Joan Voight, Jun 24, 2008, 10:00 AM
  • Hallmark Movie Channel Cinches Cox Deal Multichannel News

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  • Is It Real or Is It a Reality Show? The Associated Press

    Reality TV is making news documentaries harder to film, as subjects fear producers won't portray their lives accurately. In filming a documentary about Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, ABC News producers had to deal with the cynicism of some doctors. They assumed the network was making just another reality show instead of realistically trying to portray life at a big hospital.

    ABC's crew spent four months at Hopkins, taking thousands of hours of film. Crew member Alex Piper, contrasted that with the reality series he has worked on in which filming would be done in a month or two. "Are the viewers making a distinction? Do you get brownie points for making something that is a true documentary? The answer is no," he says.

    It probably doesn't help matters that ABC is promoting "Hopkins" with spots interspersing pictures of its real-life characters with the fictional doctors and nurses on "Grey's Anatomy." Read the whole story...

  • Pricey Gas Hits Publisher Trade Shows Folio

    Soaring gas prices, airfare and hotel rates are affecting a large growth areas for publishers: magazine events. Such events have eclipsed print as the largest revenue stream for publishers, but attendee travel costs for business publications and host travel costs for consumer pubs are dampening the party.

    According to a recent trade survey, 41% of shows expect to see a 10% reduction in expo attendance over the next 12 months. Buyer-seller events--in which the publisher recruits a select audience for a sponsor--may no longer be economically viable. "We pay our attendees' way, so it's hurting our budgets dramatically," says one publisher.

    To cut costs, publishers are offering bigger discounts for early registration, securing cheaper hotel prices with aggressive room blocks and opting for more airport venues. Read the whole story...

  • DVR Users are Few But Powerful Mediaweek

    Time-shifting now accounts for 9% of national ratings, according to a study by media-buying agency Magna Global USA. While less than one-fourth of all U.S. TV homes have DVRs, they account for 15% of viewing by adults younger than 50.

    Magna executive Steve Sternberg says homes with DVRs "use them with a vengeance." The impact of DVR viewing on ratings is twice as high as the impact of VCRs when they were in 90% of TV homes. Magna is projecting that in four years, almost 25% of adult prime-time viewing on the broadcast networks will be time-shifted.

    The Magna study shows that regardless of ratings, action and sci-fi dramas have above-average DVR playback. Serialized dramas, such as CW's "One Tree Hill" and NBC's "Friday Night Lights," also had higher-than-average DVR playback. Read the whole story...

  • 'Washington Post' Editor Steps Aside The New York Times

    Leonard Downie Jr. will retire in September after 17 years as the top editor of The Washington Post, making way for a generational transition under new publisher, Katharine Weymouth.

    Downie, 66, has spent more than four decades at the paper and will become a vice president at the Washington Post Company. The Post's weekday circulation is down from 800,000 in 2000 to about 670,000 this year. It has more than 9 million Internet readers a month, trailing only The New York Times and USA Today, but like its peers it hasn't been able to turn that readership into significant revenue.

    The Post is also in the early stages of trying to merge print and digital newsrooms that have been kept more separate than at other large papers, fostering a sometimes less-than-friendly rivalry. Insiders say that merger is a priority for 42-year-old Weymouth. Read the whole story...

  • Newspapers Facing Worst Year For Ad Revenue The New York Times

    The San Francisco Chronicle, owned by the Hearst Corp, is losing $1 million a week. On top of long-term changes hurting the newspaper ad industry, the weak economy is severely squeezing ad sales, especially in Florida and California, where the housing slump has cut deeply into real estate ads.

    Overall, newspaper ad revenue fell almost 8% last year, is falling about 12% this year, and company reports issued last week suggested a 14% to 15% decline in May.

    The results are sure to be bad, says Peter S. Appert, Goldman Sachs analyst. A number of individual newspapers and newspaper companies will probably "fall into a loss position this year," he says, "and it's inevitable that there will be paper closures and maybe bankruptcies." Read the whole story...