05/14/19: Cynopsis 2019 Wrap Up Report

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Cynopsis Special Edition: 2019 Wrap Up Report


“Today we’re celebrating advertising and the extraordinary content that makes this industry the best it has ever been,” said NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino, Chairman of Advertising and Client Partnerships, from the stage of Radio City Music Hall. In between appearances by the likes of Ted Danson, Tina Fey and Amy Pohler, Oscar winner Rami Malek, Olympic gold medal winners and a trio Kardashians, came news that NBCU’s streaming service, set to launch next year, will be free and ad-supported. “While other companies are pushing advertisers out, we’re bringing them in,” said Yaccarino of the service, which will have “new originals and a gigantic library of old favorites.” Of note: Despite the money being pumped into originals, The Office is the number one show on Netflix. NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises announced its 2019-20 lineup of multiplatform programming featuring more than 900 hours of original content to an audience that yields $1.7 trillion of buying power. Among highlights of the company’s slate: Original productions include four Super Series, the seventh season of El Senor de los Cielos and new drug lord-centric project Operacion Pacifico. At Telemundo’s portion of NBCU’s upfront event, La Reina del Sur star Kate del Castillo, together with La Voz coach Luis Fonsi – who gave a special performance of hit Latin songs – were featured. Monday night, Telemundo held an event at the Hammerstein Ballroom featuring a concert by Pitb ull .



FOX picked up 10 new series for the fall season, twice as many as last year, including four straight-to-series orders: animated comedies Bless the Harts, Duncanville, and The Great North, as well as the 9-1-1: Lone Star with Rob Lowe. On the way out, in a good way, is EmpireFOX revealed that the show’s previously announced sixth season will be its last. “We are turning the final season into a large TV event,” said FOX Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier. “We are trying to go out guns a-blazing. One of the great benefits of announcing the final season is that it actually allows fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve. Six years is a remarkable run.”… FOX confirmed that The Masked Singer was renewed for a third season. The show will make its debut after Super Bowl LIVE on Sunday, February 2, and will premiere in its regular time period on Wednesday, February 5 at 8p. The series would be produced via new shingle, Fox Alternative EntertainmentEndemol Shine is leaving the North American production, but will continue to produce it in other territories….Despite strong ratings in its first season, Last Man Standing won’t be on the fall schedule, but will instead be held until later in the season. The Tim Allen sitcom is leaving its Friday home, to make room in the fall for WWE’s SmackDown Live….NFL players J.J., T.J. and Derek Watt are set to front physical competition format Ultimate Tag. Series hails from Znak & Co., the production company run by Masterchef EP Natalka Znak.


Univision is evolving its multiplatform sports brand with a new name and expanded content. Formerly Univision Deportes, the cable network and digital brand will be known as TUDN, an acronym that translates to “Your Sports Network” in English. The new branding will debut this summer, with the channel rename in the US and its launch in Mexico as part of a collaboration with Grupo Televisa. This was among the news at the company’s upfront press event, where CEO Vince Sadusky’s vision of refocusing the company to serve solely Hispanic audiences was present throughout. Highlights include the launch of Univision Brand Labs, offering unique brand innovations, marketing strategies and growth solutions for advertisers; a reimaging iconic dramas La Usurpadora, Cuna de Lobos, El Maleficio and Rubí for a new generation; a lineup featuring  Arturo Perez -Reverte’s saga El Dragon; live marriage reality show Enamorandonos (Love is Calling); and expanded news coverage in UniMas, which will present the first and only Spanish-language news at 10p.  

Discovery U.S. Hispanic enters the 2019-2020 Upfront noting its networks Discovery en Español and Discovery Familia claim nearly a quarter of the total share for all Hispanic cable primetime viewing. The nets’ Upfront slates feature new and original premiere hours; Discovery US Hispanic’s TVE products, Discovery en Español GO and Discovery Familglia will house more than 7,000 episodes by the end of 2019, while additionally offering exclusive digital content. “Our beloved, fast-growing brands continue to strike a chord, and we are committed to making a genuine and authentic connection to our audience,” said Eduardo Hauser, General Manager U.S. Hispanic. “That’s why we’re strengthening the features and content of our entire portfolio, including our leading channels and our digital TV everywhere GO Apps, for the enjoyment of existing and new viewers – anytime, anywhere, on the platform of their choice.”

Discovery hosted its NY Upfront at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, with CEO David Zaslav, chief US advertising sales officer Jon Steinlauf, chief lifestyle brands officer Kathleen Finch and chief brand officer for Discovery & Factual Nancy Daniels touting the company’s premium ad solutions and 2019-20 content portfolio for Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Animal Planet, MotorTrend, Travel Channel and Science Channel. “TV remains the most powerful storytelling and brand-building medium, but consumers face an avalanche of content that’s not commercial friendly,” noted Steinlauf. “Sports is expensive, and news can be polarizing, but we’ve proven time and again that our compelling, real-life programming provides the safe and engaging environment that works for advertisers.” Biggest headline: Discovery and Magnolia, the lifestyle brand led by Chip and Joanna Gaines, made their joint media venture official. The company, to be named soon, will comprise a linear television network and TV Everywhere app to be unveiled in summer 2020, as well as a subscription streaming service to debut at a later date. The Gaineses will serve as chief creative officers of the company, and current HGTV president Allison Page will serve as president. Next summer, Discovery’s DIY Network, currently in more than 52 million US homes, will be renamed for the channel, which will feature primarily long-form programming around topics including community, home, garden, food, wellness, entrepreneurialism and design.  
At its annual Rainbow Room Upfront event, Crown Media Family Networks announced Project Christmas Joy: Alabama (wt) on Hallmark Drama, a new original program for the holiday season that will give a town in need an extreme Hallmark holiday transformation. “This show aligns perfectly with Hallmark Drama’s exclusive offering of original content,” said Bill Abbott, President & CEO, Crown Media Family Networks. Also coming to Hallmark Drama: Christmas Cookie Countdown, a five-episode competition series featuring talented amateur home bakers. Goodies will be judged by a panel of three well-known pastry chefs and hosted by a rotating panel of Hallmark stars. The program will be the among the net’s first on-air original content since its 2017 launch. And Hallmark Channel superfans, Jacklyn Collier and Shawlini Manjunath-Holbrook, host the network’s new podcast, Hallmark Channels’ Bubbly Sesh. The duo began a Hallmark Channel-dedicated podcast two years ago when they discovered their shared love for the network’s programming. The weekly program offers sneak peeks at upcoming programming, exclusive talent interviews, and behind-the-scenes production scoop. 
The A+E Networks upfront event turned on the power at its event, showcasing celebrities from President George W. Bush to Sylvester Stallone and Garth Brooks as it laid out its plans for History, A&E and Lifetime. In addition, the company flagged several upcoming initiatives, including podcasts, speaking series and a three-day HistoryCon event. Among the announcements: A&E will air a four-part special on Garth Brooks as part of its Biography franchise. Garth: The Road I’m On is set to air in Q4 of 2019 and highlight the country music artist’s career. Additionally, the networks announced Top Dog from MGM’s Big Fish Entertainment, a show about working K-9s and their handlers in competition with amateurs…History has paired with Sylvester Stallone to develop a period police drama series tentatively called The Tenderloin…The network has also greenlit nonfic series The UnXplained (w/t), hosted and executive produced by William Shatner. New docudramas on the slate include the rebooting of In Search Of and Evel Live 2 (premiering July 7). Two new six-hour docs, Washington and The Food That Built America have already been added to its premium docudrama slate… Lifetime has two scripted projects based on the lives of rappers Salt-N-Pepa and gospel singers The Clark Sisters. Both projects feature Queen Latifah in an executive producer role. The network has also given the go to three documentaries for 2020: From Darkness to Light, from Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman and Leah Remini; Smart Justice: The Jayme Closs Case hosted by Elizabeth Smart and a tentpole doc film series called Hopelessly In Love.
Nielsens Upfront breakfast was chock full of data, including:
* The more media options, the more time spent in front of a screen. Weekly time spent consuming media based on total US population rose from 61 hours in 2010 to 79 hours in 2018.
* SVOD approximates OTT capability. The percentage of US TV households with access to any SVOD rose from 64 percent in March 2018 to 69 percent in March 2019 while for Netflix it was 58 percent in 2018 and 63 percent in 2019.
* Speaking of Netflix, Nielsen data shows that One Day at a Time, which the service canceled to great pushback, showed an upward trajectory of viewers through its three seasons. The season 3 premiere weekend reached an estimated 1.63 million viewers, an increase of 82 percent from the season 2 opener a year earlier.

YouTube has 2 billion monthly unique users globally, CEO Susan Wojcicki shared at its Brandcast event in NY. The number is up 5 percent from the 1.9 billion monthly users YT announced last summer. She said watch time of YouTube on TV screens was more than 250 million hours per day as of March 2019, a rise of 39 percent in less than a year. In other toplines, YT is going to make all original scripted and unscripted programming – including series Cobra Kai and Liza On Demand – available for free, ad-supported viewing starting later this year in post-SVOD windows, and Wojcicki teased a “top-secret” project with Justin Bieber slated for 2020, docs on Paris Hilton and Latin artist Maluma and the renewal of Kevin Hart’s unscripted What the Fit. Alicia Keys was on sight to tout a new talk show, Unwind, coming to her channel. And Tiffany Haddish announced she’s launching a channel through which she’ll stage interventions for celebrity hoarders.
At Meredith’s NewFront event in downtown Manhattan, the company announced Katie Couric will host a weekly digital series, #SeeHer Story, that’s part of its slate of shows related to the #SeeHer movement. The series will be distributed across all of People’s outlets. Also in the slate: #SeeHer Style; season two of Badass WomenParent’s Moms Mean BusinessHealth’s Wellness WarriorsRachael Ray Every Day’s Like a Boss; and Shape’s Goal Crushers. Meredith also said it is doubling down on “the three Rs of celebrity,” red carpet, reality and royals, including a slate of 20 shows for Instagram’s IGTV vertical-video platform
At its “Go Binge Yourself” reception in NYC, Tubi announced an exclusive  deal for all 100 episodes of Debmar-Mercury and sib Lionsgate Television series Anger Management. The Charlie Sheen comedy, which had a record-setting premiere on FX at the time as the most-watched scripted cable comedy series debut, is available for free to Tubi customers. Tubi’s content library currently contains over 12,000 movies and TV series.
Ellen Digital Network is collaborating with Lea Michele (Glee) on Well, Well, Well with Lea Michele, a new series offering health tips and a comedic take on trends. Also in the works: a celebrity-driven series with viral content creator Jay Shetty, and projects featuring mom-preneur Ayesha Curry, viral star Kalen AllenYouTube star Hannah Hart, and Do Good Daniels with the Daniels family. “My digital studio is so fire, it’s lit… I can’t even,” said Ellen DeGeneres. “But I do know that just over the last two years, our slate of original programming has received over 1 billion organic views (and everyone knows organic is better). And we’re just getting started. I can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve got this year.”
Amid tables of dim sum at NYC’s Jing Fong Restaurant, Vice reported it is reaching 300 million consumers a month. CEO Nancy Dubuc said Vice understands how to connect with young consumers. “We really, deeply understand how they use media and how they understand your brands through media,” Dubuc told media buyers. “Because of how young this world is, we know that Vice’s megaphone as a brand is really just beginning to make an impact.” Changes at Vice include gathering brands like Vice News,Motherboard and Munchies on one site.
Hulu increased its total customer base to more than 28 million, comprising 26.8 million monthly paid subscribers and 1.3 million promotional accounts. That was one topline of the company’s presentation, aptly at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Hulu also will launch a “binge advertising” experience as it expands its suite of behavior-driven ad formats. “Because of our viewer-first advertising principles, we’re scaling rapidly,” said Peter Naylor, SVP/head of ad sales. “Hulu is future-proofing TV advertising and transforming the way brands connect with consumers.” Among content announcements, Hulu said it is expanding its partnership with Marvel Television with two new live-action series, Marvel’s Ghost Rider and Marvel’s Helstrom, inked a multiyear deal with Vox Media Studios to create  food-focused originals with David Chang’s Majordomo Media and Chrissy Teigen’s Suit & Thai Productions under the Hulu Kitchen umbrella. The company also signed an original programming deal with Teigen;  gave a straight-to-series order for Nine Perfect Strangers, starring and produced by Nicole Kidman and Bruna Papandrea; greenlit limited series The Dropout, starring Kate McKinnon as Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes; and renewed freshman comedies Pen15 and Ramy.
Verizon Media’s presentation spotlighted the company’s 5G network as a boon to deliver premium content partnerships across mobile, TV and OTT. “We’re driving performance and quality through data insights, creating an ecosystem that spans content, commerce, search and social, and providing access  to the industry’s most premium solutions built for brand safety and control,” said Jeff Lucas, head of North American sales and Global Client Solutions. Among content news:
* Verizon Media will world-premiere doc 5B, focused on the heartfelt humanity of nurses and caregivers in the midst of the HIV/AIDS crisis.
* New series Hypezilla, to debut on the Yahoo Play app, includes AR integration that will give the user the ability to virtually “try” on the showcased products, take part in related trivia and shop.
Yahoo Lifestyle’s NowWith is adding Sofia Vergara and her son Manolo Gonzalez Vergara, who will launch an exclusive line of swim and resort apparel called the Wet Line.
Yahoo Finance unveiled a slate of new programming, including a new video series and podcast slate.
Among the news at Studio71’s NewFronts event: Smosh, orphaned after Defy Media closed last year and then acquired by Mythical Entertainment, has boarded the Studio71 creator network…Studio71 plans for launch a new podcast, “OHoney,” featuring best friends and  influencers Amanda Cerny and Sommer Ray offering advice to lovesick millennials…A brand safety scanning system, Context, will monitor for inappropriate comments…And a new ad product will use tech platform Spaceback to repackage social media experiences as standard paid-media units. 
Twitter announced a deal with Univision Communications that will deliver more sports, news and entertainment content to its Spanish-language users, including analysis of the 2020 presidential race and soccer highlights. The social media giant also unveiled agreements for content from the Wall Street Journal and Time magazine. New initiatives with previous partners include shows and brand extensions with the NFL, ESPN, Viacom, Major League Soccer, Live Nation, and Activision Blizzard“Together with our partners, we developed this new slate of programming specifically for our audiences, and designed the content to fuel even more robust conversation on Twitter,” said Kay Madati, Twitter’s Global VP and Head of Content Partnerships.
At NYC’s Hudson Yards, Conde Nast announced it had 175 pilots and 50 returning shows. Initiatives include a partnership with Twitter that will offer live streams of the company’s conferences, and digital series The Great Pretender from Vanity FairAllure’s Seeing TripleConde Nast Traveler’s Say I Sent You; and Architectural Digest’s Pop Culture Design Breakdown“While there’s more content in the market today than ever before, a new scarcity has emerged – a scarcity of great content,” said Pamela Drucker Mann, Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer. “We’re reaching net new audiences you can’t reach on television, or any one platform – we are the new primetime, uniquely positioned to connect our advertisers with one billion consumers around the world.”
During its second annual NewFront event, Viacom announced that flagship networks BETComedy CentralMTV and Nickelodeon will be introduced to Pluto TV’s channel lineup and its new slate of original digital programming. “Our remarkable growth continues to be driven by an investment in premium original programming and experiences that engage our young, diverse audiences on the platforms they love most, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for our advertising partners to join the conversation,” said Kelly Day, President of Viacom Digital Studios. The company’s channels will launch on Pluto on Wednesday, May 1 with content from Viacom’s library on three categories of branded channels: Co-branded Flagship Channels, with curated versions of Viacom’s leading networks; Signature Channels, with celebrated and diversified programming from each brand; and Pop-Up Channels, delivering marathon-style airings, starting with MTV’s The Hills, which will re-air ahead of the revival series The Hills: New Beginnings premiering Thursday, June 24. The new content slate includes: How to Survive: A Break-UpAwesomenessTV’s scripted romantic comedy starring Eva GutowksiBlack Coffee, BET’s daily morning talk show starringMarc Lamont Hill; Comedy Central’s untitled late-night show from David SpadeMTV No Filter: Tana Turns 21, following Tana Mongeau and her crazy crew as they navigate vlog life; and Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob Smarty Pants Game Show.
Hearst Television and Comcast-owned FreeWheel, are partnering to offer a scalable, premium OTT video solution to advertisers. Hearst Anyscreen, Hearst Television’s OTT advertising product, will use FreeWheel’s Monetization and Revenue Management platform to enhance and expand access to premium OTT video inventory, and to augment OTT advertising campaigns with additional inventory sources within the FreeWheel marketplace. FreeWheel also announced that its FreeWheel Advertisers division has launched enhancements to its Strata platform that will bring additional automation to the local TV advertising process. The new automated capabilities will be made available to the 1,200 agencies that already use the Strata platform and all U.S. TV stations. “When you consider that these new automation enhancements are available within the same system that local TV buyers and sellers currently use, the solution is clearly unique in the industry,” said Joy Baer, General Manager, FreeWheelAdvertisers. “The word that our clients are using is ‘game- changing.’”
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