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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Little Of The Old In And Out

In: USA Networks. Smart teevee is in (HBO subscriptions revenue was up 8% this last quarter). Whomever came up with the strategy of going after smart television-loving adults with a "character-driven drama" strategy ought to get a medal. On any day of the week The Corsair's TV is on USA Network -- for Monk, for Law & Order: CI, for House repeats -- and we, apparently, are not alone. From medialifemagazine:

"No other cable network is even close to catching up to USA, and they probably won’t be for some time.

"The NBC Universal network snatched up yet another monthly victory on basic cable, coming off its 12th consecutive quarterly win last month.

"USA placed first in primetime in total viewers and all three major adult demographics, showing slight growth in all but one of those categories.

"Most significantly, though, it remained well ahead of the pack on each measure, in a month where several high-profile networks saw year-to-year declines.

"USA averaged 3.15 million total viewers in July, according to Nielsen data analyzed by Turner Networks, up 3 percent from last year and 650,000 ahead of second-place TNT, which was flat.

"Among adults 18-49, USA averaged 1.29 million, off 1 percent from last year and 322,000 ahead of runner-up TNT. Among 18-34s, USA drew 553,000, up 3 percent from last year and 65,000 ahead of second-place TBS, which was off 18 percent."

USA is a channel for those who appreciate solid character actors more than Hollywood A-listers. TV geeks. And, as we noted earlier this week, "the geek shall inherit the earth."

Out: DVDs. Meh. Every media company is having trouble getting rid of DVDs. Viacom, for example. Lower DVD sales have dragged down Time Warner's bottom line. TW division Warner Brothers also had problems with DVD surpluses. Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive officer of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., thinks that 3D tvs will save flagging DVD sales, but that's a long way off through an economy that only shows the faintest signs of green shoots.

In: Microsoft's Steve Ballmer. What did Microsoft get from the Search partnership announced today? A lot more than Yahoo! apparently. From Paidcontent:

"No upfront payment: Microsoft doesn’t have to fork over anything upfront. Considering that the company was once willing to hand over more than $40 billion to purchase Yahoo (mostly in order to get access to its search business), that’s a coup.

"—Distribution: Microsoft’s share of the search market will increase to 30 percent—that additional query volume Microsoft executives have contended will allow them to improve the relevance of search results and monetization. The Bing brand may be buried on Yahoo search results pages (for now) but it will still be exposed to a much larger audience."

Bing is now the number 2 search engine after Google. More of what Microsoft got and what Yahoo! didn't get here.

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