Archive for June, 2014

ADVERTISER TIDBITS

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Target is changing policy on online orders; now almost all orders of $50 or more will earn free shipping. Chain Store Age notes Target now matches Walmart’s online free shipping offers, but is still a higher threshold than Amazon’s $35 free shipping policy……Walgreens filled 218 million prescriptions in the fiscal third quarter, 4.5% more than the same quarter last year. Profit rose 15.7% with same-store sales up 4.8%, despite a drop in customer traffic of 0.7%. But the average sale was up 2.9% to offset the traffic decline……A strong third fiscal quarter for Sonic Corp., which as we have noted before uses network TV despite not being present in many markets, partially to help attract new franchisees. Profit was up 13.4% with same-store sales up 5.2% at company-owned units and 5.3% for current franchisees. Among other factors, the CEO credits a “layered daypart promotional strategy and increased media efficiency”……Carl’s Jr. (and sometimes sibling Hardee’s) has often gone opposite the way of other chains that seek to feature healthier food. It’s now testing Mashers, which includes garlic mashed potatoes and crispy onion strings inside the bun at some Southern California locations. The Big Chicken Masher comes in at 900 calories, the Burger Masher ThickBurger at 790 calories. If successful, Mashers could roll out to all Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s locations,

NETWORK NEWS

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ABC says its late night lineup drew its biggest Adults 18-49 audience of this TV season for the week of June 9-15, with Jimmy Kimmel Live at a seven-month high in the demo and Nightline improving in 18-49 by double digits. For its part, NBC noted that The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon beat Kimmel in 18-49 on both nights that ABC had the NBA Finals as lead-in (Tuesday and Thursday) and that for the entire week, Fallon beat the combined rating of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman in adults 18-49……ABC’s new reality series The Quest premieres Thursday, July 31, at 8:00 pm (ET), taking 12 unsuspecting contestants to an imaginative realm, where ogres run free in the forest, dragons stir, agents of a dark lord infiltrate the keep, and the only thing standing between peace and chaos are one dozen very unlikely heroes. The genre-bending series is from the Executive Producer of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Executive Producers of The Amazing Race……NBC has ordered six episodes of the hour-long alternative series Running Wild with Bear Grylls, where the famed adventurer and survivalist will take celebrities into the most remote and wild locations in the U.S. and around the world for a 48-hour journey of a lifetime. The series will premiere Monday, July 28, at 8:00 pm (ET).

WEB-ONLY VIEWING TO PASS ANTENNA TV

Two new reports show just how fast video viewing via the Internet is growing – and how that viewing is both a threat an opportunity for traditional television programming providers, broadcast or cable. The Adobe Digital Index report for Q1 of 2014 finds that online video consumption is exploding. No surprise there. But the report finds that TV content is a big driver, with TV Everywhere usage up 246% year-over-year. The growth of TV Everywhere – consumers watching TV programming on their desktop, mobile devices and tablets as part of their pay TV subscription – is growing much faster than overall online video viewing.

Meanwhile, a report from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) on the U.S. market for household television services finds dramatic growth in people watching video on Internet-connected devices. The CEA study also looked at cord-cutting and found that the percentage of U.S. households who rely exclusively on over-the-air (OTA) broadcast television viewing via an antenna (6%) is about to be eclipsed by the percentage of over-the-top (OTT) only homes relying exclusively on the Internet for TV programming (5%). But the TV screen is still king. CEA found that 97% of homes have a TV for viewing video – the highest penetration of any device – and TV screens also account for the strongest level of video viewing, 93%, “especially now that Internet-enabled television have reached mainstream consumers,”” CEA said. By doing a little math in reverse, we can conclude that a good portion of the OTT-only homes have a TV screen that’s connected only to the Internet, with only 3% of homes either watching exclusively on small-screen devices or not watching video content at all.

“More and more, the notion of having ‘a television’ is becoming an archaic concept,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst with Adobe Digital Index. “That thing hanging on your wall or standing in your corner is just a really big screen.” Adobe points to OTT access-point devices like Apple TV and Roku as major growth drivers, as well as game consoles like Xbox One and Play Station 4. Adobe reports a whopping 539% share growth of TV Everywhere authenticated video from gaming consoles and OTT.

Engagement with TV Everywhere is also up dramatically. Adobe reports that the number of TV Everywhere videos watched per visitor each month increased year-over-year by 133% across all devices types.

The CEA study found that the percentage of U.S. TV households consuming at least some TV programming via the Internet has grown dramatically in the past year – at 45% in the new report compared to 28% a year ago. Incidentally, CEA CEO Gary Shapiro used the data to put in a plug for moving more TV spectrum to deliver broadband wireless. He said “it’s clear that the free, public spectrum given to broadcasters could be put to much better use.”

ADVERTISER TIDBITS

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Home Depot reported a 3.3% gain in domestic same-store sales for the fiscal quarter that ended on 5/3, and noted that results in markets that had not been impacted by the weather were substantially better. Contrary to some other retailers that have seen declining traffic, Home Depot said customer transactions were up 2.2%, although the average transaction was up less than 1%……Staples’ quarterly profit fell by 43% after both same-store sales and customer traffic were each down 4%. As we reported, the company is in the process of closing 225 stores by the end of the year……Dick’s Sporting Goods same-store sales were up 2.3% overall, but were held back by weaknesses in the golf and hunting categories. At the Golf Galaxy chain owned by Dick’s, comps were down 10%……TJX, parent of T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s and Home Goods, had same-store sales up 1% for the quarter with total revenue up 4.9%. But as with other companies reporting on the full quarter, numbers were improving as the quarter ended ……Here’s some encouraging news from the retail furniture industry. Furniture Today is reporting that for the first time since before the recession, more than half the top 100 furniture retailers in the country either already have expanded this year, or are planning to expand by early in 2015. For some of them, expansion will consist of entering wholly new markets……Chain Store Age reports Office Depot and OfficeMax have started using single, combined inserts in Sunday papers. The exec VP of marketing says the move “will help to position us as a strong, singular company…(that) also reflects our approach at looking at each market holistically…to better understand, engage, and service our customers.” (He neglected to mention the money it saves doing it that way)……Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche (who ran Chrysler during the years it was owned by Daimler and even did some American commercials) says after considering building a Mercedes subcompact model, the company has decided not to move ahead with the idea. But he added that Smart could expand into that automotive segment……Some companies now credit online sales to a retail store close to the buyer, but RetailNext analysis of almost 59 million storefronts found sales at just bricks-and-mortar locations were down 8.8% in retailers’ fiscal first quarters, with store traffic down 8.2%. The total number of bricks-and-mortar transactions were down 9.2% and sales per store were down 0.8%. But Chain Store Age notes two encouraging pieces of data – there was a small increase in the average transaction (up 0.5%), and there was a 0.8% decrease in returns.