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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 224, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Tuesday Morning November 15th, 2005

TV News®

Nielsen getting down
to the PPM nitty-gritty

Nielsen Media Research is getting closer to making a go or no go decision on whether to enter into a joint venture with Arbitron to use Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) technology to measure TV and cable, as well as radio. Nielsen says it has expanded its internal due diligence team working on PPM to include additional experts in engineering, methodological research, statistical research, operations, IT and reporting. Jack Oken, General Manager of Local Business at Nielsen, has been heading up the due diligence team and will now be devoting even more of his time to the PPM evaluation. Thus, Catherine Herkovic, Sr. VP of Sales & Marketing, has been given the title of Interim General Manager of Local Business. Nielsen yesterday repeated its target of having a decision on a PPM joint venture in Q1 of 2006. Nielsen spokesman Jack Loftus tells RBR/TVBR that increasing the due diligence team doesn't indicate that the company is leaning one way or the other on the joint venture. But since Nielsen has just received data from Arbitron's Houston PPM test, there's lots of work to be done to complete the assessment for the Q1 decision. "Over the past several years, the PPM project has been one of our highest priorities. During this time, we have worked closely with Arbitron to determine if PPMs can be adapted as a currency for television ratings measurement. In the process, we have invested tens of millions of dollars and thousands of executive hours in testing, researching and evaluating this technology. We are committed to moving with all deliberate speed while ensuring that this important decision is based on careful analysis and extensive research," said Susan Whiting, President and CEO of Nielsen Media Research.

TVBR observation: While many radio groups have been cautious about moving from Arbitron's diaries to PPM, several major TV groups have been pressing Nielsen to jump on the PPM bandwagon - - especially groups such as Tribune and the Fox O&Os who really dislike Nielsen's Local People Meters (LPM) and want to see that technology phased out as quickly as possible to move to passive measurement. Plus, many TV executives are excited about having out-of-home viewing counted for the first time. Meanwhile, the advertiser/agency community is pushing hard for PPM - - and not just for radio (11/14/05 RBR #223). They want passive measurement for radio, TV and cable and would love to see a common ratings currency for all three. Meanwhile, Whiting is having to make a decision at a time when her parent company is in upheaval. Who knows who will even own Nielsen a year from now?

New Prez for Univision TV Group
Not so new, actually. Michael Wortsman had been Co-President, but now has sole possession of the title at the Univision Television Group. "Under Mike's leadership, we expect to see great improvements in sales at the station group and are delighted that he has agreed to take on these additional responsibilities," said Ray Rodriguez, President and COO of Univision Communications. Also moving up is Charles Stuart, who has been named Exec. VP and Director of Sales for the Univision Television Group. He had been Exec. VP of National Sales.

TVBR observation: So what happened to Tom Arnost, who had been the other Co-Prez? TVBR hears that he resigned from the company last week, but ever-secretive Univision isn't confirming that.

PTC claims more Nip/Tuck scalps
Parents Television Council says that three more accounts have been driven away from basic cable network FX's "Nip/Tuck," following the route blazed last week by Toyota. Joining the carmaker in the ad pull-out are Chattem, E-Loan and IKEA. Internet consumer loan firm E-Loan told PTC's Brent Bozell that the company "...places corporate responsibility at the highest level along with the values of our customers and the hard-earned positive brand image we've achieved," and was eliminating the show from its media mix, comments echoed by HBA retailer Chattem and furniture giant IKEA. PTC has been focusing its protests on the show's advertisers and promised more of the same, saying on its website, "Dozens of corporations who once sponsored Nip/Tuck no longer do so. Whether or not this powerful display of corporate responsibility is a result of the PTC's efforts is unimportant. What is important is that more and more family-brand products recognize the value of associating with television content that accurately reflects their corporate brand and image. We will continue to work tirelessly to provide all corporate advertisers with accurate content summaries of television programming which glorifies graphic violence, sex and profanity. And we will continue to raise public awareness of the important role that corporate advertisers play. Because our children are watching."


WGA takes on
product placement

"Reality shows used to be my favorite but now they have become so riddled with advertisements that I feel like I'm being conned every time I turn on my TV...Perhaps you should devote the rest of today coming up with better shows, not making the current ones crappier." - - Suggested viewer letter to the networks, as written by the Writers Guild of America. There's another suggested missive to forward on to advertisers. The union has gone to the trouble of starting up a new website, www.productinvasion.com, which alerts viewers to the increasing use of product placement. "We're the ones forced to put in long hours just to figure out how we're going to embed that can of soda into the storyline eight more times before the final episode," the Guild explains. Site Product Invasion has a banner reading. "Advertisers gone mad! Will whey succeed in turning out reality shows into infomercials?" The group is calling for a code of conduct and disclosure beforehand of any products which have been worked into the story line.

TVBR observation: WGA knows who its best friend in Washington is. Both of the suggested email missives contain the following tagline: "PS - - I heart Jonathan S. Adelstein.

Up quarter for Susquehanna
Folks at Susquehanna Media didn't slacken up while deals were being cut to sell their company. Q3 radio revenues were up 1% to 62 million bucks. However, with higher costs from sports rights and other cost increases, operating income declined 8% to 15.9 million. Cable revenues rose 6% to 49 million and operating income jumped 49% to 6.4 million. A lot of that increase was attributed to decreased amortization for subscriber lists at one recently acquired cable system. Susquehanna Media management will hold a teleconference with Wall Street analysts on Wednesday to discuss the Q3 results. The company recently announced deals to sell its radio group to Cumulus Media Partners for 1.2 billion and its cable assets to Comcast for 775 million (11/1/05 TVBR #214).

Big payday coming at Susquehanna
Susquehanna Media doesn't have public stock (just bonds), but when the big deals close next year to sell the company's radio group and cable systems, the Appell and Pfaltzgraff families won't be the only ones getting big piles of cash. Susquehanna Media does have a Radio Employee Stock Plan and a Cable Performance Share Plan. According to a filing with the SEC this week, the company will be cashing out those plans to the tune of approximately 47.7 million, based on the valuation as of September 30th. No doubt some top executives and even lower ranking employees who have been with the company for a long time will get hefty checks when that is divvied up.


Conference Calls 2005
Revenues up for Liberman
LBI Media, the parent company of Liberman Broadcasting, reported that Q3 net revenues rose 7% to 25.8 million, largely due to increased revenues from its radio station in Los Angeles and Houston. Adjusted EBITDA rose 8% to 12.9 million. Radio division revenues rose 13% to 13.6 million, while TV revenues rose only 1% to 12.2 million. The company said growth at its Texas TV stations was partly offset by weakness at its California stations.


Adbiz©

GM launches "Red Tag" incentive
Hoping to boost sales that were down some 24% in October, GM yesterday announced a new incentives program of "Red Tag" prices on cars and trucks through 1/3. Under the program, dealers will post fixed maximum prices on most models of 2005-2006 Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac models, knocking 3,000 or more from the list price. The prices will be consistent across the country and combines features of its recent "GM Employee Discount for Everyone" program and last December's Red Tag program. To support, GM is launching a nationwide ad campaign on network television, radio, print and in other media to promote the incentives. GM is offering separate incentives for its Cadillac, Saturn, Saab and Hummer divisions. Cadillac, Saturn and Saab will offer $500 rebates and Hummer will have special pricing for a rear entertainment system. Dennis Donlin, President/GM Planworks, tells RBR/TVBR this is a very aggressive effort, "utilizing TV, tape and live read radio, interactive, newspaper, Hispanic and African American-and even an innovative coffee cup program that uses thermo-chromatic technology to bring the "See some red, save some green" message to life."

XM launches its largest holiday marketing effort
XM Satellite Radio has launched "Listen Large," the company's largest holiday marketing campaign, featuring television, print, radio, online and outdoor to promote XM's programming and satellite radios. Headlining XM's "Listen Large" campaign are two TV spots with stars Ellen DeGeneres, Snoop Dogg, Derek Jeter, David Bowie and Martina McBride to showcase the number of choices XM offers. The TV spots, via Mullen, with DeGeneres, Snoop, Jeter, Bowie and McBride launched yesterday on prime time broadcast network and cable beginning. The two 30-second spots take a lighthearted look behind the scenes at XM as Snoop roams through the XM studios and meets up with other personalities who appear on XM. XM offers satellite radio broadcasts of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show;" Snoop hosts an exclusive XM music show; Jeter's New York Yankees are part of XM's coverage of Major League Baseball; Bowie and McBride represent the diversity of XM's music channels. Specifically, the primetime network buy includes the 11/17 episode of NBC's "The Apprentice." XM will also be the featured company during the Apprentice episode in which XM's music programmers judge the two teams of candidates as they find, develop, and market a new music artist. In a recent survey by Magna Global, "The Apprentice" was ranked as the top TV series with the highest concentration of 25-54-year-old viewers and households with an annual income of 100,000 or more. The campaign also includes holiday pricing on XM radios, as well as national and local radio, national magazine and inserts aimed at key target audiences, newspaper in major markets nationwide, online ad banners, outdoor billboards that target commuters, and more.


Coors adopts Beer Institute third party ad review system
Coors Brewing says it plans to adopt the independent third party ad review process recently agreed to by members of the Beer Institute. The system is a process where consumers who believe that an ad is inconsistent with the industry's marketing code can request review by an independent panel. While Coors' current Advertising Complaint Evaluation (ACE) Process has been in place since 2002, the company will discontinue it and adopt the Beer Institute's new system beginning 1/1/06. Coors will continue with its ACE Process through the remainder of 2005, in partnership with the Council of Better Business Bureaus' Advertising Pledge Program.

Alito advertisers expected to
hold off 'til New Years

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has announced that hearings on the SCOTUS nomination of Samuel Alito won't begin until January 2006. That means that the watchdog and political action groups which plan to skirmish over the nation's airwaves in favor and in opposition will also be waiting until then to start spending their cash on advertising.

TVBR observation: There's no telling how hot the Alito confirmation process will get, and everyone seems to be playing it very cool so far. However, there are signs that the nominee may have a tougher time winning over Democrats on the committee than did John Roberts. January is typically a weak advertising month, and a protracted SCOTUS battle could be a boon to stations with inventory on the shelf. Unfortunately, whatever cash there is doesn't figure to be evenly distributed. The spending is likely to be targeted to Washington DC, the cable news nets, and perhaps to key markets in states with committee members up for re-election.

VISA leaves BBDO for TBWA
Visa USA is reportedly shifting its account TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, CA from BBDO NY after 20 years.


Media Business Report
Knight Ridder puts itself up for sale
Under pressure from some of its big shareholders to put the company up for auction (11/3/05 TVBR #216), the board of directors at Knight Ridder has done just that. The board announced yesterday that it is working with Goldman Sachs, it's long-time investment banker, to "explore strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, including a possible sale of the company." In deference to the big shareholders, the board also amended the company's bylaws to allow shareholders to submit their own candidates for the board or proposals for a vote at the 2006 annual shareholders meeting. That meeting is currently scheduled for April 18, but the company announcement noted that it may be postponed - - presumably because of the sale process.

MBR observation: What's the nation's second largest newspaper group worth? At recent stock price levels, you'd need about 4.5 billion without even paying a significant premium. And the company has over two billion in debt. So you're probably looking at something over seven billion for an opening bid. Just how many bidders are there out there who want to make that kind of investment in an "old media" company?


Media Markets & MoneyTM
October TV down 34.2% at Gannett
Oh, those memories of political ad spending past! Without that windfall this year, Gannett reports that revenues for its TV group were down 34.2%, with local down 3.2% and national off 47.2%. Pro forma for the whole broadcasting unit, including Captivate, October revenues were down 24.7% to 80.6 million. For the world's largest newspaper company, print ad revenues were up 0.6% for the month, with local and classified flat, while national rose 3.5%. Circulation revenues were down 2.7%.


Washington Beat
Why are justices leery of
courtroom cameras? Two letters

The first letter is O. The second letter is J. Three currently-sitting SCOTUS justices brought up the biggest courtroom circus, probably since the Scopes Monkey Trial, as the main reason that they were worried about the prospect of reporters armed with electronic devices being granted access to their own courtroom. According to the Associated Press, Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen Breyer invoked the O.J. trial as cause for concern at an event sponsored by the American Bar Association. Despite the worries of these three justices and the known opposition to the prospect of cameras and mics by Antonin Scalia and David Souter, the Senate is moving toward making electronic coverage in federal courts a reality. According to AP, Breyer did acknowledge that the more serious concerns revolved around sensational criminal trials.

TVBR observation: At the level of the Circuit Courts and SCOTUS, we imagine most of the caseload involves interpretation of the law, not determining guilt or innocence in a criminal matter. And when the court is considering a matter of law, citizens should have the ability to follow the arguments from start to finish if they so desire. As many have pointed out, SCOTUS TV would likely be just as popular as C-SPAN, which is to say, not very. We'd prefer blanket access by the electronic media, but if there need be a compromise which eliminates cameras during certain sensational criminal proceedings so be it.


Programming
AOL, Warner Bros offer classic
TV shows over new broadband net

The latest in the new-distribution-platform-for-TV-content craze: Thousands of episodes from some of the most popular TV series will make a comeback exclusively on AOL.com in early 2006, via a revenue-sharing deal with AOL and Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution. The new broadband network, "In2TV," will offer full-length streaming episodes from series such as Welcome Back Kotter, Sisters, Beetlejuice, Lois & Clark, La Femme Nikita and Growing Pains--free and on-demand. Along with full-length episodes, In2TV will also include unique interactive features such as games, quizzes, polls, trivia contests and more.
| Read More... |


Stock Talk
The market goes sideways
There wasn't much enthusiasm yesterday on Wall Street, even though retail giant Wal-Mart issued an upbeat sales projection. The Dow Industrials rose 11 points to 10,697, but other major indices were lower.

TV stocks were almost all down. Entravision had the worst day, falling 4.9%. Saga dropped 3.7%. Incidentally, in its second day of trading, Clear Channel Outdoor rose 2.4% to 19 bucks.


Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Monday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change

Acme

ACME

3.90

-0.02

Media General

MEG

54.01

-0.50

Belo

BLC

21.98

-0.13

Meredith

MDP

49.95

-0.11

Clear Channel

CCU

31.50

-0.04

News Corp.

NWS

15.50

-0.03

Disney

DIS

26.01

+0.15

Nexstar

NXST

4.40

-0.05

Emmis

EMMS

19.11

-0.34

NY Times

NYT

29.13

-0.09

Entravision

EVC

7.55

-0.39

Paxson

PAX

0.96

-0.04

Fisher

FSCI

46.78

-0.28

Saga Commun.

SGA

12.23

-0.47

Gannett

GCI

64.20

-1.00

SBS

SBSA

5.78

-0.02

Gen. Electric

GE

34.40

-0.25

Scripps

SSP

46.26

-0.84

Granite

GBTVK

0.35

+0.04

Sinclair

SBGI

9.00

+0.01

Gray

GTN

9.15

-0.10

Time Warner

TWX

17.76

-0.06

Gray, C1. A

GTNa

8.95

-0.11

Tribune

TRB

33.50

+0.10

Hearst-Argyle

HTV

23.70

-0.20

Univision

UVN

29.31

-0.73

Jeff-Pilot

JP

54.89

+0.04

Viacom, Cl. A

VIA

32.97

-0.09

Journal Comm.

JRN

14.00

-0.10

Viacom, Cl. B

VIAb

32.92

-0.08

Liberty Corp

LC

46.55

-0.01

Wash. Post

WPO

729.00

-15.75

LIN TV

TVL

12.94

-0.24

Young

YBTVA

2.60

+0.18

McGraw-Hill

MHP

51.66

-0.15

-

-

-

-

-


Bounceback

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Below the Fold

Media Business Report
Knight Ridder puts itself up for sale
MBR observation: What's the nation's second largest newspaper group worth?...

Ad Biz
XM launches its largest holiday marketing effort
Said it was coming of biblical proportion And it has arrived...

Washington Beat
Why are justices leery of courtroom cameras?
TVBR observation: we imagine most of the caseload involves interpretation of the law...


More News Headlines

WNBC-TV and WINS-AM partner for traffic
WNBC-TV and WINS-AM NY introduced a new Shadow Traffic partnership that provides the up-to-date and comprehensive traffic and transit reports in the New York region, it was announced by Dan Forman, SVP/News and Station Manager, WNBC and Greg Janoff, Vice President and GM, 1010 WINS. Beginning yesterday, WNBC's Trish Yodice and 1010 WINS Pete Tauriello co-anchor "Swhadow Traffic," providing reports throughout WNBC's "Today In New York" (M-F, 5-7 a.m.) from a newly created and co-branded studio at Shadow Traffic. The "Shadow Traffic" set features a monitor wall equipped with 18 seventeen-inch monitors. Each monitor carries real-time video from the 18 cameras strategically placed throughout the tri-state area.

CBS/UPN employ Kanoodle for web ads
Last week, Viacom announced almost all of its CBS and UPN station websites are being revamped, to include a search technology from Kanoodle that displays sponsored advertising links along with news when viewers use the stations' websites. This, part of the previously announced "Always On" digital media initiative. Kanoodle's LocalTarget provides advertisers with the opportunity to more accurately target local customers by applying a unique topic-matching approach to listings on city-specific web pages. "The ability for us to bring sponsored links to site users not only provides a useful service to them, but also creates an important revenue generating stream for the stations group," said Jonathan Leess, President and General Manager, Viacom Television Stations Digital Media Group. "We are pleased to be working with Kanoodle to bring relevant, local targeted advertisers to our station websites." The group plans to re-launch websites for all of its CBS stations, including Pittsburgh (kdka.com) and Dallas (cbs11tv.com) in November. The station websites in Salt Lake City (kutv.com), Minneapolis (wcco.com), Denver (cbs4denver.com), San Francisco (cbs5.com), Chicago (cbs2chicago.com), Baltimore (wjz.com), New York (wcbstv.com), Philadelphia (kyw.com), Boston (cbs4boston.com), Sacramento (cbs13.com), and most recently, Green Bay (wfrv.com), have already launched. In total, 17 CBS stations will re-launch their websites in 2005, followed by UPN stations in 2006.


November RBR/TVBR Digital Magazine

New Orleans
Interviews with WWL-TV GM Bud Brown and WWL-AM GM/Entercom Market Manager Phil Hoover. Great interviews with touching stories about heroes and saving lives and helping those in need with information....and the importance of being two of the only stations that continued broadcasting throughout this tragedy.


Read RBR/TVBR in 2 simple steps:
1.Create a simple account with Zinio and download the Zinio Reader.
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TVBR Radar 2005
Television News you won't read any where else. TVBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

IMS playing it cool on VNU merger
VNU has publicly acknowledged that its seven billion bucks merger acquisition of IMS Health is in trouble and the about-to-be-jilted bride is keeping silent, at least publicly. IMS did, however, file with the SEC this internal email that IMS CEO Dave Carlucci sent to all employees last week: Read the Email . TVBR observation: To some extent, IMS has VNU over a barrel as the contract with IMS requires VNU to pay a 125 million breakup fee something neither VNU management nor its big shareholders want to see happen. Someone inside VNU can come up with a fresh business plan for '06 that refocuses the assets of VNU and outlines a more manageable media company. VNU has a ton of money invested in LPM and best stay focused. Pay the fee and move on before a life boat is tossed to ya. Will someone inside VNU/Nielsen email TVBR to VNU overseas and maybe this will sink in what has to be done.
11/14/05 TVBR #223

Advertiser/Agency Advisory
Council Pushing for PPM

Arbitron's first-ever council meeting brought a familiar refrain from the agency folks in a face-to-face forum with radio executives: Agencies want Portable People Meters (PPM) and they want them as fast as possible. RBR observation: These folks have pointed out repeatedly that changing technologies for ratings measurement is nothing new to them - they've twice made the CPP adjustments in local TV as Nielsen went from diaries alone to set-top boxes and then, most recently, to Local People Meters (LPM). But radio folks know that the change was not without consequences.
11/14/05 RBR #223

Clear Channel
Outdoor IPO disappoints
The billboard business may be outgrowing radio and TV, but Wall Street was none too impressed with the spin-out of 10% of Clear Channel's outdoor advertising business. TVBR observation: Don't look for Goldman Sachs and the other firms involved in this IPO to tap the 5.25 million share greenshoe. 35 million shares of CCO seem to be quite enough for the market at this point.
11/14/05 TVBR #223

CBS's Poltrack:
VOD market worth 5 billion
It pretty much happened all at once - - VOD content deals everywhere and more mainstream media channels going online. AOL.com will feature CBSnews.com content and video on its home page. Microsoft's MSN and the Associated Press announced a partnership to develop an online video network that will stream video news feeds to sites that subscribe to AP's wire service. TVBR observation: May '04 we warned of iPods and now look at the new iPod video. Also warned this past January when we covered the NATPE that VOD was coming fast and again here it is in your face. So, now what are Radio and TV head honchos going to do about it at the local level? It is like the oxygen is being sucked out of the room.
11/11/05 TVBR #222

AOL cuts content deal with CBS.com
The latest in series of recent moves by companies to increase access to digital video programming. Nary a day after the deal with The AP and MSN was cut for news content, America Online's news channel, AOL.com, announced it will feature CBSnews.com content/video on its home page. AOL.com, which has 3 million daily users, already offers video content from CNN, ABC, AP and Reuters.
11/11/05 TVBR #222

Interep jumps into TV...Spanish TV
Making its first foray into television in a deal with Una Vez Mas (UVM), the largest affiliate group for the Azteca America network. Azteca America Television Sales (AATS), will handle the 12 existing UVM stations and another dozen to be added in the next 18 months. Interep veteran Bob Turner, is in charge. TVBR observation: This deal should be good for both companies. We understand that UVM had talks with other potential reps, but saw Interep as being hungry to open a new growth avenue - - something that's been lacking at the radio rep firm in recent years.
11/10/05 TVBR #221

Microsoft and AP team for "AP Online Video Network"
The deal is the first time MSN Video player technology will be syndicated to sites outside its network. MSNBC.com will continue to be the exclusive video news content partner for MSN's network of sites. AP will provide approximately 50 video clips per day covering national, international, entertainment, technology and business news. TVBR observation: Think bad news? Maybe for the Network dinner hour evening news but - No, this will open local sales opportunities for TV as local advertising is used to hit the consumer when they are ready to make key purchases. Re-read the above as no place does it mention - Local news Content.
11/10/05 TVBR #221

Alarcon skewered for move into TV
One irate money manager suggested that SBS should walk away from the 37.5 million bucks purchase, saying it had cost the company some 300 million in market capitalization on Wall Street. "You've gone in my book from a free cash flow generator after your refinancing really to an entity with unknown spending habits and potentially more spending down the road - - a real black hole,"
11/09/05 TVBR #220


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