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Jun 17, 2002  •  Post A Comment

DirecTV to carry 37 additional Pax-affiliate stations

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court today rejecting appeals from the direct broadcast satellite industry (DirecTV and soon-to-be parent Echostar) to reverse the must-carry rules requiring carriage of local TV stations, Paxson Communications Corporation sealed with DirecTV for the additional carriage of 37 TV stations affiliated with Pax TV.

Jeff Sagansky, president and CEO of Paxson Communications, said in a statement that the carriage of family-friendly Pax TV stations will now allow local advertisers “to reach the high-end DirecTV customer” associated with DBS provider. In some key markets, such as KPXN-TV in Los Angeles, DirecTV is already providing carriage to local subscribers.

The following is a partial list of 37 Pax TV stations that are launching on DirecTV’s lineup (stations with asterisks are still have pending issues but expect to launch in several weeks): WPXN-TV in New York; WCPX-TV in Chicago; WPPX-TV in Philadelphia; KKPX-TV in San Francisco; WBPX-TV in Boston; KPXD-TV in Dallas; WPXW-TV * in Washington; WPXA-TV in Atlanta; WPXD-TV in Detroit; KPXB-TV in Houston; KWPX-TV in Seattle; KPXM-TV in Minneapolis; WXPX-TV * in Tampa; WPXM-TV in Miami; KPPX-TV in Phoenix; WVPX-TV in Cleveland; KPXC-TV in Denver; and KSPX-TV in Sacramento.

USA, Univision score big in World Cup: Although the Monday telecast of the World Cup soccer match between the USA and Mexico kept viewers up late, the second-round game drew the second-highest local metered markets ratings ever for Univision flagship station KMEX-TV in Los Angeles.

The telecast, originating from Jeonju, South Korea, and airing from 11:15 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. (PT), drew an 11.5 rating/32 share household average for KMEX-TV in Nielsen Media Research’s overnight metered market measure. In Los Angeles, which is the nation’s largest Hispanic viewing market, the overall rating for the USA-Mexico football match represented roughly 632,000 of the approximate 5.5 million total TV homes in the nation’s second-largest TV market.

In a separate, more telling measure of Hispanic viewership in Los Angeles, KMEX’s broadcast delivered a 41.2/75 household score and 1.5 million total viewers, according to the overnight Nielsen Hispanic Station Index.

Researchers for Univision said the Spanish-language broadcast, which conceivably attracted a large number of English-speaking soccer fans, represented KMEX’s best ratings to date for the World Cup tourney and bettered all of the previous 1998 World Cup matches carried by the station and network. Additionally, Univision research said the ratings for the USA-Mexico game, which was won by the Americans in a 2-0 upset, beat all of the market’s English-language TV stations local 11 p.m. newscasts by a 3-to-1 margin in the ratings.

Also in Los Angeles, viewing of the English-language ESPN carriage of the match drew a 3.3 rating in the overnights.

Univision said the only other overnight results came in from San Francisco, where its KDTV-TV posted a 4.7/14 household score — the highest ratings locally ever for the station. Univision researchers hope to get more accurate data from the Nielsen Hispanic Television Index and Nielsen Television Index to ascertain Hispanic and English-language viewership nationally, once Nielsen releases full national data by late today.

In other World Cup action, last Friday’s 7 a.m. match between the USA and Poland drew a 7.4/32 household average nationally in Hispanic homes. That was also equaled by Saturday’s 2:15 a.m. (PT) game between Germany and Paraguay, which drew a 7.4//32 household score.

Marking the furthest any American team has advanced in World Cup competition since 1930, Team USA is now set to play against Germany in a quarterfinal match on at 4:30 a.m. (PT) Friday. The game will be televised live by Univision and ESPN

Ratings higher with Portable People Meters, says Arbitron: Television ratings for persons 6+ are 57 percent higher when reported by the Portable People Meter than those reported by the Nielsen Media Research meter/diary-integrated estimates, and the highest ratings gains reported by the PPMs are for younger demographics, particularly under age 35, according to first results from Arbitron’s ongoing Philadelphia test of its technology.

For both cable and newer broadcast networks, outlets with smaller audiences also experience the largest audience gain, according to the PPMs.

The Philadelphia test measures ratings for eight television stations and 20 cable networks. Implications of the new PPM technology for the broadcast, cable and advertising industries are abundant. For example, for the 6 a.m.-to-midnight Monday-Sunday daypart, ratings for children 6-11 and teens 12-17 show the most pronounced gains; people in older age/sex demographic categories show less change in ratings than younger demographics. Similarly, broadcast and cable TV outlets appealing to a younger audience experience the greatest ratings gains with the PPMs.

KABC-TV first in local ratings for Lakers parade coverage: KABC-TV came in first in the Los Angeles market for the telecast of last Friday’s Los Angeles Lakers victory parade, which ran from 10 a.m. to about 1 p.m. The broadcast pre-empted KABC’s regular programming and earned a 5.8 Nielsen Media Research and 18 share. Viacom-owned KCAL-TV, which is Los Angeles’ regular Lakers station, came in second place with a 3.9/12 for its parade coverage.

Pax launches O&Os on DirecTV: Paxson Communications Corp. launched its owned-and-operated stations on DirectTV’s local channel service in 37 markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Knott named VP, GM for Fox’s Orlando duopoly stations: Stan Knott has been named VP and general manager of the Fox-owned duopoly of Fox station WOFL-TV and UPN affiliate WRBW-TV in Orlando, Fla. Mr. Knott comes from the Fox-owned WDAF-TV, Kansas City, where he has been general manager.

FCC asked to take action on network affiliate abuse charges: Ken Ferree, chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Media Bureau, told reporters this morning that the bureau had recommended action to the agency’s commissioners on a long-pending affiliate request to crack down on alleged abuses by their networks.

FCC officials would not comment on industry speculation that agency Chairman Michael Powell has been sitting on the request because he can’t get a third vote to ax it on procedural grounds. The controversial request, which has been pending since March 8, 2001, alleges that the networks have run afoul of agency regulations by overreaching in efforts to prevent affiliates from pre-empting network programming.

Tiger Woods propels NBC to Sunday night ratings win: NBC looks like it scored holes-in-one with a Tiger Woods-Dick Wolf tandem on Sunday. Benefiting from run-over coverage of the U.S. Open golf championship into prime time, Mr. Wolf’s premiere of the summer reality series “Crime & Punishment” added up to commanding wins in adults 18 to 49, households and total viewers for NBC.

Although full national ratings are not yet available for the U.S. Open, which was won by Mr. Woods, the tourney’s final round (from 1:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET) translated to a 9.3 rating/21 share household average in Nielsen Media Research’s overnight metered markets.

The metered-market returns turned out to be the best for the tournament since Nielsen began tracking overnight ratings in 1975. It also turned in a 33 percent jump over last year’s U.S. Open coverage (7.0/17), in addition to being 6 percent better than the previous record-high 8.8/21 for Mr. Woods’ U.S. Open win at Pebble Beach in 2000.

Further extended into prime time by almost an hour because of rain delay, the prime time portion of the U.S. Open carried NBC to preliminary wins of 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Nielsen’s fast national measures of households (11.0/22), total viewers (16.9 million) and adults 18 to 49 (5.3/19). Mr. Woods completed his 3-under-par victory at 8:25 p.m., and NBC continued with coverage of the award presentation and interviews until 8:45 p.m. NBC then went to a truncated 15-minute version of “Dateline N
BC,” which registered a winning 8.2/14 average in households in the metered markets.

From 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Nielsen’s fast nationals, NBC’s repeat of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” found itself in a first-place tie with CBS’s second hour of the movie “The Negotiator” among adults 18 to 49 (both at 3.6/10 averages) while “Law & Order: CI” won the hour in households (7.8/14 vs. 6.7/12) and total viewers (11.8 million vs. 10.4 million). Fox’s second weekly run of the reality series “Bachelorettes in Alaska” turned in a third-ranked 2.1/6 in adults 18 to 49 and 4.5 million total viewers.

NBC’s real-life courtroom series, “Crime & Punishment,” picked up on its lead-in by 3 percent en route to a second-place finish against “The Negotiator” among adults 18 to 49 (3.7/10 vs. 4.1/11) for the 10 p.m.-to-11 p.m. frame. But the San Diego-based courtroom drama, created by Mr. Wolf, Bill Guttentag and David Kanter, also gave the Peacock Network a 76 percent jump over what NBC scored in the year-ago time period with a special “Dateline” (2.1/6).

Overall, NBC won the night over CBS in adults 18 to 49 (4.3/13 vs. 2.9/9), households (9.0/17 vs. 6.7/12) and total viewers (13.5 million vs. 9.8 million). Fox, which ran repeat comedies from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., came in third in adults 18 to 49 (2.2/7). ABC, which earned a bottom-ranked 1.4/5 in adults 18 to 49, also held the cellar in the demo (1.6/5) for the evening.

Miller takes on AMC marketing duties: Isabel Miller has been named senior VP of marketing for AMC, Rainbow Media’s all-movie network. Ms. Miller, who will report to Noreen O’Loughlin, the network’s executive VP and general manager, will direct both consumer and ad sales marketing efforts and supervise the development of integrated promotion packages. She joins the network from Nickelodeon.

FCC to consolidate media ownership review docket: The Federal Communications Commission won’t decide whether to relax a rule that bars daily newspapers from buying radio or TV stations in their markets until some time next year — at the earliest, Ken Ferree, chief of the agency’s Media Bureau, said this morning.

Tribune Co., has been lobbying strenuously for quick relief from the rule and wanted the agency to address the regulation separately. But at a press briefing, Mr. Ferree said the agency has decided to include the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership regulation in a larger review of all of its broadcast ownership restrictions. He also said the bureau won’t be ready to recommend action on the regulations before next spring. “I can’t speak to that,” added Mr. Ferree, as to how soon the agency’s commissioners would actually vote to resolve the regulatory issues thereafter.

Shaun Sheehan, Tribune VP, Washington, said his company was considering its legal options. “The marketplace is evolving rapidly, and the FCC through inaction leaves us standing in place,” Mr. Sheehan said. Mr. Ferree, however, said the agency believed the broadcast ownership rules should be reviewed together because they share legal foundations. “All of these rules are kissing cousins,” Mr. Ferree said.

Among the other regulations that will be reviewed in the massive proceeding, according to Mr. Ferree, is one that limits the ability of broadcasters to acquire a second TV station in some markets. Another regulation to be addressed in the proceeding bars a single company from owning TV stations reaching more than 35 percent of the nation’s homes.

Nonetheless, Mr. Ferree said a final vote is expected before year’s end on what to do about another rule that used to bar cable operators from reaching more than 30 percent of pay subscribers. That rule has already been struck down by the courts.

Jeff Chester, executive director of the watchdog Center for Digital Democracy, said, “Today’s announcement that the FCC will be consolidating its mass media ownership policy review docket is a victory for the consumer, public interest and the industry groups that have been fighting deregulation.”

Orioles network signs sales deal with ABC regional unit: The Orioles Television Network, a new over-the-air regional sports network, has reached a three-year national sales-representation agreement with ABC Regional Sports Sales, a division of ABC National Television Sales.

Major-market television stations in the Orioles Television Network include WJZ-TV in Baltimore, WNUV-TV in Baltimore and WBDC-TV in Washington. The deal includes 71 regular-season broadcast games in 2002. ABC Regional Sports Sales also represents the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network.

Mag Rack adding gardening, dogs to video offerings: Mag Rack, Rainbow Media’s video-on-demand service for hobbyists and other enthusiasts, will add two new video “magazines” on July 1, bringing its total to 27 offerings.

“Let’s Go Gardening” and “Celebrating Dogs” are the latest additions to the list. Mag Rack , which is currently available to Cablevision’s digital-tier subscribers, will also be offered by Insight Communications beginning this summer.

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications