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Univision Radio Launches National AM Network, “Univision America”

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

Univision Radio, a leading radio company serving Hispanics in the U.S., has announced the launch of its new AM radio network, Univision America. The network will include radio stations in nine markets across the country, featuring local, national and international news, weather and traffic updates, as well as shows focused on the issues that matter most to Hispanics, including current events, health and family, finances, education, sports, and entertainment.

For advertisers, it appears there cannot be enough Spanish-language inventory. Spanish-language TV was up 8.3% year-over-year in 2011, versus 2.4% for TV overall. Spanish-language magazines were up 24.9% YoY, defying a 0.4% decline for all magazines. Arbitron's "Hispanic Radio Today" study released in November found that radio's reach among both English and Spanish dominant Hispanics is between 95% and 96%. As Billboard described, Hispanics in almost every demo and age group over-indexed in radio consumption compared to non Hispanics, spending nearly 14.5 hours a week listening to radio.

“As the leading Spanish-language radio network in the country, Univision Radio has served Hispanic audiences by bringing them best-in-class programming,” said Jose Valle, president of Univision Radio. “Univision America reinforces our commitment to continue empowering the Hispanic community by offering listeners unparalleled access to local, national and international news and information.”

Univision America will be available in Miami, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, McAllen, El Paso, San Antonio, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, featuring a combination of news segments, local programming and insightful commentary delivered by some of Univision Radio’s most revered personalities and new talent.

Univision Radio Network claims to be the #1 Spanish Radio network in the country, and in major markets, it is home to stations that rank #1 in any language. Univision Radio’s portfolio currently includes 69 owned and operated stations in 16 markets, including all top 10 markets reaching more than 16 million listeners a week.

RBR-RTV adds that “Hopefully it will add more excitement to Hispanic network radio." If Univision gives their well-known Hispanic talents/franchises their own shows and properly promotes them, "the medium will get more visibility."

 

Augmented Reality For Print, Without Tags Or Codes

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

Women’s lingerie maker Maidenform will use augmented reality (AR) to introduce its Comfort Devotion line of bras, panties and shapewear later this year, reports Marketing Daily. Maidenform will use technology from Aurasma, which provides image-recognition software.

Aurasma made news earlier this month with the June issue of Popular Science, the first monthly U.S. consumer magazine to “bring an editorial feature to life,” said Aurasma in a statement, by “[uniting] the physical and virtual worlds to deliver a unique and interactive experience for readers.” The June issue is the Popular Science annual Invention Awards issue, which profiles ten inventors of potentially world-changing technologies.

What Aurasma does differently from QR codes is that its image recognition software requires no code, tag or marketr at all. So the publisher can augment reality without sacrificing space or disrupting the reader. By aiming an iPad, iPhone or Android smartphone or tablet at certain pages in the magazine, readers can activate an "Aura" — an augmented reality action, such as a video or slideshow, overlaid on a static image. The reader can also use the in-app "screen capture" button to share the augmented reality experience via Facebook or Twitter, making it possible for others to see the digital overlay even without the magazine.

"Our June issue is already bursting with information, and this technology allows us to go ahead and overflow the riverbank," said Popular Science editor in chief Jake Ward. "It's for anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to meet someone from our pages in real life. Aurasma has a very powerful effect on readers - it's like being able to step into the magazine's content and walk around."

Maidenform will use the Aurasma application for in-store displays and advertising to compare, for example, the racerback version of one bra versus the strapless version of another. The Maidenform product will not launch until December, but thus far, Popular Science is delighted with augemented reality. “The consumer wants more digital marketing,” Lucille DeHart, Maidenform’s CMO told Marketing Daily. “She’s very connected through all her devices. They empowers her to shop the way she wants to shop. So we need to be where she is, and give her that flexibility.”

Monthly Mags: Guns, Gadgets And Fashionable Women Top Ad Page Gainers

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

Call it the James Bond effect: The top monthly magazine ad page gainers for June 2012 feature guns, beauty and gadgets, according to min.online.

The top ad-page gainer is Guns & Ammo, with 47.84 more ad pages in June 2012 over June 2011, for an 89.42% year-over-year (YoY) gain. Published by Intermedia Outdoors, publisher Chris Agnes attributes the interest in part to the popular show “Sons of Guns” on the Discovery Channel: Also to 2012 being an election year which “For whatever reason,” renews interest in the Second Amendment right to bear arms, reports Agnes.

Allure from Condé Nast took the #2 spot, and Elle from Hearst was #4. “June 2012 was the biggest issue ever for Allure,” publisher Agnes Chapski told min, with a 41.15% YoY ad-page gain. The June Readers’ Choice Awards are a particular draw, with nearly 90% of Allure readers reporting they trust the awards to help them make purchasing decisions. Elle, another fashion and beauty title, has gained a boost from its acquisition and rework by Hearst in May 2011. Elle has a particularly strong online presence, with 27 individual sites worldwide, which publisher and chief revenue officer Kevin O'Malley makes it a powerful “omni-channel brand.”

Taking the #3 spot (and joining the top five list for the first time) is IEEE Spectrum, an engineering trade journal. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE has 400,000+ members in 150 countries for a powerful built-in subscribership (Spectrum is included in membership). The June issue includes a 32-page sponsored insert by Comsol, a simulation software provider, and June is the magazine’s traditional yearbook of in-depth technology provider coverage.

Rounding out the top five ad-page gainers: Ebony, with its June Music/Father’s Day special. Ebony targets a black demographic, and gained 55.02% YoY in 2012, attracting such advertisers as BMW (6 series), Verizon, Philadelphia Tourism, Unilever and State Farm Insurance. The June issue features current music stars from hip-hop and R&B, but also black celebrity fathers.

Viacom: Social TV Must Offer Content, Communication, Comments

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

Viacom has unveiled the results of a new study exploring the social TV phenomenon through the lens of the viewer. While fairly nascent, social TV and co-viewing trends represent a shift in TV viewing from what Viacom calls a “lean-back” to a “lean-forward” experience. If there is a takeaway for advertisers, it is that those “behind the scenes” streams, additional scenes and blooper reels that networks run on their websites are pretty valuable ad real estate.

Viacom finds that viewers engage in an average of seven different types of social TV activities – online or offline – on at least a weekly basis. The most common activities include watching TV with others (85%), searching for supplemental content (61%) and viewing TV show clips on social networks (58%). The new research reveals that consumers engaging in social TV activities "C's the moment" primarily by communicating, consuming content and checking comments.

The two-phase study involved 24 ethnographies in Boston and San Diego with VMN viewers aged 13-52 that engage in social TV activities on at least a weekly basis. National online surveys were conducted with over 1,500 VMN viewers aged 13-54. When asked what social TV means to them, the most commonly reported words were "interactive," "friends" and "Facebook "or "Twitter." The leading source of discovery of social TV services is through search (38%), followed by social networks (26%) and ads run on shows (22%).  

"One of the main goals of this research was to understand how to inspire social TV activity among our audiences," said Colleen Fahey Rush, Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer, Viacom Media Networks. 

Content
Content is king for social TV users. Viewers want something special from their social TV services rather than commoditized content that can be found through online searches. The number one request for content is full-length episodes (88%), followed by sneak peeks of new episodes (75%), and behind-the-scenes extras (71%) and highlight clips (71%).

The majority of TV socializers are interested in rewards with real value, like free merchandise or signed cast photos. When putting aside the material aspect, virtual rewards offer an emotional pay-off, described as being similar to the feeling when 'liked' on Facebook. Trivia and casual games related to a show are of greater interest if they offer some kind of reward. Real fans want to have their knowledge and skills tested, and expect the game to be challenging.

Communication
Communicating is a top priority for social TV users. Many respondents described cobbling together unique communication systems to interact with different social circles while watching a show. "When I'm watching Jersey Shore, I have Facebook chats with 10 friends and I'm texting a dozen people, and I can be on the phone to my best friend," said one participant.

There is no one-size-fits-all in terms of chat options. Of those interested in chat features, 56% prefer communicating through the social TV app/service, 53% through Facebook, 50% through individual or group texts and 38% through Skype or Apple FaceTime. For those that use check-in services, 71% check in to a show to let their friends know and 64% check in to let other fans of the show know. Check-in services are a unique way of communicating viewing activities while simultaneously encouraging others to tune-in and join a shared experience.

Smartphones dominate the use of social TV apps at 82%, trailed by tablets at 18%. For services that are delivered via HTML websites and associated apps, 52% of usage occurs on smartphones or tablets, followed closely by desktop or laptops at 48%.

Comments
Social TV users check comments about their favorite shows for a variety of reasons. Comments provide a different point of view, can pick up on something a viewer may have missed on their own and most importantly, create a direct connection between fan and show. "I love reading Daniel Tosh's tweets while watching Tosh.0. It gives the show a whole other dimension," said one survey respondent.

Not all sources of comments are equally valued. The number one source viewers want to hear from is a show's cast and crew, followed by the people they know. Audiences are sensitive to the quality of comments from a show's cast and crew – they look for authenticity and prefer the star(s) to be in character.
Social TV Users "C's the Moment" During Live Viewing

"Viewers C's the Moment" reveals that live TV show viewing unlocks the real value of social TV services and co-viewing activities. Features relating to communication, content and comments are twice as likely to be used during live than time-shifted viewing. Social TV enthusiasts reported feeling "left out" of the conversation if they missed a live airing.

One respondent said, "I'm most likely to engage with Social TV networking when it's live. So when a new show comes on, I'm very likely to check-in just before the show, see comments from other people, [and] make my own comments during the show as well."

Social TV activities also increase directly after a live show, when viewers can access exclusive content like sneak peeks without interrupting the live viewing experience. "I go to the website and watch the director's cut…after it airs as I like the extra scenes. I like to feel that I am getting something extra and it extends the show," said a participant.

Social TV can also help foster show discovery. Features like check-ins, viewer comments and shared video clips help viewers discover shows, incentivize them to watch and encourage them to join the live conversations.

LA Times Kills Sunday Magazine, Will Launch Luxury Quarterly

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

“We are not immune to the challenges” that the magazine industry has faced, wrote Los Angeles Times President Kathy K. Thomson in yesterday’s paper. So the paper has “made the decision that LA, Los Angeles Times Magazine [LATM] will publish its final issue on June 3rd.

FishbowlLA spoke with the mag’s editor, Nancie Clare, who said “It’s fair to say there were revenue issues…I don’t think they got rid of us because they don’t like us.” The mangazine’s lean staff of seven will be let go, with little likelihood they will be absorbed by the newspaper proper. Clare observed “They’re contracting in the newsroom too. There’s nowhere to absorb us.”

The magazine has struggled for years, for both readership and identity. As Folio described its transition, LATM was once a weekly produced by and distributed with the paper, then transitioned to a monthly in June 2008, then switched shifted to an editorial model separate from the paper and with its own editorial staff. Thus far in 2012, LATM has suffered a 21.3% drop in ad pages compared to 2011, and 2011 saw a 6% decline from 2010.

Thomson called the LATM the “definitive handbook for life in Southern California,” sort of a “New Yorker” for SoCal. But in its place, the Times is developing a quarterly product focused on luxury, design, fashion and style. The Times promises “digital and mobile iterations intended to further enhance our feature coverage and deepen our connection with our members and advertising partners.”

It is an ironic move that a cash-strapped newspaper will launch a luxury title, but likely a wise one. Luxury titles like Boating and Architectural Digest are weathering the economic storm far better than their consumer counterparts, and Forbes and  Time Magazine have both launched luxury titles this year.

 

CEA: Consumers Use HDTV Like An iPad

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

As video consumption increases and viewing devices vary, consumers are still using televisions most often to watch video, according to The Evolving Video Landscape study released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). So should ad buyers take back those digital dollars they robbed from TV budgets? Not necessarily. Consumers are increasingly using televisions like iPads, for social media, music and web browsing.

Consumers are watching more video than they have in the past, across a variety of platforms. One-third of U.S. adults online (34%) say they watch more video content today than they did a year ago. Viewing of television video programming is up 28%, with consumers citing convenience and the appeal/variety of programming as the top factors for increased viewing. Viewing of content on portable devices has also increased, with 40% watching more on those devices today than a year ago.

Many consumers (66%) who are watching video content on television are simultaneously using other consumer electronics (CE) devices. This behavior is more prevalent among younger consumers, as 85% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 70% of 25- to 34-year-olds multitask with another device while watching video on a television. U.S. adults online report watching some type of video content an average of 3.2 hours a day, five days per week.

Televisions continue to be the most commonly used device for watching video but other devices are gaining in popularity. HDTVs are the most prevalent devices used for video viewing, used by two-thirds (66 percent) of U.S. adults online. Computers are also commonly used to watch video, with 62 percent using a laptop to watch video and 55% using a desktop. One-third (33%) of consumers are using their smartphones to watch video content, and 17% are using their tablets.

“Consumers are watching more video than they have in years past and they are seeking devices and technologies that deliver a quality video and audio experience,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and director of research. “However, younger consumers accustomed to multitasking are defining new video behaviors as they watch video content across multiple platforms, on their own schedule, all while interacting socially on their devices with their friends.”

Televisions have also emerged as a device that can do more than just play video. Among consumers using televisions to watch video content, nearly half (47%) also use their sets for other purposes. One in three (34%) consumers who use a television to watch video also use their set to listen to music, and one in five (21%) uses a television to listen to audio. Usage also varies by age and the type of display owned. Younger consumers, those under age 25, rely on their TVs more for music, social media, going on the Web and communicating. Consumers with Internet-enabled TVs use their displays in a number of ways as well: 47% listen to music, 28% use social media, 26% surf the Web and 23% view photos.

Future television purchases will be based on better picture quality and larger screen sizes as consumers will continue to seek the latest innovations in the market. Almost half (48%) of consumers planning to purchase a TV in the next 12 months will be replacing an aging, obsolete or broken set. However, half (51%) desire improved picture quality in a new display and half (50%) want a larger screen size. One in four (24%) consumers with intentions to purchase a TV over the next year expect to purchase a 3DTV; 21% plan to purchase an OLED display; and a quarter of consumers (25%) plan to purchase an Internet-enabled TV. While stated purchase intentions do not always translate to transactions, the study clearly shows many consumers have their eyes fixed on newer TV technologies.

“Easy access to the Web makes TVs more versatile, allowing us to stay connected, informed and entertained,” said DuBravac. “In the future, new technologies, like OLED and 3D, will continue to improve the viewer experience, and Internet-enabled sets will fulfill consumers’ desires to be connected.”

The Evolving Video Landscape Study (April 2012) was conducted between February 22 and March 2, 2012. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The complete study is available free to CEA member companies at members.CE.org. Non-members may purchase the study at the CEA Store.

NBC Upfront: Network Counts On “The Voice” For A Shot In The Arm

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

NBC has announced its full primetime lineup for 2012-13 primetime. Highlights include an expansion of comedy to Tuesday and Friday nights for a total of five full hours of primetime comedy; the first fall cycle of the hit competition “The Voice” and new dramas from J.J. Abrams and Dick Wolf on Monday and Wednesday nights, respectively.

As Ad Age describes, NBC will use "The Voice" as a lead-in for its Monday-night drama and two Tuesday-night comedies. "NBC has a lot at stake [having been] mired in turnaround efforts for years," said Ad Age. The 2012-2013 will be the second under ownership of Comcast, which hopes that "The Voice" and the Summer Olympics will cause a tide that "lifts all ships."

The season’s new fall comedies are “Go On,” “The New Normal,” “Animal Practice” and “Guys with Kids.” Other mid-season comedies include “Save Me,” “1600 Penn” and “Next Caller.”

The new fall dramas are “Revolution” and “Chicago Fire,” while “Do No Harm,” “Infamous” and “Hannibal” also will join the lineup in mid-season.

In addition, new alternative series include “Stars Earn Stripes,” “Howie Mandel’s White Elephant,” “Ready for Love,” and “Surprise with Jenny McCarthy.”

NBC’s returning shows are highlighted by “The Voice,” which returns on Mondays (8-10 P.M. ET) and includes an additional weekly hour on Tuesdays (8-9 P.M. ET).

Other returning scripted series are “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Office,” “30 Rock,” “Community,” “Parenthood,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Whitney” and “Up All Night.” The alternative series returning are “The Celebrity Apprentice,” “Fashion Star,” “The Biggest Loser” and “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers.” Also renewed are “Dateline NBC” and “Rock Center with Brian Williams.” “Smash” and “Grimm” were given pickups earlier in the season.

The announcements were made by Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment, who said in a statement “We’ve taken a few first steps toward a turnaround over this past season and now we’re seeing a real opportunity to accelerate that process. We’ve got a lineup of new shows that will really get people to sit up and take notice. And with the Olympics coming this summer and two nights of ‘The Voice’ in the fall, we’ve also got the tools we need to give our shows the kind of launch they deserve.”

NBC FALL 2012-13 SCHEDULE
*New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)

MONDAY
8-10 P.M. – “The Voice”
10-11 P.M. – “REVOLUTION”

TUESDAY
8-9 P.M. –”The Voice”
9-9:30 P.M. – “GO ON”
9:30-10 P.M. – “THE NEW NORMAL”
10-11 P.M. – “Parenthood”

WEDNESDAY
8-8:30 P.M. – “ANIMAL PRACTICE”
8:30-9 P.M. – “GUYS WITH KIDS”
9-10 P.M. – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
10-11 P.M. – “CHICAGO FIRE”

THURSDAY
8-8:30 P.M. – “30 Rock”
8:30-9 P.M. – “Up All Night”
9-9:30 P.M. – “The Office”
9:30-10 P.M. – “Parks and Recreation”
10-11 P.M. – “Rock Center with Brian Williams”

FRIDAY
8-8:30 P.M. – “Whitney”
8:30-9 P.M. – “Community”
9-10 P.M. – “Grimm”
10-11 P.M. – “Dateline NBC”

SATURDAY
Encore programming

SUNDAY (Fall 2012)
7- 8:15 P.M. — “Football Night in America”
8:15-11:30 P.M. — “NBC Sunday Night Football”

SUNDAY (Post-football/Winter 2013)
7-8 P.M. – “Dateline NBC”
8-9 P.M. – “Fashion Star”
9-10 P.M. – “The Celebrity Apprentice”
10-11 P.M. – “DO NO HARM”

2012-13 NEW SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

NEW COMEDIES

“Go On” — Misery loves company. Unless you’re sportscaster Ryan King (Matthew Perry, “Friends,” “Mr. Sunshine”) who thinks misery should just be left alone. After taking some time off, Ryan – who recently lost his wife in a car accident – is now ready to get back to work. And while he seems like his same old charming, cocky self, his boss won’t set him back on the air until he seeks counseling. So, Ryan reluctantly joins a support group with one goal in mind: get in, get out and get back on the radio as quickly as possible. Played by the fast-talking, sarcastic, and charismatic Perry, Ryan gives grief a real run for its money. Within one day of group therapy, he hijacks the meeting and suddenly the downtrodden are cajoled into playing a game of “who’s got the best sob story?” And in no time all of them are battling it out, trying to one-up each other’s despair. Now, this is fun! Ryan’s total lack of interest in healing might be just what this group needs – and maybe, exactly what he needs to move on with his life. Also starring are Tony winner Laura Benanti (“The Playboy Club”), Julie White (“Transformers”), Suzy Nakamura (“Dodgeball”), Khary Payton (“General Hospital”) and Allison Miller (“Terra Nova”). From the Emmy-winning writer and executive producer Scott Silveri (“Perfect Couples,” “Friends”) comes a new series that proves grief can be good. Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle”) and Karey Burke (“Free Agents,” “Miss/Guided”) also serve as executive producers. The pilot was directed by Holland. “Go On” is a production of Universal Television, Dark Toy Entertainment and Silver & Gold Productions.

“The New Normal” — These days, families come in all forms – single dads, double moms, sperm donors, egg donors, one-night-stand donors… It’s 2012 and anything goes. Bryan (Andrew Rannells, “Girls,” “The Book of Mormon”) and David (Justin Bartha, “The Hangover”) are a Beverly Hills couple and they have it all. Well, almost. With successful careers and a committed and loving partnership, the one thing missing is a baby. And just when they think the stars will never align, enter Goldie (Georgia King, “One Day”), an extraordinary young woman with a checkered past. A Midwestern waitress and single mother looking to escape her dead-end life and small-minded grandmother (Ellen Barkin, “Ocean’s Thirteen”), Goldie decides to change everything and move to L.A. with her precocious 8-year-old daughter. Desperate and broke – but also fertile – Goldie quickly becomes the guys’ surrogate and quite possibly the girl of their dreams. Surrogate mother, surrogate family. “The New Normal” is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Ryan Murphy Productions. Murphy serves as creator/executive producer and director along with executive producer/creator/writer Ali Adler (“Glee,” “Chuck”) and executive producer Dante Di Loreto (“Glee,” “American Horror Story”).

“Animal Practice” — Meet Dr. George Coleman (Justin Kirk, “Weeds”), a top-dog New York veterinarian. With an unorthodox style of operating, George’s success comes from his undeniable gift with animals of all kinds. That is, all but the human kind. Dorothy Crane once held the key to George’s heart, but today she also holds the key to the family business as she takes over Crane Animal Hospital. Not only is she George’s new boss, but her romantic history with him and her lack of experience with animals is seriously cramping his style. Dorothy is whip-smart and ambitious, and she’s going to make George pay for the past. Needless to say, he’s determined not to make any changes in his (animal) kingdom — which includes poker games with a resident capuchin monkey. Also starring are Tyler Labine (“Reaper,” “Sons of Tucson”) as Dr. Doug Jackson, a vet who’s great with animals but hapless in matters of the heart, Bobby Lee (“Harold & Kumar”) as Dr. Yamamoto, and newcomer Betsy Sodaro as Angela. “Animal Practice” is a production of Universal Television and American Work Inc. The executive producers are Scot Armstrong (“The Hangover Part II,” “Old School”) and Ravi Nandan (“Best Friends Forever”) of American Work Inc. (“Best Friends Forever”) along with Emmy Award winners Joe & Anthony Russo (“Community,” “Arrested Development”). “Animal Practice” was written by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka (“The Sitter”), who also serve as executive producers. Gail Lerner (“Happy Endings”) also is an executive producer. Directed by the Emmy-winning Russo brothers, “Animal Practice” is a comedy where the animals are running the asylum.

“Guys with Kids” — From Emmy winner and executive producer Jimmy Fallon comes a new comedy about three thirty-something dads trying to hold on to their youth, while holding onto their new babies’ hands. Easy, right? Thankfully, Chris (Jesse Bradford, “The West Wing”), Nick (Zach Cregger, “Friends with Benefits”) and Gary (Anthony Anderson, “Law & Order”) have each other to help navigate their survival as new dads, while still trying desperately to remain dudes. Balancing work or staying at home, painfully married or happily divorced, they know that taking care of the little ones while maintaining a social life is a daily challenge. Whether it’s hosing the little squirt down in the kitchen sink or hitting the bar strapped with a baby björn, these guys are on a roller-coaster adventure – parenting like you (and they) have never seen before. Also starring are Jamie Lynn Sigler (“The Sopranos”) and Tempestt Bledsoe (“The Cosby Show”). Someone once said it is much easier to become a father than to be one. These three guys are about to find out just how true that is. “Guys with Kids” is produced by Universal Television and Holiday Road. Fallon (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”) serves as executive producer/creator along with executive producer/creator/writer Charlie Grandy (NBC’s “The Office”) and executive producer/creator Amy Ozols (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”) as well as executive producers Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz (“Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place,” “American Dad”). Emmy-nominated director Scott Ellis (“Modern Family,” “30 Rock”) is the director.

“Save Me” — Welcome to the Midwestern suburbs, where exciting things never happen. Well, almost never. After a near-death experience (choking on a hero sandwich), Beth (Emmy nominee Anne Heche, “Hung”) is revived only to realize she now has a direct line to God. Of course, her husband Tom (Michael Landes, “Final Destination 2″) is skeptical and dismissive – and his mistress (Alexandra Breckenridge, “American Horror Story”) is stunned to learn that her lover’s wife is now a prophet! But when inexplicable things begin to happen, everyone’s beliefs are tested. Beth starts to say and do things that shock her family and entrance her friends, but she isn’t going to be your typical “fire and brimstone” prophet. Let’s just say, if God had a desperate housewife as His mouthpiece, Beth would be it! She is the absolute last person on Earth who would be chosen. Then again, they say He works in mysterious ways. And this one is a real mystery! Heather Burns (“Bored to Death”) and Madison Davenport (“Shameless”) also star. “Save Me” is produced by Sony Pictures Television and Original Film. Novelist John Scott Shepherd (“Henry’s List of Wrongs,” “The Days”) is executive producer/creator along with executive producer/director Scott Winant (“Breaking Bad,” “True Blood,” “Californication”) and executive producers Neal H. Moritz (“The Big C,” “Prison Break,” “Fast Five”), Vivian Cannon (“The Big C”) and Alexa Junge (“Friends,” “Sex and the City”).

“1600 Penn” — The Gilchrists are just the average American family dealing with all the everyday issues – like a grown kid who’s forced to move back home, children who are smarter than their teachers and a stepmom (Jenna Elfman, “Dharma and Greg”) desperately trying to win over the kids. They’re loving, fun and a little crazy. In other words, just like everybody else. With one exception: they live in a very special house. The White House! Whether it’s entertaining foreign dignitaries, sneaking away for a night out, dealing with middle school crushes or putting out fires – figuratively and sometimes literally – there’s never a dull moment in the Gilchrist White House. For example, the First Son (Josh Gad, star of Broadway sensation “The Book of Mormon”) is one of the administration’s biggest liabilities, but also the glue that holds this family together. The President (Bill Pullman, “Independence Day,” “While You Were Sleeping”) knows too well that the only thing harder than being Head of State is being head of the family. Also starring are Martha MacIsaac (“Superbad”), Andre Holland (“Friends with Benefits”), Amara Miller (“The Descendants”) and Benjamin Stockham (“Sons of Tucson”). “Modern Family” meets “The West Wing” in this election-year comedy from Emmy-winning executive producer/director Jason Winer (“Modern Family”). The executive producers are Winer, Gad and Jon Lovett (former White House speechwriter). Winer also directed the pilot. “1600 Penn” is produced by 20th Century Fox.

“Next Caller” — What happens when a foulmouthed satellite radio DJ – played by the multi-platinum selling artist and outrageously charming Dane Cook (“My Best Friend’s Girl”) – is forced to share the mic with a chipper NPR feminist? It’s anyone’s call in this sharp new comedy from producer Stephen Falk (“Weeds”) and Emmy-winning director Marc Buckland (“Grimm,” “My Name Is Earl”). It’s her first day in New York City, and 26-year-old Stella Hoobler (Collette Wolfe, “Young Adult”) is ready to take on the world. After a stint on public radio, she’s been hired to co-host the no-holds-barred show “Booty Calls with Cam Dunne.” Smart, spunky and passionate, Stella is determined to elevate the show beyond its boy’s-club-locker-room humor into a respected debate about men, women and the state of human relationships. But there’s a problem: Cam! She’s going to find out the hard way that he’s got no intention of sharing the spotlight, especially with someone like her. It’s going to be a tense fight, but with the station’s one rule being “make some noise,” Cam and Stella could be a winning combination – as long as they don’t knock each other out on their way to success. Jeffrey Tambor (“Arrested Development”), Joy Osmanski (“True Jackson, VP”) and Wolé Parks (“Premium Rush”) also star. The series is created and executive-produced by Stephen Falk (“Weeds”) and directed by Emmy Award-winning director Marc Buckland (“Grimm,” “My Name Is Earl”), who also serves as executive producer on the pilot. “Next Caller” is produced by Lionsgate Television and Universal Television.

NEW DRAMAS

“Revolution” — Our entire way of life depends on electricity. So what would happen if it just stopped working? Well, one day, like a switch turned off, the world is suddenly thrust back into the dark ages. Planes fall from the sky, hospitals shut down, and communication is impossible. And without any modern technology, who can tell us why? Now, 15 years later, life is back to what it once was long before the industrial revolution: families living in quiet cul-de-sacs, and when the sun goes down lanterns and candles are lit. Life is slower and sweeter. Or is it? On the fringes of small farming communities, danger lurks. And a young woman’s life is dramatically changed when a local militia arrives and kills her father, who mysteriously – and unbeknownst to her – had something to do with the blackout. This brutal encounter sets her and two unlikely companions off on a daring coming-of-age journey to find answers about the past in the hopes of reclaiming the future. From director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2″) and the fertile imaginations of J.J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Person of Interest”) and Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”), comes a surprising “what if” action-adventure series, where an unlikely hero will lead the world out of the dark. Literally. The series stars Billy Burke (“The Twilight Saga”), Tracy Spiridakos (“Being Human”), Anna Lise Phillips (“Terra Nova”), Zak Orth (“Romeo + Juliet”), Graham Rogers (“Memphis Beat”), J.D. Pardo (“A Cinderella Story”), Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”), David Lyons (“The Cape”), Maria Howell (“The Blind Side”), Tim Guinee (“Iron Man”) and Andrea Roth (“Rescue Me”). Kripke, Abrams, Favreau and Bryan Burk (“Lost,” “Star Trek”) serve as executive producers. “Revolution” is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions, Kripke Enterprises and Warner Bros. Television. The pilot was directed by Favreau.

“Chicago Fire” — No job is more stressful, dangerous or exhilarating than those of the Firefighters, Rescue Squad and Paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51. These are America’s everyday heroes — the courageous men and women who forge headfirst into danger when everyone else is running the other way. But the enormous responsibilities of the job also take a personal toll. Big reputations and hefty egos, coupled with the pressure to perform and make split-second decisions, are bound to put squad members at odds. When a tragedy claims one of their own, there’s plenty of guilt and blame to go around. In the middle of a divorce, Lt. Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer, “House M.D.”) tries to go about business as usual but can’t help butting heads with the brash Lt. Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney, “The Vampire Diaries”) of the Rescue Squad – and each blames the other for their fallen team member. When it’s “go-time” though, they put aside their differences and put everything on the line for each other. “Chicago Fire” is a look inside one of America’s noblest professions. Also starring are Eamonn Walker (“The Messenger”), Charlie Barnett, (“Law & Order: SVU”), David Eigenberg (“Sex and the City”), Monica Raymund (“The Good Wife”), Lauren German (“Hawaii Five-O”), Teri Reeves (“Three Rivers”) and Merle Dandridge (“Sons of Anarchy”). “Chicago Fire” is produced by Universal Television and Wolf Films. Emmy Award-winning creator/ producer Dick Wolf (“Law & Order” brand), Derek Haas (“3:10 to Yuma”), Michael Brandt (“3:10 to Yuma”), Peter Jankowski (“Law & Order” brand) and Danielle Gelber serve as executive producers. Haas and Brandt wrote the pilot, which was directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (“Homeland”). From renowned Emmy-winning producer Dick Wolf and the writing team behind “3:10 to Yuma” comes an edge-of-your-seat view of a dirty job that often means the difference between life and death.

“Do No Harm” — Dr. Jason Cole (Steven Pasquale, “Rescue Me”) is a highly respected neurosurgeon who has it all – a lucrative career, confident charm, the gift of compassion. But he also has a deep, dark secret. One morning when he wakes up disoriented in a wrecked hotel room amidst several near-naked women he’s never seen before, he knows one thing: it’s happening again. Every night at the same hour, something inside Jason changes, leaving him almost unrecognizable – seductive, devious, borderline sociopathic. This new man is his dangerous alternate personality who goes by the name of ‘Ian Price.’ For years he’s battled Ian, keeping him in check with a powerful experimental sedative. But now his – their – body has developed a resistance to the serum, setting Ian free once again. And to make matters worse, after being suppressed for so long, Ian’s hell-bent on taking revenge on his oppressor. With everyone Jason cares about at risk – patients, friends, coworkers and even the woman he loves – he’s got to stop Ian once and for all. Will they find some common ground, or will they bring each other down? Hell hath no fury like an alter ego scorned. Also starring are Alana De La Garza (“Law & Order”), Mousa Kraish (“Superbad”), Michael Esper (“A Beautiful Mind”), Ruta Gedmintas (“The Borgias”) and Phylicia Rashad (“The Cosby Show”). “Do No Harm” is produced by Universal Television and Traugott Company. The executive producer/writer is David Schulner (“Desperate Housewives,” “The Event”). Peter Traugott (“Ringer”) and Rachel Kaplan (“Ringer”) also are executive producers. Michael Mayer (NBC’s “Smash”) is the co-executive producer and director.

“Infamous” — When wealthy socialite and notorious party girl Vivian Bowers is found dead of an overdose, no one is really surprised. The heiress to the Bowers pharmaceutical empire has been tabloid fodder for years: wild, pretty, privileged… and now dead at the age of 32. But for FBI agent Will Moreno (Laz Alonso, “Avatar”), things don’t add up with this suspicious dynasty. Convinced that the troubled girl’s death was a homicide, he has a clever plan to get to the truth. Her name is Detective Joanna Locasto (Meagan Good, “Think Like a Man”). Twenty years ago she was Vivian’s best friend and practically grew up inside the Bowers’ home. And when she appears at Vivian’s funeral, the family re-embraces her and no one is the wiser. Joanna quickly begins to uncover dark secrets and clues about why Vivian’s life was very much in danger. At the same time, she rekindles an old romantic relationship and rediscovers the allure of the luxurious lifestyle she once knew. She’s about to see once again just how the other half lives… and dies. Also starring are Victor Garber (“Alias”), Tate Donovan (“Damages”), Katherine La Nasa (“Alfie”), Neil Jackson (“Quantum of Solace”) and Ella Rae Peck (“Gossip Girl”). “Infamous” comes from executive producer/writer Liz Heldens (“Friday Night Lights”) and director Peter Horton (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Dirty Sexy Money”). Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein are also executive producers. The series is from Universal Television and BermanBraun.

“Hannibal” — One of the most fascinating literary characters comes to life on television for the first time: psychiatrist-turned-serial-killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. In this new drama from Bryan Fuller (“Pushing Daisies,” “Heroes”), based on the characters from Thomas Harris’ classic novels, we see where this incredible story began. Will Graham (Hugh Dancy, “The Big C”) is a gifted criminal profiler who is on the hunt for a serial killer with the FBI. Graham’s unique way of thinking gives him the astonishing ability to empathize with anyone – even psychopaths. He seems to know what makes them tick. But when the mind of the twisted killer he’s pursuing is too complicated for even Will to comprehend, he enlists the help of Dr. Lecter, one of the premier psychiatric minds in the country. Armed with the uncanny expertise of the brilliant doctor, Will and Hannibal (known as a serial killer only to the audience) form a brilliant partnership and it seems there’s no villain they can’t catch. If Will only knew… Fuller is writer and executive producer. Martha De Laurentis (“Red Dragon,” “Hannibal”), Sara Colleton (“Dexter”), Jesse Alexander (“Lost”, “Heroes”), and Katie O’Connell also serve as executive producers. David Slade is the director/executive producer for the series pilot. “Hannibal” is produced by Gaumont International Television.

NEW ALTERNATIVE SHOWS

“Stars Earn Stripes” – The TV cop who wants to prove he can handle a gun in real life. The athlete making the transition from field to battlefield. The performer who wants to show how well she can perform under a different kind of pressure. In this fierce, entertaining and emotionally charged new competition honoring America’s armed forces, nine celebrities will gather at a secret training facility where they will be challenged to execute complicated missions inspired by real military exercises. From helicopter drops into treacherous locations to long range weapons fire, these stars will be tested physically, mentally and emotionally – and emerge in awe of the men and women who do such tasks on behalf of our country every day. From executive producers Dick Wolf (“Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU”), Mark Burnett (“The Voice,” “Survivor”) and David A. Hurwitz (“Fear Factor”), this extraordinary show will donate money raised through the competition to veterans’ charities. Committed to hiring recent vets onto the crew, “Stars Earn Stripes” hopes to inspire other employers throughout the country to make similar commitments to our returning heroes, not to mention proving how impossible their service missions really are. The series is a production of Universal Television, One Three Television, LLC, Wolf Reality, LLC and Bill’s Market & Television Productions.

“Howie Mandel’s White Elephant” — From Howie Mandel (“America’s Got Talent”) comes an exciting new game show based on one of the most wildly popular holiday party games in America. A contestant selects a box from a studio full of unmarked packages containing millions of dollars in prizes, showing what’s inside to the others. Then, the next player is faced with a potentially life-changing dilemma: do they steal a prize that has already been revealed, or do they take a chance with another unopened box, hoping what’s inside is worth more? But that’s just the beginning. When there are only two contestants left, Howie will reveal what’s inside the boxes and give the players a choice: share… or steal. If both players choose to share, they will each keep the prizes they have won in the prior rounds. If one player shares and the other steals, the player that chose to steal will go home with all the prizes. But if both choose to steal, they both go home with nothing! The stakes are insanely high as each contestant grapples with the choice of a lifetime… and the white elephant in the room. “Howie Mandel’s White Elephant” is from Universal Television and Alevy Productions. Mandel and Mike Marks are the executive producers.

“Ready for Love” — What does it take to find your soul mate? Well, producer Eva Longoria (“Desperate Housewives”) is inviting every eligible woman in America to participate in an innovative and dramatic new dating competition to find out how easy it can be. She has hand-selected three impossibly handsome grooms and enlisted the three best Matchmakers in the world to find them life partners. Let the dating begin! The show kicks off with mass auditions screened by the Matchmakers, and then launches into a romantic journey that will combine the best elements of in-studio competition and story-based reality. Each week, the contestants will be whittled down until the dramatic finale, when the three “grooms” and final three “brides” decide if they’ll get engaged, married or simply live happily ever after… because they’re all Ready for Love! Bill Rancic (“Giuliana and Bill”) and Giuliana DePandi-Rancic (“Giuliana and Bill,” “Fashion Police”) are the hosts. “Ready for Love” is produced by Renegade 83, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment and Universal Television. Longoria, Jason Ehrlich (“The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette”), Greg Goldman (“Secret Millionaire,” “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!”), David Garfinkle (“Blind Date,” “The 5th Wheel”) and Jay Renfroe (“Blind Date,” “The 5th Wheel”) serve as executive producers.

“Surprise With Jenny McCarthy” – Actress, comedienne and best-selling author Jenny McCarthy hosts “Surprise With Jenny McCarthy,” a unique variety show that will treat the audience to a funny, irreverent and heart-warming television experience that centers around giving people surprises of a lifetime. “Surprise With Jenny McCarthy” will spotlight multiple surprises within the one-hour episode — from dramatic reunions to surprise announcements to good-natured pranks with fantastic feel-good twists. And, whether the surprise is an emotional roller coaster, a heartfelt thank-you, a hero’s reward or a slightly devilish prank with a happy ending, viewers get a chance to know the true stories of the people involved, which makes the payoffs all the more meaningful. As ringleader, cheerleader, head instigator and mistress of ceremonies, McCarthy helps pull off all kinds of incredible surprises on people from all walks of life. Funny, touching, engaging, exciting and always unpredictable, “Surprise With Jenny McCarthy” will keep viewers laughing, crying and on the edge of their seats. Arthur Smith (“Hell’s Kitchen,” “Kitchen Nightmares”) and Paul Buccieri are executive producers of the presentation from A. Smith & Co. and ITV Studios.

The Broadcast-Over-The-Web War Gets Serious

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

All of the major TV broadcasters hate the idea of bypassing televisions, but some of their local affiliates love the idea.
All major TV broadcasters have joined forces to fight Aereo, “an upstart company backed by Barry Diller that seeks to distribute stations online to paying customers,” as Hollywood Reporter describes. If Aereo successfully fends off the lawsuits, then Aero will retransmit broadcast programming online (and charge for it) without paying retransmission fees.

Broadcasters see it as a slippery slope. As Matt Bond, executive vp content distribution at NBCUniversal, told a New York federal court on Wednesday, it makes no sense for cable systems or satellite broadcasters to pay for NBCU content: They need only follow the Aereo example and snag it for free. (Aero uses an individual antenna to do so.) Bonds declared that "I know for a fact that cable companies have already considered such a model." Bonds and his opposite numbers at rival networks foresee impaired retransmission negotiations with cable and satellite providers, and lost ad dollars.

At the same time, local station owners are actively working with technology startups that want to broadcast their content to tablets and smartphones, reports USA Today. "It's watching TV in your car or on the train," Colleen Brown, CEO of TV station owner Fisher Communications told USA Today. "There will be a time when consumers don't care how they get TV."
USA Today names Aereo alongside new ventures Syncbak, Dyle and Mobile500 as providing mobile digital TV technology for consumers looking to cut the cable cord.

Mobile500 Alliance is a joint venture of 50 TV station companies (Fisher Communications included, and Brown chairs the alliance), which plans to release an antenna and iOS app this summer to allow iPhone and iPad users to receive local TV broadcast signals. The content will be free, but the antenna will cost $50 to $100.

Thus far,other companies that aimed to deliver TV via Internet  (including Filmon, Ivi.tv and iCravetv) have been blocked by lawsuits: But none was backed by a heavyweight like Barry Diller, or by a consortium like the Mobile500Alliance.
More on this as the story evolves.

Newspaper Sites Competing With In-House and Reader Produced Video

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

Newspaper websites have been weak on the rich media content that attract visitors. But a select few are venturing into over-the-top broadcasting, producing video on par with their TV competitors, reports Diana Marszalek of TVNewsCheck. The websites for the Denver Post, Boston Globe, the Twin Cities’ StarTribune, SeattleTimes and Louisville’s Courier-Journal are all moving into in-house-produced video content. And they are attracting talented journalists, like DenverPost.com’s Anne Herbst, a national Edward R. Murrow award winner.

“The good news from my perspective is that content is king, not the medium any longer,” said Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Chairman Kevin Benz in an interview with TVNewsCheck. That enabled the StarTribune.com, a newspaper website, to win regional Emmy awards. A Boston.com (the Boston Globe website) video series on the late Senator Ted Kennedy was similarly up for a national Emmy.

And content drives traffic: StarTribune.com enjoyed a 297% increase in videos played from April 2011 to April 2012, though the paper did not detail how that translated into dollars. Presumably, it is a strong case-builder for display advertising.

Local papers will not have quite the budgets the manpower or budgets to become ersatz TV stations, but they can meet the trend halfway. Digital First Media last week announced that it would launch 12 new community newsroom projects, to build upon the success of the Newsroom Café launched by the Register Citizen in Torrington, Conn. The Café was an experiment that led to the Register Citizen being named the 2011 Innovator of the Year by the Associated Press Media Editors.

All of its Denver outlets, including The Daily Camera, dailycamera.com, BuffZone.com and BoCoPreps.com in Boulder, Colo., are planning a variety of community engagement approaches, including enabling local residents to upload video they shoot of sporting events, or of recording sessions for local bands in the “Camera Garage studio.”

That content will not have the quality of, for example, a story produced by Herbst for DenverPost.com; it will lean more toward the iReports on CNN.com. But in time, it should be a boon to newspapers that rely in display, search and targeted ads.

Council for Research Excellence To Check Nielsen Accuracy In Local TV

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

There is always that nagging doubt—just how accurate are those Nielsen ratings? The Council for Research Excellence (CRE), a think-tank of senior-level media and advertising professionals, intends to find out. CRE will conduct a three-market study of various audience-measurement methods. CRE’s objective is to improve diary-based TV-audience measurement and in turn improve ratings quality.

The three television markets to be included in the “SQ:L” (for “Sample Quality: Local”) Study are Dallas-Fort Worth, the fifth-largest TV market and a Nielsen local people-meter (LPM) market; Albuquerque-Santa Fe, the 45th-largest TV market and a standard Nielsen-meter market; and Paducah, Kentucky-Cape Girardeau, Missouri-Harrisburg, Illinois -- Nielsen market # 81 and a diary market.

The markets were selected due to varying measurement methodology; varying market size; and divergent characteristics, such as geographical coverage, ethnic make-up, number of over-the-air households and penetration levels of electronic devices. During the standard May 2012 diary measurement, a separate diary sample was selected for Dallas, while identified “non-TV homes” in all three markets will receive a modified diary.

Sampled homes in all markets will be mailed a short questionnaire seeking answers on media equipment ownership and general viewing patterns. Homes identified as not having a television set will be contacted and asked if they have any source of viewing television programming; those saying “yes” will be sent a modified diary in which they will be asked to record what they view and the device used for viewing.

The study, involving the CRE’s Sample Quality, Set-top Box, Local Measurement and Media-related Universe Estimates Committees, marks the CRE’s second study of audience measurement in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Data analysis from a 2009 Universe Estimates Committee study of the market revealed significant differences from the Nielsen sample in ownership of HD sets and DVD players, and an unexpectedly high percentage of non-TV households. That same year, Nielsen garnered considerable bad press when local affiliate stations dropped the services. As Broadcasting & Cable reported, New York-based WKBW Buffalo dropped Nielsen in favor of Media Audit. Sunbeam Television in Miami leveled a lawsuit, claiming Nielsen's Local People Meters "produced defective, wildly inaccurate ratings data which-literally overnight-created havoc in [Miami]." Nielsen responded that it was not unusual for stations to cycle in and out of its services.

“Some of our prior research has helped us realize we have many more questions that need to be answered in order to improve diary sampling,” said Ceril Shagrin, executive vice president of Univision Communications, who serves as chair of the CRE as well as its Sample Quality Committee. “We need to learn whether expanded media-related equipment ownership can be obtained from diary samples, whether return-path data can improve diary measurement, and how much ‘TV program’ viewing is now done – and on what devices -- in what are currently defined as ‘non-TV homes.’

“By making comparisons of diary-based measurement to meter-based measurement and set-top-box information – and conducting specific follow-up studies with non-responding as well as non-TV homes – this effort should provide new insights into responders and non-responders of the address-based sampling diary service,” Shagrin added.

This newest study also marks the second major effort for the CRE’s Sample Quality Committee, formerly known as the Non-Response Bias Committee. Its 2009 study, “Measuring the Unmeasured Viewer,” was the most comprehensive of its kind to determine the impact of non-response on ratings -- revealing more about unmeasured viewers than any prior effort.

Data collected from the new study, conducted with the assistance of Research Triangle Incorporated, will be compared with Nielsen LPM, metered and diary market data in an effort to determine, among other details, the impact on response bias of weighting, adjusting return path or set-meter data, geographic and demographic variables, and ownership of a traditional TV set as well as a land-line phone or cellphone only. Findings from the study are expected to be made available by first quarter 2013.

To date, the CRE has completed several major studies, including the Video Consumer Mapping Study, conducted in 2008, involving in-person, computer-assisted observation of media consumption; a Set-Top Box Study, examining the state of set-top box-based audience research; the landmark Non-Response Bias Study, exploring the impact and correlates of non-response to Nielsen surveys; a study of Media-related Universe Estimates; an initial phase of a Study of User Experience on multiple video screens and formats; and a study of Digital publishers’ handling of user data.