Archive for October, 2015


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Known to many as the “mean judge” on American Idol and The X-Factor, both of which aired on FOX, Simon Cowell is returning to American TV next summer as a judge on NBC’s season 11 of America’s Got Talent. Cowell created the “Got Talent” format and has been executive producer of the U.S. version……It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas with ABC’s holiday decorating competition series The Great Christmas Light Fight, premiering Monday, December 7, at 8:00 pm (ET). The third season will feature new celebrity judges: Carter Oosterhouse of HGTV’s Million Dollar Rooms and Taniya Nayak of Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible. The Great Christmas Light Fight features families and neighborhoods from across America decorating their homes to the extreme for Christmas with a total of $300,000 in prizes……TV’s Funniest Animated Stars: A Paley Center for Media Special is set to air Monday, December 7, at 8:00 pm (ET) on FOX. The special will profile Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Homer Simpson, Bart Simpson, Stewie Griffin, Donald Duck, SpongeBob SquarePants, Scooby-Doo and many more……Nikki M. James has joined the cast of BrainDead, a new comic-thriller set in the world of Washington, D.C. politics, to be broadcast in summer 2016 on CBS. The series comes from Robert and Michelle King, creators and executive producers of The Good Wife. James will play Rochelle, a medical resident whose father died as the result of a mysterious infection.


Breakfast is the only restaurant daypart with sustained visit growth over the last several years, according to The NPD Group. As a result, classic foodservice breakfast fare, like bacon, breakfast sandwiches, and pancakes, are also growing. Case shipments of bacon, eggs, and pancakes from broadline distributors to foodservice outlets have increased as have servings of these foods ordered at restaurants and other foodservice outlets. There’s no end in sight to the trend of Americans eating breakfast outside the home—as evidenced by McDonald’s deciding to offer its breakfast menu all day, every day.

Breakfast/morning meal visits grew by 5% in the year ending June 2015 over the same period last year when visits grew by 2%, reports NPD’s CREST ongoing foodservice market research. Quick service restaurants, including retail foodservice, were responsible for most of the visit gains at breakfast. Lunch was up 1% in the period over a 2% decline the prior year and dinner visits were flat. Breakfast sandwiches and bacon, perennially popular grab-and-go breakfast foods, have been growing but so have other not-so-portable foods, like pancakes.

Case shipments of bacon shipped from broadline foodservice distributors to restaurants and other foodservice outlets increased by 7% in the year ending June 2015 compared to year ago, finds NPD’s SupplyTrack, a monthly service that tracks every product shipped from major broadline distributors to foodservice operators. Case shipment of eggs, the food item likely to be found in the middle of a breakfast sandwich, increased by 5% in the period, and case shipments of pancakes shipped to foodservice outlets also increased by 5%.

Bacon servings ordered at restaurants and foodservice outlets increased by 2%, which translated to a servings volume of 1.1 billion, in the year ending June 2015 compared to a year ago when servings increased by 6%. Breakfast sandwich servings increased by 3%, or a total of 3.6 billion servings, over flat growth prior year. Servings of pancakes ordered increased by 7% to 816 million servings in year ending June 2015 over year ago when servings were down by 4%, reports NPD.

“Growth at the breakfast daypart has been good for the industry and also led to an increase in distributor sales within key breakfast operator segments,” says Annie Roberts, vice president of NPD’s SupplyTrack. As breakfast traffic continues to grow, she says competition in the breakfast space will require distributors, manufacturers, and operators to become innovative in providing quality and value at breakfast.

It’s clearly a hot segment—and as the competition increases, advertising is needed for restaurant chains to differentiate themselves from their competition. For TV account executives, it should be a way to bring home the bacon.


With all of the Labor Day weekend inside the month this year, September was destined to be a strong month for U.S. auto sales. Was it ever! Total sales of cars and light trucks shot up 15.7% from last September to 1.44 million. That put the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of sales at 18.2 million—the strongest sale rate since July 2005. Importantly, the factors driving SAAR were very different from 10 years ago, when the Detroit 3 were struggling and offered employee discounts to all comers to move vehicles. Now consumer demand is strong—especially for big-ticket pickups and SUVs, with Kelley Blue Book reporting that the average transactions was $33,730—up 2% from a year ago and 0.5% from August.

Double-digit gains were widespread for September, with four automakers reporting unit sales up well over 20%. One of those was a big, full-line maker: Ford Motor Company sales rose 23.3% to 221,269, driven by sales of pickups (the F-150 is pictured) and SUVs. Sales for the Ford nameplate rose 23.4% and Lincoln 19.6%. The biggest percentage gain of all was for Jaguar Land Rover, up 61.3% to 6,850, with Land Rover up 88.5%, but Jaguar down 12.9%. Mitsubishi surged 35.9% to 7,556 and Subaru was up 27.8% to 53,070.

Truck sales also boosted General Motors, with total sales up 12.5% to 251,310. Truck brand GMC led the way, up 23.8%, with Chevrolet up 10.9%, Cadillac 7.8% and Buick 5.0%. Jeep was the star performer, up 39.8% as total FCA U.S. sales rose 13.2% to 194.068. Ram was up 3.8%, Dodge 2.6% and Fiat 1.1%, while Chrysler was down 5.3%.

Nissan North America was up 18.3% to 121,782, with Infiniti up 30.4% and Nissan 17.3%. Hyundai-Kia gained 17.8% to 113,835, with Kia up 22.6% and Hyundai 14.3%. Toyota Motor Co. sales rose 16.2%, with Scion surging 56.7%, Lexus up 15.8% and Toyota 15.1%. American Honda was up 13.1% to 133,750, with Honda up 14.0% and Acura 6.3%.

The Volkswagen brand was up 0.6% despite its diesel scandal, with total U.S. sales for parent Volkswagen AG up 7.3% to 48,016. Porsche shot up 22.7% and Audi gained 16.2%, while Bentley sales dropped 53.0%. Daimler AG sales rose 6.0% to 32,087, with Mercedes-Benz up 6.0% and Smart 0.3%. BMW Group gained 4.1% to 31,117, with Mini up 4.6%, BMW 4.0% and Rolls-Royce 2.2%.

Volvo had another strong month, up 18.4% to 5,527. Mazda sales rose 6.8% to 25,616.

TrueCar was the first to jump in and raise its 2015 sales forecast by 0.2 million to 17.4 million. That would be an all-time record for U.S. light vehicle sales.


The headline from Nielsen for its latest research says “Digital formats are among the most trusted advertising sources despite slow growth.” But if you read down into the data and analysis, you’ll find that it’s not a digital ad format that elicits the most trust among consumers—it’s a traditional media format: television spots. Good old TV advertising is trusted by 63% of the people surveyed in Q1 of this year—and that’s a one percentage point gain from a previous survey in Q1 of 2013. In fact, TV advertising was the only a format to gain in consumer trust over the two-year period.

The best showing for a digital ad format is 48% for online video ads (many of which, we would note, are delivered with TV content)—unchanged from 2013. In fact, several other traditional media ad formats top all of the digital ones in consumer trust: newspaper ads at 60%; magazine ads 58%; billboards 56%; TV program product placements 55%; radio ads 54%; and ads before movies 54%.

By comparison, ads served in search engine results were trusted by 47% of the people surveyed by Nielsen; ads on social networks by 46%; ads on mobile devices 43%; online banner ads 42%; and text ads on mobile phones 36%. Of those, trust of banner ads was flat with two years ago and the others were down slightly.

Nielsen noted that Millennials show the highest levels of trust in 18 of 19 advertising formats/channels—including TV, newspapers and magazines.