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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Even after 25 years, "Seinfeld" still a top ratings winner.

Late fringe programing is key for local TV ratings


Late fringe is a description for a time of day that the TV industry uses for the programming that runs right after the 10 p.m. nightly news.

The lead-in, or the show on before the news, is usually considered to be the most important show to help boost the local viewership ratings. But, what's on during late fringe is a close second. The popularity of the program can keep viewers watching longer, offering a boost to the last 15 minutes of the local news … raising the local rating.

As always, the station with the largest rating wins only because it could demand a higher rate for the commercial advertising time.

In May, the last local sweeps period of the year, WITI-TV Fox 6 stayed with its staple of syndicated reruns of "Seinfeld." Through Nielsen's measuring equipment and mathematical formula to represent the viewers of southeastern Wisconsin, and yadda, yadda and yadda, WITI scored a ratings win. On May 14, a Wednesday night, the show which debuted 25 years ago did better than the second half-hour of news on WISN-TV Ch. 12, the "Tonight Show" on WTMJ-TV Ch. 4 and the "Late Show with David Letterman" on WDJT-TV CBS 58.

For that night, just a slice in time of the overall sweeps month, among adults 25 to 54, "Seinfeld" did better than reruns of "King of Queens" on WVTV-TV Ch. 18, which runs at the same time. "Seinfeld" had better ratings than shows that run at 10 p.m., like "Big Bang Theory," "The Simpsons" and the 11 p.m. rerun of "The Office."

This proves that the viewers in our market are different than those across the United States where the normal top competitors are "The Tonight Show" on NBC affiliate stations and the "Late Show" on CBS stations. I believe this proves that stations that stay in-tuned to programming based on its local audience will always be more viewed than others that simply follow national trends.

As media companies make decisions to cut back on resources as the amount of marketing dollars fall, it is sometimes at the expense of making decisions to be successful at what's available at the late fringe time slot. For the stations that make the bulk of the money during commercial breaks inside local newscasts, what's on at late fringe becomes key to keeping a local operation going.

AERO OFF: The streaming television service AERO has been reportedly shut off, or on "pause," until the company figures out its next steps following a court ruling.

The CEO, Chet Kanojia, sent out a notice to consumers earlier today:

"A little over three years ago, our team embarked on a journey to improve the consumer television experience, using technology to create a smart, cloud-based television antenna consumers could use to access live over the air broadcast television," the letter stated.

"On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision in favor of Aereo, dealing a massive setback to consumers.

"As a result of that decision, our case has been returned to the lower Court. We have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult with the court and map out our next steps. You will be able to access your cloud-based antenna and DVR only until 11:30 a.m. ET today. All of our users will be refunded their last paid month. If you have questions about your account, please email support@aereo.com or tweet us @AereoSupport.

"The spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud.

"On behalf of the entire team at Aereo, thank you for the outpouring of support. It has been staggering and we are so grateful for your emails, Tweets and Facebook posts. Keep your voices loud and sign up for updates at ProtectMyAntenna.org – our journey is far from done."

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