Gaskell Media Newsletter
Volume 19, Issue 6
Winter 2006
Click EXTRA to read all about it
The audience for online newspapers has skyrocketed over the past year. According to a Nielsen/NetRatings report released a few weeks ago, the number of online newspaper editions viewers is growing faster than that of the overall Web audience, and is increasing faster than other news-oriented Websites.
The report showed that approximately 40 million unique users visited these sites during the month of October 2005 (26% of the entire Internet population), which is an 11% increase from last year.These rapid growth figures are also showing for specific newspaper sites such as, which saw 15% increase to 11.4 million unique users, and, which saw a 28% increase to 8 million unique users.
On the other hand, these same sites are struggling heavily with declining print sales. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, newspaper circulation declined by 2.6% in the six months before September.
Declining print sales are likely to suggest increasing online readership, but according to Gerry Davidson, senior media analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings, "Major newspaper sites are really responding to what customers want from their Web experience." Davidson explains that newspaper sites are feeling the pressures from competing sites like Yahoo!News, and are responding by adding more photos, streaming video, and interactive blogs, "they have to keep up".
Girl Talk
The ABC Radio Network has created a new division specifically targeting women. John McConnell, senior vp of programming for ABC, recently remarked, "The most successful daytime shows on TV - Oprah and Dr. Phil - appeal to women. Why aren't we there?" ABCRN is moving Satellite Sisters, which airs weekends on 100 radio stations, to a daily schedule from noon to 3PM. It's not had to believe that in an industry where male programmers outnumber women ten to one, talk radio targeting women has largely been ignored. Plus which, contrary to popular belief, Women's Talk is not limited to women's interests such as fashion, cooking, relationships, etc. "Women are looking for perspective on all issues," according to Irene Katsnelson, vp of network radio for Univeral McCann.
What's the hottest thing on the media menu?
Cellphone TV is the answer, ESPN, cable's most profitable network, is launching a cellular company. The service is built around delivery of the network's own programming. That's everything from email alerts about players to "pushed" highlights of each game from the hometown team. Suddenly mobile entertainment has emerged as a priority for TV programmers. Just in the past 10-15 years, TV has morphed into portable devices that can be viewed in cars, on planes, and even clothing.
The goals are basic. How can programmers make more money? CBS Chairman, Leslie Moonves, is ready for action. "How do we do a two minute version of CSI and get paid for it? or how do we provide sports and news highlights and get paid for that?" The market could explode to upwards of $16 billion by 2010, after the U.S. cell carriers fully upgrade their networks, according to the Yankee Group, a Boston-based research firm.
Unlike Internet users, cellphone customers are used to paying for phone mobility. Unlike TiVo and DVRs, you can't skip commercials on cellphones. Now unlike video-on-demand where cable operators want content for free, wireless phone companies are willing to pay to license content. By 2006 The Consumer Electronics Association predicts that 70% of U.S. homes will have a video-capable phone. Currently Verizon Wireless and Sprint PCS are leading the way into video. Sitting ont he sidelines are Cingular and T-Mobile.
The next logical phase of mobile entertainment will be expanding beyond cellphones by setting up a separate network for video. Tower company Crown Castle an hardware manufacturer Qualcomm, have competing plans to broadcast live video ove the air to mobile devices. It won't interfere with a cellphone using one company's technology. But what's more important, is that it will allow such devices less sophisticated than mobile phones to tap networks; the next generation of IPODs for example.
The graying of America
We have said it before but it's worth saying again. America's population is growing old, and older people tend to spend more time watching television. Between 2005
and 2010, there will be a 2 to 5 percent increase in adults 50-64, while there will be
a decline or at best a mere 1.6 percent growth in adults 18-49, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Older adults watch an average of 41 hours a week while adults 18-24 watch about 24 hours a week.
This study also dispels the previous notion that older people don't use the Internet or other new media. According to the study, adults 18-24 and adults 50-64 use email and other Web-based media at the same rate. Yet most advertisers target a younger demo.
According to Brian Weiser, vp and director of industry analysis for Magna, "consumer buying patterns no longer hold over a lifetime. People 50-plus are just as likely to change their buying behavior as any other demo group.
Cable continues to gain in popularity
Cable programmers are in high spirits. Their numbers have grown to a 60% share of the prime time audience since the summer. What makes this information really interesting is that the big giants of cable: USA, TNT and A&E are going through an erosion, similar to what the broadcasting networks have suffered in recent years. Smaller networks like The Food Network, Spike, Comedy Central and even Court TV, are showing huge audience increases. They are threatening the "Big Three" like cable did to CBS, ABC and NBC.
The obvious and most important reason why cable has shown strong growth is distribution. Programmers have benefited from DBS, direct broadcast satellite services. Over 25 million homes have been added in the past decade. That's good news and bad news for less established networks such as National Geographic and Oxygen who will have to spend big bucks on programming and marketing to secure more subscribers. Fully distributed channels like ESPN and Nickelodeon don't need to worry. If you're a network stuck somewhere in the middle, that's not a good thing either. Researchers for ad buyer MagnaGlobal rell, "Just as more channels and more choice have caused broadcast ratings to erode, they have also caused cable ratings to splinter. "The point being is always be aware of the changing cable landscape. When a network picks up a new series it can spike numbers. But the core channels and audience remain devoted to their programs and will find them where ever they go. Case in point, Law and Order from A&E to TNT. Pricing is key, negotiation the answer.
To IPOD or not to IPOD
When you go to see a movie there is at least 5 minutes of advertising for something. So now with the advent of podcasting, which actually began as a reaction to corporate radio - which is filled with advertising - podcasting is going the way of advertising.
Matt Feinberg, senior vp of nation radio for Zenith Media says, "With radio trying to find new revenue streams, this is one of the obvious ones". Premier Radio Networks just cut a deal with Starburst, which will pay a six figure number next year to sponsor a 3-minute customized podcast based on the show, Ryan Seacrest American Top 40. Premier president Kraig Kitchen commented, "We're going to deploy ourselves into an ad environment through short-form podcasts that contain specific, relevant programs that are sponsor-supported. "Premier has already teamed up with Clear Channel to provide 60-second video segments of The Rush Limbaugh Show to subscribers. Local radio podcasts, in about 64 Clear Channel radio stations, offer local content and local advertisers can buy 15-second sponsorships.
Why ABC is "Moving on up"
Fourth placed ABC only 18 months ago looked pretty grim. Disney CEO Michael Eisner was booted out. COO Bob Iger was taking a lot of heat for ABC's decline. Fast forward and ABC isn't "desperate" anymore. Iger hired Anne Sweeney, CEO of FX, to take over the troubled Disney ABC Television Group, and she quickly focused on two pivotal elements - scheduling and marketing. Along with ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson, Sweeney worked her magic and voila! Desperate Housewives and Lost became household names. Week five of the new season, ending 10/23, the top 5 shows were: 1. aBC's Desperate Housewives 2. CBS' CSI 3. ABC's Lost 4. ABC's Grey's Anatomy 5. NBC's ER


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