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Jul 21, 2003  •  Post A Comment

CBS Study Shows Older Audience Desired by Media Buyers

The adults 25 to 54 demographic – not adults 18 to 49 — is the age demographic that media buyers and planners target in their media plans, according to a study released today by CBS and MediaPost. The notion that all advertisers care about is the 18 to 49 demographic “is just plain wrong,” said David Poltrack, executive VP, research and planning at CBS.

Thirty percent of the 1,017 buyers and planners surveyed said that the 25 to 54 demo was the most important age segment to them in broadcast negotiations compared with 21 percent who responded that 18 to 49 was the most important. Eighteen percent of those responding said ages 35 to 64 were most important, while 17 percent chose 18 to 34.

The study also clearly showed that “age and sex alone are not the dominant criteria” that planners and buyers use to decide which shows to buy, Mr. Poltrack said, noting that income level and ad environment also play a big role in the decision-making process.

While the currency in the ad market is adults 18 to 49, Mr. Poltrack said the study shows that older audiences are actually more desired by media buyers. “Baby Boomers remain the most important target market,” he said. As the Baby Boomers have aged, so has the target demographic of buyers and planners, he said.

“Perception plays a very big part in this market,” Mr. Poltrack said, which is another reason why 18 to 49 gets all the attention. He urged TV critics today to consider the study’s information when they are deciding what numbers to report and which shows to write about in their own newspapers. CBS is the dominant network above the age of 35 and that should not be seen as a bad thing because advertisers do desire those audiences, Mr. Poltrack said.

The study was developed and conducted by InSight Express for CBS and MediaPost, which is the publisher of Media Daily News and Media Magazine. CBS did not pay for the study, Mr. Poltrack said, although they did pay for 10 DVD players to use as an incentive to encourage more people to respond to the 25-question survey.

Microsoft Announces IPG Trials: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced today that Time Warner Cable and Comcast will trial Microsoft TV’s new interactive programming guide. Mr. Ballmer made the announcement at the annual CTAM Summit after he took the industry to task for creating cumbersome IPGs.

“The basic experience is still clunky. It needs to be easy to use,” Mr. Ballmer said.

Comast will trial the software in Seattle, while Time Warner will conduct a trial in Beaumont, Texas.

The IPG software is Microsoft’s latest attempt to gain a foothold in the cable industry, a process Mr. Ballmer likened to “bashing our heads against the wall for years.” Microsoft’s previous efforts include ambitious investments in AT&T’s former cable systems and Comcast, but Mr. Ballmer indicated his company is now focused on providing software.

“Cable companies are fine companies, but I think we’ve learned that we don’t know what we don’t know,” he said.

Mr. Ballmer also claimed Microsoft has successfully allayed industry concerns about his company’s cable market ambitions. “People are starting to recognize that we’re willing to be reasonable and appropriate and flexible,” he said. “They don’t assess us in a mythical context, as aliens from another world, but as business partners.”

MSOs Join Movers Hotline: Nine major MSOs have agreed to participate in a new program that attempts to make transferring cable service easier while also preventing market erosion to digital broadcast satellite systems.

Announced today at the CTAM Summit in Seattle, the Cable Movers Hotline is a referral program where a cable customer calling to cancel service due to moving plans will be offered the option of speaking to a cable representative in the customer’s new area. Adelphia, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox and Time Warner are among the MSOs that have agreed to participate. Other cable companies are also expected to join the program.

The hotline is an effort to decrease the chance that customers will buy a DBS system when they move to new area, and to hasten the transfer of dedicated cable customers.

The project is funded by CableLabs and is jointly managed by CableLabs and CTAM. Hotline testing began in late 2002 and a phased launch began in early 2003. Full national rollout is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2004.

Primetime Engineering Emmys Announced: The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has announced the recipients of the 2003 Primetime Emmy Engineering Awards.

The winners are:

The Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award to Ray Dolby, founder and Chairman of Dolby Laboratories Inc. Since 1965, Dolby has been developing practical noise-reduction systems for improving sound quality in a variety of professional and consumer environments. The resulting innovations have made the name Dolby synonymous with quality audio throughout the world.

Panavision — Receiving a Philo T. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Emmy for its cumulative feats in the advancements of specialty camera items, cranes and dollies, video assists, 35mm optics, cameras, lighting, trucks and grips.

Softsun Lighting System (Lightning Strikes Inc.) — The largest single-bulb light sources in the world. They require no warmup time, are fully dimmable, provide extraordinarily accurate color rendering, carry no explosion hazard and are available in Flicker Free. Totally unique and one-of-a-kind, Softsun lamps are created using Lightning Strikes’ own proprietary processes and techniques.

Dedolight 400 Series Lighting System (Dedotech USA) — A precision spotlight system that features a clean beam with even distribution, a patented focus mechanism and super flood and super spot enhancements.

24P HDTV Post-Production System (Laser Pacific) — Laser Pacific created and implemented television’s first 24P HDTV post-production system in July 1999, a full year before the 24P HDTV services were available from any other entity. The technology and methods pioneered by LP have become the industry standard for HDTV prime-time production.

Engineering Plaque winner: NewTek’s LightWave 3D (NewTek Inc.) — The first general-purpose 3D program, in that it included all modeling, texturing, animation and rendering functions in a single package, at a single price.

The awards are overseen by Technology and Convergence Awards Committee Co-Chairs Cristy Trembly (engineering subcommittee) and Brian Seth Hurst (interactive subcommittee). Winners will receive either the Emmy statuette or the engineering plaque.

Recipients will receive the awards prior to the Primetime Creative Arts ceremony being held Sept. 13 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

ABC’s ‘Primetime’ Will Hit the Road: The Monday edition of ABC News’ “Primetime,” scheduled to debut Sept. 15, will start its run with a road trip during which the show will originate from and focus on life in Miami, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Nashville and New Orleans, as well as back home in New York.

Executive producing these “Primetime” installments will be Paul Mason, the 22-year veteran of ABC News who has been executive producer of weekend “World News Tonight” for three years. Mr. Mason also is scheduled to executive produce Elizabeth Vargas specials, election specials and other prime-time projects.

The subjects and executive producers of other “Primetime” installments are still to be announced.

EchoStar Inks Deal with Qwest Communications: EchoStar Communications on Monday inked its second telecommunications pact of the day, partnering with Qwest Communications International to bundle EchoStar’s Dish Network satellite service with Qwest’s telephone and high-speed data service.

The alliance will offer service beginning next month to Qwest customers in Colorado and Nebraska.

No financial terms were disclosed.

Earlier, EchoStar announced it is partnering with the nation’s No. 2 telephone company, SBC Communications, to combine its video service with SBC’s voice and data services as part of a bundling package called SBC Dish Network, which will
be offered to customers in 13 states starting next year.

The pact with EchoStar bolsters Denver-based Qwest’s burgeoning video service, which is offered through high-speed cable and telephone lines to 64,000 customers.

Both the Qwest and SBC deals are expected to help EchoStar build subscribers from its current level of 8.5 million, as its battle with rival DirecTV, which has 11.5 million subscribers, intensifies with the planned takeover of DirecTV by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

TV One to Launch in 2004: It’s official: Comcast Corporation and Radio One have signed the joint-venture agreement creating TV One, a new cable network targeting adult African American and urban viewers and scheduled to launch in January 2004.

The agreement adds four additional investors, who, along with Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, and Radio One, the largest radio broadcaster targeting African American and urban listeners, will invest $130 million in the new channel over the next four years.

The other four investors are Constellation Ventures, a Bear Stearns Asset Management Venture Capital Fund; Opportunity Capital Partners, a national private equity firm; Pacesetter Capital Group, a family of private equity funds dedicated to investing in minority- and women-owned companies; and Syndicated Communications, a provider of early stage growth capital to minority entrepreneurs and/or underserved market sectors.

TV One’s board will consist of Radio One President and CEO Alfred Liggins; Radio One Chairperson Catherine Hughes; Syncom Partner Terry Jones; Constellation Managing Director Dennis Miller; and Amy Banse, executive VP of Comcast’s programming investments division.

Modine to Star in ‘The Winning Season’: Matthew Modine (“Full Metal Jacket”) will star in “The Winning Season,” Turner Network Television’s next Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation.

Mr. Modine will play real-life baseball legend Honus Wagner in the story of a 12-year-old boy who travels back in time to the 1909 World Series.

The two-hour original film, produced by Rosemont Prods. in association with Magna Global Entertainment and Viacom Prods., is scheduled to debut in the spring. “Season” is the fourth TNT movie to air under the J&J banner.

Mark Award Winners: MTV, Showtime, Cox: MTV, Showtime and Cox received the highest numbers of Mark Awards at this year’s CTAM Summit conference.

The ceremony was held Sunday evening at Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. In programming categories, MTV tied with Showtime with four Gold Mark Awards each. Cox Communications led among cable operators, taking seven awards.

In addition to the traditional gold and silver winners, the new “Top of the Mark” award was presented for the top-scoring campaign of the year – MTV’s “Fight For Your Rights: Protect Yourself.”

SBC and EchoStar Form SBC Dish Net: Telecommunications giant SBC Communications on Monday made a $500 million investment in satellite operator EchoStar Communications, and at the same time inked a distribution deal in which the phone company will sell satellite services to its customers.

The pact is part of San Antonio-based SBC’s push to offer to its customers so-called bundled services of voice, Internet access and video, and comes as several of the large cable operators ramp up high-margin Internet and telephony services to offset the ballooning costs of video.

Called SBC Dish Network, plans call for SBC to market the direct broadcast satellite service of Littleton, Colo.-based EchoStar’s Dish Network to SBC’s voice and Internet service customers. EchoStar will continue to sell its service through its traditional retail outlets as well. SBC officials said they will immediately begin working to integrate operations with an eye toward introducing the co-branded service early next year.

In a separate but related transaction, SBC also agreed to purchase $500 million worth of EchoStar debt that will convert into 6.87 million EchoStar shares valued at $72.82 each beginning in July 2008.

The alliance comes at a good time for both EchoStar and SBC. With 8.5 million subscribers, the SBC deal will enable EchoStar to beef up its subscriber base in the face of rival DirecTV, which EchoStar tried but failed to acquire in 2001. Since then, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has agreed to take over DirecTV, combining it with Murdoch’s stable of satellite services throughout the world, which most analysts say will provide a big boost to DirecTV’s subscriber numbers, which already number 11.5 million.

Meanwhile, SBC, which provides telecommunications services to 13 states and serves 56 million phone lines, can offer video services as a way to retain customers who might otherwise flock to cable providers to provide bundled services.