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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 239, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Thursday Morning December 8th, 2005

TV News®

Disney CFO says iPod downloads
boost broadcast viewership

Back when Disney announced a deal with Apple to offer video content from ABC and Disney Channel (10/13/05 TVBR #201) for iPods, there were worries that the downloads could hurt broadcast viewership for "Desperate Housewives" and other top ABC shows. Speaking yesterday at the CSFB Global Media Week conference in NYC, Disney CFO Tom Staggs said there hasn't been any audience erosion. "In fact, we expected it to be the opposite and so far that seems to be the case. The ratings of the shows that are covered by that deal have actually increased since we've done that. Now, there's been 800 and some thousand downloads, so it's not like we've sold one to every man, woman and child in the country, but we think the economics hold up even if it isn't market-expanding, and it looks like it is," Staggs said.

Staggs says a la carte
won't help consumers

Letting subscribers pick and choose which cable channels they want - - called a la carte - - rather than buying tiered packages of channels has been touted at the FCC as a consumer-friendly move. But Disney CFO Tom Staggs disagrees. He told the CSFB conference that a la carte doesn't make sense. "I can't figure out how it's consumer friendly. I think it would limit consumer choice and potentially make a lot of people's cable bills more expensive with less programming," he insisted. Staggs said "must-have" cable channels like ESPN and Disney Channel would become more expensive, "but people would still buy them." He said less popular cable channels would find it more difficult to invest in programming and continue to compete under a la carte.

TVBR observation: It's well known that ESPN is the most expensive cable channel for MSOs to buy - - and Disney insists that it be on the basic tier. If a la carte were to be enacted, no doubt lots of households lacking in sports fans would drop ESPN like a hot potato. But it's also the one channel that true sports fanatics wouldn't dream of being without - - and there are a lot of them out there. The economic outcome could be very interesting.

Adelphia sell-off gets further inquiry
The FCC wants more info from Comcast and Time Warner before it will sign off on their proposal to split troubled Adelphia Communications. It has questions about the effects on the competitive landscape once the merger is complete, particularly on the programming side, according to an article in Multichannel News. The two buyers are trying to divvy up the spoils of bankrupt Adelphia in a cash/stock deal valued at 17.6B (4/22/05 TVBR #80). According to Multichannel, the FCC wants to know about regional system merging, local sports programming and carriage on program channels not under the same ownership umbrella. In particular, the FCC is looking into divergent contracting practices, where O&O channels are carried system-wide, while other channels are forced to contact local or regional managers individually to try and gain carriage. The Federal Trade Commission is also looking into the mergers, which are aiming for a summer 2006 closing date.

TVB looks at multiplatform
Next April's (4/20/06) TVB Annual Marketing Conference will, for the first time, be devoted to a single topic: "Television Goes Multiplatform." Sessions will examine everything from cell phones to iPods and who knows what else is down the road? "The media world has truly developed a passion for multiplatform capabilities and opportunities," said TVB President Chris Rohrs. "The fact that TVB has never before devoted its entire conference to one subject is a true measure of just how firmly entrenched multiplatform thinking has become in our industry's business planning." Preliminary agenda sessions include: "Multi-Platform: Expanding Local Broadcast TV Offerings," "Media Mix: Mixing Traditional TV with Multi-Screen Opportunities" and "The Online Opportunity: Dimensioning the Market and Navigating the Process"

Is Smulyan closer to playing ball?
The Washington Times is saying that Emmis honcho Jeff Smulyan has picked up, if not an endorsement, then at least a friendly nod from a local council member in his bid to win the reins to MLB's Washington Nationals. Smulyan is not a local favorite, precisely because he's not local, but District politician Kwame Brown likes what he sees on Smulyan's list of co-investors. Broadcasters are very familiar with one of them, Radio One/TV One honcho Al Liggins, who is just one of many Smulyan protégés who brings the added benefit of minority status to the ownership lineup. Others include former NFL Washington Redskins Charles Mann, Calvin Hill and Art Monk. The list also includes other local names, like Dwight Bush, Ernie and William Jarvis, and Eric Holder. Together, it's said they'll have at least 100M equity in the team. Acording to the Times, Brown is not endorsing Smulyan by any means, but indicated he's very comfortable with the lineup Smulyan has put together.

TVBR observation: As a Washington Senators fan whose pedigree goes back to the days of Chuck Hinton, Bennie Daniels, Don Lock, Jim King and Fred Valentine (if any of you remember those names, you're a true baseball nut), all we can say is whatever MLB is going to do, we wish they'd do it. We're already tired of watching our division rivals stock up their rosters while at the same time watching our own players pack their bags for points in all directions while we haggle over stadiums, leases and owners. With that all said now lets ask the investors of Emmis how they feel about their money playing baseball?

Ag media firm has a beef with noncom competitor
Farm Journal is annoyed that an agricultural offering on satellite MVPDs EchoStar and DirecTV is benefiting from its noncommercial status, and that its commercial activities cast doubt on that status in the first place. The complainant, which publishes agricultural magazines like "Beef Business Journal" and produces television programs "AgDay" and "US Farm Report," says that it has been monitoring RFD-TV for a year, and alleges that it carries "pervasive commercial programming." It is asking the IRS and the FCC to investigate the programmer's non-profit 501(c)3 status.

TVBR observation: It is not uncommon for small non-profit stations to go over the commercial line when inserting underwriting testimonials into its programs. Generally, the FCC gives the station a wrist slap and hits it with a relatively small fine. We suspect that the most likely result of this case is that RFD-TV will get some lessons in copywriting noncom-style, and if it then toes the line, it will probably get to keep its non-com status.


Army shakeup: McCann Erickson in,
Leo Burnett out

It looks like the "Army of One" ad campaign is history. The Pentagon announced yesterday that a 1.35 billion bucks, five-year ad contract for the Army has been awarded to McCann Erickson, replacing Leo Burnett USA. The lengthy bidding process for the ad contract began last year and was delayed past the expiration of Burnett's previous five-year contract. McCann is now guaranteed two years, with the Army having options for three more. With many young men and women hesitant to sign up for duty that's likely to include long stretches in Iraq, the Army missed its 80K soldier recruitment goal last year, although it claims to be on track to meet its target this year. Now McCann will have to come up with some new ideas to spur enlistments. Since the contract was awarded through a government bidding process, it's not your normal business contract. Here's the official description from the Pentagon: "McCann Erickson, New York, is being awarded an estimated 1.35 billion firm-fixed price, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for the planning and implementation of advertising, promotional and publicity programs to support all recruiting and retention programs for the active-duty Army and the U.S. Army Reserve. This includes a full range of services from developing a tactical advertising strategy to producing advertising using numerous communications methods - including television, radio, print and Internet site, direct marketing, promotions, and events. The Request For Proposals was released Aug. 8, 2005 under full and open competition. Work will be performed at McCann Erickson in New York City and is estimated to be completed by Dec. 6, 2011 - - based on a five year contract with the performance period consisting of a base period of two years and three one year options. The Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command Acquisition Center at Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity."

TNS reports 104 billion in
US ad spend YTD September

Total ad expenditures for the first nine months of 2005 increased 3.0% to 104.1 billion compared to the same time period in 2004, according to data released today by TNS Media Intelligence, the leading provider of strategic advertising and marketing information. Total ad spending during the third quarter of 2005 was down by 0.3% compared to 2004, during which the Olympics and Presidential election greatly impacted the overall ad market. "Advertising expenditure percentage growth through September is in line with our original 2005 forecast of 2.9%," said Steven Fredericks, President and CEO of TNS Media Intelligence. "It is important to recognize that when we factor out the incremental 2004 ad volume attributed to the Olympics and the Elections, core ad spending grew by approximately 4.5% during the January to September period and 3.9% during the third quarter." TNS MI estimates the third quarter losses in measured local media ad spending due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were $15-$20 million; about one tenth of one% of the $13.3 billion spent on local media during the quarter.
| View the Charts |

Coca-Cola debuts new slogan,
"Welcome to the Coke Side of Life"

Coca-Cola Co. unveiled "Welcome to the Coke side of life" as its new global advertising slogan for 2006. The announcement, according to a WSJ story, came at a Coke investor conference Wednesday, with Mary Minnick, head of Coke's global marketing, innovation and strategy, giving analysts and investors a sample of the upcoming campaign. "Welcome to the Coke side of life" would replace the "Real" campaign. In some instances, the word "Welcome" was changed to "Think" or "Dream" as part of the campaign, said the story. It will use print and television to start. Coke plans to run several new ads around the world and complement those with more local advertising in '06. Coke also said it will introduce a branding campaign centered around the idea of health and wellness during the Winter Olympics next February. The effort seeks to educate consumers about what to drink in order to strike a healthy balance. One of the themes will be to "make every drop count."

Media Business Report
WorldSpace inks sub #100K
There's another player in the digital satellite radio field, and it just took its subscriber base into six digits. It doesn't seem to be in the duel with XM and Sirius however. WorldSpace is its name, and Asia is its game at the moment. It says most of its subscribers are in India. With six satellite beams, it says it covers 2/3 of the Earth, and has the potential to reach 5B people with 300M cars in 130 countries - - if it can get them to subscribe.

TVBR observation: Hey, 0.0001B down, 4.9999B to go.

Washington Beat
Decency part deux set for next Monday
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) is wasting any time in pushing forward on the indecency issue. He announced late yesterday that the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a follow up to its recent Decency Forum (11/30/05 TVBR #233) next Monday (12/12). The Decency Forum Follow-up Meeting is set for 10:00 am in the Dirksen building. Former MPAA President Jack Valenti is confirmed to attend with an update on the issue of a uniform ratings system. Also confirmed as a participant is Kyle McSlarrow, President and CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. Both were panelist in the first session as well.

McCain lauds Connecticut campaign finance measure
It should come as no surprise that one of the authors and most vocal supporters of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act was thrilled by the recent enactment of a campaign financing law in Connecticut which will ensure that most of the financing for political campaigns in the state will be government funded. The goal is to assure that politicians do not feel beholden to individuals and/or entities which helped finance their run for office. "The passage of this legislation issues a bold challenge to reform state campaign finance and ethics laws across the country," said McCain. "I commend legislators in both parties in the House and Senate for answering Governor M. Jodi Rell's call for comprehensive reform. The governor's consistent leadership and the legislation agreed upon by both chambers, prove that Connecticut's elected officials are willing to look beyond their self-interest and do what is truly in the public interest. These reforms will help rebuild the public's confidence in Connecticut's leaders. Connecticut's legislators have successfully created an atmosphere of ethical government that is focused on what is best for the people's interests not the special interests."

Bill Gates makes
reality TV appearance

The Microsoft founder will be on a special episode of NBC's "Three Wishes" airing tomorrow evening (9-10 pm ET) as he fulfills the dream of a young California boy. The "Three Wishes" team - - Amy Grant, Carter Oosterhouse, Eric Stromer and Diane Mizota - -grants 10-year-old Kiyaan a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet his hero and inspiration - - Bill Gates - - and the chance to try doing his job. Kiyaan, who lives in Simi Valley, CA and recently did a report at school about the Microsoft Chairman, gets to visit with Gates and to step into his shoes at Microsoft for the day at the company's Redmond, WA headquarters. The show will also feature "dream job" wish fulfillments for two other youngsters. One, though physically handicapped, wants to be an actress, and the other an astronaut. Executive producers for "Three Wishes" are Andrew Glassman and Jason Raff for Glassman Media and NBC Universal Television Studio.

CBS bringing content to Verizon Wireless
Yet another mobile wireless content deal: CBS News, "CSI," "Survivor," David Letterman and "Entertainment Tonight" are coming to a Verizon Wireless V CAST phone near you this month. Throughout December, V CAST subscribers will begin receiving video news segments from both CBS News and Paramount TV's "Entertainment Tonight" - produced specifically for mobile phones - as well as preview clips of many of CBS's top series including "CSI," "CSI: Miami," "CSI: NY," "Survivor," "The Amazing Race," "The King of Queens" and "Late Show with David Letterman." The CBS News segments for V CAST will include breaking stories, as well as features from broadcasts such as "CBS Evening News" and "The Early Show." V CAST will carry clips from Letterman's monologue and Top 10 list as well as highlights from "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson." CBS and Verizon Wireless also plan to present behind-the-scenes footage, such as making-ofs and interviews with the casts of shows from the CBS prime time lineup. "At the intersection of the mobile phone and the television lies tremendous programming, promotion and brand extension potential," said Cyriac Roeding, vice president of wireless, CBS Digital Media. "This deal with Verizon Wireless represents a major step for us into mobile entertainment and another point of contact with the consumer to promote our great content brands."

NASCAR will return to ABC Sports and ESPN in 2007 under a new deal announced yesterday, although the stock car giant will continue to air on Fox and TNT as well. NBC, however, has bowed out. The eight-year, four-network deal is said to be work more than four billion bucks for red-hot NASCAR. ABC Sports will carry at least 11 of the season-ending 17 NASCAR Nextel Cup events covered by the agreement, with the others on ESPN. ABC will broadcast the entire "Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup," a 10-race "post-season" for the top 10 Nextel Cup drivers. The agreement also includes the rights to the Nextel Cup and Busch Series awards banquets and the All-American Soap Box Derby. ABC/ESPN also note that the deal with NASCAR isn't limited to broadcast and cable rights, but also Internet, cell phones and other platforms. ESPN's multimedia rights include simulcasting telecasts on all new media platforms, in-progress and post-race highlights across all outlets, co-branded merchandise and interactive television and e-commerce opportunities.

Ratings & Research
Love those Housewives desperately
TiVo users continue to be big fans of ABC's hit shows. Entries from the Alphabet net claimed the top three places in the latest week's ratings gathered by the DVR device company. "Desperate Housewives" claimed the top spot, followed by "Lost" and "Grey's Anatomy."
| Tivo Top 25 List |

Young consumers first
''Technology Everywhere'' generation

Young consumers are using more technology at a younger age to connect with more people than ever before, according to a survey of more than 5,000 U.S. and Canadian online youth aged 12-21 by Forrester Research. For example, 87% of 15-year-olds use instant messaging, while nearly half of 12- to 14-year-olds have a mobile phone.
| Read More... |

Stock Talk
Fed worries continue
Fears of continued rate increases by the Federal Reserve are keeping Wall Street traders from joining in any year-end rally. With no real news to move the market, the Dow Industrials fell 46 points yesterday, or 0.4%, to 10,811.

TV stocks were also lower. Gray Television's thinly traded Class A stock fell 3.4% as the worst performer, but its more widely held common slipped only 0.8%.


Here's how stocks fared on Wednesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change





Media General












Clear Channel




News Corp.
















NY Times
















Saga Commun.












Gen. Electric




















Time Warner




Gray, C1. A




















Viacom, Cl. A




Journal Comm.




Viacom, Cl. B




Liberty Corp




Wash. Post






















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Below the Fold

Ad Biz
TNS reports 104 billion
In US ad spend YTD September...

CBS bringing in more content
With Verizon Wireless content deal: CBS News, "CSI," "Survivor," and more...

Washington Beat
McCain lauds Connecticut
Campaign finance measure and should come as no surprise...

Ratings & Research
Young consumers first
''Technology Everywhere'' generation 87% of 15-year-olds use instant messaging...

More News Headlines

Opie & Anthony
get NJ gov. angry
over air horn stunt

An Opie & Anthony stunt from their "Assault on the Media" campaign had a fan in NJ disrupt a live WABC-TV NY newscast with journalist, Anthony Johnson. He was reporting on the snowstorm that hit the area. In addition to holding up the Opie & Anthony sign, as instructed by the duo, the fan used an air-horn to blow into Johnson's ear, causing hearing loss. The station cut away from the shot before the incident could air. Police were called in and the man was given a summons for disorderly conduct. The office of the Acting Governor of New Jersey, Richard J. Codey, issued a statement in response to the incident: "Following an incident today where WABC New Jersey Reporter Anthony Johnson was harassed by a fan of a popular radio show that encourages fans to disrupt live broadcasts, Acting Governor Richard J. Codey issued this statement: "Encouraging fans to intervene in live news shots is inappropriate and dangerous. Today a fan sounded an air horn in a reporter's ear and this action may result in permanent hearing damage for the reporter who was harassed. Reporters are professionals who provide a great service to the public by delivering news. They should be treated with respect and not antagonized as part of a radio show gag. I won't tolerate anything less in our state. The person who committed this act should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I wish Mr. Johnson a speedy and healthy recovery."


Canadian satellite
IPO priced

Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings, the north of the border affiliate of XM, has priced its IPO at 16 Canadian bucks per share, which values the company at about 800 million. The stock won't be traded in the US, but will trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange with the symbol "XSR.SV." The company, which brands its service as "XM Canada," began selling subscriptions last month. Rival Sirius Canada launched its service this week.

TVBR Radar 2005
Television News you won't read any where else. TVBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

It's about content,
not "old" or "new" media
Viacom, CFO-to-be Fred Reynolds isn't buying the idea that he's signed on for a stint with an "old media" but looking at CBS across all of our assets, we're really about content first and then distribution second. He says our view is that it's more opportunity for us to get paid for our content. TVBR observation: Reynolds stated on being paid for content - 'we're really about content first and then distribution second' and 'we make money on everything we air' - now go back to 12/01/05 TVBR #234 and re-read Hearst-Argyle renews CBS affiliations and Network comp to end to the tune of almost 1 million next year. Did you hear the other shoe drop on the words 'make money on what we air.' Do not be surprised in the future to see CBS ask for money if you want their programming almost like - a la carte.
12/07/05 TVBR #238

NBC Universal to sell shows
on Apple's online iTunes store
More than 300 episodes from NBC-TV prime time, late-night, cable nets and classic TV shows are now available for 1.99 each. Programming spans from the 1950s to the present. NBC also recently signed a deal to begin selling replays of its most popular shows on an on-demand basis through DirecTV and last month announced a deal with Sprint Nextel to make Leno's monologues and sketches available on its mobile service. TVBR observation: Think we just read this above as where CBS says they make their money selling what they air. ABC got their first but NBC just checked one up with more content. Do not be surprised what the consumer will pay for if they find the Apple under their tree this year. Why? Because it is there and they too want to be first to say they have the content to show their friends.
12/07/05 TVBR #238

Gloomy on ad outlook 2006
Universal McCann guru Bob Coen expects more of the same in 2006, with total ad spending up 5.8%, vs. 4.6% this year. Other than the cyclical boost from political and Olympics advertising, he doesn't see anything coming in '06 to light a fire under radio and TV advertising. While expecting the economy to be "reasonably healthy" in 06, he doesn't see anything on the horizon to drive advertising demand, other than some upward pressure on TV rates created by political advertising pressuring inventories. Once again, the most robust growth is expected for Internet and cable TV, along with direct mail. Coen is looking for network TV to be up 6.5%, national spot 8.5% and local spot 4.5% next year - decent growth, but not extraordinary for an Olympics/political year.
TVBR observation: Much as we'd like to see more growth in 2006, we can't disagree with Coen's basic projections. His outlook for television is only slightly more pessimistic than the TVB's forecast while being slightly more bullish on cable.
12/06/05 TVBR #237

Arbitron chief
downplays VNU buyout
CEO Steve Morris noted that while lots of people have suggested that his company is a buyout prospect for Nielsen owner VNU, he doesn't see it happening. Given its (VNU) current internal turmoil, he doesn't see VNU acquiring anything. Noted that having Nielsen do a Portable People Meter (PPM) joint venture with Arbitron would be a lot more efficient way to get access to the PPM technology than trying to buy Arbitron.
12/06/05 TVBR #237

ZenithOptimedia lowers
global ad Outlook
Online up - lowered its projections for ad spend in 2006, predicting U.S. spending will grow only 2.9%, compared with a 3.6% gain it predicted in October. Worldwide ad spend is now expected to grow only 4.8%, compared with its previous forecast of 5.2% growth. However, it upped its online ad spend prediction for 2005: up to 4.6% from 4.3%. It also predicted that by 2008 online will account for 6.4% of global ad spend, and from 2005-2008 inclusive, 15.8 billion new ad dollars will be created, or 17% of total global ad growth. TVBR observation: In other words if you are not fully engaged into the new media world that the consumers are participating in you are out and we me out. Media executives had three years to improve and grow with the technology but many have just been sitting on their thumbs going into a new year. Too late and it will be shown next year TVBR was right - Technology waits for no one.
12/06/05 TVBR #237

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