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Primetime TV budgets soaring

You would think that with all the technological changes and cost pressures in network television today that programming costs would be kept under control. But actually, programming costs across the four networks are up 9 percent this year while advertising sales are mostly flat year-over-year. So what gives? “I think it is some indication of either myopia, naivete or just plain brain damage on the part of the industry,” says News Corp. chief operating officer Peter Chernin. “Things are interconnected in this world, and I think the significant issue is that the fundamental economics of the television business are under a real challenge right now.” To say the least. And what’s all this investment yielding? With the most expensive programming in history on the air, the networks are seeing very mediocre success at best.

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