David Kirkpatrick

August 4, 2011

I (don’t) want my MTV

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:11 pm

Anymore.

August 20, 2010

Don’t piss off a writer

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:58 pm

Especially if they work in television.

Tread lightly honorable blog reader or, er, well, you know.

From the link:

After several seasons of disappointing reviews, writers on the USA network’s mystery series “Psych” decided to get revenge. They crafted an episode involving a psychotic killer doctor. The deranged murderer’s name? Ken Tucker, who in real life is the mild-mannered, 57-year-old TV critic for Entertainment Weekly magazine.

“It was never ‘Dr. Tucker’ or just ‘Ken.’ It was always ‘Did Ken Tucker eviscerate the body?'” says USA original programming chief Jeff Wachtel.

Hell hath no fury like a TV writer scorned.

And:

The practice isn’t all puerile payback. A sharp pen and the threat of an unappealing storyline can help TV writers keep a production—and the egos involved—in check. In popular imagination, Hollywood is a place where luminous actors reign supreme and the brains behind the operation are secondary.

In reality, crossing a TV writer is “suicide,” says actor Ed O’Neill, who played sad-sack dad Al Bundy on “Married with Children” and now plays the patriarch on “Modern Family.” “I’ve heard many stories of someone getting brutally murdered on a show because they insisted on a bigger trailer,” he says.

August 4, 2010

NFL television ratings, here comes the science

Research from the University of Illinois.

The release, er, story:

Winning record, team longevity, prime-time games influence NFL TV ratings

8/4/10 | Phil Ciciora, News Editor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” For NFL teams, especially small-market franchises seeking to increase their fan base, winning does help, but so does team longevity in the market as well as the number of games played in prime time, according to research by a University of Illinois sports economist.

Scott Tainsky, a professor of recreation, sport and tourism at Illinois, says that many of the same factors that influence whether fans attend a game in-person also influence a team’s television ratings.

“Sports economists have traditionally relied on attendance figures as a proxy for demand in order to figure out what’s motivating fans to go to games,” Tainsky said. “Even though the NFL is priced just a little bit below where it could maximize revenue at the gate, it still requires a large income or at least a large outlay of money for the average fan to see a game in-person.”

According to Tainsky, whose research was published in the Journal of Sports Economics, since the vast majority of fans watch the games on TV instead of in-person, and with the NFL generating over half of its revenue through TV contracts, TV ratings might actually function as a better proxy for consumer demand in both the home and road teams’ markets.

“We have a long history of studying consumer demand for major league baseball, but there’s very little research done on the NFL, even though it’s the largest revenue, most popular sport in the U.S.,” he said.

Of the three factors that positively influence demand, fielding a winning team is the most difficult variable to account for on a year-to-year basis, especially for small-market teams.

“From the first day of training camp, winning is the goal for every team in the league,” Tainsky said. “But that’s going to be somewhat cyclical, since the league has a pretty hard salary cap. If the spending on player talent is virtually equivalent for all 32 teams, there’s going to be parity, meaning that some teams will have good years while other teams will have bad years.”

Since it’s easier for the big-market teams such as Dallas and Chicago to weather the year-to-year swings in their win-loss records, small-market teams need to be even more proactive in courting fans when they’re muddling through a losing campaign.

One way to do that, Tainsky says, is to promote the experience of going to the game.

“When you’re a small-market team and you’re having a down year, you have to promote other things besides the quality of the team,” Tainsky said. “You have to market the tradition of sports being passed down from generation to generation, this notion of, ‘I went to the game with my dad, and he went with his dad,’ or the ‘On any given Sunday…’ mythology that the NFL likes to cultivate. If you can get this to be a habit of consumption on Sundays, that’s ideal, because it’s easier to take it on the chin when they’re not doing so well.”

Small-market teams mired in a rebuilding year are also at risk of having their broadcasts blacked out as a result of poor attendance. But Tainsky discovered that ratings for telecasts in those markets – Atlanta, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Oakland, St. Louis and Tennessee – were on par with the remaining 26 franchises. He blames market size rather than market demand for the teams’ failure to sell out games.

“There are three different ways that Nielsen collects ratings, and one of them is the percentage of TVs in the area that are on, and those aren’t appreciably lower in cities that experience blackouts,” Tainsky said. “In fact, the per capita demand is often higher in small markets; they just have trouble filling 60- and 70,000- seat stadiums. A place like New York City has a low market share, but the sheer number of people it has in its surrounding metropolitan area allows it to sell out games.”

In that respect, it may not be the fault of the smaller market cities that they can’t get a larger percentage of a viewing audience, Tainsky says.

“The team might be doing everything it can do to attract fans, but because of the smaller population size, it has to be that much more popular to avert blackouts.”

Although there was a slight ratings bump for games played in prime time, Tainsky said that sharing a home market with another team, as the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders do in the Bay Area, represented a significant drag on consumer demand. The socioeconomic status of fans was also negatively associated with ratings. Tainsky noted that other research has shown that lower-income fans engage in homebound and sedentary activities, further indicating that TV ratings might be a better measure of consumer demand.

Using TV ratings to analyze demand also allows sports economists to look at the size of viewership in cities that don’t have a home game that weekend, or in cities that don’t have teams. There’s also the “diaspora effect,” where fans have been displaced either by the team moving to a different market (the Baltimore Colts moving to Indianapolis, for example) or the fans themselves moving from their home markets (for example, displaced Pittsburghers living in suburban Chicago).

“Population flow from city-to-city does seem to have an effect on ratings for games,” Tainsky said. “If more people from western Pennsylvania have moved to the Chicago suburbs, the game featuring the Steelers will be popular but only if the game is being played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.”

Tainsky said displaced fans won’t watch in great numbers if the Steelers are playing on the road at, say, Jacksonville, which may indicate that viewers aren’t necessarily tuning in for the game itself, but rather for the feelings of nostalgia that watching a football game on a Sunday evokes.

“It makes them think back to where they’re from, and the good times they had watching those games in the past,” he said. “So there’s more to it than just the game itself.”

June 14, 2010

Electronics recommendation — Proscan LCD HDTV

Filed under: et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:33 pm

If you’re in the market for an LCD HDTV don’t overlook Proscan’s models. Proscan doesn’t have the brand recognition of a lot of LCDs out there, but they are a great value for the price point. My household has been using a Proscan LCD as the primary television since last fall and the TV has been great. No problems, great picture, more than adequate sound when I don’t feel like firing the entire home theater system up, and being an LCD it’s not an insane electricity hog.

For more information and specs here’s a 32-inch model for $420.00 , a 40-inch model for $450.00 and a 55-inch model for $1070.00 at Amazon.

For price and performance in an LCD HDTV, make Proscan part of the comparison process.

October 15, 2009

Nanny state in action — Cali-style (yet again)

This time California is looking to ban big screen televisions that eat too much power. There’s some competition out there, but California remains the champion of nanny states in the U.S.

From the link:

Reporting from Sacramento – The influential lobby group Consumer Electronics Assn. is fighting what appears to be a losing battle to dissuade California regulators from passing the nation’s first ban on energy-hungry big-screen televisions.

On Tuesday, executives and consultants for the Arlington, Va., trade group asked members of the California Energy Commission to instead let consumers use their wallets to decide whether they want to buy the most energy-saving new models of liquid-crystal display and plasma high-definition TVs.

“Voluntary efforts are succeeding without regulations,” said Doug Johnson, the association’s senior director for technology policy. Too much government interference could hamstring industry innovation and prove expensive to manufacturers and consumers, he warned.

But those pleas didn’t appear to elicit much support from commissioners at a public hearing on the proposed rules that would set maximum energy-consumption standards for televisions to be phased in over two years beginning in January 2011. A vote could come as early as Nov. 4.

September 10, 2009

The NFL’s blackout rule …

Filed under: Media, Sports — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:11 pm

is stupid, outdated and very counterproductive.

For this reason alone, if nothing else.

Bill Simmons today from the second link:

Prediction VI: Blackouts of home games will become the signature media story of the 2009 season. You’ll hear way too much about it. Here’s my take: This isn’t about the economy. It’s about the fact that it’s more fun to stay home and watch football than it is to sit in crappy seats to watch any team ranging from “lousy” to “mediocre.” It just is. For many fan bases, here are the two choices every Sunday:

Door No. 1 (more expensive): Traffic, parking, long walk to stadium, lousy seats, lifeless state-of-the-art arena, TV timeouts, dead crowds, drunk/bitter fans, more TV timeouts, hiked-up concession prices, PDAs with jammed signals as you’re searching for scores, even more TV timeouts, long walk to car, even more traffic.

Door No. 2 (less expensive): Sofa, NFL package, HD, fantasy scores online, remote control toggling, gambling, access to scores, seven straight hours of football, cell phone calls, beer and food in fridge, no traffic.

I can see going through Door No. 1 once a year just to remind yourself that going to an NFL game sucks. But eight times a year? Unless you had good seats, or unless this was your only excuse to get out of your house and get plastered, why would you? It’s a blue-collar sport with white-collar ticket prices. This blackout trend would have happened whether the economy was suffering or not.

August 2, 2009

Joe Queenan is an idiot

Queenan was funny at one point. Now, not so much.

His bizarre appearance on the July 31 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher was head-scratchingly inane. He came off like a dusty old fart, made nonesensical non sequiturs, injected off-topic points into actual interesting and enlightening discussions and displayed the body language of a crackhead after nineteen hours without a glass pipe in his mouth.

The crowning achievement of stupid was interrupting Michael Ware, an Australian journalist who’s been kidnapped three time while reporting the Middle East, while he was making a point, albeit drawnout, on the state of affairs in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the likelihood of actual talks between the US, those governments and the Taliban. During this cogent bit of analysis from someone with intimate knowledge of the region, Queenan saw fit to leap in with a defense of the rights of women in Afghanistan. What?

And that was the reaction from Maher and the rest of his panel. Uh Joe, I hope you find an appropriate treatment for whatever brand of idiocy that’s afflicted you.

Television scourge part two — cable news

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:57 pm

It’s barely news and it’s barely opinion. It is, however, quite spintastic and rubber-stamped, signed, sealed and delivered by big money interests. And those interests don’t involve education or enlightenment. It’s saying a lot for the state of television news when a comedian — Jon Stewart — polls as America’s most trusted newsman.

And then there’s this playground mudfight:

At an off-the-record summit meeting for chief executives sponsored by Microsoft in mid-May, the PBS interviewer Charlie Rose asked Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of G.E., and his counterpart at the News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, about the feud.

Both moguls expressed regret over the venomous culture between the networks and the increasingly personal nature of the barbs. Days later, even though the feud had increased the audience of both programs, their lieutenants arranged a cease-fire, according to four people who work at the companies and have direct knowledge of the deal.

Television scourge part one — reality tv

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:26 pm

This topic isn’t even worth blogging about, but here I am doing it. I’ll just add two words to the argument — Running Man.

And this bit from a NYT article:

But with no union representation, participants on reality series are not covered by Hollywood workplace rules governing meal breaks, minimum time off between shoots or even minimum wages. Most of them, in fact, receive little to no pay for their work.

I’m no fan of unions, but the allure of fame and “gettin’ on the teevee” leads to abject stupidity and the willingness to amazing levels of abasement.

November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving video fun — WKRP in Cincinnati

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:21 pm

Yeah this is early, but it’s worth watching early and often. Absolutely one of the funniest scenes in sitcom history, and very possibly the most funny. Here’s WKRP in Cincinnati’s Thanksgiving turkey drop

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