MediaFile

Sell NBC Universal? You gotta be kidding!

NBC is once again stuck in last place in prime-time ratings; its much-hyped Olympic coverage is over, so are the elections; advertising across media is under pressure; and dishing out $67 to hang at the Universal Studios theme park probably isn’t as appealing when you could soon lose your job, house, car, etc.

Still, NBC Universal would seem more secure within parent General Electric than it has been for some time. Indeed, most of the talk about a possible sale has faded away. Here’s what analysts told us for a recent article.

“I’ve struggled with it forever, in terms of why GE has it, especially now in a situation like this where ad revenues are down,” says Mike Gandrud, senior analyst at Optique Capital Management. 
“I’d love to see them do something with it … Do I expect it to happen? No.”

“Eventually, I believe, they want out and have decided it doesn’t represent the kind of upside growth of some alternatives,” says Steve Ridge, president of media strategy at research firm Frank N. Magid Associates. ”For now, I think they missed the window.”

Why not sell? Get out of media at a time when media is under heavy pressure? A number of reasons, ranging from NBCU’s recent strong performance to its ability to generate cash. Oh, and of course, it’s next to impossible to sell anything these days at a reasonable price.

No election hangover at Time Warner

Today’s a key day for Time Warner. Despite all the worries about a downturn in advertising and consumer spending, the media company managed to post higher-than-expected results. What helped? The summer blockbuster “The Dark Knight” for certain, as well as CNN.

Strength at CNN shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given the closely followed U.S. presidential election. But some of the numbers are nonetheless pretty impressive: for example, CNN.com yesterday saw 27 million unique visitors and 276 million page views. Compare that to normal traffic of about 35 million page views.

Here at MediaFile, we just wish we could have demonstrated all of this noteworthy news with a Magic Wall or Hologram.

What you watched on TV last week…

It was all about sports last week as the World Series and a couple of big football games ranked among the most-watched prime-time shows. Fox was the big winner, according the the latest Nielsen figures.

With the World Series Game 5, the hospital drama “House,” and the comedies “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy,” Fox brought in the highest ratings among adults 18-49 for the week ending Nov 2. Year over year, Fox boosted its ratings last week by 26 percent.  Just wait until ”American Idol” and “24″ return.

Total Viewers (’000, change from 2007-08)

CBS 11,384, down 8 percent

ABC 10,140, down 11 percent

Fox 9,527, up 36 percent

NBC 7,529, down 6 percent

Adults 18-49 (ratings, change from 2007-08)

Fox 3.4, up 26 percent

ABC 3.1, down 14 percent

NBC, 2.8, down 7 percent

CBS, 2.8 down 22 percent

Week’s Top Shows for Adults 18-49 (network, rating)

World Series Game 5, Fox 6.2

Sunday Night Football, NBC 6.2

The Simpsons, Fox 6.2

Desperate Housewives, ABC 5.8

Grey’s Anatomy, ABC 5.7

House, Fox 5.4

Family Guy, Fox 5.1

Office, NBC 4.8

CBS, CBS 4.8

The OT, Fox 4.4

Saturday Night Football, ABC 4.4

Redstone + Viacom = True Love Always

A couple of things we know about Viacom in the aftermath of its earnings report: Sumner Redstone is madly in love with the media company, and he is still not selling any more shares.

It’s interesting that Redstone has repeatedly insisted that he won’t sell any more shares in Viacom or CBS to take care of the debt problems at his privately-held National Amusements (Recall, he sold about $230 million of stock in Viacom and CBS last month).

Sure, he’s assuaging the immediate concerns of investors, who obviously don’t want to see more shares on the open market. But he’s also backing himself into a corner (of course, he can always do what he wants, even sell shares after he said he wouldn’t, but he does have a reputation to think about).

What you watched on TV last week…

Helped by the World Series, Fox last week scored five of the top 10 shows among 18-49 year-olds. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Fox ratings were nonethless down 22 percent for the week, and are down 17 percent year-to-date, according to the latest Nielsen data.

Fox isn’t alone. Season-to-date ratings for NBC and ABC are down similar amounts. That leaves CBS on top. But even CBS is down 6 percent, so it’s dubious honor.

Total Viewers (’000, change from 2007-08)

CBS 11,351, up 2 percent

Fox, 10,875, down 21 percent

ABC 9,958, down 11 percent

NBC 6,098, down 13 percent

Adults 18-49 (rating, change from 2007-08)

Fox 3.6, down 22 percent

CBS 3.0, no change

ABC 3.0, down 19 percent

NBC 2.2, down 15 percent

Week’s Top Shows for Adults 18-49 (network, rating)

Desperate Housewives, ABC 5.8

House, Fox, 5.6

CSI, CBS 5.5

Grey’s Anatomy, ABC 5.4

Two and a Half Men, CBS 5.1

Fox World Series Game 4, Fox 5.1

The OT, Fox 5.0

Fox World Series Game 1, Fox 4.8

Fox World Series Game 4-Pre, Fox, 4.4

Survivor Gabon, CBS, 4.4

(Photo: Reuters)

Take my savings — but not my mediocre TV shows

No doubt about it, the financial crisis has been tough on the media business. Just ask Sumner Redstone, the folks over at the Associated Press, or anyone on Madison Avenue.

Then there are some of the poorly rated television shows to consider… The Hollywood Reporter writes that thanks to the economic downturn, the broadcast networks could play it safe and order full-seasons of some low-rated programs rather than replace them with new series.

There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is that it costs money to order and market a new series.

What you watched on TV last week…

tvwatching.jpgIt was another solid week for CBS, which has become a regular at the top of the TV ratings race so far this season, according to the latest figures from Nielsen.

But while CBS was the most-watched network and brought in the most 18-49 year-olds, it was ABC’s soapy dramas that were the most popular individual shows. Sexy doctors and sexy housewives, pretty bankable as ratings winners.

Total Viewers (’000, change from 2007-08)

CBS 11,472, up 4 percent

NBC 7,207, down 13 percent

ABC 9,147, down 14 percent

Fox, 6,727, down 43 percent

Adults 18-49 (rating, change from 2007-08)

CBS 3.2, up 7 percent

NBC 2.7, down 13 percent

ABC 2.8, down 20 percent

Fox 2.5, down 36 percent

Week’s Top Shows for Adults 18-49 (network, rating)

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 5.9)

Desperate Housewives (ABC, 5.7)

Two and a Half Men (CBS 5.3)

House (Fox, 5.3)

CSI (CBS, 5.2)

Family Guy (Fox, 4.7)

Heroes (NBC, 4.3)

The Office (NBC, 4.3)

SNL: Weekend Update (NBC, 4.2)

Survivor: Gabon (CBS, 4.2)

(Photo: Reuters)

What you watched on TV last week…

It was a big week in the TV world for CBS, according to the latest Nielsen data.

Its live plus same day ratings for the week ending October 12, the third week of the new TV season, are below. As you can see, CBS won in total viewers, adults aged 18-49, and had the top show of the week in CSI.

TOTAL VIEWERS (Average ratings/Audience)
CBS 3.8/11.0 million
ABC 3.3/9.6 million
Fox 2.7/8.0 million
NBC 2.4/7.0 million

ADULTS 18-49 (Average rating/Audience)
CBS 3.2/4.2 million
ABC 3.0/3.9 million
Fox 2.7/3.6 million
NBC 2.7/3.5 million

It’s 8:00 p.m. — do you know where your TV is?

television-set.jpgThe new prime-time TV season is starting and that means all eyes are on Nielsen ratings. While that’s the case every fall, this one is a bit different — the industry is recovering from a writers’ strike that threw the 2007-08 season into disarray.

AdAge points out, for instance, that serialized dramas already appear to be having trouble getting their footing back. It says two NBC dramas, “Chuck” and “Life,” both opened the season to sharply lower viewing numbers for the 18-49 demographic than they did a year ago.

Both are indicative of how many serialized dramas lost media momentum last year due to the strike, and how hard it will be to rebuild it without the buildup of free media any new show receives

Amazon spills (some) beans on the Google phone

google.jpgThanks Amazon! The online retailer put out a release this morning with some juicy details about Google’s new mobile phone — even as we’re still waiting for the official unveiling later today.

So, here’s what they say about the phone…

“The T-Mobile G1 is the world’s first Android-powered mobile phone in an exclusive partnership with Google. The T-Mobile G1 combines full touch-screen functionality and a QWERTY keyboard with a mobile Web experience that includes the popular Google services that millions have enjoyed on the desktop, including Google Maps with StreetView, Gmail, YouTube and others. ”

Amazon, which has a deal with Google related to the phone, also says that the phone will have “one-touch access” to Google Search and will allow access to Android Market, “where customers can find and download unique applications to expand and personalize their phone to fit their lifestyle.”