Tuesday, March 21, 2017

FilmOn Ruling Reversed

Eriq Gardner reports on a judicial reversal of the ruling that favored FilmOn over broadcasters, "holding that a service that captures copyrighted works broadcast over the air, and then retransmits them to paying subscribers over the Internet without the consent of copyright holders, is not a 'cable system' eligible for a compulsory license."

PSA Power

Robert Klara marks 75 years of the Ad Council by detailing how it used PSAs to push for social change.

Agnes Nixon's Story

Ellen Gray profiles the late soap opera legend Agnes Nixon, who has a memoir coming out.

BBC Brexit Bias

British conservatives are accusing the BBC of anti-Brexit bias.

Carmichael's Show N-Word

NBC's The Carmichael Show will air an episode featuring use of the "n-word" this summer.

Hulu Testing NBC Channels

Lucas Shaw reports testing evidence indicating that Hulu's TV service will include NBC cable channels, with NBC as the lone major broadcast network holdout thus far.

Paramount Channel Launches in Middle East

Viacom will launch the Paramount Channel in the Middle East and North Africa next month, along with a NickToons linear channel and a Teen Nick SVOD channel.

The Struggle of Small Channels

Shalini Ramachandran and Keach Hagey cover the shrinking of bundles as small, underperforming channels die off, but note that cable bills aren't getting correspondingly smaller. And Cynthia Littleton and Daniel Holloway cover a similar topic with addition of a fantastic chart that lists the carriage fees and viewer figures for a slew of cable channels.

Writers Strike?

Jonathan Handel explains what's on the negotiating table as WGA and AMPTP representatives try to avoid a writers strike.

MGM Snapchat Shows

MGM Television has announced it will produce original series for Snapchat.

YouTube Controversy

YouTube is under fire for filtering out LGBTQ videos via a "family-friendly" restricted mode. YouTube has announced it's trying to fix the situation.

Trump Stuff

Jason Lynch covers the renaissance of late night comedy in the age of Trump, and Giovanni Russonello summarizes recent Trump bits on late night, including the return of Colbert's conservative alter ego. Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter praised a Jimmy Fallon bit about him.

Brian Steinberg talks with the Morning Joe team about covering Trump. McKay Coppins is vexed by how the POTUS Twitter account distorted yesterday's James Comey hearing in its live-tweets, while Fox News has reportedly pulled Andrew Napolitano from the air over his unsupported British spying allegations.

New Muppet

Sesame Street is adding a muppet with autism to the show.

March Madness Ratings

Ratings for the NCAA basketball tourney have been stellar.


Shades of Blue is getting a third season, while Big Bang Theory has been renewed for two seasons.

Sitcom Value

Jason Lynch reports on a new CBS/Nielsen study touting that sitcoms offer the biggest return on advertising investment.

Netflix News

Janko Roettgers reports on Netflix's global efforts from programming to language. Eric Kohn criticizes Netflix's decision to drop star ratings. CEO Reed Hastings says he isn't concerned about net neutrality rules going away under Trump, which prompted Jacob Kastrenakes to trace out a timeline of Netflix's shifting stances on net neutrality. And Comcast is offering X1 customers a free week of Netflix.

Good TVeets

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Pepsi & Empire

Brian Steinberg covers how Pepsi is expanding its Empire partnership with a digital video series.

Women Making Less

Gavin Polone offers analysis of the fact that women make less money in Hollywood than men.

Sky Bid Investigated

Ofcom is investigating Rupert Murdoch's bid for full control of Sky on public interest grounds.

Broadband Homes Without Pay TV

Will Richmond reports on the growth of broadband households without pay TV.

SVOD Imports

Sami Main reports on the new Walter Presents SVOD service offering prestigious foreign dramas, and David Bloom highlights that and other SVOD services focused on imports.

Tackling Social Issues

Cynthia Littleton looks back on the history of television shows noted for tackling relevant social issues. And Ellen E. Jones observes that scripted television is now covering the "last taboo" of abortion.

AV Club TV

Brian Steinberg checks out the A.V. Club's jump into TV on Fusion.

Snapchat & Facebook Shows

Sahil Patel covers how Snapchat is pitching original shows to advertisers, and he highlights a new show on Facebook coming from Turner.

Legion's Success

Jason Lynch explains how the unlikely partnership of Marvel and FX helped to produce a hit in Legion, which has been renewed for a second season.

New Measurement Platform

21st Century Fox, Turner, and Viacom are partnering on a new audience measurement platform called Open AP. Alan Wolk sees this as another step toward true addressable advertising.

California Production

A number of shows are moving production to California thanks to enrollment in the state's tax credit program.

Netflix News

Netflix broke a global streaming record in January, and Rich Greenfield highlights improvements Netflix is making to boost consumption even more and lower churn. One can argue whether this would count as improvement or not, but Netflix is considering creating mobile-specific cuts of content to accommodate smaller screen viewing. Also, Netflix will replace its star ratings with thumbs up/down symbols. In renewal news, Lemony Snicket will be back for a second season.

SNL News

Saturday Night Live's final four episodes this season will air live across the country. Also, SNL announced that the Weekend Update segment will get four prime-time episodes in August.

Midseason Failure

Michael O'Connell reports on the failure of the networks' midseason shows, with 17 shows released and zero breaking out into hits.

Trump & the Paparazzi

Claudia Rosenbaum notes that the paparazzi and celebrity magazines are having a field day covering Donald Trump and his family.

Defunding Public Media & Arts

Donald Trump's proposed budget would end federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as well as the NEA and NEH. Representatives of public broadcasting and the arts are speaking out against the terminal threats and warning that the entire public media system will collapse under these conditions. Brian Stelter notes that PBS and NPR are well-practiced at having to defend their funded existence. Todd VanDerWerff notes that rural stations and people will be most hurt by these proposals. Andrea K. Scott laments the dismissal of the importance of the arts evident here, and Howard Reich explores how this would devastate the arts in Chicago. Cythnia Littleton highlights the CPB cut threat to one station in Tennessee.

Fox Now App

21st Century Fox has launched its Fox Now video-on-demand app offering a single point of access for programming from across the corporation's channels. Colin Dixon says it's a great app but doubts anyone will use it and expects that this is just preparation for Fox to launch a standalone service like CBS All Access.

Trump & Liberal TV

Donald Trump is helping to boost the ratings of left-leaning channels and shows. Rachel Maddow in particular is seeing her ratings soar, achieving record viewership for her Trump tax return stunt. Caroline Framke notes that Stephen Colbert is getting both a ratings and a quality boost from Trump.

Trump & Fox

As Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch become more closely aligned, Brian Stelter explores how thoroughly Donald Trump's presidency is being shaped by Fox News and notes that Fox News's blurry line between reporting and commentary is resulting in controversy. Trump is predominantly giving interviews to Fox News, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson granted access only to a Fox News team for press coverage of his Korean DMZ trip last week. Fox & Friends is enjoying a ratings boost thanks to Trump's attention, and Fox Business Network is also blanketed with favorable Trump coverage.

Sinclair & Tribune & Fox

Sinclair is reportedly interested in acquiring Tribune Media's assets, but 21st Century Fox may thwart the plan.

Skinny Bundle Logic

Will Richmond questions the confusing logic behind what channels are available in OTT skinny bundles. And Ben Munson consider why Viacom channels aren't part of the upcoming live TV services from YouTube and Hulu.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

TVs That Watch You

Sapna Maheshwari reports on TV sets that gather viewer information for marketers.

Amazon's Woman Problem

Caroline Framke observes that only male showrunners have gotten straight-to-series orders from Amazon.

Facebook Programming

Deepa Seetharaman and Jack Marshall report on Facebook's hunt for TV-like original programming. Facebook is also getting into live sports, streaming a slate of MLS games in a partnership with Univision Deportes.

Kids' TV Outlets

Nickelodeon is rebranding around a focus on play and imagination, Disney Channel is trying to figure out how to reach the kids today, and Time Warner is starting a children's streaming service.

Public Broadcasting Threatened

Joe Flint outlines the budget-cut threat the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is under in the Trump era.

Sean Spicer's Cringe TV

James Poniewozik analyzes the "must-watch cringe TV" that is Sean Spicer's press briefings.

New Flow Issue

Check out a new Flow featuring:

Friday, March 10, 2017

Good TVeets

Adult Swim Analysis

The theme at In Media Res this week is Adult Swim.

NBCU Investments

Jeffrey Goldfarb looks into what's behind NBCU's big investment in Snap. Will Richmond also notes NBCU is committing $1 billion in ad inventory to data-driven, multi-platform, targeted ads for clients to buy at upfronts and is teaming up with Conde Nast and Vox to sell combined digital ad inventory.

Trump & Late Night

Mark Harris looks at the benefit and challenge Donald Trump is offering to late-night show hosts. There are reportedly concerns at NBC that Jimmy Fallon is being too apolitical.

European Changes

Scott Roxborough reports that growth in European television production is leading to declines in US imports, as more scheduling slots get reserved for homegrown shows.

China Deal Problems

The plan for Wanda Group to buy Dick Clark Productions has fallen through, and Matt Pressberg says Chinese regulators are putting up obstacles to such deals.

Buffy at 20

Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered twenty years ago.  Alanna Bennett looks back on how it changed TV, and Angelica Jade BastiĆ©n considers its legacy today. Ira Madison III revisits Buffy's key themesCreator and showrunner Joss Whedon and Gail Berman, the network exec who helped develop Buffy, are looking back on the series. Maureen Ryan draws lessons about what made Buffy matter from "The Body" episode. David Sims considers how Buffy redefined TV storytelling and paved the way for TV today. Todd VanDerWerff and Caroline Framke say Buffy deserves the same respect The Sopranos gets for transforming TV.

This is Us's Success

Kate Aurthur sees This is Us as network TV's most important hit because of the increasing rarity of such success. Debra Birnbaum reports on how the show was built.

Drag Race Moving

RuPaul's Drag Race is leaving Logo for VH1.

Trump Media Ecosystem

CJR offers a study of the Breitbart-led right-wing media ecosystem and how it has affected the broader media world. Carole Cadwalladr draws attention to billionaire Trump-backer Robert Mercer and his war on the mainstream media using big data. Veit Medick profiles popular conspiracy theorist and Trump propagandist Alex Jones. Steven Erlanger looks into Russia's RT Network and concerns that it is a Russian propaganda arm. And some Trump supporters mistook an anti-Nazi radio show that is actually viral marketing for Amazon's The Man in the High Castle as real.

Ratings News

Toni Fitzgerald has a wrap-up of surprising February sweeps results. One of them is that Univision had a rebound, but Gerry Smith points out that Telemundo has caught up to Univision in the ratings thanks to new programming strategies. Overall, the networks are not having a good 2016-17 ratings season.

Writer Problems

Cynthia Littleton and Dave McNary highlight growing challenges for writers as shrinking episode orders reduce their pay, which will be an issue as the WGA sits down with the AMPTP soon for new contract talks.

Sunday & April Overload

Gail Pennington is exasperated with the programming overload of Sunday nights, while Todd VanDerWerff explains why April has become such a big month for prestige TV premieres.

BritBox Launches

The BBC and ITV have launched their BritBox VOD service in the US.

Morning & News Ratings

Chris Ariens notes that network morning show viewership has declined by about one million viewers over the past year, about the same losses the evening network news shows have seen. However, Ariens points out that PBS NewsHour has increased its viewership over that time.

The New FCC

Alex Sherman and Todd Shields say plans for broadcast consolidation are intensifying as Republicans are now the majority party running the FCC. Ajit Pai had his FCC tenure renewed and took questions at a Senate oversight hearing. The FCC might have a problem later in the year, however, due to vacancies.

Struggling Niche Channels

Anthony Crupi covers the decline of niche cable channels, as outlets like Cloo are washing out.

CNN's Digital Efforts

Marisa Guthrie details Jeff Zucker's digital strategies for CNN in 2017.

ESPN Layoffs

ESPN will reportedly lay off a substantial number of on-air employees in the coming months, likely a sign of turmoil in the live sports landscape and part of larger economic problems at ESPN.

Netflix News

Reed Hastings sees Europe as crucial to Netflix's global expansion, and the company is accordingly pouring billions into European productions. Mark Scott notes that deals with service providers will imperative for Netflix's plans. Netflix is also pushing heavily into reality TV, as well as standup comedy specials. Meanwhile, the Netflix series The Get Down has hit a labor union obstacle with excessive hold periods for its actors. Netflix has renewed One Day at a Time. Nearly a quarter of American adults are now streaming Netflix every day.

YouTube TV

Trying to do some catch-up...

YouTube announced a live TV skinny-bundle service that will launch in a few months. Ken Fang notes which channels are missing. Felix Gillette has analysis. Will Richmond weighs the service's odds. Analysts are skeptical, and Alan Wolk is pessimistic about its chances. Jeanine Poggi notes that neither this nor Hulu's upcoming TV service are reinventing the ad model. Hulu's service will have A&E Networks channels, but not Viacom's.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Back Soon (I Hope)

Sorry for the unplanned hiatus, but I got swamped with work then hit with a bad cold, so that's why things have been silent around here lately. I hope to get back to it soon.