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The Frog

WBTS - Home of NBC Boston?

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Hopefully WBTS will be able to resolve its reception issues before NFL season starts as the Patriots are slated to make several appearances on NBC in 2017 including the Kickoff Game, and possibly Super Bowl LII, which the Patriots are heavy favorites to get to Minneapolis.

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Is WBIN's program inventory that valuable to justify retaining it? Plus Cox needs to fix what they needlessly broke at WFXT before creating a duopoly.

 

WWDP is still available. And NBC needs a relay for WBTS to cover the market once their WMFP subchannel relay goes bye-bye. Buying WWDP or leasing a subchannel is the only solution available.

 

WWDP has very spotty coverage - worse than most coverage maps suggest. The tower is less that 500 feet, with 5 KW ERP (ch.10), 25 miles south of Boston (about the same distance from Providence). Stations on the Needham towers are at 1200 - 1300 feet.

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Hopefully WBTS will be able to resolve its reception issues before NFL season starts as the Patriots are slated to make several appearances on NBC in 2017 including the Kickoff Game, and possibly Super Bowl LII, which the Patriots are heavy favorites to get to Minneapolis.

 

On the other hand, watching NBC and the NFL eat humble pie would be its own form of entertainment.

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Broadcasting and Cable reports NBC Boston is doing terribly with ratings. They're in 5th placr, behind WFXT in most timeslots.

 

www.broadcastingcable.com/news/local-tv/past-half-year-mark-nbc-s-wbts-has-yet-crack-competition/

 

Preston Padden, the former News Corp. and Disney-ABC top executive, said WBTS’s poor performance reflects a miscalculation on the part of NBC’s station group.

 

“I like and respect the NBC people. But I think this decision was just a mistake,” he said.

 

Sums it up nicely.

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I get that a lot of it is spin, but I don't necessarily think it was a mistake on NBC's part (yet). I think they're right in that they're stepping into a competitive marketplace where local news is very very VERY tribal. I think they can gain a foothold down the line but they need to figure out they're identity first.

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I wonder if whether NBC Boston will gain traction when they start showing Patriots' games here is a little more then a week. The Patriots are scheduled to play 3 times on NBC this season, and possibly the Super Bowl.

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I can tell you now, NBC Boston is a mistake. They should've bought WHDH and make it a NBC O&O in the first place.

They tried. But Ed Ansin didn't want to sell and claimed NBC severely undervalued the station in their offers.

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NBC made many mistakes along the way, but this isn't surprising for them. WBTS is a long-term project for the parent company. Those who thought that NBC would come in, launch a brand-new station mostly from scratch and overthrow WCVB/WBZ/WHDH in the ratings is delusional.

 

Use KNTV as an example of the path that NBC is going to take with WBTS...

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I wonder if whether NBC Boston will gain traction when they start showing Patriots' games here is a little more then a week. The Patriots are scheduled to play 3 times on NBC this season, and possibly the Super Bowl.

An occasional Sunday night game doesn't and won't translate into ratings for their weekday newscasts. Game ends, and they'll flip back to either 4, 5, 7 or 25.

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Use KNTV as an example of the path that NBC is going to take with WBTS...

KNTV was a full-power VHF signal that was already a known commodity in San Jose for decades, even in the shadow of KGO-TV. It is completely incomparable with the WBTS/WNEU hodgepodge.

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KNTV was a full-power VHF signal that was already a known commodity in San Jose for decades, even in the shadow of KGO-TV. It is completely incomparable with the WBTS/WNEU hodgepodge.

So, KNTV must have been a ratings success from day one and experienced zero market coverage issues, then?

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So, KNTV must have been a ratings success from day one and experienced zero market coverage issues, then?

KNTV wasn't an outright startup like WBTS was, had a reasonable channel ID number, and had an infinitely better signal than WBTS/WNEU ever could.

 

Plus the affiliation switch happened with Granite still owning the station (the sale to NBC didn't close until a few months afterward).

 

Again... absolutely folly to compare the two.

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WBTS has a big channel identity problem. Boston viewers are long familiar with Ch's 4, 5, 7, & 25 or "Fox 25", and closely match that well known number with the station, and its news, even if found on a different cable channel. On the other hand, NBC Boston has many channel numbers. The main page of the web site prominently displays "Find NBC Boston in your area... Channel 10 on most providers... Channel 60 and 8 Over the Air..." Which leaves out such details as actually meaning 60.2 on WNEU, or 60.5 on WMFP (which will go off the air in the spectrum repack), depending on the viewer's location. Suggest watching something on NBC Boston to the average person and they have no clue what you mean. Even if they know where to find their favorite NBC network shows - they don't match it with local news. There are many technical reasons for this, and it may get worse with the eventual need of WBTS on 8 to channel share with yet another local station.

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Sorry... but the disparate over the air channel numbers are irrelevant. Boston is one of the most heavy cable/satellite markets in the nation. Less than 5% of viewing is over the air. Additionally, and this is the most important thing to recognize, all ratings reports show NBC prime time programming is generally doing quite well, and is reflective of the rest of the nation.

 

NBC knew Boston would be a long fight and that it would be an expensive investment. I think they also knew the Boston audience is very parochial and change would be difficult. It's not fair and too early to call it a failure. The Olympics are coming up. A lot of news shows will be off the usual clock, giving them a chance to attract some new eyes.

 

It will take years for NBC Boston to become a local news force. While they might not be making a ton of money yet, I'll also bet they aren't losing any either. As long as network programming is performing well, NBC has more to gain with their own property in Boston than they had paying the affiliate. Remember, all local and national revenue going to WBTS now and in the future is NBC's. That wasn't the case at WHDH.

 

The bottom line is the bottom line. NBC will make more money in the long term with its own property than with an affiliate. If Ed Ansin keeps making money too, good for him.

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On a side note, WHDH is doing well in spite of being an indie. However, NBC is prepared to be in the trenches long term and hopefully, WHDH is as well.

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Sorry... but the disparate over the air channel numbers are irrelevant.

 

The only reason why I brought up KNTV's channel number was because it was part of the reason why it was a known quantity in San Jose for 40 years prior to the NBC switch. It was not an outright startup like NBC Boston is.

 

If anything, it's the comparing of NBC Boston to KNTV that is 100% irrelevant. You're better off comparing apples to lawn furniture.

 

Boston is one of the most heavy cable/satellite markets in the nation. Less than 5% of viewing is over the air.

Doesn't change the fact that this is a parochial market. You either are a known quantity like 4, 5, 7 or 25... or you have zero chance.

 

Additionally, and this is the most important thing to recognize, all ratings reports show NBC prime time programming is generally doing quite well, and is reflective of the rest of the nation.

 

How many people are really watching NBC prime time on NBC Boston and not on demand (which can count in the ratings reports) or on Sinclair's WJAR?

 

Plus, it's obvious that people who are watching NBC prime time - if they are doing so on NBC Boston - are tuning out after 11pm and heading to either 4, 5, 7 and 25. No one is watching their newscasts.

 

People watch CBS prime time in Detroit, too, but if WWJ tried a newscast, it would fail just like their previous attempts.

 

NBC knew Boston would be a long fight and that it would be an expensive investment. I think they also knew the Boston audience is very parochial and change would be difficult. It's not fair and too early to call it a failure. The Olympics are coming up. A lot of news shows will be off the usual clock, giving them a chance to attract some new eyes.

 

Or, they gain absolutely no traction as people will continue to seek out either 4, 5, 7 and 25 for their news.

 

It's the same argument with carrying an occasional Patriots football game and assuming that the Patriots will make it to the Super Bowl. It's foolhardy for NBC to bet on Tom Brady covertly deflating a few more good footballs and continuing to make Roger Goodell's life miserable so NBC Boston's news operation can be lifted ever so slightly.

 

It will take years for NBC Boston to become a local news force. While they might not be making a ton of money yet, I'll also bet they aren't losing any either. As long as network programming is performing well, NBC has more to gain with their own property in Boston than they had paying the affiliate. Remember, all local and national revenue going to WBTS now and in the future is NBC's. That wasn't the case at WHDH.

 

NBC is more happy with a poorly-performing O&O because they get to pocket all the money. We all knew that. Its why this was even a thing in the first place.

 

The bottom line is the bottom line. NBC will make more money in the long term with its own property than with an affiliate. If Ed Ansin keeps making money too, good for him.

 

Bottom line: NBC has a guaranteed ratings embarrassment in a top 10 market on their hands with a scant chance it will ever improve... unless 4, 5, 7 and 25 all fall off the face of the earth.

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The only reason why I brought up KNTV's channel number was because it was part of the reason why it was a known quantity in San Jose for 40 years prior to the NBC switch. It was not an outright startup like NBC Boston is.

 

If anything, it's the comparing of NBC Boston to KNTV that is 100% irrelevant. You're better off comparing apples to lawn furniture.

 

 

Doesn't change the fact that this is a parochial market. You either are a known quantity like 4, 5, 7 or 25... or you have zero chance.

 

 

 

How many people are really watching NBC prime time on NBC Boston and not on demand (which can count in the ratings reports) or on Sinclair's WJAR?

 

Plus, it's obvious that people who are watching NBC prime time - if they are doing so on NBC Boston - are tuning out after 11pm and heading to either 4, 5, 7 and 25. No one is watching their newscasts.

 

People watch CBS prime time in Detroit, too, but if WWJ tried a newscast, it would fail just like their previous attempts.

 

 

 

Or, they gain absolutely no traction as people will continue to seek out either 4, 5, 7 and 25 for their news.

 

It's the same argument with carrying an occasional Patriots football game and assuming that the Patriots will make it to the Super Bowl. It's foolhardy for NBC to bet on Tom Brady covertly deflating a few more good footballs and continuing to make Roger Goodell's life miserable so NBC Boston's news operation can be lifted ever so slightly.

 

 

 

NBC is more happy with a poorly-performing O&O because they get to pocket all the money. We all knew that. Its why this was even a thing in the first place.

 

 

 

Bottom line: NBC has a guaranteed ratings embarrassment in a top 10 market on their hands with a scant chance it will ever improve... unless 4, 5, 7 and 25 all fall off the face of the earth.

Known quantity or not, viewers in the Bay Area still had trouble accessing KNTV during it's startup days as an NBC affiliate. The station's signal did not adequately cover the market. Plus, there was the whole b.s. involving the branding and cable/sat/OTA channel positions that confused viewers. (i.e. NBC 3/NBC 11/NBC Bay Area...) There are a lot of similarities between both and it probably is why they were so [over] confident in leaping into this Boston venture.

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Known quantity or not, viewers in the Bay Area still had trouble accessing KNTV during it's startup days as an NBC affiliate. The station's signal did not adequately cover the market. Plus, there was the whole b.s. involving the branding and cable/sat/OTA channel positions that confused viewers. (i.e. NBC 3/NBC 11/NBC Bay Area...) There are a lot of similarities between both and it probably is why they were so [over] confident in leaping into this Boston venture.

The "NBC 3" branding happened under Granite. Of course that was doomed from the start and was switched to "NBC 11" after NBC took over.

 

The other thing to remember is... Granite signed the NBC affiliation contract for KNTV about 1-1/2 years ahead of time, in the summer of 2000 (KNTV dropped ABC when the deal with NBC was signed, and took the WB as a stopgap). But that deal (not that different from the same contract Young Broadcasting balked at with KRON) and its stipulations and directives from NBC became a massive drain on Granite.

 

That's why Granite cut ties and announced the sale of KNTV to NBC one month before the switch happened... and wasn't consummated until later that spring.

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Sorry... but the disparate over the air channel numbers are irrelevant. Boston is one of the most heavy cable/satellite markets in the nation. Less than 5% of viewing is over the air. Additionally, and this is the most important thing to recognize, all ratings reports show NBC prime time programming is generally doing quite well, and is reflective of the rest of the nation.

It has little to do with whether viewers are watching over the air or cable - the issue is that WBTS has no number identity. There is channel 4, channel 5, channel 7, channel 25 (or Fox 25), and NBC Boston something or other... It may not be as consistent in other markets - but anyone here younger than 60 can't remember a time when there wasn't ch 4, 5, and 7 news. Networks switched around, but the news was still there. (Fox25 news added in the 90's.) The news is identified with that magic number. Ask anyone what news they watched last night - and they say ch 4, not WBZ, not CBS Boston. Ask anyone who Maria Stephanos is and they will say - she used to be on ch 25, but moved to ch 5.

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It has little to do with whether viewers are watching over the air or cable - the issue is that WBTS has no number identity. There is channel 4, channel 5, channel 7, channel 25 (or Fox 25), and NBC Boston something or other... It may not be as consistent in other markets - but anyone here younger than 60 can't remember a time when there wasn't ch 4, 5, and 7 news. Networks switched around, but the news was still there. (Fox25 news added in the 90's.) The news is identified with that magic number. Ask anyone what news they watched last night - and they say ch 4, not WBZ, not CBS Boston. Ask anyone who Maria Stephanos is and they will say - she used to be on ch 25, but moved to ch 5.

 

Very similar here in Dallas....and yes I know 3 out of the 4 primary stations are O&Os but even before KTVT & KXAS were O&Os, they were still referred to as CBS 11 and NBC 5. The only station that is not referred to by its' network is WFAA. It's always been Channel 8 as long as I can remember. However, I do know that before KDFW became FOX 4 it was also referred to as Channel 4 with no CBS identifier.

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Things people said wouldn't happen:

  • Successful "Pay" TV. (Cable)
  • Satellite TV. (What? Who would want a satellite dish on their roof?)
  • A cable news network.
  • Another cable news network.
  • A shopping network.
  • Another shopping network.
  • 16x9 TV standard in the US. (You'll never get everyone to buy a new TV.)
  • Local stations swapping channels. (Miami)
  • Networks swapping O&Os. (Philadelphia)
  • Station groups owning hundreds of stations. (Sinclair)
  • Internet television. (Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, etc.)
  • Original big budget successful TV shows on the internet.
  • The Kardashians.

TV rules are changing every day. Just because an NBC Boston is unprecedented and couldn't have happened a decade ago, does not mean it won't be working a decade from now.

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Things people said wouldn't happen:

  • Successful "Pay" TV. (Cable)
  • Satellite TV. (What? Who would want a satellite dish on their roof?)
  • 16x9 TV standard in the US. (You'll never get everyone to buy a new TV.)
  • Local stations swapping channels. (Miami)
  • Networks swapping O&Os. (Philadelphia)
  • Station groups owning hundreds of stations. (Sinclair)
  • Internet television. (Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, etc.)
  • Original big budget successful TV shows on the internet.
  • The Kardashians.

TV rules are changing every day. Just because an NBC Boston is unprecedented and couldn't have happened a decade ago, does not mean it won't be working a decade from now.

 

Maybe it's ahead of its time (but hardly unprecedented; CBS and NBC tried affiliations on UFH signals in the 1950s, and failed every time) but it doesn't make NBC Boston any less foolish of a venture. Not by a long shot.

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