April 14, 2024

NBC News Said to Pick A Woman As Its Chief

NBC News is on the verge of naming Deborah Turness, the head of ITV News in Britain, as its next president, according to several people with knowledge of the appointment.

Ms. Turness, if appointed, would be the first woman to become president of a network television news division in the United States, succeeding Steve Capus, who stepped down from the position in February after nearly eight years.

A spokeswoman for NBC News, a unit of Comcast’s NBCUniversal, declined to comment. In an e-mail message on Friday, Ms. Turness said she could not respond to what she called speculation.

But others with knowledge of the appointment said that her promotion could be announced as early as Monday.

Ms. Turness’s name surfaced last month in a Los Angeles Times article that identified her as a candidate. Though she is not widely known in the television news industry in the United States, Ms. Turness has strong credentials. She has worked at ITN, a British producer of television news, for 25 years. ITN provides three daily newscasts to ITV, a broadcaster that is one of the BBC’s main rivals in Britain, under the banner of ITV News. Ms. Turness has overseen those newscasts as the editor of ITV News since 2004.

When asked about Ms. Turness’s future, a spokeswoman for ITV News said, “We don’t comment on speculation.”

Mr. Capus’s departure was spurred partly by his frustration with a new management structure set up in July, which folded NBC News and two cable news channels, MSNBC and CNBC, into a new unit called the NBCUniversal News Group. The group is led by Pat Fili-Krushel, and Ms. Turness would report to her, according to the people with knowledge of the appointment.

The next president of NBC News will face an array of challenges. NBC has the highest-rated evening newscast (“NBC Nightly News”) and a big source of revenue (the cable news channel MSNBC) that its rivals envy. But it also has a morning show, “Today,” that has sunk to second place behind ABC’s “Good Morning America,” resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars in advertising revenue.

More broadly, NBC News faces the same ratings difficulties as other television networks, as well as fresh competition on the Internet.

Ms. Turness is used to competition, given that the BBC usually could outnumber and outspend her at ITV News. She is described by colleagues there as ferociously energetic and savvy about what viewers want to see.

In a 2010 profile in the British newspaper The Guardian, she was quoted as saying: “The battleground now is in news, it’s about quality. News is the best drama on television because it’s real.”

“She was here for at least one presidential election cycle,” said Simon Marks, who worked at ITN in the late 1980s and knew Ms. Turness in Washington in the 1990s. “I think she’ll be a fantastic breath of fresh air in the elite world of network news in New York.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/business/media/nbc-to-name-new-head-of-news-division.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

‘Cops’ Is Moving to Spike TV

“Cops,” one of the original reality shows on television, is moving to cable after 24 years on network television.

Starting in September, new episodes of the show will be televised exclusively on Spike TV, the president of Spike, Kevin Kay, announced on Monday. Spike will also have the rights to some past episodes of the series.

The announcement came two days after “Cops” had its hourlong season finale on the Fox network, which introduced the series in 1989 and has carried it ever since. Fox signaled to the producers of “Cops” that it likely wouldn’t renew the show for another season, thereby giving it time to sell it elsewhere.

Mr. Kay of Spike told TV Guide that for several years he had been interested in picking up “Cops” and the opportunity arose this spring. “It’s the perfect show for Spike,” Mr. Kay said. “We want the fans to just shift over hopefully effortlessly.”

Spike said the episodes would be shown Saturdays at 8 p.m., as they have been on Fox for years. In a statement, the creator of “Cops,” John Langley, praised Spike for sticking with the time slot. He added, “It may be bold to say, but we are looking for yet another record-breaking run with Spike!”

“Cops” helped to distinguish Fox when it was a relatively new network in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But the network ordered fewer episodes of “Cops” this season, and it televised sporting events on many Saturdays instead. The network will continue to play up sports programming on Saturdays next season.

Fox similarly canceled the “America’s Most Wanted” in 2011, after pairing that show with “Cops” for over a decade. John Walsh, the host and producer of “America’s Most Wanted,” moved it to the Lifetime cable channel, but Lifetime cancelled it in March. Mr. Walsh is now said to be shopping the show, or a spin-off of it, to other channels.

Other series have moved to cable from broadcast with more success.

TBS, for instance, continues to televise “Cougar Town,” a sitcom that it picked up from ABC.

“Cops” is a logical fit for Spike, which has a number of other crime-oriented reality shows and has positioned itself as a channel for 18- to 49-year-old men. The channel, while relatively small, can repeat the episodes many more times than a network like Fox ever could.

It is expected to use “Cops” as an anchor on Saturday nights to introduce new shows in the time slot immediately after it.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/07/business/media/cops-is-moving-to-spike-tv.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Giants Chase Online Ads With Original Shows

Digital and traditional media companies, including newspapers and magazines, have for years been building a video presence on the Internet. But until now the offerings have largely been low-budget, single-camera affairs featuring talking heads.

Last week, however, major media companies like Condé Nast, The Wall Street Journal and Univision presented ambitious slates of original programming to advertisers for the first time.

Companies that were already producing Web content, like Yahoo and Hulu, also announced greatly expanded offerings.

As a result, viewers are being bombarded with an array of new Internet programs — 11 from Yahoo, 14 from AOL and a whopping 30 from Condé Nast, including one that will let viewers watch a Vogue editor, Hamish Bowles, as he shops around the world.

Hulu’s four new original offerings include one called “Behind the Mask,” a show it describes as a “comedic docu-series,” which looks at the world of sports mascots.

These companies are moving rapidly because they believe viewers are now so accustomed to watching programs on devices like mobile phones and tablets that the lines between traditional television and Internet video will blur.

But the companies are also acting out of desperation because many of them can command higher prices for video ads than traditional online banner ads, which are increasingly being undermined by fast-paced algorithmic buying technologies.

Advertisers are also shifting dollars from traditional display advertising to sites like Facebook that can deliver huge audiences. Media companies were wooing ad executives in New York last week during an advertising event called Digital Content NewFronts that is trying to imitate the success of the network television upfronts, which are being held later this month. At lavish open-bar parties, companies not previously known for programming tried to convince advertisers to sponsor shows, or better still, whole channels.

Yet even with the amount of so-called premium content booming, it is not clear ad dollars are following. According to data from the research company eMarketer, spending on digital video — while growing — is expected to reach only $4.14 billion in 2013, a far cry from the $66.35 billion expected to flow into the television market.

Many advertisers say they worry that with so much new content being thrown at the market on so many different platforms, audiences for individual shows will become even more fragmented and microscopic than they already are.

“I don’t care how good your attention span is,” Rino Scanzoni, chief investment officer of Group M, said of the crush of new offerings, “I think it becomes all a blur.” Group M is one of the world’s biggest media-buying and planning agencies.

Ben Winkler, chief digital officer of the advertising agency OMD, which represents brands including Pepsi and Nissan, called it “cable to the nth degree.”

“We are talking narrow, narrow television, niche television if you will,” he said. “If you are reaching just 100 people, is it worth our time and energy?”

AOL is one of the companies making a big bet on “premium video,” or video it hopes will generate greater ad revenue because of higher production values. Tim Armstrong, the company’s chief executive, said in an interview: “Consumers are adopting video very quickly: big investment in devices and networks, big investments by the most talented creative people to get involved in this medium; and big investment in measurement. So I think this industry is about to explode.”

Many online sites are citing the success of “House of Cards,” the Netflix series that drew critical praise this winter, as proof that the moment for video content has arrived. But “House of Cards,” with top-flight talent and sophisticated production values, was hugely expensive. And Netflix relies on subscriptions, not advertising.

For now, most digital companies are looking to produce programming that, while more expansive than one-camera fare, is still cheaper than TV.

Bill Carter contributed reporting.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/06/business/media/media-giants-chase-online-ads-with-original-shows.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: NBC Lures Back Viewers With ‘The Voice’ and ‘Revolution’

NBC had a lot riding on the comeback of its twin hits from the fall — “The Voice” and “Revolution” — with “The Voice,” in particular, taking a big chance by coming back for a second arc in the same season (no singing competition had done that before) and with a new lineup of judges.

But “The Voice” soared back to the top on Monday, with a 4.7 rating among the target audience of viewers between the age of 18 and 49 and 13.4 million viewers. And “Revolution” was a winner at 10 p.m., averaging a 2.7 rating in the 18-49 group with about 7.2 million viewers.

Monday’s edition of “The Voice” actually beat the show’s performance from last fall, when its premiere averaged a 4.2 rating with about 12 million viewers.

The show, however, is down from where it was last winter when it followed the Super Bowl. And executives at Fox hurried to note the show did not come close to matching the 6 rating and 17.9 million viewers that its singing powerhouse “American Idol” attracted for its premiere this season.

But NBC, which has stumbled badly in the ratings since “The Voice” and N.F.L. football left the air, has reason to feel extremely pleased about the initial results for “The Voice.”

The competition on Mondays is the toughest in network television, with strong shows on other networks: CBS’s comedy lineup, ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” and Fox’s “Bones” and “The Following.” “The Voice” beat all of them handily from 8 to 10 p.m., and it grew impressively in every half hour, from a 4.0 rating to a 4.5 to a 4.9 to a 5.2.

The numbers for “Revolution” were down sharply from the fall premiere of the postapocalyptic drama, which averaged a 4.1 rating and about 10 million viewers. It was closer to what the show was scoring when it left the air in November, though still down from a 2.9.

NBC notes that “Revolution” has been among the most successful shows in television in adding audience when delayed viewing is counted, but one alarming note is that the show fell off sharply at the half-hour mark, from a 2.9 rating to a 2.4. That is often a sign that viewers don’t find the episode compelling and it might be especially unexpected in the highly promoted return of a serialized drama after a hiatus set up by a cliffhanger.

But for the moment, given its recent travails, Monday night was cause for enormous relief for NBC, if not quite celebration.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/26/nbc-lures-back-viewers-with-the-voice-and-revolution/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: ‘Smash’ Ratings Hit a New Low on NBC

Can “Smash” stay on the air? The enormously publicized — and enormously expensive — NBC drama crashed to a new ratings low Tuesday night, hitting a level that only a few weeks ago caused another NBC drama, “Do No Harm,” to be yanked off the air.

On Tuesday, “Smash” pulled in only 2.6 million viewers and a remarkably low 0.7 rating in the audience that NBC sells to advertisers, viewers between the ages of 18 and 49. Not only was that the worst number recorded Tuesday by any show on network television, it is exactly the same rating that pushed “Do No Harm” over the ratings cliff.

That medical drama won the unfortunate distinction of scoring the lowest ratings for its premiere of any drama in network history; now “Smash” has sunk to that level.

But “Smash” may yet survive for several reasons, beginning with its close association with Bob Greenblatt, the top NBC Entertainment executive, who brought the show with him from Showtime when he joined NBC. More significant, perhaps, is that NBC has an enormous amount already invested in “Smash.”

The show has completed all 17 episodes it had scheduled this year. At a cost of about $4 million an episode, NBC has already spent about $70 million on the show. To pull it off the air now, after just four of those completed episodes have been broadcast, would mean NBC would have no chance to recoup the rest of its investment.

But NBC did remove “Do No Harm” despite having paid for 13 completed episodes of that show. (NBC may broadcast the remaining 11 at some later date, but at a much lower advertising rate.)

There is also evidence that NBC still believes “Smash” does not belong in the same category as “Do No Harm.’ Last week, the network’s public relations department pointed out that “Smash” may have a small audience, but it is among the most affluent audiences in television. That makes its small audience a bit more attractive to advertisers.

This week, the account of the abysmal ratings for “Smash” included the note that the Broadway drama is still heavily viewed on a delayed basis, with last week’s rating growing by 66 percent after three days of delayed viewing, rising to a 1.5 rating from a 0.9. Three days’ worth of added viewing is what advertisers will pay for, so “Smash” looks somewhat better financially when that accounting is included.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/smash-ratings-hit-a-new-low-on-nbc/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: The Verge Hires Writer Who Quit CNET in Protest

Greg Sandoval, the CNET senior writer who resigned in protest when the site’s parent company, CBS, interfered with its editorial coverage last month, has been hired by The Verge, the Web site that first revealed the full extent of CBS’s involvement.

Mr. Sandoval will be a senior reporter for The Verge when he starts in a couple of weeks. He said in a blog post that he had received a “written guarantee from management that nobody from the business side of the company will ever have any authority over my stories.” The post, which he published Sunday night, also said, “Long before I arrived, The Verge committed itself to editorial independence.”

The Verge, a technology-oriented Web site, is a little more than a year old. It is owned by Vox Media, the parent of the sports network SB Nation and the new gaming site Polygon, and edited by Joshua Topolsky and the other writers who migrated en masse from AOL’s Engadget in 2011.

Mr. Topolsky, the editor in chief of The Verge, said of Mr. Sandoval: “When we started talking about what he could do here, I think we both felt there was a huge opportunity for growth as well as experimentation in what he does as a reporter. He’s obsessed with getting the news — the real news — and I find that kind of energy infectious.”

Mr. Sandoval’s move was prompted by CBS’s decision to prohibit the staff of CNET — the longtime sponsor of the annual Best of CES Awards at the International Consumer Electronics Show — from giving the “Best of Show” award to an innovative product it deemed illegal. CBS is battling in court with Dish Network over the legality of the product, called the Hopper, a digital video recorder that allows users to automatically skip all the ads on prime-time network television shows.

CBS required the CNET staff to exclude the Hopper from competition and vote for a new award winner, the Razer Edge gaming tablet. The company would not let CNET disclose what had happened. But Mr. Topolsky found out and wrote about the second vote on The Verge a few days later, provoking widespread criticism of CBS by journalists and academics.

Mr. Sandoval announced his resignation via Twitter on Jan. 14, less than an hour after The Verge published its report.

CBS sought to portray its involvement as a one-time incident. In a recent statement, the company said: “CNET is not going to give an award or any other validation to a product which CBS is challenging as illegal, other networks believe to be illegal and one court has already found to violate the copyright act in its application. Beyond that, CNET will cover every other product and service on the planet.”

Last week, the organizer of the Consumer Electronics Show cut its ties with CNET and reinstated the Hopper as the winner of the Best in Show award.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/the-verge-hires-writer-who-quit-cnet-in-protest/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: CBS Renews Four Daytime Shows

CBS, which emphasizes the overall stability of its network, reinforced that point Tuesday, when it ordered renewals for four programs at once, ensuring that its entire daytime lineup will return intact for another season.

The shows included two games, “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal,” one daytime talk show, “The Talk,” and one soap opera, “The Bold and the Beautiful.” They will continue on CBS for the 2013-2014 season, along with CBS’s already renewed and most-watched soap, “The Young and the Restless.”

Overall, CBS has the most-watched lineup in daytime (as it does in prime time) with several shows going back more than a generation. Both “The Price Is Right” and “Young and Restless” have been on CBS for 40 years. “The Bold and the Beautiful” will celebrate in 26th anniversary on March 23.

“Let’s Make a Deal,” a venerable television game show, began its latest incarnation on CBS four years ago. “The Talk” is the newcomer, now in its third season.

Despite the general decline of daytime audiences for network television, several of the CBS shows have increased either their total audiences or their number of viewers in the important daytime category of women between the ages of 25 and 54. “The Talk ” is up 11 percent in viewers from last year and “Bold and Beautiful” is up 6 percent.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/cbs-renews-four-daytime-shows/?partner=rss&emc=rss