Networks soul search


As I predicted on September 1st  and 2nd, the commitment of the broadcast television news coverage is withering under the pressure of the phenomenal ratings performance by Fox New Channel covering the GOP Convention. Durring Bush's speech on Thursday, FNC outdrew ABC and CBS combined.

Bill Carter, the TV critic of the New York Times reported today (under the headline "Faced with poor ratings, networks soul search") that

Dorrance Smith, the longtime former ABC News executive who is now a television consultant to the Republican National Convention, called Fox's dominance in the ratings this week "truly a seminal event," and said that that development could be interpreted as a serious threat to the identities of the broadcast news operations.

"It never ceases to amaze me how the networks can continue to rationalize their ongoing decline in both numbers and relevancy," Mr. Smith said. "The way that we and the Democrats have programmed the 10 p.m. hour has reduced their impact dramatically. By limiting their coverage, they are forced to show what the conventions have programmed, and it has reduced to a bare minimum their ability to react and opine."

Of course, the problem goes far deeper than just convention coverage. The rationale for the former 'big three' to maintain news divisions is gone with the rise of cable news. It is only a matter of time until the news divisions of the once—big three are cut to the point of being bulletin boards for news obtained by other organizations.

Posted by Thomas   9 4 04