CMO Today: Discovery-Scripps Deal Closes; Brands Set For ‘Idol’ Return; Light Beer Marketing Face-Off

CMO Today: Discovery-Scripps Deal Closes; Brands Set For ‘Idol’ Return; Light Beer Marketing Face-Off 1024 682 C-Suite Network
Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav

Good morning. Props to Adweek’s Kristina Monllos for this headline: “The Billboard Industry Thanked ‘3 Billboards’ Using ‘3 Billboards’-Inspired Billboards.” The news was that the Outdoor Advertising Association of America leapt to action to congratulate the filmmakers and cast behind “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which won big at the Oscars on Sunday. I wonder if the product placement industry is rustling something up for “Blade Runner 2049,” winner of the cinematography award. The movie’s dystopian cityscapes feature tons of prominent nods to brands, including Coca-Cola, Peugeot and Johnnie Walker Black Label.

The Face That Launched a Thousand Scripps

Amid all the big U.S. media upheaval in recent months, you might have forgotten about the not-so-small matter of Discovery Communications acquiring Scripps Networks, combining channels such as HGTV, Discovery, Food Network and TLC. That $11.9 billion deal closed Tuesday, and WSJ’s Keach Hagey has the skinny on what that means for the merged entity, which will be renamed—wait for it, branding fans—“Discovery Inc.” Discovery now has a compelling set of channels and library of nonfiction programming to bring to market a direct-to-consumer offering. A skinny bundle in the U.S. is one thing in the works, combining the likes of “Shark Week” and “Chopped” into a $6-8 monthly package. On the advertising front, Keach tells me: Discovery will also have a new strategy to sell more of the kind of branded integrations that Scripps specialized in, as evidenced by former Scripps executive Jon Steinlauf’s elevation to U.S. advertising sales chief of the combined company last week.

Idol Hands

Have you been suffering withdrawal symptoms since Fox took “American Idol” off the airwaves two years ago? In the age of TV revivals, ABC is bringing the singing competition out for its encore on Sunday, and as WSJ’s Joe Flint reports, it’s betting big on the show being a success. ABC is spending significantly more on the celebrity judging panel than Fox did in the show’s final years, when viewership waned. ABC will be hoping ad deals will help absorb some of those costs: The network says it’s already sold out 75% of the show’s commercial time and has sponsorship deals with Macy’s and Zyrtec. Joe also tells me: A 30-second commercial costs between $150,000 and $160,000, according to people close to ABC. That’s around the same rate that Fox got in its last season. One ad buyer said spots on…