Sunday, December 14, 2008

Television Business Model Rapidly Changing With New Media

Joe Adalian, TV Week, Melissa Grego,
Broadcasting and Cable and Juan Morales, EMMY
Magazine at an EPPS media workshop in December.

“The TV Business model is changing”
Say EPPS Editor Panelists

By George S. McQuade III

December is certainly a month to remember in Television. NBC announced it is restructuring and Tonight show Host Jay Leno will stay with a new primetime show at 10 pm on NBC. It was no wonder the first question to a panelist of TV writers and editors focused on how each handled the NBC breaking shakeup story. The moderator was a good fit, too. Joe Schlosser Sen. V.P., Comm.,NBC-Universal Television Studio-Distribution. The entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) workshop was held at the International Cinematographers Union Local 600 PR Auditorium.

“The TV Business model is changing clearly faster than anyone thought, said Joe Adalian, deputy editor and columnist, TV Week. “I think the writer’s (WGA) strike set that up, and I think we are going to see more events like this happen like this over the next year. Some people say it was a negative, while others will say it is a reflection of the business.”

Joe Adalian, TV Week

“It’s all about making sure your readers can turn to your site to get the story, whether you are two minutes earlier or later than the competition,” said Adalian, TV Week. Adalian also writes for Variety and the New York Post.

“Long gone are the days where you hold stuff,” said Melissa Grego, executive editor, Broadcasting and Cable (B&C), who said she was literally working on breaking three major stories Online at B&C, including Jay Leno’s stay at NBC. She also said the terrorist incident in Mubai, India dominated any other TV coverage, because it was such a high profile area and story.

“We really are driven weekly by a cover story, which is a multipaged , in-depth report you can’t replicate like breaking news such as the Jay Leno deal,” said Grego, of B&C. “The timing of the attacks ( terrorism) in Mubai was tricky for a lot of the US TV organizations to cover.

Melissa Greg, B&C holds up special issue
on Terrorism Media Coverage in India.

Marissa Gunthery, who covers the TV business, did a nice job in an analytical piece that showed showed how all those foreign news budget cutbacks came into play with the lack of coverage in Mubai. It was a huge story. The story was done late in the day, and a lot of our readers are in
New York, so we held off until the next morning.”

The 1,200 word story was posted Online and got so much interaction at various journalists’ websites; we took excerpts and printed some of the talk backs from the conversations Online. The most fun part of the story was encouraging our readers to go back Online,” explained Grego.

“If you can push a story ahead in the print edition of our magazines it gives the story legs beyond what you have to print on a day-to-day basis Online,” explained Alan Frutkin, correspondent/producer, Nielsen Business Media (Hollywood, Reporter, Billboard, MediaWeek, and Backstage).

Frutkin was caught in a middle of doing a feature on NBC’s Night Rider when the news came down it was cancelled. “I was invited out to the set to do a video report on the executive producer and the Night Rider show, but before we packaged and uploaded our story, it changed to NBC cutting back on the episodes. It’s tough and that’s how fast news changes.”

The job has changed too for Frutkin, in addition to writer, he also producers video reports Online for all of Nielson’s platforms. “It indicates how quickly the industry and trade journalism is changing to meet the needs of what users and readers want.”

“I’m a little jealous, because breaking news is not really something we can do, Juan Morales, editor-in-chief of Emmy Magazine, which publishes six issues a year for mostly subscribed TV and Arts Academy members. “We do more of analysis and compiling of the TV events, and we’re all connected in the sense of being the media, we focus on what it means when NBC Chief Jeff Zucker announces he’s doing away with primetime Television. Realistically since we are a bimonthly, we really can’t do anything until February or when the new show (Jay Leno) premiers.”

Morales also said in regards to the NBC fallout announcements, “Strictly as an observer of the industry I thought it was interesting that there are a lot of appendages of stories, not only the announcement itself, but what about the story about competition for bookings between Leno and Conan O’Brien being on the West Coast, at the same network.” He admitted that the Emmy Magazine doesn’t have the resources to covering breaking news, but does have a website and we relies on publicists to provide us with the information so we can provide to our members. Morales prefers email pitches at:

“It’s all about making sure your readers can turn to your site to get the story, whether you are two minutes earlier or later than the competition,” said Adalian, TV Week. Adalian also writes for Variety and the New York Post.

Tips for publicist from the panelists:

· Exclusives are still welcome, but holding breaking news is impossible

· Email pitches work best and lots of early warning no unsolicited stuff

· Honesty in communications, be upfront - provide as much as you can

· Strong relationships and familiarity with a writer’s beat equals success

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