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How CNN Monetizes Breaking News

Whenever there is big breaking news, be it an inauguration or a cruise ship adrift, CNN’s ratings spike. AdWeek‘s Sam Thielman talks to CNN’s ad sales chief Greg D’Alba about what it takes to monetize those news stories.

Obviously news events that happen on a schedule, like an election or royal wedding, are the easiest sells.

“Some of the news events that occur are tough because of how graphic they can be and how life-changing they become,” D’Alba said. After all, you can’t exactly pitch Nokia on a spot about the death of Muammar Gaddafi, even though cellphones were directly involved. But D’Alba said that CNN doesn’t just sell on royal weddings and elections. “We have a good track record,” he said. “That makes it easier for our guys to represent the brand and the product in the marketplace.”

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Anchors Gone Good: ‘Today’ Does PSAs

Have you ever wanted to see Matt Lauer inside of a chimney? Or Savannah Guthrie doing hard labor? Or Natalie Morales in her pajamas? Then “Today” has just the ticket for you.

This week NBC morning program decided that the anchors should “give back,” and what better way to give back then to produce slick commercials? Each anchor partnered with an ad agency to develop a PSA focusing on one of their favorite causes. For Lauer it was a charity about fatherhood, for Guthrie it was about stopping hunger, for Morales it was about protecting animals and for Al Roker it was about staying prepared for emergencies.

Check them out below.

Lauer:

Roker:
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NRA Ad Calls NBC’s David Gregory ‘Elitist Hypocrite’

A new ad from the National Rifle Association features NBC News anchor David Gregory, calling him an “elitist hypocrite,” apparently in response to his tough interview with NRA chief Wayne LaPierre.

It was during that interview that Gregory held up a 30-round rifle magazine, almost getting himself in legal trouble before the DC Attorney General decided not to press charges late last week.

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Univision Debuts New Logo, Tagline

Spanish-language broadcaster Univision is rebranding starting January 1, with a new logo and–for the first time– a tagline. The new logo takes the familiar colors and shape of the previous logo, but makes it three dimensional.

The tagline, “el latido del corazón hispano de Estados Unidos,” translates as “The Hispanic Heartbeat of America.”

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Marisa Guthrie has more information.

Univision is by far the number one channel for Spanish-language viewers, and that leadership extends to its news programming, which includes “Univision Noticias” and “Al Punto con Jorge Ramos.” It is also working with ABC News to launch a new cable news channel–in English–next year. As we reported last week, some of the names being considered for the channel are “Accent,” “VZTA,” “UNA” and “U&A.”

First Andrea Mitchell, Now Big Bird

Yesterday, the Obama campaign used MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell in a campaign ad, sparking a complaint from NBC News (as of this morning the ad was still airing, at least on our TVs here in the office).

Today, the campaign is using another popular non-partisan public figure in an attack against the Romney campaign: Big Bird.

WATCH:

The ad has aired on some TV news programs, but those are not paid buys. BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller has the details:

 

Update: No surprise here, Sesame Workshop has released a statement asking the Obama campaign to remove the ad.

Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.

Andrea Mitchell Not Cool With Being in an Obama Ad

MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell dedicated a few moments of “Andrea Mitchell Reports” to address the new campaign ad from the Obama campaign, an ad that features her “fact checking” Mitt Romney. As we noted earlier NBC sent a letter to the Obama campaign, and now Mitchell herself wanted to clear the air on her daily program:

“Some viewers might be understandably confused by the fact that the Obama campaign is airing a commercial right now including a video clip of me fact-checking Gov. Romney after last week’s debate. You should know that NBC News has not granted either campaign permission to use our news material, and immediately requested that the campaign refrain from using NBC News material in this and future advertisements. In this case the Obama commercial uses only a short clip from a Truth Squad report that in fact pointed out exaggerations and/or misstatements that both candidates had made during the debate. Just wanted to make that clear.”

WATCH: (via Politico)

Presidential Campaigns Still Using Journalists In Attack Ads

For the entire Presidential campaign, there has been some controversy over the campaigns using video of TV journalists in their ads, particularly their attack ads. Despite constant complaining from the TV networks, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Take this brand new ad from the Obama campaign, which prominently features NBC News correspondent and MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell (h/t Real Clear Politics):

Contrary to some reports, Mitchell was not “in” on the ad, but as with the now-infamous Mitt Romney ad that featured Tom Brokaw, there doesn’t seem to be much Mitchell or NBC can do about it.

Update: Politico reports that NBC asked the Obama campaign to stop running the ad (the same thing they did with the Romney ad). The campaign tells Politico they “received the letter and are reviewing their concerns.” Wink wink nudge nudge.

MediaPost: NBC News Plans To Launch Ads ‘That blur the line between editorial and brand content’ Update: Or Not?

MediaPost reports that NBC News (specifically NBC News Digital) is planning a shift away from advertising targeting demographics (i.e. adults 25-54, women 18-49, etc) and towards “personas” of news consumers, with names like “Always On,” “Skimmers,” “Veterans” and “Reporters.”

The news consumer personas, which were developed by NBC’s sales and research teams in conjunction with a variety of third-party research suppliers, essentially cluster news consumers into four main groups, based on how passionate they are about news and how much they utilize digital media to access it.

MediaPost also reports that NBC is planning to launch new advertising creative that blurs the line betwen editorial and advertising content. Update: NBC takes issue with that report. More below.

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Despite Requests, TV Reporters Still Prevalent In Political Attack Ads

Despite requests from TV news organizations to political campaigns, attack ads across the country still prominently feature TV news anchors and reporters. Advertising Age looked at the numbers, and found that journalists have been featured in TV spots that aired thousands and thousands of times.

Clips from CNBC were the most commonly used, followed by CNN and MSNBC. Tom Brokaw, David Gregory, Ali Velshi and John Harwood were among the journalists whose clips were used for political purposes. Earlier this year networks asked the campaigns to stop featuring clips from their programming in ads. It didn’t work.

Ad Age explains:

From a messaging standpoint, TV journalists “deliver” the advertisers’ messages not only more credibly but also more concisely and accessibly, an added benefit for the advertisers in light of the complex economic circumstances being debated this year. Deficit spending, unemployment and stimulus are tough to explain in 30 seconds, so why not “borrow” the people who do it for a living? Having familiar faces and voices do the work is also far more powerful than showing frame after frame of static newspaper headlines.


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Bloomberg TV Retracts Betty Liu Ad After Pulitzer Complaints

Credit:MSNBC.com

Bloomberg TV is apologizing and correcting an ad featuring anchor Betty Liu after it came to light that it was deceptive. The ad pictures Liu, along with the words “Pulitzer Prize-Nominated, Has All The Heavy Hitters On Speed Dial. And That’s Just The Anchor.”

The problem, as noted by MSNBC.com’s Bill Dedman, is that anyone can be Pulitzer Prize-nominated, provided you wrote something, and had the money to pay the submission fee. The Pulitzer committee selects finalists, and then a winner, but does not reveal everyone submitted for nomination.

Liu did not submit herself for the prize, but was submitted for a Pulitzer by her editors for a series she did while she was the Atlanta Bureau Chief at the Financial Times.

An old version of Liu’s official bio says: “The FT also nominated her for a Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for her series of articles on immigrant labor in the South.” That is a more appropriate way to list the accomplishment. Apparently the copy editor of the new ad campaign decided to trim a little too much from the bio, and ended up changing the context altogether.

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