All Posts in tv

April 26, 2016 - Comments Off on YouTube will soon roll out six-second ads that you can’t skip

YouTube will soon roll out six-second ads that you can’t skip

Today the company announced that beginning next month, it'll offer six-second "Bumper" ads that are designed to be a better companion to the shorter video clips that millions of YouTube users are watching on smartphones.

The company justifies the short ads (which cannot be skipped, unlike longer spots) by pointing to research showing that 50 percent of 18 to 49-year-olds turn to mobile as their first option for consuming video — and keep in mind a ton of that is music.

This is fascinating! YouTube, which is supposed to be "forward thinking" and part of the "newfronts" is embracing the oldest vehicle the TV industry has for making money - the advertisement. In an age where no advertisements seems more and more like the future, where content is king and the user is in total control, YouTube is practically going backwards.

Source: YouTube will soon roll out six-second ads that you can't skip | The Verge

Related: New Study Finds Humans Experience Greatest Feelings Of Joy When Pushing ‘Skip Ad’ Button | The Onion

January 27, 2016 - Comments Off on One Box To Rule Them All

One Box To Rule Them All

Today, 99 percent of pay-TV customers lease set-top boxes from their cable, satellite or telco providers. Pay-TV subscribers spend an average of $231 a year to rent these boxes, because there are few meaningful alternatives.

As a consequence, consumers have limited choices for commercially available set-top boxes, so an overwhelming majority of consumers lease a box from their pay-TV service that doesn’t interface well with the wealth of video content online. To receive streaming Internet video, it is necessary to have a smart TV, or to watch it on a tablet or laptop computer that, similarly, do not have access to the channels and content that pay-TV subscribers pay for. The result is multiple devices and controllers, constrained program choice and higher costs.

Decades ago, if you wanted to have a landline in your home, you had to lease your phone from Ma Bell. There was little choice in telephones, and prices were high. The FCC unlocked competition and empowered consumers with a simple but powerful rule — consumers could connect the telephones and modems of their choice to the telephone network. Competition and game-changing innovation followed, from lower-priced phones to answering machines to technology that is the foundation of the Internet.

WOW. His article doesn't link to an actual proposal so it's hard to know if this is real or just hard talk, but it's very promising. This, "unlocking", would give outside companies access to cable company data they've never had before. Think about Apple creating 1 box that is your AppleTV & cable box. Or, better yet, Sony creating a Playstation, online video player, and cable box - all in one device. There'd be huge innovations in your cable interface and how you search for things to watch. Google w/YouTube and AndroidTV as well as Amazon with it's FireTV might be real players as well.

UPDATE: Jean-louis Gassée has an excellent post on this whole situation. I've also updated the post with the link to the actual proposal.

Source: It’s Time to Unlock the Set-Top Box Market | Re/code

FCC Proposal: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2016/db0127/DOC-337449A1.pdf

December 31, 2015 - Comments Off on Why ESPN Isn’t Worried About New Year’s Eve Competition for the College Football Playoff

Why ESPN Isn’t Worried About New Year’s Eve Competition for the College Football Playoff

Holding the semifinals on New Year's Eve is something ESPN is simply going to have to get used to. Between now and the end of the sports network's 12-year contract to air the College Football Playoff, the semis are scheduled for Dec. 31 seven more times.

I don't understand why ESPN made this deal. With competition from it's own new year's eve show on ABC, not to mention the other 3 broadcast networks, I'm really curious to see what the ratings are for the 8pm game. Especially if…

Alabama and Michigan State are locked in an epic, multiple-overtime battle that stretches past midnight on the East Coast? …ESPN [will] come up with something—perhaps with some help from corporate sibling ABC, which will be set up in Times Square

Source: Why ESPN Isn't Worried About New Year's Eve Competition for the College Football Playoff

September 2, 2015 - Comments Off on Hulu Finally Launches Ad-Free Version

Hulu Finally Launches Ad-Free Version

Beginning today, subscribers can upgrade to an ad-free plan for $11.99 per month…

Whoo hoo! I immediately changed my plan over to the ad-free version. I can now catch up on some of the shows that have been sitting in my queue for awhile that I’ve been dreading to watch, simply because of the commercials.

Buuuut…there is the fine print:

This show is not included in our No Commercials plan but has been made available to you with a short commercial before and after each episode with no interruptions during the show.

I’m still OK with that…mostly.

The next big thing Hulu needs to do is standardize it’s catalog. They have way too many shows with “exceptions”. I’ll give you some examples…

FX is very confusing…

  • The Strain - You can watch all of season 1, but none of the current Season 2 episodes
  • Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll - You can watch the latest episode from this season, but only with a cable subscription
  • Archer - only seasons 1-5 available; even though season 6 already aired, it’s not available
  • American Horror Story - Only seasons 1-3 are available; even though season 4 already aired, it’s not available and season 5 starts soon on FX
  • The Americans - Only clips are available. If this is the case, why even have it show up on the site at all?

FOX is a bit better…

  • Gotham - You can only watch the last 5 episodes along with episodes the day after they air
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine - You can watch all of seasons 1 and 2 along with episodes the day after they air
  • Bobs Burgers - All of season 5 along with episodes the day after they air
  • Mindy Project - Seasons 1-3 are available with season 4 airing exclusively on HULU.

…although…

  • Hell’s Kitchen - You can watch Seasons 1-11, 13 and new Season 14 episodes the day after air

CW seems to be the easiest to understand…

  • The Flash, Arrow, The 100, The Messengers, Beauty & the Beast - You can only watch the last 5 episodes along with episodes the day after they air

Here’s my recommendation hulu:
Focus on providing the ultimate cord cutters package - the last 5 episodes from each show on all 4 broadcast networks; no cable subscription needed. Stop worrying about back catalogs, full seasons, or previous seasons. If a user wants the full season from a past year, let them find the disc on Netflix.

Source: Hulu Finally Launches Ad-Free Version, Priced at $11.99 a Month | Adweek

July 13, 2015 - Comments Off on Introducing a New Streaming TV Service From Comcast

Introducing a New Streaming TV Service From Comcast

Xfinity's new $15/mo. streaming service…

With Stream, Xfinity Internet customers can watch live TV from about a dozen networks - including all the major broadcast nets and HBO - on laptops, tablets and phones in their home. It includes thousands of on demand movies and shows to watch home or away and even comes with access to TV Everywhere and a cloud DVR

The price, the channel selection, the DVR…this is very intriguing and possibly the best match of services and price yet. The only drawback, for me, is the lack of any TV support. I'd have to use Airplay with the service as it's currently setup. But if Xfinity came out with an AppleTV channel for this, I think they'd have the best service on the market. That is, if this deal isn't some sort of 12 month intro price or other sneaky scheme.

Source: Introducing a New Streaming TV Service From Comcast

July 10, 2015 - Comments Off on Fox Nets $40 Million in Women’s World Cup Ad Revenue | Adweek

Fox Nets $40 Million in Women’s World Cup Ad Revenue | Adweek

via AdWeek…

Fox netted roughly $40 million from Women's World Cup ad sales, according to an industry source, a figure that more than doubled the company's initial revenue estimates for the tournament and is five times more than the $8 million ESPN raked in for its coverage of the 2011 Women's World Cup.

More than $12 million of Fox's revenue came from Sunday's final alone—25.4 million viewers tuned in to see the U.S. beat Japan 5-2, making it the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history.

Strange because I don't remember a single ad from Sunday's match. If fact, I remember actually thinking, "How is FOX making any money with no commercials during the game?" So what does that say? That the "integrated marketing" was so good I didn't even notice it? Or that the "integrated marketing" was too good and I didn't even notice it!

Source: Fox Nets $40 Million in Women’s World Cup Ad Revenue | Adweek

June 25, 2015 - Comments Off on Showtime and Hulu Explain Why Their Brands are Pulling Double Duty

Showtime and Hulu Explain Why Their Brands are Pulling Double Duty

Jason Lynch for AdWeek…

Hulu said it made the change after noticing that consumers were confused about the Hulu and Hulu Plus brand distinctions, with Hulu being the far more recognizable brand of the two. By eliminating Hulu Plus, the company hopes to create a consistent brand and alleviate—not cause—market confusion.

I think that's the right call by Hulu. We had many discussions at PBS when we were launching products for XBOX, Hulu, AppleTV and many more about what to call our service. HBO had a very strong brand with HBO GO and other networks were beginning to roll out their services with names like FX NOW and Showtime Anytime. But ultimately we felt PBS didn't need a secondary signifier1. After all, this was still PBS - same great content but on a different platform. A viewer/user just happened to be watching it on their AppleTV or iPhone, which is why all our apps and OTT services are simply named PBS2.

My personal feeling is that by segmenting your brand into different services with different names for the same content is going to cause confusion in the long run with viewers and consumers. I think HBO is seeing a bit of that now with HBO, HBO GO, and HBO NOW. Try explaining the differences between them to the average person.

Source: Showtime and Hulu Explain Why Their Brands are Pulling Double Duty


  1. That's not to say, that in the future, if PBS has a service that is different from it's normal content, we won't create a marketing name for that service. 
  2. Our marketing campaign was called "PBS Anywhere" - not to be confused with the actual product which is just named PBS. It was meant to convey the message that PBS is "anywhere you want to be". 

June 15, 2015 - Comments Off on PromaxBDA 2015 – Thoughts and Notes

PromaxBDA 2015 – Thoughts and Notes

It’s been another year for our industry’s conference, PromaxBDA, and I can honestly say that I felt this year was better than last. The best way I can describe the feeling was more “open”. People felt more open to talking and the entire mood felt brighter and more upbeat than in years past. Perhaps being in LA versus NY gave a lot of us the distance from work that we needed to truly relax a little and be present at the conference.

As for the sessions, I can’t say I learned much. Most of them focused on practices I already know are better than what I’m using but can’t, due to office politics or a million other reasons. But I’m an old hat at Promax, having attended around 7 or 8 times (I’ve actually lost count), so perhaps a younger generation found them more insightful. And I felt the larger keynote sessions felt unfocused and jumbled in their messaging, especially the State of Design, which didn’t focus at all on design but rather on the strategy of emotion within a spot[1], and State of our Art, which felt like two people who threw the whole thing together backstage in a panic and decided at the last minute, “We’ll just wing it”[2]. That’s not to say I didn’t learn anything. I learned Andy Baker from National Geographic runs a site called The Client Blog which is fantastic[3] and now one of my top reads. I also learned that agencies are now working for more than TV networks. With clients ranging from Apple to GM, agencies I’ve worked with for years have been branching out into all kinds of design. I wouldn’t have learned those things stuck in my office here in Crystal City, VA.

But the biggest reason I go to PromaxBDA every year is not for the sessions, or even the free booze; nope, it’s for the people. To put faces with names and give those we haven’t seen in a long while a big hug. To hear about the highs and yes, even the lows, of their lives and work is so much fun each year. I’ve made it a point to also meet new people and new agencies that I would not otherwise have a chance to do and this year was no exception. There’s no substitute for sitting across from someone and watching their face light up when they talk about their work (or continually scan the room looking for someone more important to talk to), and a conference like PromaxBDA is really the only way to have that type of experience.

So, with the 60th anniversary looming large next year, below are a few suggestions Promax should think about…

  1. Loose the awards show and put the effort into a kick ass closing night party - I know. That’s a biggie but here’s why. With the awards at the end of the night on the last day it gives no one any time to enjoy their accomplishments. And it doesn’t give clients the opportunity to seek out or connect with those that won they might want to work with in the future. I propose that Promax post the winners online the morning of the last day. That way everyone has all day to enjoy, congratulate, seek out, or otherwise revel in their accomplishments. If you can’t scrap the entire show, try moving it to the second night. And don’t be afraid that everyone will leave right after they get their trophies. I think most people will see the value in having a whole day with potential clients to gloat.
  2. Start over with the app - great idea, poor execution. From the minute you open the app and you’re asked to create an account with some company called Feathr no one has ever heard of, to the fact there’s no time zone support so you’re constantly subtracting 3 hours, for those of us on the east coast, in your head from every session start time is frustrating. Not to mention little things like not being to subscribe to “my calendar” so that you can import all the sessions into iCal or Google Calendar makes juggling everything that much more difficult. And I’m not even going to start giving notes on the overall aesthetic of the app. For what is supposed to be partly a design organization, this app falls far short of my expectations.
  3. Please tell us what’s next - I found it completely ironic the tagline for this year was “Create what’s NEXT”, which was on every graphic, yet I’d sit in the ballrooms after a session and nothing told me which session was NEXT.
  4. The bag - Haven’t we had enough of the messenger bags by now? How about something more useful I might actually need, like a good camera DSLR bag? Or a beautifully crafted laptop sleeve?
  5. The badge - I liked the plastic card this year as well as the corner attachment method much better than a traditional lanyard which spins around and seems to always be facing the wrong direction. I know some missed the plastic holder, which is traditionally used to hold business cards or the printed schedule, but I didn’t. I always thought that was akin to having a pocket protector on your ID badge. I do think the names could be even larger and the name of the company definitely needs to be larger. With the rise of social media, it might be nice to also include the ability to add a twitter handle or a website on the badge as well.
  6. Networks Meetup - I’m in a lot of meetings with agencies while at Promax so I don’t get to mingle that much. I’d love to see a meetup, possibly sponsored by a few networks, where I could get to meet people from other television networks and commiserate about projects, bosses, or even our careers without feeling like I’m having to put my client face on.

Thanks PromaxBDA for another great conference.


  1. Don’t get me wrong. It was still a good session, but I felt like it didn’t focus on “design” at all.  ↩
  2. The hosts had great personalities and energy, but this was choppy and a bit too “off the cuff”. And the fact they kept saying “this spot” instead of “that spot” when the spot had already aired, kept confusing me as to what topic/subject they were trying to convey. The whole structure felt backwards the entire time.  ↩
  3. I can’t stop reading the case studies for Killing Kennedy and that whole series. It’s fascinating the difference in process from PBS.  ↩