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LINING UP THEIR OWN PLAYERS Why h stations t ti are ramping i up first-run production

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FANS ATWITTER ABOUT FLUTTERING PASSES The NFL’s TV partners are pumping up the volume on social media chatter Tim Tebow

BC The Business of Television

What’s Happening


Sept. 10, 2012 • Volume 142 Number 35 Cover Story

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Five new talk show hopefuls vie for daytime supremacy among themselves—and a host of already established vets. By Paige Albiniak

Go to This

With a deluge of new products raining down from the “Cloud,” B&C/Multichannel News’ TV’s Cloud Power event will discuss how to navigate the storm, headlined by keynote guests Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia and IBM’s Bob Fox. For more information and to register, go to Thursday, 1:30-5 p.m. ET, Roosevelt Hotel, New York

CURRENCY | Jon Lafayette

On Brink of New Season, Ad Execs See Little Money Or Buzz . . PROGRAMMING STRATEGY | Andrea Morabito

Judging Changes Could Help The X Factor Skew Younger �������� . . . WASHINGTON WATCH | John Eggerton

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Pushes For Efficiency, Innovations � . . 2012 B&C BROADCASTER OF THE YEAR: MICHAEL FIORILE | Michael Malone

Industry’s Voice of Reason at Affiliate Boards, Strong Stations ������. STATION TO STATION/MARKET EYE | Michael Malone

Phoenix Giant’s Online Pay Model; Comeback Fight in Illinois ���. MEDIA BUYER & PLANNER TODAY SPOTLIGHT | John Consoli

Marketers’ Expanded Playbook Strategies for Reaching Women�� .

12 14 16 20 22 24


Plenty of Developments, Optimism Mean Vibrant Market As IBC comes to a close, attendees revel in new entries for multiplatform distribution and lower-cost production and newsgathering solutions. George Winslow reports ����������� . . . .

Broadcasting & Cable



Leading ABC News’ Expansion Into Digital Election Coverage ���. EDITORIAL

New GOP FCC Commissioner’s Right-On Ideas�������������������� . . . . IN A FLYOVER STATE | Ben Grossman

Liverpool FC: A Terrible Team Makes for Some Great TV ������� . . .

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Watch This Season three of The New Normal NBC’s The Voice kicks off in the series’ first fall berth, leading into a preview of Ryan Murphy comedy The New Normal, while Guys With Kids bows later this week. On Fox, The X Factor debuts new judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato and Glee returns in its new Thursday slot. For a full list of premieres, go to

Don’t Miss This NAMIC hosts its 26th annual conference this week to spotlight diversity in the cable industry. Speakers include Showtime’s Matt Blank, Time Warner Cable’s Glenn Britt, BET’s Debra Lee and Scripps Networks Interactive’s Ken Lowe, among many others. Tuesday-Wednesday, Hilton Hotel, New York

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August 13, 2012

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Community Screengrab

They Said It!

FX’s Sons of Anarchy certainly left viewers with plenty of questions after season four, and before the new season kicks off, fans will get a chance to ask them. In advance of Sons’ fifth-season premiere Sept. 11 at 10 p.m., Russell Brand, host of the network’s BrandX, will emcee a live chat with creator Kurt Sutter and the cast from the “SOA Clubhouse” at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT that will answer viewers’ burning questions. Avid followers of Sutter’s Twitter account know to expect anything. For more, go to —Tim Baysinger

“Chuck Lorre is the quintessential comedy writer/ producer of our time, the most successful creator/ showrunner of the last 25 years in this business. We are so incredibly excited—and honored—to be continuing our partnership with him. Chuck has had a profound impact on Warner Bros. Television over the last 12 years, and we look forward to a long and successful future relationship.” —Warner Bros. Television president Peter Roth on Sept. 5, after Chuck Lorre signed an exclusive four-year deal that will have him develop new comedy and dramatic programming for broadcast and cable networks

“The storied assets and the creative team of Dick Clark Productions are a perfect fit with Guggenheim’s dynamic leadership in the entertainment space and their powerful breadth of unique and diversified content, which is rapidly expanding. Dick Clark and his legacy will surely be in good hands.”

140 Characters of Clarity:

Industry Tweets That Caught Our Eye

All is well. Early AM I mistakenly took a half dose of Ambien and made less sense than usual. Made a better comeback than Giants… @tombrokaw, Tom Brokaw, NBC News special correspondent, on Sept. 6, following a brief trip to the hospital after feeling lightheaded following an appearance on MSNBC

[ ] —Dick Clark Productions CEO Mark Shapiro on Sept. 4, following Guggenheim Partners’ acquisition of DCP

From The web

Wheel’s Sajak and White, Trebek of Jeopardy! All Re-Up through 2015-16


at Sajak and Vanna White, hosts of Wheel of Fortune, and Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy!, all have renewed their contracts through the 2015-16 television season. “As we celebrate Wheel’s 30th anniversary season and look forward to the Jeopardy! 30th next Alex Vanna White and year, we are so happy to know we will be keepTrebek Pat Sajak ing our iconic family together,” Harry Friedman, executive producer of both shows, said in a statement. “Together they have hosted a combined 12,000 episodes of these beloved shows and have become part of America’s family as well. I think they’re finally getting the hang of it.” Both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are produced by Sony Pictures Television and distributed by CBS Television Distribution. Sajak, previously a local newscaster in Los Angeles, joined Wheel of Fortune in 1981, just in time for the show to head into syndication, where it became a surprise hit. White became Wheel’s hostess, modeling the most fabulous fashions of the day, in 1982, nine months before the show entered syndication. Trebek has hosted Jeopardy! since 1984. —Paige Albiniak


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Congrats @Michael Strahan & @KellyRipa, love the combo. Can’t wait to see your cameramen try to fit you in the same shot. @RyanSeacrest, Ryan Seacrest, on Sept. 4, after it was revealed on Live! With Kelly that Michael Strahan had been officially named the Live! cohost

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Your photo here Send highresolution photos,

with captions and credits, promptly after an event to bcart@ Please include a daytime phone number.

Modern Family cast member Ariel Winter and “Triple H” Paul Levesque, executive VP, talent and live events, WWE, attend the WWE and Creative Coalition’s SummerSlam Kickoff Party on Aug. 16 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

ciate account executive, (Left to right) Kelley Wilson, asso Justin Prager, director, affiliate relations, Music Choice, and development, Music ent cont and ions relat talent booking & Noonan of pop duo Nick and nn Choice, with Amy Heidema Time Warner booth the at ng signi h grap auto an after Karmin Fair in Syracuse, N.Y. on Aug. 23 at the Syracuse State

(From left) Whitney Mihoulides, director, DEN Account Management, Discovery Education; Nick Marino, manager, Power to Learn, Cablevision; Evelyn Cruise, director, Power to Learn,Cablevision; and Jeff Flynn, manager, education partnerships, Discovery Education, attend the interactive “Day of Discovery” professional development event hosted by Discovery Education, Cablevision’s Power to Learn and The Hub, Aug. 22 at Cablevision headquarters in Bethpage, N.Y.

For more photos, log on to broadcastingcable. com/Sept10

Musician Gavin DeGraw (center) receives a career RIAA Gold & Platinum award with (from left) Dede Lea, executive VP, government affairs, Viacom; Cary Sherman, chairman and CEO, RIAA; Dr. Leslie Faerstein, executive director, Musicians on Call; and Scott Welch, board chair, MOC, during DeGraw’s concert for Musicians on Call at the organization’s Republican National Convention charity benefit Aug. 28 in Tampa, Fla.


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Clockwise from top left: Mark Von Holden for Shahar Azran Photography; Discovery Education; Dan Nastro, Music Choice; Daniel Swartz/; WWE

region, Time president, business services, East (Left to right) Ken Fitzpatrick, ioner, New York City miss com nt, cha Mer N. ul Rah Warner Cable Business Class; rew H. Kimball, gy and Telecommunications; And Department of Information Technolo Luis Jose and .; Corp Yard Development president and CEO, Brooklyn Navy Network, display s ation unic omm Telec and on mati Rodriguez, CEO, Hispanic Infor nt to expand uncing TWC’s $25 million investme a fiber optic cable wire after anno quarters head HITN the locations on Aug. 28 at its fiber optic network to business . York at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New

September 10, 2012

9/7/12 6:00 PM


Daytime Darwinism

Katie Couric’s longanticipated talk show premieres Sept. 10, mostly on ABC owned and affiliated stations across the U.S.

It’s survival of the fittest for this season’s five new talk show hopefuls By Paige Albiniak


FTER MONTHS OF SPECULATION and hype, the fall 2012 TV season is finally here. And with it, the long-brewing battle of the daytime talk shows, which sees five new entrants facing off against each other and the genre’s already established veterans.

It’s not quite a game of musical chairs, but a bit of daytime Darwinism is in play, since it’s highly unlikely that all five newcomers will survive to see fall 2013. The run-up to this fall started in March 2011, when Twentieth announced it was bringing Ricki Lake back to daytime talk. Three months later, Katie Couric, who syndicators have long sought to seduce, finally confirmed that she would leave CBS Evening News and launch a daytime talk show at Disney-ABC Television. CBS Television Distribution, after having decided to pass on Couric, announced in June 2011 that it would give Survivor host Jeff Probst a shot; in November 2011, CTD convinced the NBC Owned Television Stations group to take a chance on Probst as well. Steve Harvey, who previously tried to enter daytime with a live-totape version of his nationally syndicated radio show, threw his fedora


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in the ring a year ago, partnering with Endemol USA to produce and NBCUniversal to distribute. Finally, NBCUniversal is adding Australian and British talk-show diva Trisha Goddard to its slate of conflict talkers, getting the show cleared on upstart stations in big markets and hoping that the Maury spinoff catches on stateside, something that Goddard’s compatriot, fellow Brit Jeremy Kyle, has so far failed to do with his U.S. talker. Twentieth is also taking a chance on a new entertainment hybrid show, Dish Nation, which features radio DJs talking about news and pop culture tidbits of the day. While Dish Nation is plenty talky, it will air mostly in late-night time slots, competing against the likes of Warner Bros.’ TMZ.  After all of these months of hype, now comes the moment of truth: Which of these shows will survive to see season two? The answer is hard to predict, and each has its own factors by which to set expectations.  Katie has by far the strongest clearances and the best time slots. So while that show has the best chance to succeed, it also faces the highest expectations. That could work to the advantage of the rest of the pack, all of which have to be considered underdogs compared to Katie.  Steve Harvey and Jeff Probst will launch on NBC’s owned stations in top markets New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, so the fate of one could weigh on the other. The two new shows also could affect the ratings—for better or worse—of the show they lead in to, Warner Bros.’ Ellen.

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Expectations are varied for Ricki Lake, which is getting positive reviews for its creative efforts but is cleared on a mixed bag of stations, with Fox- and Tribune-owned stations in the largest markets making up the show’s launch group. Trisha Goddard is nearly unknown in the United States, but she has two decades of broadcast experience under her belt in Australia and Britain. Trisha’s biggest hurdle is that, in the biggest markets, it’s cleared on very small stations.  Meanwhile, all of these new entries have to compete against the established field of veteran talk shows, such as CTD’s Dr. Phil, entering its 11th season; Sony’s Dr. Oz, heading into its fourth; and Ellen, which is celebrating season 10. And Disney-ABC’s Live! With Kelly could see a big ratings bump this fall, the show’s 24th season in national syndication, as it introduces Fox NFL commentator Michael Strahan as Kelly Ripa’s new cohost.  Whatever ends up making it through daytime’s gauntlet, viewers can’t complain that there’s nothing to watch. From Katie Couric’s versatility to Steve Harvey’s humor to Ricki Lake’s relatability to Jeff Probst’s sense of adventure and Trisha Goddard’s years of experience, all of this year’s newcomers have something a little bit different to offer.   Katie Couric obody will ever replace Oprah Winfrey, but Katie Couric is in the best position to try. Besides inheriting Oprah’s actual time slots on the stations that aired Oprah, Couric also possesses a breadth of skills that lend themselves to all areas of daytime—from light style segments to deeper interviews with hard news subjects.  “One of the exciting things for me about doing the show is I’m going to be able to flex all my muscles,” Couric told reporters at this summer’s gathering of the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles.  “I’ve been in television news, I’m sorry to say, for 33 years,” Couric said. “And I think that I’ve done such a variety of stories through the years. Some lighthearted stories, some fun stories, some celebrity-driven stories. I pride myself on being able to use the right tone and the right approach, and to be able to calibrate that approach depending on who I’m interviewing or the topic that I’m dealing with on any given day.”  Katie premieres Sept. 10 with appearances from celebrities Jessica Simpson and Sheryl Crow, both of whom have stories of recent struggles to tell. Simpson will talk to Couric about recently becoming a mother and battles with her weight, while Crow will address the diagnosis she received of a benign brain tumor. “We’ll talk to women—celebrities or otherwise—who have some kind of connection to starting over or starting a big new chapter in their lives, just like Katie,” said Michael Bass, who will coexecutive produce the show with Jeff Zucker.  Along those lines, Couric will talk to Aimee Copeland, the Georgia graduate student who this summer lost parts of her limbs to a rare flesh-eating disease.  “There aren’t a lot of places on daytime right now where those kinds of [long-form] interviews are done,” Bass said. “That’s something we feel is missing.”  But the show also will showcase Couric’s lighter side, with one episode devoted to women’s (and some men’s) devotion to their hair, and stories such as YOLO or “You Only Live Once,” which will feature Couric

“Stepping outside of your comfort zone is something I believe is worth doing.” —Jeff Probst


and some lucky viewers crossing things off their bucket lists. “We want to bring back that personality that everyone knew and loved,” Bass said. “I honestly believe the audience has been missing that Katie for the past seven years.”   Steve Harvey f there was ever a time for Steve Harvey to take a stab at daytime talk, that time is now. His syndicated game show, Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud, is about to go astronomical in the ratings, with upgrades to better time slots about to hit across the country. Harvey’s book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, is a New York Times bestseller that was made into a successful movie. And the host has a steady audience, thanks to his nationally syndicated radio show and a strong online presence.  “It’s a platform that I have matured into,” said Harvey, whose self-titled talk show premiered on Sept. 4, six days before most of the rest of the pack. “My dream used to be to have a late-night show, but that’s not the goal for me anymore. I used to want to talk edgy at night, but now it’s not so much about making people laugh but to be more motivational.”  That’s not to say Harvey won’t be funny, because the recently retired stand-up comedian doesn’t know how to be anything else.  “I’m funny a lot of times when I’m not even trying,” he said. “I’ll get people laughing and then I’ll realize, wow, maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Comedians—we don’t even know we are crossing


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September 10, 2012

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(From left) NBCU’s Trisha Goddard, Twentieth’s Ricki Lake and NBCU’s Steve Harvey all are vying to rise above the daytime fray in this season’s crowded talk market.

the line until we go over there.” Harvey plans to take on everything about relationships—with spouses, children, friends, money, bosses, you name it. One of the opening shows was slated to feature “the world’s worst dater,” who earned that nickname after he started handing out post-date surveys to women. Another episode looks at so-called “helicopter parents,” and all of Harvey’s segments will be imbued with his unique humor. “That’s what I think, God willing, will be the success of the show,” Harvey said. “They are going to allow me to be me. My dad always told me, ‘Dance with who brung you.’ When this television show premieres, I’m going to do me. Hopefully that will be good enough.” Ricki Lake ost daytime viewers are already well familiar with Ricki Lake, who hosted a popular, successful daytime talk show from 1993 to 2004. While that show had a good run, it was more along the lines of Maury than Oprah. This time around, Lake wants to try a different tack.  “Our mission statement is, if women are talking about it, we’ll talk about it,” said Lisa Kridos, executive producer of The Ricki Lake Show. “When you meet Ricki, your experience is that she’s your girlfriend, she’s accessible, she’s someone you want to sit down and talk with.”  Also premiering Sept. 10, Ricki’s early episodes feature a 41-year-old virgin, a talk with moms about their most embarrassing secrets and the serious story of a woman who became homeless after leaving the military, where she did a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Lake and her team also have been connecting with fans and gathering stories via social media, such as Facebook, UStream and Twitter. “We’ll run the gamut,” Kridos said.   Jeff Probst or Jeff Probst, launching a daytime talk show is as much an adventure for him as traveling to Borneo to host a season of Survivor. “In booking these shows, some of the best stories we’ve found are when someone says yes to something,” said Amy Coleman, The Jeff Probst Show’s executive producer. “Everyone’s successes and joys start with a moment when they said yes.” “Saying yes” is a broad theme that will run through the show, including an “ambush adventure” segment at the end of some episodes in which the host sends someone off on a trip meant to shake up his or her life. “Stepping outside of your comfort zone is something I believe is worth doing,” Probst said. “When you get stagnant and you take the




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same walk every day and you do the same things every day, your life can get dull. Sometimes all it takes is one step in the other direction, and you find this whole new world.” Jeff Probst will take on several stories every episode because “we want to be in line with the shorter attention span that a lot of the audience has,” Probst said. “Much like [WBEZ Chicago’s] This American Life does, we’ll take three [or more] interesting stories with a common thread and take them through the top half of the show.” Probst also will frequently ask regular guys to join him on the couch to answer women’s questions about why they think and act like they do. “If you are someone who is stuck in life in any way, I’ll use ‘tribal council’ skills to find that out,” Probst said, “and then I’ll challenge you to take a step outside and change your life up.” Trisha Goddard risha Goddard also may challenge guests to change up their lives, but chances are the experienced host will be more in their faces about it. “Trisha’s fearless approach has taken me by surprise,” said Paul Faulhaber, who executive produces both Maury and Goddard’s spinoff, Trisha, from NBCU’s production facility in Stamford, Conn. “She has had all of these personal experiences in her own life, and she’s not afraid to throw any of them out there for the benefit of her guests. She has a lot of courage, and I haven’t seen that kind of courage in many years when it comes to interviewing.” Goddard, whose show premieres after everyone else’s, on Sept. 17, is just doing what she does best on a new stage. “I learned to ski in New Zealand and Australia,” she said. “Anyone who skis knows that if you can ski on ice, you can ski anywhere. If you can get people in Australia to talk to you, you can do it anywhere.” Sticking with that metaphor, Goddard said getting Americans to talk is like shushing down a blue groomer on a sunny day. “In the States, people are good at being open, talking and articulating,” she said. “You don’t have to be grammatically correct to be articulate. If people are in pain, in a family context, people here can talk about it.” Everything is in place—the development is done, the shows are in production, and the promos are rolling full steam. Now it’s up to the viewers. May the best show win.


E-mail comments to and follow her on Twitter: @PaigeA

September 10, 2012

9/7/12 6:04 PM


By Jon Lafayette

Little Money in Market As Ad Execs Get Back to Work New TV season is short on buzz, media buyers say


HE TELEVISION ADVERTISING world was unusually quiet over the summer and media buyers don’t expect a rush of activity now that Labor Day has passed and a new season approaches. Back from the holidays, buyers are now working with their clients to turn upfront reservations—called holds—into orders. The 2012 upfront didn’t measure up to 2011’s, and there doesn’t appear to be much money in the pipeline to improve the picture for the networks. “This is that crazy week where everybody wakes up and says, ‘I’m going on the air in a couple of weeks. I’ve got to get this stuff ordered. Can I get my contract?’” says Rob Tuck, executive VP for ad sales at The CW. Tuck says that so far, orders are tracking what was booked in the upfront. “We’re really not seeing much if any change,” he says. But Rino Scanzoni, chief investment officer at media buying giant GroupM, says, “You’re going to have some breakage.” That breakage—fallout and cuts from upfront buys—will be in the usual 2%-3% range, Scanzoni says. Then, Scanzoni adds, “We’re going to be dealing with a relatively lackluster scatter market, which I think is clearly going to be a challenge in the fourth quarter. And I think we’re going to see that into 2013.” During their second-quarter earnings calls, most media companies said they experienced a slowdown in the scatter market for the third quarter because of ad money flowing to the Olympics. Most said they expected a recovery in the fourth quarter.

get past these [upfront] orders, then at least [advertisers] know what they need and things will start picking up.” Tuck says he’s excited for the season to start. “This is the time of year when you’re just so anxious to get your new stuff on,” he says. But Sam Armando, senior VP and director of strategic intelligence at SMGx, part of Starcom Mediavest Group, says new shows on the netGroupM’s Rino Scanzoni (left) is expecting a “lackluster” scatter works’ fall schedules have caused market into 2013; The CW’s Rob Tuck says he has done a bit little excitement among clients and of 4Q scatter business at pricing “above upfront levels.” little buzz with viewers. Armando says the new crop of shows was But another major buyer says that normally at this time of year, a number of clients try to add about average and that the broadcast networks money to their upfront buys to take advantage will continue to endure ratings erosion—as will of prices that are lower than scatter. This year, the top cable networks—in the face of DVR however, “we’ve seen very, very little of that,” playback in primetime, new over-the-top viewthe buyer says. “I think that probably the big ing options and other entertainment options. “It’s been a really quiet summer. Usually we takeaway is without any new money and a little slippage [as upfront holds go to order], the net- get cast changes, title changes, schedule changes. works and the cable companies are going to be There hasn’t been a lot of buzz,” Armando says. Of course, in the TV business there’s always disappointed with their sales volume.” As far as the scatter market goes, one key next year. One cable network ad sales exwill be how much money retail companies will ecutive says he’s already starting to schedule spend starting in October ahead of the holiday meetings with media planners over the next season. Marketers will also be looking at the two to three months to lay the groundwork November election returns as an indicator as to for the channel’s position for next year’s upwhether or not the economy is likely to improve. front. “It’s like Groundhog Day. We just start Tuck says The CW has done a little bit of early the cycle all over again,” the executive says. fourth-quarter scatter business. “We’ve had some rumblings of people checking out some E-mail comments to and follow pricing,” he says, adding that prices are above him on Twitter: @jlafayette upfront levels. “I would suspect that once we

compensation drops for news corp. toppers rupert Murdoch and chase Carey Fox News boss Roger Ailes’ pay rises to $21 million CBS Reaches New Carriage Deal With Cablevision Pact covers WCBS, Showtime, Smithsonian, CBS Sports Network For more on these stories and the latest financial news, go to


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Chase Carey

september 10, 2012

9/7/12 6:42 PM


By Andrea Morabito

Revamped X Factor Preps for Second Verse Fox’s Darnell says added reality storytelling will give show a younger feel


HE OFFICIAL START OF THE FALL season is still two weeks off, but this Wednesday brings the return of a revamped The X Factor, with new judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, and a new fall competitor in NBC’s The Voice. Mike Darnell, Fox president of alternative programming, spoke with B&C programming editor Andrea Morabito about the upcoming season and addressed the continued speculation about who will fill those American Idol judges chairs alongside Mariah Carey. An edited transcript follows.

tends to hurt everything. I don’t know what [rating] The Voice is going to launch at, but my guess is that The Voice will be hurt by all the glut too. If you notice, The Voice is on a very downward trajectory in its run. I think part of that is there are a lot of these shows on the air, and that [affects] all of them.

Obviously you felt that The X Factor wasn’t as good as it could have been in its first season, which is why you overhauled the judges panel. What does it have to do, ratings-wise, to be considered an improvement in season two? Part of X Factor’s DNA is to make changes in the judges. If you look at the [British TV] version, there’s been many, many changes of judges over the years. I think the show has got a very different complexion than last year and it’s very good, very well done. I think there’s an improvement in the pacing of the show. The judges have given us a little more youth and that angle of youth, and I think that is important. Ratings, I’m not even going to go there. I have no expectations at the moment, just that it will do well.

Can you confirm that Nigel Lythgoe will return as executive producer? He’s back on the show.

Are you expecting the show to get younger with the addition of Britney and Demi?


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Fox’s Mike Darnell says the network is looking for “diversity of music and a diversity of personality” in choosing Idol judges to join Mariah Carey.

Not necessarily. But it does have a younger feel. And we added this reality component, which is harder to describe than to look at. But that component, which you will notice when you watch it, it really has to do with the way the storytelling is being done, through the eyes of the contestants. It is possible we will have no hosts until we go live. It’s all being done through the reality of the contestants and sort of their vision of the show. Because it’s sort of a newer technique, it also makes the show feel a little younger. There is this unknown factor with The Voice being in the fall for the first time. You can’t say The Voice was the only reason Idol‘s ratings softened last season, but it certainly didn’t help. Is X Factor, as a newer show, more or less vulnerable to the increased competition than Idol? That’s an interesting question, the way you phrased it. All the shows are hurting all the shows. As is the way of television, when something’s very successful, a glut of them come on the air. And eventually that glut

It’s been reported that Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban are close to deals with Idol. Can you comment on that? I can’t yet. What kind of personalities are you looking for to complement Mariah Carey? She’s an icon. She is the best singer I think to ever appear on one of these shows as a judge. We have our icon, I guess that’s how I look at it. And now we’d like to get diverse. We are looking at some country, we are looking at different types of music. I guess that’s the best way to put it, a diversity of music and a diversity of personality. Something to make the panel feel like each person has something different to offer, both in who they are and what kind of music they represent.

Ray Mickshaw/Fox

Does “well” for you mean better than last year, or would holding steady be seen as success? If the chemistry improves and people love the show, then that’s great. If it’s successful in the ratings, we’ll be thrilled. It takes up 40 hours of our schedule. Those numbers last year were terrific. It [fell short of executive producer] Simon [Cowell]’s prediction, but still fantastic on any other scale.

It’s been reported that Randy Jackson will transition from a judge to a mentor on Idol this season. Nothing’s been decided yet.

For more from Darnell, including his thoughts on the summer reality season, go to E-mail comments to and follow her on Twitter: @andreamorabito

September 3, 2012

9/7/12 6:06 PM


By John Eggerton

Minority Report In his first extensive interview as the FCC’s new GOP commissioner, Ajit Pai explains why government should get out of the way of innovation IN HIS FIRST THREE MONTHS at the Federal Communications Commission, Republican commissioner Ajit Pai has shown himself to be a solid ally of senior Republican Robert McDowell in promoting the marketplace and pushing against what they see as government overregulation. And while he talks of the general comity of the commission, Pai has already dissented on two votes. In his first sit-down interview since being sworn in last May, Pai talks with conviction about government getting out of the way of innovation and initiative—a passion he attributes in part to the example of his parents, who immigrated from India. He has also outlined a bold vision for the FCC, including process reforms—such as shot clocks on decisions—and a bureau to speed approval of new technologies. For now, though, he must press his case from a minority seat. Pai also spoke with B&C Washington bureau chief John Eggerton about speeding FCC efficiences, his reluctance to put over-the-top providers in the same regulatory boat as other distributors and why the “demise” of broadcast-

Slices of Pai FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Education: B.A., Harvard; J.D., University of Chicago Previous Job: Partner, Jenner & Block LLP FCC Term: May 14, 2012–June 30, 2016 Twitter Handle: @AjitPaiFCC Favorite Cable Shows: Mad Men, The Buyer, Curb Your Enthusiasm Favorite Broadcast Show: Judge Judy Favorite Football Team: Kansas City Chiefs

What’s on His iPhone: D.C.-based Pai has proposed several changes to improve the FCC’s effiiciency.


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Thievery Corporation; classical music (Pai played the violin as a child); ‘70s classic Rock; Tony Kornheiser and This American Life (podcasts)

September 10, 2012

9/7/12 6:07 PM


ing is a misnomer. An edited transcript follows. With the FCC’s focus on broadband, broadcasters sometimes feel like the stepchild medium. How important is it to preserve a free, over-the-air service? To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the broadcasting industry’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. I think broadcasting continues to play a vital role in communities across the country. On the television and the radio side, consumers still draw tremendous benefits from broadcasting, and I think that is something that will continue into the future. I read some reports that I consider an artificial apposition of broadband and broadcasting, but I view them as complements, not as rivals. I think there is a place to reach going forward. I’m optimistic about the future of broadcasting. What is your view of the FCC’s current media ownership rules? I start from the proposition that, whatever the rules are, they should reflect the current state of the marketplace. I think it is indisputable at this point that the marketplace has changed tremendously since 1975, when some of our rules were adopted and still exist to this day without alteration. My goal is to review the record and discern how the rules should be reformed, if at all, to reflect changes to the marketplace— particularly on the newspaper/broadcast crossownership rule. At this point, my inclination is to say that the synergies that can result from crossownership would outweigh the potential harms. We’re told there will be an item on spectrum auctions at the September meeting. What does the FCC need to do to get spectrum auctions right? I think it has to first commence the rulemaking process. But it should also make sure that the rules of the road are reasonably simple, easy to understand and easy to administer from an agency standpoint. I also think the commission should do outreach to stakeholders early and often, both to hear their views on what they think we should do and to share our views on how we think the statute has to be implemented. I think that open dialogue could make for a much more successful auction. And last, the auction should be conducted by June 30, 2014, which is an ambitious deadline according to some, but given the needs of the marketplace, I think it is reasonable. What should the FCC do about indecency

“Consumers still draw tremendous benefits from broadcasting, and I think that is something that will continue into the future.” now that the court has kicked it back to you with this backlog of complaints? After the Supreme Court’s decision, which didn’t reach the merits of the commission’s policy, I have called for the commission to address the backlog, which is about 1.5 or 1.6 million. We have to adjudicate them. Congress has told us, by statute, to administer the prohibition that they set forth for us and we have to do that to the best of our ability. We have to tackle those complaints. You don’t control the agenda, but any sense of where the FCC is in the process? I have not been briefed by [chairman Julius Genachowski’s] office or the bureau on where things are, but I am sure he is actively thinking about what direction to go and when to do it. You laid out a pretty comprehensive vision for the FCC. First, could you give us the CliffsNotes version, and second, what can you do about it from a minority seat? With respect to the big picture, I would divide it into process and substance. From a procedural standpoint, the agency needs to act with more dispatch, especially in the context of a regulatory agency charged with overseeing one of the most dynamic parts of the economy. I think the commission has to act at the same pace as this industry, otherwise it risks inadvertently impeding innovation and investment. Competition won’t happen if the commission acts with undue delay. So, the commission should do what it can to act more quickly. What can it do? One way would be to use sunset clauses and setting deadlines for acting on applications for review and petitions for reconsideration.

In terms of substance, No. 1 is spectrum—getting more spectrum into the commercial marketplace and doing what we could to make the use of spectrum more efficient. No. 2 is infrastructure investment, clearing out some regulatory barriers and maximizing private sector incentives to develop and deploy next-generation networks. What do you do about the delays that are systematic to the FCC’s politics? For example, opening up a docket as a signal to the industry but with no plans to close it? I think there are a number of ways to deal with that. One way, as I said, is to establish a deadline for commission action. That propels the agency, one way or the other, to resolve the proceeding. Another way is analogous to the Supreme Court cert process. If a bureau issues a decision and a party to that decision seeks full commission consideration of an application for review, they can’t go to court until we act. One of the things I have proposed is that if the commission doesn’t act within 60 days, the decision of the bureau is affirmed using the reasoning adopted by the bureau unless one commissioner objects, in which case the full commission would review the matter and reach a decision. That is a small procedural change, which by the way is consistent with the Communications Act and the Administrative Procedures Act, that would allow us to dispose of a lot of applications for review that may or may not be controversial. At least it gives some sense of certainty to the parties in the proceeding and to the general public, and it allows people to go forward. I think there are things the commission could do that are not partisan or especially politically controversial that could help us become more responsive in closing these proceedings. How do you work from the minority seat to convince others it’s the right path? Having an open dialog with the chairman and majority commissioners, as well as with agency staff. One of the hallmarks of this commission—not just under the current chairman— is it has a culture of openness and receptivity to new ideas. The cert process, for example, is an idea that we got from [longtime Media Access Project attorney] Andy Schwartzman. I have talked to the chairman personally about it, and he seemed intrigued. That is a good example of one [proposal] that doesn’t redound to the benefit of one political party or even one commissioner. And I think that’s an area where we

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september 1o, 2012

17 9/7/12 6:07 PM


By John Eggerton

Commissioner Pai is part of the twitterati, demonstrated by tweeted photos (center and right) showing him on visits to Netflix and Google while on a California high-tech tour last month. He also got his picture taken with Rep. Paul Ryan (left) during an August meeting, before Ryan became a VP candidate. “Twitter is a very useful social media tool,” says Pai.

can work together to establish new procedures to make the commission more efficient. You have worked in the FCC’s general counsel office. What are the FCC’s odds of defending the Tennis Channel decision, which has been stayed by a court? I leave it to wiser minds like former general counsels to opine as to what is going to happen in the D.C. Circuit. [Editor’s note: Pai’s chief of staff, former FCC general counsel Matthew Berry, sat in on this interview.] My own position, as outlined in our joint dissent [with commissioner McDowell], is that I took a look at the facts, and as best I could tell, no other major MVPD carried Tennis Channel as broadly as Golf Channel or Versus. Therefore, I didn’t think that a discrimination finding could be sustained against Comcast under [the program carriage rules]. So, I would have come out a different way, but I guess we’ll see what the court does. So would one of the ways of speeding the FCC process be to come up with more legally defensible decisions? That is certainly one way to look at it. But I think on a lot of high-profile, controversial issues one can legitimately go in this or that direction. So I guess it is up to the lawyers in the general counsel’s office to come up with defensible legal strategies that will hold up in court. But I am not so sure that plays as significant a role in the speed with which the commission acts. My goal, and I think the goal of my fellow commissioners, is to reach the right result. By and large, things operate around here on consensus. Well over 90% of [votes] are unanimous. We try and reach the right result first, and ideally that result is going to be consistent with the statue.


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You talked in your confirmation hearing about revisiting the Cable Act. What needs revisiting? That question has to be directed to Congress. It is a matter for legislative, not administrative, discretion, but a lot of folks in Congress and the industry have said the marketplace has changed, and not just in the cable context. Convergence is a reality, not an abstraction as it was 20 years ago [when the Cable Act was passed]. Whether and how to change the Cable Act or the Communications Act more generally to account for the changing marketplace is something they will have to consider, if not in this Congress then future Congresses. Should the FCC take action in the open retrans docket? And what should you do? This is one area where the commission’s authority is somewhat circumscribed. We have authority to enforce good faith negotiations between parties, but beyond that the statute doesn’t give us tremendous latitude. In the docket, the FCC suggested coming up with clearer standards for what is or isn’t negotiating in good faith would be helpful. To the extent the commission has such authority, and doing so would provide more guidance to the parties—and hopefully avoid some disputes or resolve them more quickly—that is something I would be open to considering. What should the definition of an MVPD be? That is an open question, as you know. I start from the premise that over-the-top distribution has been of tremendous benefit to consumers. I think it has entered the marketplace in a way that could not have been anticipated to this extent even five years ago. So as a general matter, I don’t think the commission should erect artificial barriers that are going to

prevent innovation. That said, I haven’t made a firm decision as to how over-the-top distributors should be classified. In the context of a concrete proposal. I would have to study the record. Do you have any concerns about the FCC’s authority if it starts applying carriage or access rules on over-the-top? Isn’t that getting into content regulation of the Internet? That is certainly one of the issues I would have to consider in the context of a fully developed, concrete proposal. You tweeted a picture of yourself with Rep.—now VP candidate—Paul Ryan. What was that meeting about? I met with Congressman Ryan a month ago to talk about ways this agency, working collaboratively with Congress, could create a regulatory framework that could maximize incentives for job creation and economic growth, which is something very high on his agenda. I listened to his views on what Congress is hoping to do with respect to broader economic questions. I found him to be very engaging, very bright, and very well-versed in all these issues, and extremely personable. I think those qualities will serve him well in whatever capacity he finds himself in in 2013. How does the work ethic of Pai’s parents inform his political philosophy regarding entrepreneurship and initiative? Read the full interview at E-mail comments to and follow him on Twitter: @eggerton

September 1o, 2012

9/7/12 6:08 PM

2012 Broadcaster of the Year: Michael Fiorile 

By Michael Malone

Broadcasting’s Voice of Reason Strong stations, affiliate board leaderships make Fiorile best of the bunch


HILE SOME DIFFICULT network-affiliate negotiations dominated the broadcasting business in the recent past, the calm and reasoned perspective of Dispatch Broadcast Group vice chairman and CEO Michael Fiorile, who is also vice chair of the CBS affiliate board and a director of the NBC affiliates board, helped get everyone marching in lockstep. Commanding deep respect from both his affiliate colleagues and the network execs across the table, Fiorile played a key role in getting both sides working together for broadcasting’s greater good. And during a year marked by major consolidation, Fiorile and his Dispatch Broadcast Group bucked the trend. Dispatch owns just two stations—WTHR Indianapolis and WBNS Columbus (Ohio)—but both are monsters in their markets that have solidified their top spots in 2012. On a recent visit to New York, Fiorile, B&C’s 2012 Broadcaster of the Year, spoke with deputy editor Michael Malone about the busy current year and the challenging year ahead. What was your highlight this year? Certainly the elections took a lot of our focus, a lot of our time—fortunately, in terms of inventory management, but also in news coverage. We consider ourselves at the Dispatch companies to be locally focused, so elections are really, really important for us. We are owned by a family and we’re privately held, so both for the community and for our owners, we want to make sure we are doing our utmost to cover the elections. This morning, on my flight, I sent an email to our general managers reminding them that I assume the networks will cover as much as they can, but if they don’t, we have to find other sources to deliver election coverage. What was a Dispatch news story that really crystallized what the group is about? We did a very important piece on pharmacies not shredding records and loading dumpsters with prescriptions, renewals and their total disregard for patient privacy. That made some noise. We had a very enterprising reporter who did some dumpster-diving at a pharmacy


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“The affiliates need to make their case constantly and strongly to the networks— what they need, what they don’t need— and sometimes it’s harder to be heard than at other times.” —Michael Fiorile and came across a ton of information. It got some of the larger drug chains to enact shredding policies they didn’t have previously, or had but had been lax about. There have been tough battles between networks and affiliates in recent years, but it has been quiet of late. Are those in the past, or are they just not made public?

More than anything else, in any business, that’s about a lack of communication. The affiliates need to make their case constantly and strongly to the networks—what they need, what they don’t need—and sometimes it’s harder to be heard than at other times. If the affiliates are well-represented by a responsive affiliate board, and the affiliate board is direct and makes sure its message is heard, I don’t see problems. It’s a challenge at times, either on the network or affiliate end, when somebody’s not communicating. My experience with NBC and CBS—I think relations there are pretty good. Not that there won’t be issues. What did you think of NBC’s Summer Olympics coverage? I thought it was outstanding. Just outstanding. The Games exceeded affiliates’ expectations. That’s why we bought the ad. [Fiorile points to a full-page ad in The New York Times that the NBC affiliates bought to thank the network.] Ratings exceeded affiliates’ expectations. The financial returns for stations and the network were tremendous. What’s interesting, and we’ll have to study why it was a success, but my sense is, online is not hurting [Olympics viewing]. Perhaps it helps. The networks have been telling us that for years. We didn’t want to believe it, and they were right. While political ads are pouring in now, how do you prepare for what looks like a down year in 2013? We very carefully manage our expenses even in the bountiful years of political spending. I would imagine there will be more than $25 million in political at our Columbus station. A market can’t find that in regular business. You just manage your expenses. You don’t take this for granted, you don’t plan on it for next year. Fiorile discusses how Dispatch’s station staffs stay hungry, and why there’s a place for local news in the future at

september 1o, 2012

9/7/12 6:32 PM


By Michael Malone

KPNX Puts Price Tag On Web Content Gannett banking on Phoenix news consumers feeding the meter, while KPHO clamors for new users


HE WELL-REGARDED newscasts on KPNX Phoenix will, of course, remain free to viewers. The station’s Web content, however, is going in a different direction. On Sept. 10, the joint KPNXArizona Republic website,— the one market within Gannett where TV and newspaper properties share a building and website—flipped the switch on a paid content model, and the competition is making sure Phoenix residents are aware of what’s free and what costs money in the area. Meredith’s KPHO, a CBS affiliate, rolled out uniquely direct promos spotlighting KPNX’s online paid model. Ed Munson, KPHO VP and general manager, does not apologize. “We have an opportunity we never had before,” he says. “There’s going to be a lot of folks in play.” Fed by 300 local journalists filing for both print and broadcast, is a giant in DMA No. 13, averaging 5.9 million unique visitors and 75.6 million page views per month, according to Omniture. Moreover, reached 30% of the market’s Internet-using adults in July—tops in Phoenix. KPHO’s is fifth, with 6%. Starting this week, users get 20 AZCentral. com stories per month for free. An all-digital pass costs $10 a month, while digital and newspaper delivery is $26.50. The move is part of a larger Gannett strategy to get revenue from digital content. John Misner, COO of Republic Media (as Gannett’s joint Phoenix outfit is known) and GM at the NBC

Meredith’s KPHO Phoenix/ is intent on grabbing users from Gannett’s with a targeted batch of promos taking shots at the new paid model for the joint website of KPNX and the Arizona Republic.

affiliate, is bullish on the model. “I like to think our content has lots of value,” Misner says. “I know the unique work our journalists do.” Notably, management can turn off the meter for major breaking news and issues of public

safety—say, a wildfire or mass shooting. “We do have to balance our role as journalists with the need to run good business models,” Misner says. KPHO and KPNX, along with Belo’s KTVK, share a helicopter. But that alliance did not prevent KPHO from calling out KPNX in its promos. “Guess I’ll have to get my news somewhere else,” goes one, while another reminds the community that remains free. Munson acknowledges that the plugs are likely “a gnat buzzing around their head,” but he believes Gannett’s motives are not entirely altruistic. “I get what they’re doing,” Munson says. “But where I disconnect is that it’s not about saving journalism. This is about money.” Misner took the tweaks in stride. “It’s not a surprise to see a competitive response,” he says. “It’s kind of fun to watch.” Calls and emails came into the Republic Media building prior to the new model’s debut, many of which Misner handled personally. After explaining the company’s position, he says most callers seemed to understand, though subscription figures in the coming weeks will shed more light on the initiative’s success. Arizona residents possess a unique independent streak, notes Munson, evidenced by the state’s liberal gun laws. “They don’t like being told what to do,” he says. “I wonder if Gannett has underestimated their independence.” E-mail comments to and follow him on Twitter: @BCMikeMalone

Journal Communications to Acquire Landmark’s WTVF Nashville Buys market-leading CBS affiliate for $215 million BILL Rinchik NAMED Young Broadcasting Financial Planning DIRECTOR Broadcast veteran comes on board from the former Freedom Broadcasting For more on these and other station stories, log onto


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Debbie Turner, WTVF president/GM

september 1o, 2012

9/7/12 6:10 PM

MarketEye: Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill. 

By Michael Malone

‘Fighting’ Spirit Drought causes ripple economic effect in central Illinois The United States has its heartland, and then there is the heartland’s heartland. That’s how residents of ChampaignSpringfield-Decatur see their region, which stretches across the belly of Illinois: earnest, hard working, patriotic. “People are really passionate about the com- games, while sister CW affiliate WBUI has munity,” says Rick Joseph, president and gen- ACC gridiron action and preseason St. Louis eral manager at WAND. “It’s real heart-of-the- Rams games. “We’ve increased our sports presence on both sides,” says Peter O’Brien, VP and Midwest-type people.” Each sub-market has a distinct profile. general manager of WRSP-WBUI. Champaign is the college town, home to the giant University of Illinois. Decatur is an agricultural base, and Springfield is, of course, the capital of Illinois. With the new school year under way, all eyes are on the Fighting Illini football squad. Neighbor cities such as Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis have major pro and college sports franchises, but for Champaign-DecaturSpringfield, the local college team is everything. On Sept. 1, WAND de- WCIA news anchors (from left) Derick Fabert, buted its pregame show, Inside the Illini Dave Benton, Jennifer Roscoe and Aaron Bennett. Big Ten Football, which is shot at a local Based in Springfield, Sinclair ABC affiliate Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant. “This is Illini country—there’s a lot of buzz WICS is a power. The station led the market in here,” Joseph says. “Other Big Ten teams bleed 2011 revenue, according to BIA/Kelsey, its esin to the market, but there’s really nothing else timated $11.68 million ahead of Nexstar CBS affiliate WCIA’s $10.93 million. Nexstar also here—it’s all orange-and-blue.” Several stations are clamoring for some pig- owns MyNetworkTV affiliate WCIX; both are skin action. Fox affiliate WRSP airs some SEC based in Springfield. GoCom owns Fox-CW college football and Chicago Bears preseason combo WRSP and WBUI, also in Springfield, while Block Communications-owned WAND, an NBC affiliate, is in Decatur. For more on what TV stations in central Illinois are doing to get ahead, from multiComcast is the region’s main subscriptioncast networks to unique web offerings, TV operator. Around 85% of residents are go to white, according to BIA/Kelsey.

While much of the country was watching the Gulf Coast area get battered by Hurricane Isaac, DMA No. 82 has been keeping its fingers crossed for rain for several months. Isaac’s aftermath did bring some welcome wet weather. “We got a lot of rain recently, but not enough to clear us from the drought conditions,” says Coby Cooper, VP and general manager at WCIA-WCIX. The market’s varied profile—agriculture, education, government—helps the overall economic picture. While Champaign-SpringfieldDecatur moved up to DMA No. 82 this year, from No. 84, it’s stuck at No. 96 in terms of revenue, according to BIA/ Kelsey. More rainfall, and healthier agricultural output, will help the economic outlook. “People are just holding on and waiting—there’s concern about the economy like everybody else,” Joseph says. “The drought has had a real negative impact on the rural communities here.” Joseph started in the market Feb. 1. He previously ran KTRV Boise (Idaho). Cooper came to Champaign two years ago, after running Nexstar’s operation in Peoria, Ill. He is currently overseeing WCIA’s move to complete its HD studio, including local news and commercials. The changeover is pegged for this fall. “We’ve got a new weather system, new set, new graphics,” Cooper says. “We’re right in the middle of it.”

Next: Salt Lake City E-mail comments to and follow him on Twitter: @BCMikeMalone

>> What’s Working in Champaign-Springfield-Decatur It has been a year since WCIA launched its 4 p.m. show CI Living, and Coby Cooper, VP and general manager, is bullish on the central Illinois lifestyle program’s future. Each Friday, the CI Living gang takes to the streets for “Our Town” segments that focus on the DMA’s “outlying communities” that they have

talked up all week, Cooper says. People in these lesser-heralded communities lament that the towns are often only featured on the news when the news is negative. “We tell the positive story about what’s going on—their economy, what people have accomplished,” Cooper says. The segments started in June

and will continue through mid-September. While WCIA doesn’t get Nielsen ratings, the response has been robust. Viewers are choosing the last installment of “Our Town,” to air Sept. 14; at presstime, Farmer City’s almost 11,000 votes were on top. “There’s a tremendous amount of interactivity,” Cooper says. —MM

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september 1o, 2012

23 9/7/12 6:38 PM

Media Buyer & Planner Today Spotlight 

By John Consoli

Marketers Refine, Expand Strategies to Reach Women Traditional TV is still king, but accent is on more digital dollars


mentioned “path to purchase” T’S A SAFE assumpstudies as a way to learn the tion that marketers are thought process of women’s reaching women viewers purchasing decisions. through broadcast and cable Recognizing this, more netTV much differently than they works are offering online prodid five years ago; what’s fasgramming extensions, whether cinating is how much differthrough streaming their actual ent the methods are even from shows online, creating spelast season. With a majority cial additional video tied into of the broadcast primetime their shows or offering special audience being made up of websites with content tied into women, marketers and their the female audiences who are media planning and buying agencies are now using more MediaCom’s Kristin Goodloe: watching their programming. Advertisers are offered exclusophisticated techniques that Targeting via online video. sive sponsorships of those sites. go beyond simply age demoAnd marketers are not only working with graphics when putting together media plans to target women, with an emphasis on digital. the traditional retail, health & beauty and Most marketers are doing extensive studies consumer packaged goods categories. Marto find out what motivates women of assorted keters of products considered to be more traages and income groups to buy products, and ditionally male—those that have loaded up what can be done to best influence those pur- on TV sports programming over the years, chases beyond doling out product puffery in like financial and insurance, upscale auto and a 30-second spot. More than one agency has even beer and wine—have, in the most recent


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upfront, spent bigger bucks trying to reach women on female-oriented cable networks. Many a media agency exec considers today’s women the target of virtually every marketer, and most media plans of national advertisers include both television and newer forms of video. “Women are not watching less TV, they are just watching differently,” says Kristin Goodloe, managing partner at MediaCom, where she oversees the Revlon account, among others. “We now have to think of TV as video and buy based on women’s video viewing. Traditional television is still important for the immediacy of promoting new products and building brands, but we are now complementing that more with online video spending. We cast a wide net with broadcast and cable TV and then target better on specific female audiences by category online.” How has research led to strategy changes among marketers looking to reach women? For more, and to sign up for the daily MBPT Spotlight newsletter, go to

September 10, 2012

9/7/12 6:32 PM

SpecialReport: IBC

By George Winslow

New Developments, Optimism Lead to Vibrant Market Multiplatform delivery, lower-cost solutions crowd-pleasers at show


S IBC DR AWS TO A CLOSE on Sept. 11, attendees were reporting a relatively vibrant market, that sentiment being bolstered by several new studies released during the show on the state of broadcast industry technology. Much of the optimism was centered around newer media, which until recently had produced more fear than optimism among broadcasters. A survey from Adobe and Ovum, released at the start of IBC, found that two-thirds of the 200plus executives surveyed from major broadcast and other media organizations were optimistic about their future, with 85% feeling that multiplatform distribution will be critical to their growth. Broadcasters are also moving into 2013 in good financial shape, said Gary Greenfield, president/CEO of Avid. “This is an election where we are going to see the most money spent in history,” he noted. “Does that mean [broadcasters] will be buying a lot more product between now and the elections? No, but it does mean we will go into next year with healthy balance sheets, and that’s a big difference from a few years ago.” Those sentiments were also evident in two separate reports released by the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers and the investment bank Silverwood Partners that highlighted the shift to software, IT and IPbased technologies for digital distribution. But shifting demand is also creating “a lot of winners and losers in the market,” as well as some caution among broadcasters, said Jonathan Hodson-Walker, managing partner of Silverwood Partners. “The rate of change is so great and there are so many different ways of distributing video that people don’t want to invest a lot of money in technologies they aren’t sure will be the right technology for the future,” he said. During the market, this shift was evident


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al and international field reporters. This app gives reporters the ability to transmit highquality live or recorded video from an iPhone or iPad using cellular bonding technologies. Advances in satellite newsgathering were also evident. Former BBC executive Martin Turner, who recently joined Inmarsat as director of media business, said the company is working to deploy systems offering customers more compact, yet faster methods for delivering news. These include the 2013 deployment of an improved version of Inmarsat’s widely used Began satellite uplink system that doubles streaming speeds, and the late-2013/early-2014 launch of a new Global Xpress Ka-band service offering even higher speeds. As broadcasters looked for lighter-weight, less-expensive newsgathering solutions, vendors were also moving to satisfy the demand for lower—Alain Andreoli, Grass Valley president/CEO cost production equipment, with Sony announcing a new family of mid-range switchers. While the new MVS-3000, MVS-6530 and way producers and news organizations work in multiple locations was also a hot topic. During MVS-6520 switchers have many of the key IBC, Avid released its Cloud-based Interplay features of Sony’s higher-end MVS switcher Sphere system, which allows journalists to cre- line, the least expensive model, the MVSate, edit, share and publish news from the field, 3000, will sell for just under $40,000. “Sony made its name in high-end broadcast while Adobe launched its Adobe Anywhere distributed production system with the announce- equipment, but in the last five or six years, we’ve branched down into more affordable ment that CNN would be deploying it. The market also saw continuing advances equipment,” said Mark Bonifacio, director in low-cost newsgathering systems. LiveU of Sony Electronics’ live production systems was showing its compact, lightweight LU40-S group. “We’ve done that for cameras, moniuplink device that bonds together 3G or 4G tors and decks. These are our first switchers cellular connections to send back video from for under $100,000.” the field. TVU Networks introduced its TVUPack Mini SE, an ultra-portable cellular 3G/4G For more coverage of IBC, go to uplink solution designed for use with the Sony XDCAM shoulder camcorders. Meanwhile, Dejero announced that the CaE-mail comments to nadian Broadcasting Corp. is deploying the and follow him on Twitter: @GeorgeWinslow Dejero Live+ Mobile App to 100 of its nationin a plethora of new solutions to handle various aspects of multiplatform delivery. “There is clearly a profound transformation in the market in how customers are spending their money and what they care about,” said Alain Andreoli, president and CEO of Grass Valley. “Building this multiplatform content delivery architecture, which includes file-based workflows and IP-based networking and content discovery, is on the forefront of what our customers are doing.” Production systems meant to streamline the

“There is clearly a profound transformation in the market in how customers are spending their money and what they care about. ”

september 10, 2012

9/7/12 6:11 PM

FifthEstater: Joe Ruffolo 

By George Winslow

Putting Digital Into Everything

Joe Ruffolo Current Title: Senior VP, Digital Media, ABC News


Joe Ruffolo leads the charge to expand ABC News’ online election coverage This fall, political incumbents and challengers won’t be the only ones facing a referendum on their future. Broadcast news organizations will be offering unprecedented levels of election coverage on digital platforms as part of their battle to show that traditional media hasn’t lost touch with the average viewer. That fight makes Joe Ruffolo’s moves to dramatically expand ABC News’ digital operations particularly noteworthy, both as a tactic for increasing ABC’s overall audience and as a test case in digital news strategies. “We want to put digital into everything we do,” says ABC News president Ben Sherwood. Sherwood hired Ruffolo as the division’s top digital executive in April 2011, believing Ruffolo’s 15 years of experience in digital media at CNN, AOL and MTV Networks would bring a very different, digital mindset into the organization. “Given his background, I thought he would be a terrific leader to come into a traditional, old-media organization which had always had a digital operation bolted onto it and be able to work through the barriers and obstacles to integrating a digital operation into a broadcast operation,” Sherwood says. Since taking charge, Ruffolo has expanded the reach of ABC News’ content by cutting deals with Google’s YouTube and Yahoo News. YouTube will make ABC News part of its Election Hub Channel and provide a live stream of ABC’s coverage of the presidential and vice presidential debates. With the Yahoo News partnership launched last fall, ABC News became the premier news provider for Yahoo News. The two organizations agreed to work together to produce and market


original content across all of their sites, which reach a combined 90 million unique visitors per month. Their five coproduced Web programs have been watched more than 100 million times. ABC News is betting that wider online exposure will also boost its on-air ratings. “If we can get only 1% of the [90 million] users of Yahoo News to tune in to one of our ABC News programs, that is the difference between victory and defeat in each of the competitions we are in,” Sherwood says. During the conventions, ABC News and Yahoo streamed 4½ hours of nightly coverage. “You will see a lot more live streaming” during the election cycle, Ruffolo says. Expanded social media partnerships, ramped-up efforts to create digital-only content and a much more user-focused approach to digital news will also be key parts of the mix, Ruffolo adds. Many of these priorities reflect Ruffolo’s long experience in the news and digital media arenas. Ruffolo says he had always been interested in media and entertainment, but was majoring in political science and pre-med in college when he became an intern at CNN. “It really was a wonderful summer that convinced me to break the news to my parents that I wasn’t going to become a lawyer or a doctor,” he recalls with a laugh. After graduation, Ruffolo returned

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B.A., political science, Brown U., 1996; M.B.A., Emory U., 2000

Employment Highlights

Ruffolo has partnered with Yahoo News and YouTube to build ABC News’ digital offerings.

to CNN full-time, working in strategic planning. Then he cut his teeth in the early days of online news media, working with a small team at CNN Interactive before returning to school for an M.B.A. Ruffolo then spent five years at AOL, playing an important role in setting up international joint ventures and business development. After spending two years at MTV Networks, where he was involved in business development for Nickelodeon and worked on some of the network’s early digital distribution deals, he returned to AOL. Ruffolo’s extensive digital experience has taught him both the importance of partnerships, such as the Yahoo deal, and a relentless focus on the user. “The part of digital media that has always been the most exciting to me has always been the focus on the individual and how we have to inform and entertain one person at a time,” he says. He also remains extremely confident about ABC News’ ability to make the difficult transition to a world-class digital news organization. “There is really an opening for new people and new brands to come in and lead the marketplace, and I think we are in an amazing position to do that,” Ruffolo says. E-mail comments to and follow him on Twitter: @GeorgeWinslow

CNN, positions in strategic planning and CNN Interactive, 1996-98 AOL, executive positions in international business development and corporate strategy, 2000-05 MTV Networks, senior director, strategy and business development, Kids and Family group, 2005-07 AOL, VP, international business development, 2007-09 AOL, VP, global strategy and operations, 2009-10 AOL, VP, and head of current programming, 2010-11 Current position since April 2011

Personal: Born: Dec. 31, 1973; single

September 10, 2012

9/7/12 6:12 PM



Right Foot Forward As a ‘B&C’ reporter waited in the Federal Communications Commission’s eighth-floor lobby to interview Ajit Pai, the elevator doors opened to reveal the FCC’s two Republican commissioners, Pai and senior Republican Robert McDowell, returning from lunch. It was appropriate to find them together, since Pai and McDowell are aligned in their dislike of too heavy a regulatory hand on industry. They have teamed up to dissent on a couple of recent FCC decisions, as well as to cast the first votes (after that of chairman Julius Genachowski) approving the Verizon/SpectrumCo deal. But while commissioner Pai appears to be a solid second vote for more deregulatory policies, he is also charting his own path, though a trail he concedes was blazed by his parents, who came to this country from India. Pai is not focused on being the first Indian-American commissioner, though he is proud of that distinction, given that it reflects on the success and sacrifice of his parents. It is easy to put conservatives and liberals into boxes: industry tools, union lackeys—the better to marginalize them. But Pai’s defense of the marketplace as a primary driver of innovation and opportunity appears rooted in his experience of family success driven by initiative and rewarded by the marketplace. “Their approach to life,” he says of his parents, “is that when an opportunity presents itself, you should work as hard as you can to take advantage of it. I take the same approach as a general regulatory matter that if we remove some of the regulatory barriers to opportunity, risk-takers in the private sector will take advantage of it and deliver cutting-edge technologies and services.” It is not clear how much Pai can get done from the bully pulpit of a minority seat on the FCC, but he has some good ideas about speeding the agency’s decisionmaking—one of which he credits to media activist attorney Andrew Schwartzman, hardly the poster-person for a conservative Republican commissioner. It will take more such cross-pollination of reform ideas to get any real reform done. In his first extensive interview as an FCC commissioner (see page 16), Pai is careful not to talk too specifically about issues currently before the commission, but he does speak broadly about the need for the FCC to acknowledge that the marketplace is more competitive than the one for which legacy regulations were adopted. He also had the right answer, at least as far as broadcasters are concerned, on the future of broadcasters facing a broadband-centric FCC (and Pai is as high on wireless as anybody) that is about to come out with the first rules of the road for spectrum reclamation. “To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the broadcasting industry’s demise have been greatly exaggerated,” he told B&C. “Broadcasting continues to play a vital role in communities across the country. On the television and the radio side, consumers still draw tremendous benefits from broadcasting, and I think that is something that will continue into the future...I’m optimistic about the future of broadcasting.” We aren’t in the business of endorsing individuals, candidates or regulators. Our readers are smart enough to figure out for themselves who it is in their best interests to support. But we can tell them it is in their interests to consider Pai’s case for a nimbler and more accountable FCC, as well as a still-relevant broadcasting business.



Louis Hillelson

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Vol. 142 No. 34 September 3, 2012 © 2012 by NewBay Media, LLC B&C Broadcasting & Cable (ISSN 1068-6827) (USPS 066-000) is published weekly, except one week in June, two weeks in August, one week in November and one week in December 2012, by NewBay Media, LLC, 28 East 28th Street, New York, NY 10016. B&C Broadcasting & Cable © 2012 by NewBay Media, LLC, 28 East 28th Street, New York, NY 10016. All rights reserved. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster, please send address changes to: B&C Broadcasting & Cable, P.O. Box 5873, Harlan, IA 51593-1155. Subscription rates: USA $199, Canada $249.99 (includes GST), Foreign Air $360.99. A reasonable fee shall be assessed to cover handling costs in cancellation of a subscription. Back issues: Except for special issues where price changes are indicated, single copies are $7.95 U.S., $10 foreign. Please address all subscription mail to: B&C Broadcasting & Cable, P.O. Box 5873, Harlan, IA 51593-1155 or call 1-800-554-5729. Outside the U.S. call 1-515-247-2984. B&C Broadcasting & Cable was founded in 1931 as Broadcasting: The News Magazine of the Fifth Estate. It was named Broadcasting & Cable in 1993. B&C Broadcasting & Cable ® (registered) trademark of NewBay Media, LLC. Printed in U.S.A. Publications Mail Agreement No. 41975525. Please return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: RCS International, Box 697 STN A, Windsor Ontario N9A 6N4

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September 10, 2012

9/7/12 6:13 PM


By Ben Grossman

Liverpool FC: Terrible Team, Great Television As I sat down to write this piece last week, the New York Yankees had lost three straight and seven of their last 10. While nothing could make me happier than the Evil Empire falling apart, the media was going absolutely crazy over the Yanks’ struggles. Talk radio was abuzz and the smoke of uncontrollable hype was pouring from the Internet, as if the world was ending just as baseball entered the pennant races. But that’s nothing; believe me. You should see what’s going on across the pond in Liverpool. The legendary Liverpool FC, one of the most storied soccer teams in the world, is on fire. As in burning down. The team had not won a single game this season as of the time I wrote this. It surprisingly just dumped one of its most high-profile players, and surreally replaced him with…nobody. The national media couldn’t stop talking and writing about this massive catastrophe. Things got so out of hand that the ownership group had to write an open letter to the fans. And all this happened a mere four games into the season. Four games. Even George Steinbrenner used to give managers more time than that…usually. Welcome to the ridiculous world of soccer in the United Kingdom. But I don’t need to tell you about it, you can see for yourself. On Sept. 16, Fox will debut Being: Liverpool, a Hard Knocks-like docu-series about a franchise for which failure is simply not acceptable. After the premiere on Fox, the show moves to Fox Soccer Channel for five more episodes. And you will want to follow. I was at a Liverpool home game last week. It’s hard to describe the passion around that club. I don’t care how many times I’ve been there and bathed in the pregame ritual: When the 45,276 faithful packed into the team’s historic stadium join together and sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” goose bumps have never failed to make themselves known.

I’ve been at Liverpool’s Anfield for glorious wins, most recently two seasons ago when local hero Steven Gerrard scored three goals to lead a timeless come-from-behind win over a powerful Italian team. So to see the team looking this bad was shocking. But equally surprising was the access given to the cameras for the new show. Gerrard and

The national media couldn’t stop talking and writing about this massive catastrophe.

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the team’s manager (don’t call him a coach, that’s the word for a bus over there) literally open their homes to viewers. Through the show, fans can get access to everything from the manager’s pep talk before a game to Liverpool’s players meeting with the Boston Red Sox during a trip to the States. Perhaps the Red Sox meeting is fitting, as not only are both teams owned by the same people, but both are once-proud, currently struggling franchises. In fact, a fun wager over a pint or three may be to guess whether Boston manager Bobby Valentine or Liver-

pool’s Brendan Rodgers ends up getting the sack (a.k.a. fired) first. Any show in this genre will be compared to the standard-bearing Hard Knocks of course. And from a production and access standpoint, this holds up surprisingly well. Only a few problems stick out. One, you may have some trouble picking up the thicker accents. I don’t think it needs subtitles à la the deplorable Honey Boo Boo, so I’d suggest either drinking a couple of Guinnesses (what is the plural of Guinness, anyway?) or simply having the rewind button ready. Second is just the timeliness factor. The first episode is based on filming from the late summer, so fans will already know the outcome of some of the issues, such as when Rodgers says he wouldn’t get rid of the star player that was just sold to another club last week. But the show will eventually take fans through England’s version of the trade deadline that passed last week, so viewers will have to be patient. For now, I’d suggest the network air a pre- and post-show studio show to put what viewers are seeing in more current context, which would also make it more of an event. Shows airing on Fox Soccer Channel historically could never stand up to bigger outlets from a production standpoint. I know this firsthand, as I once worked on the production side for the network, and any place that would hire me can’t be that good. But with this new show, FSC is showing— in the run-up to News Corp. taking over World Cup TV rights from ESPN—that it can turn things around. Now we’ll see firsthand if Liverpool can do the same. I just hope the Yankees don’t. E-mail comments to and follow him on Twitter: @BCBenGrossman

september 1o, 2012

9/7/12 6:14 PM


Broadcast & Cable magaine, Sept. 10, 2012

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