let's make a deal

Despite Low Bids, Hulu Could Prove to be Lucrative Digital Acquisition

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 29, 2013 01:08 PM

While anticipation continues to build around the possible buyout of video streaming service Hulu, the price, however, is a bit underwhelming. 

Despite its $2 billion valuation, the service is attracting bids from big players like Yahoo, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable somewhere in the $500 million to $800 million range—arguably a small amount of money compared to recent deals like Tumblr's $1.1 billion price tag and Instagram's $1 billion one. Yahoo’s bid (between $600 million and $800 million) is the largest so far while others, like Chernin Group, have issued a $500 million bid. Other companies interested in the service include private equity firms Guggenheim Digital, KKR & Co and Silverlake Partners. 

One reason for the low-ball bids could be the fact that Hulu has been hemorrhaging market share to Google's YouTube as well as ad-supported services including LiveRail, Adap.TV, and BrightRoll. It served up only 1.4 million ads in April 2013, down 13 percent from 1.6 million video ads in March, according to comScore.Continue reading...

ad watch

Comcast Shoots Down Gun Ads Across Networks

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 28, 2013 03:24 PM

Comcast Corp., the proud new owners of NBCUniversal for a whopping price tag of $16.7 billion, brings in more than $55 billion in revenue annually, but most of those dollars that came from gun advertising will now disappear. 

As American politicians and cultural warriors wrestle with what to do about the ubiquity of gun violence, Comcast—the largest cable provider in the country—has announced that it won’t be taking ads for guns on any of its television, cable, Internet, radio and voice services across the country anymore, OutdoorLife.com reports. The change is reflective of a similar policy that had been in place at NBCUniversal, which prohibited advertisements for weapons or fireworks. 

The change has led for some to predict the loss of billions of dollars in revenue for the weapons industry, according to Outdoor Life. 

Tom Wright, who owns the Williams Gun Sight Michigan, was aggravated by the news but told the local ABC affiliate that it wasn’t going to put a stop to his business. "We've been in this community for many years and we have enjoyed promoting our products in this community and will continue to do that with Comcast or without them."

Of course, that means finding other channels that will take his ads. Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second-largest cable provider, won’t take ads for semiautomatic weapons but does still accept gun ads, according to MSN. Fox and ESPN also won’t accept advertisements for guns, AdWeek reports. Continue reading...

super bowl

Super Bowl Ad Watch: Got Milk? Pours It On While Bud Saddles Up Clydesdales

Posted by Dale Buss on January 11, 2013 04:31 PM

Scrambling to get their teams on the field as kickoff nears, the drum beat from brands getting ready for the upcoming Super Bowl continues:

MilkPEP is going long with its plans to run its first ever TV commercial—a 30-second spot for its "Got Milk?" campaign—during the Big Game on February 3. Consumption of fluid milk in the U.S. continues to drop even as Americans keep eating more cheese and yogurt, so MilkPEP, the Milk Processor Education Program funded by the nation's dairy companies, is producing a spot featuring Dwayne Johnson, known as the Rock. He goes a long way to get his kids to have milk for their breakfast cereal.

This group has some branding chops, including the long-running campaign that adds milk mustaches to the upper lips of celebrities in print ads and includes its iconic slogan. But as the New York Times notes, until now, its Super Bowl marketing participation has been confined to running newspaper ads before or after the game.

It's also partnering with the National Dairy Council and the NFL, including New York Giants star receiver Victor Cruz, to get kids to eat better and be more active, under the league's Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign.

In addition to joining forces with Pepsi for a bigger Super Bowl retail push, Budweiser has unveiled more of its plans for its six Super Bowl ads. In addition to debuting a new Budweiser Black Crown brand — a higher-alcohol, more upscale version of Bud aimed at evening consumption — AB InBev will be plugging new beer brand Beck's Sapphire. It also will bring back the venerable Clydesdales, the iconic giant horses that have been associated with Bud for decades.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

CES 2013 Watch: It's a Web, Web, Web, Web TV World

Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 8, 2013 11:16 AM

The annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that's now underway in Las Vegas is not only the world's biggest trade show, but a snapshot of how the fast-moving world of technology innovation is impacting sectors. Witness automotive, such as Ford's just-announced mobile partnerships to enhance the brand's in-car connectivity platform as part of a bigger CES push by car manufacturers this year.

CES is also a soapbox for competitors to one-up one another as they spit out product announcements and flaunt new alliances. This year, the rivalry is particularly fierce in the web TV/digital streaming arena.

"As new Internet TV players look to invade the living room, some cable and satellite operators are stepping up their embrace of Web technology to jazz up aging interfaces and head off subscriber defections, the Wall Street Journal reports from the show.

CES attendees include DirecTV and Dish Network on the satellite side, Verizon (FiOS) and AT&T (U-verse) touting Telco TV, and U.S. multi-system operators including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications are at CES to recast themselves as web TV purveyors and shake off the dreaded "cable operator" moniker. No wonder the U.S. National Cable & Telecommunications Association is reportedly considering dropping "cable" and rebranding to the U.S. Internet and Television Association (but, oddly, keeping the NCTA acronym).

AT&T's U-verse platform is introducing "Screen Pack," a $5 per month addition to existing subscriptions which enables customers to stream some 1,500 on-demand movies. AT&T plans to add more content in the future in an effort to thwart the flood of video streaming competitors in the space.Continue reading...

media brands

Current in Hand, Can Al Jazeera Overcome "Terrorist Network" Misconception?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 3, 2013 02:55 PM

It’s the kind of headline you can’t make up, but the New York Times got the scoop on Current TV's sale: “Al Jazeera Seeks a U.S. Voice Where Gore Failed.”

Since 2006, Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab news giant, has been struggling to convince Americans its English-language 24/7 news channel is legitimate, not a mouthpiece for Middle Eastern propaganda (or worse), and their acquisition of Al Gore’s ill-fated, left-leaning and user-generated Current TV, just bought them 40 million homes. Never mind that it has picked up a raft of awards including a Columbia Journalism Award, a DuPont award, and a George Polk award.

Financed by the government of Qatar, Al Jazeera, once despised for broadcasting videotapes from Al Qaeda members and sympathizers, Current will be rebranded Al Jazeera America at a cost of about $500 million (including a $100 million payout for Gore, who owned a 20% stake in the media property). The burning question, with Americans focused on domestic issues and the economy, will U.S. viewers watch Al Jazeera's take on global news and current affairs?Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Al Jazeera, Skippy, Toyota and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 3, 2013 09:01 AM

In the News

Al Jazeera buys Current TV from Al Gore, prompting Time Warner Cable to drop channel.

Hormel Foods branches out as it buys Skippy peanut butter brand from Unilever.

Toyota declares a rebirth.

5-Hour Energy sees ad claims rebutted (again).

AB InBev plans to launch stronger U.S. version of Budweiser this year.

Amazon wins dismissal of App Store false-ad claim by Apple.

Apple "bet" energizes AT&T.

China recovery confidence spurs Hong Kong luxury sales.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Microsoft, Suzuki, Apple and more

Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2012 09:01 AM

In the News

Microsoft denied "Killer Instinct" trademark, as Microsoft-Google patent fight rests on "fairness" definition and Motorola is denied injuction against Microsoft in patent suit. Microsoft-Intel push to combat Apple in tablet space, meanwhile, seen as "sputtering."

American Suzuki forges ahead with incentives amid US wind down.

Apple wins six new design patents, sees increasing pricing tension with retailers and Steve Jobs bio pic starring Ashton Kutcher heading to Sundance.

Applebee's plans to open "green" restaurant in New York's Harlem where Hot Bread Kitchen is a rising local brand.

Balenciaga hires designer Alexander Wang as creative chief.

Baxter agrees to buy medical-equipment maker Gambro in company's biggest acquisition.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Suzuki, Election Day, Netflix and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 6, 2012 09:02 AM

In the News

The most expensive presidential election in U.S. history comes to a close as America heads to the polls.

Suzuki to end U.S. auto sales and file Chapter 11.

Netflix adopts poison-pill defense and Carl Icahn slams it.

Apple is said to be considering switch from Intel for Mac and may be seeing tablet dominance come to an end, as EU reportedly ready to stike a deal on e-books.

Balenciaga parts ways with longtime creative director Nicolas Ghesquière.

BMW shrugs off high costs as profit rises.

CBS signs multi-year deal with Hulu.

Eight O'Clock Coffee sends "superfans" on junket.

GM bolsters its credit line against European losses and pension costs.Continue reading...

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