Did millions of dollars go to small cable networks that didn't deserve it? A glitch in the Nielsen system resulted in an over-reporting of ratings on smaller networks since October -- all thanks to the big TV researcher's miscalculation concerning household coverage of those networks on satellite distributors. Will cable networks sue? Will advertiser sue those networks? Sounds like a big mess. Surely, the words "make goods" and "audience deficiency units" are being thrown around. But other words should be said: like, flawed research procedures.
In case you didn't know it, the writers' strike is still on. As far as viewers can tell, there are few, if any, scripted shows on network schedules. From the viewer perspective, there is still no work from TV drama or comedy writers.
Concerning the TV spot advertising business, Irwin Gotlieb, CEO of WPP's Group M, is spot-on. For decades, those local TV make-goods, those local pre-emptions - all which have delivered an atrocious 85% discrepancy rate on average for each local TV invoice -- are too much to bear in this digital age, he says.
At Fox Business Channel, it's all about dirty sexy money. The upstart financial network has taken Jim Cramer of CNBC's "Mad Money" to task concerning his call on the Bear Stearns situation. The network took out a print ad in The New York Times, and other places, saying, in essence, that Cramer was wrong. But Fox Business News didn't give Cramer's typical emotional diatribe any context.
Local cable systems never had those local brand names that TV stations or local TV shows had. Now cable wants a piece of that local brand -- I think. It appears Comcast, as well as the likes of Verizon's FiOS, are looking to up the TV brand ante, developing "[their] own original, hyper-local, human-interest TV programming."
There are now 5-second and 10-second delays of live TV award shows. There are more and more edited reality shows. And soon there'll be no live broadcasts from the home of this year's Summer Olympics -- or at least no live broadcasts from the cultural and photographic center of Beijing, China -- Tiananmen Square.
Two recent ratings moves by Fox prove one thing: One network can have it all. It was one thing when Fox recently usurped CBS as the top network viewed on average by most viewers, along with Fox's now-annual crown as the leader among 18-49 viewers. Now, adding insult to injury, the Wednesday version of CBS' still-strong "Survivor" came in second to Fox's new surprising reality effort, "Moment of Truth."
The deepening funk over new TV shows has NBC Universal's Jeff Zucker saying 22 prime-time hours of scripted programming a week should be a thing of the past. Instead, Zucker says to look more at Fox -- only programming 15 hours a week.
TV ratings should be easy enough for people to digest -- or add up. Patrick Keane, vice president and chief marketing officer for CBS Interactive, wishes there would be a system that could do simple summing: like adding the ratings of CBS' still-troubling TV show, "Jericho," to the show's online video viewing.
When will HBO find its programming mojo again? HBO brass has been wondering that, too. They recently decided that Carolyn Strauss, the company's president of entertainment, should consider hiring a "lieutenant" to help her find it -- another way of saying "Please look to hire your eventual replacement." No dummy, Strauss then wanted HBO to review her entire situation at HBO. And you know what that means.