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Jun 21, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Court upholds termination of cross-ownership ban

A federal appeals court in Washington today upheld its decisions terminating the cable-broadcast cross-ownership ban and remanding the 35 percent broadcast ownership cap to the Federal Communications Commission for more justification. The decision was a setback for the National Association of Broadcasters, which supports the ban and the cap. The court also punted for now on providing the FCC with further clarification of its parameters for retaining media ownership rules.

FTC to issue new TV violence report: The Federal Trade Commission this week is expected to issue its fourth report in two years on the entertainment industry’s marketing of violent and raunchy content to children. Rep. Joseph Pitts, R-Pa., Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and 15 other House members requested the update and asked that it be issued by June 30.

The agency touched off a nationwide debate in 2000 with a report accusing the movie, video game and music industries of targeting violent ads and adult-rated content to kids. Subsequent FTC reports have documented some progress by the movie and video game industries in cleaning up their practices, but little progress among record labels. A source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said this newest report would continue to single out the music industry for not doing enough to shelter kids from violent lyrics and images.

NAB says must-carry rules needed: The National Association of Broadcasters on Thursday assured the Federal Communications Commission that most of the Big 4 network affiliates in the top 100 markets will satisfy an agency request that they pass network digital feeds to viewers by year end. But the association complained that there are no digital must-carry rules to guarantee carriage of the signals on cable and no mandate requiring digital TV sets to include tuners, which allow for the signals to be received.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association responded: “Cable operators remain committed to carrying every broadcaster’s primary digital signal as soon as broadcasters return their analog spectrum to the federal government.”

Beauty pageants walk from CBS to NBC: NBC is replacing CBS as Donald Trump’s 50-50 partner in the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants and plans to capitalize on the beauties business by telecasting the pageants on newly acquired Telemundo as well as NBC.

Although last month’s Miss Universe broadcast was the most-watched since 1998, sources say CBS wanted out of the business after watching a general erosion in viewership for the pageants over the five years of its contract and had agreed in principle to sell its share back to the flamboyant Mr. Trump.

Neither network was commenting Friday, and there was no word about how much money was involved in either transaction.

The five-year NBC deal, said to have been put together by Brandon Burgess, executive VP for business development, reportedly includes merchandising opportunities through Shop NBC and a pre-pageant special on Telemundo, which has the Spanish-language rights within the United States and Puerto Rico. There also may be additional programming targeting Hispanic viewers.

NBC also is expected to do heavy promotion for the pageants, whose viewership had taken steep dives in recent years. Miss USA attracted 20 million viewers in 1993 and 7.6 million last March. Miss Teen USA was seen by 15.4 million people in 1998 and 4.8 million last summer. Miss Universe hit an all-time high of 13.1 million in 1997 but was down to 12.2 million in 1998 and 11.3 million last month.

P&G and Discovery deal done: Discovery Communications and Procter & Gamble have formalized a one-year cross-platform marketing partnership.

The deal, first described in Electronic Media (June 17), is understood to be worth approximately $50 million. It includes the Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, Animal Planet, the Travel Channel, Discovery Health, Discovery Kids, Discovery Home & Leisure and BBC America.

The deal will involve exposure for P&G’s beauty care, baby care, home and fabric care, food and beverage, health-care and prescription drug brands, which will be showcased on programs such as Discovery’s “Surprise by Design” and TLC’s “Trading Spaces.” P&G also will also be involved in Discovery HD Theater, the newly launched high-definition network.

The deal was put together by MediaVest, P&G’s media and broadcast agency of record, headed by CEO Donna Salvatore, and Discovery Solutions, DCI’s newly created integrated sales and marketing unit, overseen by Bill McGowan, executive vice president and general manager, U.S. ad sales and global integrated partnerships.

Dunne’s verdict is high ratings for Court TV: The premiere episode of Court TV’s “Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege and Justice,” the new series hosted by the well-known author/columnist, was the most-watched original program in the network’s history, garnering a 1.5 rating for its Wednesday debut, a 50 percent increase over the network’s previous average for the time period. The show’s debut rating was good enough for fifth place overall in households among ad-supported cable networks.