Presentation: In a move designed to zag where other channels zigged, Scripps invited advertisers to rethink their attitude about basing buys on Live+3, +7 or beyond in the unscripted arena. Ninety-eight percent of the viewing on his company's set of networks is live, according to a recent independent survey, declared Chief Revenue Officer Steven Gigliotti. "That to us is C-zero," he said. "We believe networks should be held accountable on that basis." With that, Gigliotti introduced a new "lifestyle roadblock" option where starting in a few weeks, clients can run a 30-or-60-second message in the same three-minute pod on all six channels. Furthermore, the ad would appear in the same place on each pod. If the pod ran from 9:10-9:13 p.m., the ad would simulcast during that pod. What's more, some advertisers with customer demographic or product preferences in mind can order "Target Audience Packages" where their spots would run on specific programs catering to that crowd, such as Greek yogurt lovers or backyard renovators. Grade: 3.5 Jacks
News: More than 2,500 hours of original programming will play among Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, Great American Country, Home & Garden Television and DIY during the next 12 months. Travel will continue the envelope-pushing direction launched this winter through “Breaking Borders” with “50/50” (people decide on the spot to take 50-hour trips to extreme destinations worth $50,000), “Boy to Man” (filmmaker Tim Noonan witnesses unique rite-of-passage rituals across the globe) and “Planet Primetime” (host Karla Cavalli steps into the thick of TV series around the world in roles from circus star to figure skater). Upcoming Food Network series include “American Diner Revival” (May), “Craziest Restaurants in America” (June) and “Crazy Kitchen” (August), plus more “Chopped,” “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Guy's Grocery Games” miniseries spinoffs. “Junk Food Flip” (June), “Holy & Hungry” (August) and “Hungry Hungry History” (September) will be among Cooking Channel's newcomers. HGTV limited its info on new series to late spring/summer debuts, including “Sale of Two Cities” (May 4) and “America's Most Desperate Kitchen” (July 1). DIY's 16 new series include an increase in celebrity-centric projects, such as “I Pity the Tool with Mr. T” and “Building Belushi” with actor Jim Belushi. One new series comes to Great American Country this week: “Made from America” with noted T-shirt designer Gabe Johnson. Grade: 4 Jacks
Host: All three unit leaders at Scripps -- Brooke Johnson at Food/Cooking, Kathleen Finch at HGTV/DIY and Great American Country and Shannon O'Neill at Travel -- handled their presentations well, with a brief personality interview in each. Gigliotti kicked off the showcase, while national ad sales chief Jon Steinlauf wrapped up with his annual demo of unique ad campaigns, featuring Zillow, Quicken Loans, General Mills' Pillsbury division, Sargento, Hilton Hotels and MasterCard. Grade: 4 Jacks
Overall Grade: 4 Jacks. Solid model of how to structure and deliver a presentation, with better execution this year on programming clips (the first Travel Channel reel was beautifully edited). Leave it to Alice Tully Hall to deliver on the space and the food.
A quick reminder of our Jacks grading system:
5 Jacks = Excellent
4 Jacks = Very Good
3 Jacks = Good
2 Jacks = Fair
1 Jack = Poor
0 Jacks = Worse than that
Next up: Ovation
Some quick observations from the Upfront/NewFront passing parade:
Revolt had its second annual upfront this past Friday afternoon and didn't alert many journalists (including this one) about it. Yes, it's unusual for a network to stage this late on getaway day, but had they alerted the media in advance as to where and when it was happening, some coverage would have come out. 1 Jack goes to Revolt's public relations unit for its lack of effort. Thanks to a press release after the fact, we learned that Snoop Dogg will do a special version of his popular “GGN” YouTube series and Grammy-nominated rap artist Wiz Khalifa will be the subject of an unscripted look at his music, career and personal life. No premiere date on either series.
Cross Fox's set of Spanish-language channels off the big mid-May Upfront event week. Mundo Fox, Fox Deportes, Fox Life and Nat Geo Mundo will get their new programming news and ad strategies out another way. Still no word if Discovery's Spanish-language pair -- Discovery en Espanol and Discovery Familia -- will stage their own event.
When the Digital Content NewFronts launched Monday morning, a number of journalists asking for press credentials among the 33 presenting companies had not heard back from nearly half of them. No RSVPs. No requests for acknowledgements of receiving their credentials request by e-mail or phone call. Unforgivable! Yahoo, presenting Monday night, was among the culprits. I’m tempted to give a blistering 0 Jacks to each of these gaffs, or oversights, or communication failures, or whatever they were.
Going forward, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the agency overseeing these NewFronts, must institute a centralized press pass, just like Advertising Week! One pass should be good for all events. If any company doesn't want to open their event to press, just inform IAB and let them forward that request to pass holders. Let's cut this inadequate excess out for good.
Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!