Tag Archives: CABLE

FCC considering lifting cable and satellite sports blackout rule

FCC considering lifting cable and satellite sports blackout rule
Fans could soon be able to watch games on cable and satellite that have been blocked out on broadcast because the contests did not sell out. Federal Communications Commission is soliciting public comment on the possibility of striking down sports blackout rules for cable and satellite companies, following a request in November from an advocacy group to do away with the rule. The restriction has long been advocated by professional sports leagues, because it gives greater incentive to fans to buy tickets to events they couldn’t otherwise see on television. The leagues also argue that if the blackouts are removed, cable and satellite companies will gain leverage over broadcasters in retransmission rights negotiations. Broadcasters have been barred from showing contests that do not sell out since 1961, and the FCC added cable and broadcast to that rule years later at the behest of the NFL.


Big Four Networks are up in viewers

Adults 18-49 rating is up 2 percent for the new season

Dec 7, 2011

The Big Four networks are heading into January with a chance to do something they have not done in more than a decade: Grow their collective audience.

Season to date, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC’s combined rating among adults 18-49 is up very slightly over last year.

If the networks can hold onto those gains through May, it would mark the first time since the 1999-2000 season that their ratings have grown year to year.

Eleven weeks into the season the Big Four together are averaging a 12.1 rating, according to Nielsen, up 2 percent over an 11.9 at this point last year.

The bulk of those gains have come from Fox, which is tied for first place with CBS this fall with a 3.4 rating, 13 percent better than the same point last year.

CBS is also up 3 percent. ABC is even to last year with a 2.8, good for third place.

NBC is the only network to see ratings declines, and even with all its woes, it’s only down 7 percent, from a 2.8 to a 2.6.

Of course there are still five more months in this season, and there’s no guarantee the networks will be able to hold their current ratings.

NBC will drop come February, once “Sunday Night Football” goes off the air, but those losses could be offset somewhat by Fox, which usually surges once “American Idol” returns in January.

ABC and CBS have been steady all fall, and both have at least one highly anticipated drama slated for midseason, though buzz doesn’t always translate into ratings.

The last time Big Four ratings rose for the season, there was an obvious reason: The huge success of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” the smash hit that lifted ABC by 8 percent over the previous season.

This year it’s no one show that has pushed up ratings, though CBS’s “2 Broke Girls,” Fox’s “New Girl” and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” are doing better than any of last year’s new shows.

Instead it’s strong ratings from the World Series and favorable comparisons to a weak fall 2010 that have led to the gains.

In broadcast ratings for the week ended Dec. 4:

Among adults 18-49, Fox was first for the week with a 3.0 average rating and an 8 share, followed by NBC at 2.3/6, CBS at 2.2/6, ABC at 1.8/5, Univision at 1.4/4, Telemundo and CW at 0.6/2, ION and TeleFutura at 0.3/1 and Azteca and Estrella at 0.1/0.

Top five English-language Big Five shows (18-49s): Tie-1. Fox’s “The OT” and NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” 7.4; 3. CBS’s “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” 4.6; 4. NBC’s “Football Night in America” 4.1; Tie-5. CBS’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and Fox’s “The Simpsons” 4.0.

Top five English-language Big Five shows (total viewers): 1. Fox’s “The OT” 19.39 million; 2. NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” 18.90 million; 3. CBS’s “NCIS” 13.37 million; 4. CBS’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” 12.64 million; 5. CBS’s “60 Minutes” 11.88 million.

Top five time-shifted English-language Big Five shows (18-49s, by Live+SD versus Live+7 playback, week ended Nov. 20): 1. ABC’s “Modern Family” 2.4 increase (up 42.9 percent); 2. Fox’s “House” 1.6 increase (up 64.0 percent); 3. CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” 1.5 increase (up 28.3 percent); 4. CBS’s “Two and a Half Men” 1.5 increase (up 27.8 percent); 5. Fox’s “New Girl” 1.5 increase (up 42.9 percent).

Show on the rise: Fox’s “The X Factor,” Wednesday 8 p.m. The episode averaged a 3.7 among 18-49s, up 15 percent from the previous week’s edition (which aired on Tuesday due to Thanksgiving).

Show on the decline: ABC’s “You Deserve It,” Monday 9 p.m. The limited-run game show posted a 1.4 in 18-49s, down 18 percent from a 1.7 the previous week.

Pay TV Subscribers Cancel in Record Numbers


The six largest U.S. cable and satellite-TV providers combined to lose about 580,000 customers in the second quarter, the biggest such decline in history, according to Bloomberg.

The economy is forcing the industry to face the reality of cord-cutting — pay-TV customers canceling their subscriptions in favor of online options such as Netflix Inc. (NFLX) and Hulu LLC. While cable executives dismiss the idea that subscribers are switching to “over the top” Internet competitors, the reason isn’t as important as the decision to stop paying for TV, said Craig Moffett, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in New York.

“Rising prices for pay TV, coupled with growing availability of lower-cost alternatives, add to a toxic mix at a time when disposable income isn’t growing,” Moffett said. “For younger demographics, where in many cohorts unemployment is north of 30 percent, and especially for those with limited or no interest in sports, the pay-TV equation is almost inarguably getting less attractive.”

The catalysts, according to cable and satellite executives, include increased competition from telephone companies AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), which added a combined 386,000 video customers, and a sluggish economy that saw customers to cancel service.

As new home sales slumped in May and again in June, installations suffered, and there weren’t enough new subscribers to make up the difference, Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC) Chief Operating Officer Tom Rutledge said yesterday on a conference call.

Of the six largest publicly traded U.S. cable and satellite providers, only DirecTV added customers in the second quarter. Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC),Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) and Cablevision lost a total of 471,000 video customers in the quarter. Dish Network Corp. (DISH) lost 135,000 after adding 58,000 in the previous period.

Dish Chief Executive Officer Joseph Clayton said yesterday that  goals are to  rely on its technology and promotions to persuade customers to buy more expensive offerings and increase average revenue per user,  saying he’s “looking for a better class of customer.” He plans to change the company’s advertising strategy away from “cheap, cheap, cheap” and seek out higher-paying subscribers who might have bypassed Dish for DirecTV (DTV) in previous years.

“The cable companies have been losing for years, but what you’re seeing is the satellite guys joining some of that,” said Ian Olgeirson, senior analyst at market research firm SNL Kagan. “They are seeing the same kind of effects of being a mature industry. How do you support your base of customers when you don’t have a bunch of new households to convert? It’s difficult to sustain in a down economic quarter.”

Some analysts caution that second-quarter results are not always an appropriate guide for the state of the industry, given seasonal factors such as departing college students cutting off service and summer vacationers watching less TV.

The larger trend is clearly one of video losses, said Jason Bazinet, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. inNew York, who notes that pay-TV subscribers have declined in three of the past five quarters.

“While second-quarter seasonality likely played a role, some households may have left the pay-TV universe entirely,” he wrote in a note to clients.

Local wired cable systems’ ability to deliver commercials continues to erode



NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2009 — More American TV households are receiving video programming via an alternate delivery system (ADS) than ever before, according to a TVB analysis of Nielsen Media Research data for November 2009.

According to Nielsen NTI data, national ADS penetration reached 29.3% of television households last month, an all-time high that is up from 28.7% in November 2008, and now represents 32.5% of subscription television customers (those paying for video delivery), another all-time high.

Direct broadcast satellite (DBS) delivery, the largest component of ADS, is now estimated at 29.0%, up from 27.4% in November 2008.

“Advertisers who buy cable locally need to know that local wired cable systems’ ability to deliver commercials continues to erode. In fact, in 29 markets, a majority of those paying for video programming are now getting that programming via ADS rather than from a wired-cable system,” said Susan Cuccinello, Senior Vice President, Research, TVB. “Local cable commercials are not seen in ADS homes, and so local advertisers need to deduct the ADS percentage of the audience if they are included in the cable systems’ submissions.” In November 2003 Nielsen Media Research began making available hard-wired local cable numbers and excluding ADS homes via its Total Viewing Sources DVD. But some third-party processors are still adjusting their software products to use the DVD and the printed Nielsen books do not break out the numbers separately, so advertisers will need to make ADS deductions manually for some time.