VIEWERS MOVING FROM BOOB TUBE TO YOUTUBE
U.S. Internet users watched 12.7 billion videos on line in November -- 5.1 billion of them on YouTube, according to a study released Monday by market researcher ComScore. All other websites featuring videos drew comparatively tiny audiences, with the next largest, Fox Interactive Media, accounting for 3.5 percent of total traffic -- or 439 million videos watched. The study also disclosed that the average online viewer in the U.S. watched 273 minutes of video in November -- about the same amount of time that they would spend watching nine half-hour television shows (including commercials).
FOOTBALL OVERTIME SCORES FOR FOX
Some 25 million viewers tuned in to Fox's coverage of the NFL Wildcard Game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings that spilled over into primetime Sunday night, giving the network an easy victory for the night -- even though the rest of its Sunday shows were handily beaten by the competition. Amazingly CBS's 60 Minutes still managed to attract 12.3 million viewers against the game (and post-game). Without Sunday Night Football on its schedule, NBC nevertheless drew solid ratings with the two-hour debut of Superstars of Dance, which averaged 10.4 million viewers. And ABC's Desperate Housewives, now without competition from football, wound up with an average 14.3 million viewers, making it the second-highest-rated show of the night.
NETFLIX SUBSCRIBERS GET EARLY LOOK AT NEW SERIES
Netflix subscribers who access the video-rental company's broadband service, will be able to view the series premiere of Showtime's new United States of Tara beginning Thursday, a fully ten days before its debut on Showtime, Netflix said Monday. It also noted that two other Showtime season premieres, The L Word and Secret Diary of a Call Girl, will be available for streaming online when they, too, debut on Jan. 18. "The excitement and value that these high-profile shows bring to the growing library of choices available to watch instantly at Netflix is appreciated by our members, who are always looking for new and interesting shows to enjoy," Netflix exec Robert Kyncl said in a statement.
NO MORE $40 CONVERTER COUPONS
A surge in the number of people requesting $40 coupons for analog-to-digital converter boxes has resulted in the government halting distribution of the coupons much earlier than expected. The Department of Commerce has now begun informing those requesting the coupons that it has committed its entire $1.34-billion budget. However, it is putting the names of additional applicants on a waiting list. Some will receive the coupons if others don't redeem the ones they received within 90 days. Last month, the government warned that it might run out of money for the program by the end of January. The warning touched off what Commerce Department official Meredith Attwell Baker called a "massive spike" in requests for coupons.
TV SET WILL HAVE NETFLIX ACCESS
The TV and the PC took another step toward convergence Monday with the announcement by Korea's LG Electronics that it would begin manufacturing HDTV sets capable of streaming Netflix movies and TV shows from the Internet without an external settop box. The LG "Broadband HDTV" sets are being unveiled this week during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and will be available to the public in the spring, the company said. LG already manufactures a Blu-ray player that is also able to stream video from Netflix. "Embedding the Netflix streaming software in the television is a natural progression of our partnership with Netflix and our innovative product line," LG Electronics USA President Teddy Hwang said in a statement. The company indicated that the sets will sell for about $200-300 more than similar models without the broadband feature.
RATHER HOSTS DOCUMENTARY ON AFGHANISTAN
His audience, his budget and his salary may only be a fraction of what they once were, but Dan Rather is doing something that no major network news personality has yet done -- devoting an entire one-hour program to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and the resurgence of the Taliban. During the hour, which launches the new season of Dan Rather Reports on HDNet, General David McKiernan, the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, tells Rather about his appeal for more troops to fight the Taliban, while a "grunt" in the field remarks that "the Taliban is a way of life here, and it's hard to fight that."
ONE TV GUIDE SALE OFF, ANOTHER ON
Just three weeks after Macrovision announced that it had sold the TV Guide Network channel and TV Guide Online to investor Allen Shapiro at the fire-sale price of $255 million, Macrovision said on Monday that it had terminated the deal and instead would sell the two properties to Lionsgate for the same price. However, in an interview with Daily Variety, Shapiro indicated that he plans to challenge the Lionsgate deal. "It's unclear whether the last chapter on this deal has been written yet," he told the trade publication.