Leaders & Bleeders: Pitbull Up, Glenn Beck Down

Be thankful if you're not in Philadelphia today. There's enough doom and gloom out there.

A woe-is-us attitude is surely pervasive. On paper, Philly offers the top teams in Major League Baseball and the NFL, but they both could be on the verge of major collapses.

The Phillies, a favorite to win the World Series, have now lost home-field advantage in the playoffs and the NFL's Eagles are 1-3 and in last place.

There is some good news: the NBA lockout will prevent the Sixers from struggling anytime soon.

Anyway, it's time for this month's Leaders & Bleeders:


1) PITBULL - As Hispanic audiences become more important for advertisers, the multi-talented musician is turning into one of Madison Avenue's most-coveted endorsers with his multicultural appeal. The Cuban-American began starring in a Dr. Pepper campaign targeting Hispanics earlier this year, which recently was rolled out to the general market. Now, he's headlining a Bud Light effort aimed at multiple audiences. A Dr. Pepper spokesman said his "crossover appeal" is a boon, and the company doesn't mind Pitbull persuading you to have a Pepper with lunch and a Bud Light later.



2) AMAZON - With Netflix in flux (officially known as Netflux), Amazon could mount a challenge in the online streaming world. A new deal gives it access to some 2,000 TV episodes and films from Twentieth Century Fox, which goes with an arrangement with CBS (similar to one Netflix has). Meanwhile, with its cheaper price, its new Kindle Fire tablet could attract customers on the fence about getting an iPad and open opportunities for exclusive content deals.

3) THIRSTY MEDIA AGENCIES - Anheuser-Busch will keep its in-house media group, but agencies have a golden chance to get a piece of the action. A-B is looking for an agency to help with research and planning, Ad Age reports. Who knows where a foot in the door might lead? Also in Ad Age, a top A-B executive laid out a vision for a successful 21st century agency, which mission statements should be drawn from: "someone who's exposed to other categories, other innovative thinking, new technology, new tools." 

4) DIRECTV - Indications continue to be that as cable operators lose video subscribers, DirecTV is finding a way to gain them. Its coming Nomad product will allow a customer to transfer DVR content to a mobile device, which could be a breakthrough. Downside: blue-chip endorser Peyton Manning likely out for the season.

5) CBS SPORTS - Production of SEC college football broadcasts continues to be outstanding. As a result, CBS deserves some credit for helping make the league the best in the country over the past decade. Of course, it's paying for its own success with huge rights fees. CBS might get its money's worth Nov. 5 with coverage of LSU vs. Alabama, likely the country's top-two teams. Downside: NFL great Peyton Manning likely out for the season, costing CBS some highly rated NFL games.


1) GLENN BECK - What happened to "Schoolhouse Rock"? ABC's non-partisan lesson on how a bill becomes a law was a brilliant way to introduce kids to government. We can all agree it would be a bit scary if Keith Olbermann or Glenn Beck jumped into children's programming, right? Hold it, breaking news from Tea Party headquarters: Beck is launching "Liberty Treehouse" for kids on his GBTV online network. He won't be hosting, but Politico reports that "politics, long considered a taboo in children's programming, will be a frequent topic, informed - like everything else on GBTV - by Beck's populist conservative sensibility."

2) NBC - Maybe the best thing that can be said is the season premiere of "The Voice" is four months away -- or less. The hit singing competition will air after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5, which could be its debut, if it doesn't come before. Meanwhile, the new season has gotten off to a rough - being kind - start with new shows flailing and only one series (the NFL doesn't count) in the top 20 during premiere week.

3) ESPN - A Sports Business Journal (SBJ) report in the wake of ESPN's reported $15.2 billion extension for "Monday Night Football" had ESPN executive Sean Bratches saying the network would not look to make up its costs by charging higher affiliate fees. Really? Hard to believe ESPN is going to pay its bill through other means than its chief revenue generator. The report did mention several large distributors seem cool with ESPN's plans. SBJ reported the distributors were heartened that ESPN doesn't make programming available gratis on digital platforms. Curious if they realize ESPN3 is a cord-cutter's dream?

4) "B FACTOR" - Fox may rightfully make the case that "The X Factor" has been a success. Certainly, the series is giving the network a major presence on fall Thursdays. Still, it's tough to give the highly anticipated "X Factor" more than a B on the ratings front. Fox executive Mike Darnell told the Hollywood Reporter after the premiere: "Right now, I'm relieved. The expectations were ridiculous and we knew that." If he's relieved, so are the other networks.

5) WRANGLER/TARGET - Brett Favre, the former polarizing NFL quarterback whose career ended on the downside, continues to star in an ad for Wrangler that has seemingly been around forever. The tired spot ends by pointing people to Target for Wrangler jeans. Target has some of the smartest marketers around, but is anyone really buying jeans because Favre is plugging them?

1 comment about "Leaders & Bleeders: Pitbull Up, Glenn Beck Down".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 3, 2011 at 7:19 p.m.

    The difference, of course, between Olbermann and Beck is that only one of them has a paid subscriber base larger than the viewership of Oprah's (OWN) cable network.

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