NO RATINGS THIS WEEK

Nielsen Media Research said today (Monday) that it is delaying the release of all primetime program ratings from last Friday through this coming Thursday following the Friday's switch from analog to digital television. "The 'hold' will allow us to ensure that there is sufficient time to fully validate data prior to release," Nielsen said in a statement. The delay affects release of ratings for Sunday night's ABC telecast of the final NBA match between the Lakers and the Magic, won by the Lakers 99-86. TV columnist Hal Boedeker, who writes for the Magic's hometown newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel,commented, "The delay is kind of strange because the shift to digital television seemed to go off without a hitch." However, the FCC reported that Chicago's ABC outlet, WLS-TV, experienced operating power issues on Friday that prevented the NBA telecast from being seen in some downtown areas and high-rises. Likewise, it was reported that the FCC received numerous calls from Philadelphia where people claimed that they were unable to receive WPVI's digital signal. Broadcasting & Cable magazine quoted FCC staffer Bob Radcliff as saying that the commission is conducting field tests on why certain stations "are experiencing problems in big cities" and how to "adjust the technical parameters of these stations."

NBC TACKLES FOOTBALL WEBSITE

Another popular website is being co-opted by Big Media. Profootballtalk.com, operated by West Virginia labor lawyer Mike Florio, is forming a partnership with NBC Sports, which is planning to make it a permanent feature on NBCSports.com. Asked by the Los Angeles Times about Florio's "unflinching approach" to football (among other things, he keeps a tally of player arrests), NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, replied, "I can't think of another pro football website that has the unique following in such large numbers that Mike does. I'd be a fool if I tried to change that."

REPORT: NETWORKS ABANDONING ONLINE PROGRAMMING

Concerns voiced over the past year by the most activist members of the Screen Actors Guild that TV and film producers were on the verge of reaping huge benefits by producing programming for the Web may not only be unjustified but also misplaced. According to the Los Angeles Times, None of the nearly 20 programs for the Web developed over the past year by Disney's Stage 9 Digital has ever seen the light of day, and the unit has been forced to shut down. Almost the same can be said about other web-only programs developed by other media conglomerates. Mika Salmi, former head of digital media for MTV Networks and now a technology venture capitalist, told the Times "The reality is that it's much harder to make money [on the Internet] than everyone thought."

CABLE NEWS NETWORKS CUT BACK REPORTS ON IRAN PROTESTS

"Cable news normally serves as the front line for breaking news, but the channels largely took the weekend off as Tehran exploded in protests after Iran's presidential election," the New York Times commented in its lede paragraph of a report about viewer anger over the channels' meager coverage from Iran on Saturday and, to a lesser extent, on Sunday. Many of the protesters, the Times said, directed their complaints at CNN, which ordinarily boasts proudly about its wall-to-wall coverage of such events. "The Tehran protests were not covered with rolling live coverage for hours at a time," the newspaper observed, touching off complainst from "untold thousands" using the label CNNfail on Twitter. As CNN was airing a repeat of Larry King's interview with the stars of American Chopper, one Atlanta resident tweeted, "Why aren't you covering this [the Iranian protests) with everything you've got?" the Times said. The network defended its coverage, insisting that it had "delivered far more coverage of the Iranian election and aftermath than any other network." Meanwhile, the BBC, which did provide detailed coverage of the protests, accused Iran of trying to jam its satellite signals to the Middle East. Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC World Service, told Britain's Guardian that the jamming "seems to be part of a pattern of behavior by the Iranian authorities to limit the reporting of the aftermath of the disputed election." He added: "Any attempt to block this channel is wrong and against international treaties on satellite communication."

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