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Steve Sternberg

Member since September 2009Contact Steve

Steve Sternberg is currently Editor-in-Chief of The Sternberg Report. 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

  • The 2020 Streaming Wars in Research Intelligencer on 01/20/2020

    In this week's edition, I break down the winners and losers in the Streaming Wars.

  • A Brief History Of Cable And Streaming Dramas in Research Intelligencer on 01/13/2020

    Twenty years ago, the four broadcast networks were the only places you could find new original scripted series programming - and basically only six or seven months out of the year -- since they aired mostly repeats during non-sweeps months and throughout the summer. That started to change in the late 1990s/early 2000s, when "Oz" (1997-2003) and "The Sopranos" (1999-2007) debuted on HBO. Both of these groundbreaking series elevated the scripted drama beyond anything the broadcast networks were capable of doing (restrained as they were by advertiser concerns about language, sexual content, and violence). These two series changed the perception of what was possible on the small screen. HBO, and later Showtime, demonstrated that a network only available in about one-third of the country could develop hits that reach a widespread audience and become cultural touchpoints. In this week's edition I review the brief history and burgeoning market of original scripted dramatic series developed by cable and streaming services.

  • The Best 27 TV Series Of 2019 in Research Intelligencer on 12/10/2019

    That's right, I said 27. In this week's edition I examine the embarrassment of riches, not to mention the paradox of choice, of 2019's best TV series, many of which you may never even have heard of, much less seen.

  • "New Streamers Continue To Siphon Broadcast Network Viewers, No End in Sight" in Research Intelligencer on 11/13/2019

    That's one possible headline we might see over the next year or two as more major streaming services come online. Another could be: "Despite New Streamers, Broadcasters Gain Viewers - Network Executives Cite Cross-Promotion as Key." Here are my thoughts on a new TV season, like no other before...

  • Creating TV Buzz At Comic Cons in Research Intelligencer on 10/30/2019

    The TV industry has always had big events, confabs and stunts designed to create some early buzz for upcoming series, and given the role that super heroes, sci fi, and fantasy have played in programming development in recent years, it's probably no surprise that Comic Cons have emerged as a Mecca for new TV show launches. In this week's edition, I analyze the role the major comic cons are having on TV buzz.

  • Netflix Still Rules The OTT-Verse, But How Much Longer? in Research Intelligencer on 10/14/2019

    With so many program choices available during this current era of "peak TV," it often takes viewers longer than ever to even become aware of a new show, much less start watching it. While this increasingly is a big problem for ad-supported linear TV networks, the hit machine for streaming services functions very differently. In this week's edition, I analyze how viewers discover the next-new-OTT-thing, and what that portends for its most dominant player, Netflix.

  • Advertisers Should Not Let Nielsen Include Out-of-Home Viewing In TV's Currency Ratings in Research Intelligencer on 10/01/2019

    Amid renewed conversations about adding out-of-home audience viewership into Nielsen's national TV ratings, I use this week's edition to make the case that adding out-of-home to the national TV currency should stay out-of-mind for any self-respecting ad executive.

  • Here's Why Most New Network TV Shows Will Flop in Research Intelligencer on 09/23/2019

    The new prime-time TV seasons officially kicks off tonight, but it may not be as relevant as it used to be. In this week's edition, I recap the history of new season premieres and handicap the impact of this season's.

  • Does Pre-Season Buzz Really Matter? in Research Intelligencer on 09/16/2019

    In this week's edition, I examine the strategies associated with the timing debuts of new programming on broadcast, cable and streaming. While some shows generate a considerable amount of buzz before they premiere, others fly under the radar, which raises some obvious questions.

  • The Best New Season Pilots in Research Intelligencer on 09/03/2019

    I've been analyzing television programming for roughly 30 years, and have seen many good pilots flop as regular series, but also more than a few weak pilots build into hits. Increasingly, however, the latter is harder to come by. Long gone are the days when a Miami Vice can start out slowly and become a word-of-mouth success over the summer. Or a Seinfeld can take three years to find an audience and grow into an iconic hit. In this week's edition, I do my best to handicap the best of the 2019-20 prime-time season.

Comments by Steve All comments by Steve

  • Disney+ Overdelivers: 10 Million Subscribers At Launch by Wayne Friedman (Television News Daily on 11/13/2019)

    Not sure this was a real overdelivery. In last month's Sternberg Report I said I thought Disney could have more than 10 million subs by 2020, and 30 million in U.S. by 2024.

  • Disney's 'Mandalorian' Is Clint Eastwood In Outer Space by Adam Buckman (TVBlog on 11/14/2019)

    You beat me to it.  I was starting t write the same thing for The Sternberg Report.  Great minds...

  • Nielsen To Add Out-of-Home Viewers To National Ratings In 2020 by Karlene Lukovitz (Digital News Daily on 09/12/2019)

    While I seldom disagree with Jack or Ed, and I do not question that bar viewers are attentive to the program, it is simply ridiculous to think that commercials are anywhere near as effective as in home. Anyone who watches sports in a bar, particularly in groups, knows that they can’t hear the commercials and seldom watch them. I did a lot of research on tho subject when I was at Magna. Any agency or advertiser who accepts this is not doing their job. 

  • ABC Pushes Big On-Air Promos For New Fall Shows by Wayne Friedman (Television News Daily on 09/06/2019)

    But since the broadcast networks foolishly refuse to promote one another's series, much of the promotion you mntion is wasted.  Multiple ads on ABC game and reality shows isn't going to dramatically help a show like Stumptown or Emergece.

  • This Will Be A Sellers' Upfront by Dave Morgan (Media Insider on 05/30/2019)

    Demand never outweighs supply in TV.  The upfront system creates an artificial demand for what is essentially a (nearly) unlimited supply of rating points.  As long as the upfront system rewards rankings over actual audience size, the networks will continue to be able to charge more for a shrinking product.  Also should note that as average ratings decline, it becomes much easier to estimate future program and network performance, so guarantees, the only reason for advertisers to still want an upfront, are not nearly as useful as they once were.

  • 4 In 10 Ad Execs Predict Upfront Will Either Diminish Or Disappear In Five Years by Joe Mandese (Research Intelligencer on 05/08/2019)

    Real story is that more than 40% of advertisers and agencies think the upfront will expand.

  • Older Companies' Message To Netflix: We Want Our Shows Back by Adam Buckman (TVBlog on 04/29/2019)

    I think tthat even though Friends and The Office might be Netflix's most viewed shows, most people get Netflix for original series, not off-net stuff.  Once they get it, they start watching a lot of other things.  So I expect that it might be annoying to lose Friends, it probably won't contribute much to churn.  On average, viewers willspend less time with aNetflix, but it won't inhibit subscriber growth much.

  • Shorter TV Ads Command More Viewer Attention by Wayne Friedman (Television News Daily on 10/11/2018)

    This is the type of gibberish research that leads to gibberish headlines. 

  • 6-Second Commercials Are Dumb by Steve Sternberg (Television News Daily on 06/22/2018)

    I've never liked "eyes-on-screen" metrics.  First time I saw that was when networks were trying to convince agencies that viewers were paying attention when fast-forwarding through commercials.  I've never seen anything that correlates eyes-on-screen to ad recall.  And average second eyes on screen metrics to compare attentiveness to different commercial lengths is  just nonsense.  Having eyes focused on the screen is more of a function of multitasking than commercial length.  While there are probably quite effective and creative ways to use 6-second spots, you'll have to prove they are worth any type of premium price.

  • 6-Second Commercials Are Dumb by Steve Sternberg (Television News Daily on 06/22/2018)

    I think a lot of people have it backward.  For example, when I go to the movies with my wife and millennial son, my wife and I haven't seen most of the commercials they show because we DVR almost everything we watch on linear TV.  My son, on the other hand, watches the commerials and is familiar with all of them, as are his friends.  The idea that millennials have attention spans too short for 30 second commercials is gibberish.  They said the same thing about the MTV generation and 15s vs. 30s.  Where the attantion span comes into play is in the slow or fast pace of a program, certainly not in 6 second vs. 30 second commercials.  And my main point was in the effectiveness and cost differential. 

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