PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Funny business: Michele Ganeless, former president of Comedy Central, and Olivia Wingate, who was as a comedy talent rep, are teaming to launch Mo Studios. The NY-based production company plans to invest in the development, packaging, producing, and optioning of content with a focus on female and under-served voices.
Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment is teaming with production company Electus to develop a docu-style travelog about and starring women. Friends in Strange Places (working title) spotlights the global adventures of female comedians and their famous friends. The series will be exec produced by Latifah and Shakim Compere; Electus’ Chris Grant and Drew Buckley; Allison Mandell Hudson and Randi Michel.
Gloria Estefan joined film and television studio Areu Bros. as a partner and member of the executive leadership team. The seven-time Grammy-winning singer, actress and author will create and package content across all platforms including music, television, film and short-form content for the Atlanta, studio.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones topliner Krysten Ritter will step behind the camera to make her directorial debut in an upcoming season 3 ep of the Netflix series, which recently began filming.
Christina El Moussa, of HGTV’s hit series Flip or Flop, signed a deal for a new original series with the network. The eight-ep series, Christina on the Coast, will showcase El Moussa as she expands her design business in Southern California and is set to premiere in 1Q 2019.
Storied Media Group completed a second round of investment funding with Tele Munchen Group. The capital infusion allows TMG, which acquired a minority stake in SMG in 2017, to accelerate its plan to serve published content to Hollywood producers. It also kickstarts SMG’s new platform StoryScout, which curates thousands of articles daily, tags stories fit for TV and film and makes them available to potential customers.
Seth Mann (The Breaks) will direct the first episode of Netflix’s straight-to-series sci-fi family drama Raising Dion, and will serve as an executive producer. Netflix also rounded out the cast; Alisha Wainwright (Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments) and newcomer Ja’Siah Young will topline opposite Jason Ritter and Michael B. Jordan.
ION Media announced a new slate of programming acquisitions and several series renewals premiering in 2018 on its digital networks Qubo and ION Life. Qubo, the 24/7 over-the-air network for children, will debut eight new series, including Madeline, Monster Math Squad, The Adventures of Paddington Bear and Pirates: Adventures in Art, from DHX Worldwide. Also joining the network are Cosmic Quantum Ray and The Davincibles, from Splash Entertainment, among others. Lifestyle net ION Life will debuts the series Bake with Anna Olson, from Boat Rocker Rights and For Rent, Style Factory and My House, Your Money from Cineflix International Media. ION Life is also launching a second season of Legacy Distribution’s At Home with Didiayer, as well as renewing rights to the show’s first season.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
PeopleTV, the ad-supported streaming network from People and Entertainment Weekly, has begun its first broadcast TV run with flagship entertainment show People Now airing across the country on 17 Meredith-owned TV stations in 12 markets, reaching more than 11 percent of US television households. People Now premiered as a weekday streaming morning show on September 3, 2014.
Serial Killer with Piers Morgan premieres on Monday, July 16 7p on Oxygen. With unprecedented access to maximum security prisons, series explores the minds of serial killers who’ve never spoken on camera about their crimes.
BET Networks, in partnership with Clifford “T.I.” Harris’ Grand Hustle Productions and 51 Minds will debut reality series The Grand Hustle on Thursday, July 19 at 10p. Set in the streets of Atlanta, 16 hopeful contestants use the city to prove they have what it takes to outsmart the rest.
Six chefs enter the summer house to square off in new primetime culinary series Ultimate Summer Cook-Off, premiering Sunday, August 5 at 8p on Food Network.
A&E’s Born This Way will returns for season 4 on August 15 at 8p.
Epix’s Mark Burnett-produced revival boxing competition series The Contender will premiere on will premiere on the network on August. 24 at 10p.
Fuse is celebrating the 45th anniversary of hip-hop music with the television premiere of Hip-Hop Evolution as a four-night event beginning Sunday, August 5.
Showtime will offer the world television premiere of Baby Driver on Saturday, July 14 at 10p. The film received three Oscar nominations, as well as a Golden Globe nom for lead actor Ansel Elgort.
Facebook launched a feature that enables users the option to temporarily block posts from showing up in their News Feed. “Keyword Snooze” works in a similar way as the Snooze feature Facebook debuted in December that effectively lets users temporarily quiet select “friends” on the social platform. Keyword Snooze bowed yesterday in the US and will then roll it out more broadly.
Roku launched Audience Marketplace as a means to expand the targeted advertising business on its platform. The new service combines Roku’s proprietary audience data and technology with trusted third-party data to enable publishers to sell to targeted audiences on the platform via both programmatic and direct-selling methods. The company is partnering with video ad platform SpotX to integrate its data.
OTT service Xumo added select History content to the platform’s US-based channel lineup.
Discovery’s suite of TV Everywhere GO apps—including Discovery GO, Animal Planet GO, TLC GO, SCI GO, and Investigation Discovery GO, plus new HGTV and Food Network apps—are now available on select Samsung Smart TVs.
Wondery podcast American History Tellers released the first ep of its new six-part series The American Revolution, just in time for next week’s July 4 celebration.
ADVERTISING & MEASUREMENT
Attribution is one of the hottest topics in measurement right now, but despite a raft of challenges hope is in sight, says Drew Holland, director of advanced analytics and data and A+E Networks. Holland, a panelist at the August 2 Cynopsis Measurement & Data Conference, offers his take on where we’re headed.
Cynopsis: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to accurate attribution?
Drew Holland: The biggest obstacle is having large enough data sets and a sufficient amount of model inputs to measure attribution. Large data sets are needed to handle multiple conversion points, exposure types, and advanced targets within the exposed group, while still being able to remain statistically significant at a granular level. Satisfactory model inputs are needed to remove the impact of other marketing efforts and external influences on the results. When we look at multi-touch attribution, the linear portion has historically been more difficult to ascertain on a micro level. With larger Smart TV and STB data sets coming online, TV is going to be credited more accurately.
Cynopsis: What has been the most promising development so far?
Holland: The industry collectively recognizing the importance of attribution for TV, allowing us to accurately reflect its lower-funnel impact. As the attribution space continues to evolve, more of the groundwork is being put in place to allow for more data to be used, while factoring in a greater number of variables, and at greater speed. We believe this will produce a more complete and accurate measurement of the impact of television with respect to conversion metrics.
Cynopsis: What do the most accurate TV attribution models have in common?
Holland: Balanced and robust data sets underpinning it, no model or statistical technique can overcome small, biased, and/or incomplete data. The ability to include multiple touch points is also essential in trying to determine which marketing stimuli is driving conversion. We are trying to highlight models that not only have ‘good’ data, but also approaches that are consistent and transparent.
For info on the August 2 Measurement & Data Conference, offering robust discussions about, and solutions for, consistent measurement in the video world, go here.
A new study from Centro and Forrester Consulting reveals emerging interests from agencies to converge their media buying teams and functions. Among highlights:
* Three-quarters of agencies already have started to create some form of partnership between their direct and programmatic media buying teams; 17 percent claim to have fully converged operations.
* To drive convergence, more agencies have made technological (81 percent) and personnel (80 percent) changes, compared to designing new processes (72 percent), or engraining it in business culture (62 percent).
* The top perceived results correlated to digital media buying convergence are client retention, new business opportunities and improved media campaign performance.
Grace Park (Hawaii Five-0) is heading back to TV. She’s been cast in a lead among the ensemble cast of new ABC drama A Million Little Things, replacing Anne Son, who played the role in the pilot… Netflix comedy series Turn Up Charlie cast Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs), JJ Feild (Turn) and newcomer Frankie Hervey alongside Idris Elba… Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother, American Pie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) will join the cast of WGN America’s Mennonite crime drama Pure in a recurring guest role… Olafur Darri Olafsson (Lady Dynamite), Virginia Kull (The Looming Tower) and Ebon Moss Bachrach (Punisher) snagged series regular roles in AMC’s supernatural horror drama NOS4A2.
Calling all Bridezillas. The series is headed back to WE tv for season 12 and is casting up. Brides with weddings planned for August through December 2017 can apply at: https://castingbrides.castingcrane.com.
UK broadcaster Channel 4 became one of the first British media companies to reduce its gender pay gap, shaving its mean gender pay gap from 28.6 percent in 2017 to 22.7 percent in 2018. The company’s median pay gap also dropped, from 24.2 percent to 22.3 percent, according to CEO Alex Mahon.