A little more than a year ago, Jordan Levin and his boss Nancy Tellem, both talented ex-network types, were hosting a giant NewFronts event, outlining an aggressive exciting future for the Xbox Entertainment Service.
A little bit after that performance, Microsoft pulled the plug on XBE and then, Tellem and Levin.
Today, the NFL Network named Levin, its first ever Senior Vice President, Chief Content Officer, and that creates some instantly interesting what-ifs. he NFL is more fully embracing its digital future--witness the first exclusively live streamed NFL game with Yahoo this season.
Between the top programming post at the WB and Xbox, Levin started Generate in 2005, one of the first developers for TV and online. That eventually became a part of Defy Media, probably best known now for “Smosh” and handful of other super-successful youth oriented YouTube channels.
One of the few pieces of programming Xbox was able to push out was “Every Street United,” an eight-part series about street soccer worldwide that was produced in time for the FIFA World Cup.
The NFL is also hooked up with Verizon on its mobile side, and coming soon, the in-stadium experience on any given Sunday afternoon is going to be going through some pretty profound mobile advances, it’s pretty clear. So having a content officer who’s not a jock is not an odd move. The NFL is already a huge TV producer; online is next. (And the new job comes with supervision of the Super Bowll halftime show in time for its 50th anniversary.)
PAY UP! Paying talent is an inside profession that most people hear nothing about unless they know an actor, in which case it might be you can’t get them to stop talking about it. That must be especially true for ad talent whose work shows up a lot online.
Today, Massachusetts-based Extreme Reach announced it acquired Talent Partners from Carlyle Group and other investors. That piece should fit in nicely with Extreme, which provides a cloud-based platform for TV and digital advertising, including talent and rights management.
Talent Partners works with advertisers and agencies handling rights actors royalties; last year, the purchase announcement says, it represented more than 1,500 brands and made payments to 750,000 actors and other talent, totaling more than $1 billion. Apparently, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Tim Hale, chief talent officer for Extreme Reach claims more than a third of all digital ads don’t adhere to legal contracts for talents or rights fees--lawsuits waiting to happen, because as the folks at AdBlocker could tell you, there are billions of ad views out there.