Trump’s Speech Nabbed 32 Million Viewers on Broadcast and Cable TV

The Republican National Convention closed up shop last Thursday, concluding with the lengthy nomination acceptance speech by presidential hopeful Donald Trump. All three broadcast networks—ABC, CBS and NBC—as well as Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC and other affiliated cable TV channels aired the speech.

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On the broadcast networks alone Thursday night, Trump’s time on the stage brought in 12.3 million viewers to the 10 o’clock hour on through the speech’s conclusion at 11:37 p.m. ET. NBC News led its fourth and final night of primetime coverage with an average 4.6 million viewers tuning in, per Nielsen Media’s Fast Affiliate ratings. ABC News, which preciously topped CBS on Monday, averaged 3.9 million viewers. CBS News took 3.8 million viewers. Spanish-language net Univision contributed another 1.3 million viewers.

Cable news brought the biggest lifts — particularly for Fox News Channel and CNN. FNC, a favorite for right-leaning audiences, topped them all with 9.4 million viewers. And CNN, hitting an all-time high for its RNC coverage, also topped all of the broadcast networks with 5.5 million viewers. MSNBC, trailing, averaged 2.95 million viewers. (Nielsen’s delivery of the 32-million stat also includes Fox Business Network, CNBC and NBC Universo.)

The ratings are well above those who watched Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech in 2012, but far below the amount of people who watched John McCain in 2008. If those ratings show anything about the popularity of the candidate himself, Trump may be in trouble.

The Democratic National Convention is now underway, so we’ll see how Hillary performs in the ratings, as well as in measured social media interest.

Cable TV Network for ACC Sports to Debut in 2019

With the success of the ESPN-backed SEC Network bringing in money for both the conference and the Worldwide Leader in Sports, it was only a matter of time before a cable TV channel dedicated to the Atlantic Coast Conference would follow. ESPN and the ACC have teamed up for the creation of the ACC Network, which will launch in 2019 and with a planned team-up between the conference and the sports broadcasting powerhouse through the 2035-36 academic year.

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While the linear network will launch by 2019, the ACC Network’s digital channel will start this fall and carry 600 live events. The linear network will broadcast more than 1,300 live events per year when it starts.

Swofford said the league will move to a 20-game league schedule in men’s basketball by 2019, part of an effort to boost the amount of available content.

The ACC Network will increase the league’s overall value. Swofford said the many agreements will put the ACC in “the upper echelon of Power 5 conferences” and secure the league’s future over the next 20 years.

The ACC joins the Big Ten, Pac-12, and other conferences with their own cable TV channels. Live college sports are still a moneymaker for ESPN, so this team-up is a major coup for both.

More on this story as it develops, including which cable and satellite TV providers will carry the ACC Network, here at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

Pac-12 Network STILL Not on DIRECTV

It what seems to be a yearly ritual, it’s time once again to report that the Pac-12 Network and its regional channels are not going to be available on DIRECTV in time for college football and basketball season. Unlike DIRECTV, who continues to demand too high a price, the Pac-12 Network has reached an agreement with Frontier Communications to bring the channels to its Los Angeles area and Palm Springs customers.

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The conference also hopes to reach a deal with Charter, the other remaining holdout among major carriers.

The Pac-12 has reached an agreement with Cox Communications to carry the flagship Pac-12 Network in addition to its regional networks in Orange County and Palos Verdes and throughout Arizona, giving fans better access to high-profile games.

“This is good news for fans,” Scott said. “No matter where they live, they can watch their favorite football team play this season.”

Scott also announced three social media initiatives that would increase access to conference games. The conference will stream at least 150 games involving the traditional Olympics sports on Twitter. On Facebook, the Pac-12 will provide behind-the-scenes images and game-day content related to its 35 football broadcasts on the Pac-12 Network. On YouTube, the conference will combine all its news feeds into one platform to provide easier access to fans.

We’ll keep you updated if anything changes here at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

Missouri Baseball Teams Top RSN Cable TV Ratings

Despite both having relatively mediocre seasons up to the All-Star Break, the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals are the top Major League Baseball draws when it comes to regional sports network cable TV ratings. The Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers round out the top five, with the Oakland A’s at the bottom of the charts.

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The Royals’ league-high 12.23 average rating is particularly impressive, up 2 percent from midseason last year even though the defending World Series champions were only two games over .500 on the field at the break. Last year, the Royals ended their championship season with a 12.33 average regular-season rating on FS Kansas City, marking the league’s highest local average rating since 2002.

The Cardinals’ average rating is down 13 percent compared with midseason last year, but that 8.05 rating is still the league’s second-highest mark.

SportsBusiness Journal reviewed data from all 30 MLB teams. At the season’s midpoint, exactly half the league (15 teams) had seen a local ratings increase. Not surprisingly, the teams with the best win-loss records were the ones posting the biggest increases on TV.

It should also be noted that while the average ratings are high in St. Louis and Kansas City, they are not the leaders in total viewers, as they are mid-market teams. For example, more total viewers tune into Yankees games, but it is a smaller percentage of available viewers.

ESPN and YouTube Teaming Up?

The success of services like HBO Go, which allows people who are not cable subscribers to watch HBO programming, has other channels looking at similar options. As reported today, it appears ESPN is going to throw its hat in the ring, teaming with YouTube for a streaming service that would allow sports fans who have cut the cable TV cord to watch a limited amount of ESPN programming.

More from The Information:

Walt Disney’s ESPN sports network plans to unveil a package of live programming it will offer directly to consumers on the Web, said a person with knowledge of the plans. The move is a baby step towards ESPN becoming a direct-to-consumer service.

ESPN’s new offering won’t include high-value content like professional football or basketball, but rather more niche leagues and possibly some types of college sports, the person said. ESPN has offered some content directly before, for a specific event like the Cricket World Cup in 2015.

More on this story as it develops here at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

Comcast and Netflix Team Up to bring Netflix to Cable TV

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, many people have said so many times that it’s become a cliché. But in this case, it’s true, as two of the biggest adversaries in home TV watching are teaming up, with Netflix and Comcast partnering to allow customers to stream Netflix through their Comcast set-top box just like any other cable TV channel. This could resolve the conflict between the two rivals, which as been intense in the past, while giving both companies a leg up on competitors like Time-Warner, DIRECTV and Charter Communications.

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Netflix has over 81 million subscribers and brought in $1.8 billion in revenue Q1 of this year. However, it is still dwarfed as a company by Comcast, which generated $18.8 billion in revenue for the same period. Nearly 35% of Comcast’s 22.4 million video customers have the X-1 platform, which will be Netflix-compatible later this year.

For Netflix, the deal with the number-one US cable provider opens up the possibility of customer gain and greater customer retention. “Customers simply don’t want to have to jump through hoops to access streaming services, and they shouldn’t,” says Paul Verna, an analyst at eMarketer. “It should be as simple as clicking one button or activating one app. So I think this is definitely a plus for both Comcast and Netflix customers.”

For Comcast, the deal could also help put it on the good graces of regulators, who have warily eyed its stranglehold on both content and content distribution. “They’re always dancing on the edge with raising red flags with regulators,” Verna says. “So if they’re suddenly shutting out a competitor from their system, that is not looked at favorably by people looking at if certain deals meet regulatory approval.”

This could change the landscape and make other pay-TV providers seek deals with other streaming services. Whatever happens, it is likely that the TV consumer will finally be the one that actually benefits.

Lionsgate to Buy Cable TV Operator Starz

The film and TV studio behind such hits as The Hunger Games and Orange is the New Black is set to acquire Starz, the operator behind channels like Starz and Encore, for $4.4 billion. The merger of studio and cable TV giant will result in Lionsgate movies airing on Starz and related channels.

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“The transaction significantly increases the combined company’s content-creation capabilities, enhances its leadership in premium scripted programming and scales its global distribution footprint across mobile, broadband, cable and satellite platforms,” said a joint statement, adding that the deal “is expected to generate significant revenue and cost synergies.”

Lionsgate said Thursday that it will pay holders of Starz Series A stock $18 in cash and 0.6784 of a Lionsgate share. Starz Series B stockholders will receive $7.26 in cash and 1.2642 of Lions Gate stock.

Lionsgate already owns stakes in the Epix and Pop channels, while Starz, besides its channels, also owns Anchor Bay Entertainment, which distributes movies on DVDs.

We’ll keep you updated on this story as more happens in the future.