Media and Technology Stats and Studies – October 21, 2013

UCLA’s Ralph Bunche Center for African American studies released a diversity study of “more than 1,000 television shows that aired on 67 cable and broadcast networks during the 2011-12 season.” The report found that cable TV shows with casts that are 31 to 40% minority had the highest median ratings, compared to the lowest ranked cable shows, whose casts were 10% minority or less. The report also showed lower ratings for cable shows whose writing staffs are 10% minority or less. Last week, Kenan Thompson of Saturday Night Live blamed SNL‘s lack of diversity, particularly among its female cast members, on a weak talent pool, stating, “in auditions they just never find [female comedians of color] that are ready.” Paradoxically, while the UCLA study found ratings were highest for broadcast TV shows that were 41 to 50% minority – and ratings declined significantly for shows that were 10% minority or lessSNL‘s recent season premiere garnered a 2.4 rating/10 share among adults 18-49, or 6.5 million viewers overall – its best debut since 2010. Thompson is one of three minority comedians on SNL‘s 16-member cast.

A joint report authored by the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) found a 5 percentage point increase – to 38% – in the number of people of color working as full-time employees in cable telecommunications companies.  However, the percentage of executives and senior level managers declined by 4 percentage points to 15% since 2011. The number of entry level and mid-level managers who are people of color increased by 2 percentage points to 26%. Importantly, “turnover rates at management  levels are higher for people of color, most notably at the first manager level where the turnover rate for employees of color is 12.7% versus 9.8% for white employees.” Women are represented as full-time employees in cable telecommunications companies at a rate that is 5 percentage points lower (34%) than it was in 2003. Their participation rate as senior level managers increased by a meager 1 percentage point since 2003. Further, “the turnover rate at the first manager level is higher for women (12%) than men (9.7%), as are turnover rates at non-management levels.”

Verizon reported that it added 1.1 million new retail connections in the third quarter, 84% of which (927,000) were for contract subscribers. Smartphones now comprise 67% of Verizon’s subscriptions. The company also added 173,000 FiOS internet connections.

Google spent $2.3 billion on infrastructure in the third quarter, 50 percent more than it spent on infrastructure last quarter and three times the amount it spent on infrastructure during the third quarter of 2012. Google’s profits were up 36%, driven largely by paid click advertising. Google also reported during its earnings call that 40% of YouTube’s traffic is now mobile, up from 25% in 2012.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) reported to the Senate Judiciary Committee that it approves 99% of wiretap applications submitted to it by the executive branch.

In a new report entitled 12 Trends Shaping Digital News, Pew reported that 71% of young people ages 18-29 use the internet as their primary news source, compared to 63% of adults 30-49, 38% of adults ages 50-64 and just 18% of adults 65+. In addition, young people were more likely to graze the news at different times throughout the day, rather than watch the news or read the newspaper at a fixed time each day, as older Americans did at a higher rate. Pew also analyzed Nielsen data and found that, while broadcast news yields a higher audience, viewers of cable news channels are more loyal in that they spend more time watching cable news.

Nielsen reported that broadcast series audiences are boosted by DVRs at a much higher rate than they were last year. “Twelve network series gained at least 4 million viewers between their original air dates and seven days later,” compared to just two shows showing the same results a year ago.

According to a new report released by WorldatWork, companies like HP, Best Buy and Yahoo!, that have canceled their telework programs, are the exception not the rule. Eighty-eight percent of employers still offer telework in some form, according to the study.

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