News Briefs: CBS Optimistic Carriers Will Pony Up for Signal

Jan 15, 2007  •  Post A Comment

CEO Les Moonves is hopeful that CBS’s long quest to get paid by the cable operators that carry CBS stations will soon succeed. Speaking at an investor conference last Wednesday, Mr. Moonves said retransmission consent money could bring “hundreds of millions of dollars” by 2009. He said the network is in talks with three smaller operators and that at this point, “It’s inevitable we’re going to get paid.” Verizon has already agreed to pay in a deal that would bring in about $10 million annually and additional deals with smaller operators could bring in $5 million a year. After that, he hopes the bigger operators will fall in line. “It will materially affect our numbers beginning in 2009,” he said, but he added that there will be incremental revenue in 2007.

-Jon Lafayette

Dolan Family Ups Its Offer for Cablevision

The Dolan family, which founded Cablevision Systems, raised its offer to take the company private to $30 a share from the $27 a share it originally bid in October. Cablevision stock fell 73 cents to $28.87 Friday morning after the new offer was announced as some analysts and investors questioned whether the price was high enough. In a letter to a special committee set up by the Cablevision board of directors to evaluate the offer, the Dolans, led by company Chairman Charles F. Dolan and CEO James l. Dolan, called the new proposal their “best and final offer” and in order to expedite a decision, said the offer would expire at the close of business on Jan. 17. Cablevision had no comment on the new offer.

-Jon Lafayette

`Woodruff Reports’ Gets Pushed Up

“To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports” has been scheduled for 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, on ABC. Originally meant to air in the spring, the special was moved up to the penultimate night of the February sweeps ratings period because Mr. Woodruff continues to recover more quickly than expected from a head injury and other injuries he received from a bomb explosion while on assignment in Baghdad in January 2006. “To Iraq and Back” is the story of Mr. Woodruff’s injury and rehabilitation and the people who have played a part along the way.

– Michele Greppi

FCC Agrees to Complete Localism Study

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin said that a long-overdue study about the impact of local media ownership will be completed before any new rules will be offered. Mr. Martin unveiled the promise in a letter to Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., which Mr. Dorgan released last week. The localism study was initiated by former FCC Chairman Michael J. Powell in 2003 but never finished. “The commission will not conclude its review of the media ownership rules until it has completed the localism inquiry and issued its localism report,” Mr. Martin wrote. Senators and some consumer groups had contended that the issues being examined-whether locally owned TV and radio stations provided better service than stations owned by outsiders-are “critical” to evaluating any media ownership changes the FCC might propose.

-Ira Teinowitz

Nielsen Close to Unveiling Ad Tracking Plans

Nielsen Media Research is expected to announce new details of its plans to create ratings for the TV commercials in shows, including those seen by viewers using digital video recorders. In addition to releasing average commercial ratings data for “live” viewing, the ratings company is expected to distribute data showing live plus one day of DVR use, live plus two days of DVR use and live plus three days of DVR use. Network executives estimate that more than 80 percent of delayed viewing occurs in those first three days.

-Jon Lafayette

NATAS to Honor More Broadband Content

Creators of broadband content can compete for more Broadband Emmy Awards and may use the Web to submit entries to the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Entries should be sent to www.myemmy.tv during the appropriate window. The dates can be found on the NATAS Web site, www.emmyonline.tv. Starting Feb. 1, those who have profiles on MySpace.com, NATAS’ exclusive partner in the project, can pick up a prejudging audience by downloading their original videos to their personal space and then sending the URL to the Emmy page at myspace.com/MyEmmy. After putting a toe into the new-media waters last year by awarding four new-media Emmys, NATAS this year will recognize winners in 12 categories.

-Michele Greppi