Tag Archives: Television

Cutting the Cord – The Next Big Thing!! (or the End of TV as We Know It)

Do you have a contentious relationship with your cable company?  Has your cable bill doubled in the past ten years?  Are you finding yourself or your family members watching TV over the internet more frequently?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you might be ready to “Cut the Cord!!”  This is a fairly recent phenomenon and signals the biggest change in how media is consumed since the internet began killing the print version of newspaper a decade ago.

Consumers now have alternatives to dealing with their dreaded cable providers – these include Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.  Nearly 1 million households have “cut their cords” during the last 12 months – and while this represents a fraction of the estimated 100 million cable households in the United States, this is no longer being viewed as an “urban myth” but rather a growing trend.  It is estimated that by 2016 nine million households will eliminate their cable subscriptions entirely.  The number one reason given by consumers for cutting their cord (83%) is that the subscription has gotten too expensive.

Think about the generation that has realized they no longer need a land line and opted to use their mobile devices as their only phone. These are the people who will most likely opt out of the cable universe.  According to Forrester Research 32 million consumers are already getting video over their televisions using Internet devices such as Xbox, Blu-ray players and smart TV’s.

All of this change creates new opportunities for content creators of which there is no shortage of!! The real winners may end up being the technology companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon as they have the ability to operate across the divide of selling content as well as designing the devices on which the content is viewed.

I believe the other winner in this game may ultimately be the consumer who will have more choices and by virtue of the marketplace may will pay less for these choices!!  Cord cut away!!


Top 101 TV Shows Of All Time

Earlier this month, the Writers Guild of America announced its list of the top 101 written television shows ever.  The list was compiled by votes cast from the East and West Coast Writers Guild members. Given the endless hours of programming the past 70 years includes this seems almost impossible and of course can spark endless hours of debate over which shows belong on the list and at what rank.

HBO’s The Sopranos was number one followed by a diverse set of classic shows. The top fifteen in order include Seinfeld, The Twilight Zone, All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mad Men, Cheers, The Wire, The West Wing, The Simpsons, I Love Lucy, Breaking Bad, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Hill Street Blues.

There are many shows from recent decades in the top 101, several on the air now and nods to classics from years past many of us may have never seen and have only heard of. Alas, no reality shows made the cut.

Apparently 100 shows wasn’t enough, and even though the list is for the top 101 shows  there are there are several ties so more than 101 shows are represented.  For example, Downton Abbey, Law & Order and ThirtySomething all ranked at #43.

Given the recent passing of James Gandolfini, otherwise known as televisions legendary mob boss Tony Soprano, having The Sopranos place at number one is a timely and fitting tribute to the actor and to Jean Stapleton, AKA Edith Bunker from All in the Family, who also passed away right after the release of the list.

Given the passion many feel about “their” shows, check out the list and see if you agree, disagree and what shows should have made the list that didn’t.  The full list is available on the WGA site: http://www.wga.org/uploadedfiles/news_and_events/101_TV_Series/TV-101-List-web.pdf

Crisis TV: Analyzing The Latest Trends In News Reporting

In the aftermath of the week-long media coverage of the Boston marathon bombings, many questions have arisen about the role of media in breaking news stories, and how things are different from just a few years ago.

I was one of those people who followed the story closely from the bombings on Monday until Suspect #2 was captured Friday night. I watched the story on TV, followed blogs and live updates online, and scoured the internet for any news I could find. Along the way, I received a lot of misinformation (some of which I passed on to other people). Yet, in the end, I was happy to be informed about each development. It was difficult to take my eyes off the screen as I watched the story unfold live on Friday night when the younger brother was captured. Looking back on the week and how it was covered in the media, there are definitely some issues to consider and some takeaways for the future:

Are Cable and Network TV news still relevant?

Are people still getting their news from traditional sources or are they turning to social media? It seems that, despite the role of social and digital media in news

gathering and sharing, people are still turning to TV. The cable news networks saw huge numbers last week when they aired near-constant coverage of the bombings and the aftermath. According the Medialife, 10 of the top 20 shows on cable last week aired on Friday on CNN and Fox News, all of which had to do with Boston bombing coverage.

Furthermore, 46 million viewers tuned into broadcast and cable on Friday night to see the capture. Despite the speed at which digital media operates, there is still an appeal to TV. On Friday night, viewers could watch the capture of the suspect live on TV and actually see the story unfold. This is something that probably won’t change anytime in the near future, despite the increase in digital news sources.

News Errors and the Validity of Reporting

All week long there were reports that ended up not being true. Even major news networks were making mistakes by reporting too quickly: CNN reported that the bomber had been arrested when they hadn’t even been identified yet. When news is reported the next day (like in the newspaper), there’s time to check facts, check sources, and give a full, researched, account. When reports are instantaneous, there is no time to analyze and check the data.

Consumers expect their media quickly. We want to know what is happening when it is happening. But, we must accept that there may be errors when we rely on live new coverage.

The new phenomenon of “crowd sourcing”

Reddit fueled this topic during the hunt for the bombers. Anyone with access to the internet had the capability of scouring photos, looking for people they deemed suspicious. This led to a lot of false accusations and misidentified suspects. The biggest false lead came when a missing Brown student was identified as the Bomber. The family even took down a Facebook page that had been set up to help find him because people starting posting terrible things about the student. Reddit eventually had to issue an apology for the “witch hunt” that ensued, following the bombings.

Police Communication to the Public through Social Media Outlets

On other hand, there were many good things that came out of today’s media as well. For starters, Boston police and FBI were able to communicate with the public through Twitter. When there were false reports of an arrest, the FBI was able to tweet that this information was false. Additionally, the FBI was able to use the media to help aid in identifying the suspects. They put their pictures out to the media, asking for the public’s help in identifying them. Police also used photos and videos from people in the crowd to help search for the bombers. Today’s social media and news sharing allows for more communication between authorities, media, and the public.

The way big news events like this are covered will continue to evolve, but hopefully some of the lessons of last week will be remembered next time.

T-Mobile Advertising Take Over – April 11th

It started with a one email and then a phone call and then a few more emails… Radio stations across the country were contacting us about spots that were going to be bumped on Thursday April 11th due to a T-Mobile national take over buy.  It included Hispanic and general market stations, and we found out only the day before.

Yesterday, T-Mobile took over radio stations in South Florida, Seattle, Philadelphia, Denver, Orlando, Dallas, New York City, Portland and more. On 96.5 in South Florida, they ran the following message: “The Next hour of music is sponsored by T-Mobile” and every ad prior to that used the message, “Simple choice, simple choice and more simple choice.” There was a rumor that they would take over primetime television from 8:34-8:40 last night, so I watched intently for the take over and only happened upon one T-Mobile spot during that time period that I saw.  I did get served up the video on YouTube each time I tested that yesterday, so it was obviously they were also taking over social media outlets too.

Today, April 12th, is the launch for T-Mobile’s I-Phone 5.  The phone launch parallels with a strategy to “change the game” on wireless plans.  Using the tagline, “Now your choice is simple,” T-Mobile is hoping to gain market share through plans that have no annual contracts, are unlimited, and allow you to change out your phone when you want.

Here is a link to the President and CEO of T-Mobile explaining the new plans:

This strategy made me ponder the complexity that goes into a “takeover” type campaign.  How do you monopolize people’s attention in one day when they are consuming and using so many different devices, moving at a mile a minute?  Is one day enough time to create that connection in our minds between the commercial-free radio I heard in my car, to the YouTube ad playing on my computer screen?  I went to the T-Mobile Facebook page this morning to see how they were using social media to keep the conversation going and there was no mention.

So, I compiled a list of things to consider when implementing a one-day take over advertising strategy:

  • Leak the plan ahead of time so that people will anticipate it and Search for more information in advance
  • Have a main hub to drive conversation about the advertising that day
  • Use search and e-marketing strategies to boost your message
  • Use point-of-purchase signage to capture on site traffic that day and weeks following the campaign
  • Have a simple creative strategy that easily links the messages no matter what medium
  • Engage consumers by telling them what this day means for them – (define your WIFM) – what’s in it for me.
  •  Use social media to keep the campaign alive after the day is over

We’ll see if their new strategy worked for T-Mobile soon!

The 2013 Media Forecast

Will 2013 Media Spending Survive the Fiscal Cliff?

Compared to a robust year of media spending in 2012 which was the result of the Auto Industry’s rebound, Olympics and Political spending, 2013 looks somewhat bleak. Consumer spending is high right now, but with the Fiscal Cliff looming and an uncertain economy, we expect modest growth at best in media spending next year.

Here’s how the numbers look by medium:

  • Spot TV: Expected to grow by 4%

TV ad revenue will grow as the automotive industry continues to thrive. With consumer demand for new vehicles on the rise, automotive and other industries such as telecommunications, restaurants and retail will also see growth.

  • Cable TV: 7% Growth per year, for the next 3 years

The lines between Cable TV and Spot TV are starting to blur. Where there used to be a great divide between spending and ratings for both, we’re seeing a leveling of the playing field. We will also see more and more events that traditionally aired on broadcast networks migrating to cable. How else could we explain why Duck Dynasty was the top-rated show on TV last week?

Duck Dynasty

  • Radio: Ad spending expected to increase by 2.9%

The growth of radio for 2013 will not be with terrestrial stations, but with online/digital radio platforms.


Pandora continues to gain subscribers, while Apple will launch their answer to online radio in Q1’13, adding to the competition.

  • Newspaper: Small .5% increase

Newspaper spending may actually be on the rise in 2013, but mainly due to print’s online products and a “reinvention” of the medium. The local weeklies and dailies still have a unique place in the market, so we anticipate growth there as well.

  • Online: Internet advertising expected to grow by 14.6%

The real media growth in 2013 will be online. Brands are already re-evaluating their spending on traditional media and shifting to the world of digital. The increasing demand for video units and innovative display advertising programs will drive much of the growth.

Online Display

  • Mobile/Tablet: Expected to grow by 11.3% from 2012

Retailers are starting to realize the potential of reaching consumers via mobile and tablet devices. Tablets will account for 53% of Mobile ad dollars in 2013, compared to 47% for Mobile handsets.

Lights, Camera, Action!

On the set of the new CCBC TV shoot

It’s 6AM on the Catonsville campus of the Community College of Baltimore County. The weather forecast calls for cloudy skies and a 40% chance of rain, and it’s overcast and humid. In front of the new Library building, white vans begin to pull into the parking lot. Portable tents are erected. Production equipment is unloaded, blue and orange balloons are blown up, and a 40’ banner congratulating CCBC’s graduates is hung between the columns on the front of the building.

Meanwhile, the talent has arrived and is directed to a room inside the building. For the first scene, which features a girl in Pizza Delivery garb, we have a young actress named Ana Maria. Her hair and make-up are being done by a stylist, and wardrobe options are laid out for her. (They choose a red shirt and a matching black/red hat.)  More “extras” arrive and enter the building for further instructions. This talent crew is made up of students, faculty and staff – all of whom will be important parts of the scene in both the foreground and the background, and all of which are volunteering their time today.

It’s 7AM, and production equipment is assembled and nearly ready for the shoot. Lighting is arranged in the foreground and the background, since there is no natural sunlight. The weather has held out so far, and everyone is hoping that the rain holds off until we can get this first shoot “wrapped”, as they say. The talent is eating breakfast at a makeshift outdoor kitchen, where the production crew’s chef has prepared egg and cheese muffins and turkey sausage. Coffee is brewing.

At 8AM, everyone is in place. The talent is ready. The cameras are rolling, and we are standing by to witness the beginning of the TV shoot. Most importantly, it is not raining.

In the midst of all the activity is the Producer, Lynda. She is detail-oriented and boisterous. She’s constantly on a walkie-talkie, instructing someone to do something or go somewhere. She is the consummate middle man and peace keeper. She’s also the keeper of the time on several levels: she makes sure everything is on schedule, and literally tracks the timing of each shoot to make sure the filmed segments are the proper length.

The director, David, is quiet and unassuming, but has a distinct vision. He prepares the scenes, yells “Action” and “Cut”, and is ultimately responsible for getting enough footage to complete this portion of the spot. If something is amiss, he knows it and makes adjustments. If he wants to change something, it’s changed. He is the genius behind the filming.

The Art Director and Creative Director are also on the set. They are in good spirits and focused on the shoot, ready to make creative suggestions if necessary. They were the ones who set this process in motion, creating the storyboards which would later be translated into film. They’ve been involved in the process from the start, and will ensure that the concept of these spots are carried out as they’ve envisioned.

CCBC’s video expert, Nate, is shooting some segments for a “Making of” video, and prepares to interview Chris, Director of Marketing at CCBC, about the shoot. Mary DeLuca, the Senior Director for College Communications, is standing nearby. A photographer and assistant arrives to capture some stills of the actors for the College’s internal communications and some digital ads. Jodi, CCBC’s Director of Creative Services, is there to greet them, and briefs them on the shoot.

After 30 takes and about four hours of preparation and filming, the Director has enough footage for the allocated eight to ten seconds of footage needed for this portion of the :30-sec. TV spot.  And, that’s a wrap!!! Check out CCBC’s first portion of the “Making of” video here:

Nurse’s Week 2012

Have you ever needed to go to the emergency room for an urgent ailment?  Required surgery? Or had a baby?  Maybe you needed to have blood drawn at a doctor’s appointment?  Or possibly you were just visiting a friend or family member in the hospital or in an assisted or long-term living facility?  If you said yes to any of these questions, then the person you had the most interactions with during your visit was a nurse.

This week is National Nurse’s Week, the week every year where nurses are celebrated from May 6 through May 12 (the birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, according to the American Nurses Association).  Each year at this time the men and women who work so tirelessly to heal the sick and wounded are honored for what they do every day.  There aren’t enough words to thank those who put forth the energy and passion that nursing requires; so we at Media Works honor you, the nurses.  And we want to recognize these strong individuals in the best way we know how, by bringing attention to this great profession through the magic of media!

One of our biggest and longest clients at Media Works is LifeBridge Health, a regional health care organization based in northwest Baltimore city and Baltimore County.  For Nurses Week, LifeBridge created multiple ads for both TV and print as a thank you to nurses.  In a few print publications, LifeBridge ran a “Thank You for Being a Nurse” ad for their recruitment division (pictured at left) that not only showed their appreciation for nurses; it also reached out to potential job seekers looking for a nursing job.  The ad recognized the hard work and diligence of their nursing staff, something of vast importance to applicants who are searching for a place where they can feel valued and appreciated for their work.   Through this print medium, LifeBridge made it very clear they are that place for these potential employees and are encouraging them to apply to be a part of this important team of nurses changing the world one day at a time.

In addition to the print ads, LifeBridge also ran a: 30 TV spot that really tugs on the heart strings!  From an amputee to a woman with cancer, real individuals with real ailments are thanking the nurses personally on camera for what they are doing and have done for each of them.  It’s not every day that these people can express their gratitude, but through simple words and facial expression it is evident that they feel lucky to have been helped and treated by a nurse.

Another Media Works client, Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie, highlighted a specific nurse at their hospital via their website who was given quite an award.  On April 15, Severna Park resident Lynn Brown was named “Emergency Room Nurse of the Year” by the Maryland Academy of Emergency Physicians.  Brown has been an ER nurse at Baltimore Washington Medical Center for 23 years and graduated from The University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore in1976; 35 years ago this July.  Through their website, BWMC highlights Brown’s accomplishments and brings attention to an individual who has embodied the life of a nurse to the fullest extent.  Brown, who was nominated by her peers, has found that a long career in nursing has been a pleasure. “I knew I wanted to go into to the medical profession because I am a humanitarian… I’ve always liked to help people,” Brown explained. “I was good at science and thought healthcare would be good for me. So, I tried nursing, and I fell in love with it and have been at it ever since,” she said.  Additional information or the entire article can be found here: http://www.mybwmc.org/severna-park-woman-honored-nurse-year.

Nursing is a career that requires great care and dedication.  It is a thankless job that should be celebrated every day, rather than only one week in the year.  However, if we only have a short time-frame to honor the men and women of nursing each year, whether it is through television, radio, the internet, or another advertising medium, we at least know that there are many avenues we can take to bring the right attention to this great profession and what it takes to be a nurse.