MediaFile

GlobalMedia-iPad cautionary tale: What not to watch, up close

SINGAPORE/Media executives love to go on about their love of the Apple’s iPad. But the tablet isn’t suited for everything. Walt Disney’s Anne Sweeney relayed her recent experience catching up on an ABC  TV show using the  popular tablet.

Sweeney missed the season finale Grey’s Anatomy and, while traveling, decided to watch the show in her hotel room. The episode was particularly gory — several characters were picked off by a aggrieved man who held the hospital at gunpoint.

“It was a massacre,” Sweeney said at the Reuters Global Media Summit. “There’s nothing like seeing that on your pillow. There are some things you might not want to watch that close on your iPad.”

(Photo: Reuters)

Time Warner Cable’s unique ESPN Web deal

Many media business journalists let out a collective sigh of relief at the news that Time Warner Cable had finally inked its deal WorldCupwith Walt Disney to keep carrying its programming, including ABC, Disney channels and various ESPN networks.  The programming fee negotiations had gone late into the night past their Wednesday midnight deadline and hacks, who had seen this movie before, were just starting to tire of waiting for another midnight watch.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the deal is that Time Warner Cable’s ESPN customers will now have access to ESPN3.com, a website ESPN uses to show more than 3,500 live events, including  matches from the World Cup this summer.

This is unlike other ESPN3 deals which have typically been tied to the cable operator’s Internet service provider. In those cases, ESPN3 would only be accessible to ISP customers of the cable operator.

from Summit Notebook:

ESPN: We all live in sports towns (And tell great jokes)

ESPN President George Bodenheimer has been at the business of TV sports, one way or another, for nearly three decades, starting in the mailroom and working his way up.

It's the classic media story -- and this one even involved a stint driving through nearly every little town in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi to sell this odd new 24-hour sports network to cable distributors.

Here's one thing he's learned: Every town thinks it's a sports town. Sort of like everybody thinks they have a good sense of humor.

from Summit Notebook:

ABC: Don’t you know that I’m still in love with news?

I asked ABC TV chief Anne Sweeney at our Global Media Summit on Monday whether the nightly news broadcast will go away someday soon. Everyone who follows the broadcast TV business has wondered this at some time or another, particularly as fewer people tune in.

Here's a bit of that conversation, where I got Sweeney to firmly say... not much. If you're in a rush, the general message appears to be:

    News is changing along with the changing times We believe in our news operation Budgets may change (likely for the worse), but news is worth paying for We're more than our evening news broadcast (where Charles Gibson is ceding the anchor slot to Diane Sawyer), but we're not going to say one way or the other whether we'll keep it going. Me: News operation is often a big cost. Some say that evening news is losing its relevance as people get their news elsewhere. Is it possible that ABC would get rid of its evening newscast?

Sweeney: I think world news is not just about 6:30. I think World News is about being ready to provide the news whenever it happens. It's not just limited to that half hour. It's actually on all day. The ABC broadcast day opens, the network day opens with Good Morning America. ...  So we always have the ability to come in with breaking news. ... And then shows like 20/20 provide us with an opportunity to go a bit broader. And then of course there's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, which gives us the Washington beat, which again can appear in the other shows throughout the week. So it's really a manner of managing the assets rather than focusing on (the 6:30 news)

from Summit Notebook:

ABC TV chief to daughter: You *will* watch television

When I went to college in 1991, I begged my parents to buy me a small television for my dorm room (They wouldn't let me work during my first year of college, so I had no money). How things have changed in 18 years!

I learned how much they changed at the first day of the Reuters Global Media Summit. Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, was talking to us about how quickly the Internet and mobile technology are changing the way that we look at news and entertainment. That led to her divertimento into campus life:

You come to realize very quickly that all these platforms are very different. Sometimes they're being used or accessed by different demographics.

The fall TV season, beyond Jay Leno

What’s that? Jay Leno is moving to prime-time? You don’t say!

Frankly, it’s hard to remember the last time there was such hubbub about a TV show. It was, after all, the cover story in Time magazine. Not to be outdone, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, AP, and probably every local news outlet between New York and Hollywood had a story about the talk show host — more often than not raising the question of whether he’s going to save network TV.

(You’ve got to give it to the public-relations machine on this one. They really worked the story. Of course, their spinning was augmented by a huge marketing effort. Stuart Elliott of the New York Times today estimated that NBC put out more than $10 million in promoting the show).

But there is more to the fall TV season than Jay Leno. The media buyers and planners over at  RPA offer a useful road map to the season in a recent report.

Good days for cable TV

A year ago, the big story around Emmy nominations was the acclaim showered on cable programs like “Mad Men” and “Damages.” A quick glance at today’s nominations indicates little has changed.

Just look at the best drama category, where Fox’s “House” and ABC’s “Lost” will face stiff competition from cable’s “Big Love” (HBO), “Mad Men” (AMC), “Damages” (FX), and “Breaking Bad” (AMC).

While the Emmy awards aren’t everything — ratings are still the holy grail — they certainly don’t hurt. Particularly when it comes to cable networks, which have built a reputation for developing more sophisticated, bolder programs than the broadcast counterparts.

Grey’s, Wives on Hulu from today

Starting today Disney content will go live on Hulu, consumating a deal that was struck earlier this year to join the two-year venture with NBC Universal, News Corp and Providence Equity Partners.

The first few shows include popular fare from ABC such as Grey’s Anatomy,  Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty. This means Hulu is going from strength to strength in locking down its leadership as the place for watching TV on the Web.

Part of the attraction of Hulu is that it is free for U.S. residents, since most of the content can be watched for free over the air in the U.S. But we wouldn’t be surprised if Hulu’s owners added a paid service as part of the TV Everywhere initiative players like Time Warner have been promoting. Such a ‘paid-for’ service would actually be free if the customer is already a paying cable/satellite TV subscriber.

Jimmy Kimmel at the upfront: Hey, we’re lying to you

Remember the days when the upfront presentations featured chart-topping singers, Broadway acts and drag racing, and lasted five or six hours? Most of that has disappeared over the past couple of years.

Today, these are largely low-key affairs. Executives talk about the importance of network TV, show a few clips from the new programs, promise to work closely with advertisers and call it a day.

Still, some stars do appear. ABC still trots out Jimmy Kimmel for a few laughs each year during its upfront presentation at Lincoln Center.

CBS chief digging Leno’s move to primetime

CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves doesn’t sound particularly worried about NBC’s decision to put Jay Leno in the 10:00 pm timeslot five nights a week. In fact, he sounds a bit giddy about the whole thing.

The way Moonves figures it, CBS could bank millions in additional revenue from the switch. Moonves described his thinking on a call with investors, using what he acknowledged were “ballpark” figures to make his point.  Essentially he said that even if Leno does well the show simply will not attract the kind of advertising dollars of, say, “CSI”. That means CBS will take an even bigger share of the advertising money in primetime.

“Assume we were the No. 1 at 10:00 last year and we took in 38 percent of the revenue available at 10:00 on broadcast television. Remember, there are only three networks [Ed: Fox doesn't run competing programming at that hour] And assuming Jay Leno does great, does what he’s doing now. Suddenly, that 38 percent will turn into 45 percent, maybe 47 percent. So you take 10 percent more revenue in that time period. And 10 percent of an arguably many hundreds of millions of dollars pie is a lot of money.