January 20, 2022

Blacked Out in 3 Cities, CBS Still Wins Ratings Race

Last week, the first full week of blocked service for more than three million Time Warner customers, the network topped its competitors in total viewers and in all the ratings categories important to advertisers.

One reason perhaps: RadioShack reported Monday a “double-digit” increase in sales of high-definition antennas in the three big cities being blacked out — New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. (The company provided no specific numbers.)

Time Warner Cable has been suggesting that customers try watching CBS the old-fashioned way – on a broadcast signal to an antenna — since it removed the network from its cable systems on Aug. 2 in a dispute over what are known as retransmission fees.

CBS has maintained that it is seeking fair value for its content, but at the same time said the loss of Time Warner viewers would have minimal impact on its ratings – an assertion that was surely meant to reassure its advertisers.

Last week’s ratings would seem to bolster that argument. For the week, CBS averaged 5.51 million viewers, which was up 34 percent over the same week a year ago. Two weeks ago, before the blackout, CBS averaged a similar number, 5.78 million viewers; but August weeks traditionally are lower than July weeks.

CBS also ranked first last week among the broadcast networks with a 1.2 rating in viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 (up 20 percent over 2012) and a 1.6 rating among viewers between the ages of 25 and 54 (up 23 percent.) Those age categories are the two most attractive to television advertisers.

Much of the network’s improvement this summer has been tied to the drama “Under the Dome,” which continues to win its hour every Monday, though this week it declined to its lowest performances so far.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/14/business/media/blacked-out-in-3-cities-cbs-still-wins-ratings-race.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

U.A.W. Approves Four-Year Contract With G.M.

G.M. said the contract, ratified earlier Wednesday by the U.A.W., will have a minimal impact on profitability while allowing workers to share in the company’s financial success. It projected that added expenses would be $175 million this year and $20 million in each of the following two years for a total of $215 million. G.M. spent $5 billion on hourly labor in 2010, less than one-third of its costs in 2005.

“It is a win-win for both membership and the company,” G.M.’s chief executive, Daniel F. Akerson, said on a conference call with analysts and reporters. “This new agreement is further evidence that this is really a new G.M.”

Mr. Akerson spoke shortly after the union said 65 percent of G.M. production workers and 63 percent of skilled-trades workers who voted on the contract approved the deal, the first new labor agreement with one of the Detroit carmakers since the government’s $82 billion auto industry bailout in 2009.

The contract calls for G.M. to create 6,400 jobs at American plants, move some work to the United States from Mexico and raise its entry-level pay scale.

“In these uncertain economic times, we were able to win an agreement with G.M. that guarantees good American jobs at a good American company,” Joe Ashton, the U.A.W. vice president in charge of negotiations with G.M., said in a statement. “When G.M. was down, our members sacrificed and saved G.M. Now that G.M. is posting strong profits, our members, as a result of this agreement, are going to share in the company’s success.” 

As a result, the 48,500 G.M. workers covered by the contract will each receive bonuses of $5,000 later this fall. They also will get $1,000 annual bonuses starting in 2013 and larger profit-sharing checks than the old contract provided.

The deal offers a retirement incentive of $75,000 to skilled-trade workers and $10,000 to other workers. G.M.’s treasurer, Daniel Ammann, said the company expects about 10 percent of its 10,000 skilled-trade workers to accept the offer and retire. He said those workers would not be replaced, saving the company $30 million after accounting for the cost of the buyout payments.

G.M. said the bonuses and entry-level wage increase will cost $585 million through 2013. But it expects to save $340 million by eliminating a program that provided free legal services to workers.

“Now we believe we have the tools in place that will further improve our competitiveness going forward, which is important both for the U.A.W. and for G.M.,” Mr. Ammann said.

Among the workers who voted, a majority supported the deal at nearly all G.M. plants across the United States. The contract, which was reached Sept. 16, was rejected by only two U.A.W. chapters: Local 602, which represents 3,400 workers who build crossover vehicles near Lansing, Mich., and Local 23, which represents a small number of workers at a metal-stamping plant in Indianapolis that is shutting down this year.

At several large plants, fewer than 40 percent of eligible workers made the effort to vote, based on results posted online, evidence of considerable apathy toward the agreement. Most U.A.W. locals publicly report only the percentage who favored the deal and not actual vote totals, so the overall turnout was not clear.

Meanwhile, the union is closing in on a tentative agreement with Ford, although negotiations have not advanced to the long, late-night sessions that usually occur in the final days.

On Tuesday, Mr. King and other negotiators met with Ford management for several hours before adjourning in the afternoon, according to a recorded message the union posted on a telephone hot line. In the message, Anderson Robinson, the U.A.W. national negotiating team’s recording secretary, said that no major breakthroughs occurred but that the union was “on track to secure an economic package that our membership deserves.”

Mr. Robinson did not update its timetable for concluding talks with Ford. On Monday, the hot line message said the union was optimistic that it would have “good news for our membership by the end of the week.”

Union negotiators want the Ford contract to follow the same framework as the G.M. deal, but they are seeking a more lucrative deal from Ford, which did not go through bankruptcy. The negotiators have told organizers at Ford plants to prepare for the possibility of a strike, even though there were no signs that a labor stoppage would occur.

G.M. and Chrysler workers gave up their right to strike through 2015 as part of those companies’ 2009 bankruptcies.

Talks with Chrysler were continuing but were not expected to pick up until after the union had a deal with Ford. The U.A.W.’s contract with Chrysler has been extended through Oct. 19.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=defa4c92bc8a2d7ebc63614d114c73c8