Years from now, with perhaps a diminished TV pilot season, might the upfront marketplace also be smaller? Kevin Reilly, outgoing chairman of Fox Entertainment, made big pronouncements over the past year about getting rid of pilot season, that four-month period when the broadcast networks can start up some 100 pilots.
With deal-making in the traditional TV upfront market set to start, one veteran digital brand is pushing -- what else? -- a big new video platform. Yahoo wants to get into the business in a big YouTube-like way.
Watch a commercial for a show -- and then click on that ad to watch it? Sounds easy enough -- actually, pretty obvious. Peel, the TV remote control app, is now selling networks a new ad format for their programming promo needs, allowing viewers to tune into or record a show while watching a commercial about the program. Peel announced it had sold the app to effort History to promote the channel's new mini-series, "The World Wars."
Summertime for TV networks is here -- and apparently there is even a bigger logjam than in previous years. But there's also an advertising drama going on.
Should cable operators make ESPN and other sports channels premium channels like HBO or a Showtime? Executives have commented that comparing ESPN to HBO isn't so far-fetched. Consumers can pay around $10 a month or so for the premium TV channel. With growing-more-expensive sports TV franchises, why shouldn't people do the same for ESPN? Of course, the big difference is that ESPN sells TV advertising time, while HBO does not.
Match.com has a campaign now touting the "most second dates.'" If you are a network, "second dates" with TV shows -- if not third or fourth dates -- are crucial. This fall those connections will be tougher to come by.
My father doesn't have a DVR, though he has a big- screen TV. Turning on his TV, he flips around perhaps once or twice -- and starts watching. "I stumble on things," he says. He can't really tell you the names of the shows -- or movies -- to any degree. He knows "Seinfeld" when he sees it -- and likes "Big Bang Theory," remembering that it comes on "around 8 p.m." What night? He can't tell you that.
Stations and distributors want more say in program decision-making, and are being outspoken about it. Peter Liguori, chief executive officer of Tribune, says he's "not pleased with where the CW is," adding that it "should not program to [young] people who don't watch television." Liguori believes CW's branding emphasis is still on younger viewers, which doesn't necessary help the network's affiliates, of which Tribune is the biggest group.
Digital over-the-top distributors of TV channels and content may be able to please even more consumers by catering to their a la carte desires. "If I could just cherry-pick AMC, FX and not have to pay for Nickelodeon and not have to pay for all the other stuff, you might get there," said Mike White, chairman/chief executive officer of DirecTV, at a MoffettNathanson Research event. It probably won't happen, though.
Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment Group, talks a lot about how "passionate" viewers are for "Once Upon A Time," "Revenge," "Shark Tank" and other ABC shows. So the network went to a few select producers, he says, and gave them essentially free reign to do their most "passionate" projects.