News Briefs: New Nielsen System Will Measure All Viewing

Jun 19, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Adapting to rapidly changing times, Nielsen Media Research said last week it is developing a system that will measure when TV shows are watched on the Internet, outside the home and on mobile devices, in addition to traditional at-home viewing. The ratings service plans to go to an all-electronic measurement system, eliminating its familiar paper ratings diaries in even the smallest television markets by 2011. Nielsen calls its initiative Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement, or A2/M2. Nielsen’s plan includes having Nielsen//NetRatings track digital audio and video delivered via the Internet. Online television measurement will be added in People Meter homes next year and “fused” data, combining viewing results from TV and Internet panels, will be provided.

-Jon Lafayette

Rather to Exit CBS News Before Contract Ends

Former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather said last week he expects to leave the CBS News operation to consider other opportunities before his contract expires in November. “Finishing details are being worked out for me to leave CBS News after 44 years,” Mr. Rather said in a Thursday interview with TelevisionWeek. The situation will be resolved sooner rather than later, he said. Mr. Rather said he has “opportunities I can’t discuss today” to consider. A CBS News spokeswoman declined to comment.

-Michele Greppi

Bush Signs Broadcast Indecency Legislation

President Bush last week signed into law legislation raising tenfold fines for broadcast indecency and urged broadcasters to take more care with regard to content. “Parents are the first line of defense. But broadcasters and the electronics industry must play a valuable role in protecting our children from obscene and indecent programming,” Mr. Bush said during a White House ceremony. The legislation Mr. Bush signed increases the maximum indecency fine the Federal Communications Commission can impose on a station to $325,000, up from $32,500, with a $3 million maximum for an incident seen on multiple stations.

-Ira Teinowitz

FCC Sets Must-Carry Vote for June 21

The Federal Communications Commission has ordered a June 21 vote on whether to order cable companies to carry broadcasters’ multicast transmissions. Cable companies are currently required to carry a broadcaster’s primary signal. But as broadcasters make the transition to digital, compression technology will allow their signal to include several new original channels. Multiple system operators such as Comcast have long opposed any mandate to carry additional broadcast channels. The upcoming vote will mark the third time the agency has considered a multicast mandate.

-James Hibberd

NAACP Cites Lack of Black Sitcom Stars

The absence of African Americans from starring roles in upcoming sitcoms on the four major broadcast networks prompted the NAACP to tell television executives that efforts to diversify the industry appear to be slipping. “The lack of African American leads in sitcoms is unconscionable,” Bruce Gordon, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Monday in a statement. Mr. Gordon said he is scheduling meetings with network executives to discuss the situation. Black actors do have significant roles in network drama series. Fox’s cancellation of “The Bernie Mac Show” means there is not a comedy with an African American lead character on the four major broadcast networks.

-Christopher Lisotta

MyNetworkTV Up to 149 Markets

MyNetworkTV last Thursday boosted its clearance to 149 markets representing 85 percent of the TV homes in the U.S. with the announcement of 10 new affiliates. Among the new stations are: KTFO-TV, Clear Channel’s UPN affiliate in Tulsa, Okla. (the 61st-largest TV market in the country); WNFM-TV, Comcast’s cable-only UPN affiliate in Fort Myers-Naples, Fla. (66); KSCC-TV, Mercury Broadcasting’s UPN affiliate in Wichita, Kan. (67); and XHRIO-TV, Entravision Communications’ secondary Fox affiliate in Harlingen-McAllen-Brownsville, Texas (92).

-Michele Greppi