Weekly media column version 09.28.12

What’s included in this week’s media column (linked here): A look at Monday’s launch of the new Time Warner Cable SportsNet channels on the same day as the Lakers’ training camp opens. Are you invited to the party? Plus more on ESPN’s “30 for 30” coming around again, Rome’s in with CBS Sports Radio and other misc.

What’s not included:

More on TWC SportsNet and Deportes GM Mark Shuken, talking about:

= Packaging the two channels together, rather than just having the Spanish-language Deportes hit particular hot-spot areas in Los Angeles for the Hispanic market: “There’s an enormous statement made when you position the networks together. The percentage and concentration of Hispanic and Latino cusomers throughout the entire distribution territory is meaningful and critical. But the other point is that our objective for those Hispanic and Latino in this area who have not experienced this product in this way is that we need to put it out there for them. So it’s a bifurcate strategy, one that serves those customers who have been clamoring to get this, and it’s to reach those customers who can be new ones to the product. We want both constitucites.”

= Why you just can’t have one English-run network any longer with the SAP (second audio programming) application that translates it into Spanish: “The Spanish language distribution is different but I want to be clear: it’s not just that there are products in Spanish. The programming, content offering, production approach, music graphics, talent, production teams and leadership is all a different staff from the English-language. When we first started doing SAP in mid ’90s we learned that doing it that way is worth less than doing nothing. It would be better not to do anything. The customer is so sophisticated. You’re just pandering. That’s not what this community requires.”

= The new thinking behind regional sports programming: “Networks economics are driven by the core products and what I unfortunately have found in this business is that the entire focus of programming, production and content is on the game. It’s a limited number of games, and worst, it’s games with just a short pre and postgame show. There’s nothing that speaks to that fan through the day and the week. Our networks will be entirely different in several ways – we will extend the programming day around the core event and have live, packaged and produced and reproduced programming before and after events. That’s a key differentiator. In the past, you might come in at 7 p.m. for a pregame show and be out of the entire Laker broadcast by 10:30. Our Lakers content may start at 4 or 5 o’clock and go until 2 in the morning.”

= Where the new creative process comes from: “It comes from a brand new position. We talk about depth and access around the teams. That’s the fundamental focus of the networks. So we’ve said to our team — we want a consistency of vision and constant communication . Innovation has to be elevated. New programming titles have come from full staff meetings where different parts of the company see their ideas used. We can’t pretend to be the experts in digital delivery. I barely have my phone figured out how to use a mobile app. But they’re learning to use the product totally differently. There’s a strong effort to be open minded and take a lot of imput. We know we haven’t figured it all out. If we can be vunerable that way and not pretend we have it all figured out, and we’ll be much better for it.”

= How younger consumers view the games these days: “Social media will be part of everything we do. Every set has a social media area. It’s also for marketing, promotion, cross promotion. We are now as an industry behind the times. The Time Warner Cable ‘TV everywhere’ concept has worked. We have to stop thinking how consumers experiencing media is only predicated on the sofa on which they sit.”

Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet already has a promo ready for its “Backstage: Lakers” series (above).


== Did Frank McCourt work a “secret deal” with the MLB to cap how much future local TV revenue it had to share with other clubs? Bloomberg is on it (linked here).

== Just in case you missed the “South Park” episode this week, taking aim at the NFL and including another Trey Parker immitation of Jim Rome and his endorsment of energy drinks (and it’s not the first time Rome has made “South Park” inroads, linked here).

== The Angels’ game Saturday at Texas goes to Fox (Channel 11, 1 p.m., with Victor Rojas and Eric Karros).

== ESPN apparently drew 6.5 million viewers to its 90-minute “SportsCenter” edition following the Seattle-Green Bay NFL game last Monday night — the most-viewed “SportsCenter” on record of those airing 20 minutes or longer, according to Broadcast & Cable. It was enough to give Steve Young a headache (or maybe not, linked here). The game had 16.2 million viewers, third best among any cable program this year, according to Nielsen.

== The Sunday NFL lineup (for those without NFL Sunday Ticket access): Fox has Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa for San Francisco-N.Y. Jets (10 a.m., Channel 11) and Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver for New Orleans-Green Bay (1:25 p.m., Channel 11). CBS has San Diego at Kansas City with Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots (10 a.m., Channel 2). NBC has N.Y. Giants-Philadelphia with Al Michaels and Cris Colinsworth (5:20 p.m., Channel 4).

== Ted Robinson, Adam Archuleta and Yogi Roth have the call on UCLA-Colorado game on Saturday (3 p.m., Pac-12 Network). Craig Bolerjack, Joel Klatt and Petros Papadakis have Arizona State-Cal (1 p.m., FX). Kevin Calabro, Glenn Parker and Ryan Nece have Oregon State-Arizona (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network). Oregon vs. Washington State in Seattle (ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.) has Mark Jones, Brock Huard and Shelley Smith.

== ESPN’s “College GameDay” is in East Lansing. Mich., prior to the Ohio State-Michigan State contest, which will be called by Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Heather Cox at 12:30 p.m., Channel 7). ABC’s prime-time game is Wisconsin-Nebraska (Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe, 5 p.m., Channel 7). Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson have Tennessee-Georgia (12:30 p.m., Channel 2). Fox’s Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Julia Alexandria are at Texas-Oklahoma State (4:30 p.m., Channel 11).

== NBC says it attraced 6.4 million viewers to its Notre Dame win over Michigan last Saturday, calling it the “most-watched Notre Dame primetime game ever on NBC.” Keep in mind, there’s only been five of those classified games since 2009, when NBC had to think of some way to boost ratings. The network also said last week’s game was the “most-watched Fighting Irish game on the broadcast network in more than two years.” That’s a jump of 100 percent over last year’s NBC prime-time game at Notre Dame Stadium between the Irish and USC (3.2 million on Oct. 22, 2011). The 4.0 rating was also almost double of the 2.1 rating of the Notre Dame-USC game last year. The first night game at Notre Dame was in 1990 when it hosted USC and lost 31-17.

== NBC also says the New England-Baltimore game on Sunday night in Week 4 drew an average of 21.3 million (with a rating of 12.9 and 21 share), making it the No. 1 primetime rated program the last three weeks (this time, going up against the Emmy Awards on ABC) and it’s the first time in the seven years that NBC has done “SNF” that the first four games each did more than 21 million viewers.

== The UFL? Yes, it still exists. CBS Sports Network has added it to its lethal programming lineup, and after the Virginia-Las Vegas debut on Wednesday, there’s the Omaha-Sacramento game tonight from Sacramento (8 p.m.), with Howard David, Jamie Dukes and Jackie Montgomery looking at the downslopes of their careers here.

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