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Amazon Day at TCA
Amazon Studios delivered a memorable presentation yesterday for a number of reasons – not all of them good – at the Summer 2015 Television Critics Association tour. On the upside: It offered five lively panels for compelling new and returning programs the likes of which prove just how far Amazon has come in the streaming content arena in a relatively short time. Collectively, its shows were perhaps the most interesting seen at this tour so far and will probably retain that distinction by the time it ends later next week. On the downside: When they spoke, Amazon Prime’s top executives seemed strangely unrehearsed for actual questions about some of their shows. Worse, Amazon started its presentation a full half hour later than planned and continued it well beyond its arranged end time – a TCA taboo which in this case put Amazon in conflict with a special TCA event planned by 20th Century Fox Television.

Ethan Rapp of Simulmedia on Marketing Data Companies
Ethan Rapp recently joined Simulmedia as Senior Vice President of Program Management, bringing “deep experience in marketing effectiveness as well as developing insights and analysis that help define new media paradigms,” according to Mainak Mazumdar, Simulmedia’s Chief Science Officer.

Using Social Insights to Drive Brand Preference
Winning brand preference over competitors is a challenge for all marketers looking to attract and retain customers. To be successful, it is essential to find channels where customers can be engaged and build a connection with the brand.

Video of the Week: Fuse Brings Transcendent to TCA
As ever, one never really knows what’s coming next during a typical day at a Television Critics Association tour – especially during the cable portion. Case in point: The grand finale to the many presentations on Friday was a party thrown by Fuse that proved once again that a smallish network largely off the radar of most critics can break right through and be noticed at this twice-annual event. The Fuse bash topped off a day of memorable panels for such well-received offerings as BBC America’s new adventure series “The Last Kingdom” (from “Downton Abbey” producer Gareth Neame); Starz’ upcoming horror action series “Ash vs. Evil Dead” (instantly one of the most talked about new series of the tour) and dramatic limited series “Flesh and Bone” (about a young woman who joins a prestigious ballet company in New York City); the IFC comedies “Gigi Does It” (starring David Krumholtz of “Numb3rs” as a 70-year-old widow and grandmother) and “Documentary Now!” (a series created by Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers starring Armisen and Hader that will consist of parodies of well-known documentaries), and AMC’s breathlessly anticipated “Fear the Walking Dead.”

What Might Replace the Set-Top Box?
As Cisco punts legacy SA boxes to Technicolor, I thought I'd look around my home at the existing set-top boxes and the like. We've got a whole-home DirecTV set up so that's two boxes and two remotes (though a DirecTV app can replace the remotes). At the set in the living room are two more boxes with remotes: Apple TV and Amazon's Fire make it four so far. In my office is a Comcast box; that's five. And a router makes six. We've also got three TVs, a couple of laptops, a couple of iPads and a couple of iPhones … not to mention an iPod somewhere. And, oh yeah, an Amazon Echo ("Alexa, did I miss anything?" "You missed Chromecast.")

TCA Stand-Outs Large (Hallmark, Nat Geo) and Small (WGN, Up, El Rey)
One of the most interesting things about covering the cable days of the twice-yearly Television Critics Association tours is observing which networks or network groups most successfully grab the attention of the hundreds of reporters and critics attending their press conferences and which ones don't make much of an impression at all. The results can be very surprising.

The CFO/CMO Union
Will the CFO and CMO ever form a more perfect union? I recently saw a study produced by Ernst & Young and reported in the Wall Street Journal that claims collaboration between CFOs and CMOs is increasing. The survey also acknowledges that there is still a long way to go to establish a real partnership between their responsibilities, particularly as it pertains to "common practices and cultural differences." In my opinion a perfect union is unlikely but a better working relationship is not only necessary but critical to the success of a business. Let's explore.

Multi-Sensory Experiences for Brands
This week on Mindshare's Culture Vulture Live, Mark Potts explores multi-sensory opportunities for brands.

TV is from Mars and Video is from Venus
In a spring 2015 trend report Business Insider stated that video ad revenue will double in just two years and reach nearly $5 billion in 2016, up from $2.8 billion in 2013. Consumers' engagement online, over multiple devices, increases daily. As the landscape for what exactly constitutes "TV" or "video" changes rapidly, advertisers are racing to keep up.

The Macro Forces Behind Slow GDP Growth
Ever since the end of the Great Recession a few years ago, there has been much written about the lack of both economic growth and inflation. Much of this coverage mentions that the post-recession recovery is much slower than the recovery of past recessions of the late 20th century.

Early AT&T/DirecTV Merger Questions
Now that the consummation of AT&T's merger with DirecTV is done, how will this $40 billion-plus deal impact consumers from both parties and the TV world at large? Chances are you haven't heard much over that question up to now, in part because of how this deal was completed last week -- Federal Communications Commission approval mid-Friday afternoon, and AT&T putting out a press release, and only a release, of the consummation less than two hours later. That's way late for much analysis on the part of the business news channels or journalism in general.

Trevor Noah Hits TCA; Nat Geo Honors Cecil
In performance on stage Tuesday night and again in a press conference Wednesday morning, members of the Television Critics Association got to know the man they will likely honor in the years ahead with multiple TCA Awards in the category of Outstanding News Program – controversial comedian Trevor Noah (pictured at top), who will take over Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" on September 28. Noah, a smart and engaging guy who joined "The Daily Show" last year as a contributor, quickly and efficiently charmed the group, setting the stage for years of admiration and handily putting behind him lingering memories about a series of sexist and anti-Semitic jokes he tweeted a couple of years ago.

Is TV Currency Dead? Predictions from AOL Open Series
There is a lot of talk these days about the changing TV landscape, from the advancement of programmatic to the demise of dayparts, the Upfront and even our current currency. All of this made for a lively discussion at the recent AOL Open Series on Programmatic TV. The event featured a panel of media executives from across the spectrum including Dermot McCormack, President AOL Video and Studios; Jaime Power, Senior Partner at MODI Media; Dana Hayes Jr, Group Vice President of Global Partner Development for Acxiom, and Dan Aversano, Senior Vice President, Client & Consumer Insights at Turner Broadcasting. The panel was moderated by Dan Ackerman, Senior Vice President, Programmatic TV at Adap.tv.

Is the ESPN Bubble About to Burst?
It’s episode 24 of Media Unplugged with branding authority Tom Asacker and media strategist Mark Ramsey.

At Summer TCA 2015, Netflix is Everything
Is Netflix everything? It certainly seemed that way yesterday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel during the historic opening day of the 2015 Summer Television Critics Tour. In a quantum leap of participation, and perhaps as a reflection of its current position in the home entertainment marketplace, Netflix impressively filled an entire day with panels for current and upcoming programs, along with a session with Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos (pictured at top). And just like that, the scrappy streamer joined the ranks of CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and FX – the only programmers who consistently present full days of panels during TCA tours, at least those in the summer.

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