An executive impacting much of the discussion this upfront week isn't part of a network's business operations in New York or creative side in Hollywood. He's steeped in technology and works in flyover country. It's safe to say not many in ad sales know his name. But, they now know his product quite well. And, they're pretty ticked off about it.
Where did all this boldness come from? Since Comcast put Ted Harbert in charge of NBC's broadcasting arm, he's seemed more interested in making sure the company's 10 local stations have more resources, including news helicopters. Yet at NBC's upfront presentation Monday, in what he referred to as a "sermon," he threw some punches at Dish Network and Nielsen. More notably, he launched what promises to be a very contentious public debate on Madison Avenue: whether to adopt C7 ratings.
Coca-Cola CMO Joe Tripodi is a social media evangelist, but he's still pursuing TV innovation. Even as Coke looks to Facebook and text messaging to drive this summer's "Move to the Beat" Olympic campaign, the company will also launch a daily TV show touching on sports and pop culture -- passion points for its teen target.
Female viewers of HBO's "Girls" might be surprised to learn they are in the minority. Four episodes in, the audience for the freshman dramedy is 60% male. One theory involves exposure (not that kind).
At some point in the next few years, the NFL will begin negotiating with DirecTV on re-upping the satellite operator's deal for the Sunday Ticket package. The opportunity to watch out-of-market games has proven to be an extraordinary brand differentiator for DirecTV since its early days in 1994. But, cable operators could place a joint bid that might dwarf the amount of money DirecTV could spend, hoping the Ticket will bring them new customers.
Looking for proof that man needs food, shelter and cable? Check out some recent numbers from Time Warner Cable. The cable giant offers a cheaper TV Essentials package designed to appeal to those "under pretty serious economic duress." It costs about 44% less than the standard line-up at about $40 a month. There is no ESPN or Fox News. No E! or Spike.
On the heels of the NewFronts and moving towards the upfronts, Facebook has a sweet endorsement as it looks to grab some of the lucre in the $70 billion TV marketplace. The maker of a famed European chocolate spread says Facebook advertising generated a higher ROI than TV spots in a late-2011 campaign, according to a ClickZ report.
What's at the root of Nickelodeon's ratings trouble? Not even the best minds at MIT can do more than theorize. Is it Netflix? Parents loading up DVRs? A general decline in kids' viewing? All may be contributors, but it's probably less-appealing programming. Finding a couple of new hits should be a panacea.
It startled plenty when Netflix CEO Reed Hastings indicated last year his company's principal opposition was not Hulu or Amazon, but the Cadillac of premium TV content -- HBO. After Netflix had suffered from a marketing mess and resulting stock price plunge, no one could accuse Hastings of a lack of confidence vis-a-vis a challenge to HBO Go. That's the much-lauded streaming service that gives HBO subscribers access to loads of its original series and movies on platforms such as an iPad or Xbox and soon the Kindle Fire. HBO is confident a combination of its subscription package and exclusive …
Connected TVs and over-the-top platforms offer a distribution opportunity that smacks of the democracy of the Web. There's a chance to use Yahoo, Roku, Samsung or other outlets to launch a content portal. Take iFood.tv, a five-year-old venture from former Microsoft executive Alok Ranjan and start-up veteran Vikrant Mathur. The brand started as a Web site with a load of on-demand food and recipe-related videos. Since January, it's moved aggressively into the non-traditional video-on-demand realm.