News Briefs: Yahoo Gussies Up Video Service

Jun 5, 2006  •  Post A Comment

In an effort to take advantage of the burgeoning video-sharing market, Yahoo unveiled its revamped online video service, Yahoo Video (video.yahoo.com) last Thursday. Yahoo Video will allow visitors to bookmark favorite videos, rate videos and post video files. Yahoo’s video service, despite rapid growth, has lagged far behind competitors such as YouTube and MSN Video, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. In April Nielsen data showed that YouTube garnered nearly five times the visitors that Yahoo Video Search, Yahoo Video’s predecessor, attracted. Video-sharing sites have seen a boom in popularity as a result of the significant increase in broadband users-28 percent from February 2005 to February 2006, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

Digital Health Channel Announced

I-Health, a digital channel dedicated to consumer health, is being launched by Ion Media Networks, the company formerly known as Paxson Communications. The channel will be distributed to consumers using Ion TV stations’ digital broadcast signals starting later this year, with a full rollout expected in 2007, the company said last week. The channel will focus on consumer preventative health care and education, with the goal of providing viewers with information on lifestyle, prevention, treatment and post-treatment.

FCC Gets in Gear With New Commissioner

Last week was a busy one at the Federal Communications Commission. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin circulated a proposal at the agency that would require cable TV operators to carry all of the programming streams from digital broadcast TV channels, FCC and industry officials said last Tuesday. In addition, the sources said, Mr. Martin has told his fellow commissioners that he plans to launch a separate proceeding soon to determine whether to further relax agency media ownership rules. The’ proposals signal that Mr. Martin, who has been stymied on key issues by an agency that has been deadlocked politically among the two Republican and two Democratic commissioners, plans to move more aggressively now that a third Republican commissioner, Robert McDowell-who was officially sworn in Thursday afternoon-is on board. Also last week, the FCC rejected CBS’s appeal of a $550,000 fine the agency assessed after holding that the network violated FCC indecency prohibitions during coverage of the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, when Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed. In a statement, the FCC said, “The commission affirms its finding that CBS’s violation was willful and declines to reduce the forfeiture imposed upon CBS.” The FCC’s rejection of CBS’s appeal clears the way for CBS to challenge the ruling in court. In a statement CBS said it has apologized to the American people many times for an incident the network said was inappropriate and unexpected. CBS also said it has taken steps to make certain such an incident will never happen again.

Q1 Ad Spending Up for Broadcast Networks

Ad spending on broadcast network TV rose 12.3 percent to $6.5 billion in the first quarter of 2006, boosted by the Winter Olympics on NBC, according to TNS Media Intelligence data. The fastest-growing medium in terms of ad spending was the Internet, which jumped 19.4 percent to $2.3 billion from a year ago. Also showing strong growth was Spanish-language media, up 14.2 percent to just over $1 billion. Other segments of the television business showed more modest growth, with syndication up 6.2 percent to $1 billion; spot TV up 6.4 percent to $3.9 billion; and cable TV up 2.2 percent to $3.6 billion. Overall, TNS said first-quarter advertising spending was up 5.2 percent to $34.9 billion, short of projections. “Spending within key category segments displayed more volatility than normal,” said Steve Fredericks, president and CEO of TNS, in a statement Wednesday.

Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau Re-Signs CEO

The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau has renewed the contract of CEO and President Sean Cunningham. Mr. Cunningham, who joined CAB in 2003, has focused the organization on research and meeting with advertisers and media buyers to persuade them to spend more money on cable television. “Sean’s efforts in revitalizing the CAB over the past three years have exceeded our expectations and we’re happy he will continue to steward the organization going forward,” Charles Thurston, chairman of the CAB’s board of directors and president of Comcast Spotlight, said in a statement Wednesday.