• Station Groups Want Blackout Rules To Stay -- For Live Programming To Thrive
    Whatever leverage broadcasters have with sports programming could be lost if the Federal Communications Commission decides to get rid of blackout rules.These rules prevent the importing of signals from distant markets, which can hurt a local station's viewership. If the rules go away -- allowing stations and others to glut the market with more sports programming -- a different kind of marketplace will develop, which station groups say could wreak havoc.
  • Scatter Market Nears, But What About Revenues?
    TV business axioms are made to be broken. One such axiom: A weak upfront market is almost assuredly followed by a strong scatter market. Some media executives believe this typical scenario is holding together -- with the thinnest of TV business threads. Others believe a new wave is coming: Scatter may not bring much joy going forward in the long term.
  • Watching Commercial Breaks In VOD Programming, But No Actual Commercials
    New to ad-supported video-on-demand services from DirecTV, I warned my wife as we sat down to watch our first show: "There's no fast-forwarding." Tension filled the room -- commercials would soon be upon us.
  • Racing Onto More On-Screen Messaging
    More testing of on-screen messaging is occurring for one of TV's biggest sports franchises: the NFL. During pre-season 49ers games on KPIX, San Francisco, Toyota on-screen messages appear when action occurs in the "red zone": inside the 20-yard line when teams are pressing for a score. This isn't a small messaging overlay. "Toyota Red Zone" appears in big and bold red letters, taking up virtually the entire screen. Can you even see the players? While the message is on the screen, it's hard. The reviews are in: Everybody hates it.
  • Cord-Cutting Reaction Is Deep Sigh -- Even As Pay TV Prices Continue Climbing
    More so than with food, clothing, gas or landscaping, the cost of pay TV for consumers continues to climb faster than the rate of inflation. And we are doing pretty much nothing about it. I speak of the still somewhat-benign activity of cord-cutting, which has been negligible -- partly due to pay TV additions from new households.
  • Is Local TV Digital Growing Too Slowly?
    Growing digital revenues are a nice bonus for broadcast stations. But are they growing fast enough? Borrell Associates estimates that local TV-related digital advertising sales will get to $2.9 billion this year -- about 6.5% of all local TV revenue. Borrell notes that some TV companies see as little as 3% of their ad revenues from digital, others as high as 8%. But Borrell notes how well stations "could be doing."
  • The Next Camouflage Advertising?
    HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" took a bunch of swings at native advertising, including the CEO of Time Inc. -- who at best seems to shrug his shoulders over the fact that "native" advertising might be blurring traditional church and state considerations. In that regard, if "native" is just another shrug of shoulders for digital consumers, what will this mean for consumers ten years from now?
  • Guessing Your New TV Show's Ratings At Episode 50 Or 100
    Predicting where TV shows will land in the world of viewership ratings has been a fanciful art form for some time. And if you throw in the digital space, things might get tougher.
  • Running And Watching TV More: Will I Live Longer?
    Run five minutes a day and live three years longer? This is according to research in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. What about other activities? Would watching five more minutes of TV add another three years? Most would probably say it'll subtract three years -- or more.
  • Sharknado 2 By Tweets Or Viewers: Who Wins, And What's The Value?
    Looking for that jewel in the lazy summer haystack of TV programming? It might be Syfy's second "Sharknado" movie, depending on your current metric of choice. Some 3.9 million viewers checked in to the made-for-TV movie -- more than twice that of the initial original movie's 1.4 million. Nice numbers for a cable TV event. But there were also over 1 billion related tweets -- according to Syfy.
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