Monthly Archives: November 2014

Sky Creates European Entertainment Giant


BSkyB logoNOVEMBER 12, 2014

Enlarged group will serve 20 million customers across five countries

LONDON — Pay TV operator Sky, formerly known as BSkyB, has created Europe’s leading entertainment company after completing the acquisition of Sky Italia and a majority interest in Sky Deutschland.

The enlarged group will serve 20 million customers across five countries: Italy, Germany, Austria, the U.K. and Ireland. It will also be one of the largest employers in the sector with 31,000 staff across 30 main sites.

The company will have a combined programming budget of £4.6 billion ($7.26 billion), which makes it Europe’s leading investor in TV shows. It has combined revenues of more than £11 billion ($17.4 billion) a year.

The potential for growth is huge: more than 60 million households have yet to take pay TV across the five markets in which Sky operates.

The company is changing its name from British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) to Sky to reflect the international scope of the company, and will be listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol SKY. The change of name is subject to shareholder approval at its AGM on Nov. 21.

BSkyB topper Jeremy Darroch will become Sky’s group chief executive, overseeing the enlarged group, as well as continuing to lead the business in the U.K. and Ireland. Andrew Griffith will be group chief financial officer. Andrea Zappia will continue to lead the business in Italy as chief executive of Sky Italia, and Brian Sullivan remains chief executive of Sky Deutschland.

Darroch commented in a statement: “The three Sky businesses will be even better together. We have the opportunity to create a business that can lead and shape our industry in the future. Customers will benefit as we launch exciting new services, bring them even more great TV, and accelerate innovation across all of the markets in which we operate.”

He added: “By joining together, we will share our strengths and expertise while retaining a strong identity in each country where we operate. The opportunity ahead is substantial and we believe the new Sky will be good for customers, content creators and shareholders alike.”

Middle East digital TV penetration to hit 118% by 2018

NexTV Africa Middle East

by November 6, 2014

Digital TV penetration across Middle East is forecast to rise from 73.2% end-2013 to 118% in 2018 according to the latest forecasts published by Dataxis. Overall pay-TV penetration is also expected to rise from 13.1% to 21.1% during the same period from 5.84 million subs in 2013 to 10.79 million at the end of the period.

Dataxis estimates that digital satellite pay-TV users will rise 84.8% from 3.81 million to 7.05 million, while digital satellite FTA households will rise 34.6% from 21.96 millionto 29.56 million over the same period.

FTA analogue households will drop 92.4% from 20.07 million to 1.53 million, while FTA DTT will rise from 4.96 million to 20.03 million. At the same time, Dataxis forecasts pay-DTT subs will number 440,000 end-2018.

Basic Cable TV subs will drop from 890,000 to 736,000, while IPTV is forecast to grow from 1.09 million end-2013 to 2.42 million end-2018.

The overall TV penetration of households across the Middle East will rise from 92.7% to 93.2% in 2018 – equivalent of 51.05 million households.

mun2 will rebrand and relaunch as NBC UNIVERSO

Media Moves

By Veronica Villafañe
Posted on 04 November 2014.

mun2 will drop its name to become NBC Universo on February 1, 2015.

Telemundo’s sister bilingual cable network is dropping the name it’s had since it launched in 2001.

Calling it a “major step in its evolution,” the NBCUniversal Cable-owned property, which until now was aimed at a young Latino audience, will relaunch as “NBC Universo” on Sunday, February 1, 2015 as an entertainment and sports network.

The rebrand to NBC UNIVERSO takes place the day that the network becomes the home of the exclusive Spanish-language telecast of Super Bowl XLIX in the U.S.

As part of its new branding, the network will use a logo that features NBC’s iconic peacock.

NBC UNIVERSO will showcase sports action from around the world, as well as entertainment, music and series that the company says will connect with U.S. Hispanics.

“mun2′s transformation into a high-demand cable network is one of our top company priorities,” said Joe Uva, Chairman, Hispanic Enterprises and Content, NBCUniversal in a statement.

In September, mun2 launched the first of 100 matches it will air of the 2014/2015 season of the Barclays Premier League (BPL), as well as the first of five NFL games to air on the network this season. Also in September, mun2 became available for distribution in HD.

In addition to the NFL and BPL, NBC UNIVERSO will partner with NBC Sports Group and Telemundo to cover four FIFA World Cup events in 2015: Men’s FIFA U-20 World Cup, hosted by New Zealand from May 30 to June 20; FIFA Women’s World Cup™ played in Canada from June 6 to July 5; Men’s FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup hosted by Portugal from July 9 to July 19; and FIFA U-17 World Cup played in Chile from October 17 to November 8.

NBC UNIVERSO also will exclusively showcase The Rio 2016 Olympic Games, The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series and WWE programming hits WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown in Spanish.

On the entertainment front, NBC UNIVERSO will continue to develop and deliver a broad mix of original, signature and acquired series and reality shows, such as their current productions “A Toda Gloria,” “Larrymania” and “Fugitivos de la Ley.”

Blockbuster movies and music offerings aimed at a modern Latino audience will also be key programming pillars of NBC UNIVERSO. Specific entertainment programming details will be released in early 2015.


Nielsen Logo

CONSUMER| 11-11-2014

With the holiday season fast approaching, retailers are already bringing out their Christmas decor in hope that this year will bear a better sales return than last year. Nielsen conducted its annual holiday sales forecast and expects holiday spending in 2014 to rise 1.8% in dollars sales, compared with 1.2% in 2013. What’s behind this growth? Many factors, including lower gas prices. But multicultural consumers will push shopping carts to sales growth this season.

Rising number of consumers in the U.S. identify as multicultural. According to the 2014 U.S. Census, 55 million Hispanics live in the U.S., making up 17% of the overall U.S. population. In addition, 44 million African-Americans live in the U.S., which is 14.2% of the entire U.S. population. And 19.4 million Asian-Americans live in the U.S., which translates to 5.4% of the total U.S. population.

While we’ve already explored how these diverse shoppers fit into larger seasonal trends this year, we’re taking a deeper dive into how multicultural consumers will propel holiday sales growth over the next few months.


Even though 10% of the U.S. population plans to spend more this holiday season than last year, multicultural households account for 43% of the projected extra spending. That breaks down to 17% of African Americans polled planning to increase their spending, followed by 13% of Asian Americans and 13% of Hispanics. And this anticipated spending is significant. More than a third of each group plans to spend an average of $250-$500 this season on gifts, and over 20% of each segment say they’ll spend an average of $500-$1,000.


Would you say you plan on spending…? African American Asian American Hispanic Total population
Less than $50 1.5% 1.4% 1.5% 1.6%
$50 to less than $100 6.2% 6.5% 4.8% 6.5%
$100 to less than $250 20.0% 17.1% 19.0% 19.6%
$250 to less than $500 33.2% 34.3% 38.0% 31.6%
$500 to less than $1000 20.4% 21.5% 22.0% 22.2%
More than $1000 5.3% 7.0% 5.4% 7.3%
Don’t know/Not sure 13.2% 11.9% 9.0% 10.9%
Source: Nielsen Homescan and September 2014 Online Views Survey.


Why Twitter needs to court its Vine stars, or risk losing them to Hollywood (and Facebook)


November 2014

On August 29th, throngs of excited preteen girls stretched in a line around The Regency in San Francisco. They stood for hours in the afternoon sun chattering away to one another, clutching hand-drawn signs covered in exclamation marks. Anyone driving by might have thought Justin Bieber was in town.

But the girls were here for a different type of celebrity, a group of performers you’ve probably never heard of. Jack Johnson and Jack Gilinsky, known affectionately by their fans as “Jack & Jack,” are stars on social video application Vine. They’re two high school teens who amassed a following through their viral six-second comedy videos.

Jack & Jack have enough fans that they were able to tour the country in a giant bus with their faces on it, performing their act in venues like The Regency. In fact, when they self-released their first single, Tides, it shot to #7 on the iTunes most popular chart. Jack & Jack have heard from record studios who want to sign them, television studios who want to cast them, and talent agencies who want to represent them.

Left: Jack & Jack pose in front of their tour bus. Right: Jack & Jack stop to snag a selfie in front of a huge crowd on their DigiTour (Pictures from Jack Johnson's Instagram)Left: Jack & Jack pose in front of their tour bus. Right: Jack & Jack stop to snag a selfie in front of a huge crowd on their DigiTour (Pictures from Jack Johnson’s Instagram)

But in their giant flock of admirers, from the preteen girls to the entertainment moguls, there’s a glaring bird-shaped hole. The one entity the duo has never heard from is the company that made them famous:Twitter.

That’s right – despite the fact that Jack and Jack are two of Vine’s biggest stars, no one from the social media app or parent company Twitter has ever reached out to them. “Honestly, I just don’t think Vine and Twitter understand the power of social media celebrities,” Jack Johnson told me.

They’re not the only ones wondering that. (more…)

Ex-Beats Music CEO’s New App “Chosen” Is A Mobile-First American Idol

Nov 4, 2014 by

Sing, yodel, or shred guitar into your phone, and get famous. That’s the idea behindperformance competition platform Chosen, founded by former Gracenote, MOG, and Beats Music CEO David Hyman. The startup’s been in stealth since its formation late last year, but Hyman agreed to give me the first details about what Chosen’s actually up to. First off, Chosen’s just raised $5 million led by DCM to reimagine American Idol, X-Factor, and The Voice for a mobile generation with a launch in Q1 2015.

The problem with those shows is that they only produce pop music because TV waters things down for the mainstream. Hyman tells me “We aim to free the genre from the constraints of linear based television, which is forced to focus solely on the lowest common denominator, and as a result, provide one singular type of vocal music to an audience.”

Teasing Chosen

Hyman wouldn’t tell me exactly how the Chosen app works, but he says “We as a species love competition, and music competition didn’t start with American Idol. It started with the dawn of mankind.” But he won’t deny the popularity of the TV format. “We think that there’s a lot of proof that people love watching performers compete because it’s #1 in 50 countries.” But because it has to appeal to the widest possible audience, everyone ends up singing in the same vocal style.

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 12.34.50 PM

With Chosen, “We want to see guitar solo competitions, Swiss yodeling competitions, and violin concerto competitions,” Hyman tells me. “There’s a long tail of content that is unbelievably popular. An insane amount of content is consumed through YouTube that would never be on TV.”

This teaser video gives a few hints about how the app will create a performance outlet for musicians, and still be interactive for those who don’t want to show off their talents. (more…)

How Diversity Makes Us Smarter

Scientific American

Being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working

Edel Rodriguez

In Brief

  • Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups.
  • It seems obvious that a group of people with diverse individual expertise would be better than a homogeneous group at solving complex, nonroutine problems. It is less obvious that social diversity should work in the same way—yet the science shows that it does.
  • This is not only because people with different backgrounds bring new information. Simply interacting with individuals who are different forces group members to prepare better, to anticipate alternative viewpoints and to expect that reaching consensus will take effort.

The first thing to acknowledge about diversity is that it can be difficult. In the U.S., where the dialogue of inclusion is relatively advanced, even the mention of the word “diversity” can lead to anxiety and conflict. Supreme Court justices disagree on the virtues of diversity and the means for achieving it. Corporations spend billions of dollars to attract and manage diversity both internally and externally, yet they still face discrimination lawsuits, and the leadership ranks of the business world remain predominantly white and male.

It is reasonable to ask what good diversity does us. Diversity of expertise confers benefits that are obvious—you would not think of building a new car without engineers, designers and quality-control experts—but what about social diversity? What good comes from diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation? Research has shown that social diversity in a group can cause discomfort, rougher interactions, a lack of trust, greater perceived interpersonal conflict, lower communication, less cohesion, more concern about disrespect, and other problems. So what is the upside? (more…)

Can Concerts in Bars and Cafés Save Classical Music?


In 30 cities and counting, a group called Classical Revolution is bringing a waning genre back to the people.


A Classical Revolution quintet plays a San Francisco cafe. Marco Rozzano/Classical Revolution

It’s Monday evening, and as the light wanes, the din of Revolution Café spills onto the street. An eclectic crew has been gathering here—hoodies, tattoos, leather jackets, and high heels all in one room. Their owners sip beer and sangria from tall glasses as they chat and look for spare tables in the dim, cramped room. Finding all seats filled, newcomers stand outside on the porch.

Standing room only on Monday nights is par for the course at this café/bar in San Francisco’s Mission district, because on Mondays, the café hosts live chamber music. The musicians, a mix of freelancers, conservatory students, and techies who play on the side, are volunteers with Classical Revolution, a program that brings high-level classical music into intimate public spaces.

“We’re taking out all the other stuff that you get in a normal classical music setting: the formal dress, the formal attitude, the stuffy environment.

A violinist announces that they’re getting started with the Mendelssohn octet. He and seven other string players sit at a makeshift “stage”—really just a spot where tables have been replaced by music stands. They bring their instruments to the ready as the buzz quiets to a murmur. They pause, bows hovered over strings. From outside the wall-length window, you can hear a motorcycle whizzing by. But when the musicians start to play, the crowd is enraptured. (more…)

Disney’s Magic Works Because of Discipline, Belief, Leadership

Advertising Age

John Skipper, President of ESPN and Co-chairman of the Disney Media Networks, on Company’s Unique Approach to Marketing

By . Published on October 27, 2014.

The Walt Disney Co.was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame this spring as the fifth corporate member, and I talked with John Skipper, president of ESPN and co-chairman of the Disney Media Networks, about Disney’s unique approach to marketing. John began his career at Disney in 1990.
Nobody is better at taking a great idea across all aspects of the company than Disney, and John called that ability one of the company’s great contributions to marketing.

John Skipper
John Skipper

“There is nobody better at taking a spectacular piece of film, turning it into an enchanting piece of magic for kids and families, and then making it a park ride, putting plush into stores, creating walk-around characters for the Disney cruises, making books and clothes, and moving it around internationally,” John contended.

He explained that when Disney thinks about “Frozen” or “Captain America,” it’s creating great content but also making sure that everybody is on board to exploit that content across all its different platforms and media and create a central premise and theme as well. (more…)

Telemundo & mun2 take over as Official Spanish-Language Broadcasters of FIFA World Cup in the U.S.

October 29, 2014

NBCUniversal’s Telemundo and mun2 took over as the official Spanish-language Home of the FIFA World Cup™ in the U.S. across all video platforms following the unveiling of the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018™ emblem in Moscow. The company also announced its broadcast plans for the upcoming other FIFA Events in 2015 to be featured across the Telemundo network and stations, the cable network mun2 and all its digital properties.

“Three years and one week ago, NBCUniversal announced the game-changing acquisition of the exclusive Spanish-language US media rights to the FIFA World Cup™,” said Joe Uva, Chairman, Hispanic Enterprises and Content, NBCUniversal. “Today we are proud to see the first tangible manifestation of this major acquisition, which will bring unprecedented exposure for Telemundo and mun2 and offer a unique opportunity to accelerate audience growth and consolidate our position in the industry.”

During 2015 Telemundo and mun2 will feature 188 FIFA Events matches totaling more than 550 hours of FIFA world-class soccer. The NBCUniversal networks will cover four FIFA Events in 2015: the Men’s FIFA U-20 World Cup, hosted by New Zealand from May 30 to June 20; the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ played in Canada from June 6 to July 5; the Men’s FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup hosted by Portugal from July 9 to July 19 and the FIFA U-17 World Cup played in Chile from October 17 to November 8. (more…)