Apparently, network complaints about Obama prime time pressers need to be taken with a grain or two of salt. Maybe those particular events are costly, but in general, the President brings in viewers and cash when he appears on television.
The NBC two part behind the scenes at the White House special was cited as a big money maker, as was the recent ABC day-long heath care event. And the main event itself is said to be just a start. The positive benefits spill over into various news and magazine programs, related cable channels and on the network website.
Obama is also an extremely valuable “get” for any talk/interview program, and is a highly prized guest on the late night comedy talkers. The effect is also a huge positive for the Washington Sunday morning yakfests.
The networks insist there is no bias involved in this symbiotic relationship. They insist the same opportunities were offered to the Bush administration, but were not often accepted.
By the way, Obama’s sway over television apparently does not extend to Russia. One of that nation’s state-run television stations did carry Obama’s news conference with opposite number Dmitry Medvedev, but the other gave Russian viewers the option of watching a soccer game.
RBR/TVBR observation: The benefits of this symbiotic relationship to Obama are obvious – access to a national audience to whom he can pitch his agenda. And the networks can pitch the commercial breaks to their clients who can gain their own benefit from access to the same audience, going in with the reasonable expectation that the audience will be a large one.