New TV Network May Be Set For Shutout

ESPN's "Monday Night Football" witnessed the lowest scoring game in "MNF" history--a 9-0 shutout of the Super Bowl Champs Pittsburgh Steelers by the Jacksonville Jaguars. That doesn't make for good television.

Take that a step further--what if a TV network gets shutout? As in no viewers? Not entirely likely. But surely some weakly distributed cable networks put up low numbers--those that fly under Nielsen Media Research's rating radar, those smaller than the 62 or so ad-supported cable networks that Nielsen regularly measures.

How low? Five thousand viewers? Five hundred viewers? Fifty, perhaps? Traditional video measurement will only see data get smaller--taking a cue and direction from Internet areas. One hundred viewers for a YouTube video? Is that a business? Or it is just part of the Internet milieu?

Which brings us to MyNetworkTV.

MyNetworkTV has hit the ground--grovelling. The network averaged just under one million viewers for its new telenovelas for its first week. In fairness, those time periods that MyNetworkTV inherited were left for dead for months--just what program analysts feared when the whole CW-MyNetwork TV got going in January, leaving WB and UPN stations to pull any marketing support.



Still, MyNetworkTV ratings are stunningly low for a broadcast network. No doubt Pax TV has been in this territory before--perhaps with even lower ratings--as has its successor, i.

MyNetworkTV executives are honest. Upfront advertising wasn't near the network's modest target of $50 million, while competitor CW rocketed to $650 million. MyNetworkTV says it needs to prove itself to advertisers before they'll commit. If that's the case, there will be a bigger proving ground. MyNetworkTV says its "upfront" advertising market is ongoing--which is a nice way to say it didn't make its goals.

Lightning in the bottle can happen at anytime in TV. But even MyNetworkTV needs to find the right weather conditions.

In its former life, MyNetwork's two telenovelas, "Fashion House" and "Desire," started off as two humble syndicated shows. Those 0.8 ratings for its shows might be appropriate and expected under that premise. But as a broadcast network with zeros associated with its programming, it almost looks like a shutout.

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