Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 24, Issue 238, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Friday Morning December 7th, 2007
WGA Strike Central: Day 33
Woody Allen gets in on
WGA "Speechless" effort

The 20th WGA-conceived Internet video for Project "Speechless" featuring top Screen Actors Guild talent was produced and "written" (tongue in cheek) by none other than Woody Allen. The project itself, conceived by director/writer George Hickenlooper and writer Alan Sereboff, made its exclusive weekend debut on LA Weekly's Deadline Hollywood Daily with 11 videos. The "Speechless" campaign now debuts on its new site, SpeechlessWithoutWriters.com, which will be adding new videos every day.
| See Woody Allen here |

WGA also talking about reality TV shows
The latest cog in the WGA-AMPTP negotiations reportedly included discussions of Reality TV. WGA reportedly demanded network and studio CEOs no longer make deals with Reality TV producers like Mark Burnett Productions, Fremantle and Endemol unless those companies sign with the WGA. This is part of the WGA's ongoing efforts to make sure Reality TV writers (often dubbed the shows' story editors or story producers) start to receive the same perks and pay as the union's members. WGA's demand may have been timed to coincide with today's planned protest outside Fremantle Media HQ.

TVBR observation: This is obviously a "cover all your bases" move at the last minute from WGA, as they realize more and more the networks and studios are gearing up for a midseason of reality shows. Just one example-in speaking with Dennis Miller yesterday for an upcoming interview we'll be running, he's got eight episodes already in the can for February with his new NBC game show: "Amnesia" (He calls it "Jeopardy meets "This is Your Life"). Bottom line, reality TV sometimes really brings in the ratings. It's unlikely this negotiation fodder will get any traction whatsoever with AMPTP, as it is their trump card.

TV News ®

Tribune challenges FCC waiver grant
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and the two other Republicans outvoted two Democratic commissioners, granting Tribune Company cross-ownership waivers of two years extendible to six months after all pending cross-ownership legal matters are resolved on 11/30/07. Tribune has turned around and appealed that decision, requesting either better waivers - either "permanent or more appropriate temporary waivers" - or the repeal of the rules in their entirety on Constitutional grounds. The appeal, filed at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, says, "Tribune seeks review on the grounds that the Order is contrary to law, arbitrary and capricious, and not supported by substantial evidence. Furthermore, the Commission's ongoing enforcement of its newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule in its existing form is unconstitutional in violation of the First and Fifth Amendments." A small platoon of attorneys from Sidley Austin LLP headed by Carter G. Phillips submitted the filing on behalf of Tribune. Among those on the distribution list of the document are the FCC, the Newspaper Association of America, Gannett Broadcasting, the Teamsters, The Media Institute, the Media Access Project and several other law firms and legal institutions.

TVBR observation: So let us see if we have here: The Third Circuit remanded the cross-ownership rules as proposed by Michael Powell's FCC in 2003 for revision or better justification. Current Chairman Kevin Martin put forth a more modest deregulation plan than did Powell, encouraged by the Third Circuit's verging-on-kind words about cross-ownership. Martin is naturally being attacked on both sides, for going too far or not going far enough. Martin wants to bring his proposal up for a vote in a little over a week, on 12/18/07. The Senate Commerce Committee, behind Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Trent Lott (R-MS), say no way and have gotten braking legislation out of committee but not yet onto the floor for full body consideration. Tribune is now bringing a different circuit court into the mix. Three of the most popular words in the Washington legal lexicon, "arbitrary and capricious," have once again been uttered. In short, it is looking more and more like our grandchildren will be the ones writing up the final result of this proceeding.

Political spending
going up, up and away
Custom research outfit PQ Media sees a primordial political soup perfectly suited to destroying all previous spending records for the category. Among them are the first election without a sitting president or VP since 1928, hot issues, a divided electorate and effective campaign fund-raising. The result is expected to be a 64% increase in spending over the 2004 election cycle, to 4.5B. That would amount to a 43.3% increase over 2006, which itself broke records despite its lack of a presidential campaign. Generally, when one party has an incumbent/veep on the ticket, it suppresses or eliminates primary competition, limiting the possibility of a free-for-all primary brawl to the party out of power. This time both parties have several serious and well-heeled candidates making a pitch for the nomination, a situation which is already fueling spending in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and which can be expected to reach a fever pitch in the run-up to the massive and geographically diverse population of conventions delegates that will be up for grabs on Super Duper Tuesday, 2/5/08.

Of the 4.5B, 3.03B is expected by PQ to be aimed at broadcast, print, cable, Internet and outdoor, with the rest going to direct mail, PR, promotions and events. The 32.8% share grabbed by the marketing side is said to represent a share increase and is attributed to "more sophisticated databases that allow direct mail strategies to be targeted to specific regions in battleground states..." It is also expected that broadcast television will be saturated, with run-off benefiting other media. Still, broadcast TV will snag over half the cash, with a 51.3% share. Here's how spending by electoral category breaks down: Presidential 37.1%; Senate 19.4%, House 21.4%, Governor 4%, Local 18%.

TVBR observation: The key for broadcast television is, first and foremost, to be located in a battleground state or district. Of course there is little you can do about this -- you're either there or you aren't. Inventory management is going to be critical, to maximize the political opportunity while minimizing damage to your normal everyday advertising clients. Plan carefully.

Younger viewers work harder to catch up on shows
Younger adult viewers are two-and-a-half times more likely than older viewers to be technologically proactive in catching up on television shows they missed, a new study by The Nielsen Company says. The same study reported that more than half of older viewers will do nothing or wait for reruns if they miss an episode. The study shows that 56% of 18-34 year old adults use new technologies such as DVRs, the Internet, VOD and MP3 players to follow their favorite series, compared to 21% for viewers 55+. The study also found that, when they did go online to watch streaming television over the Internet, more viewers (50%) reported going to ABC.com than any other site. The next most popular sites were NBC.com and CBS.com, at 41% and 37%, respectively. Among all respondents, findings were fairly similar among men and women, as well as by income. However, a slight larger proportion of men (32%) relied upon the DVR to stay current (27% for women). DVR ownership is second only to age in how aggressive respondents are to staying current with their favorite shows. Nearly 60% of all DVR owners use the device to stay current. (Note: DVR penetration among the Vegas respondents was more than twice as large as in Nielsen's national TV panel, 46% to 20%).
| View the charts |

Alaska Senator wants vote
on indecency measure

Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Stevens (R-AK) is trying to get an anti-indecency measure passed out of committee over the summer down to the Senate floor for a vote. Jay Rockefeller's S. 1780, the "Protecting Children from Indecent Programming Act" would codify the FCC's right to punish broadcast outlets for inadvertent fleeting indecent utterances. Stevens is a co-sponsor, as is committee chair Daniel Inouye (D-HI). In a release, Stevens explained that the bill "...would require the FCC to maintain a policy that the broadcast of a single word or image may be considered indecent." The FCC's defense of such a policy was shot down in the Second Circuit and a DoJ/FCC appeal is currently being considered by the Supreme Court. "I urge the Senate to take up this important legislation," said Senator Stevens. "Radio and broadcast TV are still the way most Americans get their news and entertainment. Whether sitting in a car with your children or in front of the TV, the American public should be able to expect that they will not be barraged with unexpected indecent material, whether it is through an image or a word."

TVBR observation: We would counter with this statement: "Whether sitting in a car with your children or in front of the TV, the American public should be able to expect that they will be able to hear and see live broadcasts of events of public interest or importance without broadcasters putting their bank accounts and/or licenses at risk from the nearest rowdy loud-mouthed jerk who can't control him/herself near a live mic." The risk of an inadvertent f-bomb being dropped within earshot of our children is no greater when tuned into broadcast programming than it is when out in public. The never-ending small-minded quixotic attempt by the PTC and certain pandering public officials to create a false white-washed image of American speech, all over an event that rarely ever occurs in the course of hundreds of thousands of hours of broadcast material each and every week, should be squashed by the adults in the Senate who have the brains to turn back this ridiculous assault on free speech.

Analysts worry about ad slowdown
Even with a big political year on the horizon, two Wall Street analysts have cut their 2008 estimates for broadcasting stocks, citing concerns about advertiser pullbacks. "With no economic recovery in sight coupled with the one-two punch of i) a slowdown in overall ad expenditures and ii) the reallocation of ad dollars to new media, we revised our long term and terminal revenue growth assumptions for our broadcast and outdoor companies," Wachovia's Marci Ryvicker said in her latest research report. Her outlook for radio is particularly dire, but she also lowered estimates for TV and outdoor. "We previously believed that radio would some day show some tip line growth, but after 24 consecutive months of revising our estimates downward, we now believe that 0% is more realistic (and potentially the best case) scenario long term," she wrote. In fact, the main reason she sees 2008 as flat for radio after a decline this year is non-spot revenue, including Internet and other digital revenue streams for radio stations, along with political. Of course, political will be a big deal for TV in 2008, so Ryvicker has not reduced her TV stock price projections as drastically as for radio. She is sticking with her view that TV revenues will be up 5.5% in 2008, with local up 4%, national spot 10%, syndication 3%, network 3% and TV Internet revenues 50%. But looking ahead to the tough comps in 2009, she has lowered her stock price projections for the TV groups that she covers, although she still sees upside potential for two diversified media companies, CBS and Entravision.

"Local advertising appears to be in the midst of recessionary trends," said Bank of America's Jonathan Jacoby, pictured, as he issued a slew of estimate reductions for the radio companies that he covers. Rather than 1% growth for overall radio revenues in 2008, he is now expecting a 1% decline. From 2009 and beyond, he is projecting annual growth of around 1%. "Our channel checks indicate a weak local ad environment for local advertising mediums - buyers noting pressure as the weakening housing market 'spills-over' into other parts of the local economy," Jacoby wrote in a note to clients. He cut 2008 revenue estimates by an average 2% or so for CBS, Clear channel, Ditadel, Cox Radio, Emmis, Entercom and Radio One. Although Jacoby's estimate reductions yesterday were for public radio companies, he noted that similar pressures are affecting TV, newspapers and outdoor. "The local ad recession is also being felt a local television stations. For example, while Belo recently noted that political is helping Q4 2007, it still expects its TV station revenues to be down in the low-to-mid single digit range in Q4, when excluding political," Jacoby noted.

Fox Entertainment Group acquires Beliefnet
Fox Entertainment Group (announced its acquisition of Beliefnet, a Web site that enables consumers to better understand their faith and build diverse spiritual communities by providing content and tools for a broad range of religions and spiritual approaches. Beliefnet, the largest online faith and spirituality destination, will become part of Fox Digital Media, spearheaded by President Dan Fawcett, which takes on an expanded role to support FEG's vast cable, TV and film brands online, and drive FEG's continued growth in the online market. The acquisition provides Beliefnet with resources to further build and enhance its brand. It also offers an online platform for FEG to distribute content from its media library and for News Corp. to expand its faith-based businesses, including HarperCollins' Zondervan and HarperOne brands. Beliefnet will also partner closely with Fox Interactive Media, leveraging the group's world-class technology and "FIM Serve" targeted ad delivery platform.

Wall Street Business Report TM
Tribune cuts borrowing
Tribune Company still has lots of cash flow, so it is tapping cash on hand to reduce the amount it needs to borrow to finish going private. A half billion from the corporate coffers will reduce that round two of borrowing to 1.6 billion. Now that it has FCC waivers to maintain its broadcast-newspaper crossownership situations, at least for a while, the company says it expects to closed on the final step of its buyout of public shareholders by Sam Zell and an Employee Stock Ownership Plan by the end of this month.

Ad Business Report TM

"The Celebrity Apprentice" details advertiser list
NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice," which heads back to The Big Apple 1/3, has listed its product integration advertisers, which contestants will work with this time around in hopes of staying out of the dreaded boardroom. Brands on season seven include Crocs, Dial Yogurt Body Wash, Kodak, Nederlander, Pedigree, Quiznos, QVC and Vera Wang by Serta. In the past six seasons, "Apprentice" partners have achieved significant sales results in the days and weeks following the broadcast of their episodes. When Crest Vanilla Mint toothpaste was featured during season two, P&G experienced the highest level of online interest in company history with 4.7 million web hits the day after the show aired. Over 40,000 samples of toothpaste were requested. On season three, Staples sold out of "The Desk Apprentice" in the first two hours of store openings and, most notably, Pontiac sold 1,000 Solstice cars in 41 minutes after their episode concluded. In season five, Ace Hardware stores notched a retail sales increase of 13% in the week following their episode.

TVB's ePort now used
by 600+ stations

TVB ePort has secured the support of 605 committed stations in 178 markets, representing 96.1% of the U.S., the Television Bureau of Advertising announced. It will be available in 98 of the top 100 markets. "TVB ePort's momentum is continuing to swell-we passed the 500-station mark just under a month ago," said TVB President Chris Rohrs. "We are still hearing from additional TV stations every day, and we expect ePort will be everywhere." The project was announced 2/21 with an infusion of seed money from the NAB, with the remainder of funding to come from broadcast groups and rep firms. ePort is now in beta test mode, with selected Spot TV buyers sending orders to selected stations electronically. The entire suite of open standard transactions-from avail through invoice for stations' airtime, websites, digital subchannels and other multiplatform offerings-is expected to be available through TVB ePort by Q2 2008.

Media Markets & Money TM
LIN takes down the "For Sale" sign
After being hit by a credit crunch as it was trying to find a buyer or merger partner for its TV station group, LIN Television announced that its board of directors has concluded its review of strategic alternatives for the company. So, LIN will remain as it is, a pure-play publicly traded television company. "The LIN TV Board and management team have confidence in our employees, high quality assets and operating plan. The strength of our core business and new digital initiatives position us well for future growth," said CEO Vincent Sadusky.

Washington Business Report TM
More on repurposing Channel 6
Engineer Robert E. Lee has replied to MSTV opposition to a proposal to reallocate spectrum currently used for television Channel 6 and use it instead for FM radio. Another proposal would also annex Channel 5; however, Lee says that much can be done on Channel 6 alone. For example, the five channels from 82.1 MHz to 82.9 MHz could be the LPFM zone, with current LPFM incumbents given ample time to migrate there, enabling a massive increase in allocation possibilities without interference concerns. Likewise, 83.1 MHz-83.9 MHz could become translators for AM daytimers. Finally, the remaining new channels, 84.1 MHz-87.9 MHz would be used to expand the reserved band. Noncoms operating to the north of the current 91.9 MHz reserved band boundary would be given priority to move into the new territory, and the openings created in the commercial band would be used first to eliminate grandfathered short-spacings, and then for new allocations. Lee suggests that the new NCE frequencies between 84.1 MHz-87.9 MHz be maxed out at 50 kw (Class B/Class C2) to maximize capacity.

TVBR observation: Isn't this another perfect staging area for internal warfare among members of the NAB? But it really does seem like a good idea in so many ways, especially if TVs and LPTVs can easily be migrated to new digital territory. If Channel 5 spectrum is roped in for FM as well, it would open up fertile ground for minority-, female- and SDB-ownership in a way no other proposal we've seen can possibly even approach. We're not tech experts, but this sure seems like an idea worthy of further serious consideration.

Entertainment Business Report TM
Mega TV gets funny
Spanish Broadcasting System announced that Alexis Valdés, the famous Cuban comedian, director and actor, had signed an exclusive contract with Mega TV to broadcast his new program. "La Hora de Alexis Valdés" will begin airing in January 2008, every Monday through Friday at 9:00 pm EST on Mega TV WSBS-TV (Ch. 22) Miami and at 10:00 pm PST on DirecTV Channel 405. "La Hora de Alexis Valdés" will feature a team of internationally renowned actors who will support the characters and situations that characterize the magazine-style TV show that has made him famous.

Ratings & Research
The syndic trend continues
Once again, it's "Wheel of Fortune" on top and "Judge Judy" comfortably in second place for the latest week's syndicated TV ratings, provided by the Syndicated Network Television Association (SNTA) and based on data from Nielsen Media Research. Both are from CBS Television Distribution, which claimed eight of the top 10 spots.

Syndication: 11/19/07-11/25/07

# Live



HHLD Rtg. Live + SD













































Source: SNTA; Nielsen Media Research data

Stock Talk
Stocks rally on credit plan
Wall Street applauded a Bush Administration plan to bail out homeowners with subprime mortgage problems. The Dow Industrials rose 175 points, or 1.3%, to 13,620.

TV stocks joined in the rally. Tribune rose 7.8% and LIN gained 4.5% as star performers for the day.


Here's how stocks fared on Thursday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change





Lincoln Natl.






















Media General




Clear Channel












News Corp.
















Ion Media




Equity Media EMDA 2.40 unch

Saga Commun.




















Gen. Electric








Google GOOG











Time Warner




Gray, C1. A












Wash. Post




Journal Comm.









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Below the Fold

Media Markets & Money
LIN takes down
The "For Sale" sign after being hit by a credit crunch...

Ad Business Report
"The Celebrity Apprentice"
Details advertiser list, again listed its product integration...

Washington Business Report
More on repurposing Channel 6
Engineer Robert E. Lee has replied to MSTV opposition to a proposal to...

Ratings & Research
The syndic trend continues
Again, it's "Wheel of Fortune" on top...

Stations for Sale

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Jim Carnegie
[email protected]

TV Media Moves

Upped at CBS Sports
LeslieAnne Wade has been named Senior Vice President, Communications, CBS Sports, overseeing the corporate and media relations effort for CBS Corporation's sports businesses including CBS Sports, CBSSports.com, CSTV and CSTV.com, and working closely with Showtime Sports and all the company's other sports properties. Wade had been Vice President, Communications, CBS Sports since May 1998.

More News Headlines

Aegis' Posterscope USA adding digital out-of-home
Aegis Media Americas announced that Posterscope USA, one of the top outdoor adg buyers in the nation is adding new capabilities in digital out-of-home, event marketing, retail programming and brand experience creation. Carat Brand Experience, Aegis Media Americas' event and experiential marketing unit will join Posterscope USA and be renamed The Brand Experience. Posterscope USA is part of the Posterscope Worldwide network, the largest buyer of outdoor space in the world. This move comes on the heels of an announcement made this summer when Posterscope USA launched its Hyperspace division. Hyperspace is the first Digital out-of-home specialist agency in the US, modeled after and created by Posterscope Europe. In six months, Hyperspace in the US has built a client roster that includes Lifetime Television, TiVo, Pernod Ricard, Motorola, Hyundai, Kia, Pfizer, Vh1, and Reebok.

ABC Regional Sports Sales tapped by Victory Lane Players Club
Victory Lane Players Club (www.VLPClub.net), an interactive web site where racing fans play poker online with racing celebs and other motorsports enthusiasts, has selected ABC Regional Sports Sales as its exclusive national sales rep. VLP Club partners and racing greats Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart, Dale Jarrett, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Jamie McMurray are among the headliners who compete with racing fans across the country in the web site's lineup of free poker interactive games. ABC Regional Sports Sales is offering a full array of advertising and sponsorship opportunities at VLPClub.net including top header bars, table top placement, banner ads, streaming and rich-media interstitials, in-game custom animation, e-mail heads and ad insertions, and awareness campaigns.

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

WGA Strike Central, Day 32
Issues analysis of AMPTP offer
As day seven of renewed talks between WGA and AMPTP drag on this Thursday, WGA Chair/Negotiating Committee John Bowman sent an email to members on 12/4, addressing many of the rumors and misinformation out there regarding the strike. See details in TVBR
12/06/07 TVBR #237

Eight is not enough
Clear Channel EVP/Chief Legal Officer Andrew Levin told the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet that the decision to loosen local radio ownership caps in 1996 was an industry-saving maneuver, and now it's time to do it again. He'd like to see the cap upped to 12 stations in the largest markets. Two panelists representing companies with television interests, Sidney Bliss of Bliss Communications and Jerald N. Fritz of Allbritton Communications, called for loosening the cross-ownership restrictions. Fritz in particular noted that his company was forced to separate WJLA-TV and the Washington Star in Washington DC, The total issues in TVBR as it is your business.
12/06/07 TVBR #237

Advisory Council backs PPM,
but wants it fixed
Arbitron has agreed to tighten its money-back guarantee for its Portable People Meter (PPM) sample, moving to an 80% guarantee for the 18-54 target, rather than the previously announced guarantee of 90% of the 6+ target. In the conference call with reporters, a first for the RAC (which is usually less formal), DuCoty stressed that the RAC still supports the continued rollout of PPM while Arbitron works on winning Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation. And he said the RAC "is supportive of the Philadelphia and Houston PPM measurement currently in the market" and has been assured by Arbitron that the ratings company will work to address concerns about sample performance and accreditation in those markets.

RBR observation: The RAC and Arbitron's biggest station group clients are clearly holding the company's feet to the fire. Although there have been lots of complaints and concerns about PPM, the bottom line is that the radio companies have a lot of revenues at stake and they want PPM to work. They want Arbitron to deliver what was promised, but they also know that electronic measurement is vital to radio's future. This week's meetings may have been heated, but the March 2008 RAC meeting in Orlando will be even more heated if substantial progress isn't made by that time.
12/06/07 RBR #237

WGA Strike Central, Day 31
WGA-AMPTP talks resume
As talks were still back on track, 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. 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.
12/05/07 TVBR #236

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.

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.
12/05/07 TVBR #236

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. 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.

RBR 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. So hold your breath for another 6 months.
12/05/07 RBR #236

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