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CBS. FOX and Yahoo!

CBS is a content company. Most think of it as a TV channel…with a bit of an integration problem across the country.  Different call letters, different channel numbers, not where it’s supposed to be on the dial when you move from city to city.  (See? Platform integration has always been around, it’s not just an issue for the TechCrunch crowd.)  CBS has always been dinged for catering to the older market. Well, in today’s media world the older market watches TV. Lots of it. And CBS’s quarterly numbers are quite strong, especially for local sales.   CBS owns C|Net and ZDNet, which along with other web properties, is helping the company diversify and learn about new targets, markets and categories.  CBS has radio, outdoor, book publishing, and other web properties in addition to cable and broadcast, which positions it nicely as all media moves towards the middle.  At its very core, CBS is a content play.

And in a new media world where everyone’s a publisher therefore no one’s a publish, CBS continues to crank out content people want to watch, hear, and read.  This content strategy is also the strategy of AOL and Yahoo!.  Oddly, they are all competitors.  I know AOL and Time Warner didn’t make it, but that was then.  WABC (Disney) and WNBC (Comcast) have too much baggage.  Fox has the stomach for it (read MySpace), so I predict Yahoo!, or less likely AOL, will be purchased by Mr. Murdoch and FOX.  This would be the year to do it, too.   Peace!

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TV is back, baby.

There’s a big media conference in NYC this week and attendees and reporters are surprised to learn that TV viewership is growing. One conference attendee said:

 “TV is, by estimates, still gaining share of the overall advertising market, to 40.7% in 2010, from 37 % in 2005.”

 Another chimed in, “TV will be adding about half of all growth next year.”

 The web ad market is growing for shizzle, but the 30 second spot is not dead (Joseph Jaffe).  In fact, the Super Bowl is kind of off the charts. Another conference attendee suggested TV is growing because of the need for viewers to have something to Tweet about or post on their Facebook pages. Yah think?

 The fact is, TV programming is just getting better. The networks are working harder for our eyeballs. The Emmy bookcases at CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX are not growing as they once did thanks to cable properties such as Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Chelsea Handler, Men of a Certain Age, etc. The big networks are beginning to pay attention — feeling the fire. As Eddie Vedder might say “It’s evolution baby.”  Weed out the weak genes in favor of the strong.  Won’t be long now and reality TV will start to secede from the union. Peace!

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If anyone is in position to renew and reinvent the newspaper business it is Rupert Murdoch. First and foremost he is a talented businessman. Second he is willing to spend to learn. Check that, invest and lose to learn. Third he is daring. For a septuagenarian to jump in and buy MySpace with nary a friend request was a bold move to say the least.

 

I applauded Mr. Murdoch for buying the Wall Street Journal because I expected him to take his understanding of the financial news business and marry it with the community building expertise he purchased in MySpace. Then, I thought, he’d build an online business property the likes of which we’d never seen — think LinkedIn meets Facebook meets the Allen and Company Retreat.  (Well, I may have over-thought that one. Hee hee.)

 

But Mr. Murdoch understands news, the human condition and what people want in entertainment (Fox).   Within 2 years I expect him to make a big online move that will cross all these platforms. It will be news-based, globally branded, locally relevant, and will make reporters out of all of us. It will be huge. Peace!

 

PS. Are you listening Jeff Dachis?

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Siphon.com?


Hulu.com, a joint venture between NBC Universal and Fox, begins limited online service today in the hopes of knocking Google’s YouTube down a few pegs. It is a video service allowing users to watch certain TV shows and films for free, where and when they want.   Hulu shows will be monetize through advertising.
 
It would be my recommendation to sell and schedule the advertising much they way it is done on TV, in pods. Watchers are already used to it this way, and it won’t create incentive for people to watch their favorite shows on computer rather than TV.
 
Were you able to watch The Office online with three rather than 16 TV commercials, it might be an easier decision. But with all ad being equal, the big screen is more convenient and provides a better viewing experience. Hulu wants to build incremental viewers for its TV shows and films, it doesn’t want to siphon off viewership from one vehicle to another, further eroding TV ad revenue.
 

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Gordon Ramsey, of TV’s Hell’s Kitchen, may have a nasty streak but he’s doing a nice little reclamation project in my home town of Babylon, NY this week. He is filming an episode for Fox in which he brings a restaurant back from the brink.

 

If I knew how to load pictures on my blog I’d put up a camera phone shot of Gordon and my son. Hopefully, I wouldn’t get sued. Certainly my son can’t sue, he signed a waiver — as did the rest of the school kids and teachers. Why? Because as part of the episode Gordon threw a picnic on the football field and should any of the kids or teachers likenesses be aired, the network needs signed releases.

 

As an added bonus, the school band was asked to perform at the picnic. However, at the 11th hour the band had to go back to school and learn a new song, because the initial song they had prepared and practiced was “rights protected.” (Something from the Beatles catalog, I wonder?)  Off they went to find a song that was royalty-free. They didn’t have much time to practice, the new song just “okay,” and their collective 15 minutes of fame tarnished. When will this madness stop?

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