SBD/December 21, 2012/Media

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  • ESPN Gives Rob Parker 30-Day Suspension After RGIII Racial Comments

    Parker on Wednesday offered up an extensive apology on Twitter

    ESPN on Thursday announced that it is suspending commentator Rob Parker for 30 days for comments made about Redskins QB Robert Griffin III earlier this month on "First Take." ESPN VP/Production Marcia Keegan in a statement said, "Our review of the preparation for the show and the re-air has established that mistakes both in judgment and communication were made. ... To address this, we have enhanced the editorial oversight of the show and have taken appropriate disciplinary measures with the personnel responsible for these failures" (ESPN). Keegan said that the incident “will not change the direction of the show.” Keegan: "We will continue to discuss the important issues in sports, including race. Debate is an integral part of sports and we will continue to engage in it. However, we believe what we have learned here and the steps we have taken will help us do all that better" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/21). SI.com’s Richard Deitsch wrote the decision “comes in the wake of numerous ESPN employees speaking out about being associated with a program they believe is beneath the network.” A former ESPN employee said, "They brought on Rob for a reason -- he is confrontational. That is his style. They want debate and conflict and that can be a good thing, to force people to look at issues and force people to look at things. I know they get hammered a lot for making everything a racial topic, and sometimes it does go too far, but they do a good job of getting debate out there that people are shying away from because it is uncomfortable" (SI.com, 12/20). However, in L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes ESPN in the suspension “exposed more holes in how it mishandled the situation rather than trying to immediately fix it” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 12/21).

    Print | Tags: Media, ESPN
  • ESPN's Sean McDonough Tests Hearing At Game Before Determining Return

    McDonough had surgery Nov. 30 for his superior canal dehiscence syndrome

    ESPN’s Sean McDonough had “surgery Nov. 30 to fix a hole in the bone that separates his left inner ear from his brain,” and he will attend Friday's Bucks-Celtics game hoping the crowd noise “will help him know whether he’s ready to return to announce two bowl games,” according to Michael Hiestand of USA TODAY. McDonough was diagnosed with superior canal dehiscence syndrome (SCDS), which "can cause autophony -- a condition in which a person’s own voice, footsteps, etc., sound unusually loud.” He is scheduled to “return for ESPN’s Texas-Oregon State Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 and its Louisville-Florida Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2.” The problem is while McDonough now “can’t hear well in his left ear and is having some hearing problems with his right ear, ‘loud noises are really loud.’” But Hiestand writes McDonough’s “pounding sounds are gone.” He is “not sure what happens next ... and figures his left ear’s recovery will take months” (USA TODAY, 12/21). In Boston, Chad Finn notes McDonough was “originally scheduled to have the surgery Aug. 7 but put it off until a time when his schedule was lighter and the weather wasn’t as good.” McDonough: “They have to cut a hole in your skull and move your brain and have to lift your brain off the bone that they’re fixing. It’s daunting, it’s scary, and I really had to weigh, which I did for a long time, the pluses and minuses of the surgery.” He added, “The symptoms were awful, to the point of almost being debilitating. But you can live with them, and you have to make that decision. I realized they can get worse over time, you risk the onset of vertigo, and a lot of people try to live with it, go back to the surgeon one, two, three, or five years later, and say I can’t live with it anymore. … I just figured I don’t want to live with this. Plus, I’m hoping the titanium in my head gives me 10 more yards off the tee” (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/21).

    Print | Tags: Media, ESPN
  • After Record Growth In '12, NBA TV Plans To Expand Its Slate Of Original Programming

    NBA TV registered record growth in ’12, delivering four of its top five most-viewed telecasts since the net became rated in November ‘10. The Lakers-Trail Blazers game to open the ’12-13 regular season marked the net’s most-viewed telecast ever with 868,000 viewers. That beat the previous record of 847,000 viewers for the premiere of “The Dream Team” documentary on June 13. NBA TV’s primetime viewership also jumped 55% compared to ’11, and NBA Digital Senior VP & GM Christina Miller credited programming like "NBA Fan Night," "Open Court" and "The Association" as contributing to the net’s success. Miller said, “We’ve had three of our best Fan Nights ever this year alone. … You’re seeing the popularity of the league and the involvement and the ability for the fan to impact the outcome definitely driving up those dot com and actual views.” Original programming is another area that NBA TV has made a commitment to expanding. Miller said, “Original documentaries is definitely something that we’re doing, and we’ll make some announcements after the New Year what our follow up to ‘The Dream Team’ will be, as well as some other long-form content that will be available before the season’s over.”

    MOST-VIEWED NBA TV TELECASTS
    RK
    DATE
    TELECAST
    RAT.
    VIEWERS
    (000)
    1
    10/31/12
    Lakers-Trail Blazers
    0.6
    868
    2
    6/13/12
    "The Dream Team"
    0.5
    847
    3
    4/27/11
    Western Conference First Round: Grizzlies-Spurs: Game 5
    0.5
    835
    4
    5/1/12
    Eastern Conference First Round: Celtics-Hawks: Game 2
    0.6
    796
    5
    1/14/12
    Lakers-Clippers
    0.5
    756
             

    TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: Miller also stressed that extending the fan experience across multiple platforms, and integrating those platforms, is a key component to continued growth for NBA Digital. She said it is about “creating a more immersive experience in and around the game.” The league this year redesigned NBA.com to showcase video and social elements, which Miller said “give our fans a heightened level of awareness and involvement.” An interactive component on NBA.com includes “TNT Overtime,” which allows a viewer to choose complementary camera angles during TNT game telecasts. NBA.com also introduced "NBA Challenge," a new predictive gaming platform. Miller said, “It gives you that companion experience. … The whole digital portfolio definitely amplifies that and offers those opportunities and that’s critical to the growth and the numbers that you’re seeing.”

    Print | Tags: Media, NBA
  • Majority Of Networks See Regular-Season College Football Audience Decline In '12

    While NBC saw gains on the back of Notre Dame’s undefeated regular season, all other college football broadcasters saw a decline in viewership for their respective packages in ‘12. CBS’ SEC games remained the most-viewed package with 6.2 million viewers for 13 games. That figure, however, is down 10% from last year and down 11% from ’10. ABC finished with just under 5.0 million viewers, down 10% from last year and 11% from ’10. During its first season with a combined Pac-12/Big 12 package (23 games), Fox averaged 2.8 million viewers.

    CABLE GAMES: ESPN led all cable nets with an average of 2.6 million viewers for its 68 telecasts this season. That figure is down 4% from last year. ESPN2 also saw a drop for its 61 games -- the net averaged 1.0 million viewers, down 13%. FX saw a sharp drop this season, as many of the net’s marquee matchups ended up on Fox. The net averaged 613,000 viewers, down 40%. Also seeing a sharp drop was NBC Sports Network, which lost its package of Pac-12 games after last season. For 23 games featuring the Mountain West, Ivy League and Colonial Athletic Association, NBCSN averaged 101,000 viewers, down 72% from last year. Figures were not available for CBS Sports Network, Big Ten Network, Pac-12 Network and Fox College Sports, as those stations are not rated.

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL REGULAR-SEASON AUDIENCE
    NET
    TELECASTS
    VIEWERS (000)
    PREV.
    % +/-
    '11 TELECASTS
    CBS
    13
    6,168
    6,880
    -10.3%
    15
    ABC
    35
    4,975
    5,522
    -9.9%
    34
    NBC
    7
    4,381
    2,617
    67.4%
    7
    Fox
    23
    2,837
    n/a
    n/a
    n/a
    ESPN
    68
    2,576
    2,674
    -3.7%
    78
    ESPN2
    61
    1,028
    1,179
    -12.8%
    52
    FX
    20
    613
    1,016
    -39.7%
    14.0
    NBC Sports Net
    23
    100
    347
    -71.2%
    20

    NIGHT MOVES: ABC led all primetime packages with 6.5 million viewers for its Saturday night games, but that figure is down 3% from last year. Fox averaged 3.6 million viewers for its first year of primetime games. On cable, ESPN’s Saturday night game audience was relatively flat this season. The net did take a hit for its Thursday night games, as an extended NFL Network schedule took audience away. Notre Dame was a boon for all networks in primetime this season, as five of the top 15 college night games involved the Fighting Irish. ABC's Notre Dame-USC matchup led all games this season with 16.1 million viewers, followed by CBS' lone primetime game of the season -- Alabama-LSU (11.3 million viewers). ESPN put two games in the top 15 in primetime -- South Carolina-LSU on Oct. 13 and Florida-Tennessee on Sept. 15.

    MOST-VIEWED COLLEGE FOOTBALL PRIMETIME GAMES
    FOR '12 REGULAR SEASON
    RK
    NET
    DATE
    TELECAST
    RAT
    VIEWERS (000)
    1
    ABC
    11/24
    Notre Dame-USC
    9.4
    16,059
    2
    CBS
    11/3
    Alabama-LSU
    6.8
    11,349
    3
    ABC
    10/27
    Notre Dame-Oklahoma
    5.2
    8,627
    4
    ABC
    11/17
    Stanford-Oregon
    5.1
    8,347
    5
    ABC
    9/1
    Cowboys Classic: Alabama-Michigan
    4.8
    7,918
    6
    NBC
    9/22
    Michigan-Notre Dame
    4.0
    6,384
    7
    ESPN
    10/13
    South Carolina-LSU
    3.7
    5,978
    8
    ABC
    11/10
    Notre Dame-Boston College
    3.6
    5,755
    9
    ABC
    12/1
    Texas-Kansas State
    3.3
    5,219
    10
    ABC
    10/6
    Nebraska-Ohio State
    3.1
    5,161
    11
    Fox
    12/1
    Big Ten Championship: Wisconsin-Nebraska
    2.9
    5,106
    12
    ESPN
    9/15
    Florida-Tennessee
    3.1
    5,076
    13
    ABC
    9/15
    Notre Dame-Michigan State
    3.2
    4,977
    14
    ABC
    10/20
    Baylor-Texas/Florida State-Miami
    3.1
    4,843
    15
    Fox
    11/30
    Pac-12 Championship: Stanford-UCLA
    3.0
    4,872
               

    ALL THINGS LOCAL: Birmingham led all local markets for ESPN telecasts for the 12th consecutive year, garnering an 8.9 local rating. Greenville-Spartanburg moved up from No. 4 last season to second place this year. Eight of last season's top 10 local markets again finished in the top 10 this year. Tulsa and Las Vegas dropped out of the top 10, while Nashville, Memphis and Austin jumped into the top 10. All three metered markets in the state of Tennessee finished in ESPN's top 10 this season, with Knoxville leading the way with a 4.6 local rating. Meanwhile, Indianapolis topped all markets for NBC's Notre Dame telecasts with a 9.9 local rating for the seven games. The Chicago and Cincinnati markets tied for second (5.6 rating), followed by Columbus (5.2) and Pittsburgh (4.9).

    ON THE SET: ESPN's "College GameDay" averaged 2.0 million viewers for its 10:00am-12:00pm ET window. That figure is down 2% from last year, and down 1% from '10. The most-watched show this season was from the campus of USC prior to the Notre Dame game on Nov. 24 (2.4 million viewers), while the least-watched edition was 1.7 million viewers from the campus of Michigan State prior to the school's matchup with Ohio State on Sept. 29.

    ESPN "COLLEGE GAMEDAY" AUDIENCE TREND
    YEAR
    RATING
    VIEWERS (000)
    '12
    1.4
    2,033
    '11
    1.5
    2,068
    '10
    1.5
    2,062
    '09
    1.5
    2,034

    Print | Tags: Media, NCAA, Football
  • Red Bull Looking To Expand and Capitalize From Its YouTube Sports Coverage

    Red Bull is "trying to transform itself from a marketer into a competitive media company by making money on the sports coverage it has been largely giving away for years," according to John Jurgensen of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The strategy includes "selling downloads of its self-financed movies, licensing its shows to TV networks and pocketing ad revenue from its thriving YouTube channels." Red Bull since '87 has "built a global business on its yellow caffeine-laced drink and deep-pocketed patronage of action sports, from skateboarding to cliff diving." The company has an estimated $7B in "annual retail sales and a highly prized pipeline to young consumers." Red Bull's moves "signal a new phase in the evolution of 'branded entertainment.'" The company expects to "produce 1,000 hours of footage next year, up from 850 in 2012." Its 13 episodic YouTube shows "follow the exploits of athletes like freestyle motocross rider Travis Pastrana and surfer Kai Lenny." There also is a "gonzo sports program for NBC called the Red Bull Signature Series, and a monthly magazine -- 'The Red Bulletin' -- with an international circulation of 2.7 million" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/21).

    Print | Tags: Media
  • Final Ratings: ESPN Sees Audience Gains For First Two Games Of College Bowl Season

    ESPN earned a 1.8 U.S. rating and 2.6 million viewers for the first bowl game of the season last Saturday from 12:56-4:42pm ET, as Arizona rallied to beat Nevada in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. That figure is up 20% and 17%, respectively, from a 1.5 rating and 2.2 million viewers for the Temple-Wyoming matchup last year. However, the Arizona-Nevada rating is flat compared to the BYU-UTEP matchup in ’10, while viewership was down 8%. Meanwhile, ESPN earned a 1.9 rating and 2.8 million viewers for last Saturday’s Utah State-Toledo Famous Idaho Potato Bowl from 4:42-8:03pm, up 12% and 17%, respectively, from a 1.7 rating and 2.4 million viewers for the Ohio-Utah State matchup last year. However, while Utah State-Toledo’s rating was up 6% compared to the Northern Illinois-Fresno State game in ’10, viewership was down 3% (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

    ROCKET MEN: In Houston, David Barron noted ESPN’s Celtics-Rockets game last Friday “drew a bigger audience than Comcast SportsNet Houston’s broadcast of the same game.” As a “national broadcast generally siphons off a good portion of the local audience,” the CSN Houston audience was particularly affected as net remains available to “only 40 percent of the market.” CSN Houston earned a 0.97 local rating, compared to a 1.56 rating on ESPN. The combined rating made the matchup the “most-watched Rockets’ game of the year” (CHRON.com, 12/17).

    The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. Figures for Fox were unavailable at presstime.

    TELECAST
    DATE
    NET
    TIME (ET)
    RAT.
    VIEWERS (000)
    "NFL on CBS":
    Steelers-Cowboys (90%)
    12/16
    CBS
    4:15-7:30pm
    16.2
    n/a
    "Sunday Night Football":
    49ers-Patriots
    12/16
    NBC
    8:31-11:41pm
    13.9
    23,231
    "NFL on CBS": (regional)
    12/16
    CBS
    1:00-4:15pm
    8.4
    n/a
    "Football Night in America"
    12/16
    NBC
    7:30-8:15pm
    4.2
    6,893
    "The NFL Today"
    12/16
    CBS
    12:00-1:00pm
    2.5
    n/a
    NCAA Basketball: Indiana-Butler
    12/15
    CBS
    2:00-4:45pm
    1.4
    n/a
    Showtime Boxing
    12/15
    CBS
    4:45-6:00pm
    1.2
    n/a
    Golf: PNC Father-Son Challenge
    12/15
    NBC
    4:00-6:00pm
    0.7
    n/a
    "ESPN Sports Saturday"
    12/15
    ABC
    4:00-6:00pm
    0.6
    n/a
    Golf: PNC Father-Son Challenge
    12/16
    NBC
    3:00-6:00pm
    0.6
    n/a
    Dew Tour: iON Mountain Championships
    12/15
    NBC
    2:00-4:00pm
    0.4
    n/a
    Dew Tour: iON Mountain Championships
    12/16
    NBC
    1:00-3:00pm
    0.4
    n/a
    TELECAST
    DATE
    NET
    TIME (ET)
    RAT.
    VIEWERS (000)
    "Monday Night Football":
    Texans-Patriots
    12/10
    ESPN
    8:29-11:40pm
    9.0
    14,483
    "Thursday Night Football":
    Bengals-Eagles
    12/13
    NFLN
    8:30-11:47pm
    3.5
    5,457
    NBA: Lakers-Knicks
    12/13
    TNT
    8:16-10:52pm
    2.0
    3,046
    "Thursday Night Football Pre-Kick"
    12/13
    NFLN
    8:00-8:30pm
    1.9
    2,911
    "Monday Night Countdown"
    12/10
    ESPN
    6:30-8:29pm
    2.0
    2,898
    Famous Idaho Potato Bowl:
    Utah State-Toledo
    12/15
    ESPN
    4:42-8:03pm
    1.9
    2,811
    Gildan New Mexico Bowl:
    Arizona-Nevada
    12/15
    ESPN
    12:56-4:42pm
    1.8
    2,570
    "Sunday NFL Countdown"
    12/16
    ESPN
    10:00am-1:00pm
    1.5
    2,122
    NBA: Clippers-Bulls
    12/11
    ESPN
    9:42pm-12:04am
    1.4
    2,020
    NBA: Mavericks-Celtics
    12/12
    ESPN
    8:05-11:23pm
    1.2
    1,727

     

     

    Print | Tags: Media, Nielsen Media Research, ESPN, Comcast Corp.
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