January 20, 2022

Networks Go to Extremes to Promote New Shows for the Fall Season

A Headless Horseman stalked a Manhattan street to sell the new Fox series “Sleepy Hollow.” Eighties memorabilia surprised people if their surname just happened to be Goldberg to promote ABC’s new ’80s-era comedy called “The Goldbergs.” But even with such marketing efforts, executives say calling attention to the 12 new series due this week — or the total influx of 28 new shows on five networks over the next few weeks — has been anything but easy.

“It’s harder than ever,” said George Schweitzer, the president of the CBS Marketing Group, who has been trying to promote new network shows for more than two decades.

It is harder in part because the broadcast networks try what now seems to be a preposterous feat every September — introducing dozens of new series at the same time. The cable networks, which now win most of the accolades, focus on just one new show at a time.

The broadcast networks also have been challenged by a continuing decline in their ratings and because competition for leisure time is everywhere.

“It’s exhausting, and it’s expensive” to promote network programming, said Joe Earley, the chief operating officer of the Fox network.

None of the network executives interviewed for this article would cite specific figures for their fall marketing budgets, but the consensus is that hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent trying to lead viewers to the pleasures of “The Millers” on CBS, “Trophy Wife” on ABC, “Junior MasterChef ” on Fox and “Ironside” on NBC.

That estimate is especially true if the value of on-air citations is included. As Mr. Earley noted, “We can’t stop buying old media, like print and outdoor and radio, but we also need to buy whatever is the new mobile experience or the new digital network.”

The operative notion expressed by network marketing executives was: leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of promotional ideas. Mr. Earley expanded it, “We were down to pebbles, and we were looking into grains of sand we could turn over.”

Fox went to the old playbook, beginning the bulk of its new shows a week early. That means it had a mostly free shot last week to let viewers sample those shows. And the effort was rewarded. Three new Fox series did relatively well, the comedies, “Dads” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and the drama “Sleepy Hollow.”

The latter was a full-court effort. Fox began promoting “Sleepy Hollow” in May, the day it was announced to advertisers in New York, and it never let up.

Fox set up a representation of the set in Madison Square Park in Manhattan. People could stage a pseudo fight with the Horseman, and Fox would turn it into an image they could send to friends. Actors in headless costumes visited multiple cities and even state fairs. Fox set up green-screen effects at affiliated stations so the local weather forecasters could do their reports “headless” on the night of the premiere.

“We even had Headless walking around Times Square the day of the premiere,” Mr. Earley said. (Over the long promotional period, he developed a first-name-basis relationship with the character.) For “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a show set in a police precinct, Fox took over the Jay Street subway station and handed out free coffee and doughnuts. The two shows scored well in the areas networks follow before a new season: awareness and intent to view, as measured by Nielsen and other research organizations. Each network watches these figures closely throughout the summer, though they are, most agree, profoundly unreliable.

“When it looks good for our shows, we’re very happy,” Mr. Schweitzer said. “When it doesn’t go well, we say, ‘It’s not right.’ ”

Among the factors affecting awareness and intent to view are familiarity with stars and what is known as “title inflation.” People think they know something about a coming show by its title, even though they do not.

That was a risk on “Sleepy Hollow,” Mr. Earley said, because of what he called “literary awareness” and familiarity with the classic Disney cartoon. Unsurprisingly, the show with the best awareness and intent-to-view scores going into the season is “The Michael J. Fox Show” on NBC, because of the star’s strong personal appeal.

Similarly, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” ABC’s new drama, is riding into the season with huge anticipation because of its associations with comic books and movies.

In contrast, CBS’s new comedy “The Crazy Ones” did not break through based on its title, but when viewers were made aware that the show stars Robin Williams, the scores rose markedly.

Marla Provencio, executive vice president for marketing at ABC, said of the awareness studies: “It’s a tool rather than rule. We’ve had certain shows launch where the awareness and the intent weren’t that great. There are so many other things that are variables. Obviously your lead-in is a great variable. And in the terms of the way people view television these days, it’s a very hard thing.”

Last fall, one show seemed to be exploding in terms of awareness and intent to view: an ABC drama called “666 Park Avenue.” It disappeared quickly. On the other side, CBS had a show in 2000 with a tiny awareness score. It wound up being a multibillion-dollar franchise called “C.S.I.”

As difficult as it is to break through the clutter of the new fall shows, some opportunities have arisen. Mr. Earley cited the DVR, first seen as a threat, now — along with video on demand, and digital sites like Netflix — a boon, offering a chance for shows to survive as alternative choices. “You don’t have to be someone’s favorite,” Mr. Earley said. “You can be the second favorite.”

And then there is social media. Marketers are experimenting with how to use such sites to increase awareness of shows, fuel word of mouth and even promote shows during broadcasts.

Ms. Provencio said, “We have no metrics for the social space, but you can’t tell me, with the way Twitter worked for ‘Scandal,’ that there isn’t a correlation to the fact that ratings went up once the Twitter-fest happened.” “Scandal,” an ABC drama, exploded in the ratings midway through last season after it became the talk of Twitter.

The effectiveness of all of the efforts to appeal to viewers will begin to be measured when the bulk of the shows finally arrive this week.

As Mr. Schweitzer put it: “We get this stuff on the air, and then the viewer tells us. They’ll tell us starting Monday.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/business/media/networks-go-to-extremes-to-promote-new-shows-for-the-fall-season.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Netflix Dominates Speculation Over Emmy Awards

Two programs created for that Internet streaming service, the drama “House of Cards” and the comedy “Arrested Development,” are leading contenders for best actor or best program nominations that formerly were the province of shows produced for broadcast and cable networks. And if they are nominated, it would be the first time that slots in the most avidly pursued categories went to programs not specifically produced for the medium of television.

The reaction to this development inside the traditional television business has been largely muted, with many executives suggesting that only the quality of the work is important. But to some, this is a moment reminiscent of the days when cable channels like HBO first began to challenge the dominance of broadcast networks like ABC.

John Landgraf, the chairman of the cable network FX, who has been critical of Netflix’s practice of not disclosing how many people are watching its programs, acknowledged that “House of Cards” seems likely to grab one of the six nominations for best drama, potentially knocking out one of his network’s strong candidates, like “Justified” or “The Americans.”

Mr. Landgraf said that FX aggressively pursues Emmy nominations, but he added, “It would be the height of bad sportsmanship to seek to keep a show out because it comes from a different distribution system.”

Another senior broadcast network executive said, “It’s hard to say anything about the Netflix thing because we only sound defensive or whiny.” The executive insisted on anonymity because of a reluctance to criticize the inclusion of streaming services publicly.

More than anything else, Netflix’s arrival in the Emmy mix is disquieting to some broadcast and cable executives because it is probably only the beginning.

Though there is little evidence than winning Emmys drives up viewership (just ask Tina Fey about “30 Rock”), creators and networks still see them as validation. Netflix clearly does; it campaigned ardently for nominations this year, which including planting lawn signs in Los Angeles neighborhoods presumed to be dense with members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

With everyone from Amazon to YouTube to Condé Nast having announced rosters of planned programs this spring, the prospect of a glut of new nominees is on the horizon. Already the number of eligible dramas under consideration has leapt to 105, from 87 last year. One academy member said this year’s nominating ballot “was mind-boggling; it was like an SAT test.”

John Leverence, the academy’s senior vice president for awards, said of the proliferation, “I think this is a parallel situation to what happened with cable 20 years ago.”

In 1988 the academy opened its doors to cable entries, and within a few years, led by “The Sopranos,” cable networks had slowly eroded the hegemony broadcast networks had enjoyed at the Emmys, leading to cable domination in certain categories, especially drama.

Mr. Leverence recalled how the series creator Steven Bochco argued that he faced limitations on content in his drama “NYPD Blue” that “The Sopranos” never had to deal with.

“The Bochco argument was very compelling,” Mr. Leverence said. “It was so compelling, he made poor Dennis Franz take his pants off.” Laughing at the memory, he added, “Nobody liked that solution.”

The issue of freedom versus limits persists. Yet Preston Beckman, who was the top program scheduler at NBC and later at Fox, said that the inclusion of Netflix and other streaming sites “is a big deal, but not a game changer.”

Since pay cable channels already are included in the Emmys, “what does it matter if two shows from some other source are included?” he said. “The issue isn’t so much these streaming sites as the fact that you have five entities that are constrained in terms of what they can put on the air and need to attract as large an audience as possible.”

Mr. Leverence said the Emmys “are about excellence.” But he agreed that the mix of shows is important to the academy, which is eager to generate strong ratings for its annual awards broadcast.

After attracting more than 16 million viewers in 2006 — coincidentally, the last time broadcast shows won both best drama (“24”) and best comedy (“The Office”) — the show has not surpassed 13.5 million viewers and has fallen below 13 million three times. Last year, it hit a record low among the viewers most prized by broadcast advertisers, those between the ages of 18 and 49.

Mr. Leverence acknowledged that the awards show risks losing viewers “when they are not going to have any rooting interest” because the nominated shows were seen only through streaming services or Web sites. One potential answer would be to expand the number of nominees in the categories with hordes of eligible entrants.

Four years ago, the academy expanded nominees in the two major categories to six from five. Mr. Leverence said that academy rules are fluid and that some other adjustments might be made.

The film industry, in search of a way to include movies that attracted big crowds after “The Dark Knight” was snubbed in 2009, expanded the number of best picture nominees to 10 the next year. Mr. Leverence said his awards committee has had some discussion about expanding the pool of nominees. But, he said, “There is always a hesitation about award inflation.”

Similarly, he said that another suggestion — separating categories either by traditional distribution versus Internet or advertiser-supported channels versus subscription services like Netflix — would threaten to devalue the trophy.

“Tiering is degrading,” he said. “The best should be the best.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/17/business/media/netflix-dominates-speculation-over-emmy-awards.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

CW Network Completes Upfront Sales

CW has become the first of the large English-language broadcast networks to complete the bulk of its sales of commercial time ahead of the 2013-14 season in the so-called upfront market.

CW, which is owned by the CBS Corporation and Time Warner, sold about the same amount of commercial time in the 2013-14 upfront market, $400 million to $420 million, as it did last year in the 2012-13 upfront market. The total includes digital ad sales as well as television sales.

CW was also the first across the upfront finish line last year among its peer group, which is composed of ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.

The rates that CW is charging advertisers for the 2013-14 season — known as cpms, for the cost to reach each 1,000 viewers, a standard measurement in the television industry — are increasing by an estimated 5 percent to 6 percent. That compares with cpm increases last year that were somewhat higher, estimated at 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent.

Industry analysts had forecast that the broadcasters would obtain lower increases in cpms than they enjoyed last year because of ratings erosion and the bumpy economy.

CW is selling about 75 percent of its commercial inventory in the upfront market, holding the rest back to sell during the course of the 2013-14 season in what is called the scatter market. That is roughly the same percentage as the network sold ahead of time last year in the 2012-13 upfront market.

CW has five new series on tap for 2013-14, three of them to have their debuts in the fall and two in midseason.

Those new shows are intended to continue a shift that began during the last season or two as CW seeks to broaden the appeal of its programming beyond its core demographic target of women ages 18 to 34. A series introduced in 2012-13, “Arrow,” with an appeal to men, was a hit.

The 2013-14 upfront market began last week as ABC and Fox started making deals with advertisers and agencies. At the same time, CBS said its sales executives were “in active negotiations.”

Viacom, which owns cable channels like Comedy Central and MTV, also started writing upfront business last week.

The pace of the upfront market is largely dictated by economic conditions. Ratings are playing a larger part as broadcasters confront increased competition from cable channels and online video.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/business/media/cw-network-completes-upfront-sales.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

USA Network Turns to Vignettes to Draw Viewers and Advertisers to Its Daytime Schedule

The USA Network cable channel, part of NBCUniversal, is adapting the show, “Talk Stoop With Cat Greenleaf,” for a series of vignettes that will appear on the channel during a daytime block of programming that runs from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.

There are to be three to four vignettes each hour, with each vignette lasting from 10 seconds to 60 seconds. The vignettes, which go by the jargon-y term “short-form content pods” at USA, are to run adjacent to regular commercials.

Executives of USA plan to describe the initiative at their upfronts presentation on Thursday afternoon at Pier 36 in downtown Manhattan. The presentation will conclude the upfronts week in New York, during which cable channels and broadcast networks are sharing with Madison Avenue their schedules for the 2013-14 season.

The host of “Talk Stoop,” Cat Greenleaf, will also serve as the host of the USA programming block, which offers viewers reruns of series like “CSI,” “Law Order” and “NCIS.” She will greet viewers by saying something like, “Welcome to USA daytime.”

Ms. Greenleaf will also continue as the host of “Talk Stoop,” which appears on properties that include WNBC-TV in New York and iVillage.com, which, like USA, are part of the NBCUniversal division of Comcast.

Just as she does on “Talk Stoop,” Ms. Greenleaf will interview celebrities during the vignettes, who will include stars of USA series, celebrities in the news, stars who have new movies or TV shows to promote and even brand characters.

USA is offering marketers sponsorships of the vignettes, along with acknowledgments like “Brought to you by …” There will also be opportunities to place products within the vignettes so that Ms. Greenleaf could be watched, say, drinking a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee or driving a BMW.

Ms. Greenleaf “has the right personality and editorial credibility to make daytime feel topical, vibrant and culturally relevant for both fans and advertisers,” said Alexandra Shapiro, executive vice president for marketing and digital at USA.

The initiative is another example of an increasingly popular trend known on Madison Avenue as branded content, native advertising or branded entertainment. The goal is to weave brands and products into editorial or entertainment content in a fashion that will circumvent consumers’ growing abilities to avoid or skip conventional ads like commercials.

“Cat is going to be the MC of the day, anchoring the four-hour block,” said Laura Molen, executive vice president for cable advertising sales at NBCUniversal, who oversees USA and other channels like E! and Chiller.

Some vignettes “will be her traditional stoop interviews,” Ms. Molen said, and some will feature Ms. Greenleaf using a “portable” stoop that will enable her to visit locations like restaurants.

The vignettes are being sold to advertisers as part of packages, Ms. Molen said, that are composed of the segments along with “regular commercials before or after.” She said that pricing is being determined as the sales process gets under way.

The original programming that is to be discussed at the USA upfronts presentation will include drama series like “Graceland,” about undercover federal agents; comedy series like “Sirens,” about paramedics; and reality series like “Summer Camp.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/17/business/media/usa-network-turns-to-vignettes-to-draw-viewers-and-advertisers-to-its-daytime-schedule.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

The Media Equation: Cable TV’s Shift to Darker Dramas Proves Lucrative

We used to turn on the television to see people who were happier, funnier, prettier versions of ourselves — people like Mary Tyler Moore, or Ashton Kutcher. But at the turn of the century, something fundamental changed and we began to see scarier, crazier, darker forms of the American way of life.

Pinning down a realignment in the zeitgeist is dicey business, but more than a few people might point to Feb. 7, 1999. On that night on HBO, a character named Tony Soprano went with his daughter, Meadow, to inspect a college. It’s an oft-deployed television trope, but this time it came with a mind-altering twist. While at the college in Maine, Tony spotted a former associate who had become an F.B.I. informant and entered witness protection. In between the quotidian tasks of touring the campus, Tony hunted the man down and used his bare hands to kill him.

Rather than being revolted, audiences and critics began to chatter, and the episode, the fifth in the first season of “The Sopranos,” won an Emmy for outstanding writing in a dramatic series. The rest was television history.

It was not only a profound shift, but a highly lucrative one as well. Built on lush portraits of human pathology, subscription- and ad-supported cable channels gradually became hotbeds of quality and profits, even as broadcast networks withered.

Click on ambitious cable channels now, and you will find a high school science teacher who makes meth when he is not dissolving his enemies in vats of acid (“Breaking Bad”); a successful Madison Avenue advertising executive whose entire life is a lie (“Mad Men”); a forensics investigator who is a serial killer on the side (“Dexter”); and another New Jersey gangster, this one in Atlantic City, who is also very much the family man (“Boardwalk Empire”).

It has been a winning formula, but the execution risk is high. In “Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution,” to be published in July by Penguin Press, the author, Brett Martin, suggests that the manic and dark shows, which were so riveting for audiences, were produced by men — and they were mostly men — who were as tortured and often as despotic as the antiheroes they hung their plots on.

Mr. Martin suggests that there is a fundamental lesson about where greatness comes from. If you want to create original programming, you are going to have to deal with the idiosyncrasies of some very original characters. Artists, and that’s what they were, require a wide berth, even when tens of millions of dollars is at stake.

Writers suddenly became directors and filled their writing rooms with talented cronies, few of whom had television experience. Crews would stand by for days while the creators mulled details and handed out freshly printed pages of entire new scenes. Directors, studio executives, even the actors themselves became game pieces in the creator’s effort to build a television version of the universe he saw in his head.

“This isn’t like publishing some lunatic’s novel or letting him direct a movie. This is handing a lunatic a division of General Motors,” one television executive told Mr. Martin, remaining anonymous presumably because he or she hoped to make more television — and more money — with said lunatics.

What becomes remarkable in retrospect is not just the rise of a new kind of storytelling, but the realization that an entire industry was built and controlled by writer-producers, men who typed for a living. Among others, Mr. Martin recounts the rise of David Chase, the creator of “The Sopranos”; David Milch, who came out of “NYPD Blue” to create “Deadwood”; David Simon, a former reporter for The Baltimore Sun who created “The Wire”; and Matthew Weiner, a “Sopranos” alumnus who conjured “Mad Men.”

That cohort and several others produced a small-screen equivalent to the revolution in American cinema during the 1970s, led by Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman and Francis Ford Coppola. The most remarkable narrative ambitions are now defined by a television season more often than a film, and show runners like Mr. Chase became all-powerful overlords of the worlds they created.

“It was necessary for me to always take the point of view that I was obligated to no one and nothing,” Mr. Chase told Mr. Martin.

E-mail: carr@nytimes.com;


Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/29/business/media/cable-tvs-shift-to-darker-dramas-proves-lucrative.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Eye on Ratings, ABC Peers Into the Disney Toy Chest

That is changing. As part of a wide-ranging effort to find new hits, ABC is looking to the Magic Kingdom for firepower.

Among ABC’s 24 pilots for the next television season is a drama based on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a Disneyland roller coaster. Another pilot, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” is based on ancillary characters from “The Avengers,” which last year took in $1.5 billion at the global box office for Marvel Entertainment, a Disney unit. And “Once: Wonderland,” a spinoff of “Once Upon a Time,” a successful fairy tale television series introduced in 2011, focuses on Alice and her pals.

“It seemed crazy to live within the walls of one of the best content companies in the world and not to be taking advantage of it,” said Paul Lee, ABC’s president of entertainment.

These efforts are only in the pilot stage, Mr. Lee cautioned, adding that he is not trying to turn ABC into a Disney Channel for adults; programs that overtly trade on Disney stories could turn off ABC’s more sophisticated viewers. Harold L. Vogel, author of “Entertainment Industry Economics,” said Mr. Lee also faces pushback from TV producers who might revolt at “importing concepts from elsewhere in the corporation.” But if the concept works, ABC’s ratings troubles could ease or even reverse. Mr. Lee would also gain political capital within the company: Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, has made cross-company cooperation and franchise expansion a focus of his reign.

For the season to date, and including sports, ABC ranks last among the Big Four broadcast networks in the advertiser-friendly demographic of adults 18 to 49. The network’s prime-time slate has attracted an average of 2.9 million viewers in that age bracket, a 4 percent decline from the same period last year, according to Nielsen.

Sports-heavy NBC and Fox both rank slightly ahead of ABC by this measure, though both have had steeper year-on-year declines. CBS, bolstered by the Super Bowl, ranks No. 1, with an average of 3.8 million adults 18 to 49.

ABC has its strengths — a large degree of family co-viewing is one, the hit sitcom “Modern Family” is another — but, like all broadcasters, it has struggled to find new breakout hits and has a limited marketing budget. Mr. Lee hopes to better use Disney’s vast empire to get people to notice his new programs. “Once Upon a Time,” for instance, has been advertised on the Disney Cruise line, and costumes from the series have been exhibited at Disney parks.

“Big Thunder” comes from Melissa Rosenberg, a writer-producer who is best known for her work on the “Twilight” movie series. Mr. Lee described it as “a rock ’n’ roll western” — in its spirit if not in actual song — about a man who moves to a mining town with his ailing son, whose health begins to mysteriously improve.

ABC and Marvel have kept a tight lid on “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” but the pilot was directed and co-written by Joss Whedon, who also directed “The Avengers” and is known to TV fans as the force behind “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The “S.H.I.E.L.D.” project, which got its start when Mr. Iger personally suggested that ABC take a look at it, focuses on spies who oversee superhero field operations.

Mr. Lee’s hunt for programming with more Disney DNA comes as ABC shares more talent with its popular cable cousin, ABC Family. Joey Lawrence of the ABC Family series “Melissa Joey,” for instance, has doubled as a host of “Splash,” a diving competition reality show, on ABC this spring.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/business/media/eye-on-ratings-abc-peers-into-the-disney-toy-chest.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

College Football Title Game Draws Second Biggest Cable Audience

For the five B.C.S. bowl games, ESPN averaged 15.1 million viewers, up seven percent from last year.

The size of the Alabama-Notre Dame audience was attributable, in part, to the interest in seeing two storied college programs with national reputations meeting in the championship game. And despite the early blowout, viewers did not abandon the game.

The viewership was reasonably comparable to the audiences for past national championship games on broadcast networks. The game had more viewers than the 2002, ’04 and ’05 games on ABC, and the ’08 game on Fox. But it fell short of the 35.6 million in 2006 for Texas-Southern California, on ABC, and the ’03, ’07, ’09 and ’10 games on Fox.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/sports/ncaafootball/college-football-title-game-draws-second-biggest-cable-audience.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Advertising: Atlantic City Rushes to Counter Storm Reports

The marketers are from the Atlantic City Alliance, an organization formed by casino owners and the State of New Jersey to help attract tourists. A campaign getting under way this week seeks to reassure would-be visitors that Atlantic City in general — and its famous boardwalk specifically — are in condition to welcome them back.

“It takes more than a hurricane to stop us from doing what we do,” television, radio, print and online ads proclaim. The print ads, scheduled to start on Wednesday, feature scenes of the boardwalk and other Atlantic City attractions with a caption advising that the photographs were “taken November 17, 2012” — in other words, after the storm.

The “doing what we do” phrase echoes the theme, “Do AC,” of a fast-paced, $20 million campaign with a youthful feel that the alliance has been running since April. Forecasts that the hurricane would hit Atlantic City hard led the alliance to suspend the fall part of the campaign, with a budget estimated at $6 million, on Oct. 27, two days before the storm’s arrival.

Plans to resume the ads after the storm passed, however, were upended by reports on broadcast networks and cable channels that the storm had wrecked much or all of the oceanfront boardwalk. Although the storm’s damage had been confined to what officials described as an abandoned boardwalk on an inlet, executives of the alliance learned, much to their dismay, that many people around the country thought the famous boardwalk was in ruins.

For instance, according to a poll commissioned by the alliance that was conducted by Russell Research in East Rutherford, N.J., 41 percent of respondents said they believed the boardwalk had been destroyed.

“We were absolutely overwhelmed,” said Liza Cartmell, president of the alliance, by the widespread misperception that “the iconic boardwalk of Atlantic City was gone.”

Compounding the problem, Ms. Cartmell said, were the power disruptions that affected many residents of the primary markets that send visitors to Atlantic City: New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. They missed the media follow-ups that corrected the original reports, she said.

Another complication was that other boardwalks in the region, on the Jersey Shore and elsewhere, did suffer significant damage, and some were wrecked.

Weeknight business for Atlantic City’s hotels after the storm has been “minimal,” Ms. Cartmell said. “You can tell it’s very, very, very slow.” She estimated occupancy as “well under” 50 percent.

And weekends, typically more busy than weeknights, have been “much softer” than normal, Ms. Cartmell said, with occupancy rates around 6o to 80 percent rather than the usual rates of more than 90 percent.

So rather than resume the regular campaign, the alliance executives decided that a special flight of ads was necessary and allocated about $850,000 of what was left unspent from the fall campaign budget. The special campaign, like the regular “Do AC” ads, is being created by Havas Worldwide New York, the agency that the alliance hired in February.

The special ads are intended to have “the clarity of a single message: ‘Atlantic City is open for business,’ ” said Lee Garfinkel, co-chairman at Havas Worldwide New York and chief creative officer for global brands at Havas Worldwide, part of the Havas Creative division of Havas.

The special campaign also uses phrases like “Our boardwalk still standing strong” and “We welcome you back as the Jersey Shore makes its comeback.”

The television commercial, which began running on Monday, is re-edited from the spots that had been running since April, Mr. Garfinkel said, to be “a little more relaxed” — that is, slowed down somewhat, presenting more sedate images and running less text to read on-screen.

For example, the new commercial includes a vignette of a group of people playing a casual game of football on the beach, which is not in the previous spots.

Unlike the print ad, the commercial does not present scenes of the boardwalk after the storm. “If we were able to get down there and shoot footage post-hurricane, that would have been good,” Mr. Garfinkel acknowledged. But it was not possible given the time constraints to produce the commercial as soon as possible, he added.

Jeff Guaracino, chief strategy and communications officer at the alliance, said the special campaign was scheduled to run through the end of the year.

Executives “hope to switch back to more normal” ads after Jan. 1, he added, and will monitor public perceptions and data like occupancy rates in deciding how to proceed.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/28/business/media/atlantic-city-rushes-to-counter-storm-reports.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder: CBS on Top, Again, as Upfront Market Ends

As the big English-language broadcast networks wrap up their advertising sales before the start of the 2011-12 season, in what is known as the upfront market, CBS is again taking the lead in total volume.

CBS completed its upfront sales process on Thursday, hours after ABC said that it had finished. Like ABC, and the other two broadcasters that are done, CW and Fox, sales executives at CBS are writing business with robust increases in total volume as well as in rates.

CBS’s total volume is being estimated at $2.5 billion to $2.55 billion, compared with $2.4 billion in the upfront market last year, which took place before the start of the 2010-11 season. Like last year, ABC’s total volume is second to CBS’s. ABC’s tally is being estimated at $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion.

Fox Broadcasting, which was first across the finish line last Thursday, is estimated to have sold $1.98 billion to $1.99 billion. CW, which was done on Tuesday, is estimated at $400 million to $420 million.

NBC is expected to complete its upfront sales later on Thursday or Friday. NBC is estimated to have sold $1.6 billion in total volume in the upfront market last year, and no analyst expects NBC’s take to grow so much that it would surpass CBS’s.

In terms of rate increases, known as cost per thousand viewers, CBS is also running ahead of its competitors.

The CBS increases in cost per thousand viewers are being estimated at 13 to 15 percent. The network’s sales executives were reported to have initially asked for increases in the range of 18 percent.

ABC, Fox and CW all increased their rates at around 10 to 11 percent.

Analysts had predicted that the five big English-language networks would do well because of the recent strong demand for commercial time on television.

As for its inventory, CBS sold about 80 percent of its total commercial time for the coming season in the upfront market.

Fox also sold about 80 percent and CW sold an estimated 75 to 80 percent. It was not immediately known what ABC decided to do about its inventory.

Commercial time that is not sold in the upfront market is held back to sell during the season in what is known as the scatter market.

In addition to the major English-language broadcasters, there are upfront markets for Hispanic television as well as cable channels.

ABC is part of the Walt Disney Company. CBS is owned by the CBS Corporation. CW is owned by the CBS Corporation and Time Warner. Fox is part of the News Corporation. And NBC is a unit of the NBCUniversal division of Comcast.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=75de7f22d222e446a044a563fd1bb95c