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post #541 of 25503 Old 11-05-2004, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thursday night's ratings are now posted in Latest News
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post #542 of 25503 Old 11-05-2004, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
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(From Marc Berman's Programming Insider column at Mediaweek.com)
CBS Wins; Fox's The O.C. Opens at Respectable Levels

Primetime Thursday Ratings: Thursday 11/04/04

Metered Market Ratings

Household Rating/Share
CBS: 16.1/23, NBC: 12.0/17, Fox: 5.0/ 7, ABC: 4.6/ 7, UPN: 3.8/ 5, WB: 2.3/ 3

Percent Change From Comparable Year-Ago Night (Thursday, Nov. 6, 2003):
Fox: +72
CBS: + 3
WB: - 7
WB: - 8
NBC: -13
ABC: -23

Fast Affiliate Ratings

Total Viewers:
CBS: 24.18 million
NBC: 15.07
Fox: 6.67
ABC: 6.09
UPN: 4.48
WB: 2.00

Adults 18-49:
CBS: 8.5/21
NBC: 7.1/18
Fox: 2.9/ 7
ABC: 2.0/ 5
UPN: 1.6/ 4
WB: 0.9/ 2

Yesterday's Winners:
Survivor: Vanuatu (CBS)
CSI (CBS)
Without A Trace (CBS)
ER (NBC)

Honorable Mention:
The Apprentice 2 (NBC)

Yesterday's Losers:
Drew Carey's Green Screen (WB)
Extreme Makeover (ABC)
life as we know it (ABC)
North Shore (Fox)


Ratings Breakdown:
Thanks to the one-two-three punch of Survivor: Vanuatu, CSI and Without A Trace, no show (and that includes Fox's The O.C.) can stop the CBS Thursday juggernaut. Comparably, CBS bested No. 2 NBC by an average 34 percent in households, 9.11 million viewers and 20 percent among adults 18-49. Although the second-season premiere of Fox's The O.C. did indeed lift the 8 p.m. hour considerably, Survivor: Vanuatu (12.3/18; Viewers: 20.75 million; A18-49: 7.8/20) was first, followed by NBC sitcoms Joey (10.0/14; Viewers: 12.55 million; A18-49: 5.2/14) and Will & Grace (9.9/14; Viewers: 11.89 million; A18-49: 5.2/13), and The O.C. (6.4/ 9; Viewers: 8.48 million; A18-49: 3.7/ 9).

Comparably, growth for The O.C. of 88 percent in households, 4.56 million viewers and 118 percent among adults 18-49 versus former time period occupant Tru Calling (Overnights: 3.4/ 5; Viewers: 3.92 million; A18-49: 1.7/ 5 on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2003) is certainly worth noting.

Also in the 8 p.m. hour were ABC's Extreme Makeover (#4: 4.9/ 7; A18-49: #4, 2.0/ 6), followed by UPN's reliable WWE Smackdown! (#5: 3.7/ 5; A18-49: 1.5/ 4), and the WB's Blue Collar TV (#6: 3.3/ 5; A18-49: #6, 1.4/ 4) and Drew Carey's Green Screen (#6: 2.4/ 3; A18-49: #6, 0.8/ 2). Although both Blue Collar TV and Drew Carey's Green Screen were last in their time periods, erosion for the Carey mishmash out of Jeff Foxworthy and company of 27 percent in the overnights and 43 percent among adults 18-49 puts Drew where he belongs - in the loser's column.

Overall, WWE Smackdown! averaged a typical (and fifth-place) 3.8/ 5 in the overnights, with 4.48 million viewers and a 1.6/ 4 among adults 18-49.

At 9 p.m., CBS blockbuster CSI soared to a 20.9/29 in the overnights, 30.14 million viewers and a 10.6/26 among adults 18-49 -- outdelivering NBC's still potent The Apprentice 2 (12.6/18; Viewers: 16.09 million; A18-49: 7.8/18) by 66 percent in the overnights, 14.05 million viewers and 36 percent among adults 18-49. That's right -- even The Donald can be beat.

Although Fox was hoping the relocated North Shore would benefit out of similar appeal The O.C., the struggling serial dipped to a 3.6/ 5 in the overnights (#4), 4.87 million viewers (#5) and a 2.0/ 5 among adults 18-49 (#3). Retention for North Shore out of The O.C. was just 56 percent in the overnights, 57 percent in viewers and 54 percent among adults 18-49. See Shannen -- you never should have bolted from Charmed (or Beverly Hills, 90210 for that matter).

Also in the 9 p.m. hour were ABC's barely visible life as we know it (#5: 3.1/ 4; A18-49: #5, 1.5/ 4), and a repeat of the WB's Charmed (#6: 1.7/ 2; A18-49: 0.6/ 1).

Leadership remained mixed at 10 p.m. with CBS' Without A Trace (15.3/23; Viewers: 21.64 million; A18-49: 7.2/19) first in the overnights and total viewers, and NBC's veteran ER (13.5/21; Viewers: 16.91 million; A18-49: 8.2/22) No. 1 among adults 18-49. Word of warning to ER: you are using Maura Tierney's Abby too much. Let's see more of the other characters, please. A distant third, as usual, was ABC's Primetime Live at a 5.9/ 9 in households, 7.58 million viewers and a 2.5/ 7 among adults 18-49.
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post #543 of 25503 Old 11-05-2004, 10:12 PM - Thread Starter
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'Six Feet Under' to cease production
after upcoming fifth season


By DENISE MARTIN Variety.com
HOLLYWOOD -- Alan Ball is closing the coffin on hit HBO mortuary drama "Six Feet Under HD."
HBO has announced that the series' creator-exec producer, whose credits include the Oscar-winning screenplay for "American Beauty," has given notice and will shutter production on the one-hour after its upcoming fifth season.
"I think, as always, we rely on our creators to develop the story arc and to tell us when they feel like they've told their story," HBO entertainment prexy Carolyn Strauss said. "Alan has now said he's told his."
Production on the final 12 episodes begins in two weeks. No premiere date has yet been set, but Strauss said the fifth season would probably start next year. The end of "Six Feet," along with this year's departure of "Sex and the City" and the upcoming final year of "The Sopranos," marks the end of the road for HBO's Big Three Sunday skeins and makes it important that the net's upcoming batch of dramas and comedies catches on with auds.
"Working on 'Six Feet Under' has been enormously fulfilling creatively, but if the show is about anything, it's about the fact that everything comes to an end," Ball said in a statement. "I will miss working with such enormously talented writers, cast, staff and crew, and I'll always be grateful to HBO for allowing and encouraging us to tell the story we set out to tell in a challenging and uncompromising way."
Insiders close to the show say the skein's final episode, which Ball has already written, effectively kills any possiblity for the series to go on. HBO execs, for their part, chose not to continue "Six Feet" without Ball on board.
The show's fourth season averaged 3.7 million viewers, down from its second season peak of 5.6 million. Newcomers "Deadwood" and "Carnivale," while not as universally hailed as "Six Feet" initially was - HBO had ordered up a second season of "Six Feet" before the first had even premiered -- drew bigger Nielsens last year.
It will likely be the second to leave the air, behind "Sex" and before "Sopranos," which will follow suit in 2006 after its sixth and final season.
Should Ball later decide to pull a David Chase and extend the life of "Six Feet," the pay cabler will be game.
"We can always hope," Strauss said. "He seems fairly certain about things, but you never know."
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post #544 of 25503 Old 11-05-2004, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
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TV on your own terms

DVDs have given weak shows new life, boosted revenues and changed the way we watch
By Hal Boedeker Orlando Sentinel Television Critic November 5, 2004

Arrested Development starts its second season Sunday bolstered by an Emmy victory as best sitcom, steady promotion from Fox and good word of mouth from fans.

The ratings-challenged series needs every bit of help. But the best advertisement comes in a form that viewers can wrap their hands around: the DVD set that contains all 22 episodes from the first season.

"It's one of those shows that benefits from being rewatched," creator Mitch Hurwitz says. "It's an ideal show for DVD. We'll see if it translates into new viewers."

The DVD market is bringing new money and attention to the television industry. Video Store Magazine projects that sales of television DVDs this year could reach $2.3 billion, up from $1.4 billion last year. Top sellers range from Chappelle's Show, the Comedy Central hit, to Friends.

The DVD can bring viewers to prime time. The first-season disc set of 24 paid off handsomely for the intense Fox thriller as it began its second year. The strategy was developed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, which seeks a repeat with Arrested Development.

"After it won the Emmy, there's a lot of curiosity about the show," says Steve Feldstein, senior vice president of corporate and marketing communications. The DVD, he says, is "obviously a revenue source, and it's simply a way to keep it in the public consciousness."

Arrested Development airs at 8:30 p.m. Sundays, locally on WOFL-Channel 35. It follows The Simpsons, which has flourished on DVD. The technology also has revived the dormant Family Guy and celebrated short-lived series, such as Freaks and Geeks.

Beyond its effect on individual series, the DVD phenomenon has the potential to change the television business in profound ways.

"You'll see shows stay on the air because they can make money in DVDs," says Al Jean, executive producer of The Simpsons. "Animation is getting a second look because DVDs do well. The DVD changed the equation for shows and was a huge plus for us."

He points to figures revealing that the fourth-season DVD set of The Simpsons grossed $38 million in its first year of circulation. Yet the DVDs can present a mixed blessing.

"It generates more fans, and people have bought DVDs in huge numbers, but there are so many ways of watching The Simpsons," Jean says. "We often compete with ourselves."


An eye toward forever


DVDs offer a crucial difference from syndicated reruns, which can be edited to increase commercial time. The small discs allow viewers to see the program as it originally aired.

"There's no better place for a show to live on than DVD," says Phil Rosenthal, creator of Everybody Loves Raymond. "It's pristine. It's like your own museum. In that regard, we make shows with an eye toward forever. You'll see on our show there are no topical jokes. We want the show to last the way The Honeymooners lasts."

Rosenthal describes himself as a geek when it comes to DVDs and owns some series that influenced him: The Honeymooners, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

"Some of these are classes in a box," Rosenthal says. "To have Martin Scorsese take you through Raging Bull shot by shot, where are you going to get a class better than that?

"We are, on a much smaller scale, doing it on episodes of our show. We're not just trying to be entertaining but trying to impart what's going on in our minds as we write and create shows. Maybe they will be useful to other people."

So far, season one of Raymond is out, and the second season will arrive before Christmas. Rosenthal and star Ray Romano are doing audio commentaries to take viewers through the process. More extras, such as gag reels and deleted scenes, will be added for the later seasons when Raymond grew in popularity.

The extras, from commentaries to alternate endings, become selling points. The DVD craze could provide more programming. NBC will hitch a ride on the Seinfeld release in a Thanksgiving special in which the cast reminisces.

"The DVD could change the nature of scholarship," says Ron Simon, television curator at the Museum of Television & Radio in New York. "So much was based on memory. Now you can dig into a show. Whatever you want to look at you can freeze-frame."


In touch without cable


The DVD is allowing viewers who don't have pay cable to catch up with much-discussed HBO offerings, such as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Sex and the City. The disc set lets people immerse themselves quickly in boundary-pushing programs, such as FX's The Shield and Nip/Tuck.

Simon says the DVD set might force producers and writers to focus more on how narratives play out over a season. The storytelling, in effect, would become more like that of a novel.

"It could be that producers will start to think more in terms of a Sopranos season rather than discrete episodes," Simon says. "The DVD imposes a uniform quality to a season. In many ways, the series is promotion for the DVD. It will be available even when the show is off the air."

The disc set also is increasingly becoming a promotional tool for the series when it airs on network television. Season one of The O.C. has been released, and series creator Josh Schwartz sees only good things in that development. Viewers have access to 27 straight hours of the serial, which started its second season Thursday.

"As much as people can watch the DVDs and get up to speed, if they didn't catch the show last year . . . that's great for us," he says. "I'm really proud of everything we did last year. I think it's also going to be interesting for people to track Ben McKenzie's changing hairstyle through the year." Ben is the James Dean-style hero who seems destined for a long run on Fox.

Another advantage of DVDs is that they accommodate series that weren't winners. Freaks and Geeks lasted only one season on NBC, but it receives the deluxe treatment on disc. The set contains the complete series of 18 episodes and more than 40 hours of bonus material.


A second chance for series


Then there's the unusual case of Family Guy, an animated series that had a hard time on Fox. It, however, has thrived on DVD.

"It re-energized existing fans and brought new fans to the party to the point where the network and production division took a second look and said, 'Let's put it back on the air,' " says Feldstein of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Family Guy will rejoin the Fox schedule next year. But don't look for the DVD to end broadcasting as we know it.

"There will always be network television," Raymond creator Rosenthal says. "People are into the communal experience of watching something when it's on and coming in the next day and talking about it. Would we want to wait for a sporting event to be on DVD?"
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post #545 of 25503 Old 11-06-2004, 01:11 AM
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Of note, regarding "Family Guy": About a month ago, during the cards (messages) that Adult Swim displays during commercial breaks, Adult Swim thanked Fox for canceling, greenlighting, developing, canceling again and selling Adult Swim the rights to those new "Family Guy" episodes (that was loosely quoted from memory), as well as a new show by Seth McFarlane, "American Dad". If that is correct, the article about DVD sales fueling episode production is still true, but FOX will be airing these shows on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, not FOX primetime. Just FYI. Of course FOX execs may have changed their minds again.

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post #546 of 25503 Old 11-06-2004, 01:37 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by GregF
Of note, regarding "Family Guy": About a month ago, during the cards (messages) that Adult Swim displays during commercial breaks, Adult Swim thanked Fox for canceling, greenlighting, developing, canceling again and selling Adult Swim the rights to those new "Family Guy" episodes (that was loosely quoted from memory), as well as a new show by Seth McFarlane, "American Dad". If that is correct, the article about DVD sales fueling episode production is still true, but FOX will be airing these shows on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, not FOX primetime. Just FYI. Of course FOX execs may have changed their minds again.

Seriously? I hadn't heard that last part, "cancelling again?" Before it ever even aired? How stupid is that?! *shrug* I guess it's par for the course at FOX.

Another interesting cancelled series that's proliferated on DVD (and quite an oversight for the article) is Firefly, which FOX summarily dismissed before ever airing (they didn't understand why a space show had horses *shrug*), and did as little as possible to promote while on air (not to mention, airing the 2-hour pilot episode last! ), has sold well enough on DVD to warrant at least one theatrical motion picture, potentially three within the current contract. I highly recommend checking out the DVD, and look for Serenity, coming in April 2005.
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post #547 of 25503 Old 11-06-2004, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Friday's ratings are posted in Latest News
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post #548 of 25503 Old 11-06-2004, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Fat Cats Get Fatter

And four more changes in the next four years under George W. Bush

By Bill McConnell Â- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/8/2004
The more things stay the same, the more they change.
While the reelection of President Bush implies that policy wonÂ't shift in the second term, media companies can still expect a torrent of changes. As the technology, programming and regulation of TV continue to mutate, both government and industry can rely on one thing: a fast pace.
Only four years ago, for example, the transition of the nationÂ's broadcast stations to digital was at a standstill as TV stations, set makers and cable operators bickered. Now expect a nastier fight, as the FCC and Congress zero in on a final deadlineÂthereÂ's even strong disagreement over an exact date among the newly confident Republicans in Congress. To keep the transition on track will require compromise from all sides. In return for new digital broadcast rights, certain FCC commissioners will want new programming quotas for news, educational and public affairs.
By the time President Bush takes the oath of office, vigorous debate is expected in Congress, sparking what amounts to a constitutional convention for the media industry: revamping the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The most urgent issue for lawmakers: putting cable and Web-based telephone service under the same obligations to subsidize universal service and lease lines to competitors as traditional local phone companies.
If the act is dismantled, lawmakers will jump to make alterations beyond phone service. Ownership limits, cable indecency regulation and public-interest obligations would be up for grabs. Such a bill, which is expected to be the focus of the key House and Senate Commerce Committees for the next two congressional sessions, would be enormously complicated and take years to become law.
Even with the same president, uncertainties abound. No incident proved how fast an issue can catch fire than Janet JacksonÂ's Super Bowl breast flash; before that, the notion of policing prime time scripts wasnÂ't even a blip on the White House radar screen. With overwhelming election support from social conservatives, the FCC under Bush will continue the clampdown on prime time swearing, over-the-top sex scenes and raunchy shock jocks.
As lawmakers struggle to strike the right balance, here are five issues to look out for:

1. FAT CATS GET FATTER.
Media giants Comcast, News Corp., Viacom and other conglomerates will seek to strike new deals to grow their empires in a more relaxed regulatory environment. Media companies see consolidation as a means to economies of scale, whereby they can theoretically deliver superior services at a lower cost. A second Bush administration will resurrect deregulation to make it so.
Even before the election, liberal Democrat Sumner Redstone, ViacomÂ's feisty 81-year-old CEO, made the startling declaration that he believed the election of Bush Âis better for our company. Viacom, which has reached station-ownership limits, would love to buy more. Cable giants like Comcast Corp., which today reaches about a third of the country, want to fill out their national footprints and revive long-forgotten FCC plans to raise subscriber limits.
At a time when many broadcasters want to tighten their grip on local markets, the agency will also likely lift a ban on owning a TV station and a newspaper in the same area. Several media companies, particularly News Corp., Media General Inc. and Tribune, have been pushing to abolish the ban.
All this could be good news for deal-hungry Wall Street. If ownership limits start to fall, a new round of mega-deals could follow, boosting media stock prices stuck in the doldrums. A strong economy helps most. If gross domestic product grows, say 5% instead of 3%, the ripple effects roll throughout the media.
Given the court ruling this year that ordered the FCC to rewrite its deregulation of broadcast-ownership rules, any tweaks are sure to be challenged. ÂAny changes that are going to happen are a function of the courts, not the agencies, says Sinclair CEO David Smith.
The courts, however, gave the FCC room to deregulate as long it as does a good job of explaining any changes. ÂWe think the FCC will get a second chance to deregulate, says Bear, Stearns media analyst Victor Miller.
Lifting restrictions will lead to Âfewer owners controlling even more assets, said Leonard Hill, head of the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers and Directors, which represents the independent TV production community. ÂTheyÂ'll be able to curry favor with entrenched Washington power in turn for relaxation of regulations designed to protect the public interest.Â
2. MORALITY POLICE WILL SEE RED OVER BLUE TV.
Howard Stern will be glad he left commercial radioÂfor now. Conservative groups, many reveling in the Republican victory, will turn up the pressure on the FCC and Congress to scrub filth out of broadcast prime timeÂa reward for keeping President Bush in the White House.
The margin of BushÂ's victory provided by social conservatives was a Âtremendous validation of our agenda to protect children, says Tim Winters, executive director of the Parent Television Council. He insists that cleaning up the airwaves resonates with liberals, too/ ÂItÂ's not a Democratic or Republican issue.Â
With as many as four Supreme Court spots likely to open in the new Bush presidency, a new posse of ultra-conservative judges could take their seats. Upcoming retirements also give social conservatives their most fervent wish: a high court dedicated to reversing AmericaÂ's Âmoral decay. Cable and satellite companies, missed in the most recent indecency crackdown, might be hit, too.
If Chief Justice William RehnquistÂ's illness forces him to exit, likely successor Antonin Scalia will rewrite past court rulings to put cable and satellite radio under indecency restrictions. Best-case scenario under Scalia: Cable is forced to offer individual channels Ã* la carte. Worst case: Cable loses huge profits when cable porn is outlawed.
Many in Hollywood are concerned that freedom of speech will be curbed even further, and the chilling effect will force writers to hold punches. Steven Bochco, a veteran TV writer, winner of eight Emmys, and the creator of NYPD Blue, says his hit cop series would never make it to the air if it were to premiere today (see Q&A, page 21). When it debuted in 1993, the show pushed the limits of explicit language and sexual situations shown on the broadcast networks. The current regulatory climate has been building, says Bochco.
One big change that worries cable operators: if Congress forces cable systems to sell channels individually, or Ã* la carte, the same way they sell HBO. That way, viewers offended by racy MTV or FX wouldnÂ't have to pay for them. ÂI worry a little bit that the fundamentalist-right agenda is all about indecency, which then translates into Ã* la carte, says the CEO of a top-10 cable operator.
One big broadcaster believes the ballyhoo over indecency fades. Says Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan, ÂI think everyone backs off once youÂ're out of an election cycle.Â
Adds HBOÂ's Oz creator Tom Fontana, ÂIÂ'm more afraid of media consolidation than them taking away my right of saying on cable the word '****.Â'Â
3. FCC CHIEF POLISHES HIS IMAGE, THEN QUITS.
Still smarting after big-media activists painted him as the poster boy for deregulation run amok, the FCC chairman gets time for a makeover.
Powell, the 40-year-old burly, balding son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, first joined the FCC in 1997. Few stay around for a tenure so long, and he is itching to leave. Thanks to BushÂ's reelection, he will probably stay at his post until the president can win a confirmation for his replacementÂprobably next summer.
The front-runners to replace him are Michael Gallagher, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration; Rebecca Klein, former Texas utilities regulator; and Janice Obuchowski, telecommunications consultant and former NTIA chief. ThereÂ's also an outside chance Bush could replace Republican Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy, whose term expired this year, although he can let her stay through the end of 2005, without submitting her name to Congress for reconfirmation.
The new chairman is likely to keep a lower profile than the brash Powell, who rarely ceases to speak his mind about the merits of media deregulation.
In the meantime, Powell will focus on the projects he wants to claim as his legacy: accelerating the transition to digital television, rolling out Internet TV and backing other gee-whiz technologies. To help him make those proposals into rules, Powell will have a temporary 3-1 Republican majority, thanks to Democrat Jonathan AdelsteinÂ's pending departure from the five-member commission. His term is up, and he must leave no later than December.
First, Senate Democrats must choose a new minority leader before the partyÂ's FCC pick is named. The longer they take to decideÂspring is the earliest a pick would be madeÂthe more time Powell and company have to push through their plans.
4. GOP STANDS DIVIDED ON DIGITAL DEADLINE.
Chairman Michael Powell, House Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) and the White House disagree over the best way to convert Americans to digital TV. Powell wants to accelerate the day when TV stations go all-digital and return their old analog channelsÂto 2009. Without some pushing from the FCC, broadcasters wonÂ't have to return their old channels for a decade or more. ThatÂ's because no station has to go digital until 85% of viewers in its market are equipped to receive a digital picture.
Powell has been drafting a plan, controversial among broadcasters, that would require stations to give up their analog channels long before that threshold is met. Under this plan, some cable homes would be counted as digital even if they donÂ't own if a digital set.
Barton, however, wants Powell to move even faster and end the DTV switch in 2006. If a plan must be enforced, no doubt TV stations will get behind Powell, since his plan will allow them more time.
Congressional budget writers are pressuring him to raise money by auctioning those channels as soon as possible. A chunk of those channels are also earmarked for local public-safety departments around the country, and he wants that hand-off as soon as possible.
But meeting either manÂ's deadline requires Uncle Sam to cover the cost of digital equipment for low-income viewers who donÂ't subscribe to pay TV. Otherwise, their sets would go dark. The White House is balking at coughing up the necessary $1 billion for the equipment and instead wants to light a fire under broadcasters by making them pay a fee every year they retain analog channels past 2006.
Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael Copps is amused by the RepublicansÂ' quandary. PowellÂ's effort to get consensus led to the planÂ's becoming a Âmoving target. In fact, Powell hasnÂ't yet submitted anything formal to other commissioners. Copps predicts the logjam will loosen and negotiations will commence once Powell puts something in writing. Says Copps, ÂWe need to know a little more about his plan and get a sense of the new Congress.Â
5. CONGRESS REOPENS THE TELECOM ACT, REAPS A WINDFALL.
Congress plans to launch a massive rewrite of the laws governing media, phone and wireless industries sometime next year. Traditional phone companies are now screaming for relief from the load of regulatory burdens that prevent them from competing with cable and Internet phone service.
A big side benefit to House and Senate members is that telecom companies, fearful of losing favor, will feel obligated to donate millions over the next session. If past legislative battles are any indication, Congress will milk the opportunity for campaign cash rather than pass legislation quickly. Drawn-out fights over major legislation goes hand-in-hand with fundraising.
ÂThatÂ's the reality in Washington, says Mark Cooper of Consumer Federal of America. ÂMy first fight over what became the Telecommunications Act of 1996 occurred in 1984.Â
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post #549 of 25503 Old 11-06-2004, 12:41 PM
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Originally posted by GregF
Of note, regarding "Family Guy": About a month ago, during the cards (messages) that Adult Swim displays during commercial breaks, Adult Swim thanked Fox for canceling, greenlighting, developing, canceling again and selling Adult Swim the rights to those new "Family Guy" episodes (that was loosely quoted from memory), as well as a new show by Seth McFarlane, "American Dad". If that is correct, the article about DVD sales fueling episode production is still true, but FOX will be airing these shows on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, not FOX primetime. Just FYI. Of course FOX execs may have changed their minds again.


Fox will be airing both shows during primetime, Adult Swim has rights to show same-week reruns.
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post #550 of 25503 Old 11-06-2004, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
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CBS Sports Pres: Leagues to Stick With Nets for Coverage

(Mediaweek.com) -- Speaking on a Future of TV Sports panel at ESPN's annual sports upfront in New York last week, CBS Sports president Sean McManus said he believes that all the major professional sports coverage, for at least "the next decade," will continue to be televised on TV networks not owned by the leagues themselves.

David Hill, chairman/CEO of Fox Sports Television Group, said what the professional sports leagues "have to ask themselves is, will they be willing to forgo the cash and promotion they get from the broadcast networks" if they choose to begin airing games on their own cable or digital tier networks.

And a comment that is sure to give John Bogusz, CBS Sports sales president, some angst, McManus derided the growing use of what he described as forced and cluttered product placement in sports telecasts. "We are very dangerously close to annoying the viewer with product placement," McManus said. "I would like to see us roll it back because we are doing way too much. We are very close to taking away the enjoyment of the game for the fans." John Consoli
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post #551 of 25503 Old 11-07-2004, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Saturday prime time ratings have been posted in Latest News.
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post #552 of 25503 Old 11-07-2004, 11:49 AM
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fredfa, for the Saturday ratings, don't you mean to credit it to Zap2It and not thefutoncritic?
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post #553 of 25503 Old 11-07-2004, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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post #554 of 25503 Old 11-07-2004, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Voom hears a boom

Hi-def service snaps up 193 Miramax titles

By JOHN DEMPSEY Variety.com
Chuck Dolan's high-definition programming service called Voom has bought exclusive high-definition rights to 193 movies from Miramax Films and its Dimension Pictures sibling for a total license fee of $10 million-$15 million.
Voom offers its subscribers 38 HD channels, including 10 movie services featuring a range of content from Westerns to foreign films to black-and-white classics.
The movies in the deal include 64 martial-arts pictures starring such action veterans as Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Chow Yun Fat. Foreign-language titles make up 28 more movies, led by "Amelie" and "Farewell My Concubine."
Four pictures are listed as representative of the English-language grouping from Miramax/Dimension: "Clerks," "Prophecy II," "The Picture Bride" and Woody Allen's "Celebrity."
Profit in doubt
Despite the deal, many Wall Street analysts are skeptical of Voom's profit-making potential. Voom's parent company Cablevision Systems is still planning to spin it off into a separate operation along with AMC, WE: Women's Entertainment, IFC and a batch of regional sports networks, all of which are part of Dolan's Rainbow Media Enterprises.
The reason analysts have doubts about Voom is that only 28,700 households have signed up for the service in the past year, according to Cablevision, which said Voom lost $72 million in the second quarter alone.
People aren't feverishly signing up for Voom because the installation and rental of the satellite dish can cost as much as $499. That's only for starters. Voom sets its monthly rental fee for the digital box at $9.50, and the combination of 21 HD channels and 85 basic-cable networks cost subscribers an additional $49.90 a month. The full package, encompassing all of the HD channels, has an $89.90-a-month pricetag. (Among the ad-supported networks not available to Voom customers are Lifetime, the Weather Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TV Guide Channel, Golf Channel and National Geographic Channel.)

Other outlets

Since DirecTV and EchoStar are adding lots of high-def services to their offerings, Richard Greenfield, an analyst with Fulcrum Global Partners, said satellite customers don't need Voom to satisfy their hankering for HD programming.
But Rick Sands, chief operating officer of Miramax, said the naysayers have underestimated Cablevision in the past.
"Chuck Dolan is a creative visionary who has the guts to compete in the early stages of what will be a great concept," Sands said. "High-definition television has proven to be the most desirable medium through which viewers can enjoy a filmmaker's vision as it was meant to be seen."
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post #555 of 25503 Old 11-07-2004, 10:34 PM - Thread Starter
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If you have ever wondered why some shows seem to miraculously stay on the air, despite overall ratings that aren't the best, this story from TVWeek just might answer a few of your questions:

ABC Turns On Affluent Set

`Housewives,' `Lost,' `Boston Legal' Draw Advertisers' Most Prized Demo

By Jon Lafayette TVWeek.com November 8, 2004
ABC's successful new dramas have helped the network attract the kinds of upscale viewers that advertisers are desperate to reach.
For the first six weeks of the season, "Desperate Housewives," "Lost" and "Boston Legal" are all among the top 15 shows in attracting viewers 18 to 49 with household incomes of more than $75,000 and more than four years of college education. "Housewives" is the top-rated program in that category.
Those shows have been the backbone of a remarkably quick turnaround for ABC among upscale viewers. Its ratings jumped to a 4.5 in this important demographic, up from 3.6 last year. And its concentration of upscale viewers jumped from a slightly below-average index of 98 to a 110. ABC's index figure trails NBC, the longtime leader in both categories. NBC's rating also is a 4.5, down from 4.9 last season, with a 117 index, up from 111.
Advertisers will pay more to reach affluent households, and they're starting to take notice of the change at ABC. Market sources said American Express, which covets upscale viewers, has bought ABC for a new campaign it is about to launch. American Express bought ABC sparingly last season.
"The upscale viewer is very, very hard to reach because typically, they're not the heaviest TV viewers, so it's especially a wow factor for us that our dramas in particular are now capturing this elusive, hard-to-reach audience," said Geri Wang, executive VP of sales at ABC.
"We had been a very mainstream network, indexing in the high 90s. Now we're at 110, which is amazing. Our audience is 10 percent more likely to live in a home making more than $75,000 and be college-graduated. It's astonishing that in six weeks we've been able to change the demographic base of this network."
That change makes ABC more attractive to certain key advertisers.
"It's not that important to a packaged goods [company], but it's obviously important to an automotive company or a technology company, a financial company. That audience is difficult to reach and if you can find it, that's great," said Shari Cohen, co-executive director of MindShare, which handles media buying for American Express.
She declined to talk about American Express's plans, but said ABC has "definitely improved for the upscale demo, and that's a desirable demo for American Express. We'd be remiss if we didn't look at all our options."
Having upscale viewers has helped ABC get higher prices for its commercials.
"It's allowed us to push up CPMs," Ms. Wang said. "We are writing above the upfront. It's not some crazy, out-of-control marketplace. But there's been a nice steady stream and clients want to buy our shows."
Market sources say spots on "Desperate Housewives" are selling for up to $375,000, up from about $185,000 in the upfront.
Most of that increase reflects that viewership is nearly double what the network and most buyers estimated before the season started. ABC held a lot of inventory out of the upfront and that strategy is paying off. But with the overall market weak, CPM increases have been limited, buyers said.
"There's a huge wow factor attached to this show. Not only in volume, not only in its critical acclaim, not only because it's fun to watch but also because we have that upscale story," Ms. Wang said.
In the past, ABC has offered its Academy Awards broadcast as its primary way to reach rich viewers and business leaders. "Now that we have `Desperate,' which has been the highest upscale demo ratings out of every show on network television, it's kind of cool," Ms. Wang said.
"Even our repeat of `Desperate Housewives' on Saturday is over a 100 index," she said, "and our advertisers are always looking to ferret out these demographic nuggets."

NBC Still Strong

While "Desperate Housewives" has the highest ratings among upscale viewers, some NBC shows still have the highest concentration of those upscale viewers.
NBC's "The West Wing" and "The Apprentice," which had the highest indexes last year, are tops again so far this season. "West Wing" has a 167 index, up from 148 last year. "The Apprentice" has a 157 index. Other NBC shows with strong indexes include "Will & Grace," "Law & Order," "Joey" and "ER."
In terms of an index, "Boston Legal" is ABC's top show with upscale viewers, with a 144. "Desperate Housewives" is second with a 135, which ties it with NBC's "Will & Grace."
CBS's show with the highest index is "60 Minutes," with a 128.
With its younger overall viewership, Fox has no shows that index over 100 for upscale viewers. Its top performer is "North Shore" with a 98. Overall, the network averages a 1.7 rating and 76 index for the demographic.
CBS last week also made claims for upscale viewers. For the first four weeks of the season, CBS said it is ranked first among $100,000-plus-income households and, for the first time since 1996, first among adults 25 to 54 in $100,000-plus-income households. The top-ranked shows among viewers 25 to 54 in these very upscale households are "Desperate Housewives," "CSI" and "The Apprentice." The $100,000 income figure is new for Nielsen, introduced just last season.
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post #556 of 25503 Old 11-07-2004, 10:49 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by fredfa
Since DirecTV and EchoStar are adding lots of high-def services to their offerings, Richard Greenfield, an analyst with Fulcrum Global Partners, said satellite customers don't need Voom to satisfy their hankering for HD programming.

Huh? Both D* and E* "adding lots of high-def services..."? Did I miss something?
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Quote:


Originally posted by SonomaSearcher
Huh? Both D* and E* "adding lots of high-def services..."? Did I miss something?

I think that is a forward looking statement being made by a financial analyst, by all reports DirecTV is set to become the 800lb gorilla with 500 HD-LiL by mid 2005 and Fox-HD, ABC-HD, TNT-HD and ESPN2 on the near horizon. Personally all the proprietary HD Voom has has never been an attraction for me..
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post #558 of 25503 Old 11-08-2004, 06:39 AM
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A NICE RESPONSE FROM DIRECTV ABOUT SPORTS PROGRAMMING>>>

I Contacted Investor Relations at DirectV with the following questions and received a thoughtful response:

MY ISSUE:
Subject: Directv is being held back...

...by a slow transition to specific sports related HD content...I
believe
that sports fan are the "stickiest" customers and they want their
regional
Comcast/Fox Sportsnets in HD and TNT HD...if you study user forums (as
I've
done at length), these are the issues most often mentioned by DTV
customers
with Voom loyalists calling for them to change.

It also seems that customers feel Directv gives them little guidance of
potential plans. My sense is that people would wait for channels if they
had
a firmer sense that new hd channels were being considered.

Please pass this along to the appropriate parties.

THE RESPONSE:

Brian,
Thanks for the feedback. This is a situation we are well aware of.
Current capacity constraints make it difficult to put up regional sports
in HD everywhere it is available. We do have some capacity for more HD
but not significant capacity. That will change around mid-2005 after we
launch two additional satellites (we announced this in September). These
satellites will allow us to launch an additional 500 local channels,
which could also include regional sports nets.

We have only just started pushing HD programming to our current subs -
featuring our HD NFL Sunday Ticket package. I'm sure you have seen that
advertising over the DIRECTV airwaves as well as in you billing package.
As NFL is the biggest driver in sports programming in the country, this
has been our focus in starting our HD push.

Over the next 12 months we will continue to add additional programming
in HD and as we do we will let our customers know via the airwaves and
other mailings. For some customers I realize that it's not soon enough,
but we hope to accelerate these offerings in 2005.

Thanks again for the feedback - I will pass it along to our programming
department...
Martin


I give Martin credit for taking the time to respond and buy his explanation.
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post #559 of 25503 Old 11-08-2004, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Sunday ratings (courtesty Marc Berman and mediaweek.com) have been posted.
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post #560 of 25503 Old 11-08-2004, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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'Boomtown' Vet Grabs '24' Desk


(Monday, November 08 10:04 AM PT)
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com)--- Although much has been made of the absence of key members of the CTU team on FOX's "24," there were be at least two new actors playing regular roles in the counter terrorism unit, either assisting Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer or making life more complicated.
Lana Parrilla and Roger Cross will be regulars on the upcoming fourth season of FOX's Emmy-winning drama as CTU operatives. Between the on-screen deaths of certain characters and the uncertain, reduced or eliminated roles of Carlos Bernard, Elisha Cuthbert and Reiko Aylesworth, viewers can expect a number of fresh faces fighting terrorism when the show returns with a two-hour premiere on Sunday, Jan. 9.
Parrilla is best known from stints on ABC's "Spin City" and NBC's "Boomtown." She has appeared on multiple episodes of both ABC's "NYPD Blue" and HBO's "Six Feet Under" earlier in this year. Cross appeared in this summer's "The Chronicles of Riddick" and the actor's other credits include appearances on "The Days," "Star Trek: Enterprise" and "Peacemakers."
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post #561 of 25503 Old 11-08-2004, 10:35 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by fredfa
(Among the ad-supported networks not available to Voom customers are Lifetime, the Weather Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TV Guide Channel, Golf Channel and National Geographic Channel.)

This isn't up to date. Voom has The Weather Channel & The Golf Channel.
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post #562 of 25503 Old 11-08-2004, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Perhaps VOOM's public relations department might want to get information of that sort out to leading trade publications like Variety.
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post #563 of 25503 Old 11-08-2004, 10:40 AM
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Fred, you have PM.
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post #564 of 25503 Old 11-08-2004, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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(courtesy of keenan's sharp eyes)

Viacom: FCC Super Bowl Fine Unconstitutional


By Todd Shields mediaweek.com November 08, 2004
In a filing late last Friday to the Federal Communications Commission, Viacom and its CBS television network argued that the proposed $550,000 fine for the controversial Super Bowl broadcast violates the First Amendment, could threaten an end to live broadcasting, and should not be levied against them.

The FCC's newly aggressive indecency policy imposes a broad chilling effect on broadcasters, the company said in its filing. The FCC on Sept. 22 proposed the fine against Viacom's 20 CBS stations in response to the Feb. 1 Super Bowl halftime show broadcast, in which singer Janet Jackson's right breast was revealed for 9/16 of a second. With Viacom's response in hand, the agency now must decide whether to press ahead. There is no deadline.

The costume reveal' was as much a shock to Viacom as to everyone else, Viacom said in its filing. It called the glimpse a stunt concocted by the performers themselves shortly before the show that was neither explicit nor graphicand was not used to titillate or shock.

If it stands, the [fine] will lead to the end of live broadcasting as we know it by placing broadcasters on notice that they risk massive liability and perhaps license revocation if they fail to adopt technical measures to avoid the possibility of a spontaneous transgression, Viacom said.

It said many broadcasters already were facing the decision whether to install elaborate delay mechanisms, or forego coverage of live events including those involving politicians, sports figures and other newsmakers.
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post #565 of 25503 Old 11-08-2004, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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UPN's 'Mars,' 'Hill' Get Full Seasons


zap2it.com--Despite some of the new season's warmest reviews, neither of UPN's freshman dramas -- "Kevin Hill" and "Veronica Mars" -- has come out of the box as a clear hit. However, both shows are showing enough progress to earn a vote of confidence from UPN. The netlet has given both shows a full season order.
"We've been thrilled with the creative auspices for 'Veronica Mars' with its terrific ensemble cast, sharp writing and high production quality," says UPN Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff. "Every episode that comes in keeps getting better and better. And our critically acclaimed drama 'Kevin Hill' has helped strengthen our performance on Wednesday night with double- and triple-digit time period gains in our core demographics."
Through its first five airings, "Veronica Mars" averaged 2.65 million viewers per episode, but the drama, which stars Kristen Bell as a high school student who occasionally moonlights as a private investigator, has shown slow improvement. The most recent episode hit new ratings highs and the series has improved 40 percent among adults 18-49 since its premiere.
Although "Veronica Mars" has been saddled with the incompatible lead-in of "Eve," the series has given UPN dramatically boosted demographic ratings compared to the performances of "Rock Me Baby" and "The Mullets" in the same time period last year.
"Kevin Hill" has also helped UPN improve a formerly weak time period. The legal series, which features Taye Diggs, has averaged 3.77 million viewers, in large part due to its "America's Next Top Model" lead-in. "Kevin Hill" has provided increases of 89 percent among adults 18-49, 200 percent women 18-49 and 59 percent among total viewers over "Jake 2.0" in the same time period last season.
Although UPN recently ordered new scripts for first year comedy "Second Time Around," it has yet to receive a back nine order.
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post #566 of 25503 Old 11-08-2004, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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More on the demise of "Six Feet Under"

Clumps of dark sod for 'Six Feet Under'

Creator tells HBO: This season is the show's last
(medialifemagazine.com)---HBO is losing another one of its acclaimed shows, though this one doesn't pack quite the ratings punch as the recently deceased Sex and the City.
Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball told the network Friday that the fifth season of the show will be its last, saying its storylines will be played out by the end of its next 12-episode go-round.
The show has been a huge hit with critics if not audiences, drawing nearly 40 Emmy nominations in its first two years and getting nearly unanimous critical raves upon its 2001 debut.
But unlike Sex, which departed last winter, or The Sopranos, whose final season will begin next year, Six has never drawn big audiences.
The show's fourth season this past summer averaged 3.7 million total viewers. That was well off its second-season high of 5.6 million viewers, and far behind the 7 million who tuned in weekly for Sex or the 10 million for Sopranos.
In fact, even HBO's less-acclaimed new series Deadwood and Carnivale each boasted better averages during their first seasons, though they also had the advantage of airing out of Sopranos and Sex.
HBO has not said when Six's final season will air, though next spring or summer seems likely. Production on the final season will begin next week.
With Six's departure, HBO is now on the lookout for the kind of buzzed-about show that Sex, Sopranos and even Six, despite its small viewership, became during their runs.
Thus far, its efforts to replace the shows have been somewhat disappointing. Most discouraging was the highly touted half-hour comedy Entourage, which aired out of Six over the summer and lost about 50 percent of its lead-in's audience.
HBO did order a second season of the show, but viewership would probably need to increase for it to get a third.
Though The Wire remains a critical favorite, it is far too edgy to attract the mainstream Sex crowd. Deadwood and Carnivale are slated to return in January and March, with new dramas Big Love, about a Utah polygamist, and Rome, about the titular empire, premiering next year as well.
In a statement Friday, Ball, who executive produces the show, said, Working on 'Six Feet Under' has been enormously fulfilling creatively, but if the show is about anything, it's about the fact that everything comes to an end.
Despite its many Emmy nominations, the show has never won in the major categories.
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Quote:
Originally posted by fredfa
More on the demise of "Six Feet Under"


I'm sad to see this one go, it's been one of my favorites..
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post #568 of 25503 Old 11-08-2004, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
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More thoughts on last week's DirecTV 3rd Quarter numbers:

DirecTV Churn Dismays Wall St.

Satellite Operator Growing Subs,
But Analysts Question Future


By Jay Sherman TVWeek.com November 8, 2004
Is DirecTV Group's white-hot streak starting to cool?
Though the satellite operator last week continued the performance it has reported the past several quarters, reporting robust subscriber growth in subscribers in its third-quarter results, Wall Street's enthusiasm for the company flagged upon learning the company's churn rate.
Churn rose to nearly 1.7 percent in the third quarter from a year-earlier rate of 1.6 percent. The increase caught many analysts off guard and raises questions about the quality of new customers signing up for DirecTV service and whether investors ought to brace themselves for higher churn rates in the future.
DirecTV has been on a subscriber-growth tear for most of the year, an effort that accelerated once Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. took control of the satellite company late last year.
In the third quarter alone DirecTV added more than 1 million new subscribers as a result of its own efforts as well as its partnerships with telephone companies BellSouth and Verizon Communications. A lot of the growth has come at the expense of cable operators, which in recent months have stepped up their own efforts to beat back the satellite tide.
But with the latest churn numbers, analysts are starting to quietly wonder whether DirecTV's growth has come at the expense of consumer quality.
Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett described the churn number as a "key concern" because it wasn't a result of recently acquired customers from DirecTV reseller Pegasus Communications, whose churn rates were historically higher than DirecTV's, but rather a function of a highly competitive marketplace and, perhaps more worrisome, a higher number of disconnects for nonpayment.
"The latter could cast a question about the quality of the gross additions in recent quarters," Mr. Moffett warned.
For their part, DirecTV officials admitted the churn number was higher than they wanted it to be and have begun several initiatives designed to better identify customers with riskier credit profiles. They blamed the increase on subscriber growth rates that proved more difficult to manage than initially expected.
DirecTV President Mitch Stern added: "Voluntary churn was still too high."
Despite raising the churn number, the growth helped DirecTV report a double-digit increase in revenue. It wasn't enough to offset a one-time charge or increased marketing costs booked in the quarter.
The company, which is 34 percent controlled by News Corp., fell deeper into the red, reporting a third-quarter loss of $1.01 billion versus year-earlier red ink of $23 million. Revenue surged 20 percent to $2.9 billion.
Driving much of the red ink in the 2004 quarter was an adjustment DirecTV made to the fair value of two satellites the company expects to launch next year. Originally planned for use as part of the company's satellite-based high-speed data service, DirecTV scrapped the broadband plans and decided to use the satellites to deliver video. However, because video wasn't the main purpose of the satellites, DirecTV had to adjust downward the value of the satellites from an original worth of $1.9 billion to $390 million. That led the company to book a charge in the 2004 third quarter of $903 million.
The quarter also reflected $260 million in marketing and customer-retention costs spent in the quarter.
Despite the questions about churn, many analysts still forecast significant growth for DirecTV, particularly as the company continues its relationships with the telephone companies, which accounted for more than half of DirecTV's subscriber growth in the quarter.
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post #569 of 25503 Old 11-08-2004, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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CBS, FOX, DirecTV Extend NFL Deals.

(zap2it.com)---The National Football League will stay in its Sunday-afternoon TV home for six more years, but the future of "Monday Night Football" isn't nailed down yet.
CBS and FOX have each agreed to new six-year contracts with the league to continue broadcasting AFC (CBS) and NFC (FOX) games on Sunday afternoons. Each network will also get two Super Bowls in the new agreement, which runs from 2006-11 (the current TV contract expires after the 2005 NFL season).
The NFL says the two networks paid a combined $8 billion for the rights. CBS and FOX aren't discussing specifics of their individual deals, but the NFC package, which features more large-market teams, typically costs more than the AFC package.
"These agreements represent the NFL's premium position as the No. 1 sports and entertainment attraction on television and in stadiums," NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue says in a statement. "Our goal in the negotiations has been to continue to deliver our games to the widest possible audience. The agreements underscore a unique commitment to broadcast television that no other sport has."
The league also renewed its deal with satellite-TV provider DirecTV for its "NFL Sunday Ticket" package, a premium service that allows subscribers to see any Sunday-afternoon game they choose. The $3.5 billion extension runs through the 2010 season.
The extension of the CBS, FOX and DirecTV deals mean that only Disney-owned ABC and ESPN, which carry "Monday Night Football" and the league's Sunday prime-time game, have yet to renew their agreements. Disney is reportedly not in a rush to complete a new deal, and there has been some speculation that other networks might bid for the "Monday Night Football" franchise and the Sunday-night game.
The current NFL deal cost ABC, CBS, FOX and ESPN more than $17 billion over eight years.
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post #570 of 25503 Old 11-08-2004, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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And from MultiChannel News:

No NFL Sunday Ticket' for Cable

By Mike Reynolds Multichannel.com11/8/2004 7:36:00 PM
DirecTV Inc. has tackled the exclusive rights to the National Football League's NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market package through 2010.
Valued at some $700 million per season from 2006-2010, the deal again shuts cable out of sports' most lucrative pay-per-view package.
Sources familiar with the negotiations said cable companies had an opportunity to get a piece of Sunday Ticket, but they balked at the high price, which totals some $3.5 billion and supersedes the last two seasons of the current contract.
The DirecTV announcement comes in concert with NFL agreements with Sunday-afternoon incumbent carriers Fox and CBS, valued at a combined $8 billion, through the 2011 season. The NFL's current deal with the broadcasters ends after the 2005 season.
The pro-football league, at press time, had not yet come to terms on its primetime packages, currently held by ABC and ESPN.
Those packages could be complemented by an additional primetime cable offering late in the season that evidently would meld games on Thursday nights after Thanksgiving with Saturday-afternoon games that were previously televised by CBS and Fox.
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