CNN’s Zucker Faces What Might Be His Last Lap

Under AT&T, CNN chief Jeff Zucker felt blindsided by a recent overhaul of WarnerMedia that slimmed down his role. The 55-year-old’s contract expires next year and he hasn’t committed to extending his deal in meetings with WarnerMedia brass and communications with CNN employees, people familiar with the situation say.

Talking TV | CEOs Ponder Brighter ’21

TVNewsCheck’s Michael Depp and Harry Jessell unpack station group CEOs' bullish outlook on M&A and looser ownership rules in 2021 from this week's TV2025 virtual conference.

Biden Breaks All-Time TV Spending Record

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign has spent more money on television and digital advertising than any other presidential candidate in American history, with more than a week left to go before Election Day. Biden’s campaign has spent more than $582 million on television advertising since launching his campaign last year, according to data from the nonpartisan firm Advertising Analytics. In just the last week, Biden’s team spent $45 million on air.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Trump Plans ‘Heavy’ Ad Buy In Minnesota

President Trump’s campaign had its best-ever online fundraising day and plans to invest heavily on the airwaves in Minnesota in the closing days before the election. Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said the online haul on Thursday, when Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden squared off for the final presidential debate, was better than any online fundraising day in the 2016 or 2020 presidential cycles.

Fox News Tops For Trump-Biden II

The second presidential debate Thursday will finish well below the first in terms of viewership. Fox News drew 14.7 million viewers, ABC was second with 10.7 million. NBC finished in a close third place with 10.2 million viewers and CNN was fourth with 7.2 million. MSNBC was fifth with 6.7 million and CBS was sixth with 5.5 million.

OVERNIGHTS

Debate Dips With Round 2, Thursday NFL Drops

Thursday's second presidential debate amassed 23 million total viewers across ABC, CBS and NBC, down 20% from the broadcast-only numbers for last month’s first face-off, which also aired on Fox. Thursday Night Football drew 7 milllion and a 2.1, down 30% from the fast nationals for Fox’s previous hosting of the game.
  1. 1.
    FOX:
    2.1
    10
  2. 2.
    ABC:
    1.6
    8
  3. 3.
    NBC:
    1.6
    8
  4. 4.
    CBS:
    1.0
    5
  5. 5.
    UNI:
    0.4
    2
  6. 6.
    TELEMUNDO:
    0.3
    2
  7. 7.
    CW:
    0.2
    1
  8. Source: Nielsen

News Viewing Soars 23% In Sept., 48% In 2Q

Content with a focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest has driven a 23% increase in national and local TV news consumption in September versus the same month a year ago, says Nielsen — down from the near 50% increase in the second quarter. Weekly time spent watching TV news content rose to 7 hours/5 minutes in September 2020 versus 5 hours/46 minutes in September 2019.

ABC News Promotes Derek Medina To EVP

ABC News will elevate Derek Medina to executive vice president, giving him oversight of many of the Walt Disney unit’s business operations and freeing president James Goldston to devote some of his time to broader strategies.

Is Disney Playing For Keeps With ESPN?

Once Disney’s cash cow, the cable giant is shedding linear subscribers while the high cost of live sports rights is hindering its transition to a direct-to-consumer future.

COMMENTARY BY REP. GREG WALDEN

Walden: Local R-TV Ownership Should Reflect Diversity Of U.S. Communities

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.): "As a former radio station owner in rural Oregon, I know well that our local broadcasters are often Americans’ primary source of local news, particularly in rural areas. To ensure every American has an opportunity to be served content relevant for all identities, Congress must act to bring our media ownership laws into the 21st century, create policies to incentivize new entrants into the marketplace, and help lift voices of underrepresented individuals by promoting diversity where it matters most: ownership."

Thought Leadership From Top OTA CFOs

The last seven months have certainly been interesting ones for the broadcast television industry. What have the chief financial officers at some of the nation’s top owners of over-the-air stations been doing to help drive a ship that saw smooth sailing through early March and, since then, has been navigating the choppy waters of a COVID-19 pandemic?

Young, Diverse Audiences Leaning Into TV News

While the time consumers spend watching TV news has been rising since the fall of last year, it peaked at just under nine-and-a-half hours each week in April of this year — the height of the stay-at-home period in the U.S. Fast-forward to September, American adults are still engaged with news, watching an average of 7 hours and 5 minutes of TV news per week, which is up 23% from the same period last year.

Nexstar Merges Broadcast, Digital Operations

Nexstar Media Group is combining its broadcasting and digital subsidiaries as Nexstar Inc. to “drive synergies, create operational efficiencies, reduce expenses and enhance financial results.” Timothy C. Busch becomes president, broadcasting; the digital business unit will be led by Karen Brophy; and Sean Compton will be president, networks, overseeing WGN America, AntennaTV and WGN Radio.

Welker Sharp In First Turn As Debate Moderator

The NBC News White House correspondent worked hard Thursday to keep control of the second and final encounter between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, steering but not stifling exchanges. Midway through the debate, she even received a compliment from the Republican president, who said, “So far, I respect very much the way you handled this.”

TVN’S FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Remote ID Rules For Drones Up In The Air

A good working relationship between the media and the FAA should serve both parties well as specifications are developed. There’s no question that both groups are committed to and concerned for aviation safety. “Given the news media’s support of the overall adoption of a remote ID regime, it is highly likely that the parties will be able to come to accommodations in the final rules,” says attorney M. Anne Swanson.

SPONSORED BY QLIGENT

Analytics to enable consumer-focused approach to broadcasting

Broadcasters competing in an increasingly direct-to-consumer world will need to know more about how consumers are experiencing their programming, predicted Brick Eksten, CEO of Qligent. During a Fireside Chat at TV2025: Monetizing the Future, Eksten said TV engineers have long monitored their content up to the point at which it plays out to the viewer. As they build their business in OTT and ATSC 3.0, however, TV executives will join Netflix and other DTC giants in keeping close tabs on how well their content is performing as the consumer engages with it.

FTC Discusses Potential Facebook Antitrust Case

The Federal Trade Commission’s staff have made a recommendation to the agency’s commissioners on whether to file an antitrust complaint against Facebook, three people familiar with the agency’s probe said Thursday — a potential new milestone in Washington’s fight to rein in Silicon Valley. The FTC’s five commissioners met to discuss a potential case Thursday afternoon, though a final decision isn’t expected for several weeks.

An Innovative Docuseries Comes To A Newscast Near You

The ABC Owned Television Stations explore the Black experience in an unprecedented collaboration that unleashes the power of collaboration to break new ground in local TV news.

U.S. Ad Erosion Moderates In 3Q

The U.S. advertising market trimmed its declines in the third quarter from the second quarter — down 5% year-over-year, according to Standard Media Index. The U.S. had seen a steep 32% drop in the second quarter due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stronger results for the U.S. can be attributed to the increase in ad revenue from NBA and NHL sports TV programming rescheduled to the July-October period from the spring-season period. Digital advertising posted an 8% gain in the quarter.

Political advertisers are embracing connected TV ahead of the November election more than they did during previous election cycles, but the category still represents a fraction of the overall media spending pie — and exact spend levels in CTV are hard to calculate.

SPONSORED BY ONE MEDIA

Broadcast app store could bring flood of creativity to ATSC 3.0

With NextGen TV, broadcasters are moving from a one-to-many relationship with viewers, via a TV hanging on the wall, to a one-on-one relationship with them, said Mark Aitken, president of One Media. During a Fireside Chat at TV2025: Monetizing the Future, Aitken held an ATSC 3.0-enabled smartphone the company has developed and suggested the industry would one day create a broadcast app store, similar to those operated by Apple and Android. “The deployments now underway are shaping an understanding that now is the time to open up the innovators paradise, in the form of an app store, to let developers create,” he said.

‘Schitt’s Creek’ Cracks Nielsen Most-Streamed List

It may not be quite as momentous as taking home nine total Emmys, but Schitt’s Creek has another reason to celebrate. The lauded comedy series has broken into Nielsen’s list of top 10 most-streamed shows for the first time. For the week of Sept. 21, viewers watched the show for a total of 839 million total minutes, placing it fifth overall. Schitt’s Creek bursting into the rankings for that week in particular is hardly surprising, as it coincides with the show’s stunning Emmys sweep the weekend before.

STATION ADVISORY

FCC EEO Outreach Enforcement Still In Effect

Stations are required to undertake a variety of activities to educate the public about broadcast employment opportunities and to train their employees to advance in their careers beyond their current positions. These outreach efforts must be undertaken even when stations don’t have job openings. The commission has not said that these obligations are suspended during the pandemic.  In fact, it has been conducting EEO audits throughout the course of the pandemic

Quibi Sets Shutdown Date

Quibi expects to shut down "on or about Dec. 1," according to a new post on the mobile video startup's customer service page. The message gives subscribers an update on the future of the app following the Wednesday announcement that it would be ceasing operations after failing to gain traction with users.

Bill Would Check POTUS Power Over Networks

A bill that would limit the president — of either party's — ability to "shut down the internet" has been introduced. The bill, from Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), would limit the president's power to "control or shut down communications networks, including the internet."

Melissa Francis Off Fox News, Fox Business

Outnumbered co-host Melissa Francis, who recently filed a pay discrimination complaint against Fox News, is off the air and her status is in doubt.

SPONSORED BY THE WEATHER COMPANY

Weather storytelling leaders to demo the power of augmented reality

Univision Network Chief Meteorologist Albert Martinez will join HellerWeather's Tim Heller and The Weather Company’s Mike Convey for a TVNewsCheck webinar focused on elevating local TV weather segments to more effectively compete with digital platforms. Key to their strategy: storytelling with augmented reality. Register here.

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