Briefly Noted

May 27, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Cable ad spending down, Hispanic TV buys up in Q1
When it comes to advertising revenues in the first quarter, cable television was the surprising big loser, down 15.9 percent on a year-to-year basis, according to data compiled by Competitive Media Reporting. Cable tallied $2.1 billion in ad revenues in the first quarter, compared with more than $2.4 billion in the first quarter of last year. The big percentage gainer for the quarter was Spanish-language network TV, up 17.5 percent to more than $504 million, compared with just $415.8 million for the same quarter in 2001. Ad revenues for network TV were up 6.2 percent to $5.5 billion, and for spot TV they were up 2.5 percent to $3.6 billion. Syndicated TV was down significantly, falling 14.4 percent to $709 million, according to CMR. Ad revenues for Internet dropped 14.2 percent, magazines were down 10.6 percent and national newspapers declined 9.3 percent. Total ad spending for all media was up slightly in the quarter, to $23.5 billion from $23.4 billion in the first quarter of 2001, according to CMR, a Taylor Nelson Sofres company.
Effron takes live programming post at MSNBC
Post-Newsweek Stations VP Mark Effron has been named VP of live programming at MSNBC. He will report to MSNBC President Erik Sorenson effective June 10. Mr. Effron succeeds Ramon Escobar, who has become increasingly involved in the integration of recently acquired Telemundo into NBC. Mr. Effron has overseen the news operations of Post-Newsweek’s six stations for the past six years. He has remained based in Hartford, Conn., where he previously spent nine years at WFSB-TV as news director and station manager. When Mr. Effron joins MSNBC, he will relocate to New Jersey.
Home Depot signs cross-platform pact
The Home Depot and The Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Unlimited cross-platform unit have agreed to a three-year pact that will involve ABC-TV, ESPN and Lifetime, as well as other Disney properties. The deal, said to be worth around $100 million, is the largest of its kind in Home Depot’s history. As part of the deal, Home Depot and Disney plan to develop a line of Disney-branded children’s paint and other home-improvement products. Disney will also purchase Home Depot products for a variety of its operations.
Supreme Court won’t take EchoStar case
The U.S. Supreme Court last week shot down an effort by EchoStar to expand its delivery of distant network television signals to consumers. The government restricts dish TV providers to offering distant network feeds only to customers who can’t get their local signals over the air. EchoStar considers that a violation of its free-speech rights and sought to challenge the restrictions before the high court, saying its viewers should be able to watch what they please. But the Supreme Court, without explanation, declined to take the case. The National Association of Broadcasters heralded the decision, saying, “The high court’s action enhances the concept of localism in the delivery of free over-the-air television.”
WB sales seminar hits the road
The WB once again will take its sales and marketing seminar on the road for an expanded tour, hitting six cities in six days in June. In addition to WB executives led by distribution chief Ken Werner, the tour will include presentations to affiliates by former Grey Global Group and MediaCom executive Karen Richman and Mike Liff, the president and general manager who turned WJWB-TV in Jacksonville, Fla., from a struggling ABC affiliate into a strong WB affiliate. The road trip will start in New York on Monday, June 10, and move to Chicago (June 11), Washington (June 12), Dallas (June 13), Atlanta (June 14) and Los Angeles (June 18).
Gilbert to host Hallmark series
Melissa Gilbert will host the first episode of Hallmark Channel’s series “Adoption,” which airs from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (ET) June 1. The series then moves to its regular 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. Sunday time slot June 2. “Adoption,” produced Robert Halmi Jr. and Jeff Weinstock, is a nonscripted reality program following the real-life experiences of families, birth parents and adoptive children. Ms. Gilbert, who was adopted at birth, is the Screen Actors Guild president and best known for her role on “Little House on the Prairie.”
Fisher takes Ostroff’s Lifetime spot
Barbara Fisher has been named executive VP, entertainment, Lifetime Entertainment Services. She replaces Dawn Ostroff, who left Lifetime to become UPN’s entertainment president. Fisher joins the network from Universal Studios Network Programming, where she was president. She will report to Carole Black, president and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services. Ms. Fisher will oversee all scheduling, programming and production for Lifetime Television, Lifetime Movie Network and Lifetime Real Women.