in August to bring NBCU's most popular shows to the platform.

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Comcast CFO Talks Netflix Deal, Wireless Rollout and Why DirecTV Now Doesn't Worry Him

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:59:03 +0000

Comcast isn't worried about competition from AT&T and Hulu's new streaming bundle services, nor is the company shy about competing in a new area of its own: wireless service. Mike Cavanagh, senior evp and CFO for Comcast, talked today at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York about the company's plans for 2017. (Netflix, CBS, 21st Century Fox and Discovery Communications execs spoke at the conference on Monday, while AT&T and Verizon weighed in on Tuesday.) The company is continuing to roll out its X1 set-top box, which Cavanagh said now reaches 45 percent of subscribers. Comcast is looking to bundle those next-gen cable services with broadband to keep its customers happy, "knowing that there's lots of competition coming," he said. Comcast sees X1 as a key component to keeping its subscribers engaged, and far away from its competitors. Cavanagh said the company has data that shows that ratings and engagement were higher for users who watched the Rio Olympics on X1, where the company combined all of NBC Olympics' linear and digital feeds in a special Rio Olympics hub, compared with those in non-X1 homes and non-Comcast homes. The integration pull "is significantly higher," he said. He's found the same with Comcast's recent Netflix partnership, in which Netflix was added to X1 last month. "Customers like it," said Cavanagh, explaining that they appreciate not having to switch TV inputs to watch House of Cards. "That's the point. We've made a great investment in a platform that is very flexible ... It's good for them; good for us." While the X1 tech and product teams had been focusing on the Olympics and Netflix experiences this year, they're now exploring other integration options. Those innovations, Comcast hopes, will fortify the company in the light of last week's DirecTV Now launch and Hulu's upcoming streaming bundle offerings. "When it comes to responding to some of the new competition, it's very important how we can take what I just described in video and bundle it with the best broadband product out there," Cavanagh said. "I'm not really worried," said Cavanagh, though he quickly added, "we'll be hustling to compete." The company is also preparing to compete in a new space itself: wireless. Comcast hopes to have its wireless offering ready by the middle of next year, and is eager to "overcome some of the skepticism" about that company entering the wireless space, said Cavanagh. "We've got 150 people working on" the wireless offering, which will target Comcast's existing customers, said Cavanagh. "It's going well, but we have work to do" to design the product they want. "We're in the learn and explore mode." Cavanagh also touched on NBC's broadcast ratings success (the company is on track to reclaim the 18-49 crown this season), crediting "a well-thought-out, well-executed approach to dominating big nights." Out of 61 "big nights" through the year, with major TV events that draw a large audience, "we've got 70 percent of them," thanks to programs like the Olympics, Sunday and Thursday Night Football and the Golden Globes. [...]

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How CNN Heroes Has Inspired Brand Partners Like Subaru

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:00:01 +0000

CNN Heroes has been inspiring folks and making everyone cry for the past 10 years. The special highlights people doing their best in their communities to help those in need. This year, the program includes a look back, a "where are they now" retrospective from CNN's branded content studio, Courageous, which partnered with Subaru to produce clips focusing on previous Heroes. Subaru, which has been a major brand sponsor of the program for the past nine years, matches donations made to the top 10 CNN Heroes for 2016 dollar for dollar up to $500,000. And getting cars on the screen isn't the point of the partnership. It goes way deeper than that. "What organizations need is money in order to do good work," said Tom Doll, president and COO of Subaru of America. "We could donate a car, but what good will that do?" To Doll, Subaru's partnership with CNN Heroes is about more than seeing its logo on screen every few minutes. He says it's about "getting the message out about who we are as a company and as people." "We're a car company," Doll said. "We're hoping people assume we have the same features and benefits as other car companies. We don't need to pound people over the head with numbers. People come to us because of who we are." Michal Shapira, svp of news content partnerships at Turner Ignite, said, "I love that it's not overt and that they're not giving cars to folks." "They understand it's about the message behind the platform," she continued. "It's about doing social good." The partnership has worked so well over so many years in part because Subaru understands the need for brands to take a step back, especially if the spotlight is on people trying to make their communities better. As national advertising manager for Subaru Brian Cavallucci pointed out, you hardly notice Subaru in the three documentary-style clips centered on CNN Heroes honorees. "We share an editorial responsibility," Cavallucci said. "It's intentional that you don't notice us in those videos." allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="640"> Subaru's own "Share the Love" campaign highlights people trying to help others on a local and national level with Meals on Wheels, the ASPCA, the National Park Service, Adopt-A-Classroom, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and many others. Over the past 20 years, Subaru has donated more than $50 million and logged over 28,000 volunteer hours with those causes. Something Doll is rather touched by is how the campaign inspired retailers to donate money and time to local charities or foundations. "Time is the most precious resource you have," Doll said. "People want to make an impact somehow. It taps into a passion for them as opposed to just writing a check." Shapira called CNN Heroes "one of the most impactful and truly meaningful platforms we have for advertisers to get behind." "It's entertaining, and it's more than that—it's important," she said. This year's CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute special airs live on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. ET and will be co-hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa. Returning brand partners include Geico and Humana and Astellas Pharma. Many of these partners will appear in on-air ads in addition to CNN's social platforms. [...]

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AT&T Says Early Demand for DirecTV Now Is ‘Exceeding Expectations’

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:15:24 +0000

Last week's launch of DirecTV Now was plagued with errors, but AT&T says it's thrilled with the early interest in its new streaming bundle offering. "The early demand has been rather dramatic ... we've been pleased with it," Randall Stephenson, AT&T's chairman, CEO and president, said this morning at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York. (Yesterday, execs from Netflix, CBS, 21st Century Fox and Discovery Communications spoke at the conference.) Stephenson said that John Stankey, CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, told him that AT&T met its goals for December subscribers last Wednesday, the first day DirecTV Now was available. Demand is "exceeding expectations," he added, especially in apartment buildings. He was also pleased with the interest in adding on HBO or Cinemax, for an additional $5 per month. So how will AT&T make money on a service that is offering $35 a month for a bundle of 100-plus channels? The company is "perfectly content" with "lower, thinner margins," said Stephenson, adding, "early on, I do expect the margins to be fairly thin." But as AT&T collects viewership data on DirecTV Now customers, as well as those DirecTV customers who can now stream programming on mobile devices (AT&T says half of all DirecTV customers will stream some of their content by year's end), "the advertising opportunity here we think is rather significant," said Stephenson. Next year, one of the company's top priorities is to "really begin to scale those advertising models" for DirecTV Now. And the company hopes to pair products, like wireless and broadband or DirecTV and wireless. When that happens, "churn goes down precipitously," said Stephenson, referring to subscribers who don't renew. "We have high expectations for churn reduction in this environment." Stephenson said that DirecTV Now was "a 5G service being launched on a 4G network," and hopes that new products like that will accelerate efforts to bring 5G. As the regulatory process continues for AT&T's $85 billion merger with Time Warner, Stephenson said "we're hopeful that perhaps a more moderate approach to some of these regulations" will be in the works under President Trump's administration, later calling it "a more rational level of regulation." He was hopeful about achieving "meaningful corporate tax reform" with Trump as president, noting that for the first time in many years, the company's 2017 scenario includes better than expected economic growth. Stephenson had no updates about the Time Warner deal beyond his comments right after it was announced, explaining that "we do not compete. This is a classic vertical merger." Verizon prepares for 5G While Stephenson briefly mentioned 5G, the next-generation wireless network was also on the mind of Verizon Communications chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam, who also spoke this morning at the UBS conference. McAdam said Verizon is planning pre-commercial 5G trials in "relatively small towns" for the first quarter. Verizon sees 5G as "wireless fiber," where the fiber connection ends 200-1000 feet from the home, and data is transmitted into the home via  "a wireless last leg." The trial will also include 1G wireless broadband and an over-the-top bundle, said McAdam. "The early phase is not mobile-oriented," said McAdam, adding that he expects to have a better sense of the timeline for Verizon's 5G rollout by the middle of 2017. McAdam said that there was "really not a lot to say" about the company's efforts to acquire Yahoo for $4.8 billion, a deal which was threatened by Yahoo's subsequent revelation that 50[...]

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Netflix, CBS and Fox Execs Detail Their Plans for Streaming and Advertising in 2017

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 21:38:50 +0000

This has has been a roller coaster year for the television industry—ratings are falling, the upfront cost per impression is soaring, and there are major questions about the future of TV—which means TV's top executives have a lot to reflect on as they plot for 2017. And that's what many of them did at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, which kicked off today in New York. Here are some of the Day 1 highlights: Netflix doubles down—again Netflix is bigger than ever—chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the company currently has 30 scripted series in various stages of production. That's double last year's output, and Sarandos said the number will double again next year. Just about the only genre he's not looking to program is live sports. "To the extent that the 'live-ness' is the selling point, we're really not a great solution," he said. While Netflix keeps getting bigger, Sarandos said it isn't interested in being acquired by a larger company. "We've been maniacally focused on one product," in a way that big companies aren't able to do because of their size, said Sarandos. Unlike many of Netflix's competitors, which are trying to own as much of their content as possible, "I don't want to get trapped in that model" of only producing shows that the company owns outright. Otherwise, Netflix would miss out on opportunities like its recent revival of Gilmore Girls, which is owned by Warner Bros. Instead, the company is focusing on using most of its licensing dollars to grab global rights to shows outside of its home market, like Designated Survivor or Star Trek: Discovery. As usual, Sarandos declined to talk about ratings, explaining that "every show is not designed for the same audience," and each have different budgets and different economics. "We try to make sure we have something for everyone in the house." Sarandos also took a shot at his streaming competitors Hulu and Amazon, noting that while they are also pouring billions into original content (Netflix has a $6 billion original content budget for 2017), "it doesn't appear they're gaining traction against all that spending" and closing the gap with Netflix. "As of now, they're just spending a lot of money," he said. Netflix expects to grow for years to come. "I really feel like we're in the early innings of this business, of internet television," said Sarandos. CBS: 'Anything could happen' with Viacom Leslie Moonves, chairman, president and CEO, CBS Corp., didn't shed any light on his company's merger talks with Viacom, which are ongoing but in the early stages. "We are very happy the way we are as a standalone company," but "anything could happen," said Moonves, who praised the early moves by Viacom's new acting president and CEO, Robert Bakish, as "pretty positive." While CBS' programming was absent from last week's launch of DirecTV Now, Moonves said the companies are still negotiating, and that digital rights and stacking rights are part of the holdup. Still, "I'm assuming that we will be able to make a deal with them," said Moonves, though he questioned how AT&T will be able to make money on its current DirecTV Now pricing plans. "There's no way they can last for a whole long period of time at $35 for 80 channels." CBS won't have the benefit of presidential political advertising or the Super Bowl in 2017, but Moonves said the network will have the entire Final Four (it alternates with Turner as part of their new deal). That means it "is going to be a very strong year once again. … I'm feeling really good heading into May.&qu[...]

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6 Takeaways From DirecTV Now, AT&T's Buggy, but Promising, New Streaming Service

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 18:16:51 +0000

During Monday's press event announcing this week's launch of DirecTV Now, AT&T's over-the-top, streaming bundle service, execs weren't shy about proclaiming the product as the harbinger of a new era in TV. "We think it's going to be a big game changer," said John Stankey, CEO, AT&T Entertainment Group. Maybe that will be true eventually, but not with version 1.0 of DirecTV Now, which launched on Wednesday. Adweek has spent the past day testing out the service, which doesn't require a set-top box, satellite dish, annual contract or credit check. The buggy launch makes it clear that AT&T should have spent more time perfecting the product, even if that meant missing the holiday season and getting closer to Hulu's launch early next year of its own streaming bundle service. "Think of this as the first inning here," said Brad Bentley, evp and CMO at AT&T Entertainment Group at Monday's launch event. But DirecTV Now feels more like spring training: there's plenty of promise here, but the product isn't ready for Opening Day yet. Here are Adweek's six biggest takeaways from the product after its first day of launch: 1. Signing up takes minutes; actually watching is another matter.  AT&T is targeting the 20 million-plus U.S. households that don't have cable or satellite service by playing up the ease of subscribing: there's no need to schedule installation or pass a credit check. Indeed, it only took three minutes to actually sign up for the service (though it will be longer if you want to look through the four different plans offered), but after that, the problems began. I signed up on a desktop, and immediately discovered that DirecTV Now doesn't work on Firefox, and the Silverlight plugin needed updating. The problems continued on mobile: the DirecTV Now app wasn't available in Apple's App Store, though that has been corrected. 2. The mobile experience is terrific. The desktop and connected TV experiences are not. Stankey wasn't kidding when he said that DirecTV Now was conceived "mobile-first," as the mobile experience is considerably smoother and more enjoyable than using a desktop or connected TV device like Apple TV. On my Apple TV, I was only able to watch for 60 seconds at a time before the screen went white, and I could only hear audio. That problem could only be correct by rebooting the Apple TV device, which would provide another minute or so of video before it went white again. My desktop browser also required frequent rebooting and restarting, issues I never have while using other streaming services. Mobile, by contrast, was a breeze (though the mobile app was offline for a bit this morning). Unless you're an AT&T customer, you'll also be subjected to data charges. The app gives you the option to disable streaming on mobile data, or change the steaming quality from "good" to "better," but you'll want to keep a close eye on your data consumption if you're not on a Wi-Fi network. 3. On-demand episodes are at least a month old. AT&T said its on-demand options would replicate those offered by the individual networks, where episodes are available to view the day after they air, but almost nothing on the site allows you to watch episodes from the past month. If you want to watch any This Is Us, Westworld, Designated Survivor or Empire episodes from November onward, you're out of luck. On NBC, the problems are even worse. On-demand episodes of The Good Place are cut off after just 10-15 minutes, while Superstore ended 19 minutes into the episodes. Several networks currently have no on-demand offerings, including TBS, Discovery, Bravo and SundanceTV. HBO (which is available [...]

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