Though NBC's primetime leadership is largely a result of its dominant NFL Sunday night franchise, affiliates meeting with NBC brass at the NAB convention Tuesday came away thinking the network's other programming is ticking upwards.
At least that was the assessment of Ralph Oakley, president and CEO of Oakley Media and chairman of the affiliate board. "We see good growth in primetime. That Little Big Shots has turned out to be a winner," he said, and other NBC primetime series now seem to have established a stronger foothold with viewers.
While the board discussed internal network and station matters, it also had a meeting with NAB chairman Gordon Smith who outlined the organization's agenda ahead. Smith has met with other affiliate boards too.
Two items didn't appear to have gotten much board attention. One is NBC's decision to not renew the affiliation agreement it had with Boston's WHDH. Sunbeam owner Ed Ansin has vowed to continue to fight it, arguing the signal strength of NBC's presumptive new carrier WNEU would cover less than half the market and would not be in the public interest. NBC says Ansin's complaint is baseless.
The other item not making much headway is NBC's seemingly slow movement, compared to other network groups, on a wide TV Everywhere strategy. Oakley didn't appear concerned about it, saying "nothing specific" was mentioned during the meeting and claiming that the network and affiliates were plotting that digital future as they eye more and newer technology "coming down the path."