What the heck?

Posted in MSNBC on January 24, 2016 by icn2

Mediaite’s Jon Nicosia scoops about a bizarre job posting for MSNBC…

If you are MSNBC Host Chris Hayes, a recent job posting from NBC Universal has got to make you more than a little anxious. The network posted a job opening on 1/15 presumably looking for a senior producer for the Rachel Maddow Show. That, in and of itself, would hardly raise eyebrows. But it’s when you actually open the posting, and see the primary responsibility for the position that the news emerges:

“Responsible for creating, producing and supervising segments for a new MSNBC Primetime show.”

Nicosia goes on to speculate…logically…that his means MSNBC is planning on cancelling Chris Hayes show…though at this point I’d characterize it as Euthanasia.

This seems like the sort of posting that is both honest and inadvertently revealing. If you are MSNBC looking to hire a senior producer for a new show that you aren’t yet prepared to announce but also want to let prospective candidates know that it’s a big, creative position you might very well bury it in a Rachel Maddow job posting.

I totally disagree. If this isn’t a mistake in the rec’s job description, and for MSNBC’s sake I hope it is a mistake, this is an unmitigated PR disaster. This is atypical network behavior. No network announces a lineup shakeup this way…not intentionally anyways.

The first thing you do is announce the new host/show. Then you line up the people to staff it. This is ass backwards…the tail wagging the dog. And it’s not something you do publicly this way under any circumstance. Not deliberately anyways. The reason you don’t do it will become all too clear in the next few days as MSNBC is forced to either deny that Hayes’ show (or anyone else’s show) is done or confirm that someone’s show is done whereupon MSNBC must next field uncomfortable questions about why they chose to do it this way and whether the host who is about to lose their show was told beforehand or not.

It is precisely because this looks all wrong and isn’t how things are done that I’m still thinking this may all be some sort of clerical error. But we’ll find out soon enough…

Update: The rec has been changed and the new primetime show part has been removed.

Inside Al Jazeera America’s Final Days…

Posted in Al Jazeera on January 22, 2016 by icn2

CNN’s Brian Stelter and Tom Kludt pen a must read on the last days of Al Jazeera America…

The newsroom had turned a corner, but the business had not. Costly mistakes made at launch in 2013 were adding up fast while ratings were not growing fast enough. The channel’s distributors were dissatisfied. And falling oil prices were testing the patience of Al Jazeera’s parent, the oil-rich emirate of Qatar. Al Jazeera Media Network director general Mostefa Souag had to reduce costs in a serious way.

Souag singled out AJAM. Doha — that’s the way the channel’s employees refer to its owner, by naming Qatar’s capital city — “decided that it was not going to continue to write checks for hundreds of millions of dollars,” a senior executive said.

The decision was handed down to AJAM’s board of directors meeting shortly after the New Year’s holiday. The directors gathered for an emergency meeting on Monday, January 11; some huddled at an attorney’s office in Manhattan while others, like Souag, joined via video conference from Doha.

The last time they’d met, in late August, the directors heard an optimistic pitch from new AJAM CEO Al Anstey about the channel’s next five years. This time Anstey spoke briefly, then left the meeting. The channel’s president Kate O’Brian, who usually spoke about editorial matters at board meetings, was not invited.
The question before the board was how, exactly, to unwind the channel, given that the cash spigot was shutting off. Several alternatives were talked about, including a possible conversion to a lower-cost streaming TV channel for cord-cutters. Someone even joked about giving the channel back to Al Gore, who had profited handsomely by selling the channel that became AJAM three years earlier.

But the board members concluded that there was only one viable option: a complete shut-down.

So Much For Media Unity…

Posted in CNN on January 18, 2016 by icn2

Variety’s Alex Stedman writes about CNN swooping in and taking NBC’s lost GOP debate slot. Shame…

CNN is replacing NBC News as the host of the Republican National Committee’s Super Tuesday debate in February, it was announced on Monday.

“The Republican National Committee has decided to move forward without NBC’s participation in our February debate in Houston, Texas. The RNC has awarded the debate to CNN, who will broadcast it on Thursday, February 25th in Houston at a location to be decided,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement released by CNN.

CNN was opportunistic when it shouldn’t have been. CNN should have refused the debate because it sets a bad precedent where political parties can shop their debates just to punish networks regardless of the validity of the “crime”.

NBC did nothing wrong here. CNBC did. NBC News does not have oversight of CNBC. Even the original GOP statement on dumping NBC acknowledged this point.

All the networks should have stood firm in supporting NBC given the circumstances (NBC being punished for something it had no part of). Now, because CNN chose to put money ahead of the GOP’s childish tactics, a precedent has been established. The political parties now know they can divide and conquer the networks because the GOP just successfully did that very thing. Shame.

NBCUniversal vs. Nielsen: Round 3

Posted in CNBC, MSNBC on January 13, 2016 by icn2

And the heat gets turned up a little more. The Wrap’s Tony Maglio writes about more shots fired Nielsen’s way from the NBCUniversal camp…

You better step your game up, Nielsen — because other TV ratings options are gunning for your gig.

NBC Research President Alan Wurtzel endorsed three alternatives to Nielsen on Wednesday, as the industry’s leading audience-measurement company has been considered antiquated and slow to adapt for quite a while — but has remained the top dog thanks to no real competition.
Wurtzel told critics and reporters in attendance to pay attention to the following options: Symphony Advanced Media, TiVo/Reality Mine and Rentrak/ComScore.

Wurtzel praised the first two Nielsen alternatives for providing true cross-platform measurement and requiring no third party intermediary. Symphony, which uses audio recognition via a consumer’s cell phone microphone, specifically is “generating industry interest,” he said.

Al Jazeera America is Dead…

Posted in Al Jazeera on January 13, 2016 by icn2

The Al Jazeera America experiment is over

Breaking: Al Jazeera America, the U.S. arm of the Qatar-based news network, is shutting down. The plan is to wind down the network, with a final on air date of April 30.

Al Jazeera America launched in August, 2013 after the global parent company acquired Current TV in January, 2013. Al Jazeera paid $500 million for the network, which included former VP Al Gore as an owner. Soon after the acquisition Time Warner Cable pulled Current TV from its lineup, an indication of the trouble AJAM would have getting carriage across the country.

The mood is, understandably, somber this afternoon as employees await a full staff meeting with human resources. One source tells TVNewser the company is offering generous severance packages.

NBCUniversal vs. Nielsen: Round 2…

Posted in CNBC, MSNBC, Ratings Related on January 7, 2016 by icn2

Variety’s Andrew Wallenstein writes about comments NBCUniversal Chairman of Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships, Linda Yaccarino, made about Nielsen…

She issued a call to action for the entire industry to make their frustrations known. “It’s unfair to marketers, it’s unfair to content creators, and it’s up to all of us in this industry to take a stand,” said Yaccarino. “If Nielsen isn’t up to the job, we need to walk away and reach beyond a C3 rating.”

Yaccarino cited NBCU’s move last October to take CNBC Business Day off of Nielsen as an example of the industry not having to fear negative repercussions.

“Nothing bad happened,” Yaccarino noted. “The sky didn’t fall. The network didn’t go off the air. In fact, marketers love that they’ve finally got an accurate picture of their audience. And there’s no reason we can’t do that across our entire industry.”

If Nielsen’s move toward introducing a Total Audience Measurement solution that adequately tracked viewing across platforms was supposed to satisfy NBCU, Yaccarino didn’t seem too impressed. She cited Nielsen’s expansion from 25,000 to 40,000 homes to measure wasn’t enough considering offices and bars still aren’t being monitored.

“Yes, Nielsen just debuted their Total Audience metric, but progress is slow, and we have some serious questions about their methodology,” said Yaccarino. “There’s nothing ‘total’ about that metric if you ask me.”

Mandy Drury Leaving Power Lunch…

Posted in CNBC on January 6, 2016 by icn2

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens writes that Mandy Drury is leaving Power Lunch and heading back to Australia…

After almost 6 years in the U.S., CNBC’s Mandy Drury is returning to her native Australia to be closer to family. She will continue as a CNBC contributor from Sydney.

Drury had stints with CNBC in Sydney and Singapore before moving to Englewood Cliffs in 2010. Currently, Drury is co-host of Power Lunch

Hmmmm…is this where Susan Li will slot in? Is Li going to take over for Drury on Power Lunch?

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