FOR THE SWITCHOVER, THEY'RE SWITCHING TO DIRECTV

The coming switchover to digital television has boosted the number of DirecTV subscribers and in the process boosted the satellite-TV provider's profits. The company said Thursday that its net income rose to $455 million from $448 million during the same quarter a year ago as it added 129,000 new subscribers to bring its total to 17.2 million. CEO Chase Carey said that DirecTV has also fended off its rivals by boosting the number of HDTV channels it offers subscribers. By the end of this month, he said, that number will expand to 130.

NBC GIVING CANDIDATES LOW-COST SPOTS DURING OLYMPICS

NBC executives have apparently leaned over backwards to please the next president of the United States -- regardless of who he may be. According to MediaPost's online MediaDailyNews, while the network has charged other advertisers $700,000 and up for a 30-second spot during the Olympics, it charged Barack Obama and John McCain's campaigns only $250,000. The ad buys were made by two Washington-area political consulting firms, Media Ad Ventures (McCain) and GMMB (Obama). One advertising executive who purchased spots during the Olympics told the trade publication, "Whoever bought this, I want working for me." An NBC spokesperson said only that the network "worked very closely with both campaigns to provide them with this singular opportunity to reach millions of American voters." Earlier in the day the network said that it had tallied $1 billion in total ad revenue for the Games, for which it had paid the IOC $894 million.

DANCE HIGH STEPS OUT OF THE SEASON

Fox's season finale of So You Think You Can Dance Thursday night produced the series' best ratings for a results show this summer, drawing nearly 10 million viewers and beating every other show in sight. Wednesday night's performance show also bested the competition. Ratings for the final broadcasts were almost identical to last year's.

FIRST NON-SPORTS NEWS DURING OLYMPICS

Suggesting that NBC and other media outlets covering the Beijing Olympics will have much more than sports to report about during the next 17 days, a pirate radio station went on the air in the Chinese capital early today (Friday), just 12 hours before the start of the opening ceremonies. The station, broadcasting in both English and Mandarin Chinese, was apparently set up by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders. It demanded the release of reporters held in prison in China for defying the country's Communist rulers. "China is the country of censorship, and this program is our way of making fun of the Chinese authorities who still keep hundreds of journalists and Internet users in prison," a voice on the station said, adding that the broadcast was "our way of saying: 'Whatever measures you take you will never be able to abolish the right to free speech.'"

BBC -- FIRST TO TELEVISE OLYMPICS, 60 YEARS AGO

The BBC reminded its viewers today (Friday) that it was the first television network ever to televise an entire Olympic Games -- back in 1948 when the Summer Olympics were held at London's Wembley Stadium. At the time it beamed 68 hours of live, black-and-white coverage -- "an enormous technical achievement" back then -- to the country's 50,000 homes that had television sets. During the coming 17 days, it noted, it will broadcast almost 3,000 hours of live and taped coverage from Beijing in high-definition color TV, plus additional hours on its websites. It said that 437 staff members, ranging from producers to announcers to technical crew members to translators, have been sent from London to cover 192 events in 31 locations.

Brian B.