MediaFile

Viacom, Time Warner Cable help get people out of the house

Viacom and Time Warner Cable are doing their best to make sure that television addicts around the country get a chance to go outside and stretch their legs come New Year’s Day. Of course, the reason they’re doing their part for physical fitness has little to do with ensuring the health of their viewers.******As Reuters reports, Viacom — the company run by financially challenged media mogul Sumner Redstone — provides programming to cable networks like Time Warner Cable for a fee. Now we’re at a time when Viacom and Time Warner Cable are renegotiating the fee, a regular occurrence. Equally regular are the disputes that arise as the negotiators try to determine what a fair price is.******The ultimate loser turns out to be you, the faithful TV watcher, because the last resort of companies like Viacom is to pull their programs off the air. The idea is that sends watchers into paroxysms of rage, usually directed at the cable company that they give all their money to every month. Eventually, the idea goes, the cable company cries Uncle! and agrees to pay more money to bring you the programming. Yes, your bill goes up too, as it always does.******Here’s a sample of what will stop being broadcast on Jan. 1: Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Hills.******And here’s a sample of the pre-packaged righteous indignation that you hear at times like this from the companies:***

Viacom: Time Warner Cable has dismissed our efforts at a fair compromise… As a result, we are sorry to say that for Time Warner Cable customers our networks will go dark as of 12:01 on January 1st.

***

Time Warner Cable, via spokesman Alex Dudley: “It just smacks of desperation from a company that is trying to make up for a failing business model on our subscribers’ backs, and we’re not going to take it.”

******Don’t worry C-SPAN will continue uninterrupted.******Keep an eye on***

    *** Speaking of cable, the 24-hour news channels got record ratings this year, though it looks like they would have made Obama race against McCain for another year, if just to keep them relevant until the financial crisis is expected to ease. (Los Angeles Times)

    *** The Village Voice continues to shed the names that made its name so famous. The latest axe casualty is Nat Hentoff, the influential jazz critic who started there in 1958. Sketches of Pain, anyone? (The New York Times)

    *** Vicki Iseman, intentionally or not, was kind enough to wait until after John McCain lost his 2008 presidential bid to sue The New York Times over its February 2008 article that the lobbyist said suggested that she and the Arizona senator were carrying on inappropriately in more ways than one. (Reuters)

    ***

McCain, Obama tackle Monday Night Football

On the slim chance that this year’s political television juggernaut has not penetrated the homes of devout sports fans, the campaign trail will lead Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama to ESPN’s Monday Night Football just hours before next week’s presidential election.

In pretaped interviews set to air during halftime of the Pittsburgh Steelers-Washington Redskins game, Obama and McCain will face probing questions from ESPN anchor Chris Berman about — sports.

“We are obviously primarily a sports network so the questions you are going to get here are going to be different than you would get with ABC News,” says ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer.

Huffington Post top indy political blog for traffic

obamamccain.jpgPolitical Web sites and blogs compete for scoops and eyeballs with an intensity rivaling the presidential candidates, so the Internet traffic figures released Wednesday by industry tracker comScore are likely to provide some bragging rights.

The winner is… HuffingtonPost.com  – founded by commentator Arianna Huffington, the site led among stand-alone political blogs and news sites with 4.5 million visitors in September, comScore said. That was way above the site’s tally of 792,000 in the same month last year.

It was followed by Politico.com with 2.4 million visitors and DrudgeReport.com with 2.1 million. The biggest gainer among the top five was realclearpoltics.com, a clearinghouse for commentary and polls that has become a must-read for the politically inclined. Its traffic surged almost six-fold from last year to 1.1 million visitors.

Presidential candidates: Love ‘em and Lehman

Media coverage of the U.S. presidential race has not so much cast Democratic candidate Barack Obama in a favorable light as it has portrayed Republican opponent John McCain in a negative one.

That’ s the verbatim conclusion of a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism that analyzes the way the press has covered the campaign.

The report shows that negative stories about Arizona Sen. McCain has been decidedly unfavorable and has worsened over time, with negative stories about him outnumbering favorable Obama stories by more than three to one.

McCain Facebook game pokes fun at pork

mccaingame.JPGSort of like Walter Mondale’s 1984 political slogan, “Where’s the Beef?,” the 2008 political campaign is all about pork- pork barrelling, that is.

John McCain’s campaign last week launched a video game on Facebook called “Pork Invaders,” a spoof on the 1978 arcade favorite “Space Invaders” that takes aim at pork barrelling, or government spending that aims to satisfy a group of voters in exchange for their political support. 

In the game, players use arrow keys to shift a McCain logo across the screen to shoot red “vetoes” at a herd of pigs looming above.  But watch out, the pigs are ready to aim at and, well, soil, the Arizona Senator’s logo.  The more pigs players “veto,” the larger the amount of dollars saved in the budget. 

Ex-U.S. Presidential wannabes lambast campaign coverage

The wireless industry’s clout attracted former U.S. presidents last year, but this year it was just enough to lure the former wannabes.

This year’s headline keynote speakers at the CTIA annual industry showcase were former presidential candidates John Edwards and Fred Thompson? Last year the wireless show nabbed Former actual Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton as keynote speakers.

After lamenting lost chances and nodding to the increasing importance of technology in campaigns, both politicians then got busy criticizing how the mainstream media has handled the presidential campaign so far.