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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

  • 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.

  • More On Those Ineffective Network Promos in Research Intelligencer on 08/26/2019

    In the era of "peak TV," with more viewing choices available than ever before, it takes viewers longer to even become aware of a new series, much less start watching it. This makes effective on-air promotion (still the best way to create such awareness) more important than ever. The broadcast networks' lack of effective new series promotion is stunning. In this week's edition, I return to the subject, because it warrants being repeated over and over again, until the networks' listen.

  • Some Hidden Gems To Stream In The Era Of Peak TV in Research Intelligencer on 08/12/2019

    Higher-profile and award-winning streaming series, such as "House of Cards," "Orange is the New Black," "Stranger Things," "Narcos," "Black Mirror," "The Crown," "The Handmaid's Tale" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" have dominated press and social media conversations. In this week's edition, I highlight some of the "hidden gems" that may have gotten less attention, but nonetheless deserve yours. I'll try my best not to provide any spoilers.

  • Broadcast Network Promos: Dumb And Dumber in Research Intelligencer on 07/16/2019

    In this week's edition I once again call on the major broadcast networks to do something I've been recommending since the inception of this report: Cross-promote, or die. Last summer, my wife and I started watching CBS's summer drama "Instinct." It recently returned for a new season to low ratings. This did not surprise me at all.

  • How To Make The Emmys More Viewer-Friendly in Research Intelligencer on 07/08/2019

    Last year's Emmy Awards broadcast was the least watchable I've ever seen, and I've been watching them forever. It seemed sparse, hollow, and low-budget. Most of the skits were not funny in the slightest. They seemed intent on driving away older viewers (my mother-in-law couldn't take watching it after about 30 minutes), without having any idea how to appeal to a younger crowd. The structure of the show was awkward and disconnected - announcing the nominees, then bringing out celebrity presenters to banter, and then announcing the winners. By the time they got to presenting each award, I forgot who was nominated. In this week's edition, I provide my suggestions for making TV's awards show more friendly for TV viewers.

  • Summer Bingeing: 20 TV Series You Should Check Out in Research Intelligencer on 06/27/2019

    Once a time for little but repeats, reality, and game shows, the summer months are now filled with original scripted series - several on cable networks, but many you may never have heard of on streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and CBS All Access, as well. In this week's edition, I offer my picks for the best series you may not have heard about, but should check out over the summer. Each has at least two seasons worth of episodes you can binge. I'll try my best not to provide spoilers.

Comments by Steve All comments by Steve

  • 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. 

  • Will Less Clutter, Shorter Commercial Pods Matter? by Steve Sternberg (Television News Daily on 05/22/2018)

    Whe e did the research demonstrting less commercial avoidance and higher ad reall 10 years ago, that was a year before Niesen started measuring C3 and C7, and when DVR penetration was barely 20% of the U.S.  Today, I think the networks shoud demonstrate that there is still a lift in ad recall before charging a makor premium.  I would experiment over the summer and do the research before September.

  • Will Less Clutter, Shorter Commercial Pods Matter? by Steve Sternberg (Television News Daily on 05/22/2018)

    Hi Ed. Not sure how we differ. 

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