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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic ranting. Disney Channel's crossover hit. Comcast begins appeals process in FCC Tennis Channel ruling. Rebourne.




After the coffee. Before learning how to score gymnastics.

The Skinny: Lots of gripes about how NBC is covering the Olympics (see below). My favorite complaint is that NBC has a "monopoly" on the games. Well, they outbid Fox and ESPN for that "monopoly." No one handed them the Games and said "go to town." Tuesday's headlines include the above-mentioned Olympic coverage complaints, a look at how much money Warner Bros. pumps into the local economy and a new Disney Channel cartoon is a hit with African Americans.

Daily Dose: Fox Business Network continues to make gains on CNBC. In July, FBN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" beat CNBC's "The Kudlow Report" in the key 25-54 demographic. It's the first time "Lou Dobbs Tonight" has scored a monthly win since it premiered in March 2011. In total viewers, Dobbs still trailed Kudlow by about 10,000.
Bill Macatee and Martina Navratilova interview Ana Ivanovic for the Tennis Channel
Comcast began its appeal of last week's FCC ruling on the Tennis Channel. The Tennis Channel's Bill Macatee and tennis great Martina Navratilova, center, interview Ana Ivanovic, in 2009 at Wimbledon. (Fred Mullane / July 30, 2012)



Comcast Corp. has asked the Federal Communications Commission to stay its decision that the Philadelphia-based cable television giant discriminated against the independently owned Tennis Channel.

Monday's filing by Comcast Corp. is expected to be the first step in a lengthy appeals process in the dispute over distribution that began three years ago.

Last week, in a 3-2 vote, the FCC found that Comcast had discriminated against the Santa Monica-based Tennis Channel by placing it in a more expensive sports package that limited the channel's exposure and revenue prospects.

The Tennis Channel is available in about 3 million homes that receive Comcast Cable service.
At the same time, Comcast provided two sports channels it owns, the Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network (previously called Versus) to nearly all of its 22 million subscribers. The FCC ordered Comcast to provide the Tennis Channel with distribution comparable to the two sports channels, which would effectively increase its coverage by about 18 million homes, and force Comcast to pay Tennis Channel millions of dollars more each year in programming fees.

It was the first time that a major cable operator has been found in violation of federal anti-discrimination program carriage rules that were established in 1993.

To continue reading in the LA Times click on  More...

Two Broke Girls
A Warner Bros. product like "Two Broke Girls" pumps a lot of money into the local economy. (CBS / July 31, 2012)

 Big spender! How important in Warner Bros. to Los Angeles County? Well, in 2010 the studio spent about $1.6 billion on local businesses and paid $2.5 billion in wages and residuals to residents. While studios typically guard such numbers, Warner Bros. is in a talking mood in an effort to enlighten local communities and civic leaders about the value of having it in the backyard. Details on the local spending habits of Warner Bros. from the Los Angeles Times.


No pleasing everyone. NBC's Olympics are scoring big ratings for the network. It is also streaming events live online (I snuck a peak at women's volleyball on Monday). But there will also be people who can find things to complain about and now thanks to Twitter they have a platform for their rants against NBC. If the network could make as much money by playing the Olympics live on TV all day with no tape delay and no worries about a prime-time audience, it would. But until that day comes, tape delay in prime time for TV will remain as it has for decades. Since I actually work during the day and am definitely in the casual viewer camp, it's not a big deal to me. There are worse things in the world I can find to complain about. Talking heads covering competent event announcers who are talking in English, comments made on what viewers can obviously see and not showing some of the most poignant moments of the overall events to highlight content less interviews with US athletes. More on the backlash against NBC from the Baltimore Sun and Los Angeles Times.


Can I get a show? Google's YouTube is determined to make its video platform a showcase for professional entertainment (as opposed to clips of cats doing silly things). Having already spent $150 million to launch dozens of channels, it is now pumping another $200 million into the effort. Lots of producers and stars are also giving YouTube a shot. Side deals with Facebook and other distributors for cross promotion and distrubution increase YouTubes odds at becoming a true programming challenger. Details from the Wall Street Journal.


Building bridges. The New York Times notes that Walt Disney Co. has at times had a hard time connecting with African Americans. But now, thanks to a new Disney Channel cartoon called "Doc McStuffins," the company has hit pay dirt. “For Disney to make a cartoon that stars a little brown girl as an aspiring intellectual professional, that’s coming a long way,” one mother said of the show.
Get out the vote! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will elect a new president Tuesday night. There are at least five people jockeying for the job including studio executive Rob Friedman and producer Gale Anne Hurd. Variety with a preview of the race.


Reborn! When Matt Damon decided to stop playing Jason Bourne, many bet that the franchise would end. But Universal is banking on Jeremy Renner keeping it alive. The Hollywood Reporter talks with producer Frank Marshall and coproducer Jonathan Crowley about their efforts to show that Bourne is more than Matt Damon.


Inside the Los Angeles Times: Spanish-language TV stations and networks are poised to make big bucks from political spots.


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