Archive for May 24, 2012

Cable News Peakage…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on May 24, 2012 by icn2

Reuters’ Jack Shafer argues that Cable News audience has peaked. That would potentially be bad news for FNC and its quest to be taken seriously as a viable alternative to ABC, NBC, and CBS. If you can’t match the ratings of (or beat) one of the big three…you’re not competitive. I don’t know if cable news audiences have peaked or not as Shafer argues. It may be that audiences have peaked for the format of cable news we currently have (heavy on politics and political news and increasing use of POV) but I wouldn’t shut the door completely on no more upside just yet.

The first sign of a peak in cable news appeared in March 2011, when the Pew Research Center released a study that proclaimed, “Though many will remember 2010 as a hard year for CNN, in reality, most cable news channels suffered audience losses.” The able chartists at Pew drew a sad graph of cable news. Combined median viewership for CNN, Fox News and MSNBC during prime time had receded 16 percent, to 3.2 million, that year. Mean viewership had also dropped 13 percent, to 3.3 million, making it the largest year-to-year drop for cable news since Pew started analyzing the numbers in 1997. It also marked the first drop in the median audience since 2006.

The bad news continued through 2011, as cable news viewership remained nearly flat. This was fairly astonishing considering all the breaking news from that year – the Arab Spring, Japan’s tsunami, the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Libyan civil war and the European economic crisis – not to mention the bustle of the presidential campaign.

Shafer goes on to extrapolate what this peakage could mean…

But as cable news has peaked, so too has Fox News Channel President Roger Ailes. He’ll continue to call the plays at his channel, but unless he comes up with something startlingly new, he won’t be able to cause any greater public ruckus with his shows. And if Ailes and Fox News have peaked, what of Media Matters for America, David Brock’s advocacy group? Media Matters polices Fox News with such dedication that it’s become the network’s finest publicist, pushing Fox News stories to liberal audiences who would otherwise never be aware of them. Oh, Media Matters will continue to ding Fox News. But if the Fox News audience isn’t growing, Media Matters can’t expect its followers to be more scandalized about Fox News than they already are.

Bill O’Reilly? Peaked. Chris Matthews? Peaked. Anderson Cooper? Peaked. Democratic Party outrage over what Fox News said about the president? Peaked. Maddow, Hannity, O’Donnell, Sharpton? Peaked, peaked, peaked, peaked.

HLN to Host Daytime Emmys

Posted in HLN on May 24, 2012 by icn2

HLN announced it will be hosting the Daytime Emmy Awards this year…

HLN CELEBRATES THE YEAR’S BUZZED-ABOUT TV PROGRAMMING AND STARS AS HOST NETWORK OF THE 39TH ANNUAL DAYTIME ENTERTAINMENT EMMY® AWARDS TO AIR LIVE ON SATURDAY, JUNE 23

2012 Show Includes Tributes to Outgoing Series & Beloved Talent; Spotlight on Innovative Programs

NEW YORK, NY, May 24, 2012—HLN grabs the reigns as the host network of the 39th annual daytime entertainment Emmy® Awards to be presented live from The Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 23, 8-10 p.m., ET/PT, it was announced by Scot Safon, Executive Vice President & General Manager, HLN, and Malachy Wienges, Chairman, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

“HLN is thrilled to work with NATAS to celebrate some of television’s best programs and performances,” said Safon. “Every day we focus on the news and information people talk about, and that has included extensive coverage of the Daytime Emmys in the past. This year, we’re very excited to also be carrying the event itself.”
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NBC Looking to Grab All of MSNBC.com

Posted in MSNBC on May 24, 2012 by icn2

AdWeek’s Mike Shields has a major scoop that NBC Universal is in talks to get full control of MSNBC.com.

As recently as two years ago, there were reports that MSNBC.com would rebrand in order to distinguish itself from the cable net’s left-wing persona. But apparently, under the Comcast reign, the company is more interested in using MSNBC.com to further its network brand. “It drives those guys crazy that they can’t have personalities like Maddow and company on the Web more,” said a source. However, most insiders know that MSNBC.com couldn’t pull in 55.7 million uniques (comScore, April 2012) with Maddow and Matthews alone. The site benefits heavily from its prominent placement on the MSN portal, and that’s something NBCU will be hesitant to give up.

Thus, according to one source, the companies are likely to negotiate a deal ensuring that MSNBC.com secures real estate on MSN.com—similar to the current treatment Fox Sports receives.

TVNewser’s Alex Weprin adds

Inside NBC, there has been talk of a new website for weeks. The site is believed to be NBCNews.com, which would serve as a news hub, as well as the online home for programs like “NBC Nightly News,” “Meet the Press” and “Rock Center.” MSNBC.com would probably serve as the home for the cable channel’s politically-focused programming and news.

There is one thing that a potential separation does which neither Shields nor Weprin touches on (surprisingly). It goes a long way to separating NBC News and its News Division from MSNBC and its left wing ideology and POV news analysis shows. Shields indirectly references that by citing the two year old MSNBC.com rebranding news but apparently doesn’t realize that this separation can accomplish the same thing as the re-branding proposal.

Another thing this separation potentially will do is furnish the opportunity to create an alternative to The Huffington Post. NBCU tried to grab The Huffington Post at one point but didn’t get there. With NBC News and its shows safely removed from any possible exposure damage coming from the MSNBC POV brand, it opens up the possibilities to remake MSNBC.com more in MSNBC’s POV image. I could foresee a whole bunch of POV online content, similar to what HuffPo does, appear on the “new” MSNBC.com. MSNBC already has a lot of Progressive POV stars and major Progressive contributors tied down contractually. They could all start writing columns on the new site. And, like HuffPo, there can be the occasional “dissenting voice” (read: Conservative) column from MSNBC’s meager group of Conservative stars/contributors.

Do I think it would really go this way and try and HuffPo the site? No. That requires way too much foresight, planning, and infrastructure change to make it seem likely in a real world scenario. It would be easier to start from scratch than to convert the existing site over but I don’t think they would go that route. On the other hand they could create a new MSNBC.com from scratch while de-MSNBCing the old MSNBC.com and rename that NBCNews.com. That’s another possibility.

There’s a third possible outcome here that should be discussed: Name change. With Microsoft now totally out of the picture, NBC would finally be in a position to take the “MS” out of “MSNBC” once and for all. NBC already had control of the TV side of MSNBC but changing the name for just the TV channel wouldn’t work from a branding consistency standpoint unless the website changed names too. But with full control of everything NBC now has the opportunity to rename the channel and the website at the same time.

Do I think this likely? If MSNBC TV goes completely POV and NBC News extracts itself from the channel (read: dayside news goes away completely) then it becomes a far more likely option. But MSNBC, as far into the POV realm as it has gotten in the past two years, is still something of a half-breed with pockets of news (and NBC News talent) here and there so name change to something that is more reflective of the channel’s increasing POV bent, is not a realistic option at this time.

Fisking Rachel Maddow…

Posted in MSNBC on May 24, 2012 by icn2

Politico’s Dylan Byers writes about something Rachel Maddow said on her show last night regarding Mitt Romney…

Maddow first ran footage of Romney’s interview with Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin yesterday, in which the former governor of Massachusetts said that over a period of four years his administration could get the unemployment rate “down to 6 percent, or maybe lower.” She then ran footage from a May 4 speech in which Romney, dismissing celebration of an 8.1 percent unemployment rate, said “anything over 8 percent, anything near 8 percent, anything over 4 percent is not cause for celebration.”

Paraphrasing Romney’s remarks from the May 4 speech, Maddow then said: “Sure, President Obama has brought unemployment down, but anything over 4 percent is an Obama failure.”

Then, speaking for herself, Maddow said: “Mitt Romney says anything over 4 percent is a failure of the Obama administration, then two-and-a-half weeks later says his own goal is 6 percent unemployment.”

That is incorrect — which is to say, false. Mitt Romney did not say that unemployment over 4 percent is a failure of the Obama administration. He said it was not cause for celebration. Furthermore, in his interview with Halperin, Romney did not say that his own goal of 6 percent unemployment would be cause for celebration, either. He merely said that that was his own goal. Maddow is simply tying together two different statements to create and attribute a statement that was never actually made.

The irony is that Maddow pegged her criticism of Romney to White House spokesman Jay Carney’s own criticism of the Washington press corps.

Pareene vs. Russert…

Posted in MSNBC on May 24, 2012 by icn2

Salon’s Alex Pareene goes after Luke Russert and doesn’t hold back a thing…except maybe Russert’s involvement in the Kennedy Assassination.

Here’s just a brief sample of Pareene’s tone…

On the basis of his impressive reporting and ease in front of the camera still being named Russert, Luke was promoted, after the election, to Congressional correspondent. That’s the contempt with which NBC News views the occupation of journalism. To make Luke Russert a Congressional reporter is to say, “we believe that this job requires no particular knowledge, training or skills. If a German Shepard could be trained to speak, it could perform this work.” (That’s true of most cable news work, granted, but it really doesn’t have to be.) Proper reporting on the House of Representatives is actually difficult and largely thankless work, generally done by very hard-working and underpaid reporters. The assignment was transparently NBC’s attempt to help Russert develop chops, and what it has yielded thus far is the time Charlie Rangel called Luke dumb, which MSNBC turned into a two-day story.

NBC seems to be keeping Russert employed in the hopes that he’ll eventually develop an ability to simulate gravitas. Hopefully “Meet the Press” will still be on the air by the time Luke has mastered his serious face.

Whatever validity Pareene’s argument may have has been totally ruined by his over the top – take no prisoners – no shot is too cheap rant. Nobody’s going to remember any valid point Pareene may have raised, they’re just going to remember the way he steamrolled Russert.

Free for All: 05/24/12

Posted in Free For All on May 24, 2012 by icn2

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