03/17/15: UP



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BEHIND THE SCENES at the Upfronts
The People! The Parties! The Buzz!a

When you’re a network that began life as the Gospel Music Channel and today emphasizes that the Up in your name stands for “uplifting,” having to yank a top-rerunning series (Seventh Heaven) over allegations of sexual misconduct by one of its stars (Stephen Collins) is a bad bump. “That was really unfortunate for us,” says EVP and General Manager Amy Winter. “It was a show that delivered.” But onward and, well, upward: new hires Winter and EVP of advertising sales Lisa Fischer spent 2014 honing in on original brand content and selling strategy and were heartened to discover that a segmentation study identified 42 million adults who are looking for programming with family in mind. So that’s where they’ve targeted their programming arrows this season.


Telemundo’s "La Voz Kids" is leaving the competition on the playground.

Hosted by Daisy Fuentes and Jorge Bernal with music star Coaches Daddy Yankee, Natalia Jiménez and Pedro Fernández, "La Voz Kids" showcases young vocalists competing for a recording contract and a cash prize to support their education.

Check it out at together.nbcuni.com
Rock Together

What’s the pitch?
“We want to build shows that will appeal to moms, that their kids will sit down and watch, and that won’t make their husbands run from the room,” says Winter. “From a creative and brand standpoint, our positioning is ‘feel-good TV for you and your family.’ We know what our audience wants, and we want to give them content they can feel good spending time with.”

Yet while the word “values” gets mentioned a lot in conversation with the executives, this does not necessarily equate to Christian values. “We have a huge diversity on our air,” says Winter. “We’re careful when we say ‘values’ because the connotation of the word can sound very aligned with the conservative mindset. What we mean is a personal set of values and being a decent human being.”

In addition to rolling out scripted and unscripted shows, audiences will be able to find otherwise unavailable content from its shows on UpTV.com. “This is a really strong engagement story when you advertise in this type of environment,” says Fischer. “Marketers are seeing that.” In addition, the digital side of the network features exclusives and games which “build a loyal fan base that keeps growing from week to week.”

New Categories You Want to Break?
Family dining, theatrical, pharmaceuticals

How You Stand Out from Your Competitors
The executives note that they pull a younger demo than Hallmark, while their other main competitor, ABC Family Channel, has been pushing boundaries with some of its content in recent years. “We compete in a broad-based entertainment set,” says Fischer. “We’re aspirational; other places might be over-shared.”

What Your Clients are Saying
“We just came out of two weeks of brand development meetings, and one of our goals was to ensure the senior leaders of the agencies understood how we’re curating our content and not wavering on our brand promise. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and that level of positive surprise has already resulted in some RFPs [requests for proposal],” says Fischer.

What Defines Success This Upfront Season
“Growth in revenue,” says Fischer. “We want to come out of the Upfronts with the idea that Up is a player in the marketplace, we’re building great content and a brand that will be around for a long time. We want to position for the future.”

On the Radar
Big investments into scripted and reality series are coming this season; Ties that Bind (a scripted drama about a detective who’s also mom to teenagers); The Holderness Family premieres in late March (“they’re like the first family of viral videos”); season 2 of Bringing Up Bates has been greenlit; three new original movies are scheduled.



What’s new with you?

Content. Data. Distribution. Unleashed. That’s what’s new with us.

You can get all the details at together.nbcuni.com.

Innovating Together

Just Asking…

Their names may not be household-recognized ones yet, but there’s a good chance you’ve seen one of the Holderness clan’s hilarious homemade, family-starring music videos. Chief Fun Officers Kim and Penn Holderness (who will star with the family in Up’s new original series The Holderness Family) put down the camera for a moment to answer some questions, though they did not respond in song.

What’s your favorite social media platform?
Penn: “Twitter. The snark level there is so glorious.”
Kim: “Pinterest. Pretty pictures, inspiration, humor, very nicely packaged for my dwindling attention span.”

Can’t-miss TV shows?
Penn: “Parks and Rec (RIP), House of Cards, Modern Family, Downton Abbey, Premier League Review (I am a soccer nerd), Archer.”
Kim: “Same first four as above, plus Scandal (Penn also watches but he doesn’t like to admit it), Orange is the New Black.”

What’s the job you’d most like to have but know you never will??
Penn: “Host of The Tonight Show. That just looks like an insane amount of fun, especially watching Jimmy Fallon do it.”
Kim: “Lead role in a Broadway musical. Never gonna happen unless they invent live auto-tuning that can move my voice up a full octave.”

Quote of The Day
“We won’t necessarily show you shiny happy people all the time  we reserve the right to make you laugh or cry, but you’ll be glad you spent time with us.”  Amy Winter

Coming up in “Backstage at the Upfronts,” hitting your mailbox at 6pm:

No drooling! BabyFirst has big plans for the under-3 crowd and their gatekeeper parents, plus an integrated strategy designed to get advertisers to positively burble with delight.

In its second year, the feline fest known as the Kitten Bowl, hosted by Beth Ostrovsky, attracted 1.3 million viewers to the Hallmark Channel on Super Bowl Sunday in February. Hear what plans President and CEO Bill Abbott has in store to grow the successful franchise in 2015-16 as well as continuing its foray into original prime-time programming. Plus, find out which of the network’s daytime cohosts is hot on the heels of Today‘s Savannah Guthrie.

Check out what Edward Gold, State Farm Advertising Director, had to say about his company’s partnership with the Weather Channel, and what he’s looking for in the future.

Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey, Editor
Roberta Caploe: Editorial Director @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group 

Cynopsis Ad Sales: Mike Farina | VP, Sales | 203-218-6480

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