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Fox Execs Introduce ‘New Fox’ and JAZ Pods to Buyers at Upfront

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Fox Broadcasting doesn’t know whether it will still be a part of 21st Century Fox by this time next year—if the Disney-Fox deal closes, it will be spun off into a company called New Fox—but the network shared its plans for its own future with buyers at today’s upfront presentation.

“We want to welcome you to New Fox,” Fox Television Group CEO and chairman Dana Walden told attendees at New York’s Beacon Theater. Her fellow CEO and chairman, Gary Newman, added, “We have an opportunity to chart a new course for broadcast television.”

That pivot began with two big pickups for this fall: Thursday Night Football, which Fox landed for the next five years, and Last Man Standing, which the network picked up one year after ABC canceled it.

The four pillars of New Fox, according to Newman: “Broadly appealing dramas and comedies, star-driven unscripted and live events, prime time’s only animation block and the biggest broadcast portfolio in sports.”

Another “essential feature” of the network, Newman added, will be its exclusive focus on U.S. audiences. Walden explained, “As other networks are focused on monetizing ownerships of their shows, they need to program with an eye to the international market.”

This evolution is a “game-changer” for Fox, said Walden, who along with Newman made these bold predictions for the fall: The network’s 18-49 demo rating will increase by “double digits,” Fox will have “its highest audience circulation in years” and its live viewing will also grow. The network will have “82 percent real-time consumption of our content this fall, more than any of our competitors.”

That’s a surprising mantra for a network that years ago stopped reporting live-plus-same-day ratings, explaining that they were no longer an accurate representation of viewing patterns.

“Our audience next season will be bigger and broader,” said Newman, who at one point made himself dizzy with all the spinning he was doing onstage. He touted the network’s “93 percent positive social sentiment,” before admitting, “that’s so New Fox, I don’t even know what it means.”

Joe Marchese, Fox Networks Group’s president of advertising revenue, kicked off the presentation with his sales pitch, promising to bring advertisers “closer to the drama, closer to the laughter, closer to the competition” with new innovations like JAZ pods, which his company had begun to discuss with buyers this spring.

The JAZ pods—“Just the A and Z positions,” said Marchese—are ad breaks of two 30-second spots each. That will be the only way to buy linear advertising on FX’s new series with The New York Times, called The Weekly, which Marchese said will reduce the total number of ads by “more than 60 percent.”

“These will be among the most powerful ads in television,” said Marchese, who will offer them on National Geographic, Fox Sports and Fox on “some entire Sunday nights.” (That is a slight change from the company’s previous plans regarding JAZ pods.)

Marchese also took a swipe at competitors like A&E, which will be offering performance-based guarantees this upfront. “I’ve never understood how anyone can promise you sales outcomes, and then also work with your competitors,” said Marchese. “What we can promise is the greatest opportunity and environment to engage an audience.”

The event’s pacing felt sluggish, thanks to multiple presenters who tried to stay onstage as long as possible, including Jamie Foxx (who kept trying to liven up the crowd by having the DJ play music he thought they might be interested in), the Fox Sports crew (which at one point spent a considerable amount of time discussing the eagle that Terry Bradshaw had purchased in New York that day), and The Four’s Diddy, DJ Khaled and Fergie (whom Dana Walden almost had to drag off stage at the end of their segment).

9-1-1 co-creator Ryan Murphy made a surprise appearance onstage alongside stars Angela Basset and Peter Krause to announce that Jennifer Love Hewitt would be joining the cast next season. She’ll in essence be replacing Connie Britton, who had only signed on for one season.

In honor of The Simpsons’ upcoming 30th season, Fox played an amusing video in which Homer Simpson made more predictions about the future, given the show’s eerily accurate track record in calling Donald Trump’s presidency and the Disney-Fox merger. Among the best lines: “Due to declining ratings, ABC will launch a new show called 0.8 Is Enough,” and “Apple and Crackle will partner for a new network called, Crapple.”

Tim Allen talked up Fox’s revival of his sitcom Last Man Standing, which ABC canceled last year. “There are certain things in life you know have reached their end … but last year, Last Man Standing wasn’t one of those things,” Allen said. “The fans of Last Man Standing wouldn’t leave this alone.”

Allen then proceeded to set the bar pretty high when it comes to the show’s ratings this fall on Fox, telling buyers, “We can bring literally 8 million of the most passionate and appreciative fans to a big new network, and a big, new Friday night.”

During the lengthy portion of the upfront devoted to Fox Sports (which is the company’s cash cow, especially in the fall), Joe Buck made another big ratings promise: “We guarantee that America’s Game of the Week [Fox’s Sunday NFL package] will continue to be the No. 1 show on television for the 10th straight year.”

Buck also had a lot to say about the addition of Thursday Night Football to the network. “For the first time in its history, we are putting can’t miss match-ups on Thursday night,” he said.

Walden and Newman, who unveiled Fox’s 2018-19 schedule this morning, shared trailers for Fox’s new shows, including The Cool Kids, which Newman called “the Golden Girls, reimagined by Charlie Day,” the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star who executive produces the show.

There’s also new comedy Rel, starring and inspired by the life of Lil Rel Howery, who will play multiple characters in the show.

Midseason dramas include Proven Innocent, which Walden said is not just a legal drama but also a “big, juicy soap opera.”

The Passage is “definitely our most epic” series, said Walden, adding that it features “one of the most incredible performances by a young actor than I have ever seen.”

Next year, Fox and National Geographic will air another season of Cosmos, subtitled Possible Worlds.

There was also one unintentional reference during the presentation to Walden’s uncertain future, as the exec could stick with Fox Broadcasting at New Fox, follow 20th Century Fox Television to Disney, or leave for a different job if and when the Disney deal closes. Walden joked at one point, “I think we’ve established today that executives cannot dance,” which prompted Diddy to reply, “Next upfront, you’ll be dancing.” That left several in the audience wondering which upfront Walden might be at next year.

Another judge from The Four, Meghan Trainor, closed out the event with a performance of  her new single, “No Excuses.”

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Author: Jason Lynch

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Top Starbucks Exec Joins JPMorgan Chase as Chief Brand Officer

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Leanne Fremar, the senior vice president and executive creative director at Starbucks, is joining the financial firm JPMorgan Chase as chief brand officer, the company announced Thursday.

Fremar will lead brand strategy for JPMorgan Chase and the firm’s subsidiaries, Chase and J.P. Morgan. She will lead global brand initiatives and creative campaigns across the brands.

“This is an extraordinary brand, an extraordinary team and an extraordinary leadership team, and it’s an honor to be joining,” Fremar told Adweek.

Fremar will report to Kristin Lemkau, JPMorgan Chase’s chief marketing officer, and she will work with business marketers companywide on various campaigns and brand initiatives.

“It’s a big job, and we really needed somebody who was special,” Lemkau told Adweek. “It’s hard to find someone who is a true creative and somebody who deeply understands creative and who is also a deeply commercial thinker; because the work we create should be beautiful, but it should also drive real business outcomes.”

Fremar will be the first chief brand officer at the company responsible for JPMorgan Chase and the two subsidiary brands. Previous brand officers oversaw individual brands at the firm.

Part of Fremar’s role will be to manage JPMorgan Chase’s internal agency, Inner Circle, and relationships with outside agencies. Inner Circle, which JPMorgan Chase created in 2015, has saved the company $20 million in marketing costs, Lemkau said, and the firm plans to use it even more. The goal of bringing more creative in-house was a major reason Fremar, who headed Starbucks’ in-house creative studio, was the right fit, Lemkau said.

Fremar’s first day at JPMorgan Chase is Sept. 24.

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Author: Kelsey Sutton

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Why This Beverage Brand Is Opening a Cashierless Store in New York

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No cash? No problem.

As cashierless technology ramps up with Amazon soon bringing its third Amazon Go store to New York, more companies are testing the waters. The newest one: Dirty Lemon, a beverage brand that only sells its products via text, is opening up what it calls its “Drug Store” in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood.

Unlike Amazon Go, where customers need to use an Amazon Go app to enter the store, anyone can walk into the store, pick up a beverage, and walk right out. Customers then text Dirty Lemon which beverage they grabbed and in five minutes, a 24-hour customer representative charges their credit card (new customers are prompted to open up an account). A few safety precautions include cameras monitoring the space, a heat map tracker to see how many people are visiting the store and a RFID tracker to see what products are taken out of the refrigerator (which holds 1,000 bottles).

“We think this is a really great controlled way of ultimately providing a really valuable experience to our customers,” said Zak Normandin, founder and CEO, DirtyLemon. “It’s a relatively low risk for us to be able to do something innovative and unique for the brand and with our customers.”

To bring people into this new space, Dirty Lemon is reaching out to its 25,000-member customer database, inviting them in and offering up the first bottle for free. The company’s VIP members—customers who order a Dirty Lemon case at least once a month—will get an extra perk: a 1,300 square foot cocktail bar, where the brand plans on hosting events and screenings and use the area as a lab to try new flavors, according to Normandin. (The company’s previous pop-up in Nolita last summer tested out two flavors, +Matcha and +Rose, that became best sellers and were eventually bottled.)

“It’s going to be a SoHo house type of programming schedule,” Normandin said. “We want this to be a place where people can come, have a drink after work, or take friends on the weekend.”

Normandin is betting on getting more out of the storefront than just sales. He thinks of the brand as more of a technology company than a beverage company, and he plans on proving that concept with the store. With Dirty Lemon’s recent acquisition of Poncho, a former weather chatbot service, Normandin said Dirty Lemon has “incorporated” all of Poncho’s technology around a conversational bot experience into its own platform. The new technology is less automated than Poncho, but it’s allowed Dirty Lemon to automatically process different types of orders, like a two cases of one flavor for one day and another flavor for another day. Before, Normandin said, it had to be done manually.

The storefront is also Dirty Lemon’s next bet to attract new customers, as the price to serve ads to a consumer continues to climb and is “too expensive” for the company to acquire a consumer at a certain price. Normandin explained that it’s not just beverage companies who are going after their customer (a millennial femal that’s “educated and has a high discretionary income”), but all types of companies.

“We believe in the power of experience and building community, and this achieves that in a big way,” Normandin said. “By creating a physical experience and community around a location, I think we’re able to build much more longevity with consumers.”

The company, which has more than 150,000 customers across the United States, plans on taking its “Drug Store” concept to three more locations in 2019: another in New York, Chicago, and Miami.

“Shifting our advertising spend from digital acquisition to these physical experiences is, we think, a much more effective way of connecting with consumers,” Normandin said.

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Author: Ann-Marie Alcántara

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Snapchat, Seeking Ad Revenue, Launches Partnerships With 25 Media Companies

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Today Snapchat parent company Snap, Inc. announced new partnerships with 25 media companies to create daily content for its Our Stories product.

These partners, which range from traditional media outlets and longtime Snap partners like CNN and NBC to digital publishers like Refinery29 and LADbible, influencer platform Whalar and sports media upstart Wave, will release daily editorial units that mix their own original material with user-generated content drawn from Snapchat’s millions of active users around the world.

Perhaps most importantly, these new content streams will provide Snapchat with another opportunity to serve programmatic ads to those users. Each media partner will also take an undisclosed portion of the resulting revenue.

“If publishers use content submitted by Snap users from all over the world to create stories, the byproduct will be better viewership and engagement.”
—Brian Verne, CEO, Wave

It’s going to be a different experience than the traditional kind of publisher experience that exists on Snapchat today,” said Brian Verne, CEO of Wave, which currently claims to be the fourth-largest sports publisher by total audience. “Their Our Stories portal will be opened up to exclusive publishing partners, one of which is us. If publishers use content submitted by Snap users from all over the world to create stories, the byproduct will be better viewership and engagement. As a value proposition for advertisers, that would seemingly be a more premium product. That’s why we were so excited.”

The idea is to make it easier for these publishers to monetize the content they curate for Snapchat while giving them more creative freedom on the platform.

“It’s a revenue agreement between publishers and Snap, but they are handling all the inventory,” said Allison Bodack, manager of communications for ad sales, data strategy and analytics at CNN parent company Turner. “There will be ads inserted into the stories.”

Bodack noted that these stories will have no universal format or length, predicting that they will change day-to-day.

“When this proposition came forward, a few things made it a natural fit. I have a social discovery team whose job is to identify and curate UGC content,” she continued. The new arrangement includes a dashboard tool enabling them to more easily facilitate these narratives.

“I still think it’s a platform that a younger audience is actively using and engaged on. It also doesn’t hurt that there are ad units available.”
—Allison Bodack, manager of communications for ad sales, data strategy and analytics, Turner

A party with direct knowledge of the new arrangement also said that, for the first time, Snap’s media partners will have access to the Our Stories API portal that had been exclusively available to the company’s own in-house team. In other words, CNN and others can stitch together the material created by journalists around the world who are already active on Snapchat with publicly submitted UGC content from the estimated 3 billion snaps created every day while adding custom graphics, text or other elements.

Additionally, each piece of content will have a unique, shareable URL via the Stories Everywhere feature so the partners can simultaneously publish on other platforms.

The news comes amid reports that Snapchat is losing users to Instagram, which essentially copied its primary feature for Instagram Stories just over two years ago. (Unlike Snapchat, Instagram does not have a built-in platform for publishers to monetize their content.)

Shares also fell on the news that chief strategy officer Imran Khan would be leaving the company, yet CNN and Wave both remain bullish on Snap.

“As an emerging media brand, you need to be everywhere,” said Verne, who told Adweek that his company shares Snap’s conviction that the future of media is a “decentralized model” that’s more reliant on content created by its own audience. “I think the results speak for themselves in terms of viewership.”

Bodack said, “I still think it’s a platform that a younger audience is actively using and engaged on. So how we contribute and distribute [our] exceptional journalism and narratives is still valuable.”

“It also doesn’t hurt that there are ad units available,” she added.

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Author: Patrick Coffee

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