Morning Fix: Reality gold rush! Broadcast networks get delayed viewing dollars.

“Pawn Stars”
ITV acquired a majority stake in Leftfield Entertainment, maker of “Pawn Stars.”
(History Channel)

After the coffee. Before making my NBA championship pick.

The Skinny: If I’m having dreams about net neutrality it may be time for a vacation or more therapy. I made the mistake of rewatching John Oliver’s blistering and hilarious takedown of cable companies and net neutrality just before going to bed last night. Today’s roundup includes a look at what’s driving all the consolidation in the unscripted production arena. Also, broadcast networks get a big win from an advertising agency that agrees to pay for delayed viewing.

Daily Dose:  Cable network WE TV, an also-ran in trying to woo women viewers (its primary audience), is now going to try to go after men with new programming and marketing. And to show just how cool the name WE is, the network said it will “call out ‘WE’ in key words and phrases such as aWEsome, poWErful and tWEet.” How about “WEak?”

Gold rush. The race is on among American and foreign media giants including Warner Bros., ITV, Fremantle and Discovery to snatch up small production houses that specialize in unscripted programming. Once one of the last sectors in which independent producers could plant a flag, it is quickly becoming as consolidated as the rest of the television industry. Several factors are driving the land grab. Most of these production companies kick off a lot of cash because unscripted shows are relatively cheap to make. The shows also travel well abroad. However some feel the prices that some of these companies are getting are a little out of whack. More on the consolidation among reality producers from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.


Pay for the delay. In what could be a landmark deal, Variety and Advertising Age are reporting that a major advertising agency has agreed to pay broadcast networks for viewers who watch shows a week after their original air date. In industry parlance this is known as C7 and is an upgrade from the current three-day window of viewing that most advertisers pay for today. Broadcast networks are pushing for C7 because as more people use DVRs, more viewing is being delayed. Like fish though, some ads go bad after three days, especially for movie studios promoting big openings.

No guarantees. Life has no guarantees, so why should ratings for commercials? Oh yeah, because someone is paying a lot of money for those ads. But CNBC is saying it will no longer offer traditional ad guarantees for its daytime viewing, according to AdWeek. The reason is that CNBC doesn’t think Nielsen properly measures its viewing audience, which during the day is primarily people at work. This is not a new complaint by CNBC and it is not without some validity. Still, it’s a gutsy move, and we’ll see how CNBC’s advertisers feel and whether rivals Fox Business and Bloomberg try to use it to their advantage.

Drone home. The Federal Aviation Administration is weighing whether to let studios use drones for shooting movies and TV shows. Drones for commercial use have been a no-no in the United States but the FAA may loosen those regulations. The MPAA has been pushing for a relaxation. More on from the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

SEC Network fumble? I missed this story from a few days ago (it happens, people) from USA Today on the challenges ESPN is facing getting its new SEC Network distributed. Comcast and DirecTV, the nation’s two biggest pay-TV providers, still haven’t cut a deal to carry the college sports channel devoted to the Southeastern Conference. As usual, the issue is price and whether every subscriber should have to pay for a channel that will have limited appeal.


Not toying around. “Amazing Spider-Man 2" and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” may have been hits at the box office but the toys launched in conjunction with the movies aren’t exactly leaping off the shelf, reports the New York Post. “Every kid already has Spider-Man and Captain America," BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson told the paper. 

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Jane Fonda looks back at her career as the American Film Institute prepares to honor her.

Follow me on Twitter. It beats June gloom. @JBFlint.

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