Shaquille O'Neal, one of the wittiest, smartest, funniest and most engaging players ever, will be joining TNT's "Inside the NBA" studio show, which is already splendid thanks to the unpredictable and ingenuous commentary of Charles Barkley. Not to be forgotten, though, is the roles host Ernie Johnson and fellow analyst Kenny Smith play in deftly goading Barkley into making provocative and unencumbered comments. No doubt, they will help O'Neal shine and spur some sparring with Barkley.
Apple's role in the evolving media marketplace is potent with its devices offering all sorts of new ways for content and advertising consumption. But with that dominance, the artful company is having a negative impact on the burgeoning field of cross-platform media research.
Think News Corp. regrets its decision to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers? Had its Fox group held onto the team it bought in 1998, the company would simply be moving money from one pocket to another, not thrust in the middle of a nasty divorce proceeding, while facing sudden competition from Time Warner Cable. Now, the problems have it eager to pay the Dodgers $3 billion. And, if it doesn't get the pleasure of paying the fortune, the outcome could be big trouble for a valuable asset.
TVB, the trade group that looks to boost ad sales for local broadcasters, is floating data showing local news is outfoxing high-profile cable news in multiple markets. One implication: despite consumer interest in stories such as CNN trying to reinvent itself, the impact of Keith Olbermann going to Current TV and Glenn Beck to broadband, and Piers Morgan replacing Larry King, that buzz doesn't necessarily translate into viewership. Cable news nets have also spent liberally on promotions, such as a recent MSNBC Web campaign, featuring its stars. But, said TVB executive Jack Poor: "Don't be fooled by the celebrity value …
Controversy continues to roil about the highly rated ESPN broadcast, which aired a year ago today, where NBA free agent LeBron James announced he would be leaving Cleveland for the Miami Heat. It may stoke debate in perpetuity. With at least some distance, it's important to provide answers on the fallout. Here they are.
DirecTV CEO Mike White recently mused about his wife bragging about deals she landed at Costco. White reportedly had compensation of $33 million last year, so if his wife feels pinched, it indeed is a new normal. Yet, there's a contrast between the apparent health of Big Business and the struggles among consumers, and TV advertising seems to be unaffected. There may be some cutbacks - General Mills last week said fiscal year spending was below the previous one - but even so the company said it's media spending was more efficient. If that applies to TV, that's a Harvard …
Perp walks and mug shots make for great video. But do they unethically alter the principle of innocent until proven guilty? TV executives may agree, but they can't forgo them lest a competitor gain an advantage. A high-profile suspect in cuffs makes for great stuff.
The story about cable challenging broadcast is nothing new, but the progress markers continue to surprise. In the last few days, ESPN has grabbed rights to an event that's been on NBC forever, while a company with no networks in the top 20 went public. But, when cable executives want to make the parity argument going forward the most firepower may come from Jon Stewart. Cable reaches fewer homes and much of it is geared towards niche audiences. Yet even with those hurdles, Stewart topped both Leno and Letterman in the key ratings in the second quarter.
Cable operators continue to develop killer technology, while even if cord-cutting takes off, their broadband business will be a buffer. Netflix runs on their pipes, right? Meanwhile, Jeff Zucker's vision for Katie Couric's coming show is compelling, while the fact the NFL may settle the labor dispute with no lost games is startling. Meanwhile, Chrysler's bastardizing its hit Super Bowl spot; no Tiger in golf and Americans fading in tennis; and a still-troubled economy are low points.