Saturday, December 30, 2017

Good TVeets

Most Demanded & Pirated

Game of Thrones once again topped TorrentFreak's list of the most pirated shows of the year, and it also led Xfinity's list of most-viewed on-demand shows of 2017, while some older shows like The Sopranos also made the top 20.

NFL Viewership

Kalyn Kahler covers the NFL's ratings and viewership challenges in 2017, while Eoin Higgins wonders why the NFL is still beholden to regional market restrictions for game broadcasts, a particular problem for so-called orphan counties.

News Media & Reality

Charlie Warzel says internet platforms and hyperpartisan news media killed off our shared reality in 2017. Jeff Jarvis explains why he's happy to see the "mass media" myth of common ground go away.

2017 Media Stocks

Assessments of media stock performances in 2017 from Cynthia Littleton, Georg Szalai and Paul Bond, and Andrew Wallenstein.

Demise of Funny Highlight Guy

Bryan Curtis says as SportsCenter fades in prominence, the Funny Highlight Guy figure is going with it: "one thing I’ll remember about 2017 is that you could finally see the end of the road for a swaggering figure who stood astride sports TV, if not pop culture, for three decades."

More Drug Ads

Joanne Kaufman explains why there are even more pharmaceutical drug ads appearing on TV lately.

Netflix Raises

Netflix announced salary bumps for its top executives courtesy of the new tax bill, and Michael Hiltzik responds, "what the new policy at Netflix really tells us is that the old “performance-based” executive compensation system always was a sham."

RIP Rose Marie

Showbiz legend and Dick Van Dyke Show star Rose Marie died earlier this week. Matt Fernandez compiled celebrity remembrances of her. A documentary about her was released just last month.

Best TV of 2017

Has it been a year already? Yes, it's been a year. Actually, a long, long year. Anyway, as usual, I am compiling Best of TV lists for 2017 in this post. I can easily miss them, so send them my way if I do. And check out the 2016 version if you'd like to compare.

Also once again, Metacritic is compiling a master list of 2017 critics' lists and tallying shows by mention frequency.

Uproxx Critics' Poll
Alan Sepinwall: 20 Best Shows
Todd VanDerWerff: Best 18 Shows
Caroline Framke & Todd VanDerWerff: 25 Best Episodes
Maureen Ryan: 20 Best Shows
Emily Nussbaum: Best Shows of 2017
AV Club: Best TV
Sonia Saraiya: Best 25 Shows & Favorite TV Things
NYT's Poniewzik/Hale/Lyons: Best TV Shows
Matt Fowler: 20 Best Shows
Daniel Fienberg: 10 Best Shows, Next 10
Tim Goodman: Best TV
Willa Paskin: Top 10
Matt Zoller Seitz: 10 Best Shows
Most Memorable Quotes
Goodman & Fienberg: 10 Favorite Episodes, Favorite Performances, Worst TV
Vox roundtable: Best, Worst, Most Comforting TV
NPR critcs: Favorite Shows

More after the jump...

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Good TVeets

Dr. Phil Concerns

David Armstrong reports on allegations that Dr. Phil's TV show exploits people with addiction problems and risks their health.

2018 Thoughts & Questions

Michael O'Connell poses ten questions for the TV industry in 2018, and Alexandra Bruell lists the top ad business questions for the coming year.

Dawn C. Chmielewski and Dade Hayes expect media industry mergers and acquisitions to increase in 2018, and Daniel Frankel expects a big cable merger or even two.

Alex Weprin says we'll see post-cable networks or PCNs rise to greater prominence on OTT platforms. Ben Munson says ATSC 3.0 will be closer to national deployment, while streaming will continue to proliferate with new pushes from ESPN and Verizon. Daniel Frankel foresees cable making major inroads into the wireless market.

Jonathan Easley warns us that Trump's war against the media will intensify next year.

Mad About You Revival

Mad About You is the latest show to get revival chatter.

Fox News Website Changes

Jason Schwartz reports that the Fox News website is beefing up its resources as it adopts a more pro-Trump agenda to match the prime-time TV side.

SNL Critique

Todd VanDerWerff argues that Saturday Night Live was overpraised this year, and it was in fact the emptiest show of 2017: "there’s no better way to talk about that emptiness than to consider just how poorly SNL handles the current occupant of the White House, even as it clearly wants to say something daring."

TNF Up For Grabs

The NFL is taking bids for linear and streaming rights to Thursday Night Football and is reportedly open to making major changes.

2017 Recaps

Some pieces looking back on 2017: Eric Deggans says 2017 was a good year for women in TV, and Caroline Framke notes it was an especially good year for stories of queer women coming out.

John Hugar looks back on the year in late-night comedy. Dawn C. Chmielewski identifies the most in-demand showrunners of the year. And Robert Channick says 2017 is the year cord-cutting and streaming went mainstream. 2017 also set another new record for volume of scripted content.

Slate's TV Club discussed the year across numerous posts.

Net Neutrality News

Minnesota's Attorney General has announced that her state will join a multi-state lawsuit against the FCC over its net neutrality repeal, while New York is among a handful of states considering its own net neutrality law despite FCC provisions banning such provisions. Meanwhile, Susan Crawford uncovers how the Koch brothers are trying to prevent development of municipal fiber broadband networks.

Deal Updates

AT&T and Time Warner have extended the deadline for their merger deal to accommodate the Justice Department's lawsuit timeline. There's talk that the DoJ could turn its attention to Comcast/NBCU next, as that merger's probationary period is soon to end. And there are still many questions to be answered about Disney-Fox, including what will happen with Fox content on Netflix and where Ryan Murphy will end up once his Fox deal ends in mid-2018.

2017 Ratings

Michael Schneider ranks 136 television outlets by their 2017 ratings, from highest (CBS) to lowest (Comedy.TV) Fox News finished as the most-watched cable channel, while MSNBC had its best year ever. Joe Otterson identifies cable winners and losers for 2017. Cynopsis has end-of-year viewing stats for broadcast, cable, and syndication.

A.J. Katz lists cable news ad rates for 2017, and Wayne Friedman notes that NFL TV ad dollars rose 16% this year.

Rick Porter has the top 100 highest-rated TV programs of 2017; 60% of the list is sports. Anthony Crupi also highlights how sports, especially the NFL, dominated 2017 ratings.

Spotted explicates his top 10 ratings moments of 2017.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The GOP & Net Neutrality

In the wake of net neutrality's repeal, Karl Bode has concerns about long-term plans for deregulation of broadband providers. And a GOP Congressperson has introduced a bill that would ban throttling but allow fast lanes and bar Title II classification.

Password-Sharing Concerns

Pay TV companies like Charter are vowing to crack down on password sharing.

Fox's Future

Joe Flint speculates on what's ahead for the Fox network in the wake of Disney's acquisition of other 21st Century Fox assets, and Steven Perlberg sees Rupert Murdoch ready to fight the competition, i.e. Sinclair, in the right-wing media sphere.

Sesame Street Wins Grant

Sesame Street's Sesame Workshop will receive a MacArthur Foundation Grant to create programming for Syrian refugee children.

Royals Creator Fired

The creator and showrunner of E!'s The Royals has been fired by producing studio Lionsgate over sexual harassment allegations.

TV Academy Expands Membership

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has expanded its membership eligibility rules to enable greater diversity in job categories.

Amazon Tube

Philip Swann considers the possibility that Amazon has a YouTube competitor in the works.

Streaming's Big Year

Josef Adalian looks back on 2017 as a major leap forward for streaming services, as Netflix reportedly now has about the same number of users as pay TV has subscribers.

Ajit Pai & Apu

Meenasarani Linde Murugan addresses Ajit Pai's South Asian identity in light of the recent documentary The Problem With Apu.

Hollywood & International TV

Scott Roxborough reports on Hollywood film dominance of European TV schedules, while he and Georg Szalai look at Hollywood firms buying up international channels.

Sadler Leaves E! Over Gender Pay Gap

Brian Stelter reports longtime E! host Catt Sandler has left the outlet after learning of a substantial gap in her pay compared to a male co-host.

Enlightened's Prescience

Rachel Syme encourages us to rewatch Enlightened in light of the #MeToo movement.

New HBO Doc Execs

With Sheila Nevins having departed, HBO has appointed a pair of women to head up HBO's Documentary and Family Programming division.

The Crown Ratings

Nielsen recently released ratings data on Netflix's The Crown.

TruTV's Ad Loads

Jason Lynch reports on TruTV's move toward smaller ad loads, labeled as the limited commercial interruption (LCI) format.

Amazon Rejects Comedies

Lesley Goldberg reports on Amazon's changing pilot season model, as it decided not to pick up three comedies it had floated out for viewer feedback.

NFL News

Despite all the controversies and ratings declines surrounding the NFL, ad revenue is up so far this season, says Jason Lynch. In other news, the NFL lost a court case via which it aimed to prevent Canadian TV from airing Super Bowl ads during the big game. And in news that may or may not be NFL-related, Papa John's John Schnatter is being bounced out of his CEO position.

Fox News Ratings & Suits

Fox News is once again the cable news ratings winner for the year, though MSNBC experienced notable gains. In sexual harassment news, Fox News settled another Ailes-related lawsuit, while two women have filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News and Bill O'Reilly.

Tax Bill Impact

Paul Bond covers media industry reaction to the new GOP tax bill. AT&T and Comcast have announced employee bonuses in the wake of the bill's passage. Comcast also promises major infrastructure spending due to the tax bill and net neutrality repeal. On the other hand, Jonathan Handel points out that working actors and below-the-line employees are now facing draconian changes to their tax situations.

Pay TV Rates Going Up

DSL Reports' Karl Bode warns us that multiple pay TV providers are hiking subscriber bills in 2018.

Good TVeets

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Sinclair News

Elliot Nelson raises concerns about Sinclair Media's dominance of local news in Flint, Michigan, which could really use strong investigative journalism right now. And the FCC has levied a fine against Sinclair for not properly disclosing paid programming.

Fox News, Trump, and Mueller

Brian Stelter identifies an anti-Robert Mueller feedback loop operating between President Trump and Fox News, and on Reliable Sources, he aired a compilation of Mueller attacks aired on Fox News. Greg Sargent notes how Trump is benefiting from a conservative media alliance.

Sexual Harassment News

Former Silicon Valley star TJ Miller has been accused of sexual assault, and he has released a denial of the claims. Maureen Ryan reports on sexual harassment allegations against NCIS: New Orleans' showrunner. Rupert Murdoch offered comments that seemed dismissive of sexual misconduct at Fox News, prompting anger from women at the outlet, and 21st Century Fox has responded with a clarification. A Matt Lauer accuser is critical of NBC's actions, while Tavis Smiley is criticizing PBS for dropping him following allegations, but PBS says his claims are contradictory. Katherine Goldstein reports on women who left journalism following sexual harassment experiences.

A new anti-sexual harassment commission is launching in Hollywood, chaired by Anita Hill.

Hallmark Christmas Movies

Jason Lynch highlights the ad revenue success of Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, and Todd VanDerWerff delves into their business success, production, and formula. Cassie Belek defends the pleasure of watching Hallmark Christmas movies, while Soraya Roberts laments their whiteness.

Ratings Drops

Earlier this month, Tony Maglio detailed the ratings drops at each network this season.

Shows Ending and Beginning

Netflix will end Love at its third season, and BBC America has canceled Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

The Roseanne revival will air beginning in March, and there's word that NBC wants to revive The Office.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Nevins Leaving HBO

HBO's documentary guru Sheila Nevins is moving on.

Skipper Steps Down

ESPN president John Skipper is stepping down, saying he needs to deal with a substance abuse addiction. Joe Flint notes that this is coming at a critical time for Disney, and Richard Deitsch says this is a shock to the sports media world.

Net Neutrality Repeal

Also while I was away, the FCC scrapped the net neutrality rules, with FCC chairman Ajit Pai gleefully pushing this through over vociferous objection from Democratic commissioners. Niley Patel sees political problems ahead on this for Republicans. Cecilia Kang considers what's next, as does the ACLU's Jay Stanley. Tim Wu, who coined the phrase net neutrality, details the history behind the net neutrality rules. Some states are now gearing up to sue, and Congress could also get involved. Michael J. Socolow puts this decision in historical context and says Ajit Pai is ignoring the potential for FCC regulation to ensure fair competition. Activists are concerned that the net neutrality repeal will further marginalize LGBT voices.

Disney-Fox Deal

Rupert Murdoch is selling a big chunk of 21st Century Fox to Disney, with billions in assets changing hands. Todd VanDerWerff says we should be afraid, very afraid.

Niley Patel sees the deal as a stunning retreat for Murdoch. Michael Wolff details the Murdoch family dynamics in play, as does Ken Auletta, and the Guardian calls for a full accounting of Murdoch ethics. Speaking of ethics *cough*, the White House confirmed that Donald Trump chatted with Murdoch about the deal. Democrats want hearings before this goes through, and questioning comparisons to AT&T-Time Warner are being raised.

Josef Adalian sees doom ahead for the Fox broadcast network, while the company's TV station portfolio could still grow. Where key Fox execs will land is anyone's guess. Steven Zeitchik highlights concerns about the future of FX.

On the "plus" side, this will be great for audience targeting and high-tech advertising, so woohoo and yay for that. Josh Spiegel says Disney fans should be concerned, and Bob Scherman says it's a bad deal for consumers.

Cory Barker assesses what the deal means for your TV experience, though the streaming landscape is the real key here: a war with Netflix is coming, and Hulu's place in that battle is now in question, though maybe this is a blessing for Hulu. Hulu is a key in this deal, as analysts speculate on the streaming service's future. There are also questions about how this will affect European telecom firms.

Back to Blogging (Fingers Crossed)

I'm back from my travels abroad and (sort of) ready to get back to the blog. Anything happen while I was away? Haha, only the entire media industry landscape potentially changing fundamentally, amirite?

I'll see what catch up I can do in the coming days, and I do hope to get the blog running back up to normal speed by the start of the spring semester. Thanks so much to Ethan Tussey and his media industries class for keeping things afloat here the last few months!

Thanks for sticking around despite the lack of posts here lately. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Measuring Consumer Action

Brian Steinberg reports on the trial of a new advertising metric aiming to measure "actual customer action, like visiting a marketer’s web site or taking a test drive of a new car."

Masterson Fired From The Ranch

Netflix has dropped Danny Masterson from production of The Ranch due to multiple rape allegations.

Media Trust

Erik Wemple reports on the 2017 Poynter Media Trust Survey, which reveals widespread belief that the media fabricates news stories about Donald Trump.

Commandments of Television

The Masked Scheduler has completed his Twelve Commandments of Television.

Google vs. Amazon

Google and Amazon are having trouble getting along, and Google is responding by pulling YouTube from Echo Show and Fire TV (link fixed)

Disney + Fox Next Week?

CNBC's David Faber says an announcement of Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox's film and TV production assets could come next week in what would be a $60 billion deal.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Comcast brings games to their set-top box

Comcast returns to game development. The idea of offering games on their set top boxes had been tried before with partner Electronic Arts, but the plug was pulled. This time, the partnership with TransGaming will provide first a mobile device game enticement that will extend to the set top using the GameFreeTV platform.