Skip a newsletter last week? “In Case You Missed It” rounds up the top stories in each of our three daily editions, so you can be up on the latest news, Cynopsis-style, in the worlds of linear, digital, sports and kids television. Enjoy!
The week’s executive shuffle at Viacom came into clear focus with news that what used to be three network groups are being restructured into two. Doug Herzog, who led the former Entertainment Group, will take charge of the new Viacom Music and Entertainment Group, consisting of MTV, MTV2, Logo, VH1, Comedy Central and Spike, and their related digital networks. Cyma Zarghami, who this year marks her 30th year with the company, will take on an expanded role leading the new Kids and Family Group. Her purview includes all brands currently in the Nickelodeon Group–Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., TeenNick, Nick at Nite, NickMom and NickToons–as well as TV Land, CMT and CMT Pure Country. Debra Lee will continue to hold the reins at BET. Out are former MTV chief Van Toffler, who is starting an indie production company, and TV Land president Larry Jones. In an internal email to employees, Viacom president/CEO Philippe Dauman told employees, “Our industry is in transition and change does not always come easy… We are working hard to adapt to changing audience behavior, to incorporate new forms of distribution and to better integrate technology into everything we do.”
Discovery Communications is the latest network group to shift to Live+3 reporting. Its portfolio of U.S. nets, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, ID, Science, Destination America, AHC, Velocity, Discovery Life Channel and Discovery Family Channel, will now report Live+3 ratings for the majority of its programming, with Live+SD reserved for live or special event content. “As time-shifted viewership continues to increase, Live + Same-Day data no longer captures an accurate picture and value of our audience, and the lift from Live+3 for many of our top programs is significant and growing,” said David Leavy, chief communications officer. In 4Q14 alone, premieres across Discovery’s top networks saw a 23 percent increase on average from Live+SD to Live+3 P25-54 delivery. NBCUniversal Cable, FX, HBO and Showtime have also made the move to Live+3 reporting.
Cartoon Network is again taking its Upfront on the road, touching down in major markets through March. The net is adrenalized by continued momentum across screens, with double-digit growth in 2015 landing it in second place with Kids 6-11, according to Nielsen. The net is touting new original programming including We Bare Bears, the rebooted Powerpuff Girls, slated to launch in 2016; and Mighty Magiswords, Cartoon Network Studios’ first original digital series about a brother and sister team of warriors for hire. Adventure Time, Clarence, Regular Show, The Amazing World of Gumball and Teen Titans Go! are among legacy performers. New Cartoon acquired content includes Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race, Transformers: Robots in Disguise and Supernoobs.
The “pinning” business is about to get into the buying business. According to Recode, Pinterest will unveil an e-commerce “buy button” in three to six months. The new feature will allow its 70 million monthly users to order and pay for the products they discover and pin on the site. “If Pinterest’s buy button experiment does work, it will be the only time we’ve seen a social network successfully transition into a marketplace,” Ripen eCommerce Marketing Director David Rekuctold Cynopsis. “Many social networks are probably still haunted by what happened to Digg, a huge platform that destroyed its following by trying to monetize too quickly.” Pinterest introduced “promoted pins” last spring with Kraft, Target, ABC Family and other major brands. It currently has a deal with the payments company Stripe, which also has partnerships with Facebook andTwitter.
VH1 and What’s Trending introduced the digital show Huge on the Tube with WT host Shira Lazar. The 12-episode series focuses on the story behind video sensations such as Jenna Marbles,Michelle Phan, Grace Helbig, and Mamrie Hart. “It was important to not touch on one-off successes, but on people who had used viral video to build a community around their work,” Lazar told Cynopsis. “A lot of these videos were pivotal in launching these individuals into the public eye.” A new ep will roll out daily on VH1 platforms, starting with choreographer and entertainer Todrick Hall.
Boxing continued to take the spotlight as CBS Sports and Showtime Sports detailed a multi-year joint venture that will bring live bouts to CBS Television Network. Premier Boxing Champions on CBS will see eight live events this year, with the first slated for April 4 at 3p. The program will air in conjunction with high-profile Showtime Championship Boxing events as part of a partnership designed to cross-promote the live programs across multiple platforms with each event on both channels supported with short- and long-form shoulder programming and marketing support. The debut episode on CBS will see light heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson defending his WBC title against former super middleweight champ Sakio Bika.
Amid stiff competition (aka SNL), Turner Sports’ coverage of this year’s NBA All-Star Game handed the company with a 4.3 household rating and an average of 7.2 million viewers, including an 7.2 local rating in NY, its highest ever in Turner’s history televising the event, according t Nielsen. Saturday’s presentation of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on TNT generated an average of 6.1 million total viewers and a 3.4 score. NBA All-Star content also pushed growth across live video streams, including Turner’s TVE platforms, with nearly a 90% increase for State Farm All-Star Saturday Night and more than 50% improvement for the NBA All-Star Game.