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TVBIZWIRE
Mar 31, 2015
9:31 am
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$10.4 Billion Cable Consolidation Deal Announced by Charter (NY Times)

In a deal that has been in the works for some time, as we reported earlier this month, Charter Communications announced today that it has agreed to acquire Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion, The New York Times reports. The acquisition is one of a number of current deals that are changing the cable landscape.

The deal comes as Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable awaits approval, with the Charter-Bright House merger dependent on that deal going through. If Comcast-TWC gets the go-ahead, Charter will acquire some of the assets Comcast will shed.

“If Charter is not able to acquire the disposed assets from Comcast, it will not go ahead with this deal,” The Times notes.

The report notes that Bright House, which has about 2 million subscribers in Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and California, is the country’s sixth-largest cable operator. Charter is No. 4, behind Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications.

“The structure of the deal will have Charter own 73.7 percent of a new company and Advance/Newhouse, the parent company of Bright House, own 26.3 percent,” The Times reports. “Charter will pay Advance/Newhouse a mix of $5.9 billion worth of common stock, $2.5 billion worth convertible preferred shares that pay a 6 percent coupon and $2 billion in cash.”

charter communications-logo

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 31, 2015
9:17 am
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How Long Do Viewers Stick With Over-the-Top Video? The Answer Will Surprise You (MediaDailyNews)

A new survey of over-the-top video watching came up with a statistic that is likely to surprise many readers. Writing on MediaPost’s MediaDailyNews, Wayne Friedman reports: “Around 75% of OTT users quit a video experience after more than four minutes, according to new study by video optimization company Conviva.”

In other words, only one viewer in four makes it past the 4-minute mark, Friedman reports, citing poor video streaming quality and signal interruptions among the reasons.

“The research says after having a poor video experience, 49% close the video and try again; 29% close the video and try a different Web site/media platform; 11% stop watching video altogether; and 10% look for new content on the same app/site,” Friedman notes.

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TVBIZWIRE
Mar 31, 2015
9:09 am
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‘The Tides They Are A-Changing’: High-Powered Kickoff for New Streaming Service (LA Times)

A new streaming service received an A-list launch, with some of the top names in popular music on hand to help get Jay Z’s new music service Tidal on track.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the lineup for Monday’s splashy rollout event included Madonna, Kanye West, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Jack White, Jason Aldean, Beyonce, Alicia Keys and many other top artists, along with the project’s mastermind, Jay Z. Tidal is seen as a rival to the music service Spotify.

“Describing itself as ‘the first music streaming service that combines the best high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and expertly curated editorial,’ the service will reportedly include two tiers of pricing and access,” the Times reports. “A basic service at $9.99 monthly will offer current industry-standard streaming fidelity with high-definition music videos. A second tier at $19.99 monthly will offer lossless, CD-quality streaming, HD videos and access to the service’s original editorial products.”

The Times notes that Jay Z sent out a message Sunday night saying: “The Tides They Are A-Changing,” invoking another artist who had an impact on the music landscape, Bob Dylan.

tidal logo

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 31, 2015
9:01 am
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NBC and Google Join Forces on Innovative Mapping Project — Companion Website to Net’s Upcoming Spy Series Is Up and Running (TVWeek)

NBC Entertainment and Google have rolled out a new website as a companion to NBC’s upcoming drama series “American Odyssey.”

The site, exploreamericanodyssey.com, is powered by Google Maps and zeroes in on key sites that are a part of the spy drama. The show premieres Sunday, April 5, on the network, with the website now up and running.

Please click here for details on the drama series and the companion site.

Here’s a teaser for the show:

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 31, 2015
8:47 am
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Cable Net Looks to Extend Impressive Trajectory After Notching Double-Digit Growth Across All Key Demos; Five New Programs on the Way (TVWeek)

A cable net that launched a year and a half ago has maintained an impressive growth trajectory — and the network has just rolled out plans for a lineup of new programs aimed at maintaining that momentum.

The male-focused Esquire Network, which launched in September 2013, announced that it “remains on a growth trajectory that continues to surpass its onset goals: It has built a men’s television channel from the ground up; converted a women’s network to a men’s network; and attracted a highly coveted audience of upscale, affluent, and educated men.”

Esquire says it’s the second-fastest-growing entertainment cable network and the No. 2 cable net among affluent and educated men 18-49.

“Esquire continues to experience remarkable development, achieving double-digit increases across all key demographics in 4Q14 vs. 4Q13,” the network notes.

To keep up its momentum, Esquire has taken the wraps off of five new shows: “Comedians of L.A.” (working title), “Going Deep with David Rees,” “SOMM” (working title), “The Agent” and “United States of Burgers.”

Please click here for the rest of the numbers and details on all of the new programming.

esquire-network-logo

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 31, 2015
8:31 am
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Lifetime to Unveil Miniseries on ‘World’s Most Famous Sex Symbol’ (TVWeek)

Lifetime is touting the subject of its new miniseries — and most viewers would probably agree — as “the world’s most famous sex symbol.” The subject of the two-part biopic, set to roll out May 30-31, is Marilyn Monroe.

“The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe,” with Kelli Garner tackling the lead role, is based on J. Randy Taraborrelli’s bestseller of the same name. Also in the cast are Susan Sarandon, Emily Watson and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. An interesting bit of casting has Sarandon’s daughter Eva Amurri Martino playing a younger version of Sarandon’s character, Monroe’s mother.

Please click here for details from Lifetime.

taraborrelli-secret life of marilyn monroe-book

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 31, 2015
8:17 am
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With ‘Serial Thriller,’ Another Cable Net Ventures Into Scripted Originals (Variety)

Another cable channel is getting in on the move to scripted originals, with the announcement of “Serial Thriller” as the first narrative miniseries for Investigation Discovery.

“The three-part series about a community terrorized by a serial killer is set to bow this summer and will be distributed internationally as a theatrical release,” Variety reports. “The project hails from the U.K.’s October Films and writer-director Jamie Crawford.”

ID took the wraps off the project today in New York at the Discovery Communications upfront.

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TVBIZWIRE
Mar 31, 2015
8:01 am
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Youngest-Skewing Women’s Network in Prime Time Ramps Up Originals, Adds Eight New Series (TVWeek)

A cable network with a strong following among young female demos is stepping up its commitment to original series. Oxygen Media announced eight new series targeting millennial women.

The channel, which touts its position as the youngest-skewing women’s network in prime time, says the new lineup increases its original programming by 25%.

The new programs include “Douglas Family Gold,” “The Hustle,” “Pretty. Strong.,” “Player Gets Played,” “Boss Nails” and the third installment of the successful “Preachers of …” franchise, “Preachers of Atlanta.” Oxygen also landed exclusive cable distribution rights to the half-hour syndicated daily comedic show “Crazy Talk,” from NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution, which is set to premiere in fall.

Additionally, Oxygen and Esquire Network are joining forces on an unusual set of companion series, Oxygen’s “Living With Funny” and Esquire’s “Comedians of L.A.”

Please click here for the rest of the lineup and details on all of the new shows.

oxygen-logo-very real

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 31, 2015
12:39 am
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NBC Announces that ‘The Wiz’ Will Be the Next Live Musical on the Network, Following ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘Peter Pan.’ This Time the Award-Winning Cirque du Soleil Will Co-Produce. (EW)

“The Wiz” is coming to NBC on Dec. 3rd, as the network’s next live musical

According to Entertainment Weekly, “NBC previously revealed that two titles were under consideration: ‘The Wiz’ and the 1957 hit ‘The Music Man.’ But especially after the extraordinary performance of Fox’s hip-hop-themed drama ‘Empire’ this season, ‘The Wiz,’ began to look like the obvious choice.” “The Wiz” is generally performed with a cast that is all African-American.

EW continues, “Unlike the previous productions, this time the network will partner with Cirque du Soleil, which will co-produce the event and then present it as a Broadway revival for the 2016-17 season. Once again, Craig Zaden and Neil Meron will executive produce the show. Director Kenny Leon will stage both the television production and Broadway revival of ‘The Wiz’ in collaboration with Tony winner Harvey Fierstein, who will contribute new material to the original Broadway book by William F. Brown.”

the Wiz

 

Casting has yet to begin.

To learn more details, please click on the link, above, which will take you to the original EXW story.

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 31, 2015
12:02 am
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