Broadcast networks facing talent shortage

Long accustomed to being the first stop for writers and producers shopping new scripts and series, the Big Four broadcast networks now find themselves fighting for top talent’s attention with Netflix, HBO and other outlets.

DreamWorks doubles down on the web

Last month DWA paid $33 million to acquire AwesomenessTV, not because the tweener-focused YouTube channel has good distribution on cable (it has none) but because its creating content that is finding an audience online.

Showdown on the second screen

Viewers increasingly chat in real time about what they’re watching using second-screen devices and social-TV apps. So naturally those second screens are becoming contested ground as more marketers plant their flags.

Today in Connected Consumer

The venerable studio names we know today — Universal, Paramount, 20th Century Fox — began life in the early decades of the 20th Century not as studios but as theater chains. Those chains later created distribution operations to ensure an adequate supply of product for their screens. When that wasn’t enough, they got into producing movies themselves and relocated from East Coast to West. It was only after the Justice Department forced the companies to spin-off their theater chains in a series of antitrust actions that they became the studios we know today. The TV networks followed a similar trajectory, evolving from broadcasters to distributors and, eventually, to producing their own shows after the government did away with the rules barring them from owning their own show. Today, online video providers seem to be following that well-trod path. Netflix began licensing original shows last year, and now Amazon is getting into the game. YouTube last year committed $100 million to support new, original “channels” of web-original programming, and yesterday committed $200 million more to promoting them. Just like Hollywood.

Today in Connected Consumer

TV producers and distributors aren’t the only ones struggling to cope with technology-driven changes to their business models. Traditionally slow-footed TV set-makers are also straining to manage the introduction of three major new technological upheavals simultaneously: 3D, Internet connectivity and LED backlighting. Unfortunately, the two sides of the business aren’t always on the same page. As set-makers race to bring streaming video into the living room, the networks are still trying to keep it out.

Networks & Their Fear & Loathing of Hulu

Hulu, the online video joint venture of NBC, Fox and Disney that’s funded by Providence Equity Partners, seems to be having familial issues. No, it’s not YouTube or TV Everywhere giving the second-most popular online video service in the U.S. headaches. Instead, internal bickering is causing problems, MediaWeek reports. This is not the first time Hulu’s parents have undermined the service. But it comes as a surprise — traditional media companies have a long history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Continue reading on NewTeeVee.

Vid-Biz: NetfliXbox, Wildfires, Hulu

NetfliXbox Went Down Last Night; (another) technical snafu for the streaming service, company offers a 3 percent credit to the next billing statement. (emailed apology)
California Fire Videos on YouTube; scenes from the blaze can be found in the site’s CitizenTube section. (YouTube) The FCC says it will help TV and radio stations whose transmission towers are “compromised” by the wildfires. (Broadcasting & Cable)

Can Hulu Keep Those High CPMs? Premium ad placements face increased competition from other cheaper online video outlets. (BusinessWeek)
What Are the TV Networks’ Web Video Plans for Fall? Not much, evidently, unless you like behind-the-scenes and weekly recap shows. (Daisy Whitney)
U.S. Ad Spending Fell 15.4 Percent During the First Half of the Year; Nielsen reports that network TV was off 7 percent compared with the same time last year, though cable TV was up 2.5 percent. (emailed release)