Media Briefing for Wednesday, November 22, 2006

November 22nd, 2006

ABC is planning to pull back from its legal challenge in 4 FCC findings of indecency, Broadcasting & Cable which reports the ABC shows involved were NYPD Blue episodes, says CBS, NBC and Fox are expected to continue with their challenges.

A University of Wisconson — Madison News Lab study has found that on local TV newscasts, viewers this election season saw more than twice as much time devoted to political ads, than to election news coverage. Associated Press reports the study showed about 4-and-a-half minutes of political ads in each half hour local newscast, compared with 1 minute and 43 seconds of election coverage in the newscast.

Boston Globe owner The New York Times Company has rejected a bid by GE’s Jack Welch and local investors to buy the Globe. The Boston Globe reports the Times told the group in a letter that the Globe remains an important asset and said the company is not interested in pursuing the sale.

The Rhode Island attorney general has closed the books after a 2 year investigation into earlier plans to sell two Rhode Island AM public radio stations, WRNI 1290 Providence and WXNI 1230 Westerly. Associated Press reports the two stations will remain in public hands. Listeners were angered after they had pledged money for the purchase of the stations to serve as public radio stations, and then plans were announced to sell off the stations. The stations will now remain in the hands of Boston University and its flagship WBUR 90.9, the NPR station in Boston.

Advertising supporting broadcast programming dates back to 1922 when the first ad for a Queens condominium complex ran on WEAF (now WFAN) 660 New York. Will TV in the future become ad-free, following the lead of premium channels like Home Box Office and Showtime? Advertising Agemagazine notes that viewers flee from ads and are already using DVRs and Tivo to eliminate ads. Ad Age asks whether they will instead opt to pay for shows a la carte?

Cable operator Comcast and Disney have signed a multi-billion dollar deal that allows Comcast to distribute Disney content through its cable video-on-demand service. Associated Press reports Comcast would spend $1 billion a year to purchase programming such as popular ABC shows ?Desperate Housewives? and Lost? plus shows from ESPN, the Disney Channel and Toon Disney.<

Cable operators are balking at a new channel operated by the National Football League to show its own games. Associated Press reports. The Washington Post examines the NFL network.

The CBS deal with YouTube is proving to be a boon for CBS. The Hollywood Reporter reports some of the most widely viewed videos on YouTube are CBS product.

College presidents are erasing the divide between themselves and the students, reports the New York Times which says college presidents are getting into blogging themselves.

A new study says the internet ranks behind only TV as the source of science news. <a href=<associated Press reports on the Pew study.

The Los Angeles Times takes a detailed look at this week’s California Supreme Court ruling limiting liability for internet providers, in libel cases. Here is the Los Angeles Times story.

Search engine company Google keeps climbing. On Tuesday, its stock value reached $500 per share for the first time. Associated Press reports Google is now in the elite of corporations. The New York Times quotes a stock advisor who advised his clients to sell Google after its stock more than doubled after the initial offering. The Times says the advisor now says that advice was a terrible mistake. The Chicago Tribune notes Google’s shares have gone from $85 a share 2 years ago to over $509 now. The San Jose Mercury News says many are predicting even further growth for Google.

The new AOL chief sees parallels with TV. Associated Press reports the AOL chief sees the online business becoming a formidable competitors with TV and other traditional media. Meanwhile online advertising revenue for newspapers is increasing. Online Media Daily reports.

It’s not just political secrets that are being captured and exposed on YouTube. Now it’s corporate culture that until now remained inside the corporate walls. The Wall Street Journal reports multiple examples of inside corporate activities now being made available to the world on YouTube.

In Canada, two new web interactive TV channels were introduced this week. CBC News Plus and TSN Extra were introduced Tuesday. The Globe and Mail reports the two channels are the first stage in what is believed to be the next battleground for cable, satellite and telecom providers.

The O.J. Simpson book and interview, cancelled this week, could end up on the internet. Associated Pressreporter Hillel Italie says it could end up on YouTube or eBay, in this age of leaks of scandalous and secret material to internet sources. He also reports on accusations that Fox’s parent company offered ?hush? money to the family of Nicole Simpson, for the family to remain quiet. Here is the AP report. The Boston Globe also has a major story.

A new study is questioning the popularity of iPod video. The Hollywood Reporter says the Nielsen Media study showed less than 1% of content items played by iPod users on either iTunes or the device itself were videos.

Confusion over high definition television, HDTV, is dampening enthusiasm among consumers, reports USA Today which says people are more interested in watching DVDs and playing video games on HDTV sets than watching TV shows. Meanwhile there is a price war for flat screen and high definition television sets. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Each year China Central Television, a state-operated station with 15 nationwide channels covering about 95% of the population, holds an auction of its advertising time. Forbes reports that Procter and Gamble, Lenovo, and Bank of China were among those bidding aggressively in the 13-hour auction.

Will audiences accept gay actors playing the roles of straight men? The Los Angeles Times has this report.

Director Steven Spielberg is cautioning against excessive violence on television. Broadcasting & Cable reports Spielberg named specific shows in his public comments.

Wall Street won’t have giant radio operator Clear Channel Communications to kick around any more, says USA Today which reports CEO Mark Mays is pleased with the plan to go private.

Former President Bill Clinton was among those at the memorial service for former 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley. Associated Press reports.

For those wishing to spend Thanksgiving Day listening to fictional crime on the radio, the Los Angeles public radio station KCRW 89.9 is offering 4 hours of it both Thursday and Friday. The Los Angeles Times reports on KCRW’s programs, which can also be heard on the web at

Even before his anti-Semitic tirades, Mel Gibson’s film Apocalypto was a tough sell, according to the Los Angeles Times. Now, the Los Angeles Times reports, Disney is starting its publicity campaign for the film which opens December 8. Among other things, Disney is using its ABC network to do so.