For anyone tuned in to television news, this past week was very emotional. I mean that literally. Tears flowed through the screen and difficult feelings were exposed by prominent personalities, all in very public settings. It hasn’t always been that way. Over many years, audiences have slowly but steadily changed how they react to strong emotions brought into their homes by TV cameras and close-ups. Last week was something of a breakthrough in that transformation.
NBC’s Tokyo Olympics are shaping up to be an echo of the 1998 Nagano disaster at CBS, but aberrations aside, the Games will remain sports’ gold standard.
Slow-paying advertising agencies continue to be an issue for collection teams — an issue that seemed to worsen with the pandemic. Fortunately, a three-part plan from an industry expert who’s been in the media collections business for 50 years offers a solid structure, sound advice, and actionable insights for the best bet in collecting what’s due.
There’s a welcome place for reasonable regulation of political ads, but the current rules are so cumbersome and fraught with traps that even the most minor mistakes invite ready fines and embarrassment. Hopefully, acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel’s forthcoming changes will address that, but there’s reason for skepticism.
Think your SVOD streaming experience is completely ad-free? Non-traditional ads, “sponsored by” positions and dynamic product placement put the lie to that.
At the Supreme Court, today’s lonely dissenting opinion sometimes grows into tomorrow’s constitutional law. So take note of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch’s 11-page dissent on the last day of the just-completed term, in which he argues that the court should have heard a challenge to its 1964 landmark holding in New York Times v. Sullivan.
Preston Padden: “The Rupert Murdoch I worked for was brilliant, courageous, optimistic and a gentleman. Which makes his bile-filled network all the more confounding.”
Twelve months ago, protests against racist policing and brutality were at their height, and we saw many Hollywood entities make public statements of support for Black Lives Matters. There was enough momentum driving the protests that it felt like programming executives couldn’t ignore this movement altogether. And yet, cop shows still proliferate on the broadcast network schedule. And they will continue to do so in the fall. It’s almost as if the events of the past year never happened.
Check the news lately, and if you come across a story pertaining to the coronavirus, it is likely to be about the Delta variant. Headline after headline, chyron after chyron, push alert after push alert — they’re all seemingly focused these days on the dangers posed by this new variant. Now, to be clear, the Delta variant does deserve to be reported on. But it is also very important for newsrooms — in both stories specifically about the Delta variant and others — to zoom out and show audiences the big picture about the state of the pandemic here in the US. Otherwise, they might walk away with a skewed impression of things.
Millennial employees can present generational challenges to older industry leaders, but great leadership transcends these differences, a trait especially needed as the industry navigates enormous change.
The end is near for television news as we know it. That’s the clear signal coming from an important set of Nielsen company viewership data that seems like good (or at least not-so-bad) news for cable and broadcast — until you take a closer look at the numbers and trends.
Analyst Alan Wolk: While the entertainment offerings on streaming today easily surpass the offerings on cable in terms of both quality and quantity, the same cannot be said for news and sports.
There is much discussion in the broadcasting world around digital ad sales, as evidenced by panel sessions at MFM’s annual conference, Media Finance Focus 2021. While one school of thought is that digital sales is still taking a back seat to traditional ad sales, one very astute ad sales leader is all in on digital ad sales. Here are some of its challenges and opportunities.
Journalism has never been the most admired of professions, and in recent years the rap on its practitioners has only gotten worse. But there are many journalists, both veterans and newbies, who share these admirable attributes: persistence, decency, the ability to be both tough and fair. But are journalists too negative? That’s not the problem. Our role is not to cheerlead for the people we cover. Are our ranks jammed with immoral con artists? Not in my experience. But could we — must we — be much better? I can’t argue with that.
Society expects journalists to fill several important functions: check on government power, community watchdog, reliable source of basic information. But there’s one role we really don’t need from the news business — life coach. And yet, as Americans move out of the pandemic and into more normal lives, reporters, editors and producers are flooding the media universe with a heavy stream of soft stories filled with trite advice on everything from how to hug again to the safest method for dipping back into the habit of gossipy behavior.
Margaret Sullivan: “You may have a hard time understanding how Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head and Tom Hanks are connected, but that probably just means you haven’t been watching nearly enough Fox News recently.”
Technology companies’ blithe disregard for consumer desires is an outgrowth of decades of permissive or nonexistent government oversight. Regulators ought to consider how Big Tech’s monopoly power further empowers the companies to ignore their own customers, in part by gobbling up competitors that offer more consumer-friendly services. Whatever the outcome of the Arizona case, if Google and others are willing to continue offering users choices, they should also be willing to respect them.
Despite all the impassioned pleas to salvage local news coverage, the reality is there’s a demand-side problem.
In just a few shorts years, esports has exploded onto the scene, attracting massive viewership and generating revenue in quite distinct ways. Will its exponential growth continue, or are there unknown risks in its uncharted territory?
TV news began as public service programming that broadcasters had to carry as a condition of getting a license from the FCC. The television news business eventually turned profitable, but it will soon face an existential crisis as to how to remain so.
With the return to pre-pandemic behavior in newsrooms, critic David Zurawik reflects: “Adaptability, resilience, being nimble and the willingness to improvise are some of the lessons TV can teach us from the last 15 months. But there are deeper aspects of our relationships to the screen that bear further thought, such as how important those screens and the stories told on them have become to our lives.”
Broadcast shows like NCIS (which just finished its 18th season), ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (17 seasons) and NBC’s Law & Order: SVU (21 seasons) continue to have massive staying power and tremendous fan bases. And because they boast such large episodic libraries, they’re all among the most-watched acquired shows on streaming. In the world of the Emmy Awards, however, these shows seem to no longer exist.
Yesterday’s cyberattack on Cox Media Group is part of an alarming trend of such assaults on American institutions. Media companies need to be braced and ready for more to follow.
Zixi’s Robert Poletiek: “Over the past five years audiences have begun a mass migration towards consumption of IP-based content streaming services at an accelerated pace. Viewers globally are spending many more hours at home with the choice of an infinite amount of personally curated content on-demand, whenever and wherever they want. In turn, the necessity to recalibrate the broadcast experience for content, services and entertainment by a workforce that is also increasingly remote is vital for the modern broadcaster.”
What happens when companies try to maintain — or even rebuild — their culture during and after a crisis? Is culture something that becomes so ingrained in a company’s DNA that for good or bad, it cannot be changed? Or can and will companies adapt their cultures for a reemergence after a crisis, or even a seismic event such as a merger?
NAB Deputy General Counsel Patrick McFadden discusses Microsoft’s promises to deploy TV white space devices even as Microsoft seeks to overturn recently adopted FCC rules allowing broadcasters to further the deployment of NextGen TV services and improve service to television viewers.
John Oliver exposed an embarrassing practice of using local news personnel to shill products on air. Station groups that participate are playing a dangerous game with viewers’ trust in the process.
The Media Ad Sales Council calls for an industry task force with representatives from both the buy and sell sides and chaired by a neutral party to align on the rapid advancement of new generation ad tech solutions.
A recent consumer survey found viewers turn to streaming for a specific, high-budget experience that fits into their lifestyle, while they look to linear to maximize a passive viewing experience.
This week’s announcement of a mega-merger between AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Discovery must still pass muster with consumers who may not be willing to pay a premium fee for much of what they watch.
Facebook and Google lead the media industry as companies being most heavily targeted by the FTC, Congress and even the Biden Administration. The central question at the heart of scores of lawsuits files in the past year: Have companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft become too powerful, and do they exercise anticompetitive practices?
There are constant fights among powerful digital companies over what streaming video apps appear on our living room TV sets. It shows how the overlords of new TV are falling into the same bad habits as old TV. Here’s why fights over money, power and our personal information are popping up all over streaming entertainment, and how we’re caught in the middle.
Media companies don’t need to compromise on security when leveraging IP technology, nor should security compromise speed, latency or efficiency.
WTXL’s Vicki Bradley: “Being a news director is a privilege. It’s also a position for many that wasn’t the easiest to achieve, especially for African Americans. That’s why I’m sharing my perspective of the challenges that some Black newsroom leaders face today, at a time when many in our communities are hurting.”
Tara Lachapelle: “It’s hard to imagine Discovery+ surviving the streaming wars as a stand-alone product. But its immense library would improve the value proposition of any of the leading apps faster than the occasional big-budget movie can.”
Adding employees while you are working remotely, and hiring for remote-work positions are something of two sides of the same coin: as the hiring manager, you need to virtually present your company as a great place to work, either to prospective employees who may soon return to the office, or to new hires who may work remotely. Here are some tips for both situations.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s call to harass people with masks exemplifies the danger inherent to the political variety show, a cross-bred new TV product that has moved from entertainment to action catalyst, our contributor argues.