Cable360AM — News briefing for Thursday, August 23 »

It’s commonplace for cable networks to boast summer-season ratings wins over broadcast networks. But this season’s a real sizzler. In prime time, ad-supported cable networks collectively drew a 52.4 share in the key 18-49 demo, double the collective results of the six broadcast networks: 24.2. That’s according to Turner Broadcasting System‘s analysis of Nielsen ratings. The cablers pulled a 62.8 share among all households in prime vs. 27.7 for the broadcasters.

Comcast‘s public relations team is undoubtedly busy today, given a series of stories that have been posted in the Blogosphere. The stories accuse Comcast PR agency staffers of posing as fans of the Big Ten athletic conference and seeding messageboards with comments. Their reported objective: to sway public opinion away from the idea that Comcast should carry the Big Ten Network. [AOL Sports]


Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin earned the ire of seven Black and Hispanic-focused civil rights organizations, and responded with an apology. The organizations took exception to Martin’s published comments stating that some civil rights organizations were opposed to one of his favorite causes — the installation of a la carte regulations — because they are funded by cable networks. The organizations delivered a letter to Martin terming his remarks "patronizing and insulting" and demanding a retraction and apology. "I would like to express that I have the utmost respect and appreciation for the work and views expressed by your organizations," Martin said in a letter of response. "I apologize if my recent comments led some to believe otherwise."

MTV has teamed up with social networking site MySpace to serve up 11 online debates that will bring together young voters and the top-running Presidential hopefuls. The dialogs will take place between September and December and include real-time polling. [Wall Street Journal]

Facebook is in the early stages of devising a new ad plan that would allow marketers to target users based on the information that people have revealed about themselves on the social networking site. A late fall debut is expected. [Wall Street Journal]

Google CEO Eric Schmidt told telecom and technology executives that his company will "probably" participate in next year’s auction for airwaves. He made the remark during a keynote speech at a conference organized by the Washington think tank Progress & Freedom Foundation. [Washington Post]

IN OTHER NEWS

Lifetime
is undoubtedly preparing for a ratings surge this coming Sunday, when it televises the season finale of its mega-hit series Army Wives. According to the network, the series ranks as the most watched series in the channel’s 23-year history.

NAMIC has assured itself a huge turnout for its annual conference next month in New York. The National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications snagged Mariane Pearl to deliver the opening keynote on Sept. 18. Pearl, an award winning author and journalist, is the wife of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was slain by Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan. She was portrayed by Angelina Jolie in the film A Mighty Heart.

AT&T‘s wireless business unit sent text messages to all its iPhone users to announce it’s sending summarized bills from now on. The move was prompted by a one-minute YouTube video posted by a blogger who had received a 300-page bill from AT&T for her iPhone service. The video has been viewed 3 million times. [New York Times]

NFL Network inked an exclusive deal with MyNetworkTV for an original pro football series, called NFL Network: Total Access, to air on MyNet Saturday nights. [Hollywood Reporter]

The Wilsonville, Ore., city council unanimously approved an agreement allowing Verizon’s FiOS video service to compete in the community. [PR Newswire]


AT&T paid Valis & Keelen LLC $160,000 for lobbying efforts in the first half of this year [Forbes], while DirecTV Group paid $640,000 to lobby the government. [Forbes]

Stephen Colbert will auction off his celebrity-signed cast on eBay after Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report this evening. Proceeds will go to the Yellow Ribbon Fund, which aids injured service members. [Yahoo Finance]

Click here for Wednesday’s 360AM news briefing »

 
Janet Stilson
is filling in for Shirley Brady, who is on vacation.

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