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Mar 27, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Major League Baseball to charge for webcasts

Major League Baseball and RealNetworks have signed an exclusive three-year pact that will corner the market on live audio webcasts and convert them from a free service to a subscription one. The deal, worth a minimum of $20 million if subscribers go for it as anticipated, goes into effect Saturday.

Asked about local broadcaster rights to Internet audio feeds, MLB President Bob Bowman noted, “Those rights will disappear.” In regard to compensation for the local radio commentary that MLB plans to offer on its site, Mr. Bowman said that in general there would be none.

As for extending the new rules to live video, Mr. Bowman indicated there had been some discussion of that already, but this was “not within the four quarters of our transactions-it’s much more likely to be a 2002 item.”

Good morning for ‘GMA’: The Oscar telecast itself may have plumbed record lows, but the morning after had “Good Morning America” feeling pretty good. Oscar-heavy “GMA” averaged a 5.0 rating/16 share in the metered markets and tied NBC’s “Today” for the first time since the Diane Sawyer-Charlie Gibson era began in January 1999.

College basketball ratings dip: With the NCAA men’s basketball tournament heading into this weekend’s Final Four coverage with a 5.8/13 average (compared with 5.9/13 a year ago), a phone survey of 1,000 men and women 18 and older indicates that 32.4 percent of the 18-plus universe watched some part of the tournament’s first weekend on TV. The survey also showed that 41.4 percent of those 18 or older followed the opening rounds on CBS or other media.

NBA gives assist to Channel One: In a multiyear agreement announced today, NBA players and programming and promotional spots will be featured on the Channel One Network, the 12-minute daily newscast that reaches more than 8 million students in middle schools and high schools.

Wink inks link with Matsushita Television: Interactive television t-commerce technology company Wink Communications has signed an agreement with Matsushita Television that will allow Wink’s technology to reach Panasonic DirecTV receivers.

‘First Years’ flounders in second bow: In its second weekly outing, NBC’s midseason legal drama “First Years” suffered major week-to-week erosion last night as viewers flocked to ABC’s revival of the musical “South Pacific.”

The three-hour-long “South Pacific,” starring Harry Connick Jr., helped ABC to an easy win in households and a third-place finish in adults 18 to 49. According to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate returns, “South Pacific’s” 11.2 rating/17 share household average marked a 72 percent increase over last week’s score in the time period, while its 3.9/10 average in adults 18 to 49 was up 11 percent week to week. Overall, 15.8 million total viewers watched the revival of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

The most notable story probably belongs to NBC’s “First Years.” Airing at 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. (ET), “First Years'” second outing posted a 2.3/5 average in adults 18 to 49, marking a 47 percent decline from its opening week numbers in the key demo (4.4/12).

Paxson enters deal with two stations: Paxson Communications entered into a joint sales agreement with two NBC affiliates, KOB-TV, Albuquerque, N.M., and WNYT-TV, Albany, N.Y., owned by Hubbard Broadcasting. The stations will provide sales and marketing for the local Pax stations, KAPX-TV, Albuquerque, and WYPX-TV, Albany. The NBC affiliates will also repurpose their local newscasts for the Pax stations.