Football's Been Very, Good to Online Too; CBSNews.Com Tweaks JFK Plans; Remembering Les Brown

THREE IN ONE: put out an interesting blog item that gives some shape to figures you can probably guess about how football drives immense traffic not just to television but to online video sites. The number of video highlight sites seems endless, and apparently, I’m just about right. So is the appetite. says that during this football season, video ad avails mushroomed, and so did inventory—up 127% on smartphones compared against the pre-football environment, also often called “summer.”  That smartphone increase is a bigger bump than tablets (up 22%) and desktops (which comes close, up 120%).

My translation:  Smartphone users are following games or football news while they’re out and about, or watching a game on a big screen and following the rest on some thing else.  And desktop users are bringing down productivity at the places where they’re stuck working over the weekend.



That is something like is discovering too, though not exactly. Its analysis shows desktops are the preferred device on Sundays, and smartphones are preferred on Thursdays (when the NFL Network presents games).  Tablets own Mondays (when ESPN airs Monday Night Football).  The advertising point for, obviously, is that multi-screen ad buying makes a lot of sense, particularly in that football demo, which is mostly male, but not to the extent the casual viewer might suppose.

Digging a little deeper, it’s apparent how much smartphones are taking ownership of the football-addled segment.  Engagement, measured by click throughs, increase by double digits on mobile phones on every day of the week except Friday. On Thursdays, they’re up 270%.  No other device has that kind of steady performance. Tablet engagement increases 161% on tablets on Monday and desktop ad engagement goes up 200% on Sundays.

CBSNEWS.COM ALTERS JFK PLANS: I wrote earlier about the plan by to recreate, in real time, the coverage by CBS TV News on the day of President Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. Originally, the Website was going to do it twice,  the first time starting Monday, and then on Friday, the actual anniversary date.

Now, will stream the coverage just once on Nov. 22, starting at 1:40 p.m. Eastern when, in 1963,  it broke into afternoon entertainment schedule, and shortly thereafter pronounced that Kennedy was dead. CBS and the other networks then stayed on more or less non-stop (TV did sign-off overnight in those days) through the solemn funeral on Monday. That’s what this stream will do, too, just as it unfolded.

Why the change? A spokeswoman says CBS News decided the one-time presentation, duplicating the time and date of the original date, was “a more impactful way to deliver this event.”

CBS says a schedule on the Website will let viewers know when some specific highlights will be streamed, and in what seems like a really cool add-on, will now live-Tweet streaming coverage. Also important moments from the original broadcast will be available on-demand on the Website, and will be shared on the CBS News accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #JFK50.


WHY SOME OF US ARE HERE:  Many of the people who write about the media, or the people who have been their bosses, probably learned facts and terms about the business from Les Brown, a true pioneer in the business of journalism about the media. Among many credits, he wrote for Variety and The New York Times, edited Channels and authored The New York Times Encyclopedia of Television in 1977.

Earlier this month, he died of cancer, at the age of 84, the Times reported.  In the introduction to that book, I remember now, he called the networks our “governments of leisure time.” Reading it in 2013 now is to realize that once, words as common as “ratings” and “news hole” and “sweeps” were kind of new to the masses. “For most buyers of TV time desirous of reaching a target audience, demographic information is vital,” he wrote, back then, in his “demographics” entry. Reading it now, it's amazing how much is in there, and though it's pretty straight, it has a smart, winking, point of view.  

Brown observed that over time, “Television thus has come to epitomize all it advertises of the disposable culture that has flowered since World War II. Like paper towels and rented cars, television’s programs, personalities, creative talent and executives—serving viewers whose hours are often disposable—enjoy a glorious moment of utility and then, discarded, yield to a new supply. This dedication of television to evanescence is best exemplified by the curious fact that network presidents, even the most talented, once out of office never work in network television again.”

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