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Upfront TV: Cable Ad Figures Boosted | Channel Surfing App | TVGuide Channel For Sale

Published on February 27, 2012
  • National cable ad sales topped $22 billion in 2011, according to revised Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB) calculations, reported in Multichannel News. That $22.1 billion represents a 7.8% increase over $20.5 billion in 2010. And, it is an 18.1% jump over 2009, at $18.7 billion. CAB attributed the uptick to growth during the upfront selling season for the 2011-12 TV year, and the industry’s commitment to original programming.
  • Peel has released its channel-surfing app, aimed at simplifying selections, according to a Reuters story. The Peel app uses Netflix- or Pandora-like analytics, in which a user enters likes and dislikes to arrive at personalized recommendations. The app also has social-media capabilities, enabling viewers to share recommendations among friends. Peel is a free app for US viewers.
  • CBS has greenlighted a sitcom pilot starring Martin Lawrence as a widowed father of two teenagers, who joins the police force at 46. Martin has not had a network series since “Martin” bowed on Fox in 1997, after six successful seasons, an arrest at LA Airport on gun charges, and a sexual harassment filing by co-star Tisha Campbell Martin. However, he has proved to be a stable team player in films like “Wild Hogs” in 2007 and Disney’s “College Road Trip” in 2008.  
  • Lionsgate Entertainment is shopping out its TV Guide channel, brand name and online property (TVGuide.com), and Discovery Communications and CBS are both interested, reports the New York Post. Also in the bidding, JPMorgan’s private-equity arm, One Equity Partners, and Open Gate Capital. Discovery’s cable channels include the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC. By contrast, CBS has little cable presence, other than its ownership of Showtime. The TV Guide channel is expected to fetch as much as $350 million, and the website about $50 million.
  • “South Park” returns for Season 16 with seven all-new episodes, beginning Wednesday, March 14 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central. The all-new episodes from Season 16 will also be available in HD on xBox Live, iTunes, Sony PlayStation Network, Amazon Video On Demand and Vudu, and in SD on Samsung Media Hub and InDemand. Just two weeks after the premiere, Comedy Central will release “South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season” on Blu-ray and DVD.