PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
A one-hour Food Network special hosted by People editor-in-chief Jess Cagle will offer a behind-the-scenes look at a new category in the magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue – “Sexiest Chef.” The Food Network showl, created in partnership with People and produced by Four M Studios, will be featured in the mag’s annual “Sexiest Man Alive” issue, and premiere on the net on Thursday, November 1 at 8p.
In another magazine mash-up, Endemol Shine and ESSENCE are exploring opportunities for a potential syndicated daily series focused on topics aimed at a diverse female audience. The program is being developed with Raymond Garcia and Major TV.
Amazon Studios ordered production on musical preschool series Do, Re & Mi, from Kristen Bell, Jackie Tohn (Glow), Michael Scharf (Moon and the Sun: An Imagined Conversation), Ivan Askwith (Veronica Mars) and Gaumont.
CBS put in development Just Like Us, about a widower who takes in his teenage El Salvadorian niece. Comedy comes from One Day at a Time’s Debby Wolfe and co-creator/EP/co-showrunner Gloria Calderon Kellett. Sony Pictures TV is the studio.
Immersive media company RYOT announced the launch of an entertainment studio focused on the next generation of content creation leveraging Verizon’s 5G technology. The studio space will host motion capture solutions (Vicon, Cubic Motion) for applications ranging from traditional film and television computer generated/visual effects work to virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and scientific research. The RYOT Innovation Studio will also house Verizon’s 5G Lab and be located at Verizon’s Playa Vista, California campus, opening in the fall of 2018.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Lifetime‘s “Real Love Tuesdays” will include two new Married at First Sight spin-off series this Fall: Married at First Sight: Honeymoon Island follows a group of singles looking for love on an exotic island starting Tuesday, October 23 at 10p, a week before the debut of Married at First Sight: Happily Ever After, offering the stories of three happily married couples from past seasons of the franchise, starting Tuesday, October 30 at 10p; Honeymoon Island moves to its regular 9p timeslot that night.
Shows arriving next month on Acorn TV include travelogue Vintage Roads Great & Small (October 8), Welsh crime drama Bang (October 15) and BBC music doc Young, Gifted & Classical: The Making of a Maestro (October 22).
The 24th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards will air live on the CW on Sunday, January 13 at 7p, honoring TV and film. Show will be produced by Bob Bain Productions and Berlin Entertainment.
comScore and Adobe are teaming to provide marketers with more brand-safe, relevant advertising via advanced contextual targeting through Adobe Advertising Cloud. The pre-bid targeting solution leverages comScore’s proprietary technology to help brands reach customers in more appropriate environments without the use of cookie-based information. “Paired with our post-campaign verification and measurement solutions, partners can be confident that they are targeting audiences in relevant, brand-safe environments while continuously optimizing and improving over time via a holistic, closed-loop solution,” said Anthony Psacharopoulos, EVP at comScore.
Pixalate’s Q2 2018 Ads.txt Trends Report found that Ads.txt adoption increased over 5 times the first half of 2018, from about 90,000 to 500,000. Examining the relationship between Ads.txt and ad fraud, the report found that sites with ads.txt had a 13.1% invalid traffic rate in 2Q18, versus a 14.5% IVT rate for sites without ads.txt; in June the difference was 14.5% to 17.1%. The IAB-led ads.txt initiative launched one year ago to bring transparency into the programmatic advertising ecosystem of sellers and domains.
Jess Gabor (The Twin) and Luis Guzman (Code Black) will recur on season nine of Showtime’s Shameless, while Bob Saget (Fuller House) will guest star….BET’s upcoming American Soul added Jason Dirden (Greenleaf), Iantha Richardson (This Is Us), Christopher Jefferson (Fifth Ward), Katlyn Nichol and Jelani Winston to its series regular cast.
Hearst Television has launched a series for Facebook Watch, Dispatches from the Middle, showcasing reporting from the Hearst Television stations throughout 26 TV markets across the United States. “Hearst Television’s approach to Dispatches from the Middle gives us an opportunity to see what happens when a national audience is presented with stories from smaller communities across the country,” said Shelley Venus, Video Lead, News Partnerships, Facebook. The Hearst series will appear in the newly launched dedicated section within Facebook Watch for news along with shows from other news organizations such as ABC News and the ABC Owned Stations, Bloomberg, CNN, Fox News, TEGNA and Univision.
Netflix viewers wouldn’t take kindly to ads being included during their shows, according to a Hub Entertainment Research study, The Future of Monetization. If the streamer began showing ads, 23% of those surveyed said they’d drop the service, with just 41% saying they’d definitely or probably keep their subscription. If Netflix included ads but dropped the subscription fee by $3/month, 16% of subscribers said they’d cancel. “When we ask subscribers what they consider to be the most attractive features of Netflix, the fact that it’s ad-free consistently ranks toward the top of the list,” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study. “For the moment, that remains a key distinguishing characteristic of the service, especially as other OTT providers attempt to compete with high-quality original shows of their own.”
Gawker may live to gossip again. Shut down two years ago as the result of a lawsuit bankrolled by billionaire Peter Thiel, the site was acquired by Bryan Goldberg, founder of Bustle Digital Media and now,Variety reports Goldberg wrote about reviving Gawker in a memo to staff. “We won’t recreate Gawker exactly as it was, but we will build upon Gawker’s legacy and triumphs – and learn from its missteps,” said Goldberg. “In so doing, we aim to create something new, vibrant, highly relevant, and worth visiting daily.”
Podcast content creator, distributor and monetizer Stitcher unveiled a new logo and brand identity, as it becomes the primary brand for The E.W. Scripps Company’s podcast operations. Stitcher CEO Erik Diehn said the changes reflect the transformation that has been underway for some time at the company to attract new advertisers, listeners and creative talent. “Our combined brands and companies – Midroll, Earwolf and Stitcher – were all individually early pioneers and leaders in podcasting,” Diehn said. “Each of these has evolved and thrived individually, and today we mark the beginning of those pieces coming together to form the world’s strongest end-to-end podcast company.” The company’s operational and business units’ operations have not changed.
ListenFirst has launched Twitter Video analytics, touting itself as the first solution to provide competitive video metrics for the entire Twitter universe as part of its enterprise data agreement with the social networking service. ListenFirst can now provide data for every video tweet collected directly through Twitter’s API. “ListenFirst’s comprehensive Twitter video insights, for our owned and competitors’ performance, are extremely valuable to stay competitive in a world that’s becoming increasingly video-driven,” said Gerryann Agovino, VP Revenue & Strategy, Original Content, AT&T Inc. “With these insights, we can better arm our sales team and have a deeper understanding of consumer trends at an industry level.”
FX Networks has launched a new blog featuring exclusive editorial content and news from FX, FXX and FXM. The blog includes interviews with talent, features, special events coverage, and behind-the-scenes looks at the networks’ lineup as well as teasers, trailers and other elements of marketing campaigns and news from FX Networks.
In a first, Apple’s iPhone press event today will be live streamed on Twitter. The event, which starts at 10a PDT, can also once again be streamed via Apple TV and Apple’s Events site.
Gusto Worldwide Media is launching Gusto TV as a dedicated channel on OTT service XUMO, offering on demand access to 139 episodes and four specials. Its 75 hours of original programming includes cooking content like Fish the Dish, One World Kitchen and License to Grill.
Authors, musicians, thought leaders, celebs and just plain folks will share their stories in all-female live storytelling event Together Live, from Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and WME. Digital content drawn from the events will be produced for Facebook, YouTube and a podcast series; tickets for the appearances go on sale September 28.
Starz’ streaming app has passed the three million subscribers mark, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer announced at a shareholder meeting, up one million from this time last year. Feltheimer credited investment in content for African-American, Latinx, female and LGBTQ audiences as a driver for growth.
CenturyLink’s Vyvx suite of fiber-based broadcast services now provides secure, high-performance connectivity into Amazon Web Services, including AWS Elemental Media Services, via AWS Direct Connect, announced the company. Called Vyvx Cloud Connect, the new network service provides broadcasters a path for getting live and linear video into and out of the cloud. “While cloud-based workflows make live OTT-video delivery significantly more scalable and agile, the delivery of that content from TV broadcast centers into the cloud to prepare it for Internet-based delivery is still dependent on broadcast distribution networks,” said Jim Davis, contributing analyst at Structure Research. “With this service, the CenturyLink Vyvx network can directly route broadcast TV content to AWS and give customers peace of mind knowing their streams are managed, monitored and protected.”
Kew Media Distribution has sold more than 70 hours of new content to the Scandinavian region with key broadcasters, including four acquisitions of biopic The Radical Story of Patty Hearst and three pickups of the new installment from the Bletchley Circle franchise.
Sky Vision, the production and distribution arm of Sky, has made its entire catalogue of programming available for license on TRX, the online licensing platform for TV rights, following an integration between Sky Vision’s rights management system and TRX.
Fremantle has partnered with Spiral Pictures, taking international distribution rights to new crime drama Taken Down, commissioned by RTE Television in association with ARTE France.
UK’s Cineflix Rights has acquired more than 80 hours of factual content from leading British producer Windfall Films, including Impossible Builds, Strip the Cosmos, My Floating Home and more.
UK’s Channel 5 and Pact (the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television) announced key commercial points of a new Terms of Trade agreement for independent production companies working with Channel 5. The deal secures UK exhibition rights on Chanel 5’s main public service channel as well as rights to air programs across Channel 5’s secondary channels and the pay and free channels of Viacom International Media Networks in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
UK TV production company Zig Zag Productions and Velocity Content announced the commission by BT Sport to produce football quiz show Fan TV; Call Yourself A Fan?.
The international co-production market carries challenges, BBC Director-General Tony Hall warned a gathering of British politicians. “The global SVOD players are increasingly seeking to launch on a global scale and therefore are looking for all rights in all territories, and the ability to carve out a first window in the UK as part of those global deals reduces as that strategy progresses,” said Hall. “We’re starting to see that. So, getting together the finance requires a different set of relationships and more work to go into that.”
In a new round of funding, Sky joined Fox, Turner and Discovery with a $2 million investment in TV technology company SDVI, which provides cloud-based services to manage content supply chains. “This strategic investment allows SDVI to partner with a true, global leader in television and media, while expanding our strong US position across Europe,” said Lawrence R. Kaplan, SDVI co-founder and CEO.
UK and Irish quad play provider Virgin Media announced the launch of its personalized VOD Channel for children, My Virgin TV Kids, in partnership with zone.tv. It’s the first European launch for zone.tv.