NEWS EXECS AND GOP STEP UP FEUD
Network news executives on Thursday responded to persistent attacks on the news media by speakers at the Republican National Convention, who charged the news media with bias in their coverage of vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. CNN President Jonathan Klein responded in kind, telling Broadcasting & Cable magazine, "It's a time-honored marketing ploy and, every time they bash the media, it means they're not talking about a vision or a plan. ... But the best antidote to cynical marketing is solid reporting." Likewise NBC News President Steve Capus, responding to Palin's claim that "some in the media" have called her unqualified because she is "not a member in good standing of the Washington elite," told the trade publication: "What people who are politically motivated are trying to do is take every outrageous blogger that exists online and lump them into traditional media. ... And that's not a sophisticated analysis of journalism. That's someone making a political argument. Any objective analysis of the facts would come down on a different conclusion."
FOX NEWS BEATS BROADCAST NETS WITH RNC COVERAGE
Once again Fox News trounced the broadcast networks in the ratings for the Republican National Convention. While it also prevailed in 2004, its numbers on Wednesday night (9.2 million viewers) were nearly 20 percent higher than its closest broadcast rival, NBC (7.7 million). It was in fact the highest-rated convention rating in cable TV history. Meanwhile CNN's coverage (6.2 million) outpaced broadcast rivals ABC (5.9 million) and CBS (4.6 million) and cable's MSNBC (3.4 million). Nielsen observed that the number of viewers watching the three cable news networks rose 277 percent above the 2004 number.
COMCAST AGREES TO PICK UP CUBAN'S HDNET -- AND DAN RATHER
Marc Cuban's high-definition HDNet and HDNet Movies have been picked up by Comcast, the nation's largest cable provider. In a statement, the two networks said that they had been added to "many" of Comcast's systems but did not specify the number, nor were other terms of the deal disclosed. HDNet carries Dan Rather Reports, hosted by the former CBS anchor, whose reports on the Democratic and Republican conventions have been virtually lost among the cable coverage given the much wider distribution of CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GOES ONLINE
NBC on Thursday kicked off Sunday Night Football Extra, online video streaming of its NFL football telecasts using Adobe Flash technology allowing viewers to watch plays from alternative camera angles. In a statement, Hans Schroeder, NFL vice president of digital media, said that the webcasts "provide a new level of interactivity, with fans getting to chose how they experience NFL games." The webcasts are only available in the U.S. and only in real time -- they cannot be viewed after the games are played. On broadcast television the game drew 13.57 million viewers down from 17.79 million for the season opener a year ago.
A COMMERCIAL ABOUT NOTHING?
Microsoft launched its latest television marketing campaign featuring Jerry Seinfeld during Thursday night's NFL season opener on NBC, but viewers were left scratching their heads trying to figure out what it was supposed to be all about. The minute-long commercial featured Seinfeld encountering Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates trying on shoes at a discount shoe outlet at a mall (at one point the billionaire displays his discount card) and giving Gates advice about his selection. There is no mention of Windows and hardly a mention of computers. In fact, the commercial appears to advertise ... nothing.