Family-friendly programming is a place where all families can get together watching the same TV show -- even if it means someone's head gets ripped off. Isn't that a comforting thought?
The NFL Network finally has some good blocking upfront this week -- or so it thinks. The network is airing the big Dallas Cowboys-Green Bay Packers game Thursday night to its limited consumer base of 35 million homes. This is just the situation the NFL seemingly wanted: a big game that consumers can't get too easily.
With the coming of the new year, marketers are getting increasingly nervous about the drop in ratings, a potential of tons of make-goods, and the long-term effects of a continuing writers' strike. Oh, have I forgotten to mention this was the first year of commercial ratings guarantees. What kind of market is this? Simply put, it's the opposite of stability.
With the crazy dual-headed disruption monster of commercial ratings and the writers' strike, this TV season has had more fire-breathing turmoil and injured parties than anyone could imagine -- except at Fox. The network has seemingly already beaten the odds.
Last July German TV networks stopped airing the Tour de France because one mid-level German cyclist from a German-based team tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. In this country, one of the biggest names in U.S. sports, San Francisco Giants baseball slugger Barry Bonds, has been indicted for lying about taking steroids to boost his baseball numbers. Will U.S.-based TV networks have similar troubles: for example, selling Major League Baseball to advertisers next year because of this scandal? More specifically, will local TV sponsors stop advertising on San Francisco Giants baseball games?
Big media companies may feel in control -- in no hurry to do a deal to solve the writers' strike (even if they have scheduled some new talks). All of which says they want it all. Why? Have you seen the stock prices of any media company recently? There's a race there. Which will hit bottom first -- low-rated TV shows or low company stock prices?
The networks writers strike' tap dancing has started. Good news: Now we can really start talking about this TV season's possible hits.
Late-night TV shows want to get back to work because 80% of their shows have nothing to do with union writers. Should that matter? Reality-TV producers have a better argument: 100% of their shows have no use for union writers. And that's why the networks, in the next several months, will be using them like premoistened wipes at a preschool.
TV writers want to get paid more in the new digital world. But they don't want checks from TV networks. They really want them from TV advertisers. The writers' union has taken great pains to single out how much they believe TV networks are making with Internet advertising video when streaming TV shows. But going to these niche microeconomic lengths will prove to be trouble.
So much for the Internet capitalizing on the writers' strike: TV Guide has just cancelled its first ever Online Video Awards. The publishing and cable TV company said this was due to the writers strike -- it didn't want to appear insensitive. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, since TV Guide is a proponent of traditional TV.