‘Dancing With The Stars’ Contributed To ABC’s Ratings Woes, Exec Says: UBS

DAVID LIEBERMAN, Executive Editor
Deadline.comDecember 5, 2012

The season finale “didn’t work out” and symbolized the kinds of ratings troubles that ABC and other major broadcasters have seen recently, Disney CFO Jay Rasulo says. “Most of the networks are down and frankly a lot has to do with single shows” as opposed to troubles at ongoing series, he told the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. When Dancing With The Stars decided to bring back celebrities from previous seasons “we thought it was a great idea,” Rasulo says. “Turns out people didn’t want to see people who could dance. They wanted people who couldn’t dance. So it’s not easy to be a taste-master in programming a network.” Unlike CBS’ Les Moonves, Rasulo doesn’t blame DVRs for the networks’ troubles. Although DVR penetration is up about 7 percentage points this year, “the number of individuals who are fast-forwarding through ads has declined, so it’s had a net benefit.”

Related: Disney CFO Says Netflix Deal Complements Studio’s Production Strategy: UBS Confab

Rasulo also says that video streaming has only had a “minimal” impact on the networks. “I don’t think it’s detracting from the advertising we’re being paid for….[YouTube] is not a place where premium advertisers are spending significant dollars.” Nevertheless, Disney wants advertisers to pay for viewers who watch up to seven days after a show airs — up from three. Rasulo also wants Nielsen to “measure where people consume media.” Still, he says, “at the end of the day, if you have great programming, you have great ratings.”

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