2001 General Manager Survey

Annual snapshot of station execs' opinions
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1. What new first-run syndicated program do you feel has the best chance of success?




The Other Half

Crossing Over With John Edwards

2. Which new syndicated show of the past season had the best overall program quality?

Power of Attorney

Arrest & Trial

Everybody Loves Raymond

Spin City


3. What is your station's biggest programming need right now (by daypart)?

Access 9%

Daytime 30%

Early fringe 34%

Late fringe 9%

Late night 1%

Prime time 5%

Weekends 7%

4. What is your station's biggest programming need right now (by genre)?

Talk 35%

Movies 7%

Action hours 2%

Sitcoms 20%

Children 5%

Court shows 4%


5. Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the ratings performance so far of the new syndicated shows you bought for the 2000-01 season?

Satisfied 50%

Dissatisfied 45%

Don't know 5%

6. Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the new first-run syndicated programming for the 2000-01 season?

Satisfied 40%

Dissatisfied 56%

Don't know 4%

6A. If you are dissatisfied, why?

Lack of quality/creativity 67%

Lack of diversity 17%

Low ratings 15%

Nothing unique 8%

7. Are station-producer alliances-like the one formed recently by NBC, Hearst-Argyle Television and Gannett Broadcasting, a viable way of addressing shortcomings in the syndication marketplace?

Yes 61%

No 26%

Don't know 13%

8. Talk shows have been criticized for sleazy, tasteless subject matter. Have you seen noticeable improvement?

Yes 28%

No 72%

9. In light of the talk-show concerns, have talk shows been more difficult, easier or about the same to sell to advertisers?

More difficult 31%

Easier 1%

About the same 68%

10. Has the overall cost of syndicated programming gone up, down or stayed the same compared with a year ago?

Up 37%

Down 8%

About the same 50%

Don't know 5%

11. Compared with a year ago, has your station's program-acquisition budget gone up, gone down or stayed about the same?

Up 30%

Down 14%

About the same 54%

Don't know 3%

12. Have you carried, or are you considering carrying hard-liquor advertisements?

Yes 24%

No 76%

13. Should stations have the right to carry hard-liquor ads?

Yes 83%

No 17%

14. How would you characterize the current broadcast economy in your market?

Robust 12%

Stagnant 74%

Depressed 14%

15. How did the broadcast economy in your market in 2000 compare with 1999?

Better 53%

Worse 12%

About the same 33%

Don't know 2%

16. What is your forecast for the broadcast economy in your market for 2001?

Better 29%

Worse 22%

About the same 47%

Don't know 2%

17. Viacom, which owns CBS, recently acquired UPN. In the short term, what do you think will happen to UPN?

It will be programmed more or less as it is now. 34%

Viacom will use UPN to experiment with other kinds of programs 34%

Viacom will use UPN to rebroadcast CBS programs 20%

Other 9%

Don't know 10%

18. NBC now has a stake in Pax TV. In the short term, what do you think will happen to Pax TV?

It will be programmed more or less as it is now. 25%

NBC will use Pax TV to experiment with other kinds of programs 37%

NBC will use Pax TV to rebroadcast NBC programs 37%

Don't know 5%

(Total adds to more than 100% because of multiple mentions)

19. Do you think the four major broadcast network services-ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox-will exist a decade from now?

Yes 87%

No 13%

20. The FCC recently authorized TV duopoly. Generally speaking, is the effect of TV duopolies on the industry positive or negative?

Positive 70%

Negative 20%

Don't know 10%

21. Should the national TV ownership cap be raised above the current 35%?

Yes 39%

No 58%

Don't know 3%

22. Do you think the FCC should delay implementation of the digital TV service?

Yes 68%

No 31%

Don't know 1%

23. Do you feel that the National Association of Broadcasters adequately represents your regulatory interests?

Yes 86%

No 12%

Don't know 2%

24. The digital transmission standard that has been authorized by the FCC, 8-VSB, has been criticized for its poor propagation capability. Should the FCC authorize an alternative transmission standard, such as COFDM?

Yes 63%

No 16%

Don't know 21%

25. National spot advertising was very soft in 1999. Olympics and political advertising gave that market a boost in 2000. Will 2001 bring another soft year in the national spot market?

Yes 87%

No 9%

Don't know 4%

26. Currently, what is the approximate split at your station between national spot and local advertising?

National spot 44%

Local advertising 56%

27. In five years, what do you think that split will be for your station?

National spot 40%

Local advertising 60%

28. Are you concerned about the ownership consolidation of syndication companies?

Yes 46%

No 53%

Don't know 1%

29. Did your station offer free airtime to national or state/local candidates last fall during the election campaigns?

Yes 32%

No 65%

Don't know 3%

30. Given the networks' wrong projections on election night, should they disband their voting-data-collection cooperative, Voter News Service?

Yes 40%

No 53%

Don't know 7%

31. To what extent do you believe viewers are making use of the V-chip?

Regularly 3%

Occasionally 34%

Not at all 61%

Don't know 2%

31A. And to what extent do you believe viewers are making use of program-content ratings to help make their (or their family's) viewing choices?

Regularly 11%

Occasionally 61%

Not at all 28%

32. Several years ago, regulations barring networks from syndicating programs and having a financial interest in prime time programs were abolished. Overall, has the elimination of those rules had a positive, negative or neutral impact on the industry?

Positive 26%

Negative 12%

Neutral 60%

Don't know 2%

33. The Prime Time Access Rule, barring network affiliates from programming the hour before prime time with network and off-network entertainment shows, was also abolished a few years back. Overall, has the elimination of that rule had a positive, negative or neutral impact on the industry?

Positive 33%

Negative 7%

Neutral 58%

Don't know 2%

34. Which holds more promise for digital TV: high-definition television or multiple channels of standard-definition television?

HDTV 24%

Mutiple channels 64%

Don't know 12%

35. Do you feel that local cable systems should be required to carry your digital services?

Yes 99%

No 1%

36. Does the NATPE convention still serve a useful business purpose?

Yes 62%

No 36%

Don't know 2%

37. Will you attend NATPE this year?

Yes 28%

No 72%

38. When you attend the NATPE convention, how useful do you find the panel sessions and speeches addressing industry issues?

Very 10%

Somewhat 64%

Not very 26%

39. How useful do you find the opportunity to browse the latest program offerings on the exhibit floor?

Very 30%

Somewhat 48%

Not very 21%

Don't know 1%

40. At a typical NATPE, how many programs do you usually buy?

None 41%

One or two 44%

Three or four 9%

Five or more 4%

Don't know 2%

41. How useful is the opportunity to network with colleagues at NATPE?

Very 53%

Somewhat 39%

Not very 8%

42. If you could start over in the media business, which one of the following would you choose?

Broadcasting 77%

Internet 6%

Cable 12%

DBS 3%

Other new-media business 1%

None of the above 1%

About the survey

The BROADCASTING & CABLE Annual Survey of general managers was conducted by phone the week of Jan. 3-11, 2001, by the Cahners Research Group. Survey-takers told participants that the survey was being conducted for BROADCASTING & CABLE. A total of 100 general managers were interviewed. The breakdown of station affiliation was as follows: ABC 20, NBC 20, CBS 20, Fox 17, UPN 10, The WB 10 and Independent 3. As for market size, 10 were from the top 20 markets, 23 from markets 21-50, 25 from 51-100, and 42 from markets over 100. The mean market was 80.3. Margin of error for results was +/-10%.