Last Thursday’s (7/23) opening-night baseball game — New York Yankees vs. Washington Nationals—pulled in the best regular season game ratings for ESPN in nine years. Nielsen measured 4 million viewers, breaking the previous record of 3.7 million viewers in 2017 (Chicago Cubs v. St. Louis Cardinals). (mediapost; 7/27).

Predictions on ad support for this year’s modified 60-game shortened season suggest national/local TV advertising has sold well. So, while the end result will be far lower advertising revenues overall, the expected sharp rise in unit pricing/cost per thousand viewers may lesson the blow. (mediapost; 7/28).

The not so silver lining: On Monday (7/28), it was reported that 14 Miami Marlins players have been infected with COVID-19, forcing them to cancel that team’s home opener against the Baltimore Orioles. (nytimes; 7/27)


Nielsen has just released its Annual Auto Marketing Report, which aims to help auto marketers understand how to better engage multicultural consumers (Hispanic, Black & Asian American). According to the report, vehicle shoppers from multicultural groups tend to be aware of fewer brands, but ultimately consider more options on the path-to-purchase than the general population. This means that auto marketers have more opportunities to engage these audiences over time, which is critical for a COVID-19 recovery. The report’s data was collected from the Nielsen Auto Path-to-Purchase series during a pre-pandemic time period when the U.S. auto industry was already confronting growth challenges. So, while much has changed, the findings layered in with insights from the current crisis are more important than ever as the auto industry devises recovery strategies. (prnewswire; July 28)


OTT advertising opportunities, and reach, continue to evolve and expand. ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV launched as a pre-loaded app on select Verizon Android mobile devices and will continue to roll out over the summer on Fios set-top cable boxes, Stream TV, and 5G Amazon Home Fire devices. 

As a result, 100,000 hours of streaming content from hundreds of channels will be available to tens of millions of Verizon devices, making it the largest cross-platform integration to date in the FAST (free, ad-supported streaming service) or AVOD category. Pluto uses ViacomCBS’s back catalog to create ad inventory and promote paid subscription products, like Noggin and Comedy Central Now. Pluto is on track to reach 30 million by year’s end (mostly U.S. users, but the service has growing user bases in Europe and Latin America). (mediapost; 7/24)


Local TV news will become a real-time emergency information portal with the new broadcast technology being deployed in cities across the nation. ATSC 3.0—also referred to as “NextGen”—can automatically target the impact zone of an incident with pre-formatted alerts. This means less revenue lost to service disruptions, more relevance to viewers and more revenue options for broadcasters. “This gives the station flexibility and control over content, and the audience controls what they want to see. It makes emergency information a value-added service that not only increases community engagement, but … may provide additional abilities to monetize the information.” (tvtechnology: 7/27)


One of TV’s favorite hosts, Regis Philbin, passed away at 88 from heart disease on July 24. Regis was best-known for co-hosting “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” from 1985 to 2000, then, “Live! with Regis and Kelly (Ripa)” for ten years until his 2011 retirement. Regis also hosted prime-time game show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Regis made such a memorable impact on daytime talk and will be missed by so many. (nytimes: 7/25)