Breaking Dead Theory: Brilliant move, AMC
I heard an interesting rumor this week. Heard it in a text from my college-age son. The show “Breaking Bad” is actually a prequel to the “Walking Dead.” Now my son only texts me once or twice a week, and it’s usually for more money or food. But this was big news and AMC had confirmed it. Unbeknownst to me, the rumor has been around for awhile, but AMC threw the gossip into high gear with an Easter Egg in a recent episode of “Fear the Walking Dead.” The Heisenberg song from Breaking Bad was played in the episode. Here’s the thing – AMC has done a brilliant job in leveraging content to magnify offline hype and increase engagement with a series that could have easily gone stale. In fact, “Walking Dead” ratings have been down. It’s a very sticky social share tactic. Real life conversations around a drama within a drama. It’s an enigma wrapped in a mystery. And loads of fun.
Picture In Picture Ads
This week I saw the new picture-in-picture ad unit in Sunday’s Patriots game on CBS. The unit was announced this spring on other networks, and I’m sure the NFL was eager to support it, with an initiative to have fewer breaks in the action. The brand’s advertisement ran adjacent to live sideline video of the Patriot’s quarterback on the bench. Reddit readers are torn whether it’s a good thing – less break in the action. Or a bad thing – more potential to disrupt the action. From a marketer’s point of view, i thought it was an impressive ad unit. It appeared as a commercial island and the action on the left, kept me engaged with the pod. That said, it would be interesting to see what the ad recall is like. And whether video of Tom Brady keeps more viewers than other live action video.
Speaking of Sports on TV…
Sports and news have become must-buy content on spot TV plans, primarily because of their time shifting unlikelihood. Thus, networks are heavily invested in purchasing the rights to sports. But we are about to reach a tipping point where the cost of carriage rights is more expensive than the ad revenue generated. Even with the potential to monetize content extensions, on digital and social, that model is unsustainable. The NBA may be the worst example – broadcast fees are $2.6 billion while ad revenue is $1.3 billion. Some might call it a bubble and it will be interesting to see the solution. I can’t help but wonder if sports fans won’t find themselves encountering subscription + advertising commitment to watch their favorite games.
Emmys Reflect TV Evolution
The Emmys aired this week, proving the show, itself, is a microcosm of TV’s evolution. No amount of hyperbole from Sean Spicer could hide the fact that ratings were only slightly better than last year’s record low. Most of the winners came from non-traditional network programming. (Read: Programming that almost invariably is time shifted.) Even NBC’s breakout hit “This Is Us” only won 2 Emmys, had one category disqualified and the speech of its best-actor winner cut off. “A Handmaid’s Tale” was the first streaming show (it’s on Hulu) to win the best drama Emmy. Read here the best and worst moments of this year’s Emmys. Oh, and perhaps not coincidentally this week, video streaming pioneer,
Rolling Stone Magazine for Sale
Rolling Stone Magazine, over 50 years old, is for sale. Its print and online publications reach 60 million people a month. The magazine, owned by the Wenner family, had a 49% interest sold last year to BandLab Technologies, a social music company. In March, the Wenner family also sold US Weekly to American Media. Read more in Variety (not currently for sale) here.
Cool Ads of the Week