WEB NOT CUTTING OLYMPICS' AUDIENCE
The record TV ratings of the Beijing Olympics during their first week despite intensive online coverage may dispel the general notion that the Internet poses a threat to broadcasters, advertising representatives attending the Games have told the International Herald Tribune. "People have always been talking about how digital media will take away audiences from TV," Chris Reitermann, president of the Chinese unit of OgilvyOne, a direct marketing agency, told the newspaper. "That's just not happening. Maybe this will be a wake-up call for a lot of people." Some advertisers acknowledged that before the ratings results came in they were worried that the money they had spent on TV ads -- reportedly around $700,000 each -- would be drawn down by the Internet coverage. But Kevin Alavy, who heads a research arm of media buyers Interpublic Group, said, "We're living in an era of audience fragmentation, but here's an event that isn't fragmenting but is going through the roof." In an interview with today's New York Times, NBC chief Jeff Zucker said, "It's a great story for network television. ... This proves the pipes still work." (They continued to work on Monday as the Games attracted an average of 25.39 million viewers, dominating all other programming for an 11th straight night.)
IOC FORCES "COVER UP" IN BEIJING
The International Olympics Committee has gone to great lengths to make certain that the brands of companies who are not official sponsors of the Games are not seen in TV or other media coverage, the website TechDirt reported Monday. It noted that not only are people who wear clothing with the logos of non-sponsors being barred from the stands, but that even the brand names of other companies are being covered throughout the Olympics venues so that it doesn't appear that they are being given a free ride. The trademark of American Standard on the faucets around the stadium, for example, have been taped over as well as the logo on the headsets made by Taiden Industrial used in a conference room. Even the sign atop an InterContinental hotel next to the press center has been covered with a cloth because InterContinental Hotels is not a sponsor.
MEDIA COMPANIES MAKING PEACE WITH YOUTUBE
Several major media companies, including CBS and Lions Gate, have stopped policing YouTube and demanding that it take down unauthorized clips -- and have instead started selling ads alongside them, according to the New York Times. The new tactic appears especially surprising in the case of CBS, whose corporate sibling Viacom has sued YouTube and its parent Google for $1 billion, alleging copyright infringement, the Times observed. But the thinking behind the new strategy was articulated by Curt Marvis, head of digital media for Lions Gate. "[We] don't like the idea of keeping fans of our products from being able to engage with our content," he told the newspaper. "For the most part, people who are uploading videos are fans of our movies. They're not trying to be evil pirates and they're not trying to get revenue from it."
SAG AND AFTRA AGREE TO HOLD JOINT TALKS WITH ADVERTISERS
After exchanging new snipes with each other, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists have agreed to conduct joint talks with advertisers on commercials contracts. Nevertheless, the two unions continued to bicker over which side had proposed the joint negotiations, and AFTRA executives disclosed that they had asked AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to bring in a federal mediator to help resolve the continued enmity between their union and SAG. SAG leaders responded that they "are certainly willing to engage with AFTRA in discussions with the AFL-CIO about the ongoing relationship of our organizations."
FILM STAR FISHBURNE TO JOIN CSI CAST
In a move apparently aimed at protecting CBS's most lucrative franchise, William Petersen, who's leaving CSI: Crime Scene Investigation this season is being replaced by film star Laurence Fishburne, the network announced Monday. It said that Fishburne will be introduced on a forthcoming show as a college professor/criminologist who studies the reasons people turn to crime and who is asked to consult on a case with the CSI team. He is subsequently asked to join up with them.