You always had to wonder why the BBC wasn't a bigger deal in the U.S. It's one of the biggest English-language TV producers in the world -- yet for U.S. viewers, from a ratings point of view, the channel BBC America was always a bit of ho-hum.
The TV business is just like football: Tackling and blocking is necessary -- sometimes even sacking. MTV has failed to become the next cool YouTube, MySpace, or Facebook. Not only that, but parent company Viacom's stock is down. Now the company's new chief honchos are looking for payback -- firings.
In an age of new digital video venues, the almost forgotten TV business -- pay-per-view -- is finally getting two things it has always wanted: attention from movie studios and an even playing field. Comcast Corp. has convinced five of the six major studios to allow it to test the waters in debuting PPV movies on the same day DVDs are available at video stores.
Rupert Murdoch wants the forthcoming Fox Business Channel to be "more business friendly than CNBC." CNBC, he said, was quick to "leap on every scandal." Yeah, who wants that. Why rush into things on Enron, for example, or those crazy guys at Adelphia Communications who used the company like it was their own golden piggy bank?
TV marketers wouldn't advertise sex-themed or violence-laden products to kids under 12 years old. But up until recently, bad or fat-inducing food was always on the table. Now kids' product companies are under the gun. Confectionary makers, of course, have it the worst. There really aren't any healthy claims for gooey candy bars.
When is the word "electrifying" not so "terrifying"? Apparently when that word was used in the high-profile Super Bowl spot that ran on CBS this past Sunday. Famed film producer Harvey Weinstein was worried about the copy in a commercial for his forthcoming film "Hannibal Rising." The spot featured a voiceover saying, "The most terrifying thriller of the new year." Weinstein thought it better to change the word to electrifying, so as not to scare the kids on Sunday Bowl Sunday
Ben Silverman, the executive producer of shows such as NBC's "The Office and "The Biggest Loser," as well as ABC's new hit this year, "Ugly Betty," likes the "transparency" of NBC's Jeff Zucker, who is expected to be named chairman of NBC Universal today, succeeding the two-decades-long reign of veteran Bob Wright.
The Super Bowl had many predictable results -- the business of the commercials, the resultant champion Indianapolis Colts, and the rainy Miami weather, which yielded some dampening results.
TV pressure groups should take note of what has happened at MyNetworkTV: Viewers become bored when sex and violence air on TV five nights a week. Yesterday, MyNetworkTV finally announced what the rest of the TV business press has known since last September: that the network's all-prime-time, all-English-language telenovela plan had little chance of success.
What value can you put on a marketing promotion that goes wrong? I mean, really wrong. Wrong enough where city bomb squads and the Department of Homeland Security gets involved. You might say no money is worth that, especially if lives were at stake. You might say it was inappropriate or dangerous. Perhaps others may be a tad more positive, calling it edgy or even daring.
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