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SBD/Issue 245/Sports MediaPrint All
TWC Will Be Able To Offer Some
ESPN3 Programming On Its Sports Tier
COST ANALYSIS: The companies are not commenting on press reports that Time Warner is paying $0.40-0.50 per subscriber per month for ABC's O&Os. Sources told THE DAILY that Disney was seeking one fee for all its programming.
HD Viewers Will Be Able To See More
Of The Field, Especially Horizontally
Fox this season is aiming to present all its NFL telecasts "in the 16-by-9 screen aspect ratio for high definition format, instead of the 4-by-3 ratio for standard definition format, which has been the norm," according to Bob Wolfley of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Viewers with HD "will be able to see more of the field, especially horizontally, hence getting a better look at a developing play." Viewers without HD "will get the wide look, but in compressed letterbox form -- black strips along the top and bottom of the screens." Fox President Eric Shanks noted the majority of the net's ratings, "60-plus percent, will come from HD viewership." Shanks: "It's time to actually ... start producing for the majority, which has invested in HDTV. Up until now, we have still been producing for old television sets. People with HD haven't gotten the full effect of us producing in a full 16-by-9. So we decided to make the switch." Shanks noted that some cable companies "on the standard def side don't have their equipment set correctly to provide the wide format in letterbox." In those cases, viewers will get a "chopped frame where, for example, all of the score box cannot be seen" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 9/3).
WORKING ON A GAME PLAN: Fox has produced three preseason NFL games in 16-by-9 and is working on a strategy with the league to roll it out for the regular season. Shanks told THE DAILY: "We're working with the NFL between now and week one on how we're going to proceed with 16-by-9 as soon as we get all the data back from viewers and data back from the league." Fox has produced MLB games in 16-by-9 for the past two months, during which time the broadcaster has been able to figure out which cable operators are not doing the letterbox correctly. Shanks said, "By us doing baseball for the last six or seven weeks, then these preseason games, with the viewer feedback we really narrowed in on the cable systems that aren't doing letterbox correctly on the standard def side. ... If the cable systems would do the letterbox correctly, nobody would have an issue at all" (John Ourand, THE DAILY).
Roddick Told Analyst
To Stop Being So Critical
As the U.S. Open heads into its second week, there is a "feud brewing on the courts: player versus commentator," according to Hannah Karp of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. With Tennis Channel and ESPN "only covering the U.S. Open for the second year, the number of talking heads has mushroomed at the Grand Slams lately, and they're not announcing matches in the hushed, respectful whispers still favored by British tennis fans and golf enthusiasts." Many announcers are "taking a chattier, more irreverent and in some cases just plain louder approach, and their commentary is zooming back to the players ... thanks to text messaging and social-networking tools like Facebook and Twitter." That chatter is "rankling some of the tour's more sensitive players, like Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick, not to mention purist fans accustomed to watching points in silence." Roddick told Tennis Channel analyst Justin Gimelstob to "stop hammering his forehand." Roddick this week sent Gimelstob a text message while watching his analysis on TV, saying, "I'm enjoying watching you sweat all over yourself." Similarly, Sharapova "recently became so sick of the relentless criticism and dissection of her serve on the air that [her] coach, Michael Joyce, begged the ESPN crew to lay off." Karp notes the tension "came to a head earlier this summer when James Blake heard ESPN commentator and former pro Pam Shriver criticizing his play from the sidelines at Wimbledon." ESPN's Chris Fowler noted that he "offended one top player recently with a comment that he was 'in denial' about the state of his career." The player subsequently told Fowler in an interview, "By the way, I am not in denial about anything" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/3).
GIVE 'EM SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT: SI.com's Jon Wertheim wrote ESPN "got burned by its conflicts of interest" while covering Roddick's second-round loss on Wednesday, during which he got into a heated argument with the chair umpire. The notion of ESPN analyst John McEnroe "offering measured analysis of a player-official conflict is absurd," and he "turns it into a self-referential joke instead." Patrick McEnroe, who "owes much of his Davis Cup success to Roddick, was in a compromised position," as was analyst Brad Gilbert, Roddick's former coach. Instead of "criticism or a suggestion that this ugly behavior is beneath Roddick, the discussion veered awkwardly into a ruminations on whether the challenge system should exist for foot faults" (SI.com, 9/2).
The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. All ratings listed are U.S. ratings (THE DAILY).TELECASTDATENETTIMERAT.VIEWERS
(000)NFL Preseason: Steelers-Broncos8/29Fox8:08-11:10pm6.110,127NFL Preseason: Cowboys-Texans8/28CBS8:00-11:00pm3.96,441NFL Preseason: Chargers-Saints8/27CBS8:00-11:30pm3.75,938LLWS Championship: Japan-Waipahu (HI)8/29ABC3:00-5:43pm2.03,042PGA Tour: The Barclays: Final Round8/29CBS2:00-6:15pm2.12,929LLWS: U.S. Championship:
Waipahu (HI)-Pearland (TX)8/28ABC3:56-7:00pm1.82,737PGA Tour: The Barclays: Third Round8/28CBS3:26-6:00pm1.72,373LLWS: Int'l Championship: Japan-Taiwan8/28ABC1:00-3:56pm1.42,062MLB: (regional)8/28Fox4:00-7:15pm1.21,683Olympus U.S. Open Series: Pilot Pen Tennis
Women's Final: Wozniacki d. Petrova8/28CBS1:00-3:26pm0.7948Diamond League Track & Field (taped)8/29NBC3:00-4:00pm0.7939Tennis: Arthur Ashe Kids' Day8/29CBS12:00-1:30pm0.6807"Training Days: Rolling with the
Alabama Crimson Tide" (taped)8/29ABC2:00-3:00pm0.6n/aTennis: U.S. Open Preview8/29CBS1:30-2:00pm0.6n/a"E:60"8/29ABC1:30-2:00pm0.5n/aGolf: U.S. Amateur Championship:
Final Round8/29NBC4:00-6:06pm0.5699Maloof Money Cup: Orange County (taped)8/29Fox3:00-4:00pm0.4576Golf: U.S. Amateur Championship:
(000)NFL Preseason: Colts-Packers8/26ESPN8:00-11:17pm3.65,729
NFL Preseason: Cardinals-Titans8/23ESPN8:00-11:10pm3.45,060 NASCAR Nationwide Series:
Napa Auto Parts 2008/29ESPN22:30-6:33pm1.52,328
MLB: Red Sox-Rays8/29ESPN8:00-11:07pm1.32,001 LLWS: Pearland (TX)-Auburn (WA)8/25ESPN8:07-10:18pm1.21,851 LLWS: Auburn (WA)-Fairfield (CT)8/24ESPN28:21-10:10pm0.91,460 LLWS: Taiwan-Panama8/25ESPN6:16-8:07pm0.91,310 LLWS: Waipahu (HI)-Columbus (GA)8/26ESPN27:00-9:16pm0.81,270 LLWS: Pearland (TX)-Auburn (WA)8/26ESPN4:00-6:27pm0.91,264 LLWS: Hamilton (OH)-Columbus (GA)8/24ESPN4:00-5:57pm0.81,252
HARD KNOCK LIFE: HBO averaged 947,000 viewers for the fourth episode of "Hard Knocks" on Wednesday night, marking the show's best audience this season to date. The episode, which featured the Jets' finances and the release of WR Laveranues Coles, is up 94% from the premiere of last year's fourth episode featuring the Bengals. Including replays and encores, "Hard Knocks" this season is averaging 4.1 million viewers per week (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
LIVIN' ON THE AIR IN CINCINNATI: Tuesday night's Brewers-Reds telecast on FS Ohio, which featured the debut of Reds P Aroldis Chapman, earned a 12.6 local rating in Cincinnati, marking a record for a Reds game on the network (THE DAILY).