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.

But, the article points out, the “most obvious reasons for the pickups are that many series this fall are doing poorly, and these shows are performing among the best of the worst. Networks are loath to exit the fall without at least one series to tout as a success. Plus, the writers strike, as Rash noted, has delayed quality mid-season replacements. And with ratings declining overall because of increasing DVR penetration and audience erosion to cable networks and the Internet, the bar for success keeps being lowered.”

So even if your retirement savings isn’t what it used to be, at least you’ll be able to enjoy “Knight Rider” for a while longer.

Media, tech suffer along with everyone else

meltdown.jpgIt’s the economy, stupid. Or mostly the economy, says newspaper executive William Dean Singleton.In an interview with, Singleton, CEO of MediaNews Group, says that “more than half” of the problems facing the newspaper industry can be attributed to the economy. (Recall that most observers say the biggest problem is that people simply aren’t reading newspapers as often as they once did) Here’s what Singleton, who oversees the San Jose Mercury News and Denver Post, among other papers, says: “The biggest thing we need right now is an improved economy, because at least 60 percent of the revenue problem we’re facing today is good-old fashioned economic recession”Speaking of the economy, shares of some of the hottest tech companies were hammered yesterday on fears about evaporating consumer demand, Reuters reports.”Investors are no longer selling their losers in tech but have turned to selling stocks that still have meat on the bone,” Scott Kessler, head of S&P’s tech equities research, says in the story.Added Jeffrey Lindsay, an analyst who follows Internet stocks for brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein: ”Nothing has changed fundamentally in many of these stocks… But everyone is trotting out their bear market scenarios.”Keep an eye on:

    The nationally televised debate last week between U.S. presidential contenders John McCain and Barack Obama drew 52.4 million U.S. viewers, far below 1980′s record audience (Reuters)   ABC came in first place for the week ending Sept. 28, led by the return of the two top-rated dramas on television, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives” (Hollywood Reporter) Britain’s largest commercial broadcaster, ITV is to cut around 1,000 jobs including 430 from its news department as part of a cost-cutting drive (Reuters) A group founded by several major media and technology companies, Arts+Labs, plan to promote the Web as a place for consumers to get songs, television shows and movies without resorting to piracy (Reuters)

(Photo: Reuters)

Fall TV death watch

Actor Jay Mohr of the series
Actor Jay Mohr of the series “Gary Unmarried” REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Decisions, decisions. For the busy professional with limited time for television, it’s not enough to determine which of the new season’s crop of fresh TV programs are likely to hold your interest; you also have to decide which ones will interest everyone else.

Even if you like the latest cutting-edge series, can you bear to run the risk of having the show canceled after three episodes because nobody else could follow the multiple storylines and indiscriminate flashbacks?

Online viewing won’t kill TV – CBS

copbaby.jpgNot hugely surprising, but CBS commissioned a study showing that watching full-length shows online won’t destroy television viewership, and it will attract a younger audience.

The study of 50,000 people, commissioned by the network and conducted by Magid Media Labs, polled viewers who have watched full episodes of CBS shows across the company’s partners in the CBS Audience Network.

The findings:

    Median age of online viewers: 38 35 percent of online watchers say they are now more likely to watch CBS on TV after finding shows online. About 46 percent say they only or mostly watch online. Half of respondents recalled the brand of an ad they saw during the online show. About 18 percent of those who remembered an ad that they saw during the online show said it played a role in their choosing to buy something. That number rose to 31 percent for consumer packaged goods.

In other words, TV networks have nothing to lose. The cable networks, which rely on affiliate fees from cable operators, on the other hand …