News Corp., with assist from cable holdings, enjoys strong quarter | NBCU to transform G4 into Esquire Network | News Corp. set to announce national sports nets at March upfront
February 13, 2013
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News Corp., with assist from cable holdings, enjoys strong quarter
News Corp. for the quarter ended Dec. 31 saw its profit more than double to $2.38 billion, thanks to strong showings by FX, Fox News and its regional sports networks. Revenue was up 5% to $9.43 billion. The cable network programming unit tallied the most growth among entertainment holdings, posting an 18% increase in revenue to $2.6 billion and a 7% rise in operating income to $945 million. Ad revenue at its U.S. cable networks rose 8%, while outside-the-U.S. ad revenue increased 29%. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers)/Media Decoder blog (2/6), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (2/6)
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Local Television
NBCU to transform G4 into Esquire Network
NBCUniversal is preparing to remake its G4 video-gaming-themed channel into the Esquire Network, which is being pitched as "an upscale Bravo for men." The TV version of the magazine will cover similar topics, such as cars, politics, travel, fashion and cooking, without duplicating the print content. NBCU owns the channel, but Esquire parent Hearst Magazines has "a strong interest" in its success, according to Hearst Magazines President David Carey. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (2/10)
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News Corp. set to announce national sports nets at March upfront
News Corp., during its first-ever sports upfront early next month, will finally provide details about its plan to launch national sports channels to compete with ESPN, sources said. Fox Sports Media Group reportedly is working to create a pair of sports networks from its existing Speed Channel and Fuel network that will focus on Major League Baseball, college football, NASCAR, professional soccer and ultimate fighting. Former daytime talker Regis Philbin is in talks to join the main channel's lineup for an afternoon show, according to sources. Fox will also share details about programming for its 22 regional sports networks at the upfront. Reuters (2/8), Multichannel News (2/8)
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Campaigns and Agencies
TLC enlists zombies to promote competitor to "Walking Dead"
TLC, which has scheduled its new reality series "Gypsy Sisters" against AMC hit "The Walking Dead," is promoting its show with a clip using a zombie theme. "Gypsy Sisters" is a six-episode follow-up to "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding." The Hollywood Reporter/The Live Feed blog (2/7)
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ESPN showcases clutch plays in push for streaming app
ESPN is promoting its WatchESPN application with several spots that highlight clutch plays in various sports through the eyes of two imaginary, animated fans: Vic and Steve. "They are true sports fans, and you will see them throughout the year talking about different sports," Adriana Rizzo, ESPN's senior director of consumer marketing, said of the campaign developed by 72andSunny. ClickZ (2/11)
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TBWA\Chiat\Day will create brand identity for beIN Sport net
Startup beIN Sport has tapped TBWA\Chiat\Day's New York office to develop its brand and produce promotional ads. The network, despite having funding from Al Jazeera and a lineup of soccer games from France's Ligue 1 and other top leagues, faces a tall task in vying for attention alongside bigger rivals like ESPN and Fox Sports. Adweek (2/5)
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Research and Report
Survey: 3 in 4 U.S. households have an HDTV set
Three in 4 U.S. homes have a minimum of one HDTV set, and more than half of households that have an HD set have two or more, Leichtman Research Group has found in a poll. Almost 4 in 10 U.S. homes have multiple HDTV sets, compared with about 1 in 4 in 2011 and 1 in 20 in 2008. Almost 1 in 4 homes in the past year bought an HDTV set, with a mean purchase price of $680 -- a 30% decrease, compared with five years ago. Multichannel News (2/8)
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Next Gen Advertising
Twitter acquires social analytics firm Bluefin Labs
Twitter is buying social analytics firm Bluefin Labs. The price tag reportedly is almost $100 million, which would make it Twitter's biggest deal to date. "We believe that Bluefin's data science capabilities and social TV expertise will help us create innovative new ad products and consumer experiences in the exciting intersection of Twitter and TV," Ali Rowghani, Twitter's chief operating officer, wrote in a blog post. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers)/Media Decoder blog (2/5)
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Viacom, Zeebox team up to "SpotSynch" TV, online messages
Viacom has tapped social-TV firm Zeebox to provide a tool to coordinate the airing of TV spots with digital ads. The SpotSynch technology is being used by Taco Bell, AT&T and Kraft for coordinated TV and Zeebox ads airing during MTV's "Ridiculousness" and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with John Stewart" and "The Colbert Report." Advertising Age (free access for SmartBrief readers) (2/11)
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Programming News
AMC gets real on Thursday nights
AMC on Thursday will unveil its block of unscripted series, which are part of its goal to offer original programming every week of the year; currently the net has original shows for 43 weeks. The Thursday block starts at 9 p.m. with the second-season opener of "Comic Book Men," followed at 9:30 by the debut of "Freakshow" and the 10 p.m. premiere of the taxidermy-themed "Immortalized." Adweek (2/11)
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Digital Media
Google ads set to appear on Yahoo sites
Yahoo will add Google to the roster of ad networks it uses to fill its pages, sources say. That could presage renewed talks regarding a bigger ad deal between the tech giants, although for now Google and Yahoo appear happy to stick to a relatively low-level partnership focusing on using small AdSense ads to plug Yahoo's unsold inventory, writes Peter Kafka. "Any truly significant tie-up between Yahoo and Google would certainly undergo a whole lot of regulatory scrutiny," Kafka notes. All Things D (2/6)
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Promoted tweets engage better as a response to search
Promoted tweets that are a response to a user's search queries earn an 88% higher click-through rate than those simply appearing in the timeline, according to a TBG Digital study. Tweeting in timeline yielded a 29% lower cost-per-engagement for marketers. "These findings show that Twitter users are very engaged when they are searching for something. However, it's worth noting that search volume is limited, unless you focus on key times -- for example, around big TV shows and live sporting events," says TBG Digital CEO Simon Mansell. MediaPost Communications/Online Media Daily (2/7)
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Several excuses are always less convincing than one."
-- Aldous Huxley,
British author
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About NCC Media
NCC Media is the ad sales, marketing and technology organization that represents cable, satellite and telecom operators in every U.S. market. NCC Media meets marketers' needs to target consumer prospects efficiently and effectively in the communities where they live. Jointly owned by three of the nation’s largest MSOs – Comcast Cable, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable – NCC Media is constantly evolving to maintain its status as the industry’s most effective multi-platform sales organization. Consistent innovation and growth makes NCC Media your best partner in building the media plan of tomorrow, and today.

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