Coca-Cola Sidelines Super Bowl Ads For Second Year In A Row

For the second consecutive year, Coca-Cola has decided not to play in this year’s Super Bowl, as the beverage brand focuses on existing sports marketing plans. The move leaves rival Pepsi’s Super Bowl 56 presence without a major challenger during the broadcast. Pepsi previewed its “cinematic, supersized, five-headliner” Halftime Show lineup earlier this week. The brand spent about $10 million on ads during the 2020 Super Bowl. To put that number in context, Coca-Cola spent $2.78 billion on advertising in 2020, down from $4.25 billion in 2019 and $4.11 billion in 2018, according to its annual reports.

CLOSING BELL

Dow Drops 450, Nasdaq Falls 385, S&P Slips 85

Stocks extended their losses for a third week. Stocks have been falling amid concerns about rising inflation and the Federal Reserve's plan to raise interest rates from historic lows to try and curtail inflation. Low rates helped support the broader market as the economy absorbed a sharp hit from the pandemic in 2020 and then recovered over the last two years.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

The CW’s Walker this Thursday drew 1.11 million total viewers — marking a season high — and a 0.14 demo rating (up 27% week-to-week). Over on CBS, Young Sheldon (7.8M/0.8), United States of Al (5.4M/0.5), Ghosts (6.5M/0.7) and B Positive (4.9M/0.5) all are on track to again hit season highs in audience, while Sheldon and Ghosts respectively hit and tied season highs in the demo.

Report: Gayle King Renews Contract, Will Stay At CBS

Gayle King recently celebrated her 10th anniversary at CBS News, a significant achievement. But in the background, there have been reports that King may leave the network when her current contract expires in May. However, it now appears no such war will transpire, because CNN’s Brian Stelter, citing sources, reports that King has decided to renew her contract and remain with CBS.

Full-Year Ad Spending Surges 18% Vs. 2020, 9% Vs. 2019

The U.S. ad market has fully recovered from the recession of 2020-21, with full calendar-year spending rising 18% vs. 2020, and 9% vs. 2019, according to a Standard Media Index analysis of the U.S. Ad Market Tracker, a collaboration with MediaPost indexing total U.S. ad spending from the pool of agency holding companies and independent agencies' actual media buys.

Peacock Grabs Another Hulu Exec With Annie Luo Heading Partnerships

NBCUniversal said it hired senior Hulu executive Annie Luo as EVP, global partnerships and strategic development for its Peacock streaming service. Luo follows Kelly Campbell, who was head of Hulu and is now president of Peacock. Hulu is controlled by the Walt Disney Co., but NBCU’s parent Comcast owns a minority stake in Hulu. Comcast is expected to sell its stake to Disney, but the two sides are haggling about how much Hulu is worth.

Robin Roberts Tests Positive For COVID-19

Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts revealed late Thursday that she tested positive for COVID-19, which is why she has been absent from the morning airwaves. "Appreciate the concern about my absence this week on @GMA. Unfortunately I tested positive for Covid. Grateful my symptoms have been mild and that I’m doing well. Looking forward to returning as soon as I can,” she tweeted.

STATION ADVISORY

TV Station Reimbursement Deadline Looms

Attention broadcasters in phases 6 through 10 of the FCC's post broadcast incentive auction repack, a big deadline is coming up. The FCC's Media Bureau and Incentive Auction Task Force is reminding all full-power and Class A Low-power TV stations that they have to submit all their outstanding reimbursement invoices no later than March 22.

Louie Anderson Dies: Comedian & Emmy Winner Was 68

Anderson won a 2016 Emmy for best supporting actor for his portrayal of Christine Baskets, mother to twins played by Zach Galifianakis. Anderson received three consecutive Emmy nods for his performance. He was a familiar face elsewhere on TV, including as host of a revival of the game show Family Feud from 1999 to 2002, and on comedy specials and in frequent latenight talk show appearances.

CBS Affiliation In Marquette Moves

Nexstar’s WJMN Marquette, Mich. (DMA 183), announced Thursday, Jan. 20, that it will no longer be a CBS affiliate effective today. It will instead become a My Network TV affiliate. Lilly Broadcasting’s WZMQ Marquette announced a short time later that its ch. 19.2 subcannel picked up the CBS affiliation, also effective today.

ESPN Will Not Send Staff To Winter Olympics

Due to concerns about COVID-19 and other COVID-related restrictions, ESPN will not be sending any news personnel to the Winter Olympics in China and will instead focus on covering the games remotely with a plan that will roll out prior to the beginning of competition next month. “The safety of our employees is of utmost importance to us,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN EVP, event and studio production and executive editor. “With the pandemic continuing to be a global threat, and with the COVID-related on-site restrictions in place for the Olympics that would make coverage very challenging, we felt that keeping our people home was the best decision for us.”

Comcast Technology Solutions Debuts AI-Powered Metadata Service

Comcast Technology Solutions (CTS) has launched VideoAI, its metadata generation platform that will be offered as a software service to content providers, MVPDs and advertisers. The technology — which has been in development for years and in use at Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky —  automatically analyzes video assets to identify and tag onscreen moments (hard cuts, black frames, transitions, etc.); audio events (silence, specific sounds, etc.), and much more to support enhanced understanding of video content.

During the holiday break, which traditionally shuts down Hollywood for the final two weeks of the year, top broadcast network executives used to spend a significant portion of their time reading pilot scripts before kicking off pilot pickups at the start of January with early drama standouts. Broadcast business traditions, already threatened by the fast evolving marketplace with the rise of streamers, have been completely upended by the pandemic. Three weeks into the new year, we’ve only had three January pilot pickups: NBC dramas Quantum Leap and Found and ABC comedy Josep.

Reporters Plan To Toss Tech After Olympics

Journalists covering the Winter Olympics next month say they’ll do their work in Beijing on brand-new cellphones and laptops. When the games are over, they’ll simply leave them behind or throw them away. The reason: Reporters are concerned that any devices they use there could become infected with tracking software, enabling Chinese authorities to spy on their contents.

‘Squid Game’ Will Get A Second Season, Netflix Confirms

It’s officially a green light: Squid Game, Netflix’s breakout hit of 2021, will be getting a Season 2, Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer, affirmed Thursday. On Netflix’s fourth quarter 2021 earnings Q&A, Sarandos was asked whether there would be a second season of the violent South Korean survival drama, which has scored as the company’s No. 1 most-viewed TV series. v“Absolutely,” Sarandos replied. “The Squid Game universe has just begun.”

Marvel’s Daredevil appears to be making a comeback, three years after its cancellation by Netflix, ranking at No. 8 on Nielsen’s weekly U.S. streaming chart of originals for Dec. 20-26. The series has sparked new interest following the recent cameo of Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, played by Charlie Cox, in Spider Man: No Way Home. Additionally, Murdock’s arch-nemesis, Kingpin, played by Vincent D’Onofrio was revealed as a key part of Disney+’s Hawkeye storyline that week.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Netflix Stock Plunges As Subscriber Growth Worries Deepen

The Los Gatos, Calif., company added 8.3 million worldwide subscribers during the October-December period, about 200,000 fewer than management had forecast. Besides releasing its fourth quarter results Thursday, Netflix also projected an increase of 2.5 million subscribers during the first three months of this year, well below analysts' expectations for a gain of 4 million, according to FactSet Research.

NBC News Digital Executive Editor David Firestone is retiring in mid-May after 45 years in the journalism business, the last five of them at NBC. Firestone joined NBC News on May 1, 2017. He first served as managing editor for NBC News Digital, and was promoted to executive editor in March of last year.

LocalBTV Hopes To Launch In 100 Markets By End Of 2022

LocalBTV, a streaming service for local broadcast channels, has added another two markets and hopes to reach 100 by the end of this year. The service’s two newest markets are Cincinnati and Toledo, bringing its current total to 21. Jim Long, CEO of LocalBTV parent company Didja, said that both new markets are starting with fewer than 10 channels but that figure should double soon. LocalBTV plans to reveal its next 20 markets soon and Long added that a still-unannounced partnership will be key to that expansion.

‘Sanford And Son’ At 50: ‘Double-Edged’ Black Sitcom Pioneer

It was 50 years ago this month that the Norman Lear sitcom Sanford and Son debuted on NBC with Black stand-up comic Redd Foxx starring as Fred Sanford, an irascible junk dealer in the Watts area of Los Angeles, and Demond Wilson as Foxx's beleaguered adult son. An instant ratings smash, it opened the door for other Black family shows to move into the virtually all-white TV neighborhood.

TVN’S MEDIA JOBS

New Jobs Posted To TVNewsCheck

New jobs posted to TVNewsCheck’s Media Job Center include openings for a general sales manager, a producer, a sales director, morning news reporter and executive producer, and a photojournalist.

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