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CNBC Making Major Pitch For ‘CNBC Smart’ Block

CNBC is making a major pitch to advertisers for its original primetime programming, which it re-branded last Fall as “CNBC Smart.”

CNBC has been pushing “CNBC Smart” heavily to media buyers in the last month or so, a buyer at one of the major agencies tells TVNewser. The pitch was that the programming block features shows and personalities that “Celebrate the American Dream.” Indeed, in an advertisement in Ad Age this week (see after the jump), “Celebrate the American Dream” is the tagline used to describe the block. The ad features an American flag motif made of words like “Inventors,” “Moguls,” Mavericks” and “Champions.” In the past few weeks the network ran a contest where it gave one media buyer a Smart Car, and held a party in midtown’s Aspen Social Club to drum up attention for CNBC Smart.

For years, CNBC’s primetime served as a place for reruns of shows from CNBC, NBC and elsewhere. In the last few years however, the network found substantial ratings success with its documentary features, which profiled businesses and businessmen, as well as industries that may be established–like television–or not, like marijuana growing.

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Network News Anchors Becoming Commonplace In Political Advertising

As we reported this morning, President Obama’s reelection campaign released a new ad that features clips from TV news programs. The clips are cut in a way to place the President and his accomplishments in a positive light, and likely opponent Mitt Romney in a negative one.

The trend isn’t new. Romney used TV news clips in the same way for an ad earlier this year.

CJR looks at the issue in-depth, and examines the conundrum facing television journalists and executives.

Networks are loathe to see their top journalists and news programming used this way, but have little recourse. When they protest, advertisers claim “fair use,” a tenet of US copyright law allowing limited use of copyrighted material without the owner’s permission. Television stations are especially leery of appearing to try to censor candidates by pulling their ads. (Networks and stations have somewhat better odds challenging the ads of super PACs and other outside groups, as CJR has previously noted.)

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TaxMasters Bankuptcy Screws CNN, Fox News, MSNBC

If you have watched cable news for any extended period of time, you are certainly familiar with TaxMasters, the company that claims that it will help you resolve all of your tax issues. Perhaps TaxMasters could have benefited from its own advice, as it has filed for bankruptcy protection following a massive $200M fraud settlement.

As part of the filing, the cable news channels (among others) have been left in the lurch to the tune of more than five million dollars.

As noted by Forbes, TaxMasters’ largest creditor is CNN, which it owes a staggering $2.6 million. The company owes Fox News Channel more than $938,000 and MSNBC nearly $260,000. When you add the money it owes to History, Discovery and The Weather Channel, among others, the bill is over $5 million.

Last year ABC’s Brian Ross investigated the firm and found (shocker!) that they may have been engaged in some shady practices.

(H/T Johnny $)

How ‘The Three Little Pigs’ Would Be Covered in Today’s Media Landscape

The Guardian has a rather brilliant “advert” looking at how the tale of the “Three Little Pigs” would be covered in today’s world of cable news, iPads, infographics and social media. The result: things aren’t always as they seem.

Al Sharpton, MSNBC Catch the ‘Linsanity’

MSNBC has produced a very special “Lean Forward” ad featuring “PoliticsNation” host Al Sharpton. The ad features Sharpton talking about something that is bringing America together:

“Americans have hope again, there is real change in the air!” Sharpton exclaims.

Of course, he is referring to new York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, who has been taking the basketball world by storm. Now MSNBC is ready to “Lin Forward.”

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This isn’t the first time MSNBC has taken advantage of someone that was hot and turned them into a “Lean Forward” ad. Last year MSNBC hired Ted Williams, the homeless man “with a golden voice” to do voiceover work on the ad campaign.

Pew: Traditional News Outlets Like CNN and ABC News Struggle To Bring Traditional Advertisers Online

A new study released by Pew suggests that many traditional news outlets, including TV news outlets such as CNN and ABC News, are having a hard time getting their legacy advertisers to follow them online. is one of the most prominent news websites online, but the advertisers are starkly different than those that pay big money to appear on CNN’s cable channel. Digital revenue is still tiny compared to traditional TV revenue.

From Pew:

The kinds of products and services being advertised online were quite different than in legacy platforms, and often were seen across multiple websites. On CNN cable television, for instance, the top three advertising categories were motion pictures and television, insurance, and telecommunications companies; on they were financial ads, toiletries and cosmetics, and job search.

Professor Turow notes that the absence of legacy advertisers from the Web domains may reflect a problem. “Figuring out what they are doing instead, and why, might be a first step in trying to get some of them back.”

Stealth Commercials Still a Pernicious Problem on TV News

The Washington Post‘s Paul Farhi notes that despite a law outlawing “payola,” many TV news segments at the local and national level feature guests who are paid to plug certain products. Farhi uses the example of child safety expert Alison Rhodes, who has appeared on many local stations as well as NBC’s “Today,” where she plugged a product from home security company ADT–which paid her to promote the item.

NBC and Fox5 say they were unaware of any of Rhodes’s commercial connections at the time of her appearances. Both broadcasters say they strictly disclose all sponsor affiliations to viewers when a guest appears on a news program.

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The issue is that it can be challenging to distinguish between paid promotion and honest service journalism. To be sure, every channel has its share of promotion, often in the name of corporate synergy. The network morning shows routinely feature celebrities who appear on TV programs or movies produced by their parent companies. Even cable news gets into the game, to use just a few recent examples:

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Al Sharpton Leans Forward, With Blueberry Pie (VIDEO)

MSNBC “PoliticsNation” host Al Sharpton is the latest MSNBC talent to get his own “Lean Forward” ad, and it is a doozy. Sharpton, standing on a stoop in his native Brooklyn, recalls a tale about blueberry pie, and how it relates to the GOP. WATCH:

Cable News–Fox News In Particular–Looks to Reap Rewards From Campaign and Issue Advertising

Advertising Age focuses its lens on how the upcoming 2012 election will benefit the cable news channels… particularly ratings leader Fox News. The article begins by noting a recent $ 1 million ad buy by the Rick Perry campaign, and wonders which other candidates or interest groups could follow:

“It’s grown pretty substantially, but that’s largely because of the issue ads,” said Paul Rittenberg, exec VP-advertising sales for both Fox News and Fox Business Network. “Any [groups] looking to spend nationally, clearly we’ll get a good share of the money.”

Like CNN, MSNBC and others, Fox News is set to benefit from the proliferation of third-party political and issue advocacy groups including Super PACs and 527s, which can afford national airtime and are gearing up to be major players in 2012 politics. Last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the so-called Citizens United case opened the floodgates by allowing mostly unfettered corporate and union spending in elections so long as it was not coordinated with candidates — giving rise to the Super PACs, which can accept unlimited corporate donations.

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Katie Couric’s Talk Show Asking For Surprisingly High Ad Rates

The New York Post‘s Claire Atkinson writes about Katie Couric‘s upcoming ABC talk show, and reveals that producers are asking around $50,000 for a 30 second spot. Atkinson compares it to Oprah’s former talker, which drew $100,000 for 30 seconds at the end of its run, but the more interesting element is this:

That rate would put Couric’s show, to bow in September, ahead of comparable costs for an ad spot on “Ellen,” or “Live with Regis and Kelly” — both of which command roughly $35,000 to $40,000 a spot.

Why is that a big deal?

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