Big-name actors who recently received their Emmy nominations have started with the platitudes about all those lower-profile personnel -- fellow actors, directors, technicians, hair stylists, and grips. In TV and other entertainment fields, it's all about sharing high-profile credit. But this doesn't always mean much to the average TV viewer.
Name one large TV sporting event that has nearly doubled its viewership from a year ago. The NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL, or the NHL would all be wrong answers. The correct one would be the Tour de France on Versus, which, for its first nine days of coverage has sprinted to an 83% gain, 481,000 viewers against last year's nine-day average of 263,000.
More fee-based payments for TV shows on the Internet? Sounds like a return to the iTunes Music Stores -- but those days when only a handful of networks sold TV shows for $1.99 an episode, starting the whole TV program on the Internet boom. Things evolved into a no-fee, advertising-supported model -- because people like stuff free. Turns out that was just a tease. It seems research, the marketplace, and prominent cable operators are now rallying behind the thought: "The free ride is over."
Local TV stations are in still in big danger -- possibly losing even more influence among TV viewers. Minority broadcasters say they are in trouble, and 14 group owners have co-signed a letter asking the federal government for help. Not only that -- but Representative Mike Ross (D-Ark) wants to find ways of getting local station signals to those fringe, orphan communities that cable and satellite program distributors don't carry.
NBC is pissed at the United States Olympic Committee -- and the International Olympic Committee is pissed at the USOC. Years of investment by NBC in the Olympic brand won't get the network to be part of a cable channel being planned by the USOC.
The journalistically minded "Nightline" seems to have stolen the thunder of the late-night entertainment shows. In recent days this had much to do with quick-hit of "Nightline"'s coverage of Michael Jackson's passing, a big entertainment draw. The ABC show had big week to week gains among all viewers, with 4.02 million viewers as compared to 3.58 million for CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" and 2.42 million for "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien."
It's almost mid-July, and still no broadcast upfront -- a rarity in recent upfront marketplace memory. Hello, August! One media executive jokes that we might as well just move into doing just fourth quarter scatter deals -- and worry later about first quarter and beyond.
Traditional TV started off as "free" to consumers -- just like YouTube. But traditional TV couldn't stay really free. Are there lessons to be learned here?
TV's summer can give wannabe personalities plenty of room for some branding punch, what with much overall TV viewing on the down-low. One likely personality is the wild and woolly, soon-to-be-ex-Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. The always entertaining, sound-bite-worthy, former vice presidential candidate is the perfect choice to zap a dull summer time period.
First impressions of the new Jay Leno show seem one of a straight set of comedy: jokes, jokes, and more jokes. Network promos have Leno offstage saying: "Got a new show coming on at 10 p.m,. and I'm going to need a lot of jokes."