“Corporate Raider”: Nielsen Just Sellout Yourselves!

— By Staff Reports—

The multimedia ratings agency known as Nielsen had a rude awakening on Monday as an activist (err “corporate raider”) known as Elliott Management has been essentially ordered to sell themselves out.

The New York firm had put in $660 million, according to a filing, The Wall Street Journal got wind of this, stating a stake into the company by the firm and urging to sellout was in the works.

The stock on Monday’s close went up several percentage points, in the morning’s extended hours trading, it was up 16%. The Journal reported the stock lost 25% on one intraday basis due to having it’s worst quarter in memory. The CFO “stated was one of the most challenging quarters for our business in over a decade.” WSJ claims “He cited challenging conditions for consumer-packaged-goods clients, which hurt its ‘buy’ business, which measures retail and consumer behavior.”

Nielsen had been taken private in 2006, to then go public again in 2011, some of these deals tend to be levearge buyouts which in turn are not good for the overall company’s health and employees. Univision, Toys ‘R Us, and that lovely All-American UC vendor, Avaya got suckered into these deals. It’s not clear wether Nielsen would go into a leveraged buyout, if you are going to sell yourself out like what this corporate raider wants, the only logical option is private equity.

The press has been fixated as this company well known for measuring generations of TV watchers traditionally measuring habits in “diaries” that later went to “people meters” (not every major TV market is using this 30+ year old technology for reasons outside the scope of this article.) A year after going public, Nielsen tied the knot with the competitor Arbitron, known for radio ratings, and went into multimedia after the merger due to an underrated technology known as the Portable People Meter, a technology that uses “audio watermark” that only machines can hear, these pager sized devices can detect an individual radio or TV station and check it instead of filing quarterly diaries.

But apparently no one cares about the PPM, because the press characterized Nielsen as the “TV ratings company”, and not the consumer measurement, radio, or audio ratings…”it’s known for that pesky TV meter” says CNBC indirectly!

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FCC Sidelines Sinclair/Tribune Media Merger; Citing “Sidecar” Deals

By Steven Clickford

Twitter: @SClickfo | Instagram @steven.clickford | Email via Contact page


While the heads at the Baltimore based Sinclair Broadcasting Group and the Chicago based Tribune Media have tried to tie the knot, making Sinclair the largest, the super of all super local media companies; the FCC reportedly had a political come-to-Jesus moment on Monday denying the two companies to merge.

“While we understand that certain parties which oppose the transaction object to certain of the buyers based on such buyers’ relationships with Sinclair, a situation we are prepared to address if the FCC agrees with such views, at no time have we misled the FCC in any manner whatsoever with respect to the relationships or the structure of those relationships proposed as part of the Tribune acquisition,” the company said. “Any suggestion to the contrary is unfounded and without factual basis.”

The initial reports came on Monday, while the country had another political sideshow from POTUS with startling attacks against the intelligence and federal investigative system while he was on his sales circuit across the pond attempting to have Russia  buy American affection.

What drew the FCC to throw the proposal to an administrative hearing; was about the so called “sidecar” deals. Essentially Sinclair was going to divest “Chicago’s Very Own” WGN-TV, KDAF in Dallas, and KIAH in Houston to some Joe-Schmo in Dallas who owns a car dealership. Coincidentally, this man has ties to the Smiths, the family behind the Sinclair Broadcasting enterprise. The deal was to divest these three stations, and then give them a buyback offer within five years.

The FCC also states that the sale of Tribune was well below market value, as the deal was expected to be completed for only $3.9 billion.

FTVLive reports that WPIX was going to be sold by Tribune to Cunningham Broadcasting for $15 million, and WGN to that Joe Schmo for $60 million. Typically any large or “Top 3” market TV stations are at least valued to $400 million. Regardless, these stations don’t carry the top networks, but have compensate with a strong local news or local programs, that would still be at least three times the value that Sinclair is proposing.

It should be noted that Cunningham Broadcasting is the estate of the mother of the Sinclair Broadcasting chairman, again another close tie.

Now this deal should be very alarming, because Sinclair operates or manages nearly 200 TV stations, and much more if the deal was to close, giving Sinclair Broadcasting 42 stations to control. Sinclair’s dummy companies for argument enables them to appear they have more stations than they actually own. One example is the exploitive use of Shared Services Agreements or better known to the industry as SSAs.  Quoting Scott Jones from FTVLive:

So, you call up your friend Steve and tell him that he can buy one of the stations for $100 bucks, but that you will still run the station and make all the decisions. You will throw Steve a few bucks as the station makes money and Steve doesn’t have to do a damn thing other than “act” like the station owner.

Then you make the same deal with your friend Amy for the other station. Amy does nothing, makes money and you still run and control the station that the FCC did not want you to run.

This is akin to how Cunningham and a couple other dummy companies that is legally described as “A Part of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group” when local newscasts closes out on the bottom of the screen. SSAs were originally designed to help legit broadcasters in underserved markets to own and make money on their stations without loosing additional revenue with having in house management or staff to keep the station on the air. Sinclair used this so they could advance their ownership or at least managerial wise, to out tilted journalism often to the right or far right conservative prejudices. Even more Orwelian, the Sinclair controlled stations are required to air “must run” segments, produced by corporate, on their stations that are measured and a figurative box must be checked. Franchise pieces such as “Waste Watch” attacking federal government waste, to opinion pieces by Mark Hyman and Boris Epstyn, that run on the local news to even a national statement against the media that got a lot of attention earlier this spring:

Wait, aren’t you folks guilty? Oh wait, its OK for Sinclair stations, but not for the others? Ooohhhh…Ok….

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What’s Driving Local Media Sellouts?

By Staff Reports


What attracts these groups to merge is the very kinky nature of TV networks forcing local groups to bend over backwards with “reversed compensation”, where a local station may pay up to $10 million annually to carry network programming, that most often has been extended to the consumer and resulting the rise of cable bills. Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS have extremely lucrative deals with the major sports leagues paying tons of cash for the rights to show moving pictures and sound, with zero rights to ownership of their own work to cover the games, while extend the respective leagues’ propaganda   – of which is “rising programming costs” that gets extended to local stations or their parent company’s group, that again gets extended to the consumer.

 

 

In the last 5 years, deals have gone so crazy that would not had been seen decades ago. Sinclair has grown via the acquisition of Fisher Communications, Albritrion, that only owns Politico now, of which those stations owned nearly 20 combined; along with some onesey twosey deals such as acquiring WJAR-TV in Providence after Media General (their owner) merged with LIN (that owned competing stations that exceeded FCC limits). In 2013, Belo Corporation of Dallas that once billed their flagship station WFAA as “The Spirit of Texas” for local patriotism was sold to Gannett and spun off as Tegna and today operating at a frugal budget taking away the most important asset, local journalism, in the lieu of low cost programming masquarating in the marketing sense to change the models to be hip, “relevant” programming for the Millenial generation, almost destroying many of the Belo and Gannett/Tenga stations. Ratings at many of the now Tegna stations are a shadow of their former selves.

Continue reading What’s Driving Local Media Sellouts?

Editorial: It’s Time for Boys to Be Held Accountable for their Effing Actions

As of this writing, the infamous Harvey Weinstein is taking himself to court in Manhattan for his sexual abuse to women in the film industry.

But how many of these people are in high technology? Take Zoho, the enterprise cloud app provider who forced users on a Friday morning to use a more counter-productive app for the mail service, that many pay for and the company has zero intentions giving customers the option to rollback. Wonder if that man behind the Zoho Mail is a rapist?

Most men in high technology are aggressive, powerful, and force ideas upon them. Women in this industry are lacking. If you do no think like them, you’ll be verbally and orally attacked. An investigative report from a Lego TV news station over a year ago reported about 100 men that had domestic violence cases were in high technology. If this applied in the fictional world, is it real?

Even some men say they do not want to be in the industry in the fear of being degraded.

It’s safe to say that Zuckerberg, the Uber guy, and a boatload of other men in the Silicon Valley region to be offenders, and could be registered as sex offenders too. Not to mention the millions of IT or IS professionals who push a new app down a user’s face are trying to get into a woman sexually.

Men are creeps. And in high technology they are just as bad as Weinstein.

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Radio is passee – Public Opinion; Nielsen: Radio [Still] Rocks!

By Steven Clickford

(Twitter: @Sclickfo | Insta: @steven.clickford | email: Click Here)

Just in time for the NAB Show, reports from Nielsen states terrestrial radio is still a media king, despite the eroding profits for almost two decades and the disposal of CBS Radio to Entercom and iHeart Media last fall and iHeart’s Chapter 11 last month. Inside Radio reports that Millenials (the 20 to 35 year olds) and Gen Xers (the upper 30s to lower 50s) audience are tuning into radio in alarming rates, given how marketing and futurists believing that everyone would listen to an Alexa with a Pandora app.

This is shocking to even Nielsen. In a whitepaper written by Nelisen Audio  (vis-a-vis the acquisition of Arbitron, the ratings agency for radio from several years back), Brad Kelly wrote in a white paper entitled Audio Today – How America Listens he states this “Who would have believed 100 years after its debut AM/FM radio would continue to top the charts as the medium that reaches more consumers each week than any other.”

(For the record, A.C. Nielsen had not been in the radio ratings prior to acquiring Arbitron, sometimes this writer will continue to refer to Nielsen Audio as the former in the sake of old age and nostalgic purposes and impressing people in the industry. )

There is quite a lot more information with nice infographics in the article by Inside Radio. The irony is the amount of listeners when so many in the business have felt the 1970s and 1980s for AM and FM respectively had their peak, the days of “grand” status, flaunting their multi thousand watt Class A stick, and unique talent like Dan Ingram from the former Musicradio 77 WABC in New York.

The real question is why aren’t they profitable? Massive debt, laxed government regulations, etc is a start.

VizRT is giving away free copies of VizArtist

By Steven Clickford

Twitter: @SClickfo | Instagram @steven.clickford | Email via Contact page


NewscastStudio reports that VizRT, the Norwegian CGI solutions for  broadcast TV is reportedly giving away a entry level license of Viz Artist, the graphics software that helps people design graphics on a very complex and complicated graphics systems that VizRT sells. VizRT also announced they are changing the licensing structure as well.

While the app maybe free now, as attendees to the NAB Show (which your’s truly is writing this at), the system as  a whole can be strongly criticized for an extremely complicated, complex system for a viewer’s point of view may result in a lot of text clutter, and other over stimulated content.

The embedded video is an interview of Chris Jarzynka, formerly a full time meteorologist at the writer’s home market of WMUR-TV in Manchester. Now as a freelancer at the station given he works for Viz full time; your’s truly, because he’s been known to be a nice guy, gave Jarzynka 10 minutes to sell Vizrt and all the great things at the 2017 NAB Show. He said “big data” is the future of broadcast garphics.  Despite a local connection, and an “in” for a review; one remains skeptical even though the app is “free” to download for others later this month.

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Broadcasting & Cable has a new owner

From Staff Reports


The parent company of the decades old Broadcasting & Cable is sold to a British company called Future Plc. The publicly held company bought New Bay for$12 million dollars in stock because Future is a publicly held company.

It’s a nice trade magazine, known for it’s super sized print editions, and whether or not it survives can be doubted.

Techicenter will focus on broadcasting technology, since that is also a nice technology from time to time