It's showtime! Watch now as @RealHughJackman, @Zendaya, @ZacEfron, and @kealasettle perform the world's first LIVE movie commercial for The #GreatestShowman🎩! In theaters December 20. pic.twitter.com/Uk2tMmtGxy— The Greatest Showman (@GreatestShowman) December 18, 2017
Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.
What people are talking about today
Fox's musical "A Christmas Story Live!" aired Sunday, and reviews were mixed. OK, some were pretty bad: Vulture wrote that it "went off without a hitch. Well, except for one big hitch: the show itself."
Some people preferred the show's big commercial – a live trailer for 20th Century Fox's musical "The Greatest Showman," the P.T. Barnum biopic starting Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Keala Settle. (Watch it above; yes, the guy with the mustache is Efron.) The live spot lasted two and a half minutes and required 150 dancers, according to Variety. Plus, Jackman had to do a tricky-looking live flip of his top hat, which he landed perfectly. Jackman tweeted that it was the "world's first ever live commercial," which isn't true. But we can overlook the error. He's been busy.
News about the news business
Bloomberg Media launches a new offering today, an around-the-clock news network built specifically to run on Twitter. It's called TicToc by Bloomberg, and it's got "a dedicated team of about 50 reporters, editors, producers and social-media analysts," Variety says. At a time when news organizations are desperate to find ways to lure digital spending away from Google and Facebook, it also has sponsors: AT&T Business, CA Technologies, CME Group, Goldman Sachs, INFINITI, SAS and TD Ameritrade. In a news release, the company says TicToc will use branded native content and integrations in video programming, created by Bloomberg and the sponsors.
It's interesting that Bloomberg is looking to make money off a Twitter-based service, given that Twitter's own revenues are in decline.
Who's watching Facebook Watch?
Back in August, Facebook launched its own YouTube-style video hub, called Watch, with content from publishers like BuzzFeed and Business Insider. A few months in, how's it going?
Ad Age's Garett Sloane says publishers have told him that "people have not tuned in to the Watch hub as expected." He spoke to one publishing exec on condition of anonymity, who told him the social network is:
"really struggling with how to figure out how to get users to consume the videos in Watch. All of our views come from News Feed and not the Watch tab."
Facebook is tackling that; Sloane cites a source saying that one idea is to raise the share of ad revenue that content creators get.
More on Facebook
ICYM, Facebook acknowledged Friday in an unusual corporate blog post that social media can sometimes get you down. That's major. As The New York Times' Farhad Manjoo writes, "The post stands as a direct affront to the company's reason for being; it's as if Nike asked whether just doing it may not be the wisest life goal after all, or if Snapple conceded it wasn't quite positive that it really was the best stuff on earth." Facebook says that people who passively consume information on the service feel worse afterward, while people get a boost from active interactions with others. In other words:
Facebook staff scientist says people are unhappy on Facebook because they're not posting enough. But there's a cure! The cure is post more on Facebook. https://t.co/vZMkNpnZvN pic.twitter.com/SIvN8knahz— Nellie Bowles (@NellieBowles) December 15, 2017
Creativity 50: Ad Age's Creativity 50 list is out – it's our annual look at the year's most influential creative figures, spearheaded by Creativity editor Ann-Christine Diaz. Actor and former football player Terry Crews is on the list. And since he's an artist too, he also designed the Ad Age cover.
Time Inc.: Meredith Corp. plans to retire the name Time Inc. "from buildings, business cards and everywhere else," The New York Post reports. But Time magazine will get to keep its name, the report says.
Alt-right: New Twitter rules debut today, and Recode says they "could result in a major purge of alt-right accounts."
Chris Matthews: MSNBC's Chris Matthews was accused of inappropriate comments about a female employee in 1999, and he was reprimanded, NBCNews.com says, adding that the woman received "separation-related compensation." The Daily Caller first reported the news.
Sinful: Pope Francis asked journalists not to spread fake news, and he warned them against "the sins of communication," Newsweek says.
In China: Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings and e-commerce player JD.com Inc. are buying a piece of a big online retailer, Vipshop Holdings. Bloomberg News says the price of the shares is $863 million.
Quote of the day: "#AJediYouAreNOT." Star Wars actor Mark Hamill tweeted that message to Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Pai had used a lightsaber and other props in a bizarre video to justify his move to repeal net neutrality.
Creativity pick of the day: "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" made good use of a oddly long and skinny digital billboard in New York's Times Square, turning it into a lightsaber. The outdoor campaign in Times Square and Toronto's TEC Towers was done in partnership with Twitter; see the images here, and read more by Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine.