Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 24, Issue 236, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Wednesday Morning December 5th, 2007
WGA Strike Central: Day 31
WGA-AMPTP talks resume
As talks were still back on track yesterday, Patric Verrone, head of the WGA West called on producers earlier this week to break ranks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, who he said is allowing "hard-liners" to obstruct negotiations. "If any of these companies want to come forward and bargain with us individually, we think we can make a deal," Patric Verrone, head of the WGA West, told The AP while talking to picketing writers at NBC's studio in Burbank. Verrone criticized the AMPTP, saying, "I don't really feel like they're negotiating, and part of how they operate is the AMPTP allows bottom-line hard-liners to rule the day." The alliance is set to run full-page ad set to appear in trade newspapers today, the industry group struck a conciliatory tone, saying it had not given the guild a "take it or leave it" offer. The alliance's offer calls for writers to accept a flat fee of about $250 for a year's reuse of an hour-long program shown on the Internet. The guild is seeking a percentage of gross revenues for new-media distribution.

Inside info on WGA proposal
United Hollywood and LA Weekly's Nikki Finke posted the following from WGA member Laeta Kalogridis: "Here's the proposal that the WGA is bringing to the room as I understand it (got this from someone on the Board): A TIERED PAY SCALE based on the number of times something is viewed via streaming. The AMPTP did not make an offer on downloads or (EST) Electronic Sell Through. That's supposed to come today. Let's hope it does. As for streaming, our proposal is X bucks a year for X number of streams. And starting very reasonably for a low number of streams. Every time the number of views reaches a certain threshold, the compensation bumps up into the next tier. It's a simple and fair idea-as with a traditional residual structure, there is a basic payment for the right to use content on the internet. And, as the work is used more and more, different tiers of compensation kick in-as the companies make more, the content creator makes more. All we ask is that if the content is a huge hit, our compensation scales upward accordingly. The company and the content creators share in the success. We are willing and able to negotiate on what those X numbers should be. We welcome the AMPTP cooling its hostile rhetoric, and we see no reason why cool-headed discussion can't make this system work."

Moonves sees strike continuing
Speaking about an hour before the negotiations resumed yesterday afternoon, CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves told the UBS Media Conference in New York that he was not expecting a quick resolution of the writers strike. "I'm hopeful. I'm not terribly optimistic," he said. Moonves said the future is bright for expansion in new media and that the content creators, including the writers along with actors, producers and others, deserve to benefit from it. "Hopefully we will come to some resolution with them that they will share in the pie. Right now, we don't know what the pie is," Moonves said. For CBS, he insisted there is no lack of new shows to air as the strike drags on, adding that the Eye net might reposition some shows originally created for the Showtime subscription network, also owned by CBS Corporation. "We're certainly not going to go dark," he noted. In fact, CBS has already announced plans for its January and February schedule (see Entertainment Business Report below), including some scripted shows already in the can along with reality and game show offerings. Moonves said ratings may not be as high without the network's major scripted shows, but he also noted that "costs will be down considerably."


TV News ®

Belo not in market for more newspapers; TV improving
Belo may be splitting into separate newspaper and TV companies, but don't worry about the FCC's crossownership rule coming into play. At the UBS conference in New York, current Belo CEO Robert Decherd assured analysts and investors that AH Belo Corp., which he will head, has no plans to buy any additional newspapers. "There is zero chance of that happening," he insisted. And Decherd emphasized that they really will be two separate companies. "We've got our hands full," he said, running what will be a mid-size, pure-play, debt-free newspaper company. Although Decherd will be non-executive Chairman of Belo Corporation post-split, he said Dunia Shive will have the helm as CEO without consulting him on day-to-day operations. And things are looking up for the TV company that Shive will be heading. "We expect television spot revenue excluding political to be up in the mid to high-single digits, which is an improvement from the expectation we noted in October. As we cycle against 31.6 million of political revenue in the fourth quarter in 2006, we expect total Television Group revenues to be down in the low to mid-single digit range, which is also an improvement from the decline we expected earlier," Decherd said. Meanwhile, declines on the newspaper side will be a bit more than previous guidance.

TVBR observation: Why, you may ask, does the TV side end up with all of the company debt? One of the UBS attendees also wanted to know. Decherd explained that it would have "cost us a fortune" to refinance the existing company debt, so it all stays with Belo Corporation, while the newspaper side is spun off into the new AH Belo Corporation. The spin-off mechanism also maintained the grandfathered status of the company's TV and daily newspaper crossownership in Dallas, since the shareholders on day one of the split will be identical to those of the day before.

House Dems perusing
FCC Chairman recipes

Winter is slowly starting to take hold in Washington DC, but for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, it's the heat, not the cold, that is intensifying. Citing "procedural breakdowns," congressional warhorse John Dingell (D-MI), pictured, is using one of his Energy & Commerce subcommittees to focus on Martin's stewardship of the FCC. This would be on top of hearings today in another of Dingell's subcommittee and still another in the Senate next week. Today's session is pegged for the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, bailiwick of Ed Markey (D-MA) and the normal House terminal for FCC affairs. Dingell is instead referring to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Bart Stupak (D-MI). Stupak said, "I have received several complaints from the public and professionals within the communications industry about how Chairman Martin is conducting business at the FCC. It is one thing to be an aggressive leader, but many of the allegations indicate possible abuse of power and an attempt to intentionally keep fellow Commissioners in the dark. I look forward to investigating these concerns to be sure that the FCC Chairman is not disenfranchising his fellow Commissioners and the American public he is supposed to serve."

Dingell said, "Procedural breakdowns at the agency tasked with overseeing communications laws for our entire nation jeopardize the public interest it is bound to serve. Our nation is founded on fair, open, and transparent government, and the Federal Communications Commission is certainly no exception. When that openness and transparency is compromised, so too is public confidence in the agency."

TVBR observation: Martin has done a superb job of walking the tightrope in Washington. When his term as Chairman began, he presided over a 2-2 partisan split while waiting for the gears of government to grind out a third Republican to replace his predecessor, Michael Powell. Until that event, Martin busily cleared the agenda of mostly non-controversial issues, and since the arrival of Robert McDowell (R) has only gradually worked his way up to the more controversial issues. His political skills have been compared favorably to those of Powell (of whom many would say he lacked any), and Martin was even able to fend off a surprise attack from Barbara Boxer (D-CA) at his reconfirmation hearing in the Senate. Soft-spoken and accommodating when on the Hill, he has largely avoided any major confrontations. Until now. Today should offer a preview of what Stupak and Dingell have in store.


Coen watched advertisers pull back in 2007
Universal McCann Sr. VP and Director of Forecasting Bob Coen was a lot more optimistic a year ago when he forecast US advertising spending for 2007. While the US economy was not as strong as had been expected 12 months ago, that wasn't the only reason the ad spending fell well short of expectations. "In recent years national advertisers have maintained very tight reins on their advertising budgets. The desire for growing corporate profits has intensified and marketers have fiercely opposed above-average media price increases. Many marketers insist on an immediate return on ad investments before approving additional advertising spending," Coen said in looking back at this year. "The Internet and growing digital alternatives siphoned off funds from many traditional advertising practices, while some key industries, like Automotive and Pharmaceuticals, experienced special conditions which negatively impacted their advertising budgeting," Coen added.

Our chart shows the progression of Coen's forecast over the past 12 months, moving him from a bullish 4.8% overall growth expectation in December 2006 to 3.1% in his June update and finally to the dismal 0.7% growth he announced this week. As noted in yesterday's TVBR, Coen is looking for much the same in 2008, overall growth of 3.7%, but most of that coming from the even-year boost for TV from elections and the Olympics, along with continued double-digit Internet ad spending growth.

Bob Coen's advertising forecast for 2007

Dec. '06

June '07

Dec. '07

Ad spend

Media

Forecast

Revision

Revision

(millions)

Four TV networks

3.0%

3.0%

2.2%

$17,043

National spot TV

0.0%

-1.0%

-6.5%

$10,870

Cable TV

6.5%

4.5%

6.0%

$20,479

Syndication TV

6.0%

-2.0%

-8.0%

$3,396

National radio (net & spot)

4.0%

2.5%

-3.0%

$4,307

Magazines

5.0%

4.0%

4.0%

$13,695

National newspaper

1.0%

1.0%

6.5%

$6,624

Direct mail

7.5%

5.0%

4.0%

$60,988

National yellow pages

3.0%

2.0%

1.0%

$2,228

Internet

15.0%

17.0%

20.0%

$10,920

Other national media

5.7%

4.0%

3.1%

$37,647

TOTAL NATIONAL

5.9%

4.2%

3.1%

$188,197

Local newspaper

2.0%

-1.5%

-8.0%

$36,315

Local TV

4.0%

3.0%

-3.0%

$14,440

Local radio

1.0%

2.0%

-6.0%

$14,285

Local yellow pages

1.5%

2.0%

1.0%

$12,310

Other local media

5.6%

3.7%

5.2%

$18,330

TOTAL LOCAL

2.7%

1.1%

-3.5%

$95,680

GRAND TOTAL

4.8%

3.1%

0.7%

$283,877

Source: Universal McCann


Clear Channel closing
won't come until 2008

While still awaiting regulatory approval for its private equity buyout, Clear Channel Communications announced plans to pay a regular quarterly dividend to its current shareholders. CCU says it is confident it will obtain FCC and antitrust clearance for the buyout, but that closing will not come before the end of 2007. The company said it intends to exercise its right to extend the termination date for the buyout, which had been set for December12th. The new termination date will be June 12, 2008. "Subject to the receipt of the requisite regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, Clear Channel expects the closing of the merger will occur during the first quarter 2008," the company announcement stated. Under the deal, shareholders are to be paid 39.20 per share as the company is taken private by Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital and the Mays family. In the meantime, the regular dividend of 18.75 cents per share will be paid on or before January 15th to shareholders of record on New Year's Eve.

TVBR observation: The shareholders have voted to approve the deal and the parties insist that the financing is holding firm, but what it holding up those regulatory approvals? It is hard to imagine that there is anything for the DOJ antitrust watchdogs to really consider, since the company is not growing through a merger, just changing owners. We didn't think there was any reason for anyone at the FCC to object, either, but then Commissioner Michael Copps voted "no" on the sale of the Clear Channel TV group to Providence Equity Partners - not that he bothered to cite any legal basis for his no vote, just a vague concern that the FCC hadn't looked into the implications of private equity investment in media. Copps seems to think that is something new. Wake up Commissioner, private equity funds have been investing in radio and TV for decades.

GOP strife ignites campaign coverage
Republican candidates for president spared neither tooth nor claw during their 11/28/07 CNN/YouTube debate, and the resulting verbal bloodshed assured that the 2008 campaign would take the top spot on the Project for Excellence in Journalism coverage chart for the week of 11/25/07-11/30/07. The campaign mounted a clean media sweep, earing the top slot for all five media categories. The Mideast conference in Annapolis MD was an easy second-place winner, with 8% of the overall newshole (to the campaign's 19%), ahead of eight stories ranging from 2%-5%. Sports stories only occasionally crack the top 10, but then the death of NFL Washington Redskin Sean Taylor wasn't really a sports story. It received significant coverage everywhere but on the radio dial, and in the Washington market, where we operate, it may well have been the #1 story, period.
| Top ten lists here |


Ad Business Report TM

GroupM: 2008 US ad spend forecast at 188.6 billion
Ad spending in U.S. measured media is expected to show almost a 4% gain in 2008 compared to the previous year, when spending was up about 3%, according to a new study from GroupM. The forecast is unchanged from the company's previous projections earlier this year. The study, "This Year, Next Year," is part of GroupM's media and marketing forecasting series drawn from data supplied by WPP. The report said U.S. ad spend is expected to show a 3.7% increase to 168.6 billion in 2008. At the same time, spending in 2007 is expected to come in at 2.8% higher than in the previous year. Worldwide spending, meanwhile, is expected to go up 7% to 479 billion in 2008 following an anticipated 6% increase in 2007.

GroupM Futures Director Adam Smith identified television and the internet as the primary engines of global ad growth with 50% and 30%, respectively, of additional new investment in 2008. He also said spending on marketing services such as sponsorships and public relations is growing at a faster rate than traditional advertising. Smith also reported that five percent of global ad investment is expected to shift from developed to emerging economies in 2008, the largest such shift ever recorded. The main geographic contributors to growth next year are predicted to be China, with 21% of all new money, and Russia and Brazil with each contributing 6%. India will account for 3% and the U.S. remains the second-highest contributor at 20%.

The report also predicted the following: Next year's spending expectations largely reflect the Olympics and the U.S. election. It's anticipated that the Games will bring 1 billion in ad spend to national TV and 200-300 million to local broadcast. The election is even more important to local broadcast and is expected to inject nearly 2 billion in 2008 before facing a tough adjustment in 2009. Internet ad spending is expected to exceed 10% of global ad investment in 2008 for the first time ever, and search will comprise 65-70% measured online advertising in 2008, up from 50% in 2005. The Writers Guild of America strike is not expected to impact U.S. ad spend. It's anticipated that spending will follow the viewing audience and shift from network to cable and possibly spill over into other media if demand causes inflation in cable. However, a prolonged strike could delay pilots and thus impact the 2008 upfront marketplace. An upfront delay would add to uncertainty and nervousness, but might force broadcasters into innovation with new formats.


Media Markets & Money TM
Close encounter in Salt Lake City
Liberman Broadcasting now has the keys to KPNZ-TV Ogden UT, serving the Salt Lake City UT market from Channel 24/DTV 49. The seller was Utah Communications, and the price was 10M.


Washington Business Report TM
MSTV opposes
FM-ization of Channel 6

Mullaney Engineering and others have proposed taking advantage of the DTV transition and the repurposing of a swathe of television spectrum to relieve pressure on the FM radio dial. The idea is to take Channel 6, and perhaps Channel 5 as well, to eliminate grandfathered close-spacings, make room for noncommercial and low power stations and perhaps open up spectrum to minority, female and other socially-disadvantaged businesses. The Association of Maximum Service Television Inc. (MSTV) has filed reply comments saying the proposal is fundamentally flawed and without merit. MSTV thinks it came too late in the process - maybe after the deadline - and would put undue pressure on the television stations which are planning to reside on those frequencies going ahead into the DTV transition. MSTV says it's more than the relative handful of full-power television stations on those channels that would be affected, citing "hundreds of low power television services using these channels..." MSTV says the proposal constitutes "an end-around on the required notice-and-comment rulemaking" procedure at the eleventh hour and should therefore be dismissed.

TVBR observation: We understand MSTV's point, but this remains an intriguing proposal on a number of levels. More to come.


Cable Business Report TM
Bresnan to launch nine new HD channels
Bresnan Communications announced the rollout of nine new HD channels in all of its HD markets in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah. The additions include The Movie Channel HD, Food HD, HGTV HD, TBS HD, The History Channel HD, USA Network HD, The SciFi Channel HD, Lifetime Movie Network HD and HDPPV which includes GameHD and TeamHD. Bresnan Communications, a broadband telecommunications company, serves more than 300,000 customers.


Entertainment Business Report TM
CBS sets schedule through February Sweeps
With the writers strike continuing, CBS has reworked its schedule for January and February to rely on reality/game programming, but also with a new comedy series, "The Captain," plus the return of "The New Adventures of Old Christine," which has new episodes already in the can. On the reality side, "Big Brother" makes its first winter appearance. (After all, CBS CEO Les Moonves doesn't have to worry about whether his wife, Julie Chen, will cross a picket line to host the show.) Also, "Survivor" will be back for its 16th edition. Fans of once-cancelled "Jericho" can thank the strike for opening up the network schedule to but the drama back in the lineup - and this could be the break needed to build viewership for the show, which has a intense cult following. As previously announced, the six-hour mini-series "Comanche Moon" will be broadcast Sunday, January 13, Tuesday, January 15 and Wednesday, January 16. Drew Cary is back hosting "The Power of 10" and another game show, "Do You Trust Me," has shows in the can, but CBS has yet to decide its scheduling.
| Here's a look at what CBS has planned |


Internet Business Report TM
Disney Internet Group
acquires iParenting Media

The Walt Disney Internet Group has acquired iParenting Media (iParenting.com) in a move that adds to its line-up of family-targeted Web properties within Disney Online, including Disney Family.com, FamilyFun.com and Wondertime.com. With the acquisition, Disney Online gains iParenting's resources, content and community that serves families, young parents and parents-to-be in English and Spanish. iParenting's content and services will be integrated into Disney's network of family targeted sites. iParenting's portfolio features a wide array of professional and user-generated content, including thousands of articles and expert Q&A's and hundreds of active mom message boards. Additionally, the network includes the highly-regarded iParenting Media Awards (www.iParentingMediaAwards.com), the only certified product review and awards program in the industry. The iParenting Media Awards recognize the best products in the children's media and juvenile product industries. Disney will continue the awards program as an impartial resource for parents and consumers. Disney Online plans to integrate all members of the Evanston-based iParenting team.


Ratings & Research
ABC dances to weekly win
The finale of "Dancing With the Stars" was the #1 show of the week and the previous day's last day of actual dancing competition was close behind, helping to carry ABC to a weekly win in Households and across all major demos - and it didn't hurt that "Desperate Housewives" was in the #3 slot for the week. In HH, ABC scored a 7.7 rating and 12 share, followed by CBS at 6.8/11, NBC 5.3/8, Fox 5.2/8, Univision 2.1/3, CW 1.7/3, MyNetworkTV 0.7/1, Telemundo 0.5/1, a tie by Ion and TeleFutura at 0.4/1 and Azteca America 0.1/0. For the key 18-49 demo, it was ABC, Fox, NBC, CBS, Univision, CW, a tie by Telemundo and MyNetworkTV, TeleFutura and a tie by Ion and Azteca America.
| Here are the week's top 20 shows |


Stock Talk
How low can they go?
Even lower oil prices couldn't get Wall Street traders out of their negative funk over the continuing subprime crisis and its effect on the overall economy. The Dow Industrials retreated another 66 points, or 0.5%, to 13,249.

TV stocks slid further. Gray Television's common was down 7.6% and Entravision was down 5.6%. Emmis, primarily a radio company, was one of the few gainers, up 13% after seeing its stock drop considerably in recent days. Also, Belo was up 1.7% after telling the UBS conference that its Q4 TV results would be a bit better than previously projected.


Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Tuesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change

Acme

ACME

3.12

+0.03

Lincoln Natl.

LNC

60.38

-0.84

Belo

BLC

16.37

+0.27

LIN TV

TVL

10.63

+0.54

CBS CI. B CBS

26.70

-0.34

McGraw-Hill

MHP

45.29

-1.01

CBS CI. A CBSa

26.79

-0.23

Media General

MEG

22.02

-1.32

Clear Channel

CCU

35.18

-0.12

Meredith

MDP

54.00

-0.47

Disney

DIS

32.75

-0.29

News Corp.

NWS

21.10

-0.47

Emmis

EMMS

4.42

+0.51

Nexstar

NXST

8.67

-0.23

Entravision

EVC

7.26

-0.43

Ion Media

ION

1.35

-0.03

Equity Media EMDA 2.40 +0.09

Saga Commun.

SGA

6.88

-0.18

Fisher

FSCI

38.90

-0.64

SBS

SBSA

1.69

-0.05

Gannett

GCI

35.75

-0.77

Scripps

SSP

43.14

+0.23

Gen. Electric

GE

36.25

-0.68

Sinclair

SBGI

9.82

-0.17

Google GOOG

684.16

+2.63

SWMX

SWMX

0.01

unch

Gray

GTN

7.53

-0.62

Time Warner

TWX

17.02

-0.12

Gray, C1. A

GTNa

8.07

-0.39

Tribune

TRB

29.60

-0.90

Hearst-Argyle

HTV

19.37

-0.34

Wash. Post

WPO

800.00

-1.90

Journal Comm.

JRN

8.60

-0.28

Young

YBTVA

1.13

-0.05


Bounceback

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Below the Fold

Cable Business Report
Bresnan to launch
Nine new HD channels...

Ad Business Report
GroupM:
2008 US ad spend forecast at 188.6 billion and the difference; WGA strike is Not expected to impact U.S. ad spend...

Entertainment Business Report
CBS sets schedule
Through February Sweeps with the writers strike continuing they have a schedule which is interesting...

Ratings & Research
ABC dances to weekly win
#1 show of the week & the previous day's last day of actual competition...


Stations for Sale

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Contact
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TV Media Moves

Upped At WaPoCo
The Washington Post Company announced that Aloma L. Myers has been elected an Assistant Treasurer. Myers joined The Washington Post Company as cash manager in 2004 and is responsible for oversight and administration of all cash management activities and banking relationships.


More News Headlines

Moonves sticks up for CBS News
"I wish younger people would watch the news. I don't believe that it is going to be possible," CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves told the UBS Media Conference when asked about the last-place ratings of the "CBS Evening News" after hiring Katie Couric and trying to attract younger viewers. He insisted that the CBS News product is as good as any of its competitors and said that CBS is building its news audience for its morning show and online, even as the evening newscast lags. Moonves conceded that "older viewers" have switched away from the "CBS Evening News" to Charlie Gibson on ABC, but he insisted that is "not the audience that we want."

Commerce Committee passes through Dorgan/Lott bill
Time is winding down for Congress in 2007, but Dan Inouye (D-HI) has promised to try to get the Byron Dorgan (D-ND)/Trent Lott (R-MS) Media Ownership bill down to the Senate floor for a vote, following its easy passage through the Commerce Committee yesterday. The bill, S.2332 "Media Ownership Act of 2007," would prevent Martin's desire to bring up the elimination of cross-ownership restrictions in the top 20 markets at the Commission's 12/18/07 open meeting. It would require 90 days for comment and reply (Martin's schedule allows for about a month), and would also require completion of proceedings on localism and minority/female/socially-disadvantaged businesses, with another 90-day comment period, pushing any vote back to May 2008 at the earliest. Dorgan said he's upped the co-sponsor tally to 17 now. He quoted an FCC internal memo which seemed to indicate that studies would be created to support deregulation, rather than being agenda-neutral. He was also critical of the process, saying it was inappropriate that rather than printing the new cross-ownership rules proposal in the Federal Register and allowing ample time for public scrutiny and comment, the change was publicized in the New York Times and an FCC press release, and put on a short-term 30 day comment period.

Cinema ad council announces new board
The Cinema Advertising Council announced their new Board of Directors and Executive Committee, with former CAC Executive Director Stu Ballatt (senior vice president of marketing and research at Screenvision) elected the new president and chairman, positions held most recently by Cliff Marks (president of sales and marketing for National CineMedia). New Board member Dave Kupiec (executive vice president of sales and marketing at National CineMedia) was elected executive director, and will be joined on the Executive Committee by Treasurer Bob Brouillette (SVP business development, National CineMedia), and Secretary Laura Adler, (president, A & G Marketing Group), who remain in their previous roles. Ballatt and Kupiec will also hold the positions of director, cinema advertising vendors representing 5,000 screens or more. Bill McGlamery (president and COO, AccessIT, ACS) will be taking over as director, cinema advertising vendors representing less than 5,000 screens, a position formerly held by Robert Martin. Stewart Harnell (president and CEO, Cinema Concepts) will remain as director representing affiliate members.



TVBR Radar 2007
Television News you won't read any where else. TVBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

WGA Strike Central, Day 30
Natixis Media & Entertainment looks at the WGA strike
Alan Gould, Media Analyst at Natixis Bleichroeder, released a report on the ongoing WGA strike. Nataxis hosted a conference call with Chuck Slocum, Associate Executive Director of the WGA and John Bowman, negotiating committee Chairman for the WGA. Their primary conclusion from the conference call and other contacts is that the strike is beginning to have an economic impact on the television business, will shortly begin impacting the film side, and, if not resolved, will impact their estimates for 2008.
12/04/07 TVBR #235

Spot TV bonanza forecast by Coen
With a big boost from political spending, not to mention the Olympics, Universal McCann Sr. VP and Director of Forecasting Bob Coen predicts that national spot TV sales will jump 10% in 2008 and that local spot will rise 4%. The Big Four networks are forecast to post a 5% gain and cable is expected to jump 6.1%. That makes television, both broadcast and cable, a pretty good place to be in 2008. Other than that, and of course the red-hot Internet (+16.5%), Coen isn't predicting much ad revenue growth for the rest of US media in 2008.

TVBR observation: Here's hoping that Coen doesn't have to revise his estimates sharply downward as he did in 2007 - especially since they aren't all that strong to begin with. Just a little more sputtering of the economy could have other media, such as radio, joining newspapers in having a down year. TV gets a breather in 2008, but absent the elections and Olympics, those forecast numbers wouldn't be impressive either. For a complete Analysis review this report in TVBR.
12/04/07 TVBR #235

WGA Strike Central, Day 29
WGA to mull AMPTP offer;
Not Optimistic

Both sides have agreed to get back to negotiations tomorrow, after WGA has a few days to consider the offer made Thursday by the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. The proposal would deliver more than 130 million in additional compensation to writers over three years. In their new proposal and the Cost Factor are examined in TVBR.
12/03/07 TVBR #234

Less growth, maybe more
red ink going forward

BMO Capital Markets analyst Leland Westerfield has knocked the overall ad spending projection for 2007 from growth of 3.4% to 2.6%, and he's taking 2008 growth down from 4.3% to 3.6%. The outlook for 2009 is even worse, at 2.7%. He says there are eerie similarities to the dot.com bust of 2000-2001. Spot TV: Is expected to continue its election year pendulum swings while veering downward, finishing 2007 at -2.7%, riding the major national elections to a +9.2% gain in 2008, then giving much of that back in 2009 with a -6.3% drop. Broadcast networks are expected to follow a muted version of that same pattern, with a scant +0.1% gain in 2007, a +6.2% gain in 2008 and a -1.4% loss in 2009. Radio: BMO sees not so much a downward spiral as a downward angled plane, with a -1.8% loss this year, another -1.8% loss next year and a -1.7% loss in 2009. The big gainer? If you said Internet, Don Rickles might award you a cookie. Its numbers are predicted at +24.2%, +19.6% and +30%. The big loser? If you said newspaper, help yourself to another cookie. Its red record is set at -5.3%, -4.5% and -6.2%.

TVBR observation: If this was a Dickens novel we might have some recourse from these ominous forebodings from the Ghost of Things Yet to Come by repairing our wicked ways. The problem is there seems to be an entire platoon of these ghosts running around, intoning pretty much the same thing. All we can say is make sure you're tight with your local community, be kind to your local politicians, and try to get your fork into that burgeoning slice of pie on the Internet plate. 12/03/07 TVBR #234

WGA Strike Central, Day 26
WGA, AMPTP still talking; no breakthroughs
The WGA and studio reps for AMPTP have agreed to keep talking, and have been each day since they agreed to resume talks. However, we're hearing there's some stagnation. Reportedly, most of the discussion in the sessions held has amounted to how to agree to move forward in seeking a compromise on new media residuals.
11/30/07 TVBR #233

Clear Channel gets
clearance to spin TVs
A 13.7B transaction sending 35 television stations and associated low power properties to Newport Television has been given a conditional go-ahead from the FCC.

TVBR observation: How much control does an equity backer exert on localism in broadcast programming? We'd guess not much, other than to support it because generally it's a good business practice. But with cash in short supply, we'd have to think twice about the ultimate affect on public interest that would follow chasing money out of the business.
11/30/07 TVBR #233


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