Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 3317 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #99481 of 99509 Old Yesterday, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by archiguy View Post
Sounds like Fred took his AVS/HOTP retirement seriously.
Well, I know he still checked in and responded to emails for quite a while. We even made plans to meet in Florida during one of my trips, but then he quit responding and I ended up losing his email address.

Cheers, Dave
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post #99482 of 99509 Old Yesterday, 12:06 PM
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TV Notes
‘X-Men’ Live-Action TV Series in Development at Fox
By Shelli Weinstein, Variety.com - Jan. 26, 2015

Marvell should really start to be concerned about over saturation at this point....
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post #99483 of 99509 Old Yesterday, 02:05 PM
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HOTP/Personal Note
Paging Fredfa! Paging Fredfa!
By dad1153, Hot Off The Press Thread - Jan. 28, 2015

It's a little unorthodox, but a personal emergency has presented itself and I really need to speak with our old friend Fredfa. He hasn't posted on "HOTP" for quite some time though. If anyone here on "HOTP" knows someone on AVS Forum that can get me in touch with Fredfa, by either phone, personal e-mail or PM, I'd really appreciate it. PM me with the info or let Fredfa know that I need to get in touch with him, the sooner the better.

Thanks a bunch in advance.
You might try reaching him through his Facebook page, I sent it to you in a PM.
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post #99484 of 99509 Old Yesterday, 06:21 PM
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 28, 2015

THE AMERICANS FX, 10:00 p.m. ET
+ using Marvels Avengers movie 7:00pm as a leadin good move.

Speaking of Scarlett Johansson movies "Her" is on HBO Signature thursday 9:00pm.
Set in the near future Theo (Joaquin Phoenix) gets his computer a new OS with artificial intelligence & while this movie won an Oscar for screenwriting Scarlett shouldve won for her voice as "Samantha" the OS....WOW
Rooney Mara is in it too appropriate for super bowl week.

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post #99485 of 99509 Old Yesterday, 06:28 PM
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You might try reaching him through his Facebook page, I sent it to you in a PM.
Thanks.
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post #99486 of 99509 Old Yesterday, 07:21 PM
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TV/Business Notes
Bloomberg Shakes Up Newsroom Side of His Company
By Ravi Somaiyan, The New York Times - Jan. 26, 2015

Things have changed at Bloomberg since its founder, Michael R. Bloomberg, returned to the office.

Some of the changes are small. He had struggled to find the paper towel dispensers, artfully hidden behind the mirrors in the company bathrooms, so he had them labeled with arrows. Emails between staff members are marked with the time the employee entered the office, a measure that has been reinstated since Mr. Bloomberg returned and that some suspect is intended to encourage employees to arrive earlier (or to shame them for arriving late). In a memo, he asked his staff members to make sure their security cards do not cover their name badges so that he can identify them more easily.

Some of the changes are big. The company’s chief executive, Daniel L. Doctoroff, stepped down last year after it became clear that Mr. Bloomberg wanted to make his own decisions. Late last year the founder and longtime head of the news operation, Matthew Winkler, was moved aside and given an honorary title. He wasreplaced by John Micklethwait, the editor of The Economist. Mr. Bloomberg oversaw the process. Mr. Winkler’s deputy, Laurie Hays, once seen as his heir apparent, left shortly afterward.

When Mr. Bloomberg, 72, left New York’s City Hall nearly 13 months ago, some expected him to retreat to his philanthropy enterprises and devote himself full time to the social causes he has championed. Instead he has thrown himself into his news operation with vigor. His forceful assertion of the leadership there has shaken up the newsroom, nearly a dozen current and former members of the staff said in interviews, breaking old alliances and stalemates and creating uncertainty among employees as they try to carry out new initiatives and policies.

Mr. Bloomberg has changed plans, shifted strategies and looked deep into the organization to concern himself with the most minute policies and decisions, according to the current and former employees, who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of talking about the former mayor’s leadership. To journalists, working under a man who is used to getting what he wants and whose name is on the building, he feels like a weather system, one former employee said — high up, uncontrollable and all-powerful.

The company declined to make Mr. Bloomberg or his senior media executives available for interviews. “Yes, he’s running the business,” said Marc LaVorgna, a Bloomberg spokesman. Mr. Bloomberg, he said, has “an ability to think globally and at the same time drill down into the details better than anyone.”

“It’s why he was successful in building and running this business, and why he was successful as mayor,” Mr. LaVorgna said.

He sits among colleagues on the fifth floor of Bloomberg L.P.’s offices on Lexington Avenue, the same area from which its television operations are run, and holds meetings near his desk. He takes Spanish lessons in a conference room.

Mr. Bloomberg, who was mayor of New York from 2002 to 2014, has never been a journalist, and the last time he ran his company its media operations were smaller. But he is fascinated with the power and potential of the media, those familiar with his thinking said.

In addition to attending some daily editorial meetings, he has smaller gatherings with senior executives, including Justin B. Smith, the chief executive of Bloomberg Media Group, who is spearheading a large-scale transformation of the company’s journalism, and Josh Tyrangiel, the editor of Businessweek magazine. Often the two emerge with new ideas or changes of direction after meeting with Mr. Bloomberg.

Mr. Bloomberg “is a complicated, brilliant man,” said Elisabeth DeMarse, who worked closely with him as head of marketing until the late 1990s. As the manager of a company, she said, he enjoys shaking things up. “He loves keeping people off-kilter,” she said. “He doesn’t let anyone get on too high of a horse.”

The media businesses, said a person familiar with their finances, are losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year for Bloomberg L.P., which gets the vast majority of more than $9 billion in annual revenue from its financial data terminals. Mr. Bloomberg aims to bring the media section’s losses under control, while ramping up the level of influence his company has in what he sees as a growth area.

He told senior editorial staff members at a conference in New York early in January that when he left to serve as mayor in 2002 his company had one news organization. When he returned, he said, it had 12, referring to separate teams for the news wire, television, radio, the web, the magazines and others. The inference some drew is that Mr. Micklethwait, who starts work next month, will be tasked with unifying them.

Mr. Bloomberg has been especially engaged with the revamping of his company’s television offerings, down to the finest details — he personally decided to kill the stock ticker scrolling across the bottom of the screen, and introduced information boxes on the right side of the picture, several employees said. He has also reviewed a new business news website, which is seen as a crucial offering for the company’s core business audience. The introduction of that site, scheduled for last Tuesday, was delayed, though apparently for technical reasons.

Mr. Bloomberg, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter, is an avid consumer of the media. He has an iPhone 6 Plus, but largely uses its Bloomberg app, for everything including email. Among the publications he reads on his iPad Mini are The New York Post and The Economist.

When he was planning for life after City Hall, he was widely expected to devote time to the business of giving away a fortune that Forbes estimates at $35 billion. But some who knew him doubted he would be content to spend his days approving grant applications. He would “rather stick pins in his eyes,” one friend said. He was also told that the White House would support him as a candidate for president of the World Bank.

But in the end he returned to his company, slowly at first, while also traveling the world on a kind of valedictory tour. As the tour ended, he became more and more hands-on at Bloomberg L.P., the company he founded in 1982, particularly its media arm.

Though he has not publicly outlined a strategy for Bloomberg’s journalism, he has told friends that people are more likely to buy terminals if the company’s other media offerings are highly influential. Broader coverage will also have a reach beyond the terminals, and can draw in those, like chief executives at businesses outside of finance, who do not subscribe. Also, public figures are more likely to give news-making interviews to a general publication than to a financial wire service.

While he was at City Hall, the news division expanded to include ambitious news reporting and investigative projects, a strategy that has at times put the newsroom’s goals at odds with those of the business side — in China, for instance, which the company views as a huge growth market for its data services. Those tensions have not yet been resolved, said people familiar with internal discussions.

A range of new products, including a politics TV show and website headed by the political journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, were part of a plan put into place by Mr. Smith, whom several people described as being accountable to Mr. Bloomberg for decisions taken before his return.

“Working for Mike,” said Ms. DeMarse, who is now chief executive of TheStreet, a financial media company, “is not for everyone. You have to be very smart; you have to have a high tolerance for ambiguity; you have to be flexible, because things change so quickly. The organization can be very fluid, and your authority in it has to be earned.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/bu...ref=media&_r=0
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post #99487 of 99509 Old Yesterday, 07:38 PM
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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
‘Sons Of Liberty’ Ratings: Finale Draws Steady 3.3 Million Viewers
By Patrick Hipes, Deadline.com - Jan. 28, 2015

History’s three-part miniseries Sons Of Liberty wrapped last night, with 3.3 million total viewers tuning in to see the finale — 1.1 million of those in the adults 18-49 demo. The network said it was the night’s most-watched cable show in total viewers, and those numbers are mostly even with Night 1 of the mini on Sunday, which drew 3.3M viewers and 1.4M in the demo.

The mini, which took an action angle on historical figures including Sam Adams, John Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock and Dr. Joseph Warren planning the American Revolution, was a solid viewer-getter for the network but it fell short of the May 2012 phenom Hatfields & McCoys mini, which drew 13.9 million total viewers and 4.8 million adults 18-49 in its first episode which was the No. 1 nonsports telecast ever on ad-supported cable. History followed that in March 2013 with the debut of mini The Bible to a crowd of 13.1 million viewers, that year’s most-watched cable entertainment telecast.

Over its three nights, Sons Of Liberty averaged 3.1M total viewers, 1.1M adults 18-49 and 1.3M adults 25-54.

Sons Of Liberty is produced by A+E Studios in association with Stephen David Entertainment for History.

http://deadline.com/2015/01/sons-of-...es-1201361925/
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TV Notes
'Parenthood' forges familial bonds
By Bill Keveney, USA Today - Jan. 28, 2015

A TV series is hardly a blood relative, but it's understandable if Parenthood fans feel a bit of familial loss when the Bravermans depart NBC Thursday (10 p.m. ET/PT).

The people who make the drama, which is based on the popular 1989 movie, feel that way, too.

"You're doing work that's very personal and intimate. I find it's particularly poignant for me, and I think that feeling is shared by a lot of people who have worked on the show," executive producer Jason Katims says. "We have an incredibly passionate and loyal audience that truly loves the show. It feels satisfying to hear that time and time again."

Peter Krause, who plays Adam, the eldest of Camille and Zeek Braverman's four children, says he is happy with how Parenthood ends after six seasons, but, as with a real family, there are always more stories that could have been told.

"I feel like we finished the show and still had some gas left in the tank," he says of the series' 103 episodes. "For the Bravermans, the show remains hopeful, life goes on and there are some surprises about where some of the characters' lives wind up."

Parenthood has enjoyed an intense cult following despite modest ratings (an average of 6.2 million viewers this season), and stuck around thanks to an upscale audience profile.

A couple of the series' more memorable storylines have taken place in Adam's immediate family, as his wife, Kristina (Monica Potter) successfully battled cancer and their son, Max (Max Burkholder), progressed after a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome.

"I thought Monica did such an incredible job with the breast cancer story. I think it brought the show to another level," Katims says.

Krause remembers "when we did the pilot, and Adam was in denial about things being wrong with his son, and then he has to slowly accept that that's happening. And then we have Adam and Kristina dealing with it and then they're OK with it. There's a community of people with autistic kids who I've gotten to meet, and it's been very meaningful to them."

Katims also is proud of the current story revolving around
Spoiler!


The penultimate episode also featured
Spoiler!


Emotion "hits me at unexpected times," Krause says. "I started to tear up when
Spoiler!
I was surprised. I was like, 'Aw, I can't believe I was sucker-punched by my own show.' "

The finale centers on a milestone family event,
Spoiler!


Sarah has moved up the ceremony to make sure her dad will be there.

"I think the finale is uplifting, even though there's some very tough material," Katims says. "Ultimately, it speaks to what the show has been about in its whole run, the power of this family coming together, the strength and beauty of that."

Both Katims and Krause say they would be interested in revisiting the Bravermans in some format shorter than a regular series.

"I love the idea," Katims says. "You look at a movie like Boyhood and see what they're able to accomplish by looking at a family over time. We've kind of done that. I would give anything to see where Max goes to college, what his first job is; to see Joel and Julia down the road a little bit; to see what happens to The Luncheonette. I'd like to see what happens to this family."

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/t...nale/22466191/
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TV Notes
Bradley Cooper Drama ‘Limitless’ Among CBS Pilot Orders
By Matt Donelly, TheWrap.com - Jan. 28, 2015

CBS has ordered three new pilots, including an adaptation of a 2011 Bradley Cooper film that counts the Oscar nominee as an executive producer.

“Limitless,” originally a feature starring Cooper and Robert DeNiro, will hit the small screen steered by original director Neil Berger, Cooper and his “Hangover” director Todd Phillips.

The series will pick up where the film left off, following a man with access to a mysterious prescription drug that expands his mental capacity. In the show, the character uses his abilities to help the FBI solve crimes. The project has additional producers in Relativity honchos Ryan Kavanaugh and Tucker Tooley.

“Angel From Hell” is a comedy from writer and executive producer Tad Quill (“Scrubs”) about a woman who makes a new friend claiming to be her guardian angel. The network also scooped up an untitled project from Dan O’Shannon, who executive produced the past three seasons of “Modern Family,” that will track a group of friends and family at three different times in their lives.

The three projects come on the heels of several more announced Monday, including comedy pilots from “My Name Is Earl” and “Raising Hope” creator Greg Garcia and “Modern Family” executive producer Bill Wrubel.

On the drama side, the network has greenlit a pilot for a television adaptation of the New Line Cinema film franchise “Rush Hour.” Like the film, the pilot is about a stoic, by-the-book Hong Kong police officer who finds himself partnered with a cocky LAPD officer after he’s assigned to a case in Los Angeles.

http://www.thewrap.com/bradley-coope...-pilot-orders/

* * * *

TV Notes
ABC Picks Up Drama Pilot From ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Scandal’ Producer Jenna Bans
By Jason Hughes, TheWrap.com - Jan. 28, 2015

ABC has picked up the pilot “Flesh and Blood” from Writers Guild of America-nominated screenwriter Jenna Bans. The pilot explores the shockwaves that ripple through a family and community when a son thought dead for more than ten years suddenly returns.

The son of a local politician, the young man’s return not only knocks his tight-knit family to its core, it leads to the release of the neighbor imprisoned for his murder, while the cop responsible is forced to reexamine what truly happened all those years ago.

The ABC Studios pilot is executive produced by David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Laurie Zaks of Mandeville Television.

Bans earned two nominates from the WGA as co-writer on two different episodes of “Desperate Housewives.” She has served as a producer on “Private Practice,” and co-executive producer on both “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.”

The latest pilot pickup follows on the heels of several other pickups for the networking, including another drama pilot from ABC powerhouse Shonda Rhimes called “The Catch” about a female forensic accountant, and a pilot about the first female graduates from Boston’s Police Academy in 1978, from “Gossip Girl” alum Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz.

ABC picked up four other dramas including the Biblical “Of Kings and Prophets,” the 1980s-set true-crime procedural “LA Crime,” the cartel drama “Runner,” and “Quantico,” following a group of young FBI agents. The network also picked up dramedy “Mix,” which will explore modern families through the backdrop of a revered family restaurant.

On the comedy side, the network has picked up a pilot reuniting the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” couple Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, as well as another based on the life of gay columnist Dan Savage.

http://www.thewrap.com/abc-picks-up-...er-jenna-bans/
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TV Notes
NBC Adds Horror Comedy Pilot 'Strange Calls'
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 28, 2015

NBC is giving Australian format Strange Calls another stab.

The network on Wednesday handed out a pilot order to a remake of the Aussie comedy, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Twice developed by ABC, the NBC take again hails from prolific producer Aaron Kaplan and his Kapital Entertainment banner.

The single-camera comedy centers on an affable but down-on-his-luck young police officer who is transferred to a rural town where — with the help of a peculiar, elderly night watchman — he starts to realize the town has a bizarre supernatural underbelly. (Watch a trailer for the Aussie series below.)

Cougar Town's Blake McCormick will pen the script and exec produce alongside Kaplan and Kapital's Tracey Robertson. The comedy hails from 20th Century Fox Television and Hoodlum Entertainment, the latter of which produced the original series.

ABC piloted the comedy last season with a cast-contingent pickup after redeveloping the script from 2012. That incarnation, written by New Girl's Donick Cary, directed by Zombieland's Ruben Fleischer and exec produced by Kaplan and Robertson, was never cast and did not move forward.

For Kaplan, who had more than 15 sales this past development season, Strange Calls marks his whopping fifth pilot order of the season and projects at all of the Big Four broadcast networks. It joins ABC comedy Chev & Bev and drama Broad Squad; CBS comedy Life in Pieces as well as an untitled Fox half-hour from Dana Klein.

Strange Calls also marks the sixth pilot to be either redeveloped or rolled from a previous cycle this season.

For NBC, it becomes the network's 10th comedy pilot of the season — off eight from a year ago.

The horror comedy joins Fox's similarly themed anthology Scream Queens, which is in the works for next season as broadcasters continue to look for new spins on the horror genre.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/liv...y-pilot-768092
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Business Notes
Viacom Net Drops 8.6% Even As ‘Interstellar,’ Cable Fees Boost Revenue
By Brian Steinberg, Variety.com - Jan. 28, 2015

Viacom said profit in its first quarter profit fell nearly 9% despite a 4.4% rise in revenue in the period sparked by box-office results for the Christopher Nolan-helmed “Interstellar” and an increase in the amount of fees the company’s various cable networks collected from cable and satellite operators.

Net earnings from continuing operations attributable to the owner of MTV and Comedy Central fell to $500 million, or $1.20 per share, compared with $547 million, or $1.20 per share, a year earlier. The results were affected by special items, which include a tax expense and pension settlement, as well as the effects of foreign exchange. Stripping out those items, Viacom would have earned $1.29 a share.

Revenue rose to $3.34 billion from $3.2 billion. Wall Street had expected revenue of $3.41 billion.

Wall Street may focus on a 6% decrease in U.S. advertising revenue, as the broader media sector has in recent months experienced advertising declines thanks to burgeoning competition from a slew of new technologies, including mobile tablets and streaming video. Viacom said its media networks, the core business of the company, saw revenue increase to $2.65 billion, thanks to higher fees from video distributors and an increase in revenue from international advertising. The U.S. advertising decline came about due to lower ratings, the company said. Ad revenues from overseas holdings rose 3%, thanks to Channel 5, which Viacom acquired in September.

Revenue at the company’s filmed-entertainment unit rose 6%, to $720 million. Viacom cited performance in the period by “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” as well as “Interstellar.”

http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/viac...ue-1201418238/
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TV Notes
Univision picks up rights to Miss Universe
By Media Life Magazine Staff - Jan. 28, 2015

The Miss Universe pageant generated a good amount of buzz last weekend, and Univision has decided it wants to be a part of it.

The broadcast network has picked up the U.S. Spanish-language broadcast rights to both Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, and it will also work with the Miss Universe Organization to co-produce the annual events.

Univision says this is a long-term agreement, although there’s no word yet on how many years the deal covers.

Competing Spanish-language broadcast network Telemundo received solid numbers for the most recent Miss Universe pageant on Sunday, averaging 2.27 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. That was up 88 percent from the previous pageant in November 2013.

It was also up 98 percent among viewers 18-49, averaging 1.09 million viewers in the demo.

The pageant, which also aired on NBC, also generated a Twitter audience of 6.32 million, trailing only the State of the Union Address and the NFL Pro Bowl among TV telecasts during the week ended Jan. 25.

NBC will continue to carry the English-language telecast.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/uni...miss-universe/
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TV/Business Notes
NBC scores a record haul from Super Bowl ad sales
By Meg James, Los Angeles Times - Jan. 29, 2015

NBC's Super Bowl ad sales haven't lost any air over "deflategate."

The Comcast Corp.-owned television network said Wednesday that it has sold all the available commercial spots for Sunday's NFL championship, establishing a new revenue record for what is traditionally TV's biggest event of the year.

NBC did not disclose how much it expects to generate, although executives said each 30-second spot sold for an average of $4.5 million. That could help NBC generate more than $360 million from the event.

"This is a record day, I believe, in media, and certainly for our company," Seth Winter, executive vice president of NBC's ad sales for news and sports, said during a conference call with reporters. "The NFL and the Super Bowl remain the platinum standard of all media."

This weekend's game pits last year's Super Bowl winner Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots, a team dogged by speculation that it deflated footballs to gain an unfair advantage in the AFC championship game. That controversy is not expected to dampen enthusiasm for the big game, with NBC predicting that an average of 115 million people in the U.S. will tune in.

Last year, Fox's broadcast of the Super Bowl brought in $332 million in ad revenue, according to an analysis by ad firm Kantar Media. Then, 30-second Super Bowl spots fetched an average of $4.2 million. More than 70 advertisers will be featured in Sunday's game.

Winter did not say how many sponsors bought multiple TV spots or longer-form ads — such as 60-second or 90-second spots. The trend in recent years has been for extended commercials as advertisers seek to make a bigger statement to stand out in the crowded field. Last year, about 40% of the commercials were 60-second spots.

NBC has been selling its Super Bowl ad time since early last year and finalized the game day roster in the last week. Once again, the lineup is expected to include beverage companies Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and car companies Nissan and Toyota. There are several first-time marketers, including Carnival cruise lines, Jublia antifungal cream and Mophie, a Tustin company that makes battery packs for mobile devices.

Mophie's spot will be its first on TV.

"In a certain way, there is no more effective buy than a Super Bowl commercial — if your spot catches fire," said Mike Sheldon, chief executive of ad agency Deutsch North America, which created the Mophie ad. "It is a large out-of-pocket cost but it can be small if you consider the vast amount of expose that you can get. But the commercial has to work."

In year's past, networks often would head into Super Bowl weekend with an extra spot or two after some advertisers that had committed to buy time pulled out when the production of their commercials fell short of expectations. This year, there were a couple of wobblers — Winter declined to name them — but those issues were sorted out in the last week.

As Super Bowl commercial prices continue to escalate, networks have been squeezing in more ads in order to make more money.

The last five Super Bowls have been "the most ad-saturated in history," Kantar Media said in a recent report, noting that each game was jammed with more than 45 minutes of commercials, including network and NFL promotions. Last year, there were 83 commercials.

NBC also sold all of its available space for its online video stream of the game, which it is making available free to users who want to watch on a tablet, phone or computer. Eighteen advertisers will run ads in the digital stream, which has a limited inventory for commercial spots.

"I wish we had twice the amount of inventory there, because we could have monetized it," Winter said.

The network is also making history by running a Spanish-language telecast of the NFL championship on its newly rebranded NBC Universo cable channel.

The postgame TV show on the main NBC network also has been sold out, and there are only a handful of spots available in the pregame show, which begins six hours before the game kicks off at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona.

A key reason that NBC was able to raise prices is because advertisers experience a Super Bowl "bounce." Their commercials are showcased on a variety of online sites such as YouTube and Hulu. People get involved by voting for their favorite ads and sharing videos on social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

According to a recent analysis by the firm iSpot.tv, Super Bowl commercials that ran last year accounted for nearly 10% of all digital conversations about advertising in 2014. And Super Bowl ads made up about less than 1% of the 95,660 national TV ads that ran in 2014.

"Everyone recognizes the value of Super Bowl, and price was never an issue," Winter said.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...129-story.html
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Comcast Apologizes After Changing Customer's Name To 'A**hole Brown'
By Ed Mazza

A Comcast customer received a shocking bill recently, and it wasn't the dollar amount that stood out. It was the name on the bill, which someone at the company had changed from Ricardo Brown to "A**hole Brown."
Consumer advocate Christopher Elliott wrote on his Elliot.org website that Lisa Brown of Spokane, Wash., had called the company to cancel the cable portion of her family's bill to save money. But as we've seen in the past, Comcast doesn't make the cancellation process very easy for the customer.

Brown was transferred to a retention specialist, who then tried to persuade her to sign up for a new contract.

“I was never rude,” Brown told Elliot. “It could have been that person was upset because I didn’t take the offer.”

When the next bill came, her husband's name had been changed to the profanity. Making matters worse, Brown told Elliot that calls to the cable company and even a visit to a Comcast office couldn't get the name changed.

Comcast confirmed to The Huffington Post that the bill was real, and said the company was taking action

"We have spoken with our customer and apologized for this completely unacceptable and inappropriate name change," Comcast spokesman Steve Kipp said via email. "We have zero tolerance for this type of disrespectful behavior and are conducting a thorough investigation to determine what happened. We are working with our customer to make this right and will take appropriate steps to prevent this from happening again."

Elliot, who is also a Huffington Post blogger, reports that Comcast plans to fix the name, terminate the employee responsible, give Brown a refund for the family's two years of service and add two more years of service for free.
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... Comcast plans to fix the name, terminate the employee responsible, give Brown a refund for the family's two years of service and add two more years of service for free.
I wouldn't mind being called much, much worse things if it meant not paying my two previous years of cable and getting two more for free.
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
THURSDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - Grey's Anatomy
9PM - Scandal
10PM - How to Get Away with Murder
* * * *
11:35AM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Kerry Washington; animal handler Dave Salmoni; Ne-Yo performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - The Big Bang Theory
8:31PM - Mom
9:01PM - Two and a Half Men
9:30PM - The McCarthys
10PM - Elementary
* * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (John Oliver; Mayim Bialik; Death Cab for Cutie performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show (Whitney Cummings guest hosts; Alan Cumming; Alison Brie; Joanne Froggatt; OK Go performs)

NBC:
8PM - The Biggest Loser (Season Finale, 120 min.)
10PM - Parenthood (Series Finale)
* * * *
11:34AM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Josh Hutcherson; Tracey Ullman; Echosmith performs)
(R - Nov. 13)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Kristen Stewart; Andrew Rannells; comic Phoebe Robinson)
(R - Jan. 15)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Director Dan Gilroy; Broods performs; comic Grant Cotter)
(R - Oct. 30)

FOX:
8PM - American Idol
9PM - Backstrom

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The 'This Old House' Hour
9PM - Masterpiece Mystery! Grantchester, Episode 2
(R - Jan. 25)
10PM - Antiques Roadshow: Austin
(R - Jan. 26)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Mi Corazón Es Tuyo
9PM - Hasta el Final del Mundo
10PM - Que te Perdone Dios... Yo No

THE CW:
8PM - The Vampire Diaries
9PM - Reign

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Los Miserables
9PM - Tierra de Reyes
10PM - Dueños del Paraíso

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Author Sarah Chayes)
11:31PM - The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore
12:01AM - At Midnight (Randy Sklar; Jason Sklar; Matt Walsh)

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Simon Helberg, George Ezra and Tanishq Abraham)
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Comcast Apologizes After Changing Customer's Name To 'A**hole Brown'
By Ed Mazza ....

Elliot, who is also a Huffington Post blogger, reports that Comcast plans to fix the name, terminate the employee responsible, give Brown a refund for the family's two years of service and add two more years of service for free.
Comcast plans to fix the name and give the refund and hasn't done those things yet?  I can understand planning to fire the guilty employee, because at the time of their statement they might not yet have figured out who it is, and saying they plan to add two years of service because the two years haven't fully happened yet and because the Browns might decline it, but fixing the name and giving the refund should already have been accomplished, not just planned.
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Marvell should really start to be concerned about over saturation at this point....
That's my concern as well.
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TV/Business Notes
TV Nets Cluttered Shows With Ads To Make Up For Lost Viewers In Q4
By David Lieberman, Deadline.com - Jan. 28, 2015

Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger calls it “desperate,” and MoffettNathanson Research’s Michael Nathanson calls it “dangerous.” But both analysts, using data from TiVo, say this morning that the trend is unmistakable: Major TV network owners led by Viacom, A+E, and Discovery significantly increased the amount of prime time commercial minutes in their shows in Q4, helping to compensate for a decline in viewing.

http://deadline.com/2015/01/tv-netwo...er-1201361369/
Readers, forgive me if I'm running this into the ground, but here's the proof about what I've known for over a decade now. Pay-TV is skating on thin ice, I've NEVER seen a business raise it's prices and lower the quality of their product stay in business for long. Over the years I've seen countless businesses, many of which used to be household names do the same thing and where are they now? They're all dust in the wind. The move to cram in more advertising in an attempt to "Compensate for the loss of viewers" is suicidal. Those who are still viewing will continue to be dismayed for what they are paying for to see, and will respond by doing the same thing I and millions of others are doing, receive their entertainment and informational means via other means. A house divided against stand, and when the entire Pay-TV system crashes, don't say I didn't warn you!
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Dont care i FF commercials.
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 29, 2015

THE BIG BANG THEORY
CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

In tonight’s episode, Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) invents a new game for the gang to play. Trouble is, it’s a game making fun of Raj (Kunal Nayyar), which goes over with predictable discomfort.

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER
ABC, 10:00 p.m. ET

This series is back with a new episode after its hiatus, and its previous-episode reveal of exactly who killed whom. So now that that mystery is solved, will we continue to see flashbacks to the murder? My guess: Yes. But it’s only a guess… and, for ABC, how to get away with more of a successful gimmick.

PARENTHOOD
NBC, 10:00PM
SERIES FINALE:
One of the best surprises of this excellent show’s final seasons has been the ever-evolving, always impressive dramatic acting by Ray Romano as Hank. In last week’s episode, Sarah (Lauren Graham) accepted Hank’s marriage proposal, then asked that the wedding take place within a week so that her ailing father (Craig T. Nelson) could walk her down the aisle. Tonight, as the final episode of one of television’s all-time best family dramas, that wedding takes place. I’d say to prepare to shed some tears as this program says a final farewell – except I cry, or at least sob, watching this show each and every week, so a tissue alert seems unnecessary, if not redundant. Thank you, Parenthood and TV adapter Jason Katims, for a very touching, lovingly real look at parenthood, and childhood, and simple old adulthood.

FORTITUDE
Pivot, 10:00 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE:
The playbook, by now, is a familiar one. A new or unnoticed cable network or streaming service tries to get attention by presenting an ambitious new series, with star power and an unusual setting or premise. The latest network to try that trick is Pivot, with tonight’s premiere of a 12-part mystery series called Fortitude, set in the Arctic and starring Stanley Tucci. If you‘re saying to yourself, what and where is Pivot? – well, that’s the whole point. As for Fortitude, it’s a co-production between Pivot and the British network Sky, which is premiering this series simultaneously. Tucci plays an investigator brought in from the outside to assist the small-town locals with a murder investigation – like Broadchurch and Gracepoint, or even Twin Peaks, only with glaciers. But Tucci doesn’t show up until the premiere episode is almost over, though one of my favorite actors, Michael Gambon of The Singing Detective, is there from the first frame. Other stars include Sofie Grabol, who headlined the original Danish version of The Killing, and former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston. The mystery is a slowly evolving one (I’ve seen a handful of episodes, and the plot still has only scratched the icy surface), but the acting is strong, and the scenery, much of which was shot in Iceland, is remarkably different from what we’re used to seeing.

BREAKING GREENVILLE
TrueTV, 10:30 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE:
This is a warning, not a recommendation. Here we go again. In 2007, the Fox network persuaded a CBS affiliate in Tyler, TX to hire a new anchor for the local news, while Fox’s camera crews filmed the hire and subsequent events for a new reality series called Anchorwoman. The gimmick was that the new anchor, Lauren Jones, was a former beauty queen and World Wrestling diva with no journalistic experience. The good news, quite literally, was that Anchorwoman was cancelled almost immediately. And now, in 2015 on TruTV, we have Breaking Greenville, a reality-TV look at competing local TV news outfits in Mississippi – specifically, in the very small market of Greenville. History seems to be repeating itself, and let’s hope that goes for this show’s swift disappearance as well.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
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WEDNESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insights' Blog.
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TV Notes
UK Comedy ‘Catastrophe’ To Launch Stateside On Amazon Prime
By Nancy Tartaglione, Deadline.com - Jan. 29, 2015

Adding to its lineup of original series, Amazon will premiere Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan’s comedy series, Catastrophe, on Prime Instant Video this spring. The half-hour series is currently airing on the UK’s Channel 4 and will be also become available on the streaming service there later this year. (See trailer below)

Created by and starring comedian and author, Delaney, and Bafta-nominee Horgan, Catastrophe is set in London and follows an Irish woman and an American man as they struggle to start a relationship after their clumsy lust leads to pregnancy. The Avalon Television production is co-produced by Birdbath and Merman. Producer is Jack Bayles (The Mimic) and Cuckoo‘s Ben Taylor directs. Here’s a look: [CLICK LINK BELOW]

http://deadline.com/2015/01/catastro...eo-1201362325/
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Critic's Notes
Strong, fascinating women in TV dramas often saddled with quirks to make them more interesting
By Maria Sciullo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Jan. 28, 2015

Have women in television dramas earned the right to be strong, prickly, even — dare we say it — antiheroes?

The television landscape is filled with strong, competent female characters. They’re CIA agents, attorneys, doctors of all stripes, politicians. They advise presidents, sit as judges, solve crimes. They’re even mothers and wives, although generally, not “just” that.

If they are major characters in a drama, however, often they’re depicted as deeply flawed. Men can be antiheroes but the underlying layer of unpleasant behavior more often than not presents itself as arrogance. Weakness or vulnerability is rarely on display; that’s why Jack Bauer crying on Fox’s “24” was such a shocking display.

Women? They’re just the weaker sex. They can be imperfect but rarely bad in the way we’ve come to consider male antiheroes.

Brenda Weber, associate professor of gender studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, said it’s understandable why making female characters unlikable is somewhat of a risk. Male characters can be strong and yet jerks (that’s Don Draper, Mr. Popularity). His TV ex-wife, Betty, cannot. Fans of AMC’s “Mad Men” have overwhelmingly stated dislike for her character.

Added Ms. Weber, “If men are depicted as antiheroes, it’s still something the audience can rally ’round. But if an artist, author or filmmaker creates women who are antiheroes, suddenly, they are misogynists and they’ve killed feminism.”

It’s not enough that Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes on Showtime’s “Homeland”) is the smartest spy in the room. She’s also a self-medicating, bipolar woman who became romantically involved with the subject of a terrorist investigation. On the short-lived ABC series, “Black Box,” Kelly Reilly was Catherine Black, a brilliant (is there any other kind?), bipolar neurosurgeon who liked to go off her meds.

Still, it’s fun to watch Viola Davis play law professor Annalise Keating on ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder.” In accepting her Screen Actors Guild award on Sunday for actress in a television drama, Ms. Davis thanked “Murder’s” creative team for “thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old, dark-skinned African-American woman who looks like me.”

Then there are policewoman Diane Kruger (Sonya Cross on FX’s two-season series “The Bridge”) and CIA analyst Katherine Heigl (Charleston Tucker on NBC’s current “State of Affairs”). Sonya had what appears to be Asperger’s syndrome; Charleston suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after watching her fiance get killed in a raid in Afghanistan.

These two share a penchant for picking up strangers in bars to let off a little steam. Because, you know, that’s what strong male lead characters do in television dramas — rarely, anymore — unless writers want to depict them as outdated cads.

“It’s sort of the old trope that men are called ‘powerful’ and ‘risk-takers’ and women are called ‘bitches’ if they exhibit the same behavior,” said Allison Tolman, who played one of television’s shining examples of normalcy last year as Molly Solverson on FX’s stand-alone first season of “Fargo.”

“It’s a shorthand for ‘How does Hollywood imagine a certain kind of realness but also, potential drama,’ ” Ms. Weber said. “There seems to be a larger tendency now toward where you cannot be the hero of the show — if you’re a woman — and not carry with you some sort of major psychological burden or domestic challenge.”

This is not to say there aren’t any women depicted as strong, clever and mainstream. Despite some ridiculous romantic hang-ups over the president, Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) on ABC’s “Scandal” is often in control of any situation. On CBS, “The Good Wife’s” Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and “Madam Secretary’s” Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) are fairly realistic portrayals of women in power.

Realistic portrayals

In a world filled with men: good, bad, greedy, scary, “Fargo’s” police officer Molly stood out from the crowd.

“She’s just so decent, isn’t she? It’s kind of refreshing,” said Ms. Tolman, who was the series’ breakout new star as well as an Emmy and Golden Globes nominee. She also was a true TV rarity: a larger woman wearing sensible footwear.

“Molly is not this crack detective. She’s not this idiot savant, or this ace, up-and-coming wunderkind. She has to learn how to be a detective.”

The flawed female drama lead isn’t a recent invention. In 2006, when the British miniseries “Prime Suspect: The Final Act” planned to kill off protagonist Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren), series creator Lynda La Plante told BBC television she was appalled the male writers instead made her a recovering alcoholic.

“I just find it sad that for the end of a great character, female, somebody had to say ‘Make her a drunk.’ ”

Fantasy’s real world

What does it say that there are more strong, unencumbered women in the fantasy genre than anywhere else on television? When the human race was under siege, Laura Roslin (played by Mary McDonnell in Syfy’s “Battlestar Galactica”) was a complex character who stepped up to become president of the Twelve Colonies. Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar on The WB/CW series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) juggled school, teen angst, died twice, then lived to tell the tale. As her tombstone stated “She saved the world. A lot.”

Viewers need look no further than HBO’s “Game of Thrones” for powerful role models, of good morale character and bad. There’s Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), a citizen of noble birth held back by the crime of being born female. Arya Stark and her sister, Sansa, are young refugees finally figuring out how to play the game.

“Mother of Dragons” Daenerys Targaryen and shy-but-deadly Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) constantly have to prove themselves in a man’s world.

But is television drama ready for widespread acceptance of female antiheroes? They’re not hard to find in comedy; Julia Louis-Dreyfus is widely acknowledged as brilliant, yet unlikable as soon-to-be President Selena Meyer on HBO’s “Veep.” Compare her to Robin Wright’s first lady character, Claire Underwood, on the Netflix drama, “House of Cards,” someone Ms. Weber calls “venal.”

From Hugh Laurie as a cranky-but-brilliant doctor on Fox’s “House,” to Rainn Wilson, a cranky-but-brilliant detective on Fox’s “Backstrom,” the male antihero is a television staple. Even Walter White, the character who earned Bryan Cranston multiple Emmy awards during the run of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” was the guy you cheered for, even as he lost his soul.

In contrast, viewers hated Walt’s wife, Skyler. So vehement were they that Anna Gunn, who played her, wrote a 2013 personal opinion piece in The New York Times. “At the end of the day, she hasn’t been judged by the same set of standards as Walter,” Ms. Gunn wrote.

“People revered this man, they loved him so much, to the point where they hated his wife,” Ms. Tolman said of “Breaking Bad.” “She was holding him back from his illegal activities. So, it’s interesting that we can swing that far in one direction with male characters, and with female characters we have to be so cautious to carefully craft them.”

http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-ra...s/201501210002
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
‘Empire’ holds steady in fourth week
Fox show posts a 4.3 in 18-49s, matching last week's series high
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 29, 2015

Fox’s “Empire” remains the show to beat on Wednesday.

In fact, it may be the show to beat every night.

The hip hop drama posted a 4.3 adults 18-49 rating at 9 p.m. last night, according to Nielsen overnights, even to last week’s series high.

It was easily the top show of the night in the demo, and it’s the No. 1 show so far this week as well. The only regularly scheduled program on broadcast right now that could potentially top “Empire” is “The Big Bang Theory.”

“Empire” grew for the third straight week among total viewers, posting 11.3 million, up 200,000 from last week and building from the 9.9 million who watched the show’s premiere three weeks ago.

It was the night’s top show in total viewers as well, edging “American Idol” with 11 million.

That boosted Fox to an easy No. 1 for the night in 18-49s and total viewers.

“Idol” did slide 12 percent from last week in the demo, down to a 2.9, despite facing minimal competition. NBC and ABC were both in repeats last night.

Meanwhile, CBS’s 9 and 10 p.m. dramas, “Criminal Minds” (2.1) and “Stalker” (1.6) were both up a tenth from last week, as was the CW’s 9 p.m. “The 100” (0.6).

Fox was first for the night among 18-49s with a 3.6 average overnight rating and an 11 share. CBS was second at 1.7/5, ABC and Univision tied for third at 1.2/4, CW was fifth at 0.8/2, NBC sixth at 0.7/2 and Telemundo seventh at 0.6/2.

As a reminder, all ratings are based on live-plus-same-day DVR playback, which includes shows replayed before 3 a.m. the night before. Seven-day DVR data won’t be available for several weeks. Forty-nine percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

At 8 p.m. Fox led with a 2.9 for “Idol,” followed by Univision with a 1.5 for “Mi Corazon es Tuyo.” ABC and CBS tied for third at 1.3, ABC for reruns of “The Middle” and “The Goldbergs” and CBS for “The Mentalist,” with CW fifth with a 1.1 for “Arrow,” NBC sixth with a 0.7 for a repeat of “The Mysteries of Laura” and Telemundo seventh with a 0.6 for “Los Miserables.”

Fox extended its lead at 9 p.m. with a 4.3 for “Empire,” while CBS moved to second with a 2.1 for “Minds.” ABC was third with a 1.3 for repeats of “Modern Family” and “black-ish,” Univision fourth with a 1.2 for “Hasta el Fin del Mundo,” NBC fifth with a 0.7 for a repeat of “Law & Oder: Special Victims Unit,” CW sixth with a 0.6 for “The 100″ and Telemundo seventh with a 0.5 for “Tierra de Reyes.”

CBS took the lead at 10 p.m. with a 1.6 for “Stalker,” with ABC and Univision tied for second at 1.0, ABC for two more “black-ish” reruns and Univision for “Que te Perdone Dios.” Telemundo was fourth with a 0.7 for “Dueños del Paraiso” and NBC fifth with a 0.6 for a repeat of “Chicago P.D.”

Fox also finished first for the night among households with a 6.8 average overnight rating and an 11 share. CBS was second at 5.9/10, ABC third t 2.8/5, NBC fourth at 2.6/4, Univision fifth at 1.5/2, CW sixth at 1.4/2, and Telemundo seventh at 0.8/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/emp...y-fourth-week/

* * * *

TV Notes
For ‘Parenthood,’ pulling at the heart
The NBC wraps up after six seasons of heartbreak and more
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine Staff - Jan. 29, 2015

“Parenthood” was never a hit show, and while it enjoyed critical support, it never got much Emmy or Golden Globe love, either.

But the show, which wraps up a six-season run tonight at 10 p.m. with its series finale, has always been NBC’s deepest, most interesting drama.

On a network best known for procedurals, “Parenthood” explored the ups and downs of one extended family and dealt frankly with issues such as race, sexuality, cancer and how to raise a child with special needs.

At times it seemed the Braverman family had endured every social issue and bit of bad luck known to man. But the show avoided veering off into soap opera territory and instead focused on the characters, something NBC, whose signature dramas include “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Chicago Fire,” is not known for.

The show’s executive producers have said there will be a short jump into the future at the end of the series to see how the Bravermans turn out. Co-star Peter Krause has hinted not everyone will be happy with the ending, which does not seem to bode well for patriarch Zeek, who recently suffered a heart attack.

The finale won’t draw big numbers.

The show managed just a 1.3 adults 18-49 Nielsen rating for last week’s penultimate episode. It’s usually third in its timeslot.

But “Parenthood” does see big gains with DVR viewership added in. It has grown an average of 77 percent in the demo each week.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/par...pulling-heart/
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Technology/Business Notes
Sony Bails Out of Music Streaming
Subscriber Service Shutting Down; Spotify Will Power Music for PlayStation
By Hannah Karp, Wall Street Journal - Jan. 29, 2015

A shakeout in the crowded market for music-streaming services appears to be gathering steam.

Sony Corp. said it is shutting down its $10-a-month Music Unlimited at the end of March, four years after launching it in the U.S. The streaming service, one of the biggest in Japan, is integrated into Sony’s PlayStation consoles and has counted mostly PlayStation users among its subscribers.

In terms of musical content and price, Music Unlimited is indistinguishable from competitors including Spotify AB, Google Inc. ’s All Access, Apple Inc. ’s Beats Music, Rdio Inc., Rhapsody and Deezer, all of which offer more or less the same 30 million songs.

Sony didn’t disclose its subscriber count but Music Unlimited had just north of 100,000 paying subscribers as of the second half of last year, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Spotify—which boasts the music-streaming world’s biggest paying subscriber base at 15 million, plus another 45 million active users of its free service—will now power the music for PlayStation users in 41 markets, in a new partnership with Sony Network Entertainment International called PlayStation Music.

Spotify hasn’t launched in Japan, however, despite negotiating for years with Japanese record labels, which still rely heavily on CD sales for profit. The new music service that will provide the tunes for Japanese PlayStation users has yet to be determined, Sony said.

Andrew House, who oversees both PlayStation and Music Unlimited as the president of Sony Computer Entertainment and head of the company’s Network Entertainment Business, declined to say how Music Unlimited was faring financially. Sony doesn’t disclose subscriber numbers.

Mr. House said he began discussions with Spotify a year ago, when it became clear it would be better for his unit “to concentrate on services that we have tremendous expertise in,” such as its videogame consoles, rather than music subscription.

Sony’s record label, Sony Music Entertainment, operates separately.

The closure of Music Unlimited follows news of a similar fate for Muve, the music streaming service owned by AT&T Inc. subsidiary Cricket. France’s Deezer said earlier this month it was acquiring Muve and migrating Muve’s 2 million users to Deezer. Muve’s mobile-streaming service will be shut down Feb. 7.

At least one Sony executive had predicted that a shakeout was inevitable. In 2012, before Apple launched its free iTunes Radio service, Michael Aragon —Sony’s vice president and general manager of global digital video and music services—told The Wall Street Journal that “it’s going to be a brutal business and there’s probably going to be some consolidation.”

“We all have the same content, we all have the same deals,” said Mr. Aragon, who oversees Music Unlimited.

For Spotify, the partnership provides access to about 64 million PlayStation users, though Spotify Chief Executive Daniel Ek said there appeared to be “quite a large overlap” between existing Spotify users and PlayStation users, judging from their positive reaction to the partnership announcement Wednesday.

He said he didn’t know how many new potential customers the joint venture would allow Spotify to reach.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/sony-bai...ing-1422481528
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TV/Technolgy Notes
The State of News Streaming: Old and New Media’s Play to Survive
By Jordan Chariton, TheWrap.com - Jan. 29, 2015

As younger audiences’ list of TV, desktop, tablet, mobile, and social content options grow by the day, legacy and new media executives are bending backward and forward to earn their eyeballs.

On TV news, the youngest audience is around 58, higher than the 18-49 and 25-54 age demo sweet spot advertisers desire. On the high end, a variety of news networks’ audiences skew even older, hovering close to 70.
With the knowledge that getting younger is now a matter of survival from extinction, some of the biggest news channels, print outlets, and digital news sites have developed their own networks and features to attract new audiences who might not be consuming traditional media.

Here’s the who’s who of streaming news:

HuffPost Live

Launched in 2012, HuffPost Live isn’t the first original-programming based web channel, but it has become one of the most successful. Last week, it surpassed 2 billion video views overall, and the program—which streams for 8 hours per day, 5 days a week—attracts an average viewer for 15 minutes or more.

Mirroring its Huffington Post mothership, the channel was built on being multi-layered as to not be too politics-centric. An average day offers everything from segments about the race for 2016 to the great debate as to whether it’s beirut or beer pong.

With two years in the can, the network has also become attractive to big-name sponsors: so far in 2015, BMW, Bank of America, Disney, Skype, American Greetings, and Energizer have all signed on to sponsor segments. And in November, HuffPost Live joined Hulu’s lineup.

The network’s president, Roy Sekoff, had a tongue-in-cheek response to so many other streaming networks sprouting up after them.

“If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery, we are really, really flattered by The Shift. And CBSN. And Vice News’ plans for a live talk show,” Sekoff told TheWrap. “It’s not surprising to see so many different companies trying to make their platforms and their programming much more social and in sync with the digital and mobile media world we’re living in – that’s the bet we’ve been making for the last 3 years, with great results. We welcome the new folks to the party.”

“Shift” by MSNBC

The newest big-name streaming player, MSNBC launched “The Shift” at the tail-end of 2014 with the hopes of trying out new talent, topics, and formats.

“The debut of shift has exceeded our expectations right out of the gate,” MSNBC.com VP and Executive Editor Richard Wolffe told TheWrap. “MSNBC was born of a spirit of innovation and we are accelerating that innovation across all platforms in ways that will grow and strengthen everything we do.”

The channel, linkable through MSNBC.com’s homepage, is vastly different than MSNBC TV’s politics focus. Shows hosted by fresh faces like The New York Times’ Josh Barro, NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin, NBC News congressional correspondent Luke Russert, and MSNBC’s Krystal Ball cover a broader spectrum of topics ranging from politics to business and pop culture.

Only a month old and launched before the holidays, it’s too early to have reflective traffic numbers. But some positive markers indicate Shift is lifting MSNBC.com—on the night of the “State of the Union,” social traffic around The Shift’s coverage reached 1,500 comments while MSNBC.com as a whole saw a 130 percent increase in unique visitors as compared to SOTU 2014.

And equally important for MSNBC—which fell into third place behind CNN last year in every metric besides primetime total viewers—is Shift’s ability to gauge reaction to different faces and topics in a less high-stakes way than thrusting them into the spotlight of the TV network.

CBSN (CBS)

A month before MSNBC, CBS became the first of the broadcast networks to launch a separate, original streaming network with CBSN.

Featuring a 60-minute format and live news updated from 9 a.m.-midnight ET weekdays, CBSN has a functionality that gives viewers control over content. On the left side of the screen, next to the featured live viewing window, lies individual segments and video packages already taped for viewers to click on and watch right then and there. Topics run the gamut from news and politics to culture and health.

“It’s not just like taking a television program and putting it on the web, and it’s not like all VOD where you have to work with it; it’s meant to be some place in between,” CBS News chief David Rhodes told TheWrap in November.

In comparison to “The Shift” and HuffPost Live, CBSN is a little more buttoned-up and polished, with traditional news packages being reported by correspondents vs. the more casual talk format of the formers.

“One thing that’s very encouraging is the variety of news stories which have drawn audiences to CBSN,” Rhodes told TheWrap. “Ferguson, Sydney, the State of the Union—important news developments drove viewership.”

Three months in, CBSN seems to be giving the network a boost. On Roku, CBS News has moved into the top spot among news channels, ranking first in hours streamed for both November and December. Viewer engagement is also trending the right way—among returning connected TV users, 88 percent watch multiple times per week.

Fox News

The number-one rated news channel was actually at the forefront of live streaming in 2008, launching “The Strategy Room” during the months leading up to the presidential election between Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. The program aired live on Foxnews.com Monday-Friday for eight hours a day with FNC correspondents moderating casual panels of guests. In recent years, Fox has scaled back the all-day live format in favor of TV spinoffs online.

Lunchtime chat show “Outnumbered” has a half-hour daily extension online, titled “Overtime,” where co-hosts answer viewers’ Twitter questions. The network’s signature political show, “Special Report” with Bret Baier offers a weekly extension online where the show’s panel discusses political topics of the day for an extra 15 minutes. And “Strategy Room” continues to air in a more limited capacity, mostly around big political events like the recent midterm elections.

These streaming spinoffs are helping Fox top its competition in average minutes per visit: according to analytics site Omniture, Foxnews.com averaged 53 minutes per visit in December, topping NBCNews.com, CNN, and The New York Times.

TheBlaze TV

Glenn Beck‘s digital network is on a subscription-based platform offering an all-day dose of libertarian-laced programming.

Streaming Beck’s radio program in the morning and a digital show in the evening, other original shows include those hosted by conservative firebrand Dana Loesch and former CIA analyst Buck Sexton.

TheBlaze is also available on TV on Dish, RCN, Suddenlink, and other smaller distributors.


Yahoo

CEO Marissa Mayer made a significant investment in digital when she hired former “Today” star Katie Couric to be Yahoo’s global news anchor in 2013.

The site doesn’t have a daily streaming subchannel yet, but Couric has served as its anchor for events like the midterm election and most recently the State of the Union. During the former, Couric hosted a livestream with special correspondent David Gregory and other guests.

Couric’s also gone up against TV’s big guns to try and land newsmaker interviews: recently, she landed an exclusive interview with embattled actor Stephen Collins, who admitted to fondling young children.

In her year at Yahoo before that, she’s interviewed Secretary of State John Kerry, the brother and sister of beheaded journalist James Foley, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the children of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, and potential presidential candidate and current Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Bloomberg

Bloomberg shook up the political media world—and its wallet—in 2014 with the hire of “Game Change” co-authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann to helm its political coverage.

In addition to livestreaming the duo’s Bloomberg TV show “With All Due Respect” on BloombergPolitics.com simultaneously, Bloomberg Politics provides anchored livestreams of events like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s State of the State address and the recent Iowa Freedom Summit. At the latter, Mark Halperin interviewed Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Donald Trump, who spoke at the event.

“Smart analysis of news as it happens–accessible via web, mobile, and tablet–is a top priority for us,” Bloomberg Politics Executive Editor Tom Johnson told TheWrap. “Live streaming coverage of the Iowa Freedom Summit exemplifies the kind of reporting we are planning in the run-up to 2016.”

CNN

CNN might not have a live, streaming network per se, but Digital General Manager Andrew Morse points out the original cable news network is down with digital.

“CNN already has a 24 hour live-streaming service. It’s called television and we do it very well. For viewers that want to watch our TV network on digital platforms, they can with CNNgo. But, there is a native digital audience that wants something different. When we produce original live streams, we want to make sure it’s not a poor man’s version of a cable network.”

In addition to CNNgo, CNN had invested in CNN Digital Studios, which features short-form videos produced by CNN.

PostTV (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post had previously made an investment in streaming and on-demand video in 2013. The paper launched PostTV as a mix of live shows hosted by reporters like Nia-Malika Henderson and Chris Cillizza, as well as on-demand videos.

Since then, the live portion has scaled back considerably with short-form videos from political reporters like Robert Costa becoming more of the norm. Original videos go beyond politics, with original series in business, technology, and sports all being offered.

The New York Times

A spokesperson for The New York Times told TheWrap: “We are not doing much in streaming at the moment and are not able to participate.”

http://www.thewrap.com/the-state-of-...ay-to-survive/
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TV Notes
NBC’s ‘Blacklist’ Move Creates Drama Over Thursday Lineup
By Cynthia Littleton, Variety.com - Jan. 29, 2015

The reconstruction of NBC’s Thursday night lineup begins with the kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday. The Peacock has as much at stake in the telecast of the big game on Feb. 1 as do the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.

NBC is relocating its most valuable scripted-series asset, “The Blacklist,” from Monday to Thursday in an effort to shore up a night that has become a black hole for the network. “Blacklist” opens the second leg of its sophomore season with the post-Super Bowl airing of a two-part episode. The conclusion will run four nights later when the James Spader starrer settles into its new Thursday 9 p.m. berth.

The move of the show from its familiar Monday 10 p.m. slot is risky, even with a Super Bowl-sized platform to promote the timeslot switch.

“Blacklist” is the anchor of NBC’s new all-drama strategy on Thursday — a radical makeover of a night that has had a long legacy of laffers, from “Family Ties” and “Cheers” through “Friends” and “Seinfeld” to “The Office” and “30 Rock.” NBC now aims to draw viewers to a block of intense, heavily serialized hours, with the espionage thriller “Allegiance” following “Blacklist” at 10 p.m., and the limited series “The Slap” arriving at 8 p.m. on Feb. 12. (The 8 p.m. hour on Feb. 5 will see a rerun of the first half of “The Blacklist” two-parter.)

NBC’s drama-rama reflects a renewed interest among the broadcast networks to market specific blocs of programming as must-see events in addition to promoting individual shows. NBC’s bid to turn Thursday into a destination night of shows of a similar genre and tone would seem a counterintuitive approach at a time of time-shifted viewing and on-demand platforms offering an alphabetical menu of shows.

But ABC’s success this season in stacking three Shonda Rhimes-produced dramas on Thursday — “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder” — and selling them to viewers as a can’t-miss, tweet-along-with-us weekly event has execs reconsidering the importance of branding a night. NBC was the modern pioneer with its “Must-See TV” tagline affixed to Thursday night in the 1990s. ABC echoed its past by branding the new incarnation “TGIT,” a play on the “TGIF” moniker for the block of family comedies that aired on Fridays in the 1980s and ’90s.

ABC Entertainment Group prez Paul Lee credited the Alphabet’s new Thursday traction as an old-fashioned feat of scheduling that was enhanced by the lure of second-screen activity in real time for ardent fans. He praised ABC’s lineup-makers for pulling off “a rather brilliant mix of the very, very new and the very, very old.” ABC is now taking the same tack on Wednesday night with its 8-10 p.m. bloc of domestic comedies, anchored by “Modern Family.”

NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt gave a nod to ABC’s Thursday success in outlining the Peacock’s overhaul of the night. NBC’s dramas hope to skew more male than ABC’s femme-heavy lineup, but nonetheless the Peacock is facing strong competition from the Shondaland trio as well as CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory”-infused alignment.

“We think that while the move of ‘Blacklist’ is certainly risky, the only way to really reinvigorate that night is to jump-start it with something like ‘The Blacklist,’ ” Greenblatt told reporters last month. “We’re trying to create a new night of really high-quality drama, which hopefully will bring an audience.”

NBC hasn’t had a drama-laden Thursday night since the 1979-80 season. It has carried a four-stack of 8-10 p.m. comedies on the night since at least 1982, with the exception of 2004-2005, when “The Apprentice” aired at 9 p.m. Execs wrestled over the decision to drop the comedy block, but the high casualty rate for new shows in those time periods ultimately left them no choice.

“We looked at ourselves and thought that putting comedies there that we love and having them fail started to feel like the definition of insanity,” said NBC Entertainment prexy Jennifer Salke. “We’re really proud of the Thursday prestige dramas anchored by ‘The Blacklist.’”

Thursday is vital to all major networks because it is a highly trafficked night for TV viewing overall and a high-demand night for advertisers looking to influence weekend purchasing decisions. Greenblatt said he doesn’t expect “Blacklist” to draw a bigger audience on Thursday than it has on Monday.

NBC feels confident that the live-plus-7 ratings will remain constant, because 60% of the show’s viewers watch it on a time-shifted basis.

“Hopefully it will be a big enough live number to help turn the tide on (Thursday),” Salke said.

Noting that it took ABC years to find the right mix of shows, Greenblatt cautioned that re-establishing Thursday will likely be a years-long process.

“I think we can completely reconfigure the night and hopefully build something for the future that lasts,” he said. “If you don’t start that move at some point, you’ll never get there.”

http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/nbcs...up-1201417668/
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TV Review
‘Duff Till Dawn,’ don’t bother to stay up
From the Food Network, yet another baking competition
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 29, 2015

We’ve all seen reality shows in which groups of skilled bakers try to create elaborate cakes under a deadline. We’ve all seen them because there are so many such shows that it’s almost statistically impossible for a random channel surfer not to have landed on at least one.

So the folks at the Food Network must have spent minutes trying to come up with a new spin for their competition series “Duff Till Dawn.” Perhaps inspired by the sonic resemblance of the first name of the star, Duff Goldman, to the word “dusk,” they have the two competing teams work all night on their creations, stopping at dawn.

Of course, since the series is shot indoors, we have to take it on faith that the shoot isn’t actually taking place during the day. After all, it’s never been proven that 100 percent of reality shows producers fudge reality, so we can’t assume that this show’s sole distinguishing feature isn’t fake too. We can only state that it’s essentially irrelevant.

Since the show’s only egregious flaw is that it’s so late to the game, viewers who nonetheless want to see another group of skilled bakers try to create elaborate cakes under a deadline should watch it.

Premiering tonight at 10:30, “Duff Till Dawn” pits two cake chefs, working with assistants, against each other in an eight-hour contest to design, bake and frost a cake based on an assigned theme. In the episode provided for review, the theme is a monster and a damsel — or dude — in distress.

The two teams, headed by owner-baker-designers, are moderately telegenic: Wiley, from Redding, Calif., has chosen as his assistant Jackie, a colleague who is also his mother-in-law. Kelly, from San Francisco, has chosen as her assistant her “amazing husband slash homeboy for life,” Pete, who apparently doesn’t know how to frost or design.

Wiley comes up with a bulbous creature that has plucked out its own eyeballs and is holding them in its claws. But he procrastinates when it comes to choosing the creature’s intended victim.

Kelly bases her creature on the “apple monster” that her 3-year-old nephew likes to draw. Its distressed prey is a Granny Smith apple.

The episode’s major controversy is Wiley’s decision not to use fondant as frosting because he loves working with butter cream. Even his partner is dubious: “Doing a cake that big in butter cream is way out of my comfort zone,” says Jackie.

The main issue with Kelly’s team is Pete’s lack of experience. But he eventually steps up and starts creating small details like leaves.

About halfway through, Goldman says, “You know how clients call in at the last minute with changes? That’s what I’m going to do.”

He tells the bakers that their damsel has to be provided with a weapon to fight back. Wiley hasn’t yet picked a damsel at all.

As the time clicks by, one of the monsters suffers a minor injury that prompts a discussion of the relative merits of fondant and butter cream.

The up-all-night gimmick has no effect on the proceedings. We don’t see any nighttime establishing shots, and no one even complains about being tired. When Goldman interrupts the proceedings for a quick dinner of Chinese takeout, he could at least have mentioned how hard it was to find a restaurant that was open that late.

The three judges in the episode are Goldman, the actress and Cooking Channel hostess Haylie Duff (no relation) and Geof Manthorne, a colleague of Goldman’s on the Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes.” Throughout the episode, including the final tasting and judging, they provide prosaic commentary.

The winner gets what Goldman calls “the sacred, vaunted Golden Whisk.” It’s nice the producers have a sense of humor about their own stinginess.

In most shows, that weak joke would be a low point. On “Duff Till Dawn,” it’s the icing on the cake.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/duf...t-bother-stay/
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