STRATA survey shows agency optimism for the new year

ACCORDING TO A SURVEY conducted by Comcast-owned STRATA, 43% of agencies reported in Q4 2016 that their business will increase in Q1 2017. Of these, 42% are anticipating adding employees while none of the agencies surveyed planned to reduce staff.

The biggest challenge, 51% of the respondents stated, is expanding their client base. Video advertising remains the dominant focus, reported 34%, followed by digital video as the dominant focus reported by 27% of responding agencies — a 79% increase over 2016.

“Local and cable video continue to be the top focus,” says STRATA VP Judd Rubin, “but digital video is increasingly coming to the forefront. With mobile advertising and rapidly-growing social players like Snapshot also making strides, 2017 could provide a very exciting year.”

AWARDS SEASON IS UNDERWAY at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Its Oscar Nominations Panel on Jan. 24 at 4:30 p.m. features local film critics as they weigh in on the list of highly-rated nominees for the 89th Annual Academy Awards, with a reception following. Free admission.

Then, on Feb. 26, the Film Center’s annual Hollywood on State: Where You’re the Star annual Oscar Night, with fashion, food, fun and a live presentation of the Academy Awards on the big screen. Call 312/846-2072 to purchase tickets, starting at $100, and for more information, click here.

TALK OF A NEW SPORTS RADIO STATION: A group of investors are looking to launch an AM all-sports radio station in the first half of 2017, located in the South Suburbs. The station’s unrevealed owner has received FCC go-ahead to construct four towers and a studio for the new station. When completed, a new investor group would lease the station, reports Chicago Radio & Media News.

THE INAUGURAL MEET-UP of TV Production Pros on Jan. 12 got filled up quickly, says Linda Frothingham of, co-host with AD Danny Burke. So many attendees responded that the meeting venue was changed to the larger VentureSHOT, 744 N. Wells St.

REEL MICHIGAN: Cher’s announcement of producing a Lifetime movie about the lead poisoned Flint water crisis, titled “Flint,” has evoked a storm of criticism and anger.

One focus of outrage was the lack of black actors for the story about the predominantly African American city, with 42% of residents living below the poverty line — and that its producers, stars and directors are white.

Another complaint was that it’s too soon for a Flint movie and it’s doubtful it will have any impact on the water crisis’ ultimate resolution.

The film is reportedly about the politics and poor management that led to the water poisoning and the residents whose voices and suffering were ignored.

Cher will play a Flint resident whose family is impacted by the crisis. She also will be EP along with Katie Couric; Bruce Beresford directing. Production is expected to start in the spring.