NBCU Launches COVID-19 PSA Campaign

The series of spots will feature Kelly Clarkson, Andy Cohen, Savannah Guthrie, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen and many more, in partnership with the Ad Council, CDC, HHS and the White House.

CLOSING BELL

Dow Advances 1,352, Nasdaq Gains 413

Stocks surged again Thursday after Senate passage of the coronavirus relief bill. The S&P 500 rose 6.2%, bringing its three-day rally to 17.6%. The Dow industrials have risen an even steeper 21.3% since Monday.

Upfront Timetable In Doubt

As buyers and media companies enact new strategies in the wake of COVID-19’s impact on the country and world, several are beginning to doubt whether upfront negotiations can be conducted in their usual late spring/summer timeframe.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Comcast Ends In-Home Installations

The nation’s largest cable operator has decided to end all in-home installations for new customers. Instead, the Comcast technician will perform the outside work required for a new installation, and then leave a package at your door with your equipment and detailed activation instructions on the scheduled installation day.

Free Spots Won’t Count Toward Lowest Unit Rate

The FCC has told broadcasters it doesn’t have to count free ads toward calculation of the lowest unit rate they are required to charge for political ads, but only if those are not “free spots” tied to an existing commercial contract.

Ford To Restart Some Plants In April

Ford said it will reopen some key truck factories by mid-April while Honda and Toyota, citing slumping sales, extended shutdowns at North American factories. Ford’s plans raised more concerns at the UAW, which has pressed the Detroit 3 to shutter plants to protect workers and help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

NBCU CEO Jeff Shell: I Have COVID-19

Shell revealed the diagnosis in a memo to staff on Thursday. He is the first studio chief to contract the COVID-19 disease.

Promax Sets Virtual ‘Promax Connect’ Sessions

The global trade organization ramps up efforts to keep entertainment marketers connected during the pandemic.

ACA Connects Not Rescheduling Annual Summit

Instead, the trade group says it will focus on helping members serve their communities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

ViacomCBS, Meredith Set Affiliation Renewals

The new multi-year agreement covers all seven CBS affiliates owned by Meredith, which reach 7% of the U.S. audience serving more than 7.6 million television households.

What The $2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill Means For The Entertainment Industry

Senate Passes $2.2T Coronavirus Package

The unanimous vote Wednesday came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough and capped days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike it has ever faced. The 880-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared somber and exhausted as he announced the vote — and he released senators from Washington until April 20, though he promised to recall them if needed.

At WDIV, Coronavirus Spurs Rapid Virtualization

Graham Media-owned WDIV in Detroit now has about 90% of its staff working from home, shifting quickly on the advice of its health reporter (who is an ER doctor) and a senior producer with a public health background.

CLOSING BELL

Dow Moves Up 496, Nasdaq Drops 34

Many on Wall Street say they don’t think stocks have hit bottom yet, but optimism rose after the White House and Senate leaders announced an agreement on the aid bill early Wednesday. A vote had been expected in the Senate by the end of the day, but then some lawmakers balked at the proposed bill.

Networks, Buyers Enact New Strategies

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has left the TV industry reeling and in “uncharted territory,” as execs and buyers began navigating the ad sales fallout of sports cancellations, which began two weeks ago and continued through Tuesday’s Summer Olympics postponement.

Sinclair Fund Will Support RSN Freelancers

Eligible freelancers at regional sports networks will be able to receive an immediate $2,500 interest-free advance beginning on Friday, April 3. The fund is being launched in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has indefinitely halted the production of live sports, depriving these freelancers of work.

Scatter TV Ad Demand Slows

Near-term TV advertising demand for some TV network inventory is dropping in March/April due to COVID-19 issues, according to media executivesPlanned network TV media dollars for major brand marketers are shifting to what is hoped to be more normal viewing periods in later months.

DMA 20: SACRAMENTO, CA

Scot Chastain Appointed VP-GM Of KTXL

Nexstar moves the veteran television and marketing executive from Lansing, Mich., to lead its Fox affiliate in Sacramento, Calif.

COVID-19 Tying The Ad Market In Knots

TV commercials have long been the surest bet on Madison Avenue. Suddenly, they’re looking more like a risky gambit. The nation’s biggest ad spenders have muscled through tough times like 9/11 and the recession of 2008-09. But the coronavirus pandemic has sparked a level of confusion the likes of which the media industry has never seen.

JR Shaw, Canadian Cable TV Pioneer, Dies At 85

Comcast Raises $4 Billion In New Debt

Comcast has raised $4 billion through a debt offering to offset the impact on its businesses of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a SEC filing made public on Wednesday.

What Twitter’s Removal Of 1Q Guidance Tells Us About Broader Digital Ad Market

For NBC, Olympics Delay Was Best Among Bad Outcomes

Olympics Delay A Blow To NBC’s Peacock

When NBC revealed its streaming-war entry Peacock to investors in January, presenters made no secret of their big weapon: the Tokyo Olympics. With Tuesday’s postponement of the games as a result of the coronavirus, whether Peacock should launch as planned on July 15 is suddenly in question, too.

Writers Guild Postpones Contract Talks, Won’t Strike Before Current Deal Expires

Discovery Withdraws Financial Guidance, Taps $500M Of Credit

Virus Brings Young Viewers To Local TV

According to data from Nielsen, live viewing of local news in the top 25 markets was up 52% in the first week of March among 18-34 year-olds compared to the same week in 2019, and up 83% in the second week of March.

TVN FOCUS ON ADVERTISING

TVN Focus On Advertising | Political Still Shines Despite Coronavirus

Industry forecasters are lowering projections for core ad spending and revising their spot ad outlooks downward, but one category — political spending — may be 1.5 to 2 times higher than expected, thanks in part to an infusion from Michael Bloomberg.

CLOSING BELL

Dow Surges 2,113, Nasdaq Jumps 557

Tuesday was the Dow’s best day since 1933 as Congress nears a deal on aid. The Dow burst 11.4% higher, while the more closely followed S&P 500 index leapt 9.4% as a wave of buying around the world interrupted what has been a brutal month of nearly nonstop selling.

$1.25B In Ad Sales On Hold At NBC

The coronavirus crisis has postponed the 2020 Olympic Games, a key TV event for NBCUniversal.