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Volume 24 No. 116

Media

The Bears' 30-24 win over the Eagles last night on "MNF" earned ESPN a 11.7 metered market rating from 8:30pm-12:00am ET. The rating is up 17% from a 10.0 that the comparative Steelers-Bengals game earned in '10. Last night's game drew a 20.8 rating on ESPN and a 12.5 rating on WCIU-Ind in the Chicago market. The Philadelphia market drew a 19.5 rating on ESPN and a 13.3 mark on WPHL-Ind (THE DAILY).

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: In N.Y., Bill Carter reported CBS’ moving “The Good Wife” to Sunday nights this season “has resulted in the loss of about 2 million viewers -- and outright frustration for a number of its fans, especially those who make a point to record the episodes on DVRs.” The problem “is one that shows on CBS have lived with for a generation: late-afternoon National Football League games that run past their scheduled broadcast time.” “The Good Wife,” which has a scheduled start time of 9:00pm ET, "has started as late as 9:29pm.” CBS officials said that the net “was trying everything it could think of to alert fans of ‘The Good Wife’ when the show would not be starting on time.” That included “sending a fusillade of messages on the network’s Twitter feed; posting the information on CBS.com and CBS’s Facebook page; messages scrolled every five to six minutes at the bottom of the television screen after the end of the games; and even something called an Eye-Lert, which uses e-mails and text messages to warn subscribers to this CBS service that a show may be delayed” (N.Y. TIMES, 11/8).

DEFENSIVE DAD: Former NFLer Archie Manning said of Fox’ Troy Aikman and Joe Buck criticizing his son, Giants QB Eli Manning: “I don’t always listen to Troy and Joe. They’re kind of hard on Eli. Joe’s always been really tough on Eli, and it seems this year Troy is too. But that’s OK. Sometimes I just mute them” (ESPN.com, 11/7).

Dish Network has “approached several media companies about the possibility of licensing their TV channels for use on a new pay-TV service to be delivered over the Internet, rather than over Dish's satellite system,” according to sources cited by Schechner & Jarzemsky of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Dish Chair & CEO Charlie Ergen has “raised the idea with multiple media companies as part of a broader effort to control rising programming costs.” Sources said that the programming “wouldn’t include sports channels” in the “most-basic tier of service.” Sports channels “are among the most expensive for cable and satellite operators to carry.” On a conference call to discuss Q3 earnings yesterday, Ergen said, “Sports programming may be 20% of the viewing on a day-to-day basis, but it may be 50% of the cost that the consumer pays. I think that there's a limit to where sports costs can go." Schechner & Jarzemsky note offering channels over the Internet “could give Dish more flexibility to exclude channels whose existing contracts with Dish mandate that they appear on the satellite company's most-widely distributed tiers of service.” Sources said that the conversations around Dish's service “are exploratory, and it is unclear whether Dish will actively seek to launch the service.” A Dish spokesperson “declined to comment on whether the company is pursuing any such service.” Sources said that the company’s new discussions about a broader Internet-based service “are motivated in large by Mr. Ergen's desire to curb ever-growing bills it pays each month for the right to carry channels -- especially sports channels” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/8). Meanwhile, Ergen said that approval of AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile “could lead to more mergers and open the door for a deal" between Dish and DirecTV. He added that if the deal is "blocked, a DirecTV-Dish marriage would be ‘problematic’” (DENVER POST, 11/8).

PROFITS UP, SUBS DOWN: DAILY VARIETY’s Jill Goldsmith noted Dish “saw profit and revenue rise last quarter but lost 111,000 subscribers, citing intense competition -- including heavy discounting by rivals -- a weak housing market and lower discretionary spending by consumers.” Dish reported profit “rose 30% to $319 million on lower costs from adding fewer subscribers.” Revenue “was up 12% to $13.6 million.” The quarter “was the first one to fully incorporate Blockbuster, which Dish acquired out of bankruptcy for about $240 million” (VARIETY.com, 11/7).

Yahoo Sports in October returned to the No. 1 spot of comScore's monthly rankings of online reach among U.S. sports sites, a month after ESPN.com broke Yahoo's 41-month hold atop the list. Yahoo Sports garnered 50.7 million unique users during the month, beating out ESPN.com's second-place mark of 49.2 million. The rest of the top-10 sports rankings were the same as in September, with the exception of NBCSports.com, which traded the No. 8 and 9 spots with MLB.com.

TOP 15 SPORTS SITES FOR OCTOBER '11
(RANKED BY UNIQUE VISITORS)
RANK
SITE
UNIQUE VISITORS (000)
1
Yahoo
50,731
2
ESPN
49,179
3
FoxSports.com
36,150
4
NFL.com
26,681
5
CBSSports.com
21,399
6
Big Lead Sports
19,877
7
Turner-SI Digital*
17,411
8
NBCSports.com
14,784
9
MLB.com
13,781
10
USA Today sports
12,534
11
SportingNews.com
9,991
12
BleacherReport.com
9,066
13
SBNation.com
7,843
14
Jump TV/NeuLion
5,708
15
Stack Media
4,822
NOTE: * = Includes NBA.com, SI.com, NASCAR.com, PGATour.com, PGA.com, NCAA.com and WNBA.com.

Bloguin, the Internet company that runs more than 150 sports blogs like Awful Announcing, hired Mike Levy as an advisor. Levy, who founded Sportsline, will help the company push into venture markets and try to position Bloguin for a future round of financing. Separately, the company signed an advertising and content partnership deal with Yardbarker and Fox Sports. The deal allows Yardbarker, in conjunction with Fox Sports, to sell ad inventory across the Bloguin sites. The deal also will syndicate Bloguin content to FoxSports.com and Yardbarker.com pages.

FIGHTING STYLE: SB Nation bought the website MMA Fighting from AOL for an undisclosed amount. SB Nation plans to keep the site's edit team intact and host it alongside SB Nation's portfolio of MMA websites like MMA Mania and Bloody Elbow. MMA Fighting attracts around 2 million unique users per month, according to SB Nation Chair & CEO Jim Bankoff. "Our model is to find the best digital talent and put it on our digital platform," he said.

HBO for the first time in its 39-year history will telecast a boxing weigh-in live when Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez hit the scales Friday at 6:00pm ET. Jim Lampley will host the 30-minute telecast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas alongside Max Kellerman, Emanuel Steward and Harold Lederman. The show will be streamed live at insidehboboxing.com (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

FINDING NETWORK HEADQUARTERS: In San Jose, Jon Wilner notes the Pac-12 Conference is “in the process of choosing a Bay Area location for its massive broadcasting center and hiring an executive team to run the TV and digital networks.” Once those issues are resolved in the next few weeks, the conference “will begin developing the programming grid -- the specific content that will fill the national and regional networks 24/7.” Live events “will provide the foundation for programming.” One source of content will be what Wilner described as “Pac-12 Classics, the league’s version of ESPN’s offering that will feature replays of the best games in conference history” (MERCURYNEWS.com, 11/8).

SAME ROUTINE: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Bruce Dowbiggin wrote under the header “TSN Refusing To Push CFL Envelope.” He noted “many of the features that elevated” the CFL and its TV product “have been around for a few seasons without much change.” Having TSN as exclusive broadcast partner “was a financial success for the CFL.” But “part of this season’s malaise may have been TSN’s monopoly status.” TSN “could and should look at freshening the product for next season” (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/7).