The last couple of years have seen a lot of television stations being bought and sold. Belo and Gannett merged, Tribune went on a station buying spree, and our WPLG Local 10 is now in the hands of prolific investor Warren Buffett.
Using data from research firm BIA/Kelsey TVNewsCheck ranked TV station owners by 2013 revenue and while the usual media giants like FOX and CBS are at the top other station groups have moved up a bit.
WSVN parent company Sunbeam Television placed 18th, right behind former WPLG owner Post-Newsweek Stations, with estimated revenues of $207 million from WSVN, WHDH and WLVI during 2013. In the same list last year Sunbeam placed 22nd with $231,700 million in 2012 revenues which no doubt were propped up by heavy political spending.
WPLG, now owned by Berkshire Hatthaway and Warren Buffet, ranked 26th with $71 million in revenues for 2013. Its former parent company Post-Newsweek which now owns five stations in five markets had $261 million in revenues and ranked 17th.
Steve Donald, VP of Creative Services for Sunbeam Television, is leaving the station group to join Chicago’s FOX-owned WFLD.
He’s been with Sunbeam since 1998, first at WHDH then in 2005 Donald was promoted to VP of Creative Services overseeing all design, on-air promotion, and advertising at WHDH and WSVN.
WSVN parent company Sunbeam Television’s legal battle with television ratings monopolist Nielsen has ended.
Earlier this month the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of Sunbeam’s monopolization claim against Nielsen Media Research. All three judges on the 11th Circuit Court agreed with the lower court’s ruling that Sunbeam Television lacks antitrust standing to pursue its claims against Nielsen.
The 11th Circuit employs a two-prong test to determine whether a plaintiff has an antitrust standing. First the plaintiff must establish that it has suffered an antitrust injury and then demonstrate that it is an efficient enforcer of antitrust law. According to the brief, The Court didn’t even bother with the first prong, it went straight to the second, examined whether Sunbeam Television is an “efficient enforcer” and found that unless Sunbeam can show a potential competitor was ready to supply a superior product but for Nielsen’s exclusionary conduct, it cannot bring antitrust claims.
Sunbeam Television filed its lawsuit against Nielsen after the ratings company released it’s LPM (Local People Meters) service in Miami and WSVN experienced a ratings decrease of 50% overnight causing the station to lose over $1,000,000 per month in advertising dollars because of the sudden disparity in viewers. Nielsen on its part insisted everything normal, and that its prior way of measuring ratings via diaries was also flawless.
The 11th Circuit agreed with Sunbeam Television on one thing, that Nielsen “[...] exercises monopoly power over the television audience measurement services industry, both nationally, for the United States as a whole, and for all 210 markets.”
Maybe Rentrak will gain traction, WPLG are already using their service.
There is a lengthy article from Sunday’s Miami Herald on how WSVN came to be what it is today, why and how going news heavy saved the station. Details most of you know and some of you do not, but the piece goes into more detail on the reaction to WSVN’s transformational “if it bleeds, it leads” format. And not just from the usual suspects like journalism professors and competitors, but also the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau which then warned WSVN’s crime-heavy news is scaring potential foreign visitors away and at least 10 hotels blacked-out the station from their in-room TV services.
Couch potatoes rejoice, you’re going to get your helpings of American Idol and NFL on FOX. WSVN parent Sunbeam Television and DirecTV have reached an agreement.