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Billing question


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Something I'd like to know about the billing of the anchor team on a newscast (usually called a "talent open/rejoin," but I use the word "billing" for that, because it's seemingly like billing the stars of a movie or television show): why is it sometimes (or was it sometimes) that the anchor team would be billed right at the top of the broadcast (major areas like NYC, Chicago, L.A., etc. on Eyewitness News on ABC O&Os, for instance, way back when), while others waited until the middle of the broadcast, and some didn't bill their anchor team at all?

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Different stations can simply decide to do things differently for a number of reasons.

 

One thing that sticks out to me, though, is that how ratings are measured is a pretty notable factor. When ratings were done by diary (people writing down what they were watching and mailing it back to Nielsen), the conventional wisdom was to remind viewers of your brand as much as possible. That way, they'd hopefully write down the correct channel and not confuse you for a competitor. That was certainly a big motivator for having lots of opens, talent opens, bump outs, and verbal reminders.

 

Now that almost every market has people meters instead of diaries, there's not much need for that anymore. The consultants also changed their mind at some point and started encouraging stations to try to have a high number of stories, so that 20 seconds for a talent open or bump out could be used instead for one more story in the all-important A block. Getting rid of the talent open/bump out in the A block and/or moving it to the half hour was certainly a way to free up a little more time in that first block. I also got the sense that talent opens took a lot of time for creative services to make and have to update anytime there was a change in the anchor lineup.

 

I think a lot of producers (myself included) also would view the talent bump out as a buffer that could be dropped if we were running long. We were instructed to never drop them because of how important they supposedly were, but we would definitely drop them if it meant we were going to have trouble hitting our next meter click.

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3 hours ago, C Block said:

I think a lot of producers (myself included) also would view the talent bump out as a buffer that could be dropped if we were running long. We were instructed to never drop them because of how important they supposedly were, but we would definitely drop them if it meant we were going to have trouble hitting our next meter click.

 

That could be why the Hearst Television stations no longer have them, for one thing-- that's good food for thought.

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Man, I miss those days when news opens with anchor billing started the newscasts. Names of the anchor team, the meteorologist and sportscaster were all mentioned at the beginning of the show, not in the delayed talent open. I wish those days would come back.

I especially loved those news opens with network announcers opening the show, including when those announcers said the names of the talent in the news open. For instance, ABC announcer Ernie Anderson opened the newscast for ABC affiliates, even when he said the newscast title EYE-wwwitness News!

Edited by newsteam13
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In the good old days you watch a newscast they would announce the anchors at the top of the newscast opening while the music would play as the music is playing.  I myself like the opening of a newscast

of the anchors at the start of a newscast. I don't mind it after the first commercial break, but definitely miss those anchors turning their face with a smile -with their name at the bottom of the screen.   Those were the days!

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