B&C Eye6/16/2002 08:00:00 PM Eastern
|Compiled by Decisionmark|
|Newest digital stations:|
|WIVB-DT Buffalo, N.Y. (CBS)|
|WLED-DT Littleton, N.H. (PBS)|
|WBIR-DT Knoxville, Tenn. (NBC)|
|WLYH-DT Lancaster, Pa. (UPN)|
|KHBS-DT Fort Smith, Ark. (ABC)|
|Total DTV stations: 418|
By 2008 the race between cable and telcos for broadband hearts and minds will be pretty much a dead heat, a new study from Washington research firm C.A. Ingley & Co. says. DSL households are predicted to hold a slight edge at 46% (or 27.3 million) of an estimated 60 million broadband households, compared to 42% (25.1 million) for cable broadband. Telcos get the nod on the strength of their local voice and data expertise. Fixed satellite and terrestrial are expected to account for the other 12% (7.1 million).
The firm this week is preparing the release of a comprehensive 400-page report on multimedia broadband.—J.E.
TV advertisers aren't out of the woods on so-called 'alcopops.' Although the FTC last week told the Center for Science in the Public Interest that it had no evidence that the advertising and marketing of malt beverages—like Smirnoff Ice or Mike's Hard Lemonade—are being targeted to minors, CSPI points out that its initial complaint, in May 2001, didn't cite TV advertising, since there was virtually none at that time. Now there is and CSPI is taking a hard look at those ads and expects to have an action plan by next month. That could include going back to the FTC or Congress with a complaint against TV. It could also include going to Congress or taking the case straight to the public, since the FTC is viewed by some advocacy groups as too easy on "soft liquor."—J.E.
Ball in the air
The 2002 NBA season is over, but will the new All Sports Network, co-owned by the NBA and AOL Time Warner, be ready for next season?
Six months after announcing ASN—under the new NBA TV deal, it gets 96 NBA games per season—there doesn't appear to have been much progress. NBA Commissioner David Stern said to expect news at May's NCTA convention. Rumors swirled about a carriage deal with Comcast. Nothing happened.
Last week, Turner Sports VP Mike Pearl said planning would heat up after the playoffs. His boss, Turner Sports President Mark Lazarus, was more guarded. "We're having distribution issues, but the project is still on the front burner," he said, adding "someday"
ASN would get a CEO. Meanwhile, some NBA staffers say they haven't heard anything about the venture since December.—A.R.
Bay brouhaha over digital
An interference dispute between stations on opposite sides of the Chesapeake Bay may bear watching. WBOC-TV Salisbury, Md., last week asked the FCC to take action against the digital facility of WHRO, a public station in Hampton, Va. Both use ch. 16 and WBOC officials say the Virginia digital signal is creating serious interference.
The culprit is believed to be "duct skipping," a phenomenon that enhances a signal traveling over water, but other DTV anomalies are expected to occur. Maximum Service TV President David Donovan points out that the DTV channel assignments were based on theoretical predictions. "This may become a larger issue as digital TV stations fire up with larger coverage areas," he said, or start working at full power. Currently, almost half of the 418 DTV stations on the air are operating at reduced power and almost two-thirds of commercial stations have yet to go on the air. —B.M.