media brands

News Corp. Readies ESPN Rival in Fox Sports 1

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 6, 2013 05:02 PM

In 1987, the first full year that Fox was on the air, the News Corp.-owned broadcast TV channel offered around $1.3 billion to the NFL to take over “Monday Night Football” from ABC. While the NFL didn’t want to sign on with a network that hadn’t established itself yet, the precedent had been set that Fox was unafraid to make bold moves on the sports programming front.

Since then, Fox has made deals to broadcast the NFL, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, UFC, the World Cup and several NCAA divisions. It also has launched 22 regional sports networks. Now News Corp. is doubling down and has announced the U.S. launch of a new 24-hour all-sports network that will go live in August and compete against the likes of ESPN and NBC Sports’ new channel.

“We are not trying to beat ESPN,” News Corp. COO Chase Carey told investors in Florida, according to Variety. “Sports is a big, huge arena. We’ve proven we can do some interesting and exciting things. We can enlarge the category and bring a new dimension to it. The key to success for us is to build an attractive business that resonates with consumers.”Continue reading...

media brands

Comcast, Bullish on Future of Video, Buys Remaining Stake In NBCU From GE

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 13, 2013 03:03 PM

Comcast has given NBC Universal a “$16.7 billion vote of confidence” by acquiring General Electric’s 49 percent stake in the entertainment company in a deal that was finalized on Tuesday.

“We always thought it was a strong possibility that we’d some day own 100 percent,” said Brian Roberts, Comcast CEO in a telephone interview with The New York Times. “It’s been a very smooth couple of years, and the content continues to get more valuable with new revenue streams.” 

Roberts, touting the value of the deal to shareholders, added in an interview with CNBC, "There's a sense of enthusiasm and confidence on the future of NBC Universal," and told the Hollywood Reporter that he's bullish on turning around NBCU's flagship NBC channel.Continue reading...

media brands

Hearst's Esquire Expanding Beyond the Magazine to Become a TV Network

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 11, 2013 05:47 PM

The Esquire Network says it's ready for prime time.

The new network, announced today, aims to “capture the essence of the magazine,” David Carey, president of Esquire publisher Hearst Magazines, told The New York Times. "This is not the magazine on TV; that would not work."

The male audience is an ever-sweet spot for brands, as evidenced by offerings that vary from Spike TV to Discovery's Velocity Channel. The Esquire Network will replace the Comcast-created G4 video gaming channel (which gave Esquire fave Olivia Munn her start as co-host on Attack of the Show) on April 22, and be available in 62 million homes with cable or satellite service.

The rebranded network is a strategic partnership between NBC Universal and Hearst Magazines. NBCUniversal cable executive Bonnie Hammer positioned it as "an upscale Bravo for men." She added, "If this was going to come under my portfolio, I’m a little brand crazy, so I said, let’s create a real brand, define a space, understand who we are programming for."Continue reading...

media brands

Liberty Global to Acquire Virgin Media, Creating World's Leading Broadband Firm

Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 6, 2013 06:49 PM

In a deal that looks to dramatically change the complexion of the media business, U.S.-based Liberty Global will buy the U.K.'s Virgin Media to create a broadband company that will supplant Comcast as the world's biggest cable operator.

The $23 billion deal, if approved, will give Liberty Global a strong foothold in the UK. In an intriguing twist, it will also pit Liberty Global's John Malone against his former partner, the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who operates British Sky Broadcasting (widely known as "BSkyB"). BSkyB has been a bright spot in an otherwise difficult time or Murdoch.

"This deal is good news for the company, its customers and our people," commented another media titan: Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire entrepreneur who founded the Virgin empire. "Together, Liberty Global and Virgin Media are in a great position to shake up the industry and bring the full power of digital technology to UK consumers."

The largest media acquisition of its kind since 2007 "will make the U.K. the ring for a straight slug fest between two global pay-TV heavyweights, John Malone and Rupert Murdoch, as they battle for UK fixed broadband, fixed voice and pay-TV subscribers," according to Adrian Drury, principal analyst at the global consulting firm Ovum.Continue reading...

media brands

Different Reasons for Apple and Disney to Wince as Fictional Works Premiere

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 28, 2013 04:06 PM

The Sundance Film Festival has a solid history of showcasing interesting films that have gone on to be big hits, like Little Miss Sunshine, Reservoir Dogs, The Usual Suspects, Clerks, and Hoop Dreams.

But it's looking like Jobs — which stars Ashton Kutcher portraying Apple founder Steve Jobs' quest for glory — may not be one of them.

The film, which closed out the 2013 festival last week, received mixed reviews. The Guardian's Ed Gibbs gave it two out of five stars, calling it “an overly reverential and saccharine view” of Jobs, who died more than a year ago.Continue reading...

media brands

But Will It Be a Hit? Recording Industry Bible Billboard Rolls Out a New Look

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 25, 2013 04:53 PM

Print publications have been cutting back in various ways in recent years, including employing smaller staffs and printing on smaller paper sizes. Now the 119-year-old Billboard is unveiling a total redesign that involves its own chopping down.

In the redesign, which debuts Saturday, the brand’s iconic capital “B” loses a bit of ink and be lowercased. Business Insider points out it follows a recent design trend that's seen brands like Arby’s, Weight Watchers, Lifetime and the brand formerly known as as J.C. Penney’s, jcp

The longstanding colors inside Billboard’s lettering will disappear on the print publication to give it a more grownup feel, but remain mostly the same on the brand’s website (though the blue in the “a” is lighter and now the “b” will get a touch of green). Each letter will also be much thicker.Continue reading...

media brands

Financial Times Moves to Adapt as London Media Confront a Digital Future

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 22, 2013 04:04 PM

The editor of The Financial Times has announced big changes at the paper, reflecting how digital is continuing to transform even the most venerable and longstanding European-based news media titles.

An email by editor Lionel Barber to his staff announced that the news organization would cut 35 jobs, relegate print second to digital and hire 10 digital journalists as “old titles” like the FT continue to be “routinely disrupted by new entrants such as Google, LinkedIn and Twitter.” 

The strategy signals a “big cultural shift for the FT that is only likely to be achieved with further structural change,” Barber’s email continued. Journalists need to become “content editors rather than page editors," he said. "We must rethink how we publish our content, when and in what form, whether conventional news, blogs, video or social media.”Continue reading...

media brands

Food Network, Turning 20, Refreshes Brand With New Look and Attitude

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 21, 2013 11:18 AM

Food Network welcomed the New Year with a new look, heralding its two decades of making a 24/7 food TV programmer a powerhouse brand (it turns 20 on Nov. 23rd). An updated logo and graphics package hit the air January 6th as part of a multiplatform roll-out, the first identity update since 1997. 

Working with Hollywood-based agency Troika, the refresh focuses on ‘Characters and Stories’ in promos that take the Scripps-owned cable network's programming beyond the food and around the table, as seen in on-air promos such as the one, above, for "Chef Wanted With Anne Burrell" or Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri's new reality series.

“Food Network has grown and we wanted to freshen-up our look and energy to better reflect our evolution into a broader, multi-platform entertainment brand,” said Susie Fogelson, SVP, Marketing and Brand Strategy, Food Network and Cooking Channel in a press release by parent Scripps Networks Interactive.

The refresh includes a “Smart” bug system to promote shows, activate social media conversations, navigate audiences across platforms, and drive business to Food Network’s other ventures, such as Food Network Magazine.Continue reading...

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