Cable Briefs

Aug 25, 2003  •  Post A Comment

There were broad smiles at CNN after data from Nielsen Media Research for the evening of Aug. 14. indicated CNN’s blackout coverage beat Fox News Channel’s by an average of 547,000 viewers in prime time. It was second-place CNN’s first win over Fox during a major story since the space shuttle Columbia tragedy Feb. 1. Led by “Larry King Live,” which attracted an average of 2.6 million viewers, CNN averaged 2.409 million viewers during prime time, followed by Fox News (1.862 million viewers) and MSNBC (980,000 viewers). There were severe viewership handicaps in as much as 18 percent of the country’s TV homes during the blackout. The Nielsen data, when averaged, shows CNN’s dominance extended from the first reports of power outages through the middle of the night. What was a close race until early evening may have taken a decided turn when Fox lost power briefly during “The O’Reilly Factor” and had to drop in a pre-taped, nonblackout report. CNN’s average from 4:15 p.m. through 2 a.m. on blackout night was 1.735 million viewers, followed by Fox News (with 1.659 million viewers) and MSNBC (750,000 viewers). CNN also dominated in the target news demographic of 25- to 54-year-olds Thursday night, averaging 1.011 million viewers in the demo during prime time, followed by Fox News (588,000 viewers in the demo) and MSNBC (339,000 viewers in the demo).
Rating Agencies Split Over Outlook
Credit rating agencies Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s last week had opposing views of the health of Paul Allen’s Charter Communications. S&P on Tuesday upgraded its debt ratings on Charter to CCC-plus from CC after the cable operator terminated some tender offers. Meanwhile, Moody’s lowered its outlook on Paul Allen’s Charter Communications to negative after the cable operator late last week withdrew its planned $1.7 billion debt offering, citing weakness in the bond market.
Insight Intros HDNet Movies
Cable operator Insight Communications expanded its high-definition service with the introduction of HDNet and HDNet Movies. The networks are currently available in Insight systems with HDTV service, known as HDTV Pak, in Louisville, Ky.; Evansville, Ind.; and Peoria, Ill. Insight will roll out the networks in its other markets with HD service, including Champaign-Urbana, Ill.; Galesburg and Bloomington-Normal, Ill.; Springfield, Lincoln and Decatur, Ill.; Anderson-Noblesville, Ind.; Bloomington, Ind.; Lafayette-Kokomo, Ind.; Covington, Ky.; Lexington, Ky.; and Columbus, Ohio. The Insight HD Pak costs $7.95.
Comcast, HBO Ink VOD Agreement
Comcast and HBO on Wednesday announced they have signed an agreement that extends their carriage deal for HBO and Cinemax, including HBO’s subscription video-on-demand service and the channels’ high-definition feeds.They said the contract will make available HBO on Demand and Cinemax on Demand in Comcast service areas where the service can be made available. The high-definition versions of HBO and Cinemax are currently available in 20 market.