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Jun 12, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Time Warner Moves YES Off Standard Tier

Time Warner Cable will begin offering the YES Network, the New York Yankees’ cable network, as an a la carte option for New York City and suburban Bergen County, N.J., subscribers beginning July 29.

That means TWC will move YES off its standard tier, where it has been, and the fee for the standard tier will be reduced by $1 a month. TWC customers will now have the option to add YES to their service for $1 per month.

TWC offered YES last season, even while it was blacked out by nearby Cablevision in a dispute over whether YES would be carried on a standard or premium tier. Cablevision is the largest multiple system operator in the New York tri-state area.

Time Warner Cable also carries YES in its upstate New York divisions, which include Albany, Binghamton, Rochester and Syracuse, and in its Liberty division, which includes systems located in Dutchess, Sullivan, Ulster and Orange counties, along with parts of Greene and Delaware counties in the Catskills region. Rates will not change in those systems and YES will continue to be bundled as part of the standard tier of service.

“We believe that most regional sports networks should be offered on an a la carte basis or as part of a dedicated sports tier,” Tom Baxter, president of Time Warner Cable, said in a statement. “This is only fair to the non-fan and ensures the sports fan the opportunity to watch all of the games he or she chooses.”

Time Warner Cable’s standard tier offers about 75 channels, including the basic program lineup that all cable customers receive.

TV, Radio Advertising Increases Percentage of Market: The overall television and radio sector of the U.S advertising market increased 2.8 percent to $14.7 billion in the first quarter of 2003, compared with the same quarter last year, while the U.S. ad market as a whole increased 4.9 percent to $28.4 billion in the same period, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Once again, Spanish-language television led with the greatest percentage increase over the same period a year ago (19.5 percent). Cable television had the second-greatest percentage increase (18 percent).

TNS/CMR’s first-quarter ad-spend totals for TV and radio follow:

AD SPENDING BY MEDIA: Q1 2003 vs. 2002

TV News Pioneer David Brinkley Dies: David Brinkley, the acerbic and witty journalist who put his stamp on NBC as half of “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” and who changed the Sunday morning scene with “This Week” on ABC, died Wednesday night at his home in Houston. He was 82 and had been suffering complications ever since a fall last year, according to a spokesperson at ABC News, from which Mr. Brinkley retired in 1997.

Over the course of his career of more than 50 years, Mr. Brinkley won 10 Emmys, three Peabody Awards and, in 1992, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for a civilian.

The politically astute Mr. Brinkley had covered every presidential nominating convention and election from 1956 through 1996, when he was caught on-camera describing then-President Clinton as “boring.”

That same year, he published his third book, “Everyone is Entitled to My Opinion.”

News of his death touched former colleagues at both of his former networks.

ABC News President David Westin said, in notifying his staff: “We know that he set a shining example for everyone in broadcast journalism. ABC News has a richer heritage because of his many contributions to the network. I will miss his grace, elegance, wit, and above all, his tireless devotion to world-class journalism. We mourn his loss and honor a legacy that will always be a part of ABC News.”

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw, one of those who would follow in Mr. Brinkley’s footsteps, released a statement calling Mr. Brinkley “an icon of modern broadcast journalism, a brilliant writer who could say in a few words what the country needed to hear during times of crisis, tragedy and triumph. He was also great personal company, charming, witty and mischievous. He was my hero as well as my friend.”

“ABC World News Tonight” anchor Peter Jennings remembered his first stint anchoring a political convention with Mr. Brinkley as “terrifying. I had been away for 20 years and I did not know nearly as much as I wanted to know for the conventions in 1984. But he was a luxury as a partner because he never wished to dominate, he was extraordinarily generous. We could turn back from looking at something on the convention floor and David would instantly and instinctively give it historical context that was just the best.”

NBC News President Neal Shapiro called him “a true master of broadcast journalism with an unparalleled understanding of this new medium. When he teamed up with Chet Huntley for the 1956 political conventions, America saw something brand new: reporting that brought personality and intimacy to the screen and at the same time was of impeccable accuracy and authority. Over the next 14 years, his nightly exchange with Chet would become words of reassurance and comfort to millions.”

Mr. Brinkley and Mr. Huntley teamed up in 1956 on NBC with “The Huntley-Brinkley Report.” After its run ended, he was wooed to ABC News to launch “This Week With David Brinkley,” a format that would shake up the traditional Sunday morning newsmaker circuit in Washington.

A native of Wilmington, N.C., Mr. Brinkley started his journalism career on the print side, writing for his hometown newspaper before he graduated from high school and for United Press after his World War II service.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, three sons and a daughter.

A private funeral is planned. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations to the Wilmington, N.C., Public Library or the Wilmington Historical Foundation.

NBC Wins Wednesday: NBC and ABC were neck in neck for the night last night in adults 18 to 49, with NBC scoring a 3.6/11 and ABC a 3.5/11, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. The two networks could switch places after final national data is available later this afternoon, giving more accurate counts for the number of NBA Finals viewers.

NBC’s “Fame” continued to drop in the ratings, pulling a 2.8/9 in adults 18 to 49 for the 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. hour. It finished second to repeats of Fox’s “That ’70s Show” and “The Simpsons.” “Law & Order” repeats from 9 p.m.-to-11 p.m., which topped their half-hours, drove the NBC win.

For the night, NBC was first in adults 18 to 49 with a 3.6/11, followed by ABC (3.5/11), Fox (3.2/10) and CBS (2.6/8). In total viewers, NBC finished the night first with 10.2 million, followed by CBS (9.5 million), ABC (8.3 million) and Fox (6.5 million).

O’Brien moves to ‘American Morning’: “Weekend Today” co-anchor Soledad O’Brien made two weeks of rumors come true today when she announced she is leaving NBC News in July to join Bill Hemmer as co-anchor on “American Morning,” “I’ve done ‘Weekend Today’ four years. I kind of did and accomplished everything I set out to do. It’s time to move on,” she said.

“CNN is sort of journalism with a capital J. I am at the stage where I want opportunities,” said Ms. O’Brien, who is expected to get big raise from her NBC salary, which insiders peg at $300,000 to $400,000, but probably a third less than the $1million that has been rumored.

In order to get those opportunities and salary, she’s willing to work more hours for fewer eyeballs. “Weekend Today” racked up an average 5.1 million viewers on first-quarter Saturdays and 4.6 million viewers on first-quarter Sundays. “American Morning,” which will put her on air 15 hours per week, averaged 539,000 viewers in May.

Ms. O’Brien started as an associate producer and news writer at WBZ-TV in Boston and spent three years reporting at then-NBC affiliate KRON-TV in San Francisco before joining NBC News in 1991 as a New York-based field producer for “NBC Nightly News” and “Today.” She went back on air in 1996 as anchor of MSNBC’s “The Site” and “Morning Blend.”

She is expected to sign off at NBC June 29. Her departure will leave two holes to fill: hers and that left by the death in Iraq of David Bloom.

“We appreci
ate all of Soledad’s contributions to NBC News,” said NBC News President Neal Shapiro. “This is a great opportunity for her and we wish her all the best.”