ABC (W)HOOPS IT UP

The first two games of the NBA finals produced the best initial ratings for the championship series in four years. Sunday's telecast, which drew 13.5 million viewers, attracted an audience that was 60 percent larger than the comparable game a year ago. Although it did not land in the top ten (largely because three shows tied for ninth place) the new CBS drama Swingtown got off to a solid start with 9 million viewers. Washington Post TV writer Lisa de Moraes said that the show received "a promo shot in the arm" from the Parents Television Council, which urged CBS stations to drop it because of its allegedly salacious content.

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. NBA Finals - Game 1, ABC, 8.7/16; 2. NBA Finals - Game 2, ABC, 8.5/15; 3. 60 Minutes, CBS, 6.5/13; 3. (Tie) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 6.5/11; 5. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 6.4/10; 6. Million Dollar Password, CBS, 6.3/11; 7. CSI: NY, CBS, 6.2/11; 8. CSI: Miami, CBS, 6.1/10; 9. House (Monday), Fox, 6.0/9; 9. (Tie) NCIS, CBS, 6.0/10; 9. (Tie) So You Think You Can Dance (Wednesday), Fox, 6.0/10.

AMERICANS TO WATCH 8 HOURS OF VIDEO DAILY BY 2013

The increasing popularity of online video, video games, and mobile video will push the number of daily hours that Americans spend in front of their TV monitors to 8 by the year 2013, according to a new study from Solutions Research Group. Currently the average American spends about six hours a day with video-based entertainment, compared with 4.6 hours in 1996, the study observed, noting that traditional TV viewing will remain constant at about 4 hours, although much of it will be in the form of video-on-demand.

ONLY A HANDFUL OF VIEWERS WATCHING ABC'S WEBCAST

Despite its effort to attract younger viewers to the online version of ABC World News With Charles Gibson, only 145,000 people accessed the ABCNews.com webpage that links to the webcast, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Wednesday). The 15-minute webcast includes clips from the television broadcast as well as stories about technology and pop culture. In an interview with the Journal, ABC News President David Westin said that he is looking for ways to "reinvent" the online newscast and is considering replacing it with a series of video updates throughout the day. The newspaper's report said that while the ABC News webside recorded 7.8 million page views on Monday and usually averages about 8.4 million, many of those checking out the site -- some three million -- click on "soft" news photos, including stills of celebrities and the "pregnant man."

UPFRONT NETWORK SALES UP -- BUT NOT AS MUCH AS PREVIOUSLY

The television networks may have succeeded in raising their revenue from upfront sales by a combined average of 4.1 percent for next season, but that percentage is well below the 6-10 percent they have averaged in previous years, Bloomberg News observed today (Wednesday). The lower percentage was attributed to a declining audience for broadcast programming and the fact that the networks have been forced to guarantee advertisers a smaller number of viewers than heretofore. Moreover, the broadcasters sold more of their ad inventory in the upfront market than they have in the past -- an estimated 80-85 percent, rather than the usual 75 percent, according to today's New York Times. Michael Morris, an analyst with UBS Securities in New York, told Bloomberg. "Broadcast networks are seeing both negative ratings trends and a difficult economic environment, and both factors can hurt advertising. ... The more they can sell upfront, the more secure they can feel about their revenue in the coming year."

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.