ABC-TV: Oscar-Worthy, But Journalistically Unsound

 

 

by Walter Brasch

 

            The last segment on every Friday's broadcast of ABC-TV's "World News," with Diane Sawyer, is a "Person of the Week."

            Usually, those persons have gone out of their way to do something good for people, or have lived a long and distinguished life, or by their example give inspiration to others.

            Recent "persons of the week" have included a very special caregiver, a wheelchair-bound teen who does wheelchair tricks, and a homeless man who returned $3,300 he had found.

            However, this past Friday, the "Persons of the Week" were two actors. There's nothing wrong with honoring actors and others in the creative arts. They bring us joy and, often, intellectual stimulation. But, the reason ABC News honored Anne Hathaway and James Franco had little to do with acting—and everything to do with advertising.

            ABC is broadcasting the Oscars, Sunday, and Hathaway and Franco are the hosts. To justify their inclusion, Sawyer led off the segment by telling us: "The torch will be passed to a new generation. The baby boomers no longer hosting the Oscars."

            But, for two and a half minutes, we learned about Hathaway and Franco, and not the story of a change in the Industry. We even learned about what each would like to know about the other.

            In television, ratings, mixed with some demographic analyses, determine the price of advertising. The range for 30 second ads for scripted prime time shows is about $50,000–$250,000. For the Super Bowl, with the largest audience, 30-second ads this year went for about $3 million. ABC, which sold all ad time for the primetime Oscars telecast, charged about $1.7 million for 30 seconds advertising. ABC pays about $65 million to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the broadcast rights. The Disney-owned company expects about $80 million revenue and is hoping for at least 43 million viewers for the telecast. And that doesn't include the advertising for the pre-Oscar "red carpet" show, or the on-air promotions for Disney-owned productions.

            By Industry standards, if the ratings tank, ABC would have an obligation to return money to advertisers, something it definitely doesn't want to do.

            So, in addition to running numerous Oscar-related commercials during ad time in the two weeks leading to the Sunday night broadcast, ABC-TV made its "Person of the Week" nothing more than another Oscar promotion to guarantee the network a strong "return on investment."

            That decision alone damages a news operation's credibility.

 

[Assisting on this column was Rosemary Brasch. Walter Brasch is a journalist/columnist, the author of 16 books, including Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture (3rd ed.). He is a retired professor of mass communications and journalismYou may contact him at walterbrasch@gmail.com]

 

 

ABC-TV: Oscar-Worthy, But Journalistically Unsound

 

 

by Walter Brasch

 

            The last segment on every Friday's broadcast of ABC-TV's "World News," with Diane Sawyer, is a "Person of the Week."

            Usually, those persons have gone out of their way to do something good for people, or have lived a long and distinguished life, or by their example give inspiration to others.

            Recent "persons of the week" have included a very special caregiver, a wheelchair-bound teen who does wheelchair tricks, and a homeless man who returned $3,300 he had found.

            However, this past Friday, the "Persons of the Week" were two actors. There's nothing wrong with honoring actors and others in the creative arts. They bring us joy and, often, intellectual stimulation. But, the reason ABC News honored Anne Hathaway and James Franco had little to do with acting—and everything to do with advertising.

            ABC is broadcasting the Oscars, Sunday, and Hathaway and Franco are the hosts. To justify their inclusion, Sawyer led off the segment by telling us: "The torch will be passed to a new generation. The baby boomers no longer hosting the Oscars."

            But, for two and a half minutes, we learned about Hathaway and Franco, and not the story of a change in the Industry. We even learned about what each would like to know about the other.

            In television, ratings, mixed with some demographic analyses, determine the price of advertising. The range for 30 second ads for scripted prime time shows is about $50,000–$250,000. For the Super Bowl, with the largest audience, 30-second ads this year went for about $3 million. ABC, which sold all ad time for the primetime Oscars telecast, charged about $1.7 million for 30 seconds advertising. ABC pays about $65 million to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the broadcast rights. The Disney-owned company expects about $80 million revenue and is hoping for at least 43 million viewers for the telecast. And that doesn't include the advertising for the pre-Oscar "red carpet" show, or the on-air promotions for Disney-owned productions.

            By Industry standards, if the ratings tank, ABC would have an obligation to return money to advertisers, something it definitely doesn't want to do.

            So, in addition to running numerous Oscar-related commercials during ad time in the two weeks leading to the Sunday night broadcast, ABC-TV made its "Person of the Week" nothing more than another Oscar promotion to guarantee the network a strong "return on investment."

            That decision alone damages a news operation's credibility.

 

[Assisting on this column was Rosemary Brasch. Walter Brasch is a journalist/columnist, the author of 16 books, including Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture (3rd ed.). He is a retired professor of mass communications and journalismYou may contact him at walterbrasch@gmail.com]

 

 

Obama: Time for Rangel to go

The two Blue Dogs who have called for Charlie Rangel's resignation got a big boost today. A really big boost.

President Barack Obama gave ethics-embattled Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel a forceful shove towards the exit tonight, telling the 80-year-old dean of New York’s congressional delegation that the time has come to end his career “with dignity.” ...

After days of administration officials dodging questions about Rangel, Obama took on the issue with devastating bluntness in a interview with Harry Smith of the CBS “Early Show” – repeatedly referring to Rangel, who backed Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential primary, in the past tense.

“I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served-- his constituents very well but these-- allegations are very troubling,” th epresidrnt [sic] told Smith, in an interviewed aired Friday night on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

“And he'll-- he's somebody who's at the end of his career. Eighty years old. I'm sure that-- what he wants is to be able to-- end his career with dignity. And my hope is that-- it happens,” he added.

This comes across more as a call for Rangel to make a deal that includes retirement than for him to resign.

Sweet.

Obama: Time for Rangel to go

The two Blue Dogs who have called for Charlie Rangel's resignation got a big boost today. A really big boost.

President Barack Obama gave ethics-embattled Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel a forceful shove towards the exit tonight, telling the 80-year-old dean of New York’s congressional delegation that the time has come to end his career “with dignity.” ...

After days of administration officials dodging questions about Rangel, Obama took on the issue with devastating bluntness in a interview with Harry Smith of the CBS “Early Show” – repeatedly referring to Rangel, who backed Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential primary, in the past tense.

“I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served-- his constituents very well but these-- allegations are very troubling,” th epresidrnt [sic] told Smith, in an interviewed aired Friday night on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

“And he'll-- he's somebody who's at the end of his career. Eighty years old. I'm sure that-- what he wants is to be able to-- end his career with dignity. And my hope is that-- it happens,” he added.

This comes across more as a call for Rangel to make a deal that includes retirement than for him to resign.

Sweet.

Obama: Time for Rangel to go

The two Blue Dogs who have called for Charlie Rangel's resignation got a big boost today. A really big boost.

President Barack Obama gave ethics-embattled Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel a forceful shove towards the exit tonight, telling the 80-year-old dean of New York’s congressional delegation that the time has come to end his career “with dignity.” ...

After days of administration officials dodging questions about Rangel, Obama took on the issue with devastating bluntness in a interview with Harry Smith of the CBS “Early Show” – repeatedly referring to Rangel, who backed Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential primary, in the past tense.

“I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served-- his constituents very well but these-- allegations are very troubling,” th epresidrnt [sic] told Smith, in an interviewed aired Friday night on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

“And he'll-- he's somebody who's at the end of his career. Eighty years old. I'm sure that-- what he wants is to be able to-- end his career with dignity. And my hope is that-- it happens,” he added.

This comes across more as a call for Rangel to make a deal that includes retirement than for him to resign.

Sweet.

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