The Surprisingly Savvy Weird Al Internet Machine

The Atlantic

Actually, really, truly, the music parody master’s wild success can teach us something about media in 2014.

JUL 19 2014

Screenshot from Weird Al’s “Foil,” a parody of Lorde’s “Royals.” ( CollegeHumor/YouTube )

Think of legacy media brands (as you probably often do) and some seemingly stodgy names come to mind. Newsweek. The Chicago Tribune. CBS News.

These companies and products have largely lost the Internet wars, at least so far. Their audiences have aged, and they have failed to change their product or their ways of distributing it. Revenue and prestige have both sagged. Others brands, meanwhile—like The New York Times or NPR—are still struggling, but they seem to have fared better.

To this litany of old media institutions, let me add a somewhat unorthodox one: Weird Al Yankovic.

Oh yes. And while he may not seem a regular Cronkite, Al’s old-school media credentials are legit. He came up on syndicated FM radio. His first targets were Michael Jackson and Madonna, icons of 20th-century recording artistry. And, most importantly, he’s been in the game for a long time: Thirteen-year-olds who giggled at “Eat It,” from his second album, are now 43. (more…)

YouTube’s Biggest Star Is An Unknown Toy-Reviewing Toddler Whisperer


Is it possible an unknown, one-woman toy-reviewing YouTuber called “Disney Collector” is making more money than most CEOs?
posted on July 18, 2014

Chris Ritter/BuzzFeed

To 3-year-olds, she is an obsession. To their parents, a mystifying annoyance. To YouTube marketers, an elusive moneymaker no one’s been able to tap for profit.

To the rest of us, DisneyCollectorBR is a faceless YouTube channel giant that is consistently among the site’s top most viewed per month. In April, the channel was the third-most viewed worldwide, coming in right behind Katy Perry. During the week of July 4, the DisneyCollectorBR channel received more views in the United States — 55 million — than any other channel on YouTube, according to data from OpenSlate.

Despite the channel’s massive, sweeping, and somewhat perplexing popularity, no one — neither the toddlers who watch with near-religious fervor and their parents, nor executives deeply embedded in the YouTube ecosystem and its economics — seem to have much of a clue who’s behind it. In an earlier, more anonymous internet era, popularity and anonymity were more commonly paired. But today, where marketers have wrangled nearly every viral hit and YouTube stars’ faces are on billboards in Times Square, staying anonymous amid billions of views is not only unusual, but damn near impossible to pull off.

All DisneyCollectorBR videos start the same way: A difficult-to-place, but seemingly non-American woman’s voice says, “Hey guys, Disney Collector here. Today I’m going to show you…” The woman, who shows only her brightly manicured hands, proceeds to introduce and open a children’s toy, many of them from recent Disney movies. She then demonstrates the toy’s features — what you might less clinically call “playing.” She regularly calls a toy’s features “adorable,” and tends to end her sentences with a singing inflection. In many videos, she also seems to make a deliberate effort to crinkle the toy’s packaging, to ear-pleasing effect. As far as plot goes, that’s about it. (more…)

Biggest Scorer in World Cup? Maybe Univision

The New York Times

Slide Show | Univision Takes World Cup to U.S. Homes The tournament has broken records for Univision, which has dominated its TV rivals in Los Angeles, Miami and Houston and, at times, New York.


Months before the first whistle of the World Cup, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, the president of the sports division of Univision Communications, presented his engineers with a challenge: Could they figure out how to beam its soccer broadcasts into American homes faster than its English-language competitors?

About a half-million dollars in new technology later, the challenge was met — Univision’s broadcasts beat ESPN’s and ABC’s, if only by a matter of seconds.

For Mr. Rodriguez, that felt like enough to lure away some viewers. “Who doesn’t want to yell ‘Goal!’ five or six seconds before their neighbors?” he said in an interview from Brazil.

The World Cup has been a record-breaking event for Univision, which has dominated its TV rivals in several of America’s largest cities — Los Angeles, Miami and Houston. It even won the New York market for some games. With the finals still to come on Sunday — featuring a Latin American team for the first time in 12 years — Univision has already drawn roughly 80 million viewers, or about 60 percent more than it logged for the 2010 tournament.

7 Most Revealing Facts About World Cup TV Viewing Numbers

World Soccer Talk
July 7, 2014 by Christopher Harris

world cup trophy1 600x450 7 Most Revealing Facts About World Cup TV Viewing Numbers

The coverage of 2014 FIFA World Cup continues to break records in the United States — both on television and online.

The summer of 2014 will be remembered as the summer of soccer.

Here are 7 of the most revealing facts about the World Cup viewing numbers:

1. The viewing audience for the World Cup beat the NBA Finals and World Series.

The 2014 NBA series averaged 15.5 million viewers, while the final had 18 million watching. Meanwhile, the 2013 World Series averaged 14.9 million viewers, with 19.2 million watching the final game.

When you take into consideration that the NBA Finals and World Series games were shown during primetime when most of the World Cup games are shown earlier in the day, the following numbers are even more eyeopening:

• 24.7 million for USA-Portugal,
• 21.5 million for USA-Belgium,
• 16.9 million watched Mexico vs Netherlands,
• 15.8 million watched Ghana vs USA,
• 14.1 million watched Germany vs USA,
• Etcetera.

2. An average of 11.8 million watched the quarterfinal between Brazil and Colombia, confirming that sports fans are still watching the World Cup in huge numbers even with the USA out of the tournament. (more…)

The Biggest Media Company You’ve Never Heard Of


Maury Brown Contributor
Sports Money 7/07/2014

If you have your finger on the pulse of media companies, you’ve surely followed Google GOOGL +0.7%, orNetFlix NFLX -1.43%. As the world inches further away from cable and satcasters for television, and more and more toward content streamed via the internet, the term “cutting the cord” has moved into the media industry lexicon.

But what if I told you there was a company nestled in New York’s Chelsea Market near the Apple AAPL -1.84%Store and across the street from Google’s offices that will see revenues of $800 million in 2014; with targeted revenues of $1 billion by 2016. That this company engaged in streaming live video of 18,000 hours in 2009 and is expected to hit 400,000 this year. That not only are they providing that, they’re a key company for online ticket sales, but isn’t StubHub. That key brands in corporate America hire them for content infrastructure, and not only that, are a data analytics firm that rivals Bloomberg . The company has mobile technology that makes them one of Apple’s key partners and has been used at keynotes for their product launches.

This company is one that you know, right? It’s got to be someone whose logo is plastered across tech publications and a place in the forefront of the business section.

Think again.

The reason you may never have heard of this company is because when you think of it, you think baseball. Yes, that game that your dad or grandfather likes, the sport whose commissioner doesn’t even use a computer at the office, is the place where the biggest media company you’ve never heard of was started.

MLB Advanced Media, the digital tech company of Major League Baseball, is not just about baseball any longer. The brilliance of Bud Selig and the owners to have a business arm that has been free to go not only linear but horizontal with product offerings is something that is now viewed as the benchmark by which not only other sports leagues do digital media, they’re seen as more media company than baseball.

MLB Advanced Media control roomMLB Advanced Media transmission center, where game feeds are monitored

Launched in 2000 and the original piece of MLB Advanced Media, was funded by the 30 clubs in an agreement that had them each investing $1 million a year over four years. The cost was targeted at $120 million. To the joy of the owners and MLB, the web presence for baseball started generating excess revenue in 2003, allowing them to invest only $70-$75 million before beginning to see a return on their investment. The 30 owners in baseball now get dividends annually based on direction of their board of directors and is reportedly expected to be $7-8 million per club for 2014. (more…)

World Cup: Mexico vs. Brazil Poised for Stellar Ratings

The Hollywood Reporter

by John Hecht

AP Images

Latin-American rivals Brazil and Mexico square off on Tuesday.

MEXICO CITY – The first round of World Cup play is pulling in record ratings, so imagine what viewership numbers will look like when Latin-American rivals Brazil and Mexico square off Tuesday.

Some 5 million viewers tuned in to Spanish-language network Univision for Mexico’s opening match against Cameroon. The majority of U.S. Hispanic viewers are of Mexican descent, which means Mexico’s games tend to draw a much larger audience than say, Costa Rica’s or Argentina’s.

Here in Mexico, the television duopoly of Televisa and TV Azteca does not disclose ratings information, but one doesn’t need numbers to see that nearly everyone is glued to the set when the national team plays. Mexican networks are cashing in big time, as they always do on major soccer events. According to estimates, Televisa raked in north of $100 million in soccer-related revenue during the previous World Cup.

In Brazil, over-the-air network Globo reported that fully 60 percent of all connected devices, including televisions, mobile phones, tablets and computers, were tuned to the opening night match of Brazil vs. Croatia. Futbol fanaticism in Latin America is so strong that many companies will allow their employees to watch the Mexico-Brazil match during office hours; call it a preemptive action to avert absenteeism.

PHOTOS Hollywood’s Biggest Soccer Fans

Fans began gearing up for one of the hottest rivalries in Latin America as early as Sunday night, when hundreds of Mexico supporters gathered outside a hotel in Fortaleza, Brazil, to serenade their team. Overlooking a boisterous crowd from the hotel terrace, Mexican players posted selfies on Twitter as mariachis belted out ballads below.

The host country goes into Tuesday’s match as the favorite, but given the long-running rivalry between the two teams, Mexico poses a legitimate threat to Brazil.

Regardless of the outcome, the networks will likely score a big win Tuesday.

5 Takeaways From Mary Meeker: There is No Tech Bubble and Young Viewers Still Love Live TV

By  on May 29, 2014

5 Takeaways From Mary Meeker: There is No Tech Bubble and Young Viewers Still Love Live TV

The financial analyst turned venture capitalist offers a new report on how consumer habits are changing, and what that will mean for businesses around the world

Mary Meeker’s annual Internet trends report is a great way to know what is happening in the world around you (or at least online). The Morgan Stanley analyst turned venture capitalist offers a new report every year walking people through how consumer habits are changing, and what that will mean for businesses around the world.

If you get the chance to look at the full slideshow, please do so at the bottom of this post. In case you do not want to read through 144 slides, here are the cliff notes.

The Pain for Print Newspapers and Magazines Is Not Over. Advertisers are spending 19 percent of their media budget on print newspapers when consumers are only spending five percent of their media time reading them. That imbalance will have to correct itself, and you can guess where the money is headed: mobile devices. (more…)

Yahoo Plots YouTube Rival for Summer Debut After Delay


Portal’s Proposed Terms Have Received Pushback From YouTube Creators

By .
Published on May 27, 2014
Yahoo wants to rival YouTube for viral videos.

Yahoo wants to rival YouTube for viral videos.

Is there room for another YouTube?

Yahoo is ramping up talks with video producers and plans to premiere a rival to Google’s video service later this summer, according to people briefed on their plans.

Yahoo had intended to unveil the new service at its upfront presentation for advertisers in April, but contract issues have held the project back.

But for video creators dissatisfied with YouTube, Yahoo has a compelling pitch: more generous revenue-sharing deals, or fixed ad rates that are significantly higher than YouTube is currently delivering to creators.

Like YouTube, creators will be allowed to establish their own channel pages and host their videos on Yahoo. Like YouTube’s video player, Yahoo’s video player will be embeddable on other sites. (more…)

Broadcast 2.0: Television is about to enjoy its biggest renaissance in 50 years

The Next Web

Ernesto Schmitt
19 May ’14

Still life of vintage television set with antenna raised.

19 May ’14,

Ernesto Schmitt is a serial entrepreneur in media and tech. He is presently co-founder & CEO of Beamly, the TV social network backed by Comcast, NBCUniversal, Viacom and BSkyB.

These are uncomfortable days for network television executives.

After decades of reliably scheduling when audiences are to be entertained, informed or thrilled, the linear broadcast model – and with it the existence of TV channels themselves – seems to be at the cusp of hitting obsolescence, thanks to the irrepressible march of technology.

Death by a thousand downloads

Amazon and Google are just two of the global tech giants to have launched cheap internet streaming boxes in the past weeks – joining Apple and plenty more expected to follow suit.

The approach is always the same: a small set-top box or dongle that connects to the internet and plugs straight into consumers’ televisions, giving audiences plentiful choice for on-demand content without the need for a cable subscription, or the requirement ever to watch scheduled programming again.

amazon fire tv close up Broadcast 2.0: Television is about to enjoy its biggest renaissance in 50 years

On the face of it, this is bad news for network television. For one, audiences tend to consume a narrow range of premium-quality content on-demand, turning on its head the broadcast model that pads out three hours of quality prime-time shows with 21 hours of low-production-value repeats. (more…)

TV Everywhere Is Getting Better. But It Won’t Stop the Pay-TV Empire From Crumbling


TV Everywhere Is Getting Better. ItMAY 23, 2014

Todd Spangler
NY Digital Editor

Winter is coming for the pay-TV industry. And there’s nothing the biz can rustle up, not even dragons, to prevent it.

After years of growth — both in subscribers and prices — the number of people who buy television subscriptions has started to decline. The pay-TV cash machine will slow down. The healthy margins cablers enjoy today are bound to contract, and some networks may perish altogether.

TV Everywhere has been the Great New Hope for programmers and their cable, satellite and telco distribution partners. The pitch goes like this: We’re giving you a venti latte for the price of a grande latte! Watch TV on any device, anytime, anywhere, without paying extra. (Well, aside from the regular-as-clockwork price hikes you’ll see on your TV bill.)

That story is fine as far as it goes. But lots of people just want to pay for a smaller latte. The more worrisome trend: More (younger) people will decide they don’t even want a latte at all. (more…)