TV Networks Play to Second Screen

AMC Networks has been shooting material for its crime drama The Killing but it will not be seen on TV. The material is for second-screen viewers.

LAST weekend, members of the cast and crew of AMC Network’s crime drama The Killing were on location in Vancouver, British Columbia, shooting material for Sunday’s season premiere. What they produced won’t be shown on television, though. It is meant for smartphones, tablets and laptops.

The video vignettes are for an online application AMC channel is launching this weekend to promote The Killing, one of a number of increasingly ambitious such efforts being produced by TV networks.

Designed to be watched on mobile devices and computers, the services show videos, photos, games, trivia and other content when the affiliated TV show is on the air.

TV networks are trying to take advantage of viewers who are increasingly multitasking as they watch shows. More than 40 per cent of Americans have smartphones or tablets in their hands each day as they watch TV, according to Nielsen.

By offering so-called second-screen content synchronised with the broadcast, the networks hope they can persuade viewers to watch programming live, instead of on a digital video recorder several days after their initial broadcasts are recorded.

When viewers watch on DVRs, they often skip over ads. In addition, networks want to attract more digital ad dollars.

In the case of The Killing, which starts its third season this weekend, the video shot last weekend is intended to give digital viewers background on a new character, a runaway teen named Bullet, and insight into the world of young homeless kids. It will be portrayed as footage from Bullet’s smartphone.

“You’re picking up a flavor of these street kids’ life,” said Mac McKean, senior vicepresident of digital media for AMC.

The idea is not t to add any new plot elements. “There’s only one story – we are complementing it,” Mr McKean said.

The video, one of nine the channel produced for this season, is part of a content stream that will pop up periodically on digital viewers’ screens during the telecast.

AMC also offers second-screen content for two of its other original shows, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.

The channel isn’t alone. Comcast Corp’s USA Network offers synchronised digital content for all of its original shows – available via the Web and apps – and production is getting more intricate.

The second-screen content for Graceland, a series launching next week that revolves around law-enforcement agents sharing a house, includes a virtual rendering of the house with which users can interact. Doors unlock as the show progresses, revealing information about characters.

Viacom’s MTV used its second-screen app to introduce viewers to new characters on Teen Wolf, showing short interviews with actors during telecasts.

Sports TV networks are jumping in, too: Viewers watching NFL Network’s coverage of the National Football League draft last month could use a mobile app to see a range of content during the telecast, including video interviews with players selected in the first round and analysis from experts.

“They were producing it just like a television show, except that it was only going to smartphones and tablets,” said Manish Jha, general manager of mobile at the NFL.

The audience for such services is still small. Just 15 per cent of people who use TV networks’ websites or apps watch digital content synchronised to live TV, translating into just 3 per cent of the overall TV audience aged 13 to 54, according to marketresearch firm GfK.

Users more commonly watch on-demand video clips and look up schedule information. “The networks really have to do a better job of educating users on when and how to use it,” said David Tice, senior vice-president of media and entertainment for GfK.

One risk is that by providing so much content on tablets and smartphones, viewers can get distracted from the show or, even worse, the ads.

AMC’s Mr McKean says the video vignettes for The Killing will be shown during down time, like commercials or credits, and users will have to choose to play them.

AMC says the videos are short and that overall the synchronised content keeps viewers from changing channels during the commercial breaks.

News Corp’s Fox says its approach differs depending on the genre. For comedies like The Mindy Project, it serves up more frequent second-screen content – such as video clips of funny moments – than for action-packed dramas such as Bones, where producers don’t want viewers to miss any key developments.

“We’re very careful about how we program it,” said David Wertheimer, president of digital at Fox Broadcasting. “During the broadcast we want to add value to your experience, not detract.”

News Corp also owns The Wall Street Journal and The Australian.

AMC’s Mr McKean said the network worked closely with writers and producers of The Killing to find opportunities in the script for second-screen material. In addition to the video vignette, other digital content that will be made available during the premiere includes a coroner’s report for the murder victim, a crime-scene photo that only gets briefly displayed on TV and a middle-school report card for Bullet.

Mr McKean said the number of second-screen users for AMC’s other shows has been into the six figures per episode and more than one million over the course of a season. “It’s a new medium,” he said. “We want to see strong growth.”

AMOL SHARMA – The Wall Street Journal – June 03, 2013

Cannes: ‘Iron Sky’ Sequel in the Works

The Finnish filmmakers will again target crowdfunding sources for their new Nazi

on the Moon movie.

The Finnish filmmakers behind Iron Sky are planning a sequel to the Nazis on the

Moon film: Iron Sky The Coming Race. Similar to the first film, the producers will

use crowd funding to kick off financing Iron Sky 2, launching the project on

Indiegogo.

For the pitch to prospective investors, Iron Sky director Timo Vuorensola has made a

spoof hostage video in which, sitting in front of a North Korean flag and flanked by

two women armed with machine guns, apologizes for making the original film.

Producer Tero Kaukomaa hopes to raise $150,000 for Iron Sky 2 via crowd funding,

or a tenth of the film’s planned $15 million budget, with the remainder coming from

soft money, presales and other independent sources.

On the indiegogo site, the producers say they are working on a script and expect to

deliver the first draft by the end of the year and to shoot a promo for the movie to be

ready for Cannes next year. Principle photography on Iron Sky The Coming Race is

planned for 2015.

The original Iron Sky feature, which raised more than $1 million via crowdfunding,

sold well internationally but was a weak box office performer. Despite strong bows in

Germany and Finland, the $10 million film grossed just over $8 million theatrically

including a paltry $122,000 domestic take for U.S. distributor eONe, according to

figures on boxofficemojo.com.

15 May /2013 – The Hollywood Reporter

Porn studies is the new discipline for academics

concept of cybersex or internet sex, with message on computer keyboard.

Porn to order … pornography is now readily available, thanks to the internet. Photograph: Alamy

Porn Studies needs your contributions. The Routledge academic periodical will debut next spring, and a call for papers appeared this week soliciting submissions for “the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic”. Two dons, Feona Attwood and Clarissa Smith, are the editors.

The timing suggests the EL James phenomenon may have provided the impetus for the launch by making erotica ubiquitous; but literary porn is only one of the interests of the top-shelf journal, which is open to offerings from sociologists, criminologists, technologists and experts in cultural, media and gender studies.

In acknowledging that “pornography studies are still in their infancy”, the editors implicitly criticise cultural studies, which clearly should have initiated scholarly investigation of porn long ago. This failure may have reflected the sometimes furious contemporary debate within second-wave feminism, between those viewing pornography as liberating (Angela Carter’s The Sadeian Woman) and opponents (Kate Millett, Andrea Dworkin) who saw it as epitomising and reinforcing phallocratic oppression.

Forty years on, Porn Studies (bound to be shortened by students to Porn Studs) will enter a not dissimilar cultural landscape, with renewed feminist anger coinciding with porn once again often becoming headline news; this time not as a result of censorship receding, but due to the internet making it readily available.

Its editors, though, evidently won’t be inhibited by 70s ambivalence; Smith signalled their Carterian approach last week by proposing the motion “pornography is good for us” in an Intelligence Squared debate, with Germaine Greer among those opposing it. Their periodical is bound to shake up academic life from the outset, giving an automatic get-out (“I’m researching/peer-reviewing an article”) to anyone caught viewing dodgy material on their laptop; and once the dedicated journal becomes established, surely a dedicated porn department somewhere must follow?

From The Guardian:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2013/may/02/porn-studies-new-discipline-academics

How Social Networking Kills the Creative Spirit

You want to hear some hard truth? Do you promise not to get mad at me? Promise?

Okay then. Here it is. Your social networking habit? It might be hurting you.

Yes, I know it’s fun. Meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends, discussing
the price of tea in china with strangers, staffing up your mafia, finding out your
Princess personality, etcetera, etcetera. But every minute you spend on Facebook and
Twitter (I’m not even going to try and list the gajillion other social networking sites
available) is another minute you aren’t writing, or reading. Nurturing your creative
spirit.

The Muse is a delicate flower, a fickle Goddess. She must be treated with respect and
dignity. She must be nurtured, given the proper nutrients: water, sunlight, fertilizer,
a touch of love. If properly taken care of, she will reward you with great things: a
bountiful garden of words, a cornucopia of ideas. But if you neglect her, she will
forsake you.

And none of us want to be forsaken.

I read an essay last week that broke my heart. It was one writer’s honest, true
assessment of her burgeoning Twitter addiction. She openly admitted compromising
her family time so she could spend hours a night talking to strangers on Twitter. Her
online world became more important that her real one. And I get it. I see how easily
that happens. Especially when you’re a new writer, and networking is so vital to your
future success. (I am so thankful Facebook and Twitter came along after I was
already published.) A little encouragement—that tweet that gets retweeted, the blog
entry that starts people talking, that link you sent that helps someone else—it’s heady
stuff. A classic, undeniable ego stroke, and for a lot of us, that’s just plain
intoxicating. (Yes, some of us not so new writers fall into the Twitter trap too…)

But when does it become a problem?

I can’t answer that question for you. You may want to ask yourself some hard
questions though. Namely, how much time are you really spending online? Can’t
answer that offhand? Spend a week keeping a log of all your online activity. Not just
Twitter and Facebook and Goodreads and Shelfari. Track your email consumption,
your blogging, your blog reading, your Yahoo groups, your aimless surfing and your
necessary research. Be honest. Don’t cheat. Add that time up at the end of the week
and take a candid, truthful look at the results. I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how
much time the Internet takes.

Then ask yourself these questions:

Is the Internet as a whole compromising my writing time? Am I reading less because
I’m spending more time online? Why am I doing this? Am I reaching out to strangers
because I’m not feeling the same sort of support at home? Am I lonely? Blocked?
Frustrated?

Because here’s the heart of the matter. Writers? Our job is to write. And I don’t mean
pithy status updates and 140 character gems that astonish the world. I mean create. I
mean writing stories. I mean taking all that energy and time you’re spending online
playing and refocusing it into your work.

You know why it’s so easy to say that and so hard to back it up with results? Because
Twitter and Facebook are FUN! And you’re talking to other writers, so you can sort of
kind of tell yourself that this is really just research, background. You’re learning,
right? You’re connecting with your fans, with your readers, with your heros. Very,
very cool stuff.

Listen, if you get inspired by social networking, if watching successful authors launch
successful campaigns helps spur you on to greatness, fabulous. I have been greatly
inspired by some posts, links and attitudes on Twitter. I think it’s so important to try
and have a positive experience out there in the world, and I follow people who exude
positivity, who are following the path I want to follow.

But if you’re forsaking your Muse, taking the easy way out, then you have to do a bit
of self-examination and decide if it’s really worth it. I am “friends” with people who
are online every single time I open my computer and go to the sites. And I can’t help
but wonder – when are they working? When are they feeding the Muse?

An editor is going to be impressed with your finished manuscript, submitted on time.
The jury is still out on whether they’re impressed that you can Tweet effectively or
that you’ve rekindled that friendship with the cheerleader who always dissed you in
school.

The thing about social networking is a little goes a long way. I love Twitter. It’s my
number one news source. I follow interesting people, I’ve made new friends, and
more importantly, I’ve gained new readers. It’s a tremendous tool for me. But I’ve
also (hopefully) mastered the art of Twitter and Facebook. I can glance at my
Tweetdeck, see what I need to see, read what I need to read, then move along.

Facebook, on the other hand, became a problem for me last year, so I gave it up for
Lent. I spent six weeks only checking it on Tuesdays and Fridays. The first two weeks
were hell. I was missing out! Everyone was on there having fun except me.

And then it got better. At the end of the six weeks, I added things up. I wrote 60,000
words during my enforced Facebook vacation. That was enough of an indicator to me
that it was taking time away from my job, which is to write.

Now Facebook is a breeze. I’ve separated out my friends, the people I actually
interact with daily, so I can pop in one or twice a day, check on them, then keep on
trucking. I’ve set my preferences so I’m not alerted to every tic and twitch of the
people I’m friends with. I don’t take quizzes or accept hugs. Ignore All has become
my new best friend. Because really, as fun as it is to find out that I’m really the
Goddess Athena, that aspect isn’t enriching my life.

I read Steven Pressfield’s THE WAR OF ART recently and was so struck by his thesis,
that artists fight resistance every moment of every day, and the ones who are

published (or sell their work, etc.) are the ones who beat the resistance back. Twitter,
Facebook, the Internet in general, that’s resistance. (And to clarify, resistance and
procrastination aren’t one and the same. Read the book. It’s brilliant.)

For professional writers, the social networks are a necessary evil, and as such, they
must be managed, just like every other distraction in our lives. I still have my days
when I find myself aimlessly surfing Twitter and Facebook, looking at what people
are doing. Getting into conversations, playing. But I am much, much better at feeding
my Muse. I allot time in my day to look at my social networks, but I allot much more
time in my day to read. And most importantly, I have that sacred four hour stretch—
twelve to four, five days a week—that is dedicated to nothing but putting words on
paper.

There’s another phenomenon happening. The social networks are eating into our
reading time. Readers have their own resistance, their own challenges managing
their online time.

Yes, there are plenty of readers who don’t have Facebook or Twitter accounts, who
may read this and laugh. But many of us do, and if we’re being honest with ourselves,
every minute spent conversing online is another minute we aren’t reading. I can’t
help but wonder if this is what will ultimately drive the trend toward ebooks, since
one out of every three readers prefer to read electronically now. One in three, folks.
That’s a large chunk of the market.

So how do you turn it off? How do you discipline yourself, walk away from the fun?

It’s hard. But what’s more important? Writing the very best book you can possibly
write, or taking a quiz about which Goddess you are? Reading the top book on your
teetering TBR stack, or reading what other people think about said book?

For writers, you have to set your priority, and every time your fingers touch the
keyboard, that priority really should be writing. The rest will fall into place. I
hypothesize that while the Internet is taking a chunk of reading time, most readers
still read a great deal. Which means we need to keep up the machine to feed them,
right? Does this post sound like you? Are you easily distracted? Frustrated because
you can’t seem to get a grip on things? There are a bunch of great tools out there to
help you refocus your creative life. Here’s a list of the websites and blogs that I’ve
used over the past year to help me refocus mine.

Websites:

MinimalMac
43 Folders
Zen Habits
Bloggity
The Art of Non-Conformity

Books:

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

The Creative Habit – Twyla Tharp
Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life – Winifred Gallagher
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Take fifteen minutes a day off your social networking and read one of these. I
promise it will help you reprioritize your day.

Because really, what’s the point in being a writer if you don’t write?

J.T. Ellison is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels, including EDGE OF BLACK and A DEEPER DARKNESS. Her novel THE COLD ROOM won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original of 2010 and WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE was a RITA® Nominee for Best Romantic Suspense of 2012. She is also the author of multiple short stories, and her novels been published in more than twenty countries.

MIPTV: Aereo or Not, It’s All About Cable Now

The global success of cable shows from “The Walking Dead” to “Pawn Stars” is
pushing the networks to change course.

CANNES – It’ll be up to the courts — and News Corp. — to decide whether Fox will
really go off the air and become a subscription-only service, as News Corp. President
Chase Carey this week said it might if online streaming services such as Barry Diller’s
Aereo aren’t made illegal. But whatever distribution model wins out in the rapidly
shifting TV world, it’s clear that when it comes to content, cable is king.

It used to be that MIPTV, the world’s biggest television market taking place in
Cannes this week, was all about the networks. Global broadcasters swarmed the
Croisette buzzing about the new season of CBS’ Criminal Minds and The Big Bang
Theory or ABC’s Desperate Housewives. This year, the shows generating the most
heat on the Cote d’Azur are cable fare: A&E’s creepy pre-Psycho horror tale Bates
Motel, FX’s political drama Tyrant, for which Ang Lee is shooting the pilot, or
returning non-broadcast hits like AMC’s The Walking Dead and Showtime’s
Homeland. The only new network show getting similar attention is Hannibal, NBC’s
criminal procedural which has the look and feel of an AMC or HBO series.

The traditionally conservative international marketplace, it appears, is opening up to
cutting edge U.S. drama. “We are seeing the demand is there for higher-end drama
programming in a way it wasn’t before,” says John Morayniss, CEO eOne Television
Group whose productions include AMC’s Hell on Wheels, SyFy’s Haven and

DirectTV’s Rogue. “The big free-TV networks still like those big procedurals but
because there are more platforms, cable networks and digital channels in every
territory that are trying to distinguish themselves, they are all looking for something
different, for the cable-type shows, shows that would see on HBO, on Showtime, on
AMC or FX.”

Even Europe’s free-to-air channels, traditionally risk-adverse, are getting edgier.
Homeland is a hit on Germany’s Sat.1 and Channel 4 in the U.K. The Walking Dead
has sold to 120 countries and pulls in audiences not only on pay and digital networks
but on wide-reach broadcasters including Ireland’s RTE, Britain’s Channel 5 and
German commercial net RTL2.

“I think the TV story of 2013 is going to be the effect that those cable shows —
Walking Dead, Homeland, Sons of Anarchy — are going to have effect the broadcast
landscape,” says Bert Salke, president of 20th Century Fox’s cable production arm
Fox 21. “The best rated drama show in American right now is The Walking Dead, a
show that ostensibly is available to far fewer people than a CBS, NBC, Fox or ABC
show but it’s frankly killing… I live with a woman who programs a network (wife
Jennifer Nicholson Salke, entertainment president at NBC). I know she feels
compelled to keep up with that and you are going to see, I think, this is going to be a
watermark year for changes the networks are going to have to make”.

Another major shift on the international side is the rise of scripted reality. It’s no
secret that the off-network success of shows such as A&E’s Duck Dynasty, BET’s
Real Husbands of Hollywood or TLC’s Here Comes Honey Boo Boo have driven
affiliate budgets away from syndication deals with the networks towards investments
in non-fiction. “You can get five reality hits for the price of one network syndication
deal — and they’ll probably beat it in the ratings too,” commented one reality TV
producer in Cannes.

Now those same reality hits are going global. Geordie Shore, MTV Networks
Europe’s English take on the Jersey Shore, is already into its fourth season. Pawn
Stars U.K., a Brit version of History channel’s factual blockbuster set in a family-
owned pawn shop on the Welsh/English border, goes out this autumn. “You’re seeing
these cable formats being spun off as original series internationally — the format
business is becoming more cable driven and not just finished tapes,” says John
Pollak, president of independent production and distribution group Electus
International.

A sign of the times was seeing Kevin Hart, creator and star of BET’s Real Husbands
of Hollywood, at MIPTV to promote the scripted reality series to global broadcasters.
“This is the first show BET has ever had that has sold internationally. I’m in Cannes,
France selling this show. It’s ground breaking,” Hart told The Hollywood Reporter.

As the cable networks break new ground globally, the broadcasters are feeling the
world shift beneath their feet. And over the Aereo.

4/9/2013 by Scott Roxborough – THR

Mind The (converging) Gap

28 March, 2013 | By Wendy Mitchell.  Screen International UK

The creative and business elements between TV and film appear to be growing ever closer.

Who could have predicted 10 years ago, or even five, that an A-list film director such as David Fincher would be helming a drama series starring Kevin Spacey for an internet-only service? And the resulting project – House of Cards – attracting more attention than most films or traditional TV shows receive?

That’s just one sign of the changing times, in a media world where Mad MenGame of ThronesThe Sopranos and Girls are just as lauded as auteur work on the big screen. For further evidence that the snobbery about TV is being erased from the film world, the highly artistic International Film Festival Rotterdam this year included a programme of TV works; and Sundance and Berlin both screened Jane Campion’s New Zealand TV series Top of the Lake.

I was talking to Warp Films’ Mark Herbert this month about when that company moved into TV with Shane Meadows’ This is England TV show following his same-titled 2006 feature film. Herbert noted that TV in recent years has started to take up more attention in the Warp office among staffers, as well as in meetings with talent, who are happy to move between TV and film.

It’s also a financial consideration to work across both – TV projects can often be greenlit with financing from one or two companies, as opposed to the complicated patchwork of international film co-productions. And the regular income from TV can keep an indie production company buoyant when film financing can take years to piece together.

These are just a few reasons why Screen increasingly covers event-TV productions and other areas of overlap between the film and TV worlds – as content goes multi-platform, the old distinctions aren’t that important.

If you’re making quality stories that people want to see, does it matter if they were intended for the small screen or the big screen?

Those shifts in attitude are one challenge to exhibitors attending CinemaCon. They understandably want to protect the theatrical experience, and the economics of studio blockbusters necessitate they do, but nobody can afford to forget that consumers are also choosing to view on tablets, TV screens and even mobile phones.

Unit Schedule

 

 Week Activities Assessment
15 March

 

New Media, Old MediaDiscussion: Course Outline & Assessment  
212 March

 

ConvergenceDiscussion: Case studies
319 March

 

A Brief History of Networks and the InternetDiscussion: Case studies
426 March

 

Film in a Digital AgeDiscussion: Case studies Case Studies due. 26 March (20%)
  Mid Semester Break
59 April The New TelevisionDiscussion: debate
616 April

 

Copyrights & WrongsDiscussion: debate
723 April

 

Social MediaDebate Group 1: Group 1 Debate 20%

 

830 April The Digital DivideDebate Group 2: Group 2 Debate 20%* Report for Group 1 (30%)
97 May

 

Networked Media and audiencesDebate Group 3:

 

Group 3 Debate 20%*Report for Group 2 (30%)
1014 May

 

SearchDiscussion: Essay *Report for Group 3 (30%)
1121 May

 

Mobile PlatformsDiscussion: Essay
1228 May

 

Conclusion: Where Next? Essay Due: 31 May (30%)
SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken SWOT VAC