FBN TAKES BATTLE WITH CNBC ONTO ITS TURF
The fledgling Fox Business Network is taking its battle against the entrenched business channel CNBC to CNBC itself. In a kind of Trojan horse maneuver, the News Corp-owned channel is buying time on "station breaks" -- the time that CNBC allots to cable providers to sell to local advertisers -- to hammer CNBC for dropping business news reports between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during the Olympics in order to cover second-tier events at the Olympics. During commercials airing in major U.S. markets on Comcast and Time Warner Cable-owned systems, FBN anchor Liz Claman is seen saying, "When it comes to business, this city doesn't play games, and neither do you. In just a couple of minutes, CNBC is going to drop their business news programming. ... Switch to the Fox Business Network. ... Real business news and no games!"
ONLINE OLYMPICS WATCHING GROWS
The first day of competition at the Beijing Olympics saw 4 million unique visitors watching at least some of the events on the NBC Olympics website. Another 3.32 million watched the contests at Yahoo Olympics. And 1.01 million accessed them via AOL Olympics, according to Nielsen Online. In a statement, Jon Gibs, head of media analytics for Nielsen Online, said, "With the ubiquity of broadband and the breadth of available content combined with the time difference between the U.S. and Beijing this truly is the first online video Olympics." Meanwhile, live streams of telecasts from countries all over the world continue to pop up, despite NBC's relentless effort to bring them down. Janko Roettgers on the website NewTeeVee.com wrote Monday night. "I'm watching a broadcast of the Cuba vs. the Netherlands beach volleyball game -- which NBC's cable channel USA Network won't show for another two hours and won't air online at all -- live on my laptop as I'm writing this article, courtesy of some folks in France that relay a live TV signal from heaven knows where."
MCCAIN'S OLYMPICS ADS "OUT OF TUNE," SAY ANALYSTS
The attack ads that John McCain's campaign is running during the Olympics seem out of sync with the uplifting sort that other advertisers -- including the Obama campaign -- are running, Stuart Elliott, who writes about advertising for the New York Times, observed today (Tuesday). Elliott notes that the first McCain commercial aired during the "parade of nations" segment of the opening ceremonies as the teams entered Olympic stadium to the cheers of spectators. The McCain spot also showed crowds cheering Obama, with an announcer asking, "Is the biggest celebrity in the world ready to help your family? ... The real Obama promises higher taxes, more government spending ... so, fewer jobs." Elliot quoted political blogger Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com who called the commercial "tone-deaf" to the Olympic spirit and said that it sacrificed "a major opportunity for McCain to do some branding for himself."
GE LEAP-FROGGING NBC IN CHINA
With NBC having spent $894 million for rights to broadcast the Olympics and another $100 million for the actual cost of marketing and producing the telecasts, it's unlikely that the telecasts will produce a huge profit, analysts have suggested. However, today's (Tuesday) Los Angeles Times observed that the Games opened doors for the network's parent, GE, which, it said, has sold $700 million worth of products to the Chinese, including security equipment for the subway system and the airport, medical equipment at the Olympic Village hospital, and 120 wind turbines for power. Although several analysts have said that NBC does not make a good fit with GE's core businesses, company spokesman Russell Wilkerson told the Times that the Olympics sales are "just one of the many benefits of having NBC as part of the GE portfolio."
U.S. VERSION OF U.K. DOG SHOW TO BE LAUNCHED
British reality-show producers Ricochet Television, who originally developed the Supernannyseries for U.K. television before mounting it for American TV, has announced plans to do the same for another series it produces, It's Me or the Dog, which airs on Channel 4. On Monday the company said it plans to hold a "casting call" for unruly dogs on August 23 in Los Angeles. In a statement, the producers said, "If you have a pooch who's an obedience school drop-out and you live in Southern California, It's Me or the Dog wants you! The casting team is looking for dog-owners from every type of background who are ready for the ultimate doggy boot camp."