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Archives » Legal & Regulatory

HBO Renews with Bill Maher | Judge Takes Closet Look at Comcast/NBCU Merger

Published 2 years, 5 months ago
  • HBO has renewed "Real Time with Bill Maher" for its tenth season, launching in early 2012, it was announced today by Sue Naegle, president, HBO Entertainment.  The show was recently nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding, Variety, Music or Comedy Series category. The show includes an opening monologue, roundtable discussions with panelists, and interviews with in-studio and satellite guests. Maher was the creator and host of “Politically Incorrect,” which was produced by HBO Downtown Productions and debuted on Comedy Central in 1993. The series moved to ABC in 1997 and ran through 2002, writes TVbytheNumbers.

  • Big Brother" put CBS on top of Thursday night ratings, despite the fact that the network also aired three reruns. "Brother" was the night's top-rated show among adults 18-49, averaging a 2.6 rating at 9 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights. The long-running reality show was the only original show on CBS's schedule last night. The network aired comedy repeats at 8 p.m. and a drama repeat at 10, reports Media Life Magazine.

  • A federal judge has served notice to interested parties that he may not sign off on the merger, after reviewing arbitration provisions. The issue concerns the vertical integration aspects of the merger, which puts Comcast/NBCU in control of both programming and delivery platforms. In particular, it involves recourse for competitors in the distribution arena who feel they are not getting a fair crack at NBCU programming, reports Radio Business Report.

Nielsen, Kantar Target Local TV Metrics | Taking Sides on FCC Broadband Plan

Published 2 years, 8 months ago
  • Nielsen has made a multi-year deal with Kantar Media for its consumer viewing data from DirecTV set top boxes, a move that is expected to improve insights into local TV products and make a break away from diary-based measurement, writes Media Daily News. Nielsen will use Kantar Media's DIRECTView service in local TV audience measurement. Nielsen has developed a proprietary, hybrid methodology for the U.S. market that combines Nielsen's National People Meter panel data with set-top-box and other sources of data.

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is proposing a $2.7 million Democratic package of cuts and revenue-raisers that included spectrum auctions, according to a summary of the proposal. The plan anticipates $15 billion in "spectrum sales." Part of the proceeds from an incentive auction to reclaim broadcast spectrum for wireless broadband will go toward deficit reduction according to various bills now in Congress, reports Broadcasting & Cable
  • Forty percent of full power local television stations in the U.S. could have to vacate their current TV channel assignment under the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, and a minimum of 210 of those stations could go off the air permanently, leaving entire cities dark, according to an NAB analysis. As well, the NAB found that top-ten TV markets would be dramatically impacted by the FCC proposal, with 73 stations in the largest ten markets going off the air.

  • The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) issued a statement regarding the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) study on spectrum incentive auctions, including: “The NAB study sets up and knocks down a purely fictional straw man. The study presumes an unrealistic scenario in which every single existing TV station continues to operate over-the-air. However … it is highly likely numerous stations will capitalize on their spectrum assets by exiting the business or sharing resources.”

News Corp. Moves to Shield U.S. Outlets | ESPN Earns Highest World Cup Rating

Published 2 years, 9 months ago
  • News Corp. is developing a plan to insulate its American media outlets from the fallout as the FBI launches a preliminary investigation of whether laws were broken on this side of the Atlantic. The company expects to hire an outside public-relations firm to help spearhead that effort and field inquiries involving Fox News, local Fox stations, and the New York Post, according to the Daily Beast.

  • A Senate Commerce Committee source speaking on background said that no committee investigations or hearings into News Corp. were currently planned, writes Broadcasting & Cable, as the  hacking of phones by the shuttered News of the World. The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), last week called for investigations by the appropriate agencies, including the DOJ and SEC, into whether News Corp. had violated any U.S. laws.
  • ESPN earned an 8.6 overnight for Japan's win over the U.S. in the FIFA Women's World Cup Final yesterday, marking the net's best overnight ever for a World Cup game, men or women. ESPN's previous high for any World Cup match was a 4.4 overnight for U.S.-Algeria in last year's men's World Cup pool play. The previous high for a women's game was the '99 U.S.-Brazil semifinal. Baltimore topped all U.S. metered markets for yesterday's match with a 12.3 local rating, followed by San Diego (11.8), West Palm Beach (11.7), DC (11.5) and Norfolk (11.1), reports Sports Business Daily.

  • The Federal Communications Commission has revived its audits of cable and satellite operators for compliance with ad limits in kids shows, writes MultiChannel News. Unlike broadcasters, who have to have self-reported violations of ad limits through the mechanism of license renewals, cable operators have no similar mechanism and have never self-reported any violations. The Act limits ads to of 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes on weekdays.

New Guidelines for Food Marketing to Kids | Charlie Sheen to Star in New Sitcom

Published 2 years, 9 months ago
  • The Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) last week unveiled its new guidelines for food marketing to kids, which it says will require food companies to reformulate approximately a third of the products they advertise to kids if they want to continue to do so. For example, canned pastas will have to have 600 mg of sodium or less to be advertised in kids shows, rather than the current CFBAI standard of 750, according to Broadcasting & Cable.

  • FX has picked up 13 episodes of American Horror Story, from 20th Century Fox TV, for a fall 2011 and Halloween premiere, writes Deadline Hollywood. American Horror Story has supernatural elements -- for example, the housekeeper is perceived differently by the two spouses -- and also explores other forms of horror in society, inspired by classic1970s horror movies, including Rosemary's Baby, Don't Look Now and The Shining.

  • Charlie Sheen will star in Anger Management, a new sitcom based on Revolution Studios' 2003 film of the same name. The sitcom will be produced by Lionsgate, headed by Television Group President Kevin Beggs and COO Sandra Stern; Revolution Studios, headed by Joe Roth and Vince Totino; Evolution Management, the production company of Sheen's manager, Mark Burg; and Robert Maron. It will be distributed by Lionsgate's Debmar-Mercury, which is headed by co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein. Sheen will retain a significant ownership stake in the series, reports Broadcasting & Cable.


  • Giving up the terrestrial broadcast will transform a $17 billion business into an $8 billion business, according to Radio Insights. Counter to what radio critics and new-media enthusiasts suggest, if radio shuts down its transmitters and broadcast competes head to head with pure-play Internet services, radio revenue will plummet. The rough estimation suggests that every spot that runs on the Internet rather than over-the-air will generate one third the revenue. Something like $9 billion in spot revenue will vanish if radio turns off transmitters.

  • According to Steve Lanzano, TVB President, local media only gets some 10% of the federal/military recruitment dollars, as well as those from census efforts, Job Corps, the US Postal Service, Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, national parks and Veterans Administration; however, it’s actually cheaper now in almost all day parts to buy media on a local level vs. a national level, according to TVB analysis. The insights have made influence on the FCC big report in the information needs of communities, reports RBR-TVBR.

NBC Premiere Schedule | CNN Recasts Primetime, Spitzer Out | Hulu For Sale with 875,000 Customers

Published 2 years, 9 months ago
  • NBC will premiere the first of its new fall series a week before the official "premiere week," debuting rookie comedies Up All Nightand Free Agents on Wednesday, Sept. 14 following the season finale of America's Got Talent. Both comedies will debut in their regular time periods the following week, along with new dramas The Playboy Club and Prime Suspect, new Thursday laugher Whitney as well as the bulk of the network's returning series, reports Broadcasting & Cable.

  • ABC News has hired Elizabeth Smart as a contributor. Smart - who was abducted in 2002 from her Salt Lake City, Utah home and held for eight months - will appear across ABC News platforms to comment on missing persons cases, writes the Hollywood Reporter.

  • CNN has a new primetime lineup, one without Eliot Spitzer's In the Arena. Instead, Anderson Cooper 360 will move to 8 p.m. starting Aug. 8, and be re-broadcast at its 10 p.m. position. Erin Burnett's new program, expected to premiere in late September, will debut at 7 p.m, and re-air at 11 p.m. John King, U.S.A. moves to 6 p.m., reports Broadcasting & Cable.
  • A group of federal agencies led by the Federal Trade Commission have created a report on the marketing of food to children on television and other venues, and suggested voluntary guidelines restricting advertising food deemed less than healthful. The report targets foods that are fatty, salty or full or sugar. Although FTC says it’s a report, not a rulemaking, food manufacturers and some in Congress are pushing back, writes Radio Business Report.

  • Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger said that the owners of Hulu are “committed to selling.” Hulu’s owners include Disney, News Corp. and Comcast-NBC Universal. Bankers for Hulu have met with Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft Corp. as the company explores a sale, reports Bloomberg.
  • Hulu had about 875,000 paying subscribers at the end of June for its $7.99-per-month service -- beating the Internet video site's expectations. After adding more subs in June than in April and May combined, Hulu expects to top more than 1 million paying subscribers before the end of the summer, reports MultiChannel News. Including users that have a one-week-free trial, Hulu Plus already tops the 1 million mark.

$30 Million-ish MySpace Sale Nears | FinancialForce Ad Campaign Tools | FB Credits Complaint

Published 2 years, 9 months ago
  • The two companies — Specific Media and Golden Gate Capital — are named as potential buyers of MySpace in an acquisition deal that News Corp. hopes to complete by Thursday, its fiscal year end, reports All Things Digital. The price is in the $20 million to $30 million range. 

  • launched a new solution, FinancialForce for Media, to enable media companies to integrate Salesforce CRM, ad servers and FinancialForce Billing, bringing together the processes of selling, tracking and billing for online advertising campaigns. The solution works between Salesforce CRM, ad servers like Google's DoubleClick for Publishers and FinancialForce Billing. 

  • Consumer Watchdog has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission charging that the virtual currency system "Facebook Credits" used to play games on Facebook's social network violates antitrust law. New Facebook Credits terms are scheduled to take effect on Friday, July 1, 2011. Under the new contract, game developers using the Facebook platform must exclusively use Facebook Credits in the operation of their games; must agree not to charge lower prices to consumers outside of Facebook; and must pay a 30% service fee for all Facebook Credits purchases. The complaint, released today, asks the FTC to issue an injunction that would stop the anticompetitive behavior. It also asks the FTC to investigate a deal between Facebook and Zynga Inc., the largest game developer in the United States, as a possible "unreasonable restraint on trade."

Three State AGs Review Google Search Advertising | AOL MapQuest Launches Local Business Platform

Published 2 years, 9 months ago
  • Google is at the center of multiple government investigations into whether it is using its dominance in search advertising to diminish competition. At least three state attorneys general have started antitrust investigations into Google, Reuters reports. The company, which dominates U.S. and global markets for search advertising, has been accused by competitors of favoring its own services over rivals in its search results.

  • Barnes & Noble is releasing the exclusive digital edition commemorative issue from O, The Oprah Magazine, covering the 25 seasons of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” for NOOK Color customers. Users of with Android tablets can also access the magazine using the NOOK for Android reading app.

  • Media platform company Specific Media updated its advertisers with online video campaigns statistics less than a year since acquiring online video company,  BBE. The company said that as a result of applying targeting to video, video advertising click-through rates increased 21% and view-through rates jumped 46% in Q1 2011.

  • AOL’s MapQuest has started a “Local Business Center,” a free platform for businesses to add their own content to MapQuest’s listings. The Local Business Center also offers paid upgrades featuring premium listings and distribution on eight additional sites.

  • Mobile data services provider NeuMedia will acquire Cameo Stars, a social marketing and entertainment company that has combined virtual goods and branded content – into its own sort of content offering, the "social cameo."  The Cameo Stars platform has  relationships with the likes of Kim Kardashian, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carmen Electra and other large brands.

Study: Local Broadcasting Generates $1.17 Trillion in Annual GDP

Published 2 years, 9 months ago

Impact: Broadcasting Jobs and Annual GDP Television and radio broadcasting contributes to 7% of the nation's GDP, or $1.17 trillion annually, according to an NAB-commissioned study conducted by Woods & Poole Economics, with support from BIA/Kelsey. The report, “An Analysis of the Importance of Commercial Local Radio and Television Broadcasting to the United States Economy,” which was released on Tuesday, also finds 2.52 million jobs attributable to the industry every year.

The study focused on local commercial broadcast radio and television stations including locally owned and operated commercial stations, affiliate stations and independent stations. Noncommercial radio and TV stations and the operations of over-the-air broadcast networks were not part of the analysis, except for networks' owned-and-operated local television stations.

The study calculated that the local broadcast industry employs over 300,000 people directly and in support industries, creating $49.32 billion in GDP annually. Television accounts for almost 187,000 of these jobs, as well as over $30 billion in GDP, while radio employs 118,000 people and contributes a little over $18 billion to the GDP.

The study also examined the associated economic effects of direct employment by local broadcasting has through the consumption of goods and services by industry employees, and concluded that local commercial broadcasting generates almost $135 billion in additional GDP and more than 833,000 jobs nationwide.

The study estimates advertising on local broadcast television and radio stations as a stimulant generating an additional $986 billion in economic activity and supporting 1.38 million jobs.

Reports: Google Eyes Supply-side Platform, Admeld | Apple Eases Requirements of In-App Subscriptions

Published 2 years, 10 months ago
  • A year after Google purchased demand-side platform Invite Media for spent $70 million, it is now reported to be in discussions to acquire supply-side platform Admeld for $400 million. PaidContent reports that the deal is nearly finalized.

  • Apple has changed its pricing guidelines of In-App Subscriptions on the App Store, eliminating the requirement that a subscription be the "same price or less than it is offered outside the app". Apple also removed the requirement that external subscriptions must be also offered as an in-app purchase, says MacRumors.

  • The FCC has released “The Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age,” a 478-page study initiated in January 2010 in order to assess media and current policy and regulation. According to the report, “with the media landscape shifting as fast as it has been, some current regulations are out of sync with the information needs of communities and the fluid nature of modern local media markets.”  The Columbia Journalism Review calls it, “heavy on problems, light on solutions.”

  • Taking advantage of Last.FM technology of the CBS Interactive Music Group will now offer consumers the ability to create online stations through its player. The Last.FM library has nearly 12 million tracks, the player will provide listeners an infinite number of free streaming experiences across broadcast, online and personalized radio, writes All Access.

Facebook, Microsoft Support AT&T Merger Bid | Kindle Sunshine Deals Heat Bestseller List

Published 2 years, 10 months ago
  • Eight technology giants, including Facebook and Microsoft, and 10 venture capital firms, filed letters in support of AT&T’s $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA. The letters filed with the FCC supported to AT&T’s argument that the T-Mobile deal will help the company extend its next-generation data network across the country, helping to meet the growing need for wireless broadband services, reports The New York Times.

  • Amazon Kindle’s Sunshine Deals promotion is already impacting the Kindle bestseller list, reports Paid Content. Of today’s top 100 books on the paid bestseller list, 30 titles are part of the Sunshine Deals promotion, and of those -- 80%, or 24 books -- were not bestsellers before the promotion began.

  • Google has acquired Canadian social analytics company PostRank, whose social-listening technology already is integrated into Google Analytics. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, reports B-to-B magazine. PostRank tracks content on 20 social media sites, providing data to companies to help target prospects and customers. The company also offers an analytics tool for publishers. 

  • The Financial Times has launched its HTML5 tablet and mobile “app” today ahead of the June 30 deadline for publishers to comply with Apple’s revised app terms, reports Paid Content. “We won’t be stepping off the iPad -- we might not be on iTunes. Over half our traffic on iPad comes through the browser anyway; that doesn’t get talked about much in the media,” said Rob Grimshaw, Financial Times online managing director.