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This Week in TV News: Sandwich Wars and Leslie Jones

This week we’re talking about what Leslie Jones is doing after “Saturday Night Live,” the fried chicken sandwich war between Chick-fil A and Popeye’s, the growing number of SVOD subscriptions and HBO’s early streaming release of episodes airing on Sunday.

Popeye’s sandwich goes viral. The restaurant announced it sold its entire launch inventory of chicken sandwiches, which was supposed to be last through September. The sandwiches launched on August 12, and the “Great Chicken Sandwich Twitter War of 2019” began. Twitter users began debating which brand has the better sandwich: Popeye’s or Chick-fil-A. The marketer behind the sandwich launch? Fernando Machado, global CMO of Burger King. Read more about the launch and why it wouldn’t have been a success without Black Twitter. (Adweek

More and more people use SVOD services. About 75% of U.S. homes subscribe to at least one of the top SVOD services, including Amazon Prime, Hulu or Netflix, according to research from Leichtman Research Group. That’s an increase from 64% in 2017 and 52% in 2015. About 27% of respondents said they shared their Netflix login with someone outside their home, respectively 19% of Hulu users and 10% of Amazon users. (Light Reading)

HBO gets a jump on LBD weekend. If you have plans Sunday and were going to miss your Sunday evening shows, you’re in luck. Episodes of HBO’s “Succession,” “Ballers” and “The Righteous Gemstones” that normally air Sunday night will be available to stream today via HBO Go, HBO Now and its on-demand platforms. (The Wrap

Leslie Jones announces she’s leaving “S.N.L.” Jones is leaving the storied sketch show after five seasons to pursue film and TV projects, including a gameshow reboot called “Supermarket Sweep,” which Jones will host and executive produce. Check out The Times’ roundup of Jones’ funniest S.N.L. moments, including “Upper East Side” and her many appearances on “Weekend Update” with Colin Jost. (Deadline

Read last week’s TV news.

This Week in TV News: Fall TV, ‘Morning Show’ and Bill Gates

This week we’re talking about a new show from Apple chronicling a fictional drama happening behind-the-scenes of morning television, upcoming shows premiering this fall, and a docuseries on Bill Gates. 

Apple’s “Morning Show” gets a trailer. Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carrell and Reese Witherspoon play morning news hosts in “Morning Show,” a drama inspired by Jamie Stelter’s book “Top of the Morning.” Apple ordered two seasons of the show, which aill air exclusively on Apple TV Plus. The premiere date hasn’t been announced yet. (The Hollywood Reporter)

New episodes of “The Proud Family” to show on Disney +.  Actor Tommy Davidson, who voiced Oscar Proud, said Disney will be producing new episodes to be released on Disney +. Kids’ show “The Proud Family” premiered in 2001 and hasn’t produced a new episode since 2005. Viewers are curious if the show pick up where it left off or skip forward a few years in its timeline. (Vice)

Fall TV heats up. “There is literally not enough time to watch it all,” The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon declares in a guide to new fall TV options. Among the top-talked about titles: Kirsten Dunst’s “On Becoming a God in Central Florida”; a Michael Schur-exec produced show called “Sunnyside”; and “Modern Love,” a romantic show based on the New York Times column of the same name. (The Daily Beast

Netflix gets a Bill Gates doc series. “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates,” a three-part docuseries will premiere September 20. This series will focus on the Microsoft founder, his business leadership and philanthropy. It’s directed by Oscar-winner Davis Guggenheim, who also directed “An Inconvenient Truth” and “He Named Me Malala.” (Deadline)

Read last week’s TV news.

Why TV Marketers Shouldn’t Discount the Power of Truly Innovative Creative

When you watch Apple’s new ad “Bounce,” what do you see? Hear? Feel? Smell? Will that ad continue to pop back in your mind later in the day? Was it the music? Colors? Tone? Voice? All of these elements are the basis for developing, designing and producing powerful, innovative creative. 

Bulova Watches aired the first TV commercial on July 1, 1941, which cost $9 and featured a watch floating on the screen for 10 seconds. TV soon became the dominant advertising platform. Now, conversations marketers have with their consumers are much more than a 15 or 30-second promotion of a product or company; they span digital and analog channels. They’re web banners, emails, out-of-home ads and so much more. Marketers have always had to carefully consider how they invest to build their brands, but today, in an increasingly complex and fragmented media environment, that responsibility has expanded. Data drives many brand-building decisions today, and more than ever, proficiency in analytics and measuring the success of creative is just as important as creativity itself. 

It follows that conversations in the industry around creativity focus on tangible results, data-driven messages and relevance. But we can’t forget about the power of a truly innovative creative.

In today’s attention economy, impactful creative still wins the day. And TV is a critical component of the brand-consumer relationship. As Cadent CEO Nick Troiano said, as brand advertising shifts to modern, data-driven techniques, “advertisers continue to rely on television as the most powerful vehicle for emotionally resonant storytelling.” From color to text to sound to movement, each part creates a unique message for the brand, influences the viewer’s opinions of the product and evokes emotion. 

Marketers drive business through creativity

Ads that attain iconic status have a few things in common: strong, consistent brand images and clearly communicated core values. Consumers can simply look at the logo and identify the brand. Creativity weaved into the ad differentiates the company – that’s the art aspect of advertising.

When a campaign is developed, the creative director must not only think about the product they are trying to sell, but the elements: will the beauty, the poetic, the humor, the heroism, the interesting, the bizarre, catch the viewers attention so they don’t click the fast forward or ‘skip ad’ button? Overall, campaigns that rely on creativity are considerably more effective, according to the Harvard Business Review. What makes a successful creative campaign effective? It all comes back to having a purpose – to connect to the viewer through aesthetic communication. 

As Creative Director Chuck McBride said, it’s not “very safe for people in advertising to think of their work as art, because it loses its purpose. We’re here to help business grow.”  

Iasmina Petrovici concludes in her “Role of Aesthetic Communication in Advertising” that “in order to be both expressive and successful, the advertisement imagery must not only convey information, but define an aesthetic function, and determine a positive reaction on the audience.” There is a fine line between art and advertising in many cases. In order to resonate with an audience, marketers must push the limits of creativity.  

According to Nielsen research, creative quality is still is the most important factor for driving sales.

The art and science behind marketing

Burger King CMO Fernando Machado’s approach to brand building is often celebrated, especially in the age of granular targeting and data-informed creative: “Machado remains a champion of creativity. He believes creative marketing truly drives business,” Digiday reports. One example of this is 66 Scenes of America, an ad that used footage of Andy Warhol eating a Whopper for 45 seconds. Millions of viewers during the Super Bowl buzzed about the ad, and searches for Andy Warhol spiked beyond any other search during the Super Bowl. In a survey of 1,200 people, there was a 49% lift in individuals talking about the ad two weeks following the Super Bowl. 

Andy Warhol, a renowned pop culture artist who liked to engage with the lines between art and advertising, was an intentional choice. Machado was quoted as saying that “it’s kind of cool that [Warhol] did a lot of art that looked like advertising and that we are using his art to advertise. It’s like a silent assassin in the clutter of the Super Bowl.” Similar to “Bounce,” this is an illustration of  the “artful business” that marketing is. The measures of success will follow, if powerful creative is implemented. 

Creating artful ads starts with the goal of championing creativity, investing in it, and empowering marketers to be creative and take advantage of aesthetic communication to uplevel their work.  

This Week in TV News: Hemingway Gets the TV Treatment and ‘Succession’ Scores Big Ratings

This week we’re talking about a TV adaptation of Ernst Hemingway’s memoir, upcoming NBA programming and the return of a classic TV show.

HBO’s “Succession” returns. The family drama is back for season two, and last Sunday’s episode marked a series high of 1.2 million viewers across HBO’s linear network and digital platforms, up 32% from last year’s premiere episode and up 22% from the season one finale. (Deadline

Ernest Hemingway gets the television treatment. Hemingway’s memoir “A Moveable Feast” is projected to become a TV series with Village Roadshow Entertainment Group. The story follows Hemingway’s early years in Paris in the ‘20s, where he encountered F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. Producers for the series include John Goldstone, Marc Rosen and Mariet Hemingway, the granddaughter of the author, who says the series’ aim is to “reveal on film the coming-of-age story that has captivated readers and burgeoning writers for several decades.” The producers are still in search of a writer. (Deadline)

NBA programming is out. The NBA released its upcoming season game schedule, saying it’s been working closely with their broadcast partners to ensure doubleheaders will be covered. Upcoming notable player appearances include Kawhi Leonard in Toronto on Dec. 11 for an LA Clippers versus Raptors game; Celtics guard Kemba Walker will be in Charlotte on Nov. 7; and Jazz guard Mike Conley will be in Memphis on Nov. 15. The games air on ESPN, ABC, TNT, and NBA TV. (ESPN)

“The Crown” and “The Flintstones” return. A third season of the British royal family drama and the classic stone-age cartoon series will soon be available on Netflix and broadcast network MeTV, respectively. After premiering 59 years ago, The Flintstones airs beginning September 30 at 6pm, Monday through Friday. (Cynopsis)

See last week’s TV trends.

Genre Matters When You’re Planning a Smart Strategy for On-Demand Rentals

When planning and targeting ad spend for on-demand success, there are many factors that play an important role. 

For example, it usually makes sense to target previous renters because they tend to rent again rather than people who have never rented on-demand before. We also see that a film with strong talent pulls in higher VOD revenue than one without it.

These factors can help plan broadly, but are most helpful when viewed within the bounds of genre. Different types of films, like a family flick versus an award show drama, play differently on-demand based on a handful of other factors. 

Cadent serves a number of studios, which release movies each year to various markets. This scale helps us identify, observe and understand trends and patterns. We’ve looked at the impact of certain variables, including film sentiment, unexpected events and award season recognition affect on-demand rental revenue. 

In this post, we’re taking a closer look at how critic score, previous rental activity, spend tactics, and talent affected VOD performance across five different genres, including action, comedy, drama, family and horror. For success in the market of on-demand rentals, pay attention to these specific planning strategies based on real data.

Lower spends make sense for action titles

Many action movies and franchises have massive marketing campaign support behind their theatrical releases, with generally larger box office numbers and wider top-of-mind public awareness. We found that action films had nearly double the opening weekend box office of other genres including comedy, drama, horror, and thriller. 

This heightened consumer awareness of a title means a smaller ad spend can go further than a large one. By sticking to the lower limits of ad spend, we can both prevent diminishing returns and increase ROAS.

For comedy success, plan around previous renters

Comedy seems to be less affected by outside factors (like critic score or pre-awareness) than some other genres. In fact, our statistics show that critic score has no effect on VOD revenue for comedy titles: When a comedy title had a below-average critic score, it did 29% better on VOD than a critically acclaimed comedy. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a silly comedy?

Plan ad spend on comedic titles around known variables, like whether a consumer has previously rented similar films or is a fan of the genre. 

Talent wins with drama titles

Known talent provides a boost in VOD revenue across all genres, but has a notable effect on dramatic titles with high critical acclaim.

Films with talent that were positively rated by critics made 25.5% more on average in VOD revenue that talent-filled dramatic films that were poorly reviewed. Critic score doesn’t play as valuable a role in determining VOD revenue for films that don’t have the draw of popular talent.

Precisely target via addressable and DAI (digital ad insertion) and FOD (free on demand) buys and put your ad send behind dramatic films that are liked by critics and stacked with well-liked talent. 

Talent and acclaim take the cake with family titles

These titles are the most positively affected by critical acclaim: We found that successful reviews prompted a $3.47MM boost in VOD revenue for family films. Similarly, the most recent “Jumanji” film was a finalist for an OMMA Award (for Online Marketing Media and Advertising) after bringing in more than $16.44MM in revenue and becoming the largest VOD rental of 2018.

Add in a strong roster of talent and a positively reviewed movie can find success with a broad market of consumers. This means more efficient ad planning and spending tactics can be used for these VOD titles.

Plan around new renters for horror films

This genre consistently attracts new renters, who typically represent between 7 and 8% of sales. By partnering with Cadent for planning, horror titles have averaged about 9% new renters per title.

There are a number of hypotheses about why, but accessibility is a big one. Going to a movie theater to catch a newly released horror film might be out of a viewer’s comfort zone, but bringing that title into the living room (where they can, say, keep all the lights on) can make it more attractive to movie renters.

Look to reach the “unconventional” rental audience with horror titles by reaching out to the target demographic and looking less at their VOD status.

The key takeaway

When analyzing the effect of genre on revenue with the additional factors such as talent presence or critical acclaim (or, sometimes, lack thereof) can help fine-tune targeting and ad planning for VOD titles to an essential success point. By evaluating where a title falls within genre and these different variables, Cadent can help clients set optimal goals and plan to spend smartly for each unique movie title.

Read more about the variables that affect in-home rental revenue.

This Week in TV News: Victoria’s Secret Show Is Cancelled and Coors Light Debuts New Creative

This week, we’re talking about Shark Week, Victoria’s Secret and Disney+. 

Shark Week scores high ad impression counts, ratings. Shark Week came to an end on Sunday, and Discovery Channel reported a 109% increase in primetime TV ad impressions compared to the previous year, with nearly one billion TV ad impressions during primetime. Even with that jump in impressions, there were actually fewer primetime commercials airing during Shark Week compared to the previous week. Last year, “Shark Week” brought in nearly 35 million total viewers. Top-performing “Shark Week” content this year included “Andrew Mayne: Ghost Diver” and “I Was Prey.” (Broadcasting and Cable

Disney bundles up. On Tuesday, Disney announced a bundle plan of Disney+, Hulu basic on-demand, and ESPN+ for $12.99. This price will parallel the competitive streaming services, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Rather than purchasing these OTT services separately, this bundle will save consumers $5 per month and provide them with three unique services, including live sports. (Cynopsis)

Victoria’s Secret cancels annual fashion show. As the fashion show has always been surrounded by controversy, Victoria’s Secret decided to pull it from television because they are trying to take their brand in a new direction by “taking a fresh look in every aspect of our business.” The brand no longer saw television as the right fit as they are trying to grow and evolve.  Instead of putting focus on the fashion show, they are developing “exciting and dynamic content and a new kind of event.” (CBS News)

The Official Beer of… Coors Light released a series of commercials, with two displaying comedic daily moments for young adults including “… Being Done with my Bra” and “…Drinking in the Shower.’ The aim of the campaign is to target Gen Z and millennials and be their beer of choice for these small celebratory moments throughout the day. (Adweek)

See last week’s TV trends.

Why Consumers Will Choose Streaming Service Quality over Quantity

It’s clear that the streaming service space is crowded – consumers have more than 100 options, by one estimate. Forty-seven percent of consumers are frustrated with the ever-increasing number of choices.

Ask anyone who has been to a restaurant with a book-sized menu, and they might agree – an abundance of options isn’t necessarily a good thing. It can hinder the customer experience. Having too many options typically means people end up less satisfied with their final decision than if they’d been given fewer options in the first place.

And with fan favorite shows moving from one service to another, consumers are frustrated because it means they have to subscribe to yet another service. Finding content among all the new options for streaming video requires work, and that brings down consumer satisfaction. 

Competition for consumer preference heats up 

Look to the past to better understand the convergence of TV and digital. In the early stages of the internet, when browsers battled for dominance, Netscape’s Navigator initially had an edge over Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Then, Internet Explorer took the lead. Eventually, Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox joined the competition. Chrome rapidly gained ground, and today, it has two-thirds of global browser market share

Similarly, streaming services are about to enter a battle for consumer preference. And just as browsers like Opera, Cello, Mosaic, Amaya faded out of prominence, so will some streaming services. Each service will enter at a different playing field, with some producing new content and some coming to market with fan-favorite hit shows from the past or taking content off of certain services to exclusively stream on their own service. After a few years of competition, the wide array of options will get whittled down. 

For many consumers, this change can’t come fast enough. Subscribers are becoming mentally and financially exhausted with all the streaming options available to them. (Hence the term “subscription fatigue.”) One survey found that most people reach their threshold at three subscriptions. Only one in ten respondents said they’d get another service if they could, and one in four said they would dump a streaming service if they were to add a new subscription to their bill. People are not willing to pay more than $45 to $50 a month on streaming services generally. And now, consumers will have to subscribe to four services to get the same content that used to be on one platform

Keeping the customer experience front and center

Consumers know that quantity does not always mean quality. And as it gets more expensive to subscribe to multiple streaming services, they will hone in on their must-see content and leave the rest behind. The average person already has about three streaming service subscriptions. Top reasons for cancelling services include not getting a good value for their money and not finding enough content they liked. Value is critical, and subscriber experiences matter more than ever before. Consumers want access to the content they’re looking for, and they want an intuitive interface to access the content. That’s why, in the race for winning consumer streaming preference, the services that successfully deliver on customer experiences are the ones that will win.