Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Big Ten Network’s Sweeps Month Ratings Gimmick

Thursday November 1st begins the November sweeps. That is the period in which TV ratings are taken and analyzed for the purpose of setting advertising rates for the coming months.

So this is why the Big Ten Network spent a huge part of their budget to get the Ohio State Wisconsin game to be a Big Ten Network exclusive.

Big Ten Network is currently asking $1.10 per household per cable provider to carry the channel. This is a rate that neither Time Warner nor Comcast has agreed to.

However it appears that if the Big Ten Network can get enough of a ratings boost out of the third most exciting game shown in Central Ohio they may be able to raise their advertising rates and lower their subscription fee.

The problem: A majority of people who are Ohio State fans don’t get the Big Ten Network.

I don’t know how the Nielson Ratings people adjust for this, but it will likely be that most people who subscribe to Time Warner in Columbus will visit their local bar to watch the game. Since Nielson Ratings primarily track household viewers this ploy by the Big Ten Network may turn out to be a bust.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bacterial Conjunctivitis and Hillary Healthcare

“Just got back from the Dr. I have pink eye”

Of all the text messages to get on a Friday evening from someone you saw on Thursday this is not one you want to get.

Now everything I know about Pink eye I learned from an episode of South Park where everyone was turning into zombies a’la “Night of the Living Dead”. So at this point I’m afraid to touch my eye for fear of becoming a brain-eating member of the undead horde, as those are the only symptoms I’m familiar with.

As it turns out the actual symptoms are red crusty eyes, and the feeling of sandpaper under your eyelid.

I had none of these. However, because everything I know about medicine I learned from Scrubs, I decided to endulge my inner hypochondriac. So Saturday morning I made a visit to the local Urgent Care, just as a precautionary measure.

The nice thing is that the center opens at 9:00 and I got there around 9:15. By 9:30 I had a nurse giving me an eye exam. Ten minutes later the doctor was trying hard not to laugh at me for coming in without symptoms and by 10:00 I had received a prescription for the eye drops I don’t need.

All this cost me forty dollars, which is my insurance’s co-pay, and probably exactly what the doctor made in the ten minutes I talked to him.

Now what if there were free healthcare available to me? I would walk into the same urgent care as led by my inner hypochondriac only to find that every other inner and outer hypochondriac in the Dublin/Powell/Worthington area has come to the same clinic as me looking for a cure for their runny nose, sneezing, coughing aching and all the other typical stay-in-bed-and-rest illnesses.

I would not have seen a doctor until at least noon, and been exposed to a lot of stuff much worse than the pinkeye I didn’t have!

Eventually the amount of work made for the one or two doctors on call at this facility would be so immense that no doctor would be willing to set foot therein. The facility would close causing a lack of a medical facility in the greater Dublin/Powell/Worthington metro area causing people who actually need medical treatment to not get any.

If you don’t believe me look at what’s happening in Canada when there aren’t enough beds in Canadian hospitals and pregnant women are being life-flighted to the US to deliver their babies.

Oh, as it turns out this person I was exposed to had the bacterial form of Conjunctivitis and outside of sharing contact lenses there’s no real way to transmit that to another person.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

How bad is the Big 10 network for college football?

I live in Columbus, Ohio where the Ohio State Buckeyes are king. If you ever want to avoid a crowd in a public place, go there during an Ohio State Game because everybody else will be watching the game. This city is obsessed and pretty much looses their minds when they can’t see the game on any given Saturday.

Enter the Big Ten Network. Powered by Fox broadcasting the Big Ten network was designed to provide the schools of the Big Ten (all eleven of them) with televised promotion of the universities, course broadcasts and sports broadcasts. This all sounds great until Time Warner and Comcast, the two biggest cable networks in the Midwest refuse to carry the Big Ten Network on basic cable.

The argument by the cable companies is that Big Ten Network wants $1.10 per subscriber from the cable company. Given the millions of subscribers of Time Warner and Comcast this will fill Big Ten Network’s piggy bank quite quickly. However, The big cable companies don’t want to provide every basic cable user with this fairly niche channel at a loss of $1.10 per customer until the next billing rate increase rolls around.

On the other hand the smaller regional cable companies, trying to gain local market share away from the monoliths have adopted the Big Ten Network at the network’s demands.

Where the Big Ten Network is gaining its worthwhile material is on a day like today, given an obsessed audience still wants to see Ohio State cream Kent State 45 – 3. In the past this would have been an ESPN+ game. A game recorded by ESPN at a financial loss for the purpose of thorough sports reporting and broadcast almost exclusively on the Columbus, Ohio ABC Affiliate. The local broadcast channel can then sell ad time at a premium because even though it’s a pathetic excuse for competition the hype surrounding this game keeps the whole city watching so there are guaranteed eyes on the TV at that time.

Since college football is such a regional appeal there is no guarantee that all basic cable subscribers would want to watch Big Ten games in Time Warner and Comcast serviced areas not lying between Happy Valley and the Twin Cities of Minnesota.

Living in the Midwest there’s less college football on TV this year. At noon none of the broadcast networks were showing football today and whereas in the past I would have had options to watch other Big Ten games on on the local broadcast channels broadcasting ESPN broadcasts of games unfit for cable. Instead they were all showing a wide variety of infomercals and movies staring David Schwimmer. I ended up finding a close game between the Hawkeyes and Illini because ESPEN2 secured the rights to that game somehow.

Even if I had Big Ten Network I would have only benefited from one more game since Purdue at Michigan was also a Big Ten Network game and here in ohio we would have only been shown #3 Ohio State beat up on a MAC school.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fall TV reviews.

“Kid Nation” CBS Tuesdays 8:00
This is one of the most talked about shows for this season. Let’s put 40 kids in a ghost town and see w hat kind of society they come up with? Will it be better than adult society or will they all die of some sort of plague?

While the premise is exciting and original, the final product is wholly unrealistic (this coming from the guy who’s favorite reality show is SciFi Channel’s “Who Wants To Be A Superhero”).

While the kids do have to do their best to make society work, the interview segments, especially, seem overly edited and entirely too well scripted for this to be a reality show. Of course it’s hard to watch this and think that everything you see is completely spontaneous when there are obviously cameramen everywhere. Kid Nation is another reason I set aside Tuesday Nights for reading.

“Chuck” NBC Mondays 8:00
He’s a computer geek who works at a superstore helpdesk whose best friend who emailed him the only copy of all the secrets of the NSA computer. Several secret service agents chase after him only to be convinced that he can help them.

The premise is weak and wholly unrealistic. While the special effects and female lead look great the show is too far into left field to deserve an hour drama format. They should have reduced the complexity of the plot to and made it a hybrid comedy like Scrubs.

If you really want to laugh at a nerd who can’t seem to function correctly around beautiful women check out “The Big Bang Theory” over on CBS at 8:30. That show already made up its mind to be a pure comedy.

“Journeyman” NBC Mondays 10:00
If “My Name Is Earl” is Quantum Leap for white trash, then Journeyman is Quantum Leap for… well, Quantum Leap fans. Journeyman is the story of a man who travels through time every time he falls asleep. Oddly enough he tends to visit his late ex-fiancĂ© which would probably make his wife at least a little jealous.

The show is very well produced, acted and written. The period music for each “journey” Is very fitting though sometimes overpowers the dialogue.

Journeyman is a surprisingly good show and should do well with a solid lead-in from “Heroes.”

Bionic Woman NBC Wednesdays 9:00
In a nutshell: Too much drama, not enough ass kicking. Jamie Sommers, a San Francisco bartender becomes the Bionic Woman. What would otherwise make this show seem more plausible is that the agreement between Sommers and the black-ops organization that made her bionic is the exact same premise that “Chuck” used two days earlier.

Flash Gordon SciFi Channel Fridays 9:00
For a character who got his start in black-and-white B-movie serials it’s fitting that the modern incarnation is a relatively low-budget cable show. However, when you get past some of the production goofs (like flash finishing a marathon without breaking a sweat) the show is pretty enjoyable. Gone is Flash’s rocket ship zipping from planet to planet, and instead we find Steve “Flash” Gordon a local athletic hero from Suburban Virginia who ends up traveling to the bizarre planet of Mongol and also battle evildoers from there as well.

It’s not great but gets pretty good mileage out of it’s meager special effects budget.

Back To You Wednesday 8:00 FOX
I havent’ seen it yet but seeing Patricia Heaton give Kelsey Grammer his comeuppins on a weekly basis sounds like a hit to me!

Other returning favorites:
Smallville: Should have killed off Chloe… would have made for better story and easier transition to new cast members (who is a really hot blonde!).

Heroes: underwhelming set-up episode for season 2. Don’t over think things, it’s just television!

Lost: Won’t be found on TV until February.

The Office: Pam and Jim together at last. Finally I can sleep at night.

Ugly Betty: I still don’t want to watch something called UGLY BETTY!