***Consumer Electronics Association executives stick with their forecast of Ultra High Definition TV sets not taking off in a big way until 2015 or 2016. The Ultra-TV set-maker crowd almost to a TV, whether big players Samsung, Vizio, LG and Toshiba or newbies like Seiki, stick to their belief that next year will be the time sales shoot for the sky. This is going to be a fun watch to see who blinks first on their stand.
***Within this Ultra HD set competition, Sharp and Toshiba include web browsing features with their models, where you use a remote or keyboard to put any website in big view. Sharp goes one step further with side-by-side displays of a website and TV picture. There’s one catch at the moment: you can’t display a web video and TV picture side-by-side. You have to go full-screen if you want to see that YouTube or Netflix program. The Sharp folks say they’re working on it and intend to make that side-by-side video display possible ASAP. Once that’s perfected and available, let’s see how fast this smart TV feature gets imitated by the other Ultra HD set manufacturers.
***The big CBS/Time Warner Cable station blackout is over, but many Time Warner Cable subscribers in the Midwest continue without Journal Broadcasting stations in their areas, thanks to week five of that situation involving cable’s second-largest operator. In this one, there’s no sign anyone’s at the negotiation table, and no sense lack of NFL games now, or the premieres of new broadcast series the next two weeks, is forcing movement between these retransmission gladiators.
***Slowly and surely, Al Jazeera America is winning viewers over to its coverage. Nielsen reports the channel averaged 23,000 in primetime the week before Labor Day, up 5,000 from the week before. Total day viewing jumped to 18,000 from 14,000. It’s still unclear if slowly and surely Al Jazeera America will pick up affiliates and national advertising support.
***When Jerry Lewis hosted the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual 21-hour telethon, he made a habit of pointing one finger at the tote board and declaring the tote was viewer pledges and nothing more than viewer pledges. Furthermore, he showed pride in that 100 percent or more of the final tote was accounted for, year after year, with that total climbing above $60 million in its last 21-hour editions. Not so post-Lewis’ role with MDA. When announcing that $59.5 million was raised by the Show of Strength special running on ABC September 1, MDA acknowledged that the total included corporate sponsor contributions. So how much did viewers actually pledge during that two-hour special? The sense you get is not, after considering A) One corporate sponsor, the International Association of Fire Fighters (involved with MDA for decades) raised $26.1 million through its boot drives over the last few months, nearly half of the total; B) Many ABC stations did little or no promotion for Show of Strength, whether with on-air spots, outdoor ads or newspaper/online banners; and C) ABC averaged 2.1 million viewers for the night, third among broadcast nets according to Nielsen. Give MDA credit for noting the inclusion of sponsor money. The question for 2014 and beyond: How do you invite more viewing and more donations when you view?
***Marty Glickman was one of the great radio/TV sportscasters of all time, and a force behind the mike as well. HBO’s new documentary Glickman, written/produced/directed by James Freedman, does the subject full justice. One way or another, catch this.
***Get ready for one busy cluster of New York-based TV activity between the final weeks of September and October. Advertising Week’s 10th go-round begins it all, followed by the first-ever PaleyFest NY, Hispanic TV Summit, Digital Delivery Network’s conference, Diversity Week, the annual New York Television Festival and NYC Television Week, another first-ever attraction focused on the tube. Set aside that extra taxi and subway fare. You’ve been warned.
Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!