Western Manitoba loses local TV news as CKX closes

CKX Radio and TV studios

I was sad to read of the closure of CKX TV in Brandon, Manitoba last Friday.

In the late 1970s I was the afternoon drive announcer on CKX Radio, a 50,000 watt station covering Brandon and dozens of rural communities across southwestern Manitoba. I occasionally wandered into the TV studios to appear in car dealer ads or do a bit of voice-tracking for station breaks. I was amazed that – back then at least – the competing CTV and CBC television transmissions were run side-by-side from the same control room, apparently a sensible efficiency in such a small market.

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Iran coverage boosts CNN’s iReport traffic

Andy Plesser of Beet.TV quotes a statement by CNN that page views for its user-generated iReport site reached one million on Monday, driven by coverage of post-election protests in Iran.

To put this in perspective, iReport (which was launched in February 2008) averaged 316,000 page views per day in 2008 (9.6 million per month) according to Nielsen Online data reported by CNN. The main news site, cnn.com, averaged about 35 million page views per day, according to comScore numbers quoted by TechCrunch in November.

Plesser says that over the past week, “some 5,000 Iran-related videos and photos have been uploaded to iReport” and that “about 150 of these citizen contributions have been used on the air or on CNN.com after being vetted and verified by the network.”

In a video interview Wednesday with Plesser, iReport senior producer Lila King talks about how the network uses multiple iReports to corroborate information, and how iReport has become part of its world news coverage.

News websites outdraw newspapers – for some things

Graphic by Pew Research Center

In another sign of the times, the Pew Research Centre reported today that, in the United States at least, the internet has “surpassed all other media except television as a main source for national and international news.” (emphasis mine)

Currently, 40% say they get most of their news about national and international issues from the internet, up from just 24% in September 2007. For the first time in a Pew survey, more people say they rely mostly on the internet for news than cite newspapers (35%). Television continues to be cited most frequently as a main source for national and international news, at 70%.

But TV execs shouldn’t be complacent. Among the under-30s polled by Pew, internet and television use for national and international news was just about equal. That’s a huge change from last year, when TV was almost twice as popular as the net in this age group.

BlogTV adds news and comedy channels

Toronto-based community videocasting site blogtv.ca is adding two channels: one for comedy and the other for news and politics.

The channels are scheduled to launch tomorrow [Friday].

Although blogTV.ca is a platform for anyone who wants to videocast [including some who are a long way from being video professionals], it’s owned by a genuine television network, Alliance Atlantis Communications.

Alliance Atlantis is in the process of being acquired by CanWest Global Communications and Goldman Sachs.

CTV must sell Citytv, says regulator

From thestar.com:

OTTAWA – The federal broadcast regulator is allowing CTVglobemedia to buy broadcaster CHUM Ltd. but only if the broadcaster sells five Citytv stations, including its flagship operation in Toronto…

That’s one very big “but”.

CTVglobemedia, operator of the CTV television network, wanted to keep the Citytv stations included in the purchase of CHUM. It did, however, offer to sell CHUM’s A-Channel television stations to Rogers Communications if the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission approved the purchase of CHUM.

From thestar.com again:

In its announcement, the CRTC said the purchase would be “inconsistent” with the regulator’s policy for CTVglobemedia to operate more than one conventional television station in one language in a given market.

“The purpose of this policy is to maintain diversity of voices within the Canadian broadcasting system,” CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein said in a statement.

CTVglobemedia says it’s reviewing today’s CRTC decision.

Canadian TV ad limit to be abolished

The Canadian Radio Television Commission will remove limits on the amount of advertising that conventional TV stations can broadcast during prime time (7pm-11pm).

  • The current limit is 12 minutes of advertising per hour.
  • It will rise to 14 minutes on September 1.
  • It will rise to 15 minutes on September 1 next year.
  • There will be no limit, beginning September 1, 2009.

The CRTC also announced yesterday that it would not approve a proposal by conventional TV broadcasters for a user fee payable by TV viewers who get their signals via cable or satellite.

The networks had said they needed the additional revenue to make up for loss of advertising due to audience fragmentation, and to offset the cost of upgrading their systems to HDTV – a change that must be completed by August 31, 2011.

Here’s the CRTC announcement. Details and discussion at Canadian Journalist.

Setback for CTV-CHUM deal

The Canadian Radio Television Commission has blocked the proposed sale by television network CTV of up to three CITY-TV stations.

CTV doesn’t yet own the stations — in Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton — but would pick them up as part of its purchase of radio and television broadcaster CHUM Limited

That deal is pending approval from the CRTC, and CTV had hoped it would become more palatable to the regulator if the CITY stations were taken out of the package.

The full story has just been posted at globeandmail.com.

Newspapers and TV losing audience

Bad news this week for the newspaper and television industries in the United States.

Research by the Newspaper Association of America revealed declining circulations during the six months ending March 31, 2007:

According to the analysis, the average daily circulation for the 745 newspapers reporting for comparable periods was 44,961,066, a decrease of 2.1 per cent (from 45,902,536) over the same period a year ago. On Sunday, the average circulation for the 601 newspapers reporting for comparable periods was 48,102,437, a decrease of 3.1 per cent (from 49,639,380) over the same period a year ago.

Ever optimistic, the NAA report positioned those numbers deep in its report, and instead highlighted the fact that newspapers are not losing subscribers as quickly as in the past: a churn rate of 36.5 per cent in 2006, compared with 42.1 per cent in 2004.

US newspapers should see a lift in their “in-market readership” numbers, however, if the Audit Bureau of Circulations approves a proposal to report combined print and online readership. Readership of US papers’ online editions grew more than five per cent in the last year, according to Nielsen NetRatings.

And an Associated Press story today says US television networks ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox had 2.5 million fewer viewers in the past two months than during the same period last year.

Everyone has a theory to explain the plummeting ratings: early Daylight Savings Time, more reruns, bad shows, more shows being recorded or downloaded or streamed.

Scariest of all for the networks, however, is the idea that many people are now making their own television schedules. The industry isn’t fully equipped to keep track of them, and as a result the networks are scrambling to hold on to the nearly US$8.8 billion they collected during last spring’s ad-buying season.

Lost Remote looks at the numbers and its readers add their analysis in the comments section [hat tip: Rob Hyndman].

New look for ABCNews.com

ABCNews.com 1.40pm EDT April 29, 2007 

ABCNews.com has a new look and a stronger emphasis on soliciting content from its readers.

The redesigned site, which was launched late yesterday, appears less clutterered than its predecessor [e.g. small icons now replace the headline tags “Video”, “Story” and “Vote”].

But more significantly, the new site distinguishes itself from its TV network competitors by having a front page that fits within a single screen view. That’s right, no vertical scrolling, even at resolutions as low as 1152 x 864. The page width is 1024 pixels, which is fast-becoming the standard for news sites [NBC is the only major American network still running an 800 pixel front page].

At first, I was impressed that ABCNews had achieved this, but all that content had to be accommodated somewhere, didn’t it? And, sure enough, there are two scroll boxes within the front page. I think there are two risks to this approach: readers may find multiple scroll-boxes more of a nuisance than scrolling the entire page, and scroll-bars within a page may not be as noticeable to the reader, leaving them to conclude that what they were looking for isn’t available at ABCNews.

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