“If you are not running in this industry you are dead,” said Chris Culvenor this week. He had just hopped off a plane from Sydney where he had been readying the Pilot Week episode of Drunk History for broadcast.
By James Manning
Culvenor, along with his production partner Paul Franklin, are the co-founders of the growing production company Eureka.
“We are pretty busy and generally happy with how it is all going,” Culvenor told Mediaweek.
Eureka launched close to two and a half years ago and has offices in the US and Sydney. “Launching a new company is problematic and always difficult, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Culvenor knows Drunk History well, calling it one of the most successful comedy formats in the world. “It has been nominated for four Emmys as Most Outstanding Sketch Comedy. It is a very, very simple idea and when executed correctly it is very funny.
“It has been translated to the UK and translated to Brazil and Mexico. We have a great relationship with Viacom, owners of the format, after doing shows with them in Australia and the US.
“We are using the format as a starting point, but we are finding an Australian voice for it. We knew it would be a good fit for this market.”
Rhys Darby and Stephen Curry are the hosts of the Australian version. In the cast of Drunk History are Gyton Grantley, Ryan Fitzgerald, Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann and Greta Lee Jackson.
Culvenor is pleased to see the show sit within Pilot Week, noting the good relationship Ten and Eureka have had. “We love the idea of taking programming risks with slightly edgier and non-traditional shows.”
Culvenor calls himself a Drunk History super-fan and is familiar with both the US and UK versions. “Although the shows have a lot of fun with history, all the facts are true, all the events are true and the characters are true.
“I can’t think of the last time Australian history was explored on commercial primetime TV. We are proud Eureka and Ten are able to showcase Australian history, albeit a slightly tipsy primetime history.”
While Eureka likes the idea of the pilot going to air, it realises it is probably a one-shot chance of getting away the format here. “We are lucky we are using a format that has worked for hundreds of previous episodes. There was a very clear blueprint about making the show. We ensured that it was adapted for this market in the right way.”
oOh!media has announced continued double-digit revenue growth (up 11%) with improved gross margin and underlying earnings for the half-year ended June 30, 2018 (1H18).
Underlying EBITDA increased by 11% to $37.9 million with underlying NPATA lifting by 2% to $14.9 million.
Commenting on the proposed acquisition of Adshel, oOh!media said completion of the acquisition is expected in 2018 and is subject to ACCC approval.
CEO Brendon Cook said oOh! continued to benefit from above-market revenue growth in Road with ongoing significant improvements in its Fly and Locate businesses from the second half of last year.
He added oOh! leads the industry in driving digital transformation across its portfolio with digital revenue as a percentage of total sales climbing to 64% for the period.
• Revenue of $192.0m, up 11% from the half year ended 30 June 2017 (1H17)
• Gross profit of $87.6m, up 16% on 1H17
• Gross profit margin of 46% compared to 44% in 1H17
• Operational expenditure increased by 20%, reflecting increased employee expenses associated with technology, creative and sales teams and related commissions to drive revenue growth
• Out-of-home industry position maintained with 8,000 digital panels across Australia/New Zealand, 12,000 classic panels and 8 online platforms
• Extending its Fly offering beyond Qantas Domestic terminals, clubs and business lounges to also include International and Domestic Inflight Entertainment to help advertisers engage more than 28 million travellers annually
oOh!media’s Brendon Cook, said: “oOh! has delivered another strong result with solid revenue growth demonstrating the value proposition of our product offering across the most diversified portfolio in the industry.
“That diversity provides exposure to the broadest range of out-of-home segments and underlying lease contracts enabling us to deliver sustainable revenue growth while also mitigating periodic fluctuations in advertiser spend in specific categories and products.
“We are also successfully driving gross margin improvement in both percentage and absolute dollar terms.
“At the same time, we are implementing our strategy to invest for future growth. As we have said consistently, this year marks a transformation in our business as we build our platform to the next level.
“We are leading the industry in creating a new media business that is driven by data, content and innovation, connecting advertisers to more audiences with the right message, at the right moment and in the right location.
“We are supporting this with an Organisational Transformation Platform that harnesses the power of machine learning to enable clients to engage with audiences through our extensive network of signs more easily, effectively and efficiently.”
Road delivered strong double-digit sales growth (up 16%) through its portfolio of high-quality digital and classic assets. While oOh! continued to digitise assets in premium locations, classic metro sites also delivered a strong increase in revenue for the period.
Retail revenue was impacted (down 5%) by reduced spend across the category from some major advertisers. The business is confident in the future performance of the Retail business with oOh!’s national presence of full motion Shopalive and Evoke network.
Fly continued the strong momentum from the last quarter of FY17 with strong bookings leading to an 18% increase in revenue.
Locate increased revenue significantly (up 31%) from the successful integration of the ECN business and initiatives last year to restructure the sales team and re-position the go-to-market proposition.
New Zealand posted a strong turnaround in revenue from the prior corresponding period (up 19%) despite the NZ market being nearly flat in the first half.
Junkee Media and Cactus Imaging revenue continued to grow, demonstrating their value to the group.
After the ball tampering scandal that unfolded in Australian cricket earlier this year, The Australian’s award-winning chief cricket writer Peter Lalor hopes that it doesn’t reduce enthusiasm around the sport this summer.
By Kruti Joshi
He told Mediaweek: “Attendance in test matches and viewing audience on television only ever go up with cricket. I hope not too many people have been turned off by what happened in South Africa.”
Lalor recently won the Peter Frilingos Award for Outstanding Sport Reporting at the 2018 Kennedy Awards for his work on the ball tampering scandal.
“I’d convinced myself that I didn’t have a chance,” he said. “It was one of the biggest stories I have ever worked on.
“It wasn’t really a scoop. I was reporting on something that most people were across. If there was any degree of exclusivity to it, it was that I travel with these people and have known them for a long time.”
Lalor was sitting in the foyer of a hotel on the day that suspensions were handed to Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and David Warner. “They would only allow you that access if there is a degree of trust between you and them,” he said.
“People criticise sports reporters for sometimes being too close to their subjects but I would counter that by saying we wouldn’t get a lot of the stories that we get if we weren’t close to them.”
What may have made his report stand out from the plethora of others about the incident was the “human take” on a situation that was “very, very dramatic”, Lalor said.
The Fairfax Media newsrooms around the country have changed quite considerably in the last five years. Award-winning crime reporter Lucy Cormack told Mediaweek: “The most obvious change is size – we are a lot fewer than when I first started.”
By Kruti Joshi
The media organisation has had a number of staff cuts since 2013 and just last month it announced merger plans with Nine Entertainment Co. This is expected to result in more job cuts. The staff at Fairfax were “shocked at the news”, Cormack said. “But everyone is glass half full about the future. The Herald has been doing better than it ever has in many ways and the show must go on.”
The Sydney Morning Herald continues to have the biggest cross-platform audience of any news publication in Australia, according to the latest emma news media total audience report for May 2018.
Its journalists are also shining a light on the quality of work coming from Fairfax newsrooms despite the constant changes. Cormack herself was named 2017 Young Journalist of the Year at the recent 2018 Kennedy Awards.
“I really didn’t think I was going to win it,” she said. “I was a little nervous when I had to get up and make a speech. I wasn’t prepared.
“I was conscious of not making my speech too long. I kept it short and sweet.
“It took me back to being a school captain in high school. That was probably the last time I had to address a big hall in that way.”
Cormack made five submissions for the awards, which were mostly crime stories. Among them was the story about the Margaret River mass shooting in May 2018. “That was a powerful learning experience,” Cormack recalled. “I was on a plane within a few hours of the story breaking.
“It was a really, really heavy story.”
• Tamar Hovagimian to head new commercial partnership division
Network Ten has announced the launch of its new advertising sales commercial partnership division, TEN Effect, to be headed by Tamar Hovagimian (pictured).
Hovagimian will report to chief sales officer Rod Prosser. She is currently Network Ten’s head of integration and has held senior sales roles at the company since 2008.
TEN Effect will focus on delivering premium in-program ideas, sponsorships and integration opportunities across Network Ten’s suite of television and digital content brands.
Prosser said: “As brands search for new ways to build authentic connections with consumers – and to increase their share of voice – TEN Effect will work with advertisers and show producers to create truly engaging and effective moments in Network Ten’s market-leading content across multiple platforms. TEN Effect will also work closely with the newly launched TEN Imagine to amplify clients’ advertising strategies in show.
“Tamar has a long history of working with show creators and their teams. She has delivered some of Australia’s most outstanding sponsorships and brand activations. She has a unique ability to achieve the perfect balance between commercial and editorial, and to create integration moments that are seamlessly woven into a show’s DNA.
“I’m thrilled that we have Tamar running TEN Effect. I have no doubt that Tamar and her team will continue to lead the market in brand integration and activation,” he said.
Hovagimian said: “I’m very excited to be a part of the rebirth of Network Ten’s Advertising Sales team. I’m looking forward to working with Rod Prosser, Michael Stanford, TEN Imagine and the amazing team at Ten to continue developing and executing results-driven, market-leading campaigns for our clients across the network’s content and platforms.”
• Production under way in Victoria on six-part drama series
Stan has announced that two-time Oscar-nominee Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook, Animal Kingdom) will return home to head up the cast of the groundbreaking new Stan Original Series Bloom, alongside Bryan Brown (The Light Between Oceans, Red Dog True Blue, Gods of Egypt), Phoebe Tonkin (The Originals, Safe Harbour, The Vampire Diaries, The Affair), Ryan Corr (Holding the Man, Hacksaw Ridge), Daniel Henshall (Okja, The Babadook, Snowtown) and Sam Reid (’71, Prime Suspect 1973, The Railway Man).
Production has commenced in Victoria on the brand-new six-part premium drama, with acclaimed film director John Curran (Tracks, Chappaquiddick, Praise) at the helm.
The Stan original series is funded by Screen Australia and Stan and produced by Sony Pictures Television’s production company Playmaker.
The six-part drama is set one year after a devastating flood kills five locals in an idyllic country town. A mysterious new plant subsequently appears with the power to restore youth. It’s a gift of power beyond the wildest imagining… a phenomenon so formidable that attempting to harness its potency means re-evaluating everything that’s important. It’s a miracle some will kill to keep secret.
Also joining the cast are a mix of rising stars and Australian screen legends including Genevieve Morris (No Activity, That’s Not My Dog!), Anne Charleston (Neighbours, Emmerdale, Prisoner Cell Block H), Terry Norris (Jack Irish, The Dressmaker, Killing Time), Amali Golden (The Other Guy), Nicki Sheils (The Eye of the Storm, Neighbours), Tessa Rose (Glitch, Cleverman), John Stanton (Dr Blake Mysteries, Beneath Hill 60) and Rod Mullinar (Reef Doctors, Dead Calm).
The series is created by Glen Dolman, who first received critical acclaim for Hawke and has since gone on to work in US television (High Life and the forthcoming The Ark and the Ardvaark). The series is produced by Sue Seeary (Love Child, House Husbands and Bite Club) and shot by AACTA-winning cinematographer Geoff Hall (Wolf Creek, Red Dog, Chopper). Mat King (Pine Gap, Dr Who, Law & Order United Kingdom) will direct the final episodes of the series.
Currently filming in various locations across Victoria, the mystery drama series will premiere exclusively on Stan this summer, with Sony Pictures Television to distribute the premium drama globally.
Stan’s chief content officer Nick Forward said “The assembled cast, including the remarkable Jacki Weaver, is a testament to the uniqueness of Glen’s vision, the scale of the production and the calibre of Playmaker and Sony as our local and international partners on the project. With a director of John’s track record behind the camera we couldn’t be more excited to be kicking off production across Victoria on our biggest Original yet.”
Playmaker’s David Maher said: “The team at Playmaker and Sony Pictures Television are extremely pleased to be working with such a stellar lineup both sides of the camera for Bloom and we’re excited to be heading into production on this ambitious new series.”
“It is excellent to see Stan continually commissioning such unique Australian series,” said Sally Caplan, head of production at Screen Australia. “We’re thrilled to be supporting Bloom and were intrigued by this highly distinctive sci-fi concept. Writer Glen Dolman has done a tremendous job in localising the genre and we look forward to seeing his vision come to life, especially with the cast involved.”
Creator Glen Dolman said: “Bloom is a gothic fairytale about the scarcity of time and the choices we make.
“We all like to think that we have a degree of control over our lives and fates. This notion is then shattered if we’ve ever experienced a natural disaster or freak accident. We starkly realise that our lives can be instantly and randomly taken from us. While it may feel like a betrayal by nature (such as with our freak flood), it’s the ‘deal’ we all have to accept. Life is fleeting and arbitrary. But it’s also why it’s meaningful.
“We have no guarantees of a future and we can’t relive the past. All we have is now.
“That idea is played out in Bloom via our inexplicable ‘offering’ – a mystical plant, growing where the five locals drowned – with the power to restore their youth. What may at first appear to be a gift soon seems more like a curse, but will ultimately turn out to be a kind of ‘karmic lesson’. It allows our protagonists to re-evaluate their lives and confront their regrets.
“Bloom offers the wonder and wish fulfilment of returning to your physical prime – with heightened energy, passions and desires – but with a dramatic price: your deepest regrets become your uncontrollable compulsions. These conflicting obsessions make our “rejuvenated” characters clash, sometimes violently, and give us the gothic aspect of our story, which – while grounded and emotional – also operates as an escapist, cinematic, six-hour feature with mystery, humour and horror.
“However, the heart of our series is about the intimate, domestic, human moments. It’s about the awe and weirdness of seeing the love of your life young once again. It’s about what you might do if you suddenly rejuvenated and what your deepest regrets might be. We want our audience to be pondering these questions and arriving at their own answers.”
• Singles: Dean Lewis topples Drake from the top of the chart
• Albums: Nicki Minaj debuts #4 as rest of top 10 hold steady
By James Manning
Slow and steady wins the race and that is exactly how Dean Lewis has conquered the Singles Chart with his first #1. His fifth single, Be Alright, hit the top in its seventh week on the chart to give the Sydney singer/songwriter his first chart topper. Lewis’s previous biggest hit was his first single Waves, which peaked at #12 in 2016. He has been in the US this week, releases Australian tour dates today and then plays shows across Europe next month.
Lewis’s chart success comes on a week where there was not a single chart debut inside the top 50. He is the second Australian artist to reach the top so far in 2018 after 5 Seconds Of Summer with Youngblood, which remains top five after 18 weeks.
Four singles managed to climb into the 50 from lower down the chart:
#52 to #34: Bazzi with Beautiful
#63 to #43: David Guetta with Don’t Leave Me Alone featuring Anne-Marie
#67 to #47: Billie Eilish with You Should See Me In A Crown
#55 to #48: Loud Luxury with Body
Although Drake lost top spot on the Singles Chart, he tops Albums again for a third week with Scorpion after a break of four weeks.
There were five chart debuts in the top 50, just one of them cracking the top 10.
#4 Nicki Minaj with Queen. The US rapper’s fourth album becomes her biggest chart success here after Pink Friday… Roman Reloaded hit #5 in 2012. Her other two albums were both top 20.
#14 Trippie Redd with Life’s A Trip. Another US rapper making a mark here with his first album landing in the top 20 on debut.
#15 Elvis Presley with Where No One Stands Alone. Another successful repackaging of music from The King – this time songs from his gospel catalogue with new instrumentation and backing vocals. Featuring on the album are Presley alumnae including Darlene Love, Cissy Houston, The Imperials and The Stamps while the title track features a duet with his daughter Lisa Marie Presley.
#39 Jason Mraz with Know. A modest chart debut for his sixth album. The previous release also only just made the top 40, but his two prior to that were both top 10.
#46 Gretta Ray with Here And Now. The second EP from the Melbourne singer/songwriter and triple j unearthed winner.
New release Madden NFL 19 has shot to the top of the Australian (and New Zealand) games charts this week, illustrating just how quiet things are in retail right now.
By Cam Shea, editor in chief, IGN Australia
The game is a good choice for fans of the sport, however, receiving a very positive review from IGN, as did the other notable retail new release for the week, multiplayer party game Overcooked 2, which debuted at number three.
Looking at the digital-only landscape during this time, one game in particular has captivated gamers around the world; the slick action, procedurally generated worlds and stylish presentation of Dead Cells. I also greatly enjoyed Flipping Death; a comedic adventure game that casts you as the Grim Reaper and lets you hop between the worlds of the living and the dead, solving bizarre puzzles for a cast of oddball characters. Both games are available on PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One.
• The Block guest bedroom: Luxury accommodation & big ratings
• Seven’s Little Big Shots holds close to 900,000 again
• Day 1 TEN’s Pilot Week: Skit Happens out-rates Disgrace
By James Manning
Little Big Shots returned this week with 883,000 after 878,000 last week and a series two launch audience of 963,000 a fortnight ago.
Sunday Night then did 567,000 after 449,000 a week ago (in four markets only).
Crime Investigation Australia then followed on 347,000.
The Block featured the guest bedroom reveals with the judges hammering any ordinary work. The start of the new week saw the episode on 1.11m after 1.19m a week ago. This week promises plenty of action with master bathroom week and the most expensive bathroom in Block history.
60 Minutes followed with 621,000 after 721,000 a week ago.
An encore screening of Bite Club did 205,000 after the same episode premiered last week with 510,000.
A Bondi Rescue repeat started the primetime evening with 172,000.
The Sunday Project featured Jimmy Barnes as a guest with audiences of 232,000 at 6.30pm and then 334,000 at 7pm.
Russell Coight’s All Aussie Adventures did 629,000 to be the channel’s best for the night. That is close to the previous week’s 635,000.
Pilot Week then launched for the channel with two projects from CJZ getting the Sunday night slots. Skit Happens screened just after 8pm with segments poking fun at Married At First Sight, The Project, The Voice, The Good Doctor and My Kitchen Rules. There was also a skit about Matt Preston and then gags involving Aussie backpackers in Paris and a beauty blogger. Some segments worked better than others and predictably much comment on social media seemed very negative. The program did 350,000.
Disgrace followed and while it seemed to fire as a format with promise, the audience dropped to 229,000. The guests – Becky Lucas, Stephanie Rice, Greg Baxter and Peter Deppeler – all contributed. Host Sam Dastyari also did a good job and he went on the road with paparazzo Jamie Fawcett although it didn’t offer much. After the segment, Greg Baxter commented – “He’s a rolled gold grub”!
A Jimeoin stand-up special Yeehaa! followed with 141,000.
Rake was the star attraction last night and it delivered big time for the channel with 715,000 watching the funny first episode.
Earlier in the night the third part of Grand Designs: House Of The Year did 573,000.
Egypt’s Lost Princess did 218,000 at 7.30pm.
It was an 8.30pm screening of The Blue Brothers that attracted the channel’s biggest audience with 227,000.
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||4.9%||GEM||1.9%||ELEVEN||2.0%||Food Net||1.1%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||6.2%||GEM||2.2%||ELEVEN||2.2%||Food Net||1.0%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||7.3%||GEM||3.0%||ELEVEN||2.2%||Food Net||0.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||Ten Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC ME||0.8%||7mate||6.3%||GEM||4.6%||ELEVEN||2.4%||Food Net||0.9%|
|SUNDAY METRO ALL TV|
Friday Top 10
Saturday Top 10
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Multinational advertising group Dentsu Aegis Network has acquired Sydney-based startup Amicus Digital to become part of a portfolio of businesses within its performance marketing agency Merkle, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
The buyout sees Dentsu continue on the acquisition path, which in recent years has included the purchase of digital agencies WiTH Collective, Soap, which was merged into Isobar, and performance marketing firms Search Factory and Scorch.
Dentsu Australia chief executive Simon Ryan said the acquisition of Amicus will give the broader network of businesses expertise in Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which provides a range of marketing automation and analytics tools for running campaigns.
Ryan declined to comment on how much was paid for the startup, although it is believed to have been in the range of multiple millions of dollars.
Nine is facing a backlash from advertisers over its decision to continue an advertising partnership between Fairfax and Google, with the awkward union increasing tensions between the merging companies, reports The Australian’s David Swan.
Last week Nine boss Hugh Marks formally endorsed the Fairfax-Google deal, pledging that it would continue, but The Australian understands senior management at the television broadcaster dislikes the hook-up.
Among Nine executives, Google is regarded as little more than a pirate, stealing its valuable content through YouTube streams.
The stance has flared tensions between Nine and Fairfax ahead of their mooted merger later this year. Nine executives were riled by Fairfax chairman Nick Falloon’s decision to spruik the deal in his introduction to last week’s company annual report, and have been annoyed by head of metro media Chris Janz’s continued promotion of it.
The competition regulator’s inquiry into the impact of the technology giants on the media industry reached a critical point last week, when the two sides of the industry faced off at a landmark forum in Sydney, report The Australian’s Ben Butler and Chris Merritt.
Illustrating how seriously the threat from the likes of Google and Facebook is taken by the industry, dozens of media chief executives, ad sales bosses and other senior media figures gave up a full day to head down to the State Library of NSW on Thursday to tell their tales of woe to Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims.
The media industry is mad as hell about what it sees as monopolistic behaviour by the tech giants, especially Google and Facebook, which between them control everything from mobile phone operating systems and search to video streaming and social media.
They want changes to the rules to bring in a “level playing field” and for the tech giants to pay for the material they publish, across news, entertainment and sport – or to be broken up.
Stan chief executive Mike Sneesby believes newly signed output deals, local productions, which are now attracting international heavyweights, and a merged Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media give the streaming business a foothold for further growth, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
The local subscription video on demand service’s latest numbers were revealed last Wednesday at Fairfax’s full-year results. They showed Stan has added more than 100,000 subscribers in a little over two months. In early June, Stan passed the 1 million active subscribers mark, and that number has now surged to more than 1.1 million. Subscription revenue reached just under $100 million for the financial year, and Stan finished June with an annual revenue run-rate of $120 million.
“It is our strongest period of growth that we’ve ever had in the business and our strongest start to a fiscal year that we’ve had in the history of the business,” Sneesby told The Australian Financial Review.
Ben Roberts-Smith, the country’s most decorated war hero, is suing Fairfax Media, claiming the company has destroyed his reputation by casting him as a war criminal, a “callous, inhumane” murderer and a domestic violence offender, report The Australian’s Deborah Cornwall and Paul Maley.
A writ filed in the Federal Court yesterday has dramatically escalated the high-stakes war between Fairfax and the Victoria Cross winner, with Roberts-Smith also personally suing three Fairfax journalists: investigative reporters Chris Masters and Nick McKenzie and national security correspondent David Wroe.
Roberts-Smith said yesterday that he wanted to make Fairfax “accountable for their actions”.
“The allegations Fairfax Media published are simply not true and cannot go uncorrected. I have been forced to take proceedings to protect my reputation,” he said.
Rugby commentator Gordon Bray says he deeply regrets using the term “golliwog” during Saturday night’s Bledisloe Cup clash, reports The Daily Telegraph.
The veteran commentator made the comment in the first half when calling a play involving Tatafu Polota-Nau.
Bray has this morning spoken to Polota-Nau, who assured the Channel 10 caller he took “no offence to the comments whatsoever”.
When Polota-Nau was charging the ball up the New Zealand line, Bray said he couldn’t recognise him “with that short back and sides. What happened to the golliwog haircut?”
“Gordon Bray is a highly respected commentator and a very respectful person,” a Network 10 spokesperson said this morning.
“In no way did Gordon intend to cause any harm with his comments and deeply regrets his remarks during last night’s broadcast.”
Netflix is pulling the plug on Michelle Wolf’s and Joel McHale’s talk shows, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
The two unscripted entries – The Break With Michelle Wolf and The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale – were both only on the streaming service for a matter of months (the former premiered in May and the latter in February) before executives at the company decided to not bring them back for additional seasons.
Despite plentiful buzz after her controversial turn as this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner host, Wolf’s late-night entry failed to garner the kind of viewership that warrants a second season at the streaming giant. The same can be said for McHale’s Soup-esque talker, which offered a mix of greenscreen commentary and pretaped sketches.
Though the streamer has pushed aggressively into the late-night space, greenlighting shows from such comics as Hasan Minhaj, David Letterman, Norm Macdonald and Wolf, it has yet to figure out what a successful topical format looks like on its platform. Chelsea Handler’s since-cancelled weekly foray was Netflix’s original attempt, followed by McHale’s series, which Netflix moved from a weekly rollout to an all-at-once episode dump after its premiere.
Amazon is developing a new device that records live TV, working around cable providers and encroaching on TiVo Corp.’s market, according to a person familiar with the plans, reports Bloomberg.
The device, dubbed “Frank” inside Amazon, is a new type of digital video recorder for the streaming era. It would include physical storage and connect to Amazon’s existing Fire TV boxes, the living room hub for the company’s online video efforts, according to the person. They asked not to be identified discussing unannounced product details. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment.
The Frank DVR has the same wireless technology that Amazon’s Echo speakers use to connect to Fire TV boxes. Users will be able to record live TV and stream the video to a smartphone so it can be watched later. That functionality is similar to offerings from TiVo and Dish Network Corp.’s Slingbox. Amazon hasn’t made a final decision on rolling out the streaming feature, the person said, noting that the plans could either be cancelled or delayed.