• Kutcher's Sneaky Product Placements Surprise CBS
    Broadcast networks are touchy about brand realism on fictional shows -- especially when they don't know about it ahead of time. CBS says it has a rule about product placement -- it will disclose what financial interests are involved when a brand's name is mentioned or seen. But not every network does this. So this week on "Two and a Half Men," when Ashton Kutcher's new Internet billionaire character, Walden Schmidt opened his laptop, lo and behold we saw some stickers of real-life companies including FourSquare, Groupon, Chegg and Flipboard. "Men" executive producer Chuck Lorre thought this was OK -- …
  • Is 'The Playboy Club' Offensive -- Or Just Bad?
    NBC's "The Playboy Club" is having trouble finding viewers. Why? Too much association with sex? Too little? Or just not compelling entertainment? Moralists say the low ratings result from all the objectification the Playboy brand brought on women over the years. I'll listen to that argument. But then they toss in the another point, which makes no sense based on the original theory. They say it's also because of "lame" dialogue, which after two weeks gives the show a just-lying-there 1.3 rating among key 18-49 viewers.
  • Syndication Not Missing Oprah Yet, But Cable Could Use Her Help
    Just when you thought there was nothing to talk about in syndication, there's a lot of talk about talk. With "The Oprah Winfrey Show" now off the air, syndication talkers have grabbed bigger-than-expected ratings during the first two weeks of the season.
  • TV Stations On Mobile: Is It Too Late?
    For years TV stations have salivated over the prospect of mobile devices running their most prized content: news. The theory? Their well-known call letter brand names would drive existing (remaining?) viewers to those mobile areas. But it appears that the same outcome might occur with those brands that happened on plain-old laptops and desktops.
  • Making Time And Spending Money On Home Entertainment Priorities
    Fox Home Entertainment came out with "Star Wars: The Complete Saga" in its Blu-Ray discs -- and grabbed some $84 million dollars in a week. All good for a mid-September sale period -- right after a bunch of summer theatrical action movies, and right smack in the middle of the start of the TV season.
  • Entertaining Returns: Not Losing My Religion Over It
    R.E.M. is breaking up the act, according to a press announcement. So I'll wait for the 41st anniversary of the band getting back together. (What -- they mean it? They are never going to play again together? Naw.) I'm sure it will be televised on the new Google TV-music holographic service that will hit my iPad 14 by then.
  • Not-So-'Glee'-ful Trends In Social Media And TV Ratings
    Look closer at social media numbers and TV ratings. Can you draw any conclusions? Exclusions? Fox spent much on marketing and public relations efforts for such new shows as "The X Factor" and "New Girl." Returning shows typically don't need as much. But perhaps "Glee" should have had a bit more.
  • Social TV Marketing Is NOT Always Good News
    So-called social TV marketing, and social media in general, comes down to the underlying message that word-of-mouth has always been about: "This [insert your favorite TV/movie/song] comes from a friend whose taste you trust." Though I have lots of friends, they mostly don't have the same taste as I. That's fine with me. What happens next? It leaves me depending on strangers, stumbling onto media and entertainment I might like, or even counting on professional critics.
  • 'Mutual Fund' Media Planning Allows Buyers To Spread The Risk
    Not too long ago, some media buyers would revel in the excitement of picking a dark-horse show to do well. Buy low; sell high. A show's 'overdelivery' -- getting higher than expected viewership -- rarely enters the media jargon any more, and for good reason. Few, if any, expect shows to give more than what is promised -- let alone make it into a second season.
  • Both Advertisers And Viewers Look For Media Efficiency
    Media waste is something TV advertisers talk about it when it comes to their media buys, especially these days. But what about consumers who are increasing looking improve their media efficiency -- in other words, paying for programming and channels they actually watch?
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