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Syndie Newsmags A-Twitter About Oscars

Social-network blanket coverage helps boost ratings for awards shows 3/23/2010 09:32:00 AM Eastern

For TV’s syndicated access magazines,
awards-show coverage has
become a flurry of tweeting and
twittering, with anchors, reporters
and producers interviewing
celebs on the red carpet, filing quick updates
from backstage and posting photos
and blogs live from the scene.

“It’s the ultimate chance for our fans to
get close to the stars,” says Lisa Gregorisch-
Dempsey, Extra’s senior executive
producer. “We don’t do the cursory job of
announcing the hits, runs and errors; we’re
the sideshow. We’re tweeting the live playby-
play at these events.” And just in time
for the Academy Awards, Extra is launching
a redesign of its Website.

All of the hosts and correspondents on
NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood are active
in the social-media universe. The show
has its own online audience polling site, AH
Nation, where viewers can respond to questions.
Those responses are incorporated into
the show’s content.

“[Host] Billy [Bush] is very aggressive
with the online stuff,” says Adam Jordan, Access’s
supervising producer. “He’s tweeting
and sending photos and Facebooking. He’s
very much in touch with what goes on.”

Entertainment-magazine awards coverage
used to be limited to one televised half-hour
that aired on the Monday night after any
given ceremony. With the success of Twitter
and Facebook, online coverage now starts
online at about noon on Sunday and continues
through Monday night.

“It’s a 24-hour wild process,” Jordan says.
“We have producers working all night.”

At a time when the ratings of nearly everything
on TV are dropping, events such
as the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys and
Grammys are giving syndicated magazines
a welcome boost.

After this year’s Golden Globes on Jan.
17, the ratings of most of the entertainmentfocused
access magazines improved. In the
week following the Globes, Access’s household
ratings jumped 5% to a 2.2 live-plussame-
day number compared to the week
prior, while CBS Television Distribution’s
Entertainment Tonight’s 4.7 live-plus-sameday
increased by 4%. Warner Bros.’ Extra
added 12%, while CTD’s Inside Edition,
whose purview is broader than entertainment,
improved by 6%.

Following last year’s Oscars, only two
shows saw weekly gains. Access gained 5%,
while ET improved by 2%; the other magazines
were either flat or down for the week.
Even if a show’s national weekly ratings
don’t increase, awards shows also tend to
help the magazines in important local markets.
After last year’s Oscars, Extra’s household
ratings improved by 54% in New York
and 47% in Los Angeles, even though the
show’s overall ratings declined by 6% for
the week.

Says Jordan: “We find that the Oscars, the
Golden Globes and the Grammys seem to
bump ratings the most for us. We usually see
a 20%-25% jump the following Monday.”