Last Sunday, my mother-in-law asked, “What is up with all of the attention those Beckley people are getting?” “Beckley?” I asked. “Yeah, that British couple. There was a big to-do about them in this week’s Parade, and she has some show on t.v.” "Ah. Not Beckley. Beckham," I said.
It’s a hard time to tackle branding if you are a television channel. What with the mishmash of shows, the plethora of “talent,” the multitude of distribution platforms, the unrelenting pressure on retaining audience and the changing media landscape, distinguishing the distributor is a difficult and possibly thankless chore. So many egos and properties, so many fragmented audiences, so little room for a clear, identifiable position. So little opportunity for a relationship with the public.
This week we’ve discussed a few Super Bowl standouts, good and bad. But what of the ads that didn’t make the cut? PETA doesn’t shy away from extreme antics, from flinging paint to flashing skin. This year’s Super Bowl submission was no different. Borrowing a page from Victoria’s Secret, a few of PETA’s leggy veggies turned up the heat and brought some serious steak-free sizzle.
“Tune in at this time” is one of the reasons the top-down, big-media model is struggling. By delaying the airing of the Olympics opening ceremonies, NBC limited its thinking to this old broadcast model and squandered the opportunity to leverage its online assets.
NBC Universal is still trolling for broadcast advertising dollars the old fashioned way. While they claim to be doing something different, their approach is far from innovative. If NBCU wants to avoid extinction, its leaders should think like portfolio managers.
On Thursday night, as millions tuned in to see Carrie Underwood ambitiously take on the role of Maria von Trapp, croon about the hills being alive, and make children's clothing out of drapes in NBC's The Sound of Music Live, DiGiorno Pizza was also watching—and live-tweeted the whole thing. The Nestlé brand's tweets were funny and hilariously pizza-related.
When a plane crashes or a protest turns violent, television crews speed to the scene. But they typically do not arrive for minutes or even hours, so these days photos and videos by amateurs — what the news industry calls “user-generated content” — fill the void.
Russian Vodkas Feeling The Heat. Could Winter Olympic Sponsors Be Next?
The downside is possible brand depreciation, but the upside is extreme relevance created by converting your small, brilliant post into Big Content, which travels across channels to reach your audience with enduring meaning.
Coke, AT&T and GM Are on Board, but USOC Sponsors A-B InBev, Hilton Holding Out
If there's any sign that the media ecosystem is on the verge of dramatic change, then these four digital trends bubbling to the surface are the latest proof points of that. These aren't random trends but are illustrative of tectonic shifts that will change the media business dramatically.
With the network releasing footage of Olympic events hours after they’ve already happened, major news networks are learning they can’t pretend that social media doesn’t exist.
Nobody can deny that the ledgers at NBC are looking mighty nice as of now, yet while the TV performance data has been easily accessible and widely disseminated since Monday, one crucial element appears to be missing: just how are NBC's digital audience numbers are shaping up?
On the heels of a deal with Facebook to promote Olympic conversations on NBC’s Facebook page, the broadcast network today is taking one more step to improve its social standing during the big sports event. It is linking up with Storify, the social-media “story creator”, to put streams of real-time Olympic content, curated by NBC journalists, across Today.com as well as NBC’s 10 owned TV station websites.
Facebook brand timelines went live this morning, and though we've known about these for a while, some of the executions are pretty impressive, including founding documents, early advertising, memos, news clips and photos. It's as if dozens of little corporate museums just launched on Facebook.
You may have noticed something was missing throughout the nation's most social sporting event of the year. The Super Bowl in-game broadcast had zero social media TV integration. With more than a billion people on Facebook and Twitter alone, many of them watching the game, this was a missed opportunity. Why did NBC and the NFL miss the boat?
The economy is faltering and consumers are scared, but you wouldn’t know it by watching television, where advertisers are still pouring in money.
The big question for anyone in television is how to get in front of - rather than be trampled by - the onslaught of seminal change coming from a multitude of places. This year's fall television season unfolds against an increasingly connected world and consumer indifference to how and where they access network fare. Many will access the programs they want to see streaming online from network Web sites and third parties, such as Apple's iTunes.
The media is something that for most, if not all, of our adult lives, we have taken for granted. Media giants form the terra firma of the marketing industry, both its paid and earned disciplines. They provide the lifeblood of services and bring us the audiences we need to do our jobs. However, underneath it all, the harsh reality is that there's a new digital dynamic present today. This will mean that many media companies divide themselves into dozens of smaller independent operating companies if they wish to survive. Many won't.
Cisco Systems is enjoying prominent screen time within news programming on the business-news cable channel CNBC, which is using Cisco's TelePresence videoconferencing technology to snare a wider array of talking heads to discuss on the big stories of the day. Cisco is not paying CNBC to use TelePresence screens on air, according to CNBC and NBC Universal executives; CNBC is actually leasing the equipment for its editorial and technology operations teams.
These ads have been huge viral hits. Old Spice will certainly move a little more product and a short-term boost in sales is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. However, in the long term, is Isaiah Mustafa, the ad's star whos exposure has landed him a production deal with NBC, the only real beneficiary? Maybe worse yet, is Old Spice, by laughing at itself, hurting its brand? Is Old Spice making the age-old advertising mistake of confusing making consumers laugh at your brand with engaging consumers with your brand?
Twitter has banned third party ad networks like Ad.ly, Sponsored Tweets and MyLikes. Like the multilevel marketer who used the pretence of friendship as a recruiting tool, these ad services are all about monetizing personal relationships. Each third party ad network offers a different spin on the same basic business model: you sign up as a sponsored tweeter, and based on the number of people who follow you, you are assigned a price for referring to various advertisers in your tweets. You select from a list of advertisers, and then tweet a link to that advertiser's product, either using your own text or a message that is provided by the advertiser. Your followers click the link, and you get paid.
Today NBC is unveiling a brand new network loyalty program in which social media plays a staring role. Fan It is a social media platform with myNBC (NBC’s online community for fans), Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Foursquare integration that rewards users who promote, interact and discuss NBC shows. The endeavor is a network-wide initiative designed to leverage the presence of show fans on social networks and incentivize them with points for engaging with content — i.e. watching videos on NBC.com, Liking shows, chatting and recruiting friends. Points can be redeemed for goodies like NBC merchandise, show previews, virtual goods, badges and sweepstakes entries.
Foursquare has scored itself another partnership, this time with NBC’s The Today Show. Foursquare users who head to 30 Rock this summer for the Toyota Concert Series on Today will be able to check in, earn badges and compete for mayorships. The Today Show has its own branded Foursquare partner page that you can also visit to get music tips and other assorted information.
Betty White may have a future in television. It was apparent early on that her turn hosting “Saturday Night Live” last week was going to be hugely popular, but when the national results arrived Thursday the adjective had changed: it was an eye-poppingly popular edition of “SNL.” The show attracted 12.1 million viewers, a staggering number on a Saturday night when prime-time network shows have trouble reaching a third as many people — and this number came during hours when television usage is a fraction of what it is in prime time.
As quickly and extensively as the digital media landscape twists and turns in fashioning its future fortunes, so do the executives holding the reins. Speculation has followed Peter Chernin since he left News Corp after serving under Rupert Murdoch as COO. As with many moguls in that stratosphere, there was no rush to join another big company. Having worked with the best in the business, Chernin now wants his own empire to run.
NBC believes baby boomers are a massively underserved market on the Web. With that in mind, the network’s digital division has teamed up with Procter & Gamble Productions to launch Lifegoesstrong.com, a content portal that will serve as a central hub for a series of vertical destinations focused on boomer-oriented topics. Among the channels featured on Lifegoesstrong.com are the family-focused Familygoesstrong, as well as Stylegoesstrong and the Techgoesstrong.
A year ago, as television executives prepared for the 2009-10 season, they suffered double-digit percentage losses in advertising revenue because the economy weakened demand among marketers for commercial time. Now, as those executives get ready for the 2010-11 season, they are optimistic for a rebound in revenue, and higher rates, because demand has improved in recent months.
NBC is returning to a more traditional outreach to woo agencies and advertisers for the 2010-11 season. Hoping to get out of fourth place in primetime viewership, NBC and its NBC Universal family of cable networks is going "back to basics" in its outreach to brand marketers this year, says NBCU president of ad sales Mike Pilot. "For us, it’s a requirement, our big issue in the marketplace is getting NBC primetime back to health,” Pilot tells the New York Times.
After years of touting their own green accomplishments, marketers have a new message for consumers as this year's Earth Day approaches: "It's not us. It's you." The focus of most green advertising has primarily centered on marketers' own products and process changes to reduce waste and environmental impact. But a growing number of marketers are shifting the focus toward consumer behavior, either in their sustainability PR efforts, their advertising or both.
TV viewers by now are accustomed to seeing product placement in their favorite shows. But how will they react upon seeing "program placement" in their commercials?
NBC Universal planted these eco-friendly elements into scripted television shows to influence viewers and help sell ads. The tactic—General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal calls it "behavior placement"—is designed to sway viewers to adopt actions they see modeled in their favorite shows. And it helps sell ads to marketers who want to associate their brands with a feel-good, socially aware show.
Hulu, the popular and free online video hub, has some things to celebrate as it heads into its third year. The site, a venture of NBC Universal, the News Corporation and the Walt Disney Company, has been profitable for two quarters, Jason Kilar, Hulu’s chief executive, said in an interview on Monday. Hulu has successfully brought online TV into the mainstream. And now it appears set to move beyond standard computer screens with an application for Apple’s iPad, four people briefed on its plans said. But there are signs of dissatisfaction in Hulu’s house.
Is a computer terminal like a movie screen? Well, for the past few years, TV networks and other purveyors of TV programs online have tried to display their wares in an environment much like an old movie house: The screen around the video is dark, the lights can be dimmed, and the tableau contains little else to distract you from your snippet of entertainment. But a computer monitor isn't the untouchable silver screen. With that in mind, some media outlets have been slowly mixing in other elements to keep activity-prone online viewers rooted. NBC today is unveiling an online-video viewer placed smack dab in the midst of other interactive content related to the program a fan chooses.
The day when commercials are indistinguishable from the programs they support finally arrived -- just before 10 p.m. Eastern last Thursday night. That's when an ad for Dr Pepper ran after NBC's insider-y sitcom "30 Rock," making use of recurring character Dr. Spaceman, played by comic Chris Parnell. In the spot, which was paired with a more-traditional TV commercial for the soda, Mr. Parnell's fictional medical practitioner decried boredom and told viewers how drinking Dr Pepper could banish it. A few moments later, viewers saw the credits roll for "30 Rock." Staffers from "30 Rock" were not involved in the creation of the commercial, according to a person familiar with the situation.
What do a can of Coke and a package of Pampers have in common with an episode of "Heroes" or "30 Rock"? More than you might think. All are products that need to be marketed and sold. Indeed, the people who produce, package and promote TV programming have a tougher job, in some respects, than others -- their product airs only at a certain time or for a specified duration. So they have to amass as large a viewing population as possible, or miss out on a great chance to have people sample their wares.
The seemingly continuous commercials during the coverage of the Winter Games on the networks of NBC Universal gave a new meaning to the term “snow job.” It was as if every spot showed snow, or ice, or both, in which skiers, skaters and snowboarders cavorted. That made it difficult for ad-weary, ad-bleary viewers to distinguish the commercials from the actual coverage of the Vancouver Olympics. Perhaps that was the sponsors’ fiendish intent: to perpetrate the ultimate blurring of the line between advertising and content.
Since the Vancouver Winter Games began on Feb. 12, the networks of NBC Universal have presented hundreds of hours of coverage — and thousands of commercials. Here is a look at some of the highlights, sidelights and lowlights of the spots so far.
Let us put aside for a moment the rah-rah, "Go Team USA" focus of the NBC coverage that often bugs viewers who would like a more global view of the Olympics. Let us also set aside sport-specific beefs, like the way Scott Hamilton's groaning has gotten completely out of hand when he's calling figure skating, or the way the curling announcers make it sound like only a three-year-old wouldn't know precisely how to win every single game with ease, because they certainly could. The mere structure of the NBC coverage has left a great deal to be desired this time around, and it came to a head last night when they shuffled the much-anticipated USA-Canada hockey game off to MSNBC, in part to use NBC as a showcase for probably the least anticipated of the figure skating events: ice dancing.
NBC Universal’s television coverage of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver this month is exhaustive, as viewers have come to expect. But its Web coverage, at least when compared with the Summer Games in Beijing 18 months ago, is limited. NBC’s Web site is live-streaming fewer sports than it did in Beijing, marking a step backward in online access to marquee events. The company is making no secret that it would prefer for viewers to watch the Olympics on television, especially in prime time, even though a growing number of people are accustomed to watching TV on the Internet.
NBC calls it "the world's biggest focus group." With an estimated 185 million unique viewers over a 17-day period, the Olympic Games provide a special audience microcosm, and one that NBC believes will be particularly useful for measuring new-media consumption habits and trends. NBC touts all the different platforms it is bringing to bear for the Games, which began Friday in Vancouver. Viewers can watch on the network, NBC Universal's many cable channels and NBCOlympics.com. They can download clips to their iPhones and receive mobile updates on a favorite skier or figure skater.
NBC has embraced a novel twist on the user-generated content phenomenon: it plans to broadcast more than a month's worth of athlete generated content, or "AGC," via Vancouver Olympics programming over its cable stations and web sites. I can't help but think such a decision comes from the same ideology that gave us a Jay Leno comedy show in primetime: unscripted programming is cheaper to produce than scripted entertainment, while ad rates are determined by viewing eyeballs, so the profit margin is potentially higher for shows that are even marginally based on reality. And since NBC paid $2 billion just for the rights to broadcast the 2010 and 2012 Olympics, it has every incentive to repurpose that AGC wherever and whenever it can.
House Democrats challenged executives from the cable television company Comcast and the television network NBC Universal on Thursday to show that Comcast’s plan to take control of the NBC media empire would not hurt consumers and rivals. In a hearing, members of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee expressed concerns that the transaction could lead to a range of competitive harms, including higher cable TV rates and fewer video programming choices.
NBC Universal likely won't turn a profit off its broadcast of the Winter Olympics this year, but it hopes the research it performs on the event's massive audience might generate additional ad revenue in the days and months after the last gold-medal hockey skate has left the ice. The media giant, in the midst of parent General Electric's transfer of majority ownership to Comcast Corp., intends to ratchet up its examination of Olympics viewers' media-consumption habits, building off a big test it performed during the 2008 Summer Olympics broadcast from Beijing.
When Time Warner Cable was tussling over fees with the News Corporation, it did something that would have been unthinkable in the backrooms where deals were once struck: it hired a political consultant to mount a public campaign against its own client.
NBC has mopped up its late-night mess. The network now faces a more challenging task: rebuilding its evening hours after years of cost cuts and creative missteps. NBC executives are saying they plan to spend at least 30% more than last year to develop TV series for the fall, and 20% more to market the shows, although they didn't attach a dollar figure to the estimate. The General Electric Co. network, which has seen its ratings and profit slide since 2005, is working on 18 to 20 pilot episodes for new shows, up from 11 last spring.
Conan O'Brien's exit from NBC may allow the Fox network to jump back into late-night television. But first Fox has to sell the idea to its corporate brass and to the managers of the 205 Fox stations, some of whom have reservations. Fox has been mulling a late-night talk show with Mr. O'Brien, who is likely to host his last episode of "The Tonight Show" on Friday after a dispute with NBC over plans to push back the show's air time by half an hour. Fox has said it won't broach the subject in earnest until Mr. O'Brien leaves NBC, which is finalizing the terms of the comedian's departure.
The Winter Olympics start in 23 days, and NBC expects to lose $200 million on them. But it didn’t have to be that way — even with an economy that has shredded NBC’s advertising assumptions. In June 2003, executives from NBC, ESPN and Fox gathered at the International Olympic Committee’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, to bid for the television rights to the 2010 Winter Games, which had not yet been awarded to Vancouver, and the 2012 Summer Games, which would be given to London.
Jay Leno on his show Monday night addressed the issue between NBC, Mr. Leno and Conan O’Brien and said “we should have an answer tomorrow” about whether he is going to return to the 11:35 p.m. time slot. Mr. Leno described the series of events that led to his situation; they began in 2004 when, he said, an NBC executive came to his office and said the network wanted him to step down from “The Tonight Show” in five years even though he was still first in the ratings at that time.
Conan O'Brien is close to signing a nearly $40 million deal to walk away from his dream job hosting NBC's "The Tonight Show," bringing down the curtain on one of the entertainment industry's biggest debacles in years. The comedian's exit agreement, which could be completed as early as Tuesday, bars Mr. O'Brien from bad-mouthing his former NBC bosses, according to people familiar with the matter, but paves the way for him to land another television gig within a year.
In spite of what you may have read, Jeff Zucker, the chief executive of NBC Universal, didn’t kill “The Tonight Show,” and neither did Jay Leno. And as much as NBC would like you to think it, Conan O’Brien didn’t do in the show with his bare hands either. The people who are responsible? That would be you and me.
At its height, NBC was the very model of what a television network should be. With iconic programming, enviable ratings and spectacular business success, the peacock network delivered plenty of laughs along the way with “The Cosby Show,” “Seinfeld” and “Friends.” Nobody is laughing anymore. Today the network is in shambles, brought down not just by the challenges facing broadcast television — fragmenting audiences, an advertising downturn — but also by a series of executive missteps that have made its prime-time lineup a perennial loser and, most recently, turned its late night programming schedule into a media circus that threatens the lucrative “Tonight Show” franchise.
The NBC network is finally getting the late-night ratings it has craved for so long. In fact, ratings for the "Tonight Show" are up almost 100 percent. Too bad this boost is coming at the expense of the network itself. The "Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien is airing his grievances with NBC on-air. How much more can "the peacock" take before the broadcast brand suffers irreparable harm?
Conan O'Brien, the host of "The Tonight Show," rejected NBC's effort to effectively demote him, casting doubt over his future at the General Electric Co. network. Mr. O'Brien indicated Tuesday he won't participate in NBC's plans to move "The Tonight Show" a half hour later to accommodate "The Jay Leno Show" at 11:35 p.m. Eastern time. Mr. O'Brien and his advisers have been mulling their options
Faced with the failure of the biggest recent gamble in television, NBC is shuffling its late-night deck one more time. The network has a plan in the works to restore Jay Leno to his old spot at 11:35 each weeknight for a half-hour, while pushing the man who replaced him, Conan O’Brien, to a starting time of 12:05 a.m. Mr. O’Brien would then have a full hour.
NBC has joined the immortals of marketing stupidity. This year the molting peacock network and president Jeff “Have They Fired Me Yet?” Zucker decided to turn five of the primest pieces of prime-time real estate — the hour between 10 and 11 PM from Monday through Friday — into the Jay Leno hour. The result? A 28% drop in viewership (through mid-November). This has not only killed network revenues but done in affiliates who have no lead-in for their late news casts.
Weighed down by lackluster programming and declining ratings, NBC has been a problem for many different people: programming honchos Kevin Reilly and Ben Silverman; NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker; GE chief Jeff Immelt; and even one-time top-rated late-night comic Jay Leno. Now the hot potato is soon to be passed to Comcast -- which, oddly enough, doesn't see the broadcast network as a burden at all.
From Studio 6B at 30 Rockefeller Center, NBC brought Milton Berle, Jack Parr and Johnny Carson into the nation’s living rooms, then broadcast local news to New York City for decades. Last Thursday, it was a stage for a cable takeover as Comcast announced a plan to acquire NBC Universal. There, in Studio 6B, a town hall meeting for NBC employees opened with Jeff Zucker, the NBC Universal chief executive, introducing “our new friends from Philadelphia,” and closed with a formal welcome to the Comcast family by Ralph Roberts, the cable operator’s 89-year-old patriarch. Mr. Roberts received a standing ovation. For employees of the oldest and most storied part of NBC Universal, the broadcast network, one question lingered: will we fit into this cable family?
Comcast Corp.'s deal to take control of NBC Universal from General Electric Co. will create a television and movie giant that faces challenges in an uncertain media business and a lengthy review from regulators. Comcast, which is paying $13.75 billion in cash and assets, gains 51% of a joint venture that will own two broadcast networks, more than a dozen cable networks, a major movie studio and theme parks. As part of the deal, Vivendi SA agreed to sell its 20% stake in NBC Universal to GE for $5.8 billion.
“You’re going to have a television if I have to nail it to your wall,” she told her daughter, according to comments she made at a Reuters event this week. “You have to have one.” But she does not, actually. For 60 years, TV could be watched only one way: through the television set. Now, though, millions watch shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” on demand and online on network Web sites like Ms. Sweeney’s ABC.com and on the Internet’s most popular streaming hub, Hulu.com.
Comcast has sealed an agreement to take control of NBC Universal from General Electric in a deal valuing the media property at $30bn that will create one of America’s largest media companies. The top US cable operator will contribute its collection of cable properties including E!, Versus and a portfolio of regional sports television networks worth $7.25bn to a joint venture that features America’s oldest television network and a roster of the most popular cable channels including USA Network, CNBC and Bravo. The deal runs against recent media industry trends in splitting apart content creation and distribution that has inspired decades of deal-making, but failed to generate more value combined than apart.
For years, competitors have tried to challenge ESPN. Their efforts failed or never advanced beyond big talk. Comcast’s impending acquisition of NBC Universal will certainly set off an effort to turn Versus into a viable alternative, if not a full-fledged competitor, to ESPN. Under Comcast’s ownership, Versus has transformed from the Outdoor Life Network to OLN, then, in 2006, into its current incarnation.
Since its launch in late 2007, Hulu has pretty much defined the Old Media vision of video on the Web. Each month the site's 1,700-title catalog of TV shows and movies attracts nearly 40 million viewers—people who will endure a couple of commercials per sitcom (vs. eight or more on TV) in exchange for the luxury of being able to watch a show for free, just one day after it airs on network TV. Those days may now be coming to an end. NBC, Fox, and ABC, the broadcasters that control Hulu, are warming to the idea of charging for at least some content.
General Electric has reached a tentative agreement that clears the way for the sale of NBC Universal, including the flagship NBC network, to Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, people briefed on the deal said Monday. Under terms of the deal, G.E. will buy Vivendi’s 20 percent stake in NBC Universal for about $5.8 billion. It removes one of the few remaining hurdles in its plan to sell control of the television and movie company to Comcast in a $30 billion agreement that reflects the changing landscape of broadcast television.
Jennie Garth of “Beverly Hills 90210” fame has a new series. But don’t look for it on a broadcast network or a cable channel. Likewise, Candace Bushnell of “Sex and the City” and “Lipstick Jungle” is back at work in the video realm. But her new show cannot be found on ABC, CBS, Lifetime, Oxygen or TNT. Those actors and many more are finding new ways to stay in the public eye in the form of Web series, also known as webisodes. Almost all such Web series are being created specifically for advertisers, borrowing a strategy from the early days of radio and television when shows like “The Kraft Music Hall,” “The Bell Telephone Hour,” “Lux Radio Theater” and “Schlitz Playhouse of Stars” entertained Americans while selling cheese, phone service, soap and beer.
Hulu is starting to show signs of why it’s not easy to run a joint venture between competitors. Recently, the popular video site’s various parents have sent mixed messages about Hulu’s future business model -- and whether or not it will erect some sort of paid subscription wall. Now, reports are bubbling up about an increasing level of discord between Hulu’s own ad sales staff and the staffs of each of the site’s broadcast partners: ABC, NBC and Fox.
This week Microsoft pulled the plug on plans to sponsor a half-hour variety show produced by Seth MacFarlane, creator of the Fox comedy Family Guy. The idea was to promote its latest operating system, Windows 7, on what was tentatively called Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show, without commercial interruption. But after attending an Oct. 16 taping, and feeling the brunt of its characteristic off-color humor, Microsoft execs got cold feet. "It became clear that the content was not a fit with the Windows brand," says a Microsoft spokesperson, who won't disclose details about the nature of the sponsorship. Fox still plans to run the show, but with another, as yet unnamed, sponsor.
Hulu has shot down reports that it planned to start charging users, at least for the majority of its content. News Corp deputy chairman Chase Carey (shown) was quoted at a conference today saying the video service would be charging users in 2010, though "some" content would remain free. News Corp is a part owner of Hulu. "I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value," Carey was quoted as saying by Broadcasting & Cable. A Hulu rep said the company's strategy of offering high-quality content supported by advertising remains unchanged, while leaving the door to adding paid content.
Even for Hollywood, where long odds and high stakes are staples of storytelling, the plotline is a doozy: A couple of old business rivals facing the threat of a lifetime agree to put aside their differences and join forces on a half-baked experiment that makes them laughingstocks. (We're thinking Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty.) And who do they put in charge? A young guy, a newbie to the biz. He promptly cleans house and hires an even younger guy who's halfway around the globe. These renegades throw out the rule book -- and they pull it off. Their idea kills. The naysayers feast on crow. This pitch meeting would not end well. Cue Ari Gold: Nobody'll believe it, not in a million years. Are you nuts? Get the %*#$ out of my office! Yet this is the tale of Jason Kilar and a company called Hulu, costarring the heads of NBC and Fox, with guest appearances by Andy Samberg, Tina Fey, Jeff Bezos, and Walt Disney.
Twitter's effectiveness as a marketing tool is still up for debate -- but don't tell that to Homer Simpson or Jay Leno. Along with dozens of other TV characters and personalities on a variety of networks, their shows are being actively promoted on the short-form chat network, part of a drive by the major broadcasters to generate awareness and buzz for their new fall schedules.
Why were so many people in the technology world wrong about Hulu? It was an idea that seemed like a relic of the worst excesses of the dot-com era: a portal for content run by a joint venture of media companies. Could any venture have more going against it?
In another sign of how hard television executives are working to attract advertising in tough times, two cable channels plan to significantly expand an initiative that pairs commercials with relevant scenes in the shows they interrupt.
Hulu, the online TV service launched two years ago by Fox and NBC, has enjoyed incredible success with viewers — too much, it may turn out.
Brains! That must be the secret to Hulu rocketing up to being the fourth largest video site in the U.S. in February, right? That's what Alec Baldwin told us in this creative Super Bowl ad, which may also have had something to do with the video site's healthy traffic bump last month. Of course, it could have been the high-quality content--from Fox and NBC, as well as TV shows and movies from more than 120 sources, from the Food Network to Paramount Pictures.
Why does the TV industry need to keep Web video off your big-screen TV? Not because it hates technology. But because it hasn't figured out how to make money off Web video yet -- and needs you to keep watching TV on your TV.
After several delays, executives at NBC Universal and WNBC-4 are at last on the verge of launching their 24 hour, 7-day-a-week “hyper-local” digital news channel in New York, The Observer has learned.
When NBC Universal and News Corp. created Hulu, they gave the video portal a valuable but short-term asset: exclusive rights to distribute NBC and Fox shows outside of the media giants' own websites. From that base of content, Hulu.com has become the fourth-biggest online video distributor by unique visitors in January, behind YouTube, Yahoo and MySpace, according to the latest from Nielsen VideoCensus.
Around the same time NBC announced that Jay Leno, instead of decamping to do late-night comedy for ABC, would remain at NBC and move to a 10p.m., Monday-through-Friday slot, the creator of the network’s fading hit series Heroes took a public swan dive into hard concrete.
In the spring of 2007 Jason Kilar was trying to beef up the video offerings of his employer, Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, when he got a call from a headhunting firm. Would he consider running Hulu, a new joint venture by two “old media” giants, NBC Universal and News Corp? The idea was to enter the confusing online-video market by starting a service from scratch—and doing it properly. Mr Kilar said yes.
Millions of Super Bowl viewers who read about Miller High Life's one-second Super Bowl ads but didn't see them during the game probably assumed they simply missed them because they were grabbing a beer in the bathroom -- or blinking. But the real reason many viewers -- including those in major markets such as Chicago, Los Angeles and New York -- missed the fleeting image of Miller spokesman Windell Middlebrooks quickly shouting "High Life" is because NBC, which aired the game Feb. 1, issued a directive to its owned-and-operated station affiliates not to run the local spots from the value-oriented beer brand.
Live from New York, it's ... the latest upstart ad agency? Madison Avenue is known for a litany of storied acronyms, such as BBDO and DDB. But is advertising's hallowed capital ready for another pair of familiar but eyebrow-raising initials: NBC and SNL? And could a show producer such as Lorne Michaels become the next sought-after creative director?
Most marketers looking to get their messages out by using NBC's popular morning-news program, "Today," figure they'll need to spend tens of thousands of dollars for a 30-second spot. And yet Taylor Larouche and her pals were able to snag much more time than that -- for free.
Despite the mostly weak display of conceptual and copywriting prowess (if you can call it that) that was this year's crop of Super Bowl ads, one ad that stood out in the mind of this creative director as being particularly useless was the Alec Baldwin shill for NBC/FOX's Hulu online video platform. What a lost opportunity.
Yes, Virginia, and the other 49 states, there is a Super Bowl on Sunday, despite the awful economy. And it appears that NBC will be able to sell all 33 ½ minutes of commercial time at a record price estimated to average $3 million for each 30-second spot. Still, the uncertainties of this challenging year are manifesting themselves in the days before Super Bowl XLIII as advertisers think, rethink — and rethink again — what they intend to do.
Bridgestone America, official tire sponsor of Super Bowl XLIII, will continue the humorous approach to promoting the stopping power of its Bridgestone tires for its Super Bowl ads. The Nashville, Tenn.-based tire company, which advertised during the Super Bowl last year, will run two 30-second TV spots during NBC's broadcast of the game.
Here's something that just came into my inbox, and presumably the inboxes of the rest of the digital-media press corps: an e-mail from the media team at Hulu, the joint video venture between NBC Universal and News Corp., announcing that the company will be running an ad during Sunday's Super Bowl XLIII. It sounds like Hulu is really hoping to make a splash along the lines of Apple's landmark "1984" ad that aired 25 years ago.
NBC said 90% of Super Bowl ads have been sold -- most at an all-time high price of $3 million per 30-second spot -- but some will reflect the tough economic environment.
Although the term “grand slam” is associated with baseball rather than football, the restaurant chain that sells the Grand Slam breakfast — Denny’s — is becoming a Super Bowl advertiser for the first time.
The principals of the latest marketing agency: Maria Bartiromo, Meredith Vieira, Tori Spelling and Susan Lyne. They, along with 22 other estimable names, including Ogilvy & Mather Chairman-CEO Shelly Lazarus, aren't forming an agency in the traditional sense, but will be part of a "panel" offering marketing and general business advice to NBC Universal and its clients on how to reach women.
Nearly three months ago, coming off the fabulous ratings success of the Olympics, the Peacock boldly asserted that it could get as much as $3 million for a 30-second spot in the Super Bowl. The strategy largely worked: NBC said in mid-September that it had already sold more than 80% of its spots in the big game. Now that the economy has taken a drastic turn for the worse, the network may have to change its strategy to unload the remaining inventory.
NBC's flagship station WNBC is undergoing a stem-to-stern transformation that aims to turn it from a local affiliate into a "content center" reaching web sites, taxis, grocery stores and hospitals.
Glowing press reviews of NBC Universal and News Corp's joint-venture Internet video Web site, Hulu.com, now promise even better news. With some $70 million in total revenues -- virtually all advertising revenues -- Hulu's numbers are getting close to, dare we say, YouTube.