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Steve Sternberg

Member since September 2009Contact Steve

Steve Sternberg currently works as a freelance media consultant. He has more then 30 years of television and video analysis experience, having held top research posts at Bozell, TN Media, Magna Global, and ION Media Networks. He also authors The Sternberg Report (www.sternbergreport.com)

Articles by Steve All articles by Steve

  • The Best Fall Season Pilots in Television News Daily on 06/28/2017

    In my 30 years of analyzing network pilots, I've seen many good ones flop as series, and many mediocre ones become long-running hits. You always need to ask yourself a few basic questions. Is a comedy funny because of one specific thing that happens in the pilot, or does it have a cast that people will want to see week after week in basically the same situation? Is this a good one-time movie or will it make an interesting series? Is it typical of other shows on the network, or is it going after a substantially different audience? And don't forget, shows make stars, stars don't make shows (Tom Selleck notwithstanding).

  • Promotional Malpractice Will Cause Some New Shows To Fail in Television News Daily on 06/22/2017

    Cable networks long ago realized the best way to grow their audience was to appeal to those who were watching similar shows on other networks. They also understood that it didn't really hurt them if other cable networks did the same. If everyone gained viewers, more advertising dollars would shift from broadcast to cable, and everyone would eventually benefit. This made perfect sense 20 years ago. At the time, cable networks were trying to compete with the much bigger, stronger, and more established broadcast networks. They initially saw themselves more as allies than competitors. The broadcast networks, on the other hand, once controlled more than 90% of all television viewing, and traditionally have only seen one another as competitors. They competed so fiercely for every rating point and to move up in the standings, that cross-promotion was unfathomable. The competitive video landscape today is worlds beyond where it was back then. It is not the 1980s or 1990s anymore. A broadcast hit on one network actually benefits all networks.

  • How Much Should Live Viewing Really Matter To Advertisers? in MediaDailyNews on 06/05/2017

    Not long ago, we were in a television world where the most loyal program viewers were also the most attentive commercial viewers. Today, the most loyal program viewers, those who watch their favorite programs on DVRs, are the most likely to avoid commercials. These loyal folks only represent about half of TV homes in the U.S. but the vast majority of their viewing is time-shifted - which presents a dilemma for advertisers.

  • Yes, Virginia, The Upfront Presentations Are Still Important  in Television News Daily on 05/19/2017

    The broadcast networks unveiled their fall television schedules to the industry over several days of presentations this past week. As I was sitting through the CBS pitch to advertisers on Wednesday, I realized why these presentations are actually more important than ever.

  • Do We Still Need An Upfront?  in TV Everywhere on 05/10/2017

    The broadcast networks are the driving force in maintaining the upfront, and are the main beneficiaries. The upfront system creates an artificial supply and demand, which enables broadcast networks to continually raise costs despite declining ratings.

  • Pre-Upfront: Things That Matter, Things That Don't  in TV Everywhere on 05/03/2017

    Live viewing matters -- and so does cross-promotion. Pre-season buzz for a show doesn't.

  • Bill O'Reilly's Ratings: Not As Strong As You Might Think  in TV Everywhere on 04/26/2017

    Recent headlines exclaiming "Cable News Ratings Soar," about how there were 72.5 billion minutes of news consumption in 2016, made me cringe. Any time you start talking about billions of minutes viewed, it's a not-too-transparent attempt to hide the fact that average ratings are small. This is relevant in light of Bill O'Reilly being fired from Fox News under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations.

  • Will NFL Ratings Rise Again? in TV Everywhere on 04/19/2017

    As the NFL draft approaches, I thought I'd add my own two cents to the discussion of football ratings. Despite some ratings declines this past season, NFL football remains by far the highest-rated sport on television. While virtually everything on television declines almost every year, simply as a result of ever-expanding viewing options, when NFL ratings slip it seems to cause undue panic in many quarters.

  • Traditional TV Still Rules -- Even Among Millennials in TV Everywhere on 04/12/2017

    Nielsen just released its quarterly "Total Audience" report, which provides an overview of the television landscape. The headlines that accompany these reports are often misleading, and sometimes simply misinterpret the data. I looked at the last three Q4 reports to get an idea of what's really going on.

  • When You Live By The Headline, You Die By The Headline  in TV Everywhere on 04/05/2017

    I've long complained about misleading headlines in stories about media and television viewing. Headlines scream about how traditional TV is on the decline, while other screens are on the rise by leaps and bounds. It's not until you read the actual stories that you realize that, (in many of them) either the research is dubious or has been misinterpreted. Other screens are indeed on the rise, but traditional TV is still doing just fine, and remains dominant among virtually every age group. While annoying to those of us who analyze what's really going on in the industry, it doesn't matter that much in the scheme of things. In politics, however, it matters.

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