Monthly Archives: December 2014

Once You Go Black: VH1 and the Growing Power of Black TV Viewers



DEC 2, 2014

Music television hasn’t looked like music television in quite some time—​just ask anyone who watched MTV in the ’90s. But this isn’t just a tired remark about a single network. For VH1, the veering away from music television has a different meaning. Originally an MTV sister network peddling soft rock to an older crowd, the cable channel has moved from producing generic pop culture programming to greenlighting shows that target a specifically black demographic.

That shift began in 2006, with Flavor of Love, a reality dating show starring Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav. It instantly became a huge ratings success. Later that year, Flavor of Love 2 piggybacked on its predecessor’s foundation and set an all-time premiere ratings record for the network. It was the most watched cable program in its 10 p.m. Sunday time slot, averaging 3.3 million viewers per episode. Flavor of Love 2‘s season finale pulled in a whopping 7.5 million viewers; meaning, according to PR Newswire, one in every three black consumers watching TV that Sunday night were tuned into VH1.

This didn’t go unnoticed. Flavor of Love​’s success immediately spawned the spin-off I Love New York! in early 2007, headlined by former Flavor of Love contestant Tiffany “New York” Pollard. Unsurprisingly, I Love New York! broke the premiere record previously set by Flavor of Love 2 only five months earlier, drawing in 4.4 million viewers. By April, there was already a second Flavor of Love spinoff on the air: Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School. Adding to the post-Flavor Flav hit streak, I Love New York! received a second season in 2008 and later produced its own spinoffs: New York Goes to HollywoodNew York Goes to Work, and Real Chance of Love. (more…)

YouTube Star Zoella’s First Week Book Sales Surpass J.K. Rowling’s Debut


MEDIA | By  on December 6, 2014

Zoe Sugg

“Girl Online” moves 78,000 units in its first week

Zoella is apparently as popular on the bookshelves as she is online.

The YouTube sensation, also known as Zoe Sugg, sold  78,109 copies of her debut novel, “Girl Online,” in its first week of release, theTelegraph reports.

That number represents the highest first-week sales for a first-time author on record, or at least since Nielsen BookScan first began keeping tabs of sales in 1998.

It also puts “Girl Online” well ahead of the first-week sales of J.K. Rowling‘s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” published in 1997.

“Girl Online,” published Nov. 25 under the Simon & Schuster imprint Keywords Press, is billed as a “coming-of-age novel that perfectly captures what it means to grow up and fall in love in today’s digital world.”

Zoella, 24, became a YouTube hit with her fashion and beauty videos. Her YouTube channel, has amassed more than 6.5 million subscribers with more than 300 million views. (more…)

Feliz Navidad: Hispanic Holiday Spending Up Sharply


December 4, 2014

While many industry observers expect holiday spending to be up 4% this season, research from Brand Keys finds Hispanic consumers are feeling significantly more festive. In a survey of some 2,400 Hispanic shoppers, it found an individual budget of $985, 15% higher than the general population, and 7% more than last year.

“That translates to an awful lot of money,” says Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys. “From a cultural perspective, the family is a closely knit social unit, but the idea of familia goes beyond the nuclear family. The audience the Hispanic population is buying gifts for tends to be much larger than the general population.”

Other cultural shopping differences include a great passion for national brands, “because it says a great deal to them about how they feel about the recipient,” he tells Marketing Daily.” They’re also more likely to shop at traditional department stores and specialty apparel chains.”

Compared to the general sample, Hispanics are 23% more likely to shop in a specialty apparel store, for example, and 10% more likely to buy gifts at a department store. By comparison, they are 6% less likely to buy presents for loved ones at discount stores. “Retailers need to work culturally smarter if they want to get their share,” he says.

Almost all — 98% — say they intend to buy holiday gifts online this year.

In terms of gift categories, in addition to the nearly universal enthusiasm for gift cards, they are 7% more likely to buy electronics, including phones, and toys, and 5% more inclined to purchase clothing for loved ones.


SB Nation

RJ Young | December 3, 2014


When Cheryl Miller was still young enough that she could only dream about being one of the greatest basketball players in the world, her mother, Carrie Miller, rarely got to see her play. Cheryl’s mother would take her younger brother, Reggie Miller, to his game, and Cheryl’s father, Saul Miller, would take Cheryl to hers. “And that was fun in the beginning,” Cheryl said, “but my mom was always missing out on watching me play.” That didn’t mean her mother missed out on hearing what happened in Cheryl’s games, though. After each game Carrie missed she’d wait until Cheryl took a shower and got dressed for bed. “She’d sit there by my bedside and have me just go over the game, just tell her about it. I think I never got to the fourth quarter. I never got to the fourth because I’d fall asleep.” But Cheryl could always hear her mother’s soft farewell just before completely dozing off. “Goodnight, Pearl,” she’d say. “Truly my heart and soul, my mom was.”

* * *Image result for cheryl miller basketball

To find Cheryl Miller now, you have to know where to look. Langston University is about 10 miles farther off the interstate than most people are willing to go. Those that do usually aren’t looking for the women’s basketball game. They’re not looking for the football game, either. Most are just looking for the Marching Pride’s halftime show. This is not a school with a budding athletic tradition or a football team that demands attention, and sometimes it seems like most people attend the games for the award-winning marching show band. Langston is a safety school for some, a last resort for many, a place many want to forget as soon as they leave it.

Driving toward that small campus in the midst of the plains of central Oklahoma — a half-hour from anywhere you want to be — you can feel like you’ve missed it. Surrounded by nothing but pasture land, you wonder if you’ve taken a wrong turn. It seems as if the only historically black college in Oklahoma is trying to hide from you. You can feel like you’re never going to find it. And all of a sudden, like a desert oasis, there it is. Brightly lit. Smack in the middle of nothing. Plain as day. A wave of relief washes over you as you smile, knowing it was there all the time.

Langston University campus. (Via Google)


But here, now, is where you’ll find Cheryl Miller. This is where you’ll find the woman who for nearly two decades was ubiquitous as a sports broadcaster, best known for her work as a sideline reporter covering the NBA on TNT and is widely considered one of the world’s greatest amateur athletes, a pioneer — the first women’s basketball player who demanded a nation’s attention. And this is where you’ll find a woman now who is acting on the lessons she learned from her mother, lessons earned through the loss of life to change her own — and, she hopes, the lives of others. (more…)

Why Purpose Drives Growth And Profitability


FORBESWOMAN 12/03/2014

Geri StengelC
Geri Stengel

When you’re driven to change the world━in this case, turning around the negative perception of Iranians━you’ve got to be open to new ideas. Shabnam Rezaei implemented software solutions for the financial services industry by day; by night, she worked on, a website she created to show the positive side of Iranian culture.

Think outside the box
But then Dustin Ellis, half-Iranian and half-American, appeared, seeking some publicity on for a script he was writing for a half-hour TV cartoon.Babak & Friends━A First Norooz is about an 8-year-old boy discovering the traditions of the Persian New Year and becoming proud of his heritage.

What better way to change perception about Iranians then by starting with children?

Shabnam Rezaei, Big Bad Boo and OznozShabnam Rezaei, Big Bad Boo and Oznoz

Rezaei and her husband, Aly Jetha (a serial entrepreneur), liked Ellis’ concept. They provided some funding and became partners in the production of the cartoon. By enlisting big name Iranian-American celebrities, such as Shoreh Aghdashloo and Catherine Bell (the star of CBS’s CBS +0.84% J.A.G.) to do the voice-overs and selling DVDs directly to parents, the animated show achieved success.

If there’s a will, there’s a way
Rezaei and Jetha went on to form Big Bad Boo Animation Studios, to expand the one-off TV show into a series about the adventures of four American kids of different ethnicities: an Iranian (Babak), Cuban, Indian, and Korean. The cartoon helps kids see life through a global lense. Raising money and getting distribution was challenging. However, after many “nos,” eventually the series was able to raise money and get distribution on public television stations in the U.S. It also airs in Canada.

A key competitive advantage is that the company keeps costs low by doing its animation in Vancouver, Canada, which has a thriving animation industry. Salaries are lower there than the U.S. and, because Jetha is Canadian, the company qualifies for substantial tax credits. Since the content is educational, Big Bad Boo is also able to tap foundation dollars.

Keep stretching and reaching
Rezaei’s vision for the company has expanded. It’s not just about teaching acceptance of Iranians, but of all people, no matter the race, nationality or religion. It’s about teaching languages so children grow into adults who can thrive in a global economy. It’s about teaching STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and math). It’s also about reaching large audiences.

Rezaei’s passion for her purpose helps her get past the many rejections she receives when seeking money and distribution. It pushes her forward and encourages her to think outside the box.

While the U.S. is a vast melting pots━a blending of nationalities, cultures and ethnicities━developing programming appealing to individual groups is considered niche and is not appealing to major TV networks, which want content with wide appeal. Rezaei and Jetha have a different view. If you add up all the different micro-communities, you have a mass market. Thirty four percent of all Americans are bilingual, according to Gallop. That’s nearly 40 million households.

The couple continues to develop multicultural educational content for kids, including 1001 Nights,based on 1001 Arabian Nights. Among the series in development are Astra’s World, in which a 7-year-old astronaut explores new worlds, helping those in need, and Gone Bananas, in which three rascals get into all kinds of trouble without saying a single word. But Rezaei needed a way to bypass the networks to get wide distribution.

If one door is closed, try another
Taking a page from Netflix NFLX +0.55% and Hulu’s playbook, Rezaei and Jetha started another company Oznoz that streams children’s content online for a flat monthly fee, with no advertising. In addition to their own content, they license content from the likes of Sesame Street and translate it to as many as 10 languages. The only true competition, is YouTube, but it has ads and links to inappropriate content alongside the videos. Many parents don’t want their kids to be pitched unhealthy food and unneeded toys. Oznoz also allows parents to control the amount of time kids watch and which shows they watch.


Oznoz can now easily get feedback directly from parents about what their kids like and what they might like more of or improvements that might be made.

Knowing what matters to her, what makes her heart race, keeps Rezaei going against all odds, just as it keeps the most successful entrepreneurs going, according toForce Multipliers: How three fundamental adaptations can help women scale big.

What keeps you going?

Tencent Signs Exclusive Digital Distro Agreement with YG Entertainment

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014
by Nina Ulloa

yg entertainment family

YG Entertainment‘s roster is made up of some of the biggest names in K-pop. A number of YG artists have made a huge impact internationally, including PsyBig Bang, and 2NE1.

A few months ago it was reported that YG Entertainment would receive an investment of up to $80 million from Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy. The two companies were also discussion a strategic partnership.

Now, YG has entered a partnership with Chinese media giant Tencent.

YG artists, and K-pop in general, are extremely popular in China.

Tencent owns the popular Chinese streaming service QQ MusicThey will exclusively distribute YG Entertainment artists digitally. The deal includes streaming music and music videos.

Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u


Nielsen Logo

By Chris Louie, VP Product Leadership
BLOG| 11-24-2014

For over 50 years, there was only a single “app” for TV viewers. It was an entertainment app whose sole function was to stream premium video content. Over the years, new versions of the app were released, including more channels, an interactive programming guide, higher definition displays, and the ability to record and playback programs. Viewers could customize their version of the app to some extent by negotiating with their app developer – that is, their cable or satellite company.

But regardless, the app still basically did the same thing. And it was available on just one screen: the TV set. Given that the broadcast and cable networks could not differentiate on the user experience, they focused on their one point of differentiation: the content they offered.

Every one of these facts of TV viewing no longer holds. There are now many TV viewing apps available. They can be viewed on many screens. And UX (user experience) is now an important source of differentiation in attracting viewers and capturing their attention and time. Behind these changes are a number of factors:

  • The proliferation of broadband suitable for delivering premium video content
  • The broad adoption of devices capable of displaying premium video content
  • The connected nature of these devices, including TV sets themselves, enabling on-demand viewing
  • The emergence of multi-channel video programming distributors (MVPDs) beyond the big cable companies (e.g., Hulu, Netflix, Amazon)
  • A boom in high-quality video content, which can be produced with relatively cheap A/V equipment and editing tools

All of this is contributing to a wide range of TV experiences. Given that these experiences are being delivered via connected devices powered by distinct operating systems, I think it’s helpful to characterize these developments as “the appification of TV.”



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CONSUMER| 12-02-2014

Africa’s consumers are growing in numbers and in buying power, and, like consumers around the world, they have a demonstrated demand for products that meet their needs; on average, half of all household spending in Sub-Sahara Africa goes to consumer packaged goods.

The diversity of consumers and markets within Africa is staggering, but it presents tremendous opportunities for those who properly understand and navigate this complex marketplace. Marketing and promotional activities are essential when entering a region or expanding brand presence, and Africa is no exception. But what’s the most effective way to reach Africa’s consumers? And how can marketers ensure they’re delivering messages and products that resonate?

The latest from Nielsen’s Emerging Market Insights research* found that when it comes to advertising, Africa’s consumers are most aware of traditional channels, with broadcast (83%) topping the list, followed by outdoor (78%) and print advertising (65%). Nearly half of respondents (49%) are aware of mobile advertising, though most mobile advertising across the continent is still text messaging/SMS based because the majority of devices consumers own are feature phones. Consequently, only one-fifth (19%) of respondents are aware of online advertising.

Consumers in Africa are receptive to marketing messages. Nearly half (48%) of consumers interviewed said advertising has significant influence on their purchase decisions. Some 38% said that promotional activities, ranging from in-store displays to value packaging to special offers, motivate them to buy more of a particular product—and even give preference to that product over other brands. One-third (34%) of consumers interviewed also said they buy more of a product or give preference to products that they know engage incorporate social responsibility programs or practices. That figure is significantly higher in some markets, like Rwanda, where 53% of consumers said corporate social responsibility (CSR) influences their purchase decisions. (more…)

Cirque du Soleil’s Next Act: Rebalancing the Business

The Wall Street Journal

As Growth Prospects Slow, Company Seeks to Beef Up Non-Circus Business; ‘The Rarity Was Gone’

Executives at Cirque du Soleil say they are restructuring their business—shifting some of the attention away from clowns and acrobats—after a spate of poorly received shows and a decline in profits.
Executives at Cirque du Soleil say they are restructuring their business—shifting some of the attention away from clowns and acrobats—after a spate of poorly received shows and a decline in profits. EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY


Dec. 1, 2014

MONTREAL—The owner and managers of Cirque du Soleil, after seeing their growth prospects wane in recent years, think they have the key to renewed success: less Cirque.

For three decades, the circus giant’s business triumphs mirrored its high-flying aerial stunts, and it became a case study for business school journal articles on carving out unique markets.

But following a bleak outlook report from a consultant, a spate of poorly received shows and a decline in profits, executives at Cirque say they are now restructuring and refocusing their business—shifting some of the attention away from clowns and acrobats, towards other business ventures.

Cirque also recently suffered its first death during a performance, when an acrobat tumbled 94 feet during a stunt in Las Vegas performance of the show Ka in 2013. After a hiatus of more than a year, Cirque is soon bringing a revamped version of the stunt back to the show.

The recent struggles, said Chief Executive Daniel Lamarre, “certainly brought a lot of humility to the organization.”

A 2008 investment valued Cirque du Soleil at $2.7 billion. Five years later, the company’s value had dropped about 20%.
A 2008 investment valued Cirque du Soleil at $2.7 billion. Five years later, the company’s value had dropped about 20%. EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

In recent interviews with The Wall Street Journal at Cirque du Soleil’s sleek headquarters here, top executives including founder and 90% owner Guy Laliberté revealed rare details of their financial status and new business plans. The company is seeking to position itself as an attractive bet as Mr. Laliberté began last month looking for investors to buy a significant portion. He plans to review proposals before the end of the year, according to officials. (more…)

Ventana Sur Market Works to Fuel Biz in Latin America, Europe


Wild Tales Ventana Sur

NOVEMBER 30, 2014 | 03:50PM PT

International Correspondent@john_hopewell

Over the past decade, one of the biggest shifts in the international movie business has been the rise of local film industries. Latin America has proved a pacemaker in growth. Ventana Sur, Latin America’s biggest movie market, which kicks off its 6th edition in Buenos Aires Dec. 1, has positioned itself sagely to not only grow with it but channel and drive change.

Final numbers have to come in. But on its first half-day of trading, this Monday, its organizers – Argentina’s Incaa Film Agency and the Cannes Festival and Cannes Film Market – were reporting at least several hundred more international buyers attending this year.

Once an after thought for a highly Hollywood-centric industry, Latin’s America’s movie ramp up cannot but attract attention.

Fueled by government subsidies, tax coin, TV promotion, new generations of filmmakers, ever cheaper high-tech digital cameras and the local audience’s hunger for films reflecting their own social realities, Mexico (10.6%), Brazil (18.6%) and Argentina (14.6%) all saw local films take more than 10% of the local B.O. in 2013 for the first time in memory.

In 2014, 45 Chilean movies will be released in that country, up from 2013’s 25, while Warner Bros.-distributed “Wild Tales,” which grossed $17.2 million through Nov. 2, is helping push Argentina’s 2014 local film share toward 16%-17%, said Lucrecia Cardoso, Incaa president.

Running Dec. 1-5 in Buenos Aires, Ventana Sur’s 6th edition gives some hints at where the Latin American film industry, now often heavily involving Hollywoodstudios and the region’s biggest broadcasters, massive media companies, may now be heading. (more…)