While some media companies have denied the "Hollywood" writers' strike will hurt profits short-term, General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt said Tuesday that it's already having an impact at NBC Universal--and GE cut profit projections for the fourth quarter there. ... GE had projected a 10% to 15% growth in segment profit at its NBCU unit in the fourth quarter, but Tuesday Immelt said it will come in at the 10% low end, citing the "impact of the strike." ... GE's downgrade was striking, since NBCU competitors have denied the strike would have a negative impact for some time. News Corp. COO Peter Chernin even said: "My guess is that during fiscal '08, a strike is probably a positive for the company."Separately, this Reuters article claims that CBS and ABC are also in trouble, just not as much. Of course, come "Idol" season, the other networks' situation could become catastrophic. With minimal competition from original programming, "American Idol" seems poised to demolish the other networks as never before. The Reuters piece includes, finally, an assessment of the strike from Shari Anne Brill, The Most Quoted Woman in Media™! I can't believe I haven't seen her show up in strike coverage until now.
Shari Anne Brill, senior vice president and director of programming for media buying agency Carat USA, said advertisers are growing increasingly worried about the ratings impact of a prolonged strike.
"Clients are in an upset state without knowing what's six weeks away. We have (programming) schedules through January, but nothing is really set for the month of February," [Aaron] Cohen said.
"Ad agencies have to negotiate with networks for revised schedules based on current strike replacement programming and get client approval for the revised schedule. We're working on a month-to-month basis," he added.
Brill said the advertisers placed their money on different expectations.
"If the networks are in this ratings under-delivery situation now, it could only worsen in the event of a prolonged strike," Brill said.
"Advertisers generally prefer to be in scripted content, and will not readily accept being put into lower-quality reality fare when their upfront dollars were spent on the expectation of being placed in quality scripted content," she said.