• The Horizontical
    I remember that when I started in the media business, around the mid-70s, the community's attention was focused on reach. Mass reach. Broad reach. Television. The cult of the horizontal. Three broadcast networks. Some black-and-white syndication. TV "upfronts" concluded no later than late May's Memorial Day. In the early to mid-80s, emulation expanded beyond the limits of its reflection, as cable co-opted the vertically magazined approach and injected it with horizontal modifications. ESPN, MTV, CNN, Nickelodeon and Discovery sought and won their niche psychographics and demographics.
  • Electoral Overdrive
    For those of us who get sucked in by elections and their coverage, election night itself is akin to the Superbowl without broadcast exclusivity. Instead of a private party hosted by one network with security and a high ticket price for advertisers, the election provides a full-blown Mardi Gras experience with reporters, analysts, pundits, candidates, plumbers, friends, relatives, neighbors and their dogs (pit bulls being the breed of choice this year) all getting in on the act across any and all media outlets they can. It is a veritable orgy of electile dysfunction, with projections, counter-projections, blue states, red states, …
  • For What It's Worth
    Honestly, lately I'm having trouble making sense of all of the numbers and concepts I come across in the average 24-hour media barrage. Let me share some examples....
  • Who Is Watching Television?
    "Wow. Sixteen million, seven hundred thousand people watched 'Dancing With the Stars.'" At 35,000 feet and above the roar of the jet engines, 3B nudged me out of my book. "Says right here in the New York Times. Sixteen million, seven hundred thousand people sat in front of their televisions and watched those celebrities on CBS twirl," she asserted. "It's an estimate," I said. "No, it's a count," she replied with conviction....
  • Whatcha Watchin', Joe The Plumber?
    I am utterly fascinated by American politics and media. The rise of Joe The Plumber as an iconic Everyman of a national election is well, interesting. Especially when we consider that this man and his story is unremarkable (and I mean that in the clinical sense of the word). But even as he recognizes the absurdity of the attention, being quoted by The Associated Press as saying, "I'm kind of like Britney Spears having a headache ... [e]verybody wants to know about it." Well, I am going to hop on the bandwagon and ask this medium of the middle, this …
  • Switching Over -- Or Out?
    I don't know about you, but whenever I encounter those earnest ads that tell us all about the digital switchover and what we have to do to ensure continued service beyond The Big Day, I can't help wondering just how much is truly understood by the average viewer.
  • What's Going To Happen To The 'Local' In Local Television?
    I lived in a number of small towns while growing up, but I spent most of my early years in Lake Doster, Mich. I do not recall exactly how much television I watched as a child, but based on my continued fondness for the medium, I would surmise the number of hours was significant. I do remember we tuned in to "The Brady Bunch" and "The Partridge Family" on Friday nights. After school it was Bozo the Clown, reruns of "Gilligan's Island," "The Monkees," and a silly little show called "Channel 3 Clubhouse."
  • Getting Them Young -- And Keeping Them
    With the Presidential debates well and truly underway, we are into the final stretch of an interminably long campaign for the White House, made at times to seem even longer by what has been something like two years of coverage. It is commonly and reasonably supposed that this time out, voters at the younger end of the demographic spectrum have been galvanized to a greater extent than previously. Similar suppositions are being made about the African-American community. Time will reveal the extent to which these levels of engagement in the period leading up to the election will be converted to …
  • Set Top Box Data: A Directional Exemplary Vivisection & Translation (Part II)
    After I published last week's TV Board, I was admonished by a friend - a charming, very tall, Olympic-swimming Brit: "You of all people should understand that set top boxes are tuning meters. Therefore the use of the words 'audience' and 'viewers' is specious. Tuning is a surrogate for viewers - and, depending on the channel and demo, can be quite good or quite poor."
  • Interactivity And The Vice Presidential Debate
    I am squeamish when it comes to competitive conflict -- especially when the stakes are high. I am the person who can't watch playoff games, the Olympics, or debates. I watched almost all of the 2008 Olympics from my DVR. Why? Because the thought of not knowing if Michael Phelps won was too much for me to handle. So last night, knowing what was at stake, I chose to have dinner with a dear friend and set the DVR to record the debate. The one wrinkle in my plan: I never considered that the restaurant would have a TV.
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