News Briefs: Comcast Launches First VOD Upfront

Apr 24, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Cable giant Comcast, having already won the hearts of its subscribers with its video-on-demand service, turned its attention last Friday to wooing advertisers, launching the industry’s first upfront presentation devoted entirely to promoting the virtues of VOD. The pitch, made in New York at the Museum of Television & Radio, sought to highlight how broad subscriber usage of Comcast’s VOD product represented an opportunity for advertisers and showcased the type of VOD shows that are available to advertisers. Other companies indicated earlier this year they intend to hold VOD upfronts. Executives from three networks that distribute their programming exclusively via VOD-Anime Network, RipeTV and Music Choice-said in February they are working on initiatives to fashion a marketplace for VOD ad buying and selling this year (TelevisionWeek, Feb. 6).

NAB Taps Wiley as Executive VP

The National Association of Broadcasters has hired Douglas Wiley as executive VP of government relations effective May 15. Mr. Wiley, who is currently senior VP of government relations for the Electronic Industries Alliance, was previously an aide to former House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Tom Bliley, R-Va. Mr. Wiley, who is the son of influential D.C.-based media lawyer and former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Dick Wiley, succeeds John Orlando at NAB. Mr. Orlando left NAB recently to become a lobbyist for CBS Corp.

The CW, MyNetworkTV Add Affiliates

Three Clear Channel-owned stations and four LIN TV owned-or-operated stations have signed on as affiliates of The CW, raising its clearances to more than 83 percent of the country. The newly signed Clear Channel stations are WKRC-DT, the digital station of Clear Channel’s CBS affiliate in Cincinnati (the 34th largest market in the country); UPN affiliate KUWB-TV in Salt Lake City (market No. 36); and WB affiliate KASN-TV in Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark. (57). The newly signed LIN stations are: UPN affiliates WWHO-TV in Columbus, Ohio (32) and WNLO-TV in Buffalo, N.Y. (49); and WB affiliates KNVA-TV (operated by LIN) in Austin, Texas (53) and WBPG-TV in Mobile, Ala.-Pensacola. Fla. (62). In addition, four digital stations owned by Pappas Telecasting Cos. are among the newly signed affiliates Fox’s MyNetworkTV announced last week. The deals boost clearance for MyNetworkTV to stations in 105 markets representing 65 percent of the country. The Pappas-owned affiliates include KDMI-DT in Des Moines, Iowa (market No. 73); and the digital channels from Fox affiliate KPTM-TV in Omaha, Neb. (75); CBS affiliate KDBC-TV in El Paso, Texas (99); and Fox affiliate KPTH-TV in Sioux City, Iowa (143). KPTM-DT’s signal will be simulcast by low-power station KKAZ. Both networks launch in September.

Fox Elevates Brian Lewis

Brian Lewis has been promoted to executive VP of corporate communications for Fox Television Stations, which includes Twentieth Television and MyNetworkTV-the new network that will launch Sept. 5-as well as for Fox News. Mr. Lewis will report to Roger Ailes, chairman of Fox Television Stations and chairman and CEO of Fox News, for whom Mr. Lewis also will serve as a senior advisor. Media Relations VP Irena Briganti will be responsible for day-to-day communications operations for Fox News under the new structure. Mr. Lewis had been senior VP of corporate communications for Fox News since 2000.

Analyst: Political TV Spending Will Top $1 Bil in 2006

Political spending on TV will top $1 billion in 2006 and might top the record set in 2004, predicted Evan Tracey, chief operating officer of the campaign media analysis group at TNS Media Intelligence. Speaking at the Television Bureau of Advertising’s annual marketing conference in New York on Thursday, Mr. Tracey said that half of the gubernatorial races, 40 percent of Senate races and 50 to 60 House races are considered to be in play. Those races could drive political spending above the $1.7 billion mark set in 2004. In the first quarter of this year $160 million was spent on political ads, mostly issue ads, Mr. Tracey said. Early primaries in Texas, New York, California, Illinois, Tennessee, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island generated $57 million in spending.