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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 (

Articles by Steve All articles by Steve

  • 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.

  • Do I Really Watch That Much Netflix? Don't Ask in TV Everywhere on 03/29/2017

    Over the holidays, I was at my in-laws, and we started discussing various TV shows, recommending different series to one another. I started realizing most of the shows I recommended were on Netflix. Could I actually be watching more Netflix than any traditional network? It sure didn't seem that way.

  • On TV Everywhere, Kickass Women Rule  in TV Everywhere on 03/22/2017

    Where to find the feistiest woman on the small screen.

  • Who's Watching Those Commercials Anyway?  in TV Everywhere on 03/15/2017

    I often see data that shows DVR usage is not that significant across the entire day, accounting for less than 10% of total rating points. During prime time, however, it is massive, particularly for original scripted series. Consider that more than 40% of adults 18-49 or 25-54 still do not own a DVR. Despite this, the average original scripted series (on both broadcast and cable) has half its total U.S. audience through DVR playback. That means, on average, more than 80% of viewing of original scripted series among DVR owners is time-shifted.

  • YouTube TV: Made For The New Media Generation  in TV Everywhere on 03/08/2017

    YouTube TV seems most geared to the two most recent media generations. The Multi-Platform Generation (1996-2010) grew up with high-speed Internet, DVRs, on demand, video streaming, smartphones, social media, multimedia devices, and original scripted series no longer being exclusive to broadcast television. The Mobile Generation (born after 2010) will grow up watching what they want, when they want, and where they want it. This generation makes little distinction between broadcast, cable, SVOD, or OTT. Content means more than distribution source or screen.

  • Assorted TV Everywhere Thoughts  in TV Everywhere on 03/01/2017

    Riffs on the following headlines: The Oscars Telecast Still Needs Fixing; Broadcast Networks Need to Cross-Promote New Series; Should CBS All Access be Programmed Like Netflix?

  • How To Fix The Academy Awards in TV Everywhere on 02/22/2017

    The Academy Awards air this Sunday. I've watched them every year since I was a kid, and every year I look forward to it. But every year I am bored for three-plus hours, and every year I promise myself that next year I'll tune in after 11 p.m. and just see who wins the top awards. Some relatively simple changes, however, could revitalize the show and make it more viewer- (and advertiser-) friendly -- and perhaps reverse the trend that saw its median viewer age rise from 47 to 55+ over the past 10 years.

Comments by Steve All comments by Steve

  • Neuro Study Confirms 'Second Screens' No. 1 Source Of Distraction For TV Viewers, Albeit With Some Upside by Joe Mandese (MediaDailyNews on 04/19/2017)

    I suspect that second screen use while watching TV has simply replaced other multi-tasking. If I recall correctly, the Video Consumer Mapping study released by the CRE almost 10 years ago indicated that there was significantly less multi-tasking when watching something via DVR compared to live viewing.  Has the new study looked into this?

  • Do I Really Watch That Much Netflix? Don't Ask by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 03/29/2017)

    That's primarily because the very nature of the upfront rewards only network standings and are measured by cpm increases.  Actual rating gains or losses is not part of the buying-selling equation.  Ridiculous sounding, but true nonetheless.

  • Bad Binge Ahead! Netflix's 'Iron Fist' Hammered by P.J. Bednarski (VidBlog on 03/17/2017)

    Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage are so good, Netflix might be due for a clunker.  Still looking forward to watching it.  Might have actually been more controversial with Marvel fans if the character, who was white in the comic books, was changed to Asian for the series.

  • Video On Demand Gains 25% With Older Viewers by Wayne Friedman (Television News Daily on 03/17/2017)

    35-49 older viewers?  I don't think so.  35-49 year-olds are the biggest users of almost all media, including DVRs.  So it's no surprise that they are now showing the biggest gains among video on demand.  And again, I've never heard anyone refer to adults 35-49 as older viewers.

  • Who's Watching Those Commercials Anyway? by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 03/15/2017)

    Let me know Ed.  Thanks.

  • Who's Watching Those Commercials Anyway? by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 03/15/2017)

    Ed, every research I have seen shows more than 70% fast-forwarding.  I conducted my own research less than 3 years ago that indicated 75% of playback fast-forwarded through commercials. I am not aware of any    Nielsen data on the subject. I've been asking Nielsen for years to address the topic.  I believe if you do calculations based on Nielsen's live and live + 7 ratings you can arrive at the 50% figure that you've heard about, but that is not accurate. 

  • YouTube TV: Made For The New Media Generation by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 03/08/2017)

    Ed, I think perhaps you underestimate how many young YouTube video streamers also watch a lot of traditional TV from the broadcast nets and their owned cable nets.  But you are right in that the broadcast nets benefit from everything. 

  • Assorted TV Everywhere Thoughts by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 03/01/2017)

    Ed- whether or not they are competing for ad dollars, and I word argue that the broadcast nets are competing with cable  despite separate upfronts. Upfronts are the end point. They compete in the planning stage which sets the spend. But I was talking about competing for viewers. It is antiquated thinking for the broadcast nets not to think of themselves as allies. Every time and Empire or This is Us hits, it reminds the industry of the power of broadcast TV and benefits all broadcast nets. And we'd see more hits if they cross-promoted their programming. 

  • Assorted TV Everywhere Thoughts by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 03/01/2017)

    Hi Raoul-i think in today's media world the idea that broadcast networks see one another as greater competition than cable networks, Netflix, HBO, etc., is one of the silliest things I've heard. 

  • Cable News Networks: Alternative Facts Are Your Fault by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 02/01/2017)

    The phrase "we can't independently verify, but..." has become an all-too-often preamble to presenting something that may well be untrue.  CNN and MSNBC actually do this at least as much, if not more, than Fox News.

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