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TODD SMITH — TV news audience continues to dwindle


Blistering fast wireless networks, digital assistants everywhere, and a coming out bash for augmented reality.

Americans are relying less on television for their news, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. Just 50 percent of U.S. adults now get news regularly from television, down from 57 percent a year prior in early 2016.

But that audience drain varies across the three television sectors: local, network and cable. Local TV has experienced the greatest decline but still garners the largest audience of the three, according to the Pew Research Center study.

From 2016 to 2017, the portion of Americans who often rely on local TV for their news fell 9 percentage points, from 46 percent to 37 percent. By comparison, reliance on network TV news declined from 30 percent to 26 percent. Cable TV news use remained more stable, with 28 percent often getting news there last year, compared with 31 percent in 2016.

Even after these declines, local TV still has a wider reach overall for news than network and cable. Some demographic groups turn to each of the three television venues more than others, however.

There is a strong relationship between age and television news habits. Younger adults are less likely than older adults to often get news via all three TV platforms. For example, just 8 percent of those ages 18 to 29 often get news from network TV, compared with 49 percent of those 65 and older.

Education and income also play a role in local and network TV news consumption habits. For instance, among adults who have completed college, 26 percent often get news from local TV and 21 percent from network TV – much less than those with no more than a high school degree (47 percent and 31 percent, respectively). News use on cable varies little by education or income, however.

Oprah’s Golden Globe Speech Huge for Her Brands

Media icon, actor and entertainment executive Oprah Winfrey’s inspiring speech  at the Golden Globes has generated speculation that she could run for president in 2020 – but it’s also had a more immediate effect, according to USA TODAY.

On her brand and net worth.

The skyrocketing publicity rippling from Winfrey’s soaring speech, in which she hailed brave women who have spoken up about sexual harassment and abuse, appears to have translated into a sharp boost for one of her key endorsements and investments.

Weight Watchers, whose stock has skyrocketed since Winfrey bought 10 percent of the company in October 2015, got another lift the day after the speech.

The dieting company’s shares jumped 12.2 percent in trading to close at $52.62, up $5.71.

Investors are presumably thrilled at the enormous and unexpected round of positive publicity for Winfrey’s brand.

Numerous media reports confirm Winfrey is “actively thinking” about running for president.

Since Winfrey enthusiastically backed Weight Watchers, crediting it with helping her shed pounds, the company has been on a roll. Membership, sales and profits have soared.

Winfrey, who also serves on the company’s board, bought her stock at $6.79 apiece for a total investment of $43.2 million in 2015, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

As of Jan. 2, she owned 9.9 percent of the company, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. She is also CEO of the cable channel OWN.

With 6.37 million shares in Weight Watchers, she made a profit of more than $36 million from the closing price the Friday prior to the Golden Globes through the Monday after. That’s still minor compared with Winfrey’s net worth, which Forbes has estimated at $2.8 billion.

But it could go a long way toward a potential presidential campaign.

Spotify Hits 70 Million Subscribers

Spotify is knocking it out of the park!

Ahead of its IPO, the streaming music service has hit the 70 million subscriber level – compared to Apple Music’s 30 million. Last July, Spotify had more than 60 million paid listeners and more than 140 million active users.

There’s essentially no better time than one day after news leaks about Spotify’s confidential filing to go public to announce a new milestone. Recently, Axios broke the news that Spotify filed with the SEC at the end of December.

However, TechCrunch’s Katie Roof has heard differently, citing sources who say Spotify is targeting a debut for the first quarter of this year. As Roof notes, there also is talk that it might not be an IPO, but rather a direct listing on the stock market that does not require a fundraising event.

Spotify’s milestone also comes shortly after Wixen Music Publishing hit the music streaming company with a $1.6 billion lawsuit. The suit, filed Dec. 29, alleges copyright infringement, specifically alleging Spotify is using thousands of its songs without a proper license. The lawsuit seeks at least $1.6 billion in damages and other relief.

Sports Illustrated Moves to Biweekly Publication

Sports Illustrated subscribers got a surprise as they read the Dec. 25 issue — not a Christmas gift, rather a lump of coal.

In 2018, an inconspicuous Editors’ Letter announced, the magazine will publish only every other week (plus of course the Swimsuit Issue).

Don’t despair, the editor told readers in the letter. Those fewer issues will have more of the long-form stories that SI sees as its strength, and more photos better displayed on higher quality paper.

The Sports Illustrated reinvention plays out as parent Time Inc. is being sold to Meredith and some break-up of its properties is in progress.  Sunset Magazine was sold at the end of November and Essence last week. Sale of Golf magazine, is imminent, a Time spokesperson told the Poynter Institute.

Silenced Mic: Whoa Nelly, Keith Jackson Signs Off

Whoa, Nellie – Keith Jackson, the voice of college football – has gone on to that big broadcast booth in the sky. The legendary sportscaster recently died at age 89.

Jackson, who retired in 2006, spent some 50 years calling the action in a folksy, down-to-earth manner that made him one of the most popular play-by-play personalities in the world.

He began his career on the radio in 1952, broadcasting Washington State games, but went on to deliver the national television soundtrack for the biggest games in the most storied stadiums. His colorful expressions – “Whoa, Nellie” and “Big Uglies” among the many – became part of college football legend.

He was credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl “The Granddaddy of Them All” and Michigan’s stadium “The Big House.”

Jackson began calling college football games for ABC Sports in 1966. He also worked NFL and NBA games, 11 World Series, 10 Winter and Summer Olympics, and auto racing. In addition, he traveled to 31 countries for ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.”

Among his broadcasting accomplishments, Jackson was the first play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football when the program debuted in 1970. He called Bucky Dent’s home run against the Red Sox in 1978 as well as Reggie Jackson’s three-homer game in the 1977 World Series.

His Olympics highlights include Mark Spitz’s record seven gold medals in the 1972 Games and speed skater Eric Heiden’s five golds in 1980.

Keith Jackson’s voice will forever live as the Golden Mic of college football, and all of us will cherish the ways he brought sports to life in living color!

» TODD SMITH is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.


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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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