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Archives: June 2009

Time Spent on Newspaper Websites Has Declined in the Past Year

From Silicon Alley Insider (and Nielsen)… The average time users spent per visit fell on 17 of the 30 most-popular newspaper websites fell during May 2009 compared with May 2008.

Chart: Newspaper Websites

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Simon Cowell Offered $144 Million/Year To Stay On ‘Idol’

Simon Cowell & Rolls The New York Post reports on the eye-popping figures from Simon Cowell’s contract negotiations with Fox…
Cowell, who reportedly made $36 million last year for judging the hit competition show, has been offered three or four times that amount — between $100 million and $144 million per year — by co-producers Fox and 19 Entertainment to stick with “Idol” when his contract expires next May, according to The Guardian, a London newpaper. Fox declined yesterday to comment about the salary negotiations.

While $36 million may seem like a lot of money for five months worth of snarky comments and eye-rolls, it’s only a fraction of the estimated $900 million that “Idol” rakes in a year. As the lynchpin of the show — without him there would be no one to hate and no dramatic tension with Paula Abdul — Cowell believes he’s due for a raise. More…

Facebook Names David Ebersman CFO

David Ebersman Facebook has named former Genentech CFO David Ebersman as its own. From Silicon Alley Insider

David’s qualifications seem to be that he comes from a public company that grew its revenues at a pace Facebook hopes to match. Facebook investors expect the startup to IPO within the next 18 months — though that’s something we’ve been hearing for at least 18 months now.

Facebook had been without a CFO since Gideon Yu left the company in late March following a dispute over revenues and financing. We received a lot of interest in the CFO position and had the opportunity to meet with many impressive candidates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. More…

Report: Major US Broadcaster-Backed Online Networks Claim Over Half of Free Online TV in US, Hulu Accounts for 10%

Chart: 2008 online TV revenues
Screen Digest has released a report covering online TV in the U.S….
The online web-based TV services of the four major US TV networks ABC Full Episode Player, CBS Audience Network, and together with Hulu, the joint venture between NBC Universal, News Corporation and Disney, accounted for a combined 53% of an ad-supported US online TV market that generated $448m in revenues in 2008.

In contrast, third party platforms such as YouTube, Joost and other portals, which have no direct vertical affiliation with major rights holders, nor direct access to premium content rights, will struggle to aggregate ad-supported movies and TV shows. More…

PaidContent analyzes the impact of Hulu, which accounted for 10% market share in 2008…
Despite the growth surge (and the fact that sites like and Hulu are regularly generating CPMs that are on par with, or better than, their network counterparts), the report finds that ad-supported online TV revenues will still only account for about 2.2 percent of all US TV ad revenue within the next four years. Amel notes that it definitely wont be enough to offset the $2 billion decline that Screen Digest is expecting to impact the on air TV ad market overall. More…

Affiliate Reaction to NBC’s Three Relationship Options

NBC Logo TVNewsday interviewed Mike Fiorile, chairman of the NBC affiliate board and president and COO of the Dispatch Broadcast Group. Fiorile expresses general optimism for NBC’s tiered plan in this excerpt from the interview…

TVNewsday: What about this three-tier approach to network-affiliate relations gold, bronze, silver that the network laid out for you? What’s your overall reaction to that?
Fiorile: I like it. I think it’s creative. It gives the affiliates an option as opposed to “this is what we’re going to do and you’re going to have to do it.” Affiliates can opt in or not. I think there are benefits; I think there are pitfalls.

The full interview

Fox 5 in New York Covers Madoff Sentencing Using Live Streaming Video

Fox5 Live at Court As news crews swarmed the area surrounding the U.S. District Court in New York yesterday, WNYW, New York’s Fox affiliate, set up a live streaming video feed.

As news trickled out of the courthouse about the Madoff sentencing, the Fox 5 team covered the story using multiple reporters as well as legal analysts. What made the coverage unique, though, was the fact that it was not only available on channel 5 but also on the station’s official channel on, a web-based platform for live streaming video that had announced a partnership with the channel on June 10.

Size Matters, But So Does Reach

Part 1
Some purists in our community have been complaining about the seemingly endless Michael Jackson coverage on national broadcast and cable television outlets. They have pointed out to Shoptalk (and anyone else who will listen) that important news like the coup in Honduras, trade legislation, Iran and the sentence for Bernie Madoff is taking a backseat on cable news and network broadcasts. If you are in that camp, however, you must have been in a cave the past decade and you might as well save your breath (and your venom!)

It’s been well known since O.J. took off in the white Bronco that linear media like television lose audience dramatically when they shift away from big, salacious stories that a majority of Americans care about. Like it or not, the death of Michael Jackson is one of those stories. This isn’t a case of the media “guessing” that folks are interested. They know people are interested based not only on their own overnight ratings, but also on the millions of hits that flooded Google and almost crashed a number of websites late last week. For their business, they are doing the right thing.

The internet (and the web-delivered mobile world it serves) is not linear. (Oddly enough, the internet is more like a newspaper than your digitally delivered cable news in HD.) Because it’s not linear, the internet can serve users spellbound by the King of Pop story while also delivering up-to-date information about the protests in Iran and the sentencing of Bernie Madoff. And because of that, users can count on an internet service more than a TV news service, since TV can only deliver one story at a time. That will usually give and and the advantage over television in reach the total number of people who actually use a service in the course of a day or a week. Some of those services might well also have higher ratings which are measured, obviously, in a point of time. Tomorrow in this space, I’ll post on some thoughts on “fusion ratings” now being offered by Nielsen to measure total viewers/users spanning a multi-platform service like CNN, which is saying that reach matters more than size (or at least as much.)

Part 2 will appear in tomorrow’s ShopTalk.

Erik Sorenson is chief executive officer of, Inc. He oversees the strategic direction of the global, New York-based media company, including ShopTalk & TVSPY. If you would like to comment on Remote Control, or want to reach Erik, email remotecontrol@tvspy.

Julius Genachowski Sworn In As FCC Chairman, First Meeting to Focus on National Broadband Plan

Julius Genachowski From Broadcasting & Cable
It’s official. Julius Genachowski is the newest chairman of the FCC. He was sworn in at 2:25 p.m. ET at the Supreme Court by Justice David Souter, according to an FCC spokesman. He will be taking over from acting chairman Michael Copps, who remains on the FCC as a commissioner. More…

As Julius Genachowski was preparing to be sworn in Monday as FCC chairman, the commission announced it had cleared the decks for Thursday’s public meeting, Genachowski’s first as chairman, to focus on the national broadband plan. More…

Fox News, MSNBC Share KDFW’s Chopper Footage During Dallas Chase

Dallas Chase on TV
A report on the coverage of yesterday’s dramatic high-speed police chase from TVNewser…
The chase began just before 1pm CT and came to a crashing end at 2:29pm CT. FNC, MSNBC and HLN carried the chase live.

For much of the pursuit, Fox News Channel and MSNBC used the same live picture from Fox O&O KDFW. Since January, the Fox and NBC Owned and Operated stations in Dallas/Fort Worth, and other large markets, have been taking part in a news sharing agreement involving their helicopters.

HLN which was in and out of live coverage was using the choppers of CBS station KTVT and ABC affiliate WFAA. More…

TiVo Shares Decline After News of Cablevision Ruling, Decision May Lead to Debate on TiVo Patent

TiVo LogoFrom the Associated Press
TiVo Inc. shares dipped Monday after the Supreme Court refused to hear arguments on whether a new digital video recorder system from Cablevision Systems Corp. violates copyright law — which an analyst noted could hurt or help the digital video recording pioneer.

In a client note, Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible said the court’s decision not to hear arguments could be a negative for TiVo by leading to a new debate over the company’s patent. Since TiVo has said its patent doesn’t state where the DVR’s hard drive is located, a cable provider using networked DVRs “would still potentially be in violation of the TiVo patent,” he said. More…