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FOX-Cablevision Spat Escalating Into a Media Cage Match PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 22 October 2010 14:21

BlackoutAfter 8 days, Cablevision subscribers in several markets have been without FOX channels, trapped in a brutal battle on carriage terms. At 3 million subscribers, they have missed the NLCS, and National Football League games with the NY Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

The affected channels and markets are FOX 5 (WNYW) in New York and FOX 29 (WTXF) in Philadelphia. Also impacted is My9 (WWOR) in New York (a MyNetworkTV affiliate licensed to Secaucus, NJ) who is also blacked out, but it does not affect MLB or NFL coverage.

The war, which pits carriage fees for FOX on Cablevision, has turned into a media cage match, of sorts. Of course, the customers are the ones that are losing out as two behemoths throw verbal barbs that have been at, or near, juvenile levels.

Today, FOX amped up the rhetoric further, using next week’s World Series as a weapon. Currently, FOX is airing the NLCS while TBS has carried the ALCS. FOX will carry the World Series, and thusly, impacts the continued battle between FOX and Cablevision. FOX is now at the stage of telling Cablevision subs to jump ship.

“Unfortunately, it’s becoming clear that Cablevision believes FOX has very limited value to their customers,” FOX said in a statement this morning.  “We urge those Cablevision subscribers who want to see the World Series (beginning October 27) to switch providers or purchase an over the air antenna now.”

Cablevision has continued to stick to the point that a third party is needed to resolve the issue.

“We welcome the FCC’s intervention,” said Charles Schueler, Cablevision’s executive vice president of communications.: “Whether through FCC action, binding arbitration or any other means, the time has come for News Corp to end the Fox blackout of 3 million Cablevision households.”

The Games 6 (and Game 7, if necessary) of  NLCS between the Giants and Phillies continues tomorrow in Philadelphia. As of now, it appears Cablevision subs in the blacked markets are nearly assured of missing out on Game 6 of the NLCS at this stage. The Giants are one win away from clinching a trip the World Series.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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MLB Postseason TV Ratings Update: Game 5 of ALCS Pulls in 6.1M Viewers PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 21 October 2010 14:28

2010 MLB Postseason on FOX and TBS

Whether it was to see whether baseball's highest payrolled team would be eliminated by MLB's 27th ranked Opening Day payroll, or just to see great baseball, ratings continue to be robust for the 2010 Major League Baseball postseason.

TBS’ coverage of Game 5 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS), featuring the Texas Rangers at the New York Yankees, delivered a 4.1 U.S. household rating and 6.1 million viewers. TBS’ coverage of the 2010 LCS and its overall coverage of the MLB postseason are both showing solid growth compared to last year’s playoff coverage.

Through five games, three of which were in primetime, TBS’ coverage of the 2010 LCS is up double-digit percentages over the network’s LCS coverage from last year. TBS is averaging a 4.8 U.S. HH Rating and more then 7.6 million total viewers, which represents the best LCS viewership ever on the network through five games.

· U.S. HH Rating: +26% (4.8 vs. 3.8)

  • Total Viewers: +26% (7,626,000 vs. 6,064,000)
  • A18-34: +21% (1,454,000 vs. 1,198,000)
  • A18-49: +23% (3,155,000 vs. 2,573,000)
  • A25-54: +29% (3,382,000 vs. 2,613,000)
  • M18-34: +31% (1,029,000 vs. 786,000)
  • M18-49: +32% (2,231,000 vs. 1,684,000)
  • M25-54: +40% (2,380,000 vs. 1,697,000)

Overall, TBS’ coverage of the 2010 Major League Baseball playoffs is showing solid growth compared to the network’s 2009 postseason coverage:

  • U.S. HH Rating: +3% (3.4 vs. 3.3)
  • Total Viewers: +4% (5,337,000 vs. 5,146,000)

 

TBS’ coverage of Game #5 of the Texas Rangers at New York Yankees at delivered a 12.9 rating in the New York market and an 18.4 rating in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

The MLB Postseason continues on TBS Friday night beginning at 7:30 p.m. (ET) with TBS MLB on Deck presented by Jeep, followed by Game 6 of Yankees/Rangers at 8 p.m. (ET) where the Yankees, yet again, could face eliminiation. Inside MLB presented by Captain Morgan will conclude TBS’s coverage, following the completion of the game.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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When Will the FOX-Cablevision War End? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 21 October 2010 07:54
FIX-Cablevision Carriage Dispute
How long will this last?

Five full days into FOX blacking out content on several channels on Cablevision, and no end in sight over a carriage dispute, FOX has begun getting nasty after calls for binding arbitration have become more prominent.

Madison Square Garden Network (MSG), which is owned by Cablevision, jumped into the PR fray on Weds. saying in a statement, "We are perfectly willing to go to binding arbitration to resolve this dispute with Dish Network.”

Charles Schueler, Cablevision's executive vice president of communications, ramped up the rhetoric on Weds. as well adding, "Both parties have a position, but only Cablevision has joined with more than 50 government leaders with a solution, binding arbitration under the direction of a neutral third party.  By now it should be clear even to News Corp. that binding arbitration is the fastest and fairest way to return Fox programming to our customers."

With both holdings calling for binding arbitration, FOX played the “hypocritical” card.

“This is the first time MSG has ever suggested being open to binding arbitration with DISH Network or anyone else,” FOX said in a statement. “This position is totally inconsistent with their own filings to the FCC and inconsistent with their own actions in denying hundreds of thousands of viewers access to Knicks, Rangers, Nets and Devils games.” The News Corp broadcast company went on to say, “It is stunning to see how the Cablevision family will flip flop on any issue to achieve their transparent goal of making their own subscribers suffer long enough to force politicians to intervene.”

In a separate statement FOX sent a lengthy commentary/statement reading:

For several months, Fox has worked to reach an agreement with Cablevision based on the same fair terms already accepted by other providers in the market. Cablevision has refused to reach a deal.

Now that the deadline has passed and its subscribers are paying the price for Cablevision’s failure, the cable company is demanding government intervention. Specifically, they are calling for the FCC and politicians to step in and replace business-to-business negotiations with an arbitration process, while at the same time forcing Fox to allow Cablevision to carry our channels free-of-charge (a so-called “standstill”).

Not only is this demand totally without merit, it is also the height of hypocrisy since just three weeks ago the Cablevision family submitted a filing with the FCC arguing against using arbitration or stand stills to resolve disputes!

The filing was submitted as part of the Cablevision family’s ongoing dispute with DISH Network regarding the MSG and MSG Plus channels.  In that circumstance, Cablevision is very much against any sort of government intervention.  The fact that hundreds of thousands of NY-area viewers have lost access to games of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils does not seem to trouble them when they’re on the other side of the table.

In the filing, the Cablevision family argues that:

“The Commission may not compel MSG to involuntarily continue providing its programming to DISH without contravening the First Amendment.”

"The public will not be well served by a precedent under which (distributors) need not negotiate in good faith, but can deliberately delay negotiations up to the brink of a programming pressure point, put forward a bad faith proposal and then rely on the FCC to provide a one-sided standstill remedy that allows the distributor to jettison key consideration for the right to carry that service.”

The startling hypocrisy of Cablevision’s position – demanding one set of rules for itself, the exact opposite set of rules for Fox - proves that it will say and do anything to protect its profits.

It is no accident that the Cablevision family is involved in more disputes than any company in the industry. In just the past 12 months, that has included: a dispute with AT&T in Los Angeles that led to the threatened loss of the AMC channel at the start of the Mad Men season; the loss of ABC7 in New York, including the opening of the Oscars Ceremony; the loss of Scripps Networks programming, including HGTV and Food Channel; the blocking of MSG HD and MSG Plus HD on Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse and DISH; denying all their distribution competitors access to News 12 on Long Island; and now the loss of Fox5 and My9. And of course, New York area viewers still remember the year-long dispute that led to the loss of a full season of Yankees games.

Cablevision is also denying non-Cablevision homes access to important and time-sensitive political news.  As recently as yesterday, they denied other distributors the right to carry coverage of the New York gubernatorial debate held at Hofstra University on Long Island .

The fact is Cablevision does not operate, as other companies do, with their customers’ best interests as their top priority. Instead, they repeatedly look for fights that cause enormous collateral damage. Unfortunately, this damage is directly affecting millions of subscribers who with each passing day are missing some of the best sports, entertainment and news programming available

After 5 days, there seems to be no end in sight. More details as they surface.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Latest Numbers for MLB Postseason Show Total Viewership Up Over 12% From 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 20 October 2010 19:30

2010 MLB Postseason on FOX and TBS

Ratings for MLB continue to be strong. While Weds. night's ratings won't be out until late Thurs. afternoon, the 2010 MLB Postseason continues to deliver strong TV viewership for TBS and FOX.
Last night’s ALCS Game 4 on TBS was the second-most watched MLB Postseason game ever on cable, with 9.9 million viewers (only Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS on TBS was higher). The game registered 2010 Postseason highs for local ratings in both Dallas (26.5) and New York (17.1).
Through five days (seven games), combined LCS coverage on TBS and FOX is averaging 7.7 million viewers, the best average at this stage in the four years since FOX and TBS began sharing the League Championship Series coverage, up +12% over comparable coverage for the 2009 LCS, which featured the Yankees vs. Angels on FOX and the Phillies vs. Dodgers on TBS and averaged 6.9 million viewers over the first five days (seven games).


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Game 3 of ALCS Delivers a 5.2 US Rating and 8.2 Million Total Viewers PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 19 October 2010 14:03

Pitching is dominating, not only on the diamond this postseason, but also for the interest of fans.

TBS scored solid ratings for Game 3 of the ALCS between the Texas Rangers abd New York Yankees from Yankee Stadium last night earning a 5.2 U.S. Rating and over 8.2 million total viewers. The game saw Cliff Lee have a stellar performance, stricking out 13 in an 8-0 rout of the Yankees. The win puts the Rangers up 2-1 entering tonight's game. To date, TBS’s coverage of the ALCS is up significantly over the network’s NLCS (Dodgers/Phillies) coverage from last year, delivering a. 4.5 U.S. Rating (+29%) and 5,262,000 million total viewers (+33%).

Through three games of the ALCS, TBS is delivering double digit growth in all key demos vs. the network’s coverage of the 2009 NLCS, including:

  • US HH Ratings – +29% (4.5 vs. 3.5 US Rating)
  • Total Viewers – +33% (7,347,000 vs. 5,543,000)
  • A18-34: +26% (1,385,000 vs. 1,100,000)
  • A18-49: +30% (3,053,000 vs. 2,357,000)
  • A25-54: +40% (3,318,000 vs. 2,378,000
  • M18-34: +32% (966,000 vs. 733,000)
  • M18-49: +38% (2,147,000 vs. 1,555,000)
  • M25-54: +50% (2,328,000 vs. 1,550,000)

At the local level Game 3 of the ALCS delivered a 14.5 rating in the New York market and a 22.1 rating in the Dallas Fort-Worth market.

Source: Based on Nielsen Media Research Live + Same Day data stream. Fast National data (10-16-2010 to 10-18-10) compared to 2009 NLCS 5 game average on TBS (10-15-09 to 10-18-09). Local metered market ratings based on Arianna data (10-18-10).


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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NESN Announces Partnership With WEEI PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Tetreault   
Tuesday, 19 October 2010 08:54

NESN, New England’s most watched sports network, and WEEI Sports Radio, New England’s top rated sports radio station, announced today that they have entered into a programming partnership to simulcast The Dennis and Callahan Show on weekday mornings live from 6 am to 9 am. Beginning November 16, 2010, The Dennis and Callahan Show will be available on NESN in New England and across the country on NESN National.

"This programming partnership brings together the two most popular sports media companies in New England in a way that we think complements the strengths of each organization," said Sean McGrail, NESN’s President and CEO. "We have worked closely with WEEI for several years to produce the annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. We now look forward to working with WEEI on a daily basis to bring The Dennis and Callahan Show to our television audience."

"We're excited because this is the next logical step in our progression as a powerful brand, giving us the ability to provide our great content far and wide," said Julie Kahn, Entercom New England’s Vice President, New England Market Manager. "We’ve built an unprecedented regional radio network, we stream our radio content worldwide via the web, we have original web content, mobile streaming…and now we will be available regionally and nationally on TV Nobody in our business offers what we do the way we do…and this NESN partnership impressively expands on that."

NESN will install four remotely controlled HD cameras in WEEI’s studio in Brighton, MA and fiber the feeds back to the NESN HD Television Center in Watertown, MA where NESN will direct the four feeds and add graphics. In addition to the live simulcast every weekday morning, NESN will also replay The Dennis and Callahan Show in primetime on NESN National. A one-hour "Best of Dennis & Callahan" is also planned for late night. The partnership also includes regular appearances by WEEI personalities on NESN’s Red Sox pre-game shows and other sports programs.

"Dennis and Callahan have achieved tremendous success in morning drive on WEEI, and this new partnership with NESN provides the perfect opportunity to expand their footprint across the region. NESN is the ideal partner for us given the incredible power of its reach across New England, and the combination of our two networks will make this new project an instant hit." said Jason Wolfe, Entercom New England’s Vice President of AM Programming.

"This is a natural fit for NESN. Dennis & Callahan is the 'go-to' show in the morning for sports and entertainment," said Joel Feld, NESN Executive Vice President, Programming and Executive Producer. "Passionate hosts, loyal fans and no holds-barred discussion. NESN viewers get that with our Red Sox, Bruins and other sports and lifestyle programming so this is a logical way to enhance how we entertain our audience."

Dennis and Callahan were paired together on WEEI in October of 1997 from 10 am to noon and after immense success, were shifted to morning drive in September of 1999 where they’ve been ever since. The show made an immediate impact in the market and has consistently been the #1 rated morning show in Boston.

The move provides NESN with morning program that is differentiated from the looped morning highlights show that directly competed for viewers with ESPNNEWS. Simulcasts have been employed by other cable networks, notably MSNBC who simulcasted "Imus in the Morning" as a morning show while it was broadcast on WFAN-AM out of New York.  YES has simulcasted WFAN's "Mike and the Mad Dog" program and its successor show "Mike'd Up" in the afternoon drivetime slot.

Source: NESN


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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As FOX Blackout on Cablevision Drags on Congressmen Seek FCC Involvement PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 18 October 2010 16:17
FIX-Cablevision Carriage Dispute
How long will Cablevision subs see this on
FOX channels? The FCC may have a say.

Representatives from FOX and Cablevision met shortly today, but as was the case on Saturday and Sunday FOX channels remained blacked out for the cable operator. With the negotiations getting no where, politicians have jumped into the fray.

New Jersey Democratic Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez jointly filed the following FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski urging immediate FCC action to resolve the dispute:

Dear Chairman Genachowski:

News Corp. (FOX) and Cablevision recently failed to reach an agreement for the retransmission of WNYW (NY channel 5), WWOR (NJ channel 9) and WTXF (Philadelphia channel 29).  Because FOX has been unwilling to keep its signal on while the parties continue to negotiate, approximately 3 million Cablevision subscribers in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are left without access to these broadcast channels, and the local news, sports, and other programming they offer.  We ask that the FCC take immediate action to move the parties to a prompt resolution of this dispute and to minimize the impact of future disputes.

Unfortunately, the FOX and Cablevision dispute is not an isolated incident.  Disputes between broadcasters and video providers appear to be increasing.  Just last March, Cablevision and Disney/WABC-TV failed to reach an agreement and the WABC-TV signal was pulled from Cablevision.  While that signal was eventually restored, it was only after Cablevision customers were without WABC-TV for approximately 20 hours, including the first 15 minutes of the Academy Awards broadcast.  Upcoming retransmission consent negotiations between FOX and the DISH Network may put even more hardworking New Jerseyans at risk of losing television programming that they have come to expect and rely on for their local news and entertainment.  We are deeply troubled that consumers are repeatedly being used as pawns in these programming disputes. 

We ask that the FCC exercise all of its available authority to promptly resolve the FOX and Cablevision dispute.  It is our understanding that the FCC suggested that FOX and Cablevision resolve their dispute through mediation, but FOX declined. We ask that you immediately invite representatives from both parties to meet with you and other FCC officials in order to reenergize and resolve these negotiations.

The FCC also needs to reexamine its existing regulations for retransmission consent negotiations.  As you know, a petition to modify these rules has been pending before the FCC since March 2010.  We urge the FCC to work diligently and expeditiously to consider the comments that have been filed on that petition and revise its rules.  We ask that the FCC provide us with a response within five business days that outlines a firm schedule for the FCC’s action on the pending retransmission consent petition (MB Docket No. 10-71).  Continued delay in reforming the retransmission consent process will only harm consumers in New Jersey and throughout the country.

Sincerely,

FRANK LAUTENBERG

ROBERT MENENDEZ

“When broadcasters like News Corp. remove their signals, they hurt viewers in an attempt to gain business leverage,” said Charles Schueler, Cablevision’s executive vice president of communications. “Cablevision agrees to submit to binding arbitration, as called for by more than 50 elected officials from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as the fastest and fairest way to return Fox programming to Cablevision viewers.  We call on News Corp. to do the same.”

The NLCS, which is airing on FOX has the day off, but Game 4 is scheduled for Tues. at 4pm ET.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Through 3 Games MLB 2010 LCS Ratings Best Since 2006 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 17 October 2010 19:18

2010 MLB Postseason on FOX and TBS

While ratings for the LDS on TBS was down this year compared to last, at least initially, the League Championship Series is faring better.

After three games, LCS coverage on TBS and FOX is averaging a 5.3 metered market household rating, the best average at this stage in the four years since FOX and TBS began sharing the League Championship Series coverage.

This year's three-game average is up +6% over comparable coverage for the 2009 LCS, which featured the Yankees vs. Angels on FOX and the Phillies vs. Dodgers on TBS and averaged a 5.0 metered market household rating over the first three games.

The reason? Certainly, for the NLCS the matchup between Lincecum and Halladay was a key draw. For the ALCS, the Yankees comeback in Game 1 while Game 2 was a case of seeing if the Rangers could bounce back.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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