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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 241, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Monday Morning December 12th, 2005

TV News®

Bidding battle for Nielsen parent?
A second private equity group, including Bain Capital, Texas Pacific Group and Warburg Pincus, is working on a buyout bid for VNU, according to The Wall Street Journal. The new bid would challenge one which was being put together by another group including KKR, Blackstone, Carlyle and others, even before the resignation of VNU CEO Rob van den Bergh as the company abandoned a seven billion bucks acquisition of IMS Health (11/18/05 TVBR #227). Although VNU has insisted that none of its assets are for sale and it intends to remain independent and seek a listing on the New York Stock Exchange (it currently trades only on the Amsterdam Exchange), the same big shareholders who derailed the IMS deal could force VNU to accept a buyout. The price tag is expected to be over eight billion and the winner, if there is a sale, is expected to divest VNU's publishing businesses (Billboard, Hollywood Reporter, etc.) to focus on ratings and research. Meanwhile, there was a bit of good news for VNU. The European Commission has completed its antitrust investigation into the contracting and pricing practices of ACNielsen and found no evidence of any wrongdoing by the VNU subsidiary. The complaint again ACNielsen had been filed by a competitor, Information Resources Inc.

TVBR observation: There may be more than just two bidders for VNU. We continue to hear rumors that IMS CEO Dave Carlucci is still gung-ho on the scrapped merger deal and is working to revive it - - this time with IMS as the acquirer, rather than VNU.

Publisher observation: Reality time, what is facing the Nielsen side of VNU is going to be difficult with forward motion of 'LPM' and making a decision during the first quarter next year on the Arbitron 'PPM' front as it takes commitment from the top of the company at VNU with technology and money. Not to say the toll it takes on the people inside of Nielsen. Remember this is research not a durable good like a TV station. Research is a fickle business especially when you are the leader as the business executives (the customer) loves you then hates you at any given time.

Publishing side - To some extent the same can be said here but to a lesser degree as the money or the prize is Nielsen. Plus, whoever wins the potential battle better know something about the businesses of the titles that are being tossed around for headline attention like Billboard, Hollywood Reporter, Media Week. They look pretty on paper but you better know what the hell you are doing because this is not the old days with those brands. There is tremendous competition on the computer screen(s) today and to print those trade publications mentioned are not getting any healthier as trade publishing print consistently faces difficult time as I personally know from experience as the inevitable decision was faced and made in 2002 by us at RBR & TVBR. Remember expenses will go up for print trade publications just as US Postage prices are rising next year. Under any circumstances VNU bosses have to confront the inevitable and get on the record of attack now on this press coming from the WSJ instead of 'No comment.' TVBR was the first to forecast this show down now the problem is here as the other shoe has hit the floor.

Tribune eliminates WGN manager Mancuso
An 18-year veteran of WGN-Channel 9 who rose to station manager (or second-in-command) became the latest casualty of Tribune layoffs last week, reported the Chicago Sun-Times: "Dominic Mancuso will be leaving the company when his position is eliminated, effective at the end of the year. The role of station manager, typically a stop on the way to attaining general manager stripes, previously was eliminated at Tribune stations in New York and Los Angeles. It's also a luxury few other groups can afford. In Chicago, only two people still have the title of station manager - - Fran Preston of CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and Fred Weintraub of Weigel Broadcasting's WCIU-Channel 26. In both cases, their duties encompass several operational areas. Tom Ehlmann, vice president and general manager of Channel 9, told staffers the restructuring was related to the company's overall work force reduction, and he wished Mancuso well. No other layoffs were planned at the station, a spokeswoman said. Mancuso, 47, joined Channel 9 as an account executive and rose through sales management positions to become director of sales in 2001. He was promoted to station manager in 2002."

TVBR observation: The same thing happened in radio after consolidation - - one person managing an entire station, clusters of stations, and sometimes multiple markets of stations. These people end up overworked, unable to meet budgets and forgetting the names of their family members. The managers aren't the only ones to suffer sometimes - - the programming and overall quality of the product suffer too, all for that better bottom line. Best of luck to Ehlmann - - he's got some even longer hours ahead of him.


Howard lands at CNBC
Josh Howard, one of four people fired or asked to leave in CBS' "60 Minutes Wednesday" memo scandal (3/24/05 TVBR #54) has been hired by CNBC as Vice President of Specials and Long-Form Programming. With Howard's hiring, CNBC is launching an expansion of its long-form programming, with an emphasis on one-hour specials and feature-length documentaries exploring issues related to business and the economy. "Josh Howard is a talented producer who has worked with some of the legends in broadcast journalism and we're happy to welcome him," said CNBC President Mark Hoffman. Rather than try to ignore the elephant in the living room, CNBC's announcement addressed the CBS scandal head-on after recounting his career at CBS News. "He resigned from CBS News in March 2005, six months after a Wednesday "60 Minutes" broadcast of a report on President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard that was later found to have been based on documents that could not be authenticated. An independent panel commissioned by the network said that if CBS News had followed the course of action proposed by Howard - - which included holding off broadcasting the original report, if only for a few additional days - - damage to the news organization could have been minimized," CNBC said.

House stalls on 2005 Telecom revamp
As far-reaching as the effects of Telecom 1996 have been, there is almost no way a bill from the last millennium would be able to keep up with the rapid changes in technology. However, the best efforts by members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have fallen short of giving the measure a 21st Century facelift before New Years Day. Massive changes to the radio industry was a result of the 1996 version. The update will focus more on issues affecting telephone and cable television companies. According to the National Journal's Congress Daily (NJCD), a first draft got thumbs down from telcos, and a second got thumbs down from Democrats in the committee, who were left out of the drafting process. Issues to be hammered out involve the future role of local franchising authorities, whether or not to subject telcos to build-out requirements to assure that all portions of an area have equal access to any service provided, and a number of broadband issues. According to NJCD, it was members of the Republicans side that decided to allow more time, and talks are expected to continue into February of next year.

Wal-Mart under air attack
Is it really true that there is no such thing as bad publicity? Outlets of retail giant Wal-Mart in six states should be getting first-hand experience, as a group of 65 religious leaders who say they represent some 1.3M Americans are attacking retail giant over the airwaves. They say that Wal-Mart's corporate practice calls the question whether or not "people of faith" should shop there. The faith leaders, who call their effort "Light a Candle for Change," are linked up with grassroots organization WakeUpWal-Mart.com. The ads will run in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia. Wal-Mart's Lee Scott responded, "Surely many Americans are deeply offended that union leadership would use religion as just another tactic in the negative attack against an American company that donates more money to good works than any other company in America." Stay tuned - - this one isn't likely to go away any time soon.

FCC's era of minority rule begins
It was hugs all around Friday, 12/9/05 as the FCC said good-bye to Republican Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy in an otherwise uneventful December Open Meeting (uneventful for broadcasters, anyway). Abernathy's departure left Republican Chairman Kevin Martin on the wrong side of a 2-1 party affiliation break-down, with Democrats Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein ready and no doubt willing to flex their superior voting muscle just as soon as Martin puts forth a juicy regulatory issue for that purpose. Which of course he avoided by cleverly saving contentious issues like the media ownership redo until next year. And the era will be exceedingly brief, if as expected the Senate Commerce Committee confirms Debi Tate as the next Republican ally for Martin, along with sending Copps back for a second stint. By the way, tomorrow's confirmation hearing has been moved a half hour later - - to 10:30 am.

TVBR observation: So if you're one of those who think no news is good news, you had to be pleased with the FCC's utter lack of broadcast activity at last week's meeting.


Adbiz©

CBS reups with AquaCell
AquaCell Technologies says its AquaCell Media subsidiary has received a three-month contract for a new CBS television ad campaign for Q1 2006. Recognizing the success of AquaCell's water cooler billboards for generating awareness and excitement for last September's launch of its new comedy Out of Practice, CBS has once again turned to Aquacell water coolers to help generate "water cooler buzz" for a new CBS comedy starring Jenna Elfman. The new CBS ads will reach consumers via the "Coolertising" advertising on the permanently attached bottle of AquaCell's "billboard" water coolers installed in the pharmacy areas of drug stores. Promotion for the new comedy will be featured on water coolers in hundreds of Rite Aid and Duane Reade stores in the New York and LA areas.

BMW Mini takes a shine to Butler Shine
BMW's Mini USA brand has reportedly selected Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Sausalito, CA as its new AOR. Other finalists for the 24 million account were Mother and Strawberry Frog, both New York. Incumbent Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, had handled Mini since 2001. It resigned the account in September for Volkswagen's VW brand account.

B.F. Goodrich opens review
A unit of Michelin has put its 15.8 million account into review. Goodrich's 16-year AOR, Doner, Southfield MI, reportedly declined to participate. The review follows marketing execs Scott Dishman and Tom Peebles being replaced by Tom Jupena, marketing communications manager, and Owen Schiano, general business director. BF Goodrich also consolidated its U.S. digital account at its general creative and buying and planning agency Campbell-Ewald, Warren, MI.

More agencies chime in on HD Digital Radio Alliance
RBR/TVBR asked a few agency folks about the recently announced HD Digital Radio Alliance (12/7 RBR #238), a coordinated industry effort to compete with the format variety of satellite radio. The alliance is the industry's means to coordinate the HD roll-out in each market, develop programming for multicast (HD-2) channels, create HD and HD-2 awareness ads (200 million bucks worth next year alone), and work to get HD manufacturers moving on multicast receivers and the automakers as well for OEM deals. Participating groups so far include Bonneville, Citadel, Clear Channel, Cumulus, Emmis, Entercom, Greater Media and Infinity. (Continued from Friday's issue.)
| Read More... |


Media Business Report
New Viacom buying DreamWorks
The coming split of Viacom into two companies - - now just a half month away - - isn't stopping either post-split company from being aggressive on the acquisition front. CBS Corp. CEO-to-be Les Moonves has already announced a 325 million bucks deal to buy College Sports Television Networks (11/4/05 TVBR #217). Now his counterpart at New Viacom, Tom Freston, has struck a 1.5 billion plus deal to acquire DreamWorks SKG to beef up the company's movie studio business. There's been no official announcement yet, but reports are widespread that Viacom swept in at the last minute and outbid GE's NBC Universal for the studio founded by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

Bids in for Knight Ridder
It remains to be seen whether anyone is willing to pay a premium price for an "old media" company, but bids were submitted Friday in the auction of Knight Ridder (11/15/05 TVBR #224). The Los Angeles Times report that at least two bids were received for the nation's second largest newspaper chain - - one from Texas Pacific Group and another a joint bid by KKR, Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners. Gannett and Media News Group had also expressed interest, but it wasn't clear whether either or both had submitted bids.


Media Markets & MoneyTM
Belo boosts share buybacks
As directors of Belo Corp. authorized payment of the company's regular 10 cent quarterly dividend, they also approved a new share buyback authorization. Belo management has about 7.3 million shares remaining under its previous authority to buy back 25 million shares, but the board has now authorized a new buyback of up to 15 million shares. "We continue to believe that stock repurchases are an excellent use of cash, especially at current price levels," said CEO Robert Decherd.


Washington Beat
Indecency meeting today at Commerce Committee
As of this writing, former MPAA honcho Jack Valenti and NCTA honcho Kyle McSlarrow are the only guests whose names have been posted on the witness list for Ted Stevens' (R-AK) Senate Commerce Committee follow-up to his massive 11/29/05 "Open Forum on Decency." The session begins at 10:00 AM and cannot possibly go on all day like the last one, since the Committee will be in session later in the afternoon to consider an unrelated matter - - unless, of course, they cancel the afternoon session. There is absolutely no reason to suspect that they have any such plan.

TVBR observation: Taking into consideration Valenti's prior testimony on the success of movie industry's content coding system, and the presence of McSlarrow, one may wish to infer that the Committee will be considering if the movie standards may be applicable and transferable to cable programming. Valenti had emphasized two cardinal principles for any such ratings system. First, they must be simple, so people can use them without needing a reference library to interpret them. Second, they must be voluntary to, successfully withstand court challenge - - a key consideration in this case, since it is highly questionable whether or not speech restrictions similar to those constraining broadcasters will fly with the subscription-based cable industry. We don't know what Stevens has in mind, but his interest in Valenti's prior testimony and the thus-far limited guest list surely points in this direction.

Four caught in public file dragnet
The FCC will be defraying the national debt to the tune of 40K if the latest quartet of notices of apparent liability on the public file rap stick. All four 10K fine proposals had a children's programming element. Schurz Communications' NBC WAGT Augusta GA Channel 26 and Raycom's NBC WAFF-TV Huntsville-Decatur-Florence AL Channel 48 all failed "to publicize the existence and location" of their Children's Television Programming Reports. Meredith's CBS WGCL-TV Channel 46 Atlanta failed to file issues/program lists and children's programming commercial limits. Media General's CBS WNEG-TV Greenville-Spartanburg SC Channel 32 (actually licensed across the line in Toccoa GA) matched the WGCL failings and also was missing EEO data. All four file omissions were exposed during the license renewal process.

TVBR observation: Anyone else notice that if you have one file omission - - worth 10K - - you can have two or even three more at no extra charge. Not that we'd recommend pursuing such a policy...

Publisher note: Look for TVBR's Special Report on what you need to know about your Public File and not cost your station a 10K fine. Written for TVBR by FCC leading lawyer Gregg Skall, it will be emailed in a PDF printable format as our Christmas present to you. Only daily members of TVBR will receive this special report. Have it or it could cost you 10K in a fine. To say the least, this report alone is worth the price of a 1 year gold subscription.
| Renew today at TVBR subscriptions |


Ratings & Research
UPN lineup strong in African-American households
While CBS and ABC are battling for dominance overall in TV viewing, the powerhouse this season in African-American households is UPN. If you compare the top 10 shows overall reported by Nielsen Media Research for the week of 11/28-12/4 (12/7/05 TVBR #238), you'll find very little overlap with the top ten shows from Nielsen's ratings for the 13.3 million African-American households. ABC's "Monday Night Football," #2 overall rises to #1 among black households, but #1 "Desperate Housewives" drops to #6. CBS' mega-hit "CSI" is missing from the African-American list, but "CSI: Miami" comes it at #7. But the big player is UPN, whose top show overall, at #77, was "America's Next Top Model." That show was #8 among black households and beaten by three other UPN offerings: "Girlfriends," "Half and Half" and "All of Us." Here's the latest week's ratings list for African-American households.
| View the Chart |


Consumer Research
Toys - - Boys & Girls
From the BIGResearch Consumer Intentions and Actions survey (CIA) which surveys over 7000 consumers every month, the following charts display what Boys and Girls want for their holiday gifts in 2005. Boys are displaying this interest and fascination in video games number 1 and electronics such as Xbox (6) and Playstation (10). And Girls registering dolls such as Barbie dolls (1), Bratz (2), Dora the Explorer (3), but note the coming of the future is here, as girls are requesting video games (5) and Ipod/MP3 players (6). With boys and girls embracing the new media first as "toys," these technologies/medias will become second nature to the immediate future generation challenging traditional media. Today's toys punctuate displacement of traditional media business models. It is in the hands of the consumer.
| View the Charts |


Monday Morning Makers & Shakers

Transactions: 10/31/05-11/4/05
October ended slowly, and November started even slower. You know it's not going to be a big week with the top agreement is for a pair of small-market CPs. A one-AM, three FM deal in Houma-Thibodaux-Morgan City, Louisiana missed tying for first by a mere 100K. Both that market and the one housing the winner - - St. George-Cedar City UT, are rated by Eastlan.

10/31/05-11/4/05

Total

Total Deals

11

AMs

15

FMs

5

TVs

10
Value
32.238M
| Complete Charts |
Radio Transactions of the Week
Investment in the future
| More...
|
TV Transactions of the Week
Zero action this week
| More...
|


Stock Talk
A day of modest gains
You really couldn't call it a rally, but a dip in oil prices gave traders a reason to boost stock prices on Friday. The Dow Industrials rose 24 points, or 0.2%, to spend the weekend at 10,779.

Likewise for TV stocks, which were mostly up a bit. Belo rose 1.2% as it announced a stock buyback. The day's big gainer, though, was SBS, up 3.6% as it struggled to climb out of penny stock hell. It's not there yet.


Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Friday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change

Acme

ACME

3.82

+0.02

Media General

MEG

49.84

+0.25

Belo

BLC

21.62

+0.26

Meredith

MDP

51.23

+0.37

Clear Channel

CCU

32.25

-0.16

News Corp.

NWS

16.53

+0.11

Disney

DIS

25.19

+0.14

Nexstar

NXST

4.27

+0.02

Emmis

EMMS

20.00

+0.09

NY Times

NYT

27.29

+0.16

Entravision

EVC

7.25

+0.05

Paxson

PAX

0.97

unch

Fisher

FSCI

45.09

-0.17

Saga Commun.

SGA

11.13

+0.11

Gannett

GCI

60.29

-0.03

SBS

SBSA

4.66

+0.16

Gen. Electric

GE

35.53

+0.18

Scripps

SSP

47.29

+0.29

Granite

GBTVK

0.23

+0.01

Sinclair

SBGI

9.66

-0.05

Gray

GTN

9.74

+0.18

Time Warner

TWX

17.66

-0.10

Gray, C1. A

GTNa

9.29

-0.01

Tribune

TRB

30.69

-0.20

Hearst-Argyle

HTV

24.05

+0.10

Univision

UVN

30.35

+0.05

Jeff-Pilot

JP

55.41

+0.08

Viacom, Cl. A

VIA

34.42

-0.06

Journal Comm.

JRN

13.85

-0.01

Viacom, Cl. B

VIAb

34.41

-0.07

Liberty Corp

LC

47.22

+0.13

Wash. Post

WPO

758.00

+12.15

LIN TV

TVL

12.90

-0.16

Young

YBTVA

2.44

-0.10

McGraw-Hill

MHP

53.08

-0.20

-

-

-

-

-


Bounceback

Send Us Your OpinionsWe want to
hear from you.

This is your column, so send your comments and
a photo to [email protected]


Expectations for Westwood One with a new CEO (12/9/05 RBR #240) should not be very high. Shane Coppola is a great man who was shackled by the demand to make money with no money. Employees all over the country have no expectations that things will change, because at the heart of it all is still...Joel Hollander. Having been with WW1 pre-Shane, and during Hollander's reign....it is important to note, that the air of arrogance and greed, does NOT support loyalty and enthusiasm. Whomever takes the job must convince Mr. H that what the staff thinks about who they are working for does matter. That is the common thread thru the WW1 culture. Cut all the good out of a company and then send the hungry soldiers to clean up the mess...Didn't work when he bought Metro Networks, and it won't work now. Sales need to be driven by a power that invites commitment, loyalty, and a big dose of enthusiasm...Not a hard-handed approach that invites people to sharpen up on their resumes.

Shari Greer
Account Executive
Total Traffic Networks


TV Media Moves

New media boss
at McGraw-Hill

The TV group and other media businesses at McGraw-Hill Companies have a new leader - - Glenn Goldberg, who's been named President of the Information and Media Services division. He succeeds Scott Marden, who is leaving the company. Before joining the company in 1990 Goldberg had been Assistant New York City Comptroller and a Capitol Hill staffer. He was most recently Sr. VP of Corporate Affairs. McGraw-Hill's Information and Media Services segment includes JD Power and Associates, BusinessWeek and ABC-affiliated televisions stations in Denver, San Diego, Indianapolis and Bakersfield, along with information businesses in the energy, construction and aviation and defense industries.


Below the Fold

Ad Biz
CBS reups with AquaCell
Received a three-month contract...

Washington Beat
Indecency meeting today
Ted Stevens' (R-AK) Senate Commerce Committee
Shoud be a quickie...

Media Markets & Money
Belo boosts share buybacks
Authorized payment of the company's regular 10 cent quarterly dividend...

Ratings & Research
UPN lineup strong in
African-American
Compare top 10 shows overall reported by Nielsen Media Research, little overlap...


More News Headlines

Regis headed to
NAB Hall of Fame

If you're already famous enough to be readily identified by just your first name, no doubt you belong in a Hall of Fame. Long-time TV personality Regis Philbin, currently co-host of "Live with Regis and Kelly," will be inducted into the NAB Television Hall of Fame at the NAB2006 Television Luncheon April 24th in Las Vegas. "Regis Philbin has been a television icon for four decades. NAB is pleased to recognize him for his significant contributions to broadcasting," said NAB President and CEO David Rehr.

Actor wounded
in police shootout

He's played young gangsters on HBO's "The Sopranos" and in movies, but police in New York say Lillo Brancato Jr. moved in tough circles in real life as well. He was shot and wounded by an off-duty NYPD office on Saturday as the actor and an accomplice were confronted after allegedly burglarizing a home in the Bronx. Although Brancato was said to be unarmed, the other man, Steven Armento, killed the officer, Daniel Enchautegui, in an exchange of gunfire. Both Brancato and Armento are hospitalized with severe wounds.

Richard Pryor
dead at 65

Richard Pryor was best known for his movies and stand-up comedy, but his long career also included many TV credits. One of his last acting roles was in 1995 on CBS' "Chicago Hope" as a patient with multiple sclerosis - - the degenerative disease he was dealing with in real life. Long before than he wrote scripts of "Sanford and son" and "The Flip Wilson Show," as well as hosting "The Richard Pryor show" on NBC in 1977. Pryor died Saturday of a heart attack at age 65.


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

TV getting the snot kicked out of it
At Gannett November TV station revenues were down 3.4% local revenues were up 4.3%, while national fell 14.5% for the month. Then - NY Times declines to give 2006 guidance as the advertising outlook is so uncertain that it can't provide Wall Street with earnings guidance on 2006.
TVBR observation: All in TV get prepared because your day to day life as you once knew it is gone. This year we have heard the Ditto excuses as these mirrored radio of '04 and 05. Look in the mirror and point the finger of blame at yourselves. Now how are you going to improve a new year? First key is Content and less clutter. Just look at radio as this side of the business cluttered themselves to obesity now they are trying every diet possible to lose this clutter weight and it has cost them business - Learn from their mistakes.
12/09/05 TVBR #240

Preparing your '06 Budget
Double Check time
Let's assume if you achieve the submitted and approved cash flow goals for next year, and you will receive additional compensation. It's usually between 30 and 50% of your annual salary for making it. Get close (within 5%) and in some companies you will get 10-15%. (your company may differ.) Usually The Rules Are Stacked Against You!
RBR observation: Another double check against your own projections for next year. Worth a look see.
12/09/05 RBR #240

CBS bringing content
to Verizon Wireless
Yet another mobile wireless content deal: CBS News, "CSI," "Survivor," David Letterman. 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. TVBR observation: 23 years of publishing we say it again - Content is King, Presentation Queen and Distribution at value is a solid Ace. It is business so understand it or get a career change.
12/08/05 TVBR #239

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

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. TVBR observation: Upbeat Morris or trying to put a smile on the face as many had hoped for and still do that Nielsen would acquire Arbitron. People inside Arbitron would make a few dollars and forward motion into the balance of this decade would move at a quicker pace. Now both ratings firms are treading water: VNU/Nielsen in limbo for months as this company is in play and Arbitron wishing to Santa to get bags of support from radio on PPM. Not happening except one thing - both ratings companies will have to continue to spend money on research and forward motion with little light at the end of the tunnel into next year of grand participation from broadcasters.
12/06/05 TVBR #237


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