NIELSEN ROLLS OUT ITS RATINGS AGAIN
Nielsen's ratings logjam, created by what it described as "server issues," was slowly being cleared away Thursday as the company finally released data for Monday and Tuesday's primetime programming. The company released Wednesday's and Thursday's ratings by midday today (Friday) and said that its usual reporting schedule would now resume. The delayed results produced no surprises, save perhaps for the continued erosion of the Thursday-night audience. In fact, the audience for CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was down nearly 3.5 million from the comparable night a year ago. The once indomitable drama placed second in the hour to ABC's Grey's Anatomy. At 10:00 p.m. the ABC special, Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist, attracted 10.6 million viewers, handily beating NBC's new John Wells-produced drama Southland, which drew just 6.5 million.
NETWORKS LIKELY TO TURN DOWN OBAMA PRIMETIME REQUEST
After losing some $30 million from advertisers while they covered President Obama's three primetime news conferences in recent months, the major television networks are likely to follow Fox's lead and turn down the White House when it asks them to preempt a primetime time period any time soon, the Hollywood Reporter reported today (Friday), citing several unnamed network executives. "We will continue to make our decisions on White House requests on a case-by-case basis, but the Fox decision gives us cover to reject a request if we feel that there is no urgent breaking news that is going to be discussed," one network exec told the trade publication.
MOONVES TO ADVERTISERS: PREPARE TO PAY MORE
CBS, which was the only network to increase its ratings among young adults during the 2008-2009 season, plans to increase its rates to advertisers for next season, the network's president and CEO said Thursday. During a conference call with investors, Les Moonves acknowledged that he expected the volume of sales at the company's upfront broadcast market to be down from last year. However, he added, "We are confident that we will take share and maintain or increase our revenue in what remains a vital and lucrative marketplace." Some analysts were skeptical. Reporting on Moonves's remarks, Advertising Age commented, "His bold talk may not hit the right tone with advertisers, who have been holding more tightly to their dollars in the first and second quarters." Moonves's remarks coincided with the filing of CBS's latest quarterly report, which showed a loss of $55.3 million during the last quarter versus a $244 million profit a year ago. Nevertheless, he indicated, he believed the dire financial situation is "starting to turn" and that the advertising market is improving. However, he noted, "it's premature to call it a recovery." One of the factors that will boost CBS's sales during the coming season, he indicated, was rival NBC's decision to devote its 10:00 p.m. hour to a Jay Leno variety show. "We think this is a big plus for us and ABC in terms of revenue," he said. In addition Moonves insisted that CBS won't join the other three major networks in providing programs to Hulu. "We like the ability to control our own content, where and when it goes," he said.
NEW YORK CABLE COMPANY MAYSPIN OFF MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
Cablevision Systems, which operates in the New York-New Jersey area, said Thursday that it is considering spinning off its Madison Square Garden properties, which not only includes the famed New York arena but also the Knicks basketball team, the Rangers hockey team, the MSG cable network, and Radio City Music Hall. For several months, analysts have been predicting that the entire company might sell itself to one of the major media conglomerates.