Social media platforms are connecting hard-core fans to TV shows and movies in massive numbers, helping build a durable base for success for the programs smart enough to harness it in creative ways. But measuring what that superfan is worth, and how best to connect that superfan to a show and to broader audiences, in a way that everyone in Hollywood can understand is and advertisers will pay for, well, that’s a very different challenge. That’s the takeaway from the past three days of the PromaxBDA conference, which brings together marketing, publicity and promotion execs from throughout entertainment. As the show wrapped Thursday in New York, I took the opportunity to talk with the conference co-chairs, all top execs with NBC, Fox or Warner Bros. and all struggling to figure out what that fan is worth, and how you can consistently reach that fan.
“It’s a challenge here in the U.S. and it’s a global issue, which never before have we faced as marketing executives, where the viewer is so empowered,” said Lisa Gregorian, president and chief marketing officer of the Warner Bros Television Group. She also ended her term as PromaxBDA co-chair Thursday. “We’d craft the message and there was no dialog coming back (from audiences). Now we’re dealing with social issues, measurement issues. Really what viewers have is choice and voice.”
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EXCLUSIVE: Execs at the home of Sleepy Hollow, Glee and The Mindy Project had a message today for showrunners and agents: Diversity is the new ka-ching. “Not only are you going to have more chances of a show being made here, more chances of a show being a success on TV, more chances of making it into syndication, more chances of a show selling globally and making you millions of dollars, but you are going to bring more viewers to our air and keep us in business,” Fox Broadcasting COO Joe Earley told a group of the company’s brass, as well as agents, producers, and media coalitions. Usual good intentions aside, that good-for-business mantra was the primary thrust of the third annual invite-only confab, called “Seizing Opportunities” this year.
Related: GLAAD Report: Fox Most Inclusive; History, TBS Get Failing Grade
And the Zanuck Theater on the Fox lot certainly had a lot of people who do business with each other on hand Thursday. Earley co-hosted the event with Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly; Fox TV’s Dana Walden and Gary Newman; Fox Animation’s Vanessa Morrison; FX’s John Landgraf, Eric Schrier and Nick Grad; Fox TV Distributions’ Mark Kaner; and Fox Searchlight’s Nancy Utley. Unlike past Fox diversity conferences, the agencies were represented for the first time too, with WME’s Rick Rosen, UTA’s Jay Sures and CAA’s Joe Cohen as co-hosts as … Read More »
Fox Broadcasting Co. continues to realign its top management team following the recent promotion of Peter Rice to Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group. After Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly last week was elevated to Chairman of Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Co., the network’s President of Marketing & Communications Joe Earley is now being promoted to Chief Operating Officer for FBC. In the new position, Earley will be involved in scripted programming, casting, scheduling, research, audience strategy, digital, and business affairs, in addition to continuing oversight of marketing and communications. He will continue to report to Reilly, along with Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment. “Joe is not only an inspired and creative marketing strategist, but he should own the patent on the concept of ‘team builder,’” said Reilly.
As President of Marketing & Communications, Earley orchestrated the campaigns behind the successful launches of Glee, New Girl and The X factor. Additionally, Earley created and introduced the network’s “So Fox” branding campaign. Earley joined Fox in 1994 as a Senior Publicist. Before that, he spent several years in Media Relations at HBO.
Fox’s President of Marketing & Communications Joe Earley has restructured the network’s marketing and communications teams. Under the previous setup, more than 10 different groups in the two areas reported directly to Earley. Now, that will be trimmed to six with the consolidation of some departments’ oversight. As a result, three veteran executives, who will lead the newly formed teams, are getting promoted to EVP reporting to Earley:
Laurel Bernard has been promoted to EVP Marketing. In addition to her current role as head of national media, on-air planning and national promotions teams, she will now also oversee Fox’s affiliate marketing and multi-platform distribution marketing efforts. As part of the new structure, Michelle Garry has been elevated to SVP Multi-Platform Distribution Marketing, and will join SVP Affiliate Marketing Nick Belperio, VP National Media Emily King and VP On-Air Planning Shawn Mills as Bernard’s senior lieutenants.
Brian Dollenmayer has been promoted to EVP On-Air Promotions and Marketing Operations. SVP On-Air Promotion Operations Steven Weinheimer will now report to him.
Shannon Ryan has been promoted to EVP Marketing & Communications. She will oversee grassroots marketing efforts, publicity and corporate communications and creative services teams. Reporting to Ryan, George Oswald has been elevated to EVP Creative Services Group and Executive Producer Special Projects, and Jason Clark has been promoted to SVP Publicity and Corporate Communications. Read More »
‘New Girl’ Opens Big, Tops Night
For the first time in a decade, Fox can say that it has a live-action half-hour comedy hit on its hands with New Girl, which blew past all ratings projections to open with a big 4.8/12 in adults 18-49 (10.3 million viewers overall). New Girl‘s performance caught everyone by surprise, including Fox’s head of marketing Joe Earley. While he is elated today, just a couple of days ago he was worried as the network’s risky promo stunt of putting the New Girl pilot on iTunes, VOD, airplanes and Hulu and in hotels for two weeks ahead of the premiere had started to get out of hand. Fox had made the deal to raise awareness for the series starring Zooey Deschanel, as the show’s intent-to-view levels had been consistently high but its awareness numbers were lagging. In exchange for getting the pilot for free streaming, distributors committed to promote the show across their platforms, including a prominent placement on the homepage of iTunes, which was taking a pre-premiere window on a show for the first time. After the first week, things looked good — awareness for New Girl was up by 6%, something Earley said could not have been achieved by the network’s standard marketing campaign alone. (Free press for the sneak peek experiment might have helped, too.) After awareness went up, the buzz metrics also started jumping, and chatter on the show increased 400%. “People were talking peer-to-peer, and it was overwhelmingly positive,” Earley said. “So we figured any viewing lost (by the promotional streaming) would be replaced by people who didn’t intend to watch.” Read More »
You know those living statues that look like they’re motionless until the cleverly disguised mime moves and startles passersby? Fox is seeking a similar effect with a new promo campaign for its new and returning series. The network is placing full-motion video ads in mall kiosks across in 12 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC and Philadelphia. Fox is the first TV network to implement the moving ads technology to the digital billboards, which have so far been predominantly static. The interstitials were produced by Fox’s marketing team led by Joe Earley specifically for the kiosk buys. Here are computer-generated video renderings of how the ads will look in their mall environment with Fox’s highest profile new fall series as examples — comedy New Girl, prehistoric drama Terra Nova and singing-competition series The X Factor. New Girl star Zooey Deschanel is a standout with her spot-on reactions.
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