Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday Night Football Ratings from Last Night


Sunday Night Football Dominates the Night, Delivering Peacock's Best Sunday Night Performance Since Super Bowl

NEW YORK August 31, 2009 NBC Sports' "Sunday Night Football" preseason game last night delivered the best overnight rating for any NFL preseason game on any network in five years. The 7.3 overnight rating and 12 share (8-11 p.m. ET) for the Chicago Bears-Denver Broncos preseason contest was the best since the 8.2/13 for the Titans-Cowboys preseason game on August 30, 2004.

Sunday Night Football was the No. 1 telecast of the night in the metered markets and dominated its time period, more than doubling second-place CBS in the time slot (7.3 vs. 3.4). NBC averaged a 6.4/11 from 7-11 p.m. ET, representing the network's highest Sunday primetime average in the metered markets since Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1.

The broadcast, which featured Bears QB Jay Cutler's return to Denver after his off-season trade from the Broncos to the Bears, peaked at an 8.2/14 from 9-9:30 p.m. ET. The preseason game was won by the Bears 27-17.

Top 10 Metered Markets:
1. Denver, 25.9/45
2. Chicago, 22.6/36
3. Las Vegas, 12.1/19
4. Milwaukee, 11.0/18
5. Albuquerque, 10.7/17
6. Nashville, 10.6/16
7. Jacksonville, 10.4/16
8. Oklahoma City, 10.1/15
9. New Orleans, 9.1/13
10. Indianapolis, 8.8/14

Sunday, August 30, 2009

NBC Colors Peacock; Proud of Press Coverage


On Friday (8/28) you all received a notice from Jean Dietze and I about the New Fall Branding initiative and the information regarding program formats, etc. Below you will see an article that will come out online this evening (Sunday - 8/30) and in printed form in Monday morning's Variety (and a few other outlets) discussing the NBC brand.

We wanted you to have the article ASAP.

Be on the lookout in the next several days with more information about this and other matters on the 2009 Fall Launch and The Jay Leno Show.


Colorful new peacock for NBC
Network's old icon is new again
By Michael Schneider

NBC is about to get a little "more colorful."
As part of a major branding makeover, the Peacock will unveil a new slogan for the net, as well as a new on-air look, on Sept. 14 -- the night that "The Jay Leno Show" debuts.
The tagline "more colorful" will begin popping up in NBC promos at that time as text onscreen -- but never actually voiced on-air.
The phrase is a conscious throwback to both the net's famous colorful peacock icon, as well as the announcement regularly heard on the net at the dawn of color TV: "The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC."
"Sometimes the most powerful ideas are the ones staring at you in the face," said NBC Entertainment marketing prexy Adam Stotsky. "The NBC peacock is 53 years old but has incredible heritage and brand equity. We've seen research that suggests an incredible unaided awareness that the icon means NBC."
NBC will introduce "more colorful" to promos and campaigns supporting Peacock programming rather than introducing spots that just focus on the network.
"Color," Stotsky added, "is also what we strive to do in our programming."
The on-air makeover comes as NBC's programming and marketing teams pore over data from an internal study over what the Peacock brand is and what it should be.
"Our brand is significantly defined by the shows we put on," said NBC Universal TV Group chief marketing officer John Miller. "Part of that effort we went through... was the idea of our internal brand guidelines, to recapture the heritage of NBC."
NBC began the exercise late last year, tapping global marketing firm Naked Communications to help reposition the net's once-storied brand.
The Peacock's Nielsen woes, coupled with its unprecedented decision to move Jay Leno into the 10 p.m. slot five nights a week this fall, gave the execs reason to start thinking how to reposition the network.
"NBC has admittedly not been as strong over the last five years," Miller said. "But the things that never wavered were those icons and people's memories of NBC... Something that connects and is a part of our legacy is a natural. Our goal now is to make sure we have shows that people will want to watch."
Execs declined to elaborate on the brand study's internal findings and how the net's programming team may adjust their thinking on what NBC should be developing.
"We need to prove our chops first," Miller said.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Senator Edward Kennedy Funeral Sat AM

Live for about two hours tomorrow, beginning at 10am EDT.

Since each station's last minute traffic scramble will be different, and air date is tomorrow morning, my coming up with an audience estimate for an event without spots is fairly useless. However, if you want estimates, just let me know.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

July Installs Complete

Very early this morning, I finished the last four of my clients' July installs. Everyone has a new JULYES Selling Book, using JULY 09 PVT levels and JULY 09 PAV shares whenever possible. In addition, I've updated sports to reflect higher July 09 PVT levels than JULY 08 previously used in SPORTES selling books.

The July book is commonly thought of as a throw-away at local stations.. it shows local TV and network at their worst performance of the year, and plays right into the hands of basic cable who treats it as their perfect opportunity.

In addition, most agencies try to ignore the July books unless in negotiations, so it's understandable why stations largely ignore this data.

What a shame. For the next five weeks, local TV salespeople have, without question, the most detailed, accurate, trusted, most recent and expensive in-depth survey possible; a huge sample of your advertisers' potential and returning customers personal, private behavior done behind closed doors in the last 7 weeks, during this "one of a kind Summer of Recession" (I also write Lexus ads).

In smaller markets, where the July book is often totally ignored, the sample size in diaries divided by DMA household is simply staggering. But.. I'm beating a dead horse. Use the July book for local, direct sales with business decision makers who are actively seeking a way to survive this summer, ok?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Southland Premiere Delayed 4 Weeks

Dateline will fill the second hour of prime on Fridays until 10/16.

I'll begin updating my clients as soon as I finish installing the July data on the Sunbelt servers now they can be reached.

Ted Kennedy Coverage Limited By NBC

IMO, NBC is treating the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy with dignity and without rating-grabbing, exploitative programming.

The half hour NBC Nightly newscast scheduled for this evening will be optionally extended by half an hour, which should not impact anyone's prime advertising campaigns.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Figure Skating Special added for January 23rd Prime

Figure skating delivers female demos with a certainty unlike any other programming on NBC. In addition to daytime broadcasts (in HD, of course) of US Figure Skating Championships on Saturday and Sunday in late January, NBC will "also air" (aka encore)in Prime on Saturday night.

Once I get everyone settled with July based selling books, I'll be adding this special to both sports and specials calendars and selling books.

Jackson has July 09 Based Estimates

As do my clients in Alabama and Florida.

Same day service for all of my clients thus far.

Data may be available for my Mountain Time Zone clients, but I can't get to their servers to find out. Birmingham has been asked to contact Las Vegas again in the morning.

Chattanooga Has July Data & New Selling Books

And they are already being reviewed by Ralph Flynn.

Now, I'm working on Jackson, MS.

I also see the KVBC Server is having difficulties... and I can't connect to my clients in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Waiting for July Sweeps Data? Read this...

The July data is looking very interesting... I'm seeing pretty broad viewing level increases versus last summer, and summer broadcast TV shares seem to be on the rebound. At this point, I've only done new JULYES Selling Book estimates with LPM data for an ABC and diary data for a Fox, so I don't have a sense how NBC is looking yet.

Chattanooga, the Nielsen DVDs with your data are *due* to be given to Fedex on Monday for delivery to Birmingham Tuesday morning. By lunchtime your time, you'll be able to see the data and by the end of the day, you'll have an updated JULYES Selling Book, with specials and sports updated to reflect the latest shares.

But... it's possible Nielsen may ship early... as soon as tonight. If that happens, the data will be available on Monday morning. If this was a major sweep book, I would be pestering my co-workers in Birmingham to come in on their weekend off to load the hard copy DVD onto our servers, then transfer the data to yours, allowing me to work over the weekend on your data instead of beginning Monday. It's the way I am.. and I constantly apologize for my um, zeal to Alex Lacy, the master of data at ODI.

My clients in Idaho, Florida, Mississippi, Wyoming, Alabama and Montana should have data delivered in the middle to end of next week. I don't expect to see any Sunbelt or Raycom data until at least Wednesday.

However, this is Nielsen's LAST round EVER of sending out physical DVD copies to processors like OneDomain; beginning with November 09 Sweep data, it will all be sent digitally, through the internet, directly to our servers, then installed on your machines the SAME DAY.

No more Fedex roulette... it's not like Fedex doesn't already have challenges in the week before Christmas, but asking them to hand-deliver hard copies of incredibly expensive, perishable and competitively critical information in the middle of the Christmas season and holiday traffic/travel has always been problematic.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More AGT Encores for Wednesdays in September

"Placeholder" programming Most Outrageous Videos of All Time, Parts 1 and 2 will be sacrificed in the name of more America's Got Talent repeats during the first hour of Wednesday prime during the first two weeks of September.

I just checked, and at 2:43p PDT today, APT shows nothing... but Maria tells me otherwise. :) My clients already have had their inventory updated.

Remember, each time you see a new programming change listed here, you will NOT see it in your MediaOffice system until you close the program, then re-open it. Only then will you see the changes made since the last time you opened the program.

NBC Extends Sunday Night Football Through 2013

Dear NBC Affiliate General Managers,

I am pleased to tell you that we have extended our deal with the NFL for 2 years, through the 2013 season. As with the original agreement, NBC will continue to broadcast 16 regular season “Sunday Night Football” games, each season’s “NFL Opening Kickoff” Thursday night primetime game, both Wild Card Saturday games and preseason games in primetime. The NFL will continue to provide flexible game scheduling over the final seven weeks of the regular season to ensure quality matchups and games with playoff implications.

We are thrilled that NBC will continue to feature the biggest games on the biggest NFL night through the 2013 football season.

I sincerely appreciate all that you do to make Sunday Night Football a tremendous success for NBC and wish you good luck for 2009 NFL season.

Best Regards,

Dick Ebersol

Sunday, August 16, 2009

USOC: Postpones Own TV Network Competing Against NBC

August 16, 2009
USOC Backs Off Disputed Olympic Network Plans

Filed at 12:30 p.m. ET

BERLIN (AP) -- The U.S. Olympic Committee postponed plans for its own television network after objections from international Olympic officials.

USOC chairman Larry Probst said Sunday he has decided to delay development of the TV project until all issues have been resolved with the International Olympic Committee.

The announcement came a day after Probst met in Berlin with IOC president Jacques Rogge to discuss the dispute over the U.S. Olympic Network.

''I think we're moving in a positive direction,'' Probst told reporters. ''We want to try to get to the point where we've addressed all their issues and concerns as quickly as possible.''

The IOC criticized the USOC last month for ''unilaterally'' announcing the launch of the TV network on July 8, saying it raised complex legal questions and could jeopardize relations with Olympic broadcaster NBC.

Probst was surprised by the backlash.

''There is no question that we underestimated the intensity of the reaction that we got from multiple constituents,'' Probst said. ''I won't talk about what was going on behind the scenes, who said what or who did what, but obviously there was a more intense reaction than we anticipated.

''We anticipated a reaction that would've been neutral to positive and that didn't happen. It was a miscalculation on our part. The execution on this could've been better.''

The IOC welcomed the decision.

''It was a good, positive and productive meeting,'' IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. ''We look forward to having more detailed information on their proposal.''

Probst said he and Rogge agreed to meet soon.

The decision is a major boost for Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics. Had the USOC pushed ahead with the TV plans, it could have hurt Chicago's chances in the IOC vote on Oct. 2 vote in Copenhagen. The other bid cities are Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo.

''The USOC wants to do everything it can to help support the Chicago bid,'' Probst said. ''We want to see Chicago win the bid. Anything we can do to help to support them, we're going to do that.''

Patrick Ryan, the chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016, said he appreciated the USOC's decision.

''We applaud Larry Probst and the USOC for making a strong statement of partnership by stating that the USOC would secure the full support and cooperation of the IOC before moving forward with the Olympic Network,'' Ryan said in a statement. ''It is important not only for the USOC and IOC relationship, but also for the USOC's role within the Olympic movement.''

The IOC and USOC have had tense relations in recent years, particularly over the contentious issue of the USOC's share of Olympic revenues.

The IOC accused the USOC of acting hastily by announcing plans for the network, which was scheduled to go on air next year after the Vancouver Winter Olympics with Comcast as broadcast partner.

NBC holds the U.S. broadcast rights through the 2012 London Olympics. The network acquired the rights to the Vancouver and London Games in 2003 in a deal worth $2.2 billion. NBC has said it plans to be among the U.S. networks bidding for rights to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi and 2016 Summer Olympics.

The USOC has said the network was a way to keep Olympic sports in front of viewers beyond the games. The project was intended benefit smaller sports that struggle to find air time outside of the Olympics.

Probst still feels it's a viable concept.

''I think it can be good for athletes. I think it can be good for the federations. I think it could be good for sponsors. I think it can be good for the Olympic movement overall,'' Probst said. ''But I think it's got to be properly orchestrated and properly timed. Part of that orchestration is making sure that the IOC and other constituencies are fully bought in and supportive.''


AP Sports Writer Stephen Wilson in London contributed to this report

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First 10 NHL Games on NBC in 2010 Set

Sundays January through April, noonish to 3pm EDT.

Clients will see these changes Wednesday.

Monday, August 10, 2009

AGT Encore Replaces "Most Outrageous" Wednesdays

For the next three weeks, beginning Wednesday August 11th, NBC has yanked their hour-long video clip shows and has replaced them with encore airings of America's Got Talent for the first hour of prime.

Friday, August 7, 2009

NBC Sports Specials for First Quarter 2010

Late last night, APT posted the infamously mysterious NBC Sports Specials for 1st Quarter 2010. The usual suspects of PBR, Ice Skating, Adventure Sports and Gymnastics are sprinkled on either side of Winter Olympics.

I'm starting updates now.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chicago Tribune Coverage of NBC @ TCA

August 05, 2009
'I'm an Executive, Get Me Out of Here': Notes on the NBC session at press tour

The Watcher Blog: Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune

Wednesday's NBC executive session, which kicked off the network's day at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, was both entertaining and immensely irritating.

Entertaining if you enjoy the sheer comedy of evasion and executive doublespeak in the wake of consistent failure. It was hard not to cackle -- and many in the room did -- when NBC primetime president Angela Bromstad said that it was "always the plan" for Ben Silverman to have a short tenure at NBC.

We can only presume it was part of the plan for him to leave a string of schlocky, low-rated shows in his wake. But, to paraphrase Spencer Pratt, that network was devaluing Ben's fame, right?

Despite the unintentional comedy, the session was also quite irritating, and in the end somewhat contentious, because Bromstad consistently acted shocked -- shocked! -- that this room full of pesky journalists wanted answers about NBC's direction and plans in the wake of Silverman's recent departure (Jeff Gaspin, who is actually the top executive at NBC, was a no-show at the panel, which didn't help the situation. Bromstad was joined by NBC reality chief Paul Telegdy).

Nbcu By the end, this grim session might as well have been called, "I'm an NBC Executive, Get Me Out of Here!"

What ratings does NBC want for Jay Leno's primetime show? Bromstad said the success or failure of Leno's show has to be determined over the course of the program's first year, not over the course of its first five days. If we wanted anything more specific, we should ask the late-night executives who would be part of a Leno panel later on Wednesday. (The specifics of Bromstad's Leno and Conan O'Brien dodges are laid out by Alan Sepinwall here.)

Perhaps the most dispiriting part of the panel was the confusion over what, if anything, NBC stands for. Bromstad talked about some recent shows not being "on brand" for NBC.

Well, what's NBC's brand? She cited "30 Rock," "Law & Order: SVU," "The Office" and "Heroes," as well as "The Biggest Loser" and "The Apprentice," all shows that were developed well before the Silverman era.

She also said something about shows having to be "relatable" and about "real people." Part of the problem with "Kings" is that it was "a little bit too highbrow and a little bit too difficult to sell in a 30-second spot."

"Knight Rider" didn't have that problem, and it did great, didn't it? (And if NBC wants advice on how to be "on brand," or how to even have a brand, I'm sure the folks from USA are still somewhere in the building today. With the success of their shows, they're schooling the mothership on a consistent basis.)

Seriously, despite the annual TCA blather about NBC reclaiming the Peacock's quality crown, I'm not going to get my hopes up. The network has booted "Friday Night Lights" to the summer of 2010, it completely mishandled "Kings," and it may well be dumbing down "Southland."

"I think they tried to do too much in those six episodes" of "Southland," Bromstad said. Instead of, in effect, making six versions of the pilot (she actually called it "re-piloting the pilot"), "it became very serialized, and they were a large, large ensemble. So it’s really going to focus on [the characters played by] Regina King and Ben McKenzie ... the two sets of officers and detectives and sort of focus on, you know, crimes and how they come together."

Great. Because if its one thing we need on TV, it's another show about cops and crime.

Time critic James Poniewozik said that critics are unusually hard on NBC, and maybe that's true. Perhaps there is lot of pent-up resentment when it comes to the once-proud peacock network..

What's happened to NBC over the past decade hasn't been easy to watch. If the network's executives could at least be candid and forthright, it would certainly be a step in the right direction.

Some news bits from the executive panel and from the "Community" panel that followed:

* As mentioned above, "Friday Night Lights" won't return on NBC until the summer of 2010. However the show's fourth season will premiere Oct. 28 on DirecTV's 101 Network.
* The plan is still to bring back "Chuck" in March, but Bromstad said she feels it can "move around" and discussions about whether to bring it back earlier and increase its episode order beyond the 13 episodes that have been ordered are "continuing."
* Though much of the primetime NBC schedule is now taken up with Sunday football and Leno's show, the development budget for the network has not been cut.
* NBC sees "Day One" as a one-season show, though if it's a hit, it could come back.
* John Oliver from "The Daily Show" is very good in the somewhat uneven pilot for "Community," NBC's fall comedy. However he'll only be in two of the first 12 episodes, which is a bit of a drag, given that he and star Joel McHale are so good in their scenes together.
* Ken Jeong ("The Hangover") has joined "Community" as a Spanish teacher.

First Quarter 2010 Golf Announced

As the Olympics fill up most of February, all but one golf event in next year's first quarter run in March of 2010.

Heck, even beginners can get these estimates correct this time.. four of the events actually ran same day/time in the March 2009 book. I'll bet even WideOrbit could handle this one. (I just can't help it.)

Bayou Classic & Army All American Football Returns

For some reason, NBC loves holding these games back for posting on APT until very late summer, but with all of the other changes in subsidized sports NBC is going through, I didn't include these non-franchise games in your inventory until NBC made a commitment (and the sale?)

Bayou Classic does best in the South among my clients on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. All-American game leads into NFL Playoffs in January. RDRx clients, look for both games today in your Football folder.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reuters: Bromstad about NBC's Future

August 5, 2009
Struggling NBC Looks to Quality Shows, Cost Control

Filed at 3:45 p.m. ET

PASADENA, California (Reuters) - Executives at struggling NBC said on Wednesday they were focused on top-quality scripted programs and better cost control to lift the network out of its current bottom place among the leading four U.S. TV networks.

Defining NBC as the broadcaster which airs shows that are human, deal with real people, and are fundamentally positive, executives pointed to Emmy-award comedy "30 Rock," "The Office" and drama "Heroes" as the way forward for the network.

"We have a strong foundation and some of the best shows on television and I think we have to build on that," Angela Bromstad, president of primetime entertainment, told TV critics gathered here for an annual showcase of upcoming programs.

"I think we have fallen short in the past couple of years and it is our goal to bring back those high quality sophisticated dramas and comedies and a brand of alternative programing," she said.

Bromstad said the departure last month of NBC Entertainment Co-Chairman Ben Silverman after two years at the network was not unexpected and would not bring many changes because NBC was already moving in the right direction.

"It has always been Ben's plan to transition back to his entrepreneurial roots," she said.

Silverman brought shows like "The Office" to NBC but struggled to develop major primetime audience hits that would lift it out of its last place in the TV ratings behind CBS Corp's CBS, News Corp's Fox, and Walt Disney's ABC. NBC is owned by partnership of General Electric Co and Vivendi.

Silverman also oversaw the upcoming move of late night talk show host Jay Leno to primetime five nights a week in what was seen as a bid to cut costs of expensive scripted dramas that dominate the 10 pm hour when Leno's new program will air.

"We have just allowed shows to get way too expensive and it has gotten out of control. I think we have to find a way to bring those costs down," Bromstad said.

However, she said there had been no cost-cutting in the network's development budget which fuels new programing.

Bromstad declined to define a viewership target for the new Leno show, which will premiere in September, saying the success of the move would be measured in months rather than days.

NBC's new shows for the new 2009-10 season that begins in September include two medical dramas and a comedy based around a community college starring Joel McHale, host of the satirical pop culture news show "The Soup" on the E! cable network.

The network's most-anticipated new family drama, "Parenthood," was shifted to the spring season after its star Maura Tierney took time off because of breast cancer.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Richard Chang)

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Offices, New Attitude & NBC Changes September Prime

With almost zero downtime, my hard-working associates in Birmingham, Alabama have moved across town to a new lakeside location. Friday afternoon, everything got shut down but already today, Monday August 3rd, we're back to business as usual.

Here in Las Vegas, I'm now just finishing my massive office upgrade.. I'll be sending some photos out to those who are interested.. as well as my co-workers. I may not have a lakeside view, but they don't have water-cooled, 142% overclocked 8 core CPUs with 12 gigs of RAM, SSD drives and both Quad SLI AND SLI video(yes, six GPUs) going in the same computer and displayed on monitors 6 feet, 4 inches wide. And that's just one of, ahem, 6 computers in this room.

I have access to all of my clients today, and it's a good thing, as NBC has shuffled Parks and Rec repeats as well as added a two hour Dateline to Jay Leno's first Friday night. I'll start work on these this afternoon.