Entries in Television (9)


One in 10 Viewers Watched Debates on TV Plus One Additional Screen

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Take a look at the constant stream of tweets during the debates (there were 10 million within two hours of the first debate between Obama and Romney), and it’s obvious that not only are people watching the feuding candidates on TV but also on their phones, computers or tablets.

According to a study released by the Pew Research Center for the Press and the People, 85 percent of those who tuned in to the debate last week watched it on live TV, but 11 percent  followed it online, either on a computer, phone or tablet. That means that one in 10 Americans used the two- or double-screen approach, watching TV while also holding a mobile device (phone or tablet) or computer.

Most of those who were following online were younger. Thirty-two percent of those younger than 40 said they tracked the debate online. The post-debate survey was conducted after the first presidential debate in a series of phone interviews with a national sample of 1,006 adults.

Pew also has some interesting stats when it comes to the social media activity. Only one-third of that five percent who followed the debates online said they shared their reactions online via Facebook or Twitter. Interestingly, there wasn’t a major difference along party lines in technology usage.

More details on the survey can be found on the Pew website, but it’s pretty clear that while the majority continues to stick to the boob tube for these major political events, the smaller, more portable screens are starting to provide another avenue for at least 10 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FCC Requires Local TV Stations to Disclose Political Ads

Ingram Publishing(WASHINGTON) -- Local TV stations will be required to post information on the political ads they run, including rates, to a public database, the Federal Communications Commission ruled Friday.

How will this work? The FCC will host an online database making available information about political ads running on local affiliates of the four major TV networks in the top 50 markets, according to the FCC. The database will be available 30 days after the Office of Management and Budget approves the new policy.

“The new rule covers about 60 percent of all expected 2012 political advertising on local spot TV, where the vast majority of televised political ads air. The remaining 40 percent will occur in smaller media markets and thus remain offline this year, disclosed in the public files made available at stations,” the Kantar Media Group’s CMAG ad-tracking service wrote in an executive summary of Friday’s ruling.

The newly public information is notoriously difficult to access. Local TV affiliates already make it publicly available, but only in paper copies at the stations themselves. For years, reporters and watchdog groups have had to travel to TV stations and examine records in person when seeking detailed information.

Broadcasters opposed the ruling, citing costs of disclosure and competition with other media forms. Television stations under federal law are required to offer political candidates the lowest available advertising rates.

The FCC is made up of three commissioners, two of which were appointed by President Obama. Robert McDowell, the lone Republican appointee who was originally appointed by George W. Bush and reappointed by Obama in 2009, dissented from the decision.

Broadcasters will have to disclose the rates they charge for political ads, which are often lower than the rates charged to other advertisers. CMAG speculated that this was a major reason broadcasters opposed the move.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had called for the online disclosure.

The FCC’s move will give the public a far more granular picture of where and how political money is being spent.

Currently, it’s very difficult to tell when and how political campaigns are spending money on advertisements. Outside groups–including super PACs and 501(c)4s–are subject to greater transparency. Those groups disclose ad spending to the FEC within 48 hours of purchasing air time, and the FEC reports it online almost immediately.

Campaigns, however, only disclose spending once a month -- meaning that candidates themselves largely evade scrutiny on how much they’re spending at any given time. By the time the public finds out, the data is already a month old. Still, with this new FCC ruling, that will change.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign Scouting Major TV Ad Buy

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- President Obama’s re-election campaign is preparing for its first major ad buy of the 2012 campaign, requesting advertising rates from local TV stations in key battleground states, sources tell ABC News.

One source familiar with the scouting, speaking only on condition of anonymity, called the process “a first step” but said that no decision had been made on content for an ad or whether to move forward.

Obama campaign strategists have publicly expressed concern about the millions of dollars of ads already on the air attacking the president funded by pro-Republican super PACs. They are eager to push back.

“They’re talking upwards of half a billion dollars in negative ads aimed at the president from interest groups who don’t disclose and who can raise unlimited amounts of money,” chief Obama strategist David Axelrod said Sunday on CNN. “That is a very, very concerning thing to me.”

Obama has raised more than $131 million for his campaign through Dec. 31, according to campaign manager Jim Messina. Combined with funds raised by the Democratic National Committee, which will work in tandem with the president, the total exceeds $220 million. Much of that money will likely be tapped for advertising.

The campaign ran its first TV ads of the 2012 cycle in November: a “tiny” buy on national satellite providers aimed at signing up supporters as volunteers and potential donors. News of Obama team preparations for an ad buy in battleground states was first reported by Mark Murray of NBC.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum Campaign Launches Its First Television Ad

ABC News(SIOUX CITY, Iowa) -- Rick Santorum's campaign put out its first television ad on Thursday, the same day a SuperPAC also launched in support of the former Pennsylvania senator.

Titled “Sing, Sing, Sing,” the ad was slated to air in Iowa Thursday evening. The TV spot touts Santorum's conservative background and the endorsements he’s received from conservative leaders over video footage of the candidate with his wife and seven children.

“A loving husband, a devoted father, homeschooler and a man of deep faith. He wrote the law that banned partial birth abortions. Overhauled America’s welfare system,” a narrator reads. ” And no one has done more to protect America from Iran’s growing threat than Rick Santorum. It’s no wonder Palin, Beck and Huckabee are singing his praises.”

The voiceover narrates over quotes from Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Mike Huckabee praising Santorum and even includes a quote from rival Newt Gingrich lauding Santorum’s Iran policy.

On Wednesday, the former senator bragged that he was running the leanest of the GOP presidential campaign. Earlier Thursday, the Red, White, and Blue Fund, a Santorum SuperPAC, announced they were spending $200,000 on ads in Iowa touting Santorum.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FCC Passes Rules to End Loud Commercials

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Pretty soon there'll be no need to reach for the volume-control button on the remote the next time a commercial interrupts a favorite TV show.

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved new rules that require cable and broadcast stations to play commercials at the same volume as the TV shows they break into.

The new FCC order is a step in carrying out the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation, or CALM Act, which President Obama signed in 2010. The CALM Act required television stations to turn down the volume on disruptively loud ads.

Come December 2012, when the CALM Act takes effect, those commercials that blare at a much louder volume than the shows will be history.

The act requires television stations to maintain the same average volume for both programming and ads, so consumers don't have to adjust the levels at each commercial break.

Members of the commission praised the act for addressing a problem that had plagued consumers for decades.

The CALM Act requires stations to buy equipment that regulates these sound levels, ensuring the mean volume of the advertisements is no louder than that of the programming. It will be regulated with different check systems, depending on a station's size.

William Lake, chief of the FCC's Media Bureau, pointed out that such regulations had not been possible in the past because of limitations on analog television.

Televisions across the country switched to digital signals in June 2009.

The original CALM act signed last December gave the FCC the power to grant a one-year exemption to those stations that show they would incur "financial hardship" if forced to comply with these standards. After that time, they can apply to renew that exemption for another year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mark Halperin Suspended by MSNBC: Calls Obama Vulgar Name

File photo. (David S. Holloway/Getty Images for Turner)(NEW YORK) -- MSNBC has suspended Mark Halperin from his role as a political analyst for the network after the Time magazine editor referred to President Obama as “kind of a d--k” Thursday on live television.

Discussing the president’s testy Wednesday morning White House press conference and Obama's approach to the deadlocked bipartisan talks on deficit reduction, Halperin asked Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski whether the show was being broadcast on delay.

“Do we have the seven-second delay today?” Halperin asked, referring to the technique employed by many live broadcasts that allows control room operators to censor material before it goes to air. “I want to characterize how I thought the president behaved.”

Then, assured by each of the show’s hosts and control room that yes  in fact, the show was being broadcast on delay, Halperin said of the president, “I thought he was kind of a d--k yesterday.”

"Oh my God," Scarborough quickly responded. "Delay that!  Delay that!  What are you doing?  I can't believe you--I was joking! Don't do that! Did we delay that?"

Halperin later made an on-air apology.

"I became a part of the joke," Halperin said. "That’s no excuse. I made a mistake and I’m sorry and I shouldn’t have said it."

"I apologize to the president and the viewers who heard me say that."

But in a statement announcing Halperin’s suspension, MSNBC called his comment “inappropriate and unacceptable.”

“We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air,” the network said.

“Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.”

Halperin, also a best-selling author, joined Time in 2007 and currently serves as the magazine’s editor-at-large and senior political analyst.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin 2012? Reality Show Over, Report Says

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It appears that this Sunday's two-hour season finale of Sarah Palin's Alaska will actually be a series finale, according to Entertainment Weekly. reports that the show's producer, Mark Burnett, has no plans to return to Wasilla to shoot with Palin for another season of the TLC show, which has some wondering what this means for a potential 2012 presidential bid for Palin. If the 2008 vice presidential candidate were to do another season while officially running for president, TLC would have to offer her rivals equal on-air time.

The show, which premiered to five million viewers Nov. 14 with an episode entitled "Mama Grizzly," was intended to bring "the wonder and majesty of Alaska to all Americans," according to the former Alaska governor.

Over its seven-week run, the series brought in a respectable average of 3.2 million viewers. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Sarah Palin's Alaska': TV Series or Campaign Ad?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sarah Palin's latest endeavor is less John and Sarah, and more “Jon and Kate.” The former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate is following in the footsteps of the Kardashians, and her oldest daughter, Bristol, who this season appears on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Proving once again she's a maverick, Palin is turning a new leaf – starring in her own eight-part series, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, which premieres Sunday on TLC.

"I think that she believes that as long as her fame is increasing, that can be translated and poured into a political campaign,” said Stephen Mansfield, author of "The Faith and Values of Sarah Palin."  He thinks the show is inconsistent with the image Palin wants to project.
“I think that it's actually going to give her more to overcome than it is going to help her,” he said. “Of what I've seen of the show, she's not looking very presidential. She's running around in shorts, she's chopping up fish."

"I'd rather being doing this than in some dumpy old political office," Palin says in a promotional clip.

“She's gone in a different direction than I had expected,” Mansfield told ABC News, “and I'm not sure it's going to work for her."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Senate Moves to Turn Down Volume on TV Ads

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- This fall, the Senate couldn’t get anything done on tax cuts, energy, immigration, gays in the military, campaign finance reform, or outsourcing jobs, but it did take a step to turn down the volume on noisy television commercials. The Senate on Wednesday passed by unanimous consent a bill that would require the FCC to regulate the volume of TV commercials that can be many times louder than the TV program itself.

“Every American has likely experienced the frustration of abrasively loud television commercials,” the bill’s sponsor Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island said in a statement. “While this may be an effective way for ads to grab attention, it also adds unnecessary stress to the daily lives of many Americans.

The bill, called the CALM Act, will now move on to the House, which passed similar legislation last December. If minor differences between the two measures can be ironed out, a final bill could be sent to President Obama during Congress lame-duck session in November.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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