- 1872 - 1877
- A series of photographs can be viewed by stroboscopic disc.
- George Eastman invents flexible photographic film.
- Thomas Edison patents
motion picture camera.
- Edison attempts to record picture
photos onto a wax cylinder.
- 1891 - 1895
- Dickson shoots numerous 15 second
motion pictures using Edison's
kineograph, his motion
- First public demonstration of motion pictures displayed in France.
- Development of the Cathode
Ray Tube by Ferdinand Braun.
- Use of cathode ray tube to produce television images.
- Patent for the iconoscope, the forerunner of the picture tube.
- Talking films begin with Al Jolson in "The Jazz Singer".
- Early 1930s
- RCA conducts black and white broadcasting experiments.
- First television broadcast made available in London.
- Initial proposal for color TV broadcast made by George
were fewer than 7,000 working TV sets in the country
and only nine stations on the air; three in New York, two each in Chicago and Los Angeles,
and one each in Philadelphia and Schenectady, N.Y.
||RCA that same month holds its first public demonstration of a new TV camera
offering a sharper image than those then in use.
Near the end of October,
Gimbel's Department Store in Philadelphia holds the
first large-scale TV demonstration. More than 25,000 people come over three weeks for a
chance to watch NBC programs from New York and local shows sent out by Philco's
||The Blue Network,
part of NBC, officially becomes the ABC network.
A 1941 FCC ruling required RCA to divest itself of one of its two networks; NBC Blue was
sold in 1943 to Edward Noble for $8 million, and becomes ABC in 1945.
and Gillette stage what's billed as the first
"television sports extravaganza" -- the Joe Louis-Billy Conn heavyweight fight
at Yankee Stadium -- in June. The fight is a viewing success with an estimated audience of
150,000 watching 5,000 sets. For every TV set tuned into the fight, there are, on average,
30 people watching, many seeing an event on TV for the first time.
In October, the Television Broadcasters Association declares "television is
ready to proceed on an expanded basis," and that the new industry is "well on
the way to becoming one of the most important in the nation."
a children's series, premieres live on NBC in December as a one-hour Saturday program.
Symbolic of the first generation nurtured on TV, the show remains on the air until 1960.
In May, live theater equivalent to the Broadway stage comes to TV on a regular,
commercially sponsored basis with the premiere of "Kraft Television Theatre."
In March, FCC postpones final decisions on Color TV but reaffirms a go-ahead on existing
NBC debuts "Meet the Press," a
kind of made-for-TV news conference. It goes on to become the oldest series on network TV.
||"The Ed Sullivan Show"
(originally "Toast of the Town") makes its debut in June. Sponsored by Lincoln-Mercury, the show becomes one of TV's
longest-running and most successful variety series. The show airs on CBS into 1971,
spurring the advancement of scores of show business careers.
Advertisers accept the
medium: Throughout the year, 933 sponsors buy TV
time, a rise of 515% over 1947.
By the fall, FCC has issued 108
licenses for new stations, with hundreds more applications pending across the nation.
The earliest cable systems are born in
remote areas of Pennsylvania and Oregon. Known then as Community
Antenna Television, its function was simply to bring TV signals into
communities where off-air reception was either non-existent or poor because of interfering
mountains or distance.
||B.F. Goodrich sponsors the new TV series of radio comedy team George Burns and Gracie Allen.
||Milton Berle makes
his TV debut in September as the master of
ceremonies on "The
Texaco Star Theater," which runs until 1956.
By November, Mr. Berle is so popular the show earns the highest rating yet -- 86.7%
of all TV households.
By January, number of TV
stations grows to 98 in 58 market areas.
A special broadcast in January inaugurates East-Midwest TV linkage. Included in the broadcast is a one-hour sampler with the networks displaying their best:
Arthur Godfrey for CBS, Ted Steele for DuPont, Milton Berle and Harry Richman for NBC, and
for ABC a mystery show called "Stand By for Crime." The event moves Chicago
Tribune to report: "The end of dull sustaining filler on television screens
appears to be in sight."
FCC adopts the Fairness Doctrine, making broadcasters responsible for seeking out and presenting all sides of
an issue when covering controversy. (Earlier in the Communications Act of 1934
broadcasters were required to give "equal air time"
to candidates running in elections.)
U.S. Dept. of Commerce confirms TV's selling power when it reports in May: "Television's
combination of moving pictures, sound and immediacy produces an impact that extends
television as an advertising medium into the realm of personal sales solicitation."
Betty Furness starts pitching refrigerators and appliances in TV spots for Westinghouse,
launching a relationship that lasts more than 11 years and makes her one of the first
stars created for commercial TV.
||In January, Arthur
Godfrey and Faye Emerson are named most pleasing
personalities in Look's TV awards show on CBS.
National sponsors exit
radio for TV at record rates, moving Variety
to describe the exodus as "the greatest exhibition of mass hysteria in biz
||"Omnibus," one of
commercial TV's most honored cultural series, debuts. Hosted by Alistair
Cooke, the program takes in $5.5 million in advertising revenues during five
years on the air, against $8.5 million in costs.
|"I Love Lucy," a
half-hour filmed TV sitcom, is born. The show, unlike the live TV productions typical of
the time, ranks No. 1 in the nation for four of its first six full seasons. It is
sponsored by Philip Morris.
CBS broadcasts the first
color program on June 21, but only 25 receivers can
accommodate mechanical color. Viewers of 12 million existing sets see only a blank screen.
Hall of Fame" series launches in December with
"Amahl and the Night Visitors."
National Association of Radio
& Television Broadcasters ratifies a new Television Code
establishing guidelines for content and addressing the concerns of social critics. Nearly
half the code is devoted to advertising.
In response to protests about program content, a House subcommittee investigates
"offensive" and "immoral" TV programs and touches on wide range of
topics -- from beer spots to dramas depicting suicide.
Bob Hope takes his comedy from radio to TV when "The Bob Hope Show" debuts
||Borden's Elsie the
Cow beats out actor Van Johnson and U.S. Sen.
Robert Taft in recognition polls as one of America's most familiar faces.
NBC's "Today" show, first and longest-running early-morning network show, bows with host
Dave Garroway and chimpanzee sidekick J. Fred Muggs.
By year's end, the number of TV households grows to 20 million, up 33% from previous
year. U.S. advertisers spend a record $288 million on TV time, an increase of 38.8% from
Color broadcasting officially arrives in the U.S. on Dec. 17, when FCC approves modified
version of an RCA system.
the first network kids show, begins on CBS.
|The Hamm's bear is introduced in a TV spot that initially runs as a sequel to a 1953 Hamm's
commercial that featured beavers beating on tom-toms.
The first color commercial
televised in a local show was commissioned in March
by Castro Decorators, New York, in a contract with WNBT. It was first telecast on Aug. 6.
"The Tonight Show," featuring comedian
Steve Allen, on Sept. 27. For nearly four decades -- until CBS' "Late Show With David
Letterman" enters the scene in 1993 -- the show dominates late night.
In April, groundwork is laid for the Television Advertising Bureau. For the first
time, television is the leading medium for national advertising.
Immensely popular daytime radio show "Queen
For A Day" shifts to TV in January. Between radio
and TV, the show had a run of nearly 20 years, although widely criticized as an
exploitation of human misery, wrapped in commercial plugs. At the peak of popularity, NBC
increased the show's length from 30 to 45 minutes to gain time to sell at the premium ad
rate of $4,000 per minute.
Future U.S. President Ronald
Reagan becomes host of "General Electric
Theater," long-running anthology series on CBS (1953-61) in which many top Hollywood
film stars appeared.
One of NBC's perennial specials -- "Peter Pan" with Mary Martin and Cyril
Richard -- first telecast in March as a live production. It's billed as the first network
presentation of a full Broadway production. Videotape later makes it possible to present
the show annually for several years.
The classic Western series
"Gunsmoke" begins its 20-year run on CBS.
"The $64,000 Question," sponsored by Revlon, premieres in June on CBS, igniting a U.S.
game show craze.
Videotape is introduced by
Ampex Corp. at a CBS-TV affiliates' session. Most TV
shows at the time are produced by the kinescope process.
The 1939 movie "Wizard of
Oz" debuts in November on CBS's "Ford
Star Jubilee." After more than three decades of exposure, the feature is considered
one of the most successful single programs in TV history and the longest continually
sponsored theatrical movie on TV.
||Variety reports in May that during a typical week, viewers encounter 420
commercials totaling 5 hours, 8 minutes.
By August, for the
first time, more countries worldwide allow TV advertising than forbid it.
Jack Paar revives NBC-TV's "Tonight" show
beginning on July 29.
In an October report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Meyer
Naide identifies "television legs," blood clots that result from watching TV too
CBS's "Ed Sullivan" show is the year's most-watched network program, with a 50.4 average
There are 525 cable TV systems serving 450,000 subscribers in the U.S. In February, CBS takes out a
two-page ad in TV Guide in which it warns the public: "Free television as we
know it cannot survive alongside pay television."
Advertising Age reports "videotape seems to be catching on like wildfire." By October, 61 TV stations in the U.S. use tape.
By the end of the TV season, there are
22 network quiz shows; 18% of NBC's programming alone consists of quizzes. In August, contestant Herbert Stempel charges "Twenty-One" is rigged, triggering a congressional
In December, Edward R. Murrow writes in TV
Guide that viewers must recognize "television in the main is being used to
distract, delude, amuse and insulate us."
By year's end, ad expenditures in radio and TV
cross the $2 billion mark.
The cartoon ad character Mister
Magoo becomes the nearsighted spokesman for General Electric bulbs.
||NBC's Sunday night
hit "Bonanza" makes its debut. It becomes
the highest-rated program of the 1960s and is on the air 14 years.
DuPont Co. begins a two-year sponsorship of the "June
Allyson Show," a series of dramatic plays.
The first of four "great
debates" between John F. Kennedy and Richard
Nixon is broadcast on Sept. 26 across the country, breaking new ground in presidential
||The most popular
shows of the year include "Gunsmoke" and
"Wagon Train." Audience share figures regularly exceed 50% for many of the most
popular entries in prime time.
search of added profit, ABC stretches the station break between programs to 40 seconds from 30. The
other networks follow.
FCC Chairman Newton Minow delivers a May 9 speech in which he denounces U.S. TV as a "vast wasteland," calling for heightened federal regulation
of the medium. The same day, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey calls U.S. TV "the
greatest single achievement in communication that anybody or any area of the world has
ever known ."
The New York chapter of the
Congress of Racial Equality persuades Lever Bros.
to air a network commercial featuring an African-American, a spot
for Wisk detergent that shows a black boy and white boy at play.
||On Aug. 28, Dr.
Martin Luther King delivers his "I have a
dream" speech as millions watch on TV.
On Nov. 22, President
Kennedy is shot by a sniper in downtown Dallas, and
TV coverage of the assassination and the funeral grip the nation and the world for four
days. Shortly thereafter, Jack Ruby shoots accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald
on an NBC live broadcast as the latter is being transported by law officials.
TV surpasses newspapers as an
information source for the first time; a November Roper poll indicates 36% of Americans find TV a more reliable
source, compared with the 24% who favor print.
Instant replay adds a new
dimension to televised sports when it's featured in
a telecast of an Army-Navy football game. In 1964, it becomes a standard technique and
goes on to become controversial in the NFL.
|| Negative political TV advertising is born with the "Daisy" spot for Lyndon
Johnson's presidential candidacy, in which a mushroom cloud suggests GOP
candidate Barry Goldwater would not hesitate to use nuclear warfare.
|Debate over the
airing of cigarette commercials heats up after the
U.S. Surgeon General issues a report finding smoking a health hazard.
FCC issues its first cable
regulation: Operators are required to black out
programming that comes in from distant markets and duplicates a local market station's own
programming, if the local station demands it. There are about 1
million homes wired for cable in the U.S. at the time.
||73 million viewers
tune in to the appearance on the "Ed Sullivan Show" of the British pop group, the Beatles.
CBS is the champion of the "Big 3" networks -- demanding $50,000 from advertisers for
a prime-time minute, while ABC brings in $45,000 and NBC brings in $41,000 for the same
WOR-TV, New York, is the first station to air a program comprised only of commercials.
The special features spots selected as Clio
award winners at an earlier American Television
Commercials Festival. It runs uninterrupted (without paid messages) until the end of the
telecast, when two paid commercials are aired.
||Color TV booms as NBC leads the
way and begins to use the phrase "The Full Color Network".
By year's end, 96% of NBC's nighttime schedule is broadcast in color, along with all major
programs, sports events and specials.
A live-action representation of the comic strip Batman is brought to TV
and achieves instant success with its star, Adam West.
A New York Times Magazine article reports: "TV is not an art form or a cultural channel; it is an
advertising medium ... it seems a bit churlish and unAmerican of people who watch
television to complain that their shows are lousy. They are not supposed to be any good.
They are supposed to make money."
An opinion survey sponsored by National Association of Broadcasters shows a high level of
public dissatisfaction with TV commercials and programs. Sixty-three percent of those
surveyed would prefer TV
Manufacturers churn out 11.4
million new TV sets, up from the 5.7 million receivers
made in 1960.
NAB Code Authority increases
scrutiny of violence in TV programming after the
assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, a presidential
Spending for TV in presidential
campaigns increases to $27 million, from $10
million in 1960.
Public Broadcasting Service
begins, and in November launches "Sesame Street," one
of the most influential achievements in children's TV.
On July 20, astronaut Neil
Armstrong takes mankind's first step on the moon as millions of U.S. viewers watch the
historic event live on network TV.
The U.S. Supreme Court
applies the Fairness Doctrine to cigarettes -- granting
anti-smoking forces "equal time" on the air to reply to tobacco commercials.
That same year, the FCC issues a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to ban cigarette ads on TV and radio. As Congress debates the issue, tobacco companies and certain members of the
Senate hold discussions in which cigarette advertisers, in order to stave off controls on
the sale of cigarettes, agree to stop advertising them on the air.
FCC enacts the Financial
Interest Syndication Rules (effective 1971), prohibiting the three major networks from owning and
controlling the rebroadcast of prime-time shows. The rules ended controversial policies of
withholding or delaying network hits from independent stations that could then program
them against network news and prime-time fare. In the same action, FCC enacts the Prime
Time Access Rule, limiting the networks' use of peak viewing time to three hours per
night. The rule effectively shaved off 30 minutes of prime-time programming from the
networks each night and returned it to the local stations in the top 50 markets.
Action for Children's Television
petitions the FCC to eliminate all commercials from
children's TV programs, citing a variety of shortcomings in terms of quality and
regulation of advertising. The petition fueled existing debate within the industry about
advertising and children.
Coca-Cola's "I'd Like to
Teach the World to Sing" commercial saturates the radio and broadcast airwaves, becoming an instant
hit. Coca-Cola goes on to sell a million records featuring a non-commercial version of the
The transition from 60-seconds
to 30-seconds as the standard length for
commercials takes hold. The change began in the 1960s with the controversial practice of
"piggybacking," or putting messages for two related products from one company
into the same one-minute commercial. The networks cast aside concerns about corporate
relationships and began selling 30-second units.
As of Jan. 2, the 1970 congressional ban on radio and TV cigarette advertising takes effect, stripping the broadcast business of about $220 million in
||The landmark series
"All In The Family" debuts on CBS as one of the first sitcoms to contain realistic characters,
mature themes and frank dialog. The show becomes the highest-rated TV program of the
decade, with a 23.1 average rating. There were 212 episodes done during its nine seasons
on the air.
"The Ed Sullivan
Show" comes to an end after 23 seasons on CBS. Mr. Sullivan, the master of
ceremonies for the show, dies in 1974.
In response to growing concern over TV's effect on children, NAB and the networks agree to reduce
commercial time in children's weekend fare from 16 minutes an hour to 12 minutes an hour
(effective Jan. 1, 1973). Revisions in the code do away with "tie-ins,"
the mention of products in a program context, and with the use of program hosts or cartoon
characters as the commercial pitchman.
Variety reports in April that by a margin of 5-1, Americans judge TV commercials as "a
fair price to pay for being able to view the programs."
The Senate Watergate Hearings begin May 17. Together ABC, CBS and NBC offer almost 300 hours of rotated
coverage, estimated to have cost a combined total of $10 million in lost ad revenues and
NAB adds additional curbs on ads
to children, with a new policy limiting non-program
material in weekend children's fare to 10 minutes hourly, effective Jan .1 , 1975.
The Robert McNeil Report (later the
McNeil-Lehrer Report) introduces a new news format to public
broadcasting with the support of AT&T Co.
KNTV, San Jose, Calif., becomes the first U.S. station to run a TV commercial for Trojan condoms. The spot ran despite a NAB code that banned commercials for
A study by the Council on
Children, Media, and Merchandising reveals that
approximately 50% of ads in children's programming from 1965 to 1975 were for food,
primarily sugared cereals, cookies, candies, and soft drinks; 30% were for toys.
Time Inc. initiates the concept of linking satellite programming to cable systems with the
launch of Home Box Office. On Sept. 30, the heavyweight boxing championship bout between Joe
Frazier and Muhammad Ali is broadcast from Manila.
Family viewing time is incorporated
into the NAB TV code. It was decided that the time before 9 p.m. was supposed to be
devoted to all members of the household. This results in a marked drop in violence on the
air in "family time" during the 1975-76 season. In November 1976, a federal
court overturns the policy, deeming it a violation of free speech.
"Gunsmoke" comes to an
end after a 20 year run on CBS. The show finishes
among the top 10 programs 13 times.
||Ted Turner's WTBS, Atlanta, becomes a "superstation" to
viewers in much of the U.S. via cable TV.
More than 75% of TV-equipped
homes are able to receive color on one or more sets.
||ABC airs the
first episode of its 26-hour miniseries "Roots" Jan. 23. The Jan. 30 installment becomes the third most-watched TV program
in history, earning a 51% rating.
minister, Rev. Donald Wildmon, and his grass-roots
protest group, American Family Association, organize a national "Turn Off TV
Week" in February.
Gross TV advertising
revenues this year rise to $7.5 billion -- 20% of
all U.S. advertising
Viacom's Showtime cable network launched in March.
Warner Cable establishes an
interactive/videotex system called QUBE Ohio.
Viewers were able to participate in public opinion polls by punching buttons their homes.
Warner ended the experiment in 1984.
A TV Guide poll in May indicates 44% of Americans are unhappy with what they find on their TV
screens and 49% are watching TV less than they did a few years earlier.
|ESPN, a total
sports network, makes its debut on cable. It
becomes the largest and most successful basic cable channel, carried by virtually every
cable system, and reaches more than 57 million households.
|| "Who Shot
November episode of CBS' hit TV show "Dallas," reveals the identity of the
attacker of J.R. Ewing (played by Larry Hagman) and breaks records by a drawing a 53.3
rating and 76 share.
||Ted Turner's Cable
News Network is born, lining up TV's two major
sponsors, Procter & Gamble Co. and General Foods.
In March, Walter Cronkite steps down after 19 years of anchoring the CBS evening news and is replaced
by Dan Rather.
Nielsen produces its first
Cassandra ratings report for syndicated programming.
Television makes its debut in August.
Alberto-Culver Co. experiments with "split 30" commercials. The test is not
received warmly by the networks, which accept the commercials at the insistence of the
advertiser but seek restrictions on use.
Federal Judge Harold Greene
outlaws NAB's TV code -- created for industry
self-regulation -- in "U.S. vs. NAB." Court held the code violated the Sherman
Anti-Trust Act by artificially increasing cost.
||Home Shopping Network is launched.
|The final episode
of "M*A*S*H" draws the largest audience in TV history. More than 125 million homes tuned
in. The going rate for a :30 on the 2 1/2-hour finale was $450,000.
On Nov. 11, ABC
broadcasts "The Day After," a two-hour
made-for-TV film about thermonuclear war between the U.S. and Soviet Union, Because of its
controversial nature, the movie appears with few advertisers but demolished the ratings of
other TV programs that night.
During the third quarter of the
Super Bowl, Apple Computer introduces
the Macintosh computer with a 60-second Orwellian epic commercial called "1984," created by
Chiat/Day. The spot, which cost $400,000 to produce and
$500,000 to broadcast in its single national paid airing, launches a new computer
technology, turns the Super Bowl into a major ad event and begins an era of advertising as
Jackson makes a highly
publicized Pepsi-Cola commercial, and during a shoot his hair accidentally catches fire,
requiring surgery to his scalp. The campaign, is considered the forerunner of big-budget celebrity ads.
With the deregulation of
the cable industry, Tele-Communications Inc. aggressively begins buying cable systems
nationwide. By the end of the decade, TCI will have spent nearly $3 billion for 150 cable
In March, Capital Cities
Communications buys ABC for
$3.5 billion -- proving network TV no longer remains an untouchable institution.
In January, the anonymous "Herb" becomes the object of a
national, $40 million manhunt by Burger King in what becomes the most elaborate
of the decade. The effort
is dropped after four months.
NBC's "The Cosby Show"
breaks existing records for a
network series by commanding $350,000 to $400,000 for 30 seconds of commercial time.
CBS undergoes a management shift
in September when its board
ousts Thomas H. Wyman, chairman-CEO. Replacing Mr. Wyman as acting chief executive is
investor Laurence A. Tisch.
The 1985-86 season marks the 60th anniversary of NBC and the first time
it ever wins the prime-time ratings race. NBC hikes rates for early buys of 1986-87
season time, but ABC and CBS cut rates for first time.
ABC, CBS and NBC have trouble selling
commercial time for sports programs for the first time. Rates for the 1986 NFL
season drop 15% from 1985.
Advisory Board introduces
a hit commercial featuring dancing, singing, sneaker-clad raisins via new animation
technology called Claymation. It was done by
Claymation creator Will Vinton.
Telemundo Group is
launched by Reliance Capital Group.
In January, San Francisco
station KRON-TV becomes the first major market TV station in the U.S. to air a condom
In April, 20th Century Fox
owner Rupert Murdoch launches Fox Broadcasting Co.
Playtex International makes
history in May when networks begin airing its commercials showing women wearing
In August, five veteran
admen die in a tragic rafting
accident in Canadian rapids. Among those killed when their raft overturned in the Chilko
River was Robert Goldstein, VP-advertising for Procter & Gamble Co., and Richard
O'Reilly, who headed the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
A.C. Nielsen Co.'s electronically advanced
"people meter" is introduced to replace its 30-year-old
||"Wheel of Fortune," the highest-rated show in syndicated
programming, draws an asking price of $95,000 for a 30-second spot, The show generates
revenues of $400,000 an episode.
More than 50% of U.S. households are now wired for cable.
Barter syndication revenues
total $875 million, up from
$50 million in 1980.
Widespread use of videocassette
recorders zap away at the TV viewing audience. At the start of the year, almost 60%
of TV households have a VCR -- up from 4% in 1982.
Pay-per-view becomes a familiar part of cable TV service,
reaching about one-fifth of all wired households.
The broadcast networks reach an all-time low of
55% of the total TV audience in July.
Nissan begins its new age "Rocks
and Trees" campaign by Hill, Holliday, Connors,
grabbing attention by never showing the product -- its luxury Infiniti. Instead, the spots
feature nature scenes.
BBDO pulls Pepsi commercials
featuring pop singer Madonna after just one airing due to controversy over her
"Like a Prayer" video.
Time Inc. and Warner
Communications announce a
$14 billion merger.
Fox's TV network earns $33
million in profits with just three nights of programming. Its animated sitcom,
"The Simpsons" is considered a genuine hit.
The Children's Television Act
takes effect limiting the amount of commercialization in children's TV programming
(including cable) and requiring operators to carry at least some programming designed to
meet children's educational and informational needs.
The broadcast TV networks and
cable's CNN provide
extensive coverage of the Persian Gulf War, which begins in January. But advertisers take
a backseat; Procter & Gamble Co., Sears, Roebuck & Co., Pizza Hut and major
airlines all refuse to air spots during news coverage of the war. NBC, for one, reports
losses of $5 million as a result of canceled advertising and the cost of coverage.
promises its sponsorship
of the 92 Olympics telecasts will be its biggest ever ever. Pepsi runs spots starring
basketball great Magic Johnson as a spokesman, before the Olympics start.
In June, the Clio Awards, one of advertising's best-known award shows, turns
into a farce when poor financial management and organization forces finalists to rush onto
the stage to claim statuettes.
In October, the broadcast
networks preempt afternoon
soap operas and much of their evening and weekend schedules to cover the Senate Judiciary
Committee's investigation of Anita Hill's accusations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court justice nominee
Clarence Thomas. More than 40 million U.S. households watch the two-day televised
hearings; the networks lose an estimated $15 million to $20 million in ad revenue after
pulling most commercials in favor of continuous coverage.
Courtroom Television Network, owned jointly by Cablevision, NBC, Time Warner and
American Lawyer Media, is established, providing 24-hour live and taped coverage of trials
in 41 states.
become a hot ad medium.
National Infomercial Marketing Association estimates infomercials generate sales of $750
million, more than double their revenues of 1988.
||Johnny Carson, the
king of late-night TV,
retires as the longtime host of NBC's "Tonight Show." Jay Leno is named as his replacement.
In August, NBC and cable
partner Cablevision fail
to meet projected goals for consumer purchase of their unusual Olympic Triplecast
pay-per-view alternative for comprehensive Olympic viewing. The venture ends up with
losses of more than $100 million.
By the start of year, 98% of
U.S. households own at
least one TV set, 64% have two or more sets.
||After 11 years at
NBC, David Letterman announces he's jumping to CBS. His new "Late Show With David
Letterman" begins in August and, quickly moving to No. 1 in latenight ratings and
bumping "The Tonight Show" from its longtime lead.
In February, NBC issues a
humiliating retraction and
apology to General Motors Corp. on "Dateline NBC" for a staged on-camera explosion
during a report on alleged safety problems with GM trucks. During the controversy, GM
temporarily shifts its ad budget to the network's entertainment and sports programming and
threatens to cancel its $160 million-plus budget for NBC.
||The final episode
of NBC's 11-year hit sitcom "Cheers" in May attracts 93.1 million viewers, with a 45.5
In a first-of-its-kind
arrangement, Visa International signs a $3 million deal to become the official credit card of Atlanta,
the host city of the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Time Warner announces plans to launch a full-service interactive network in Orlando,
"NYPD Blue" is an
instant ratings hit on ABC's new fall prime-time line-up after attracting pre-debut
attention for nudity and rough language. The hourlong police drama is the only new
series to crack Nielsen Media Research's Top 20 in virtually every major adult
In October, the deliberately
tasteless "Beavis and Butt-head" MTV animated series, the top-rated show on the music
network, is attacked for allegedly inspiring a 5-year-old to start a fatal fire. In
response, MTV agrees to run the show in a later time spot and the
writers agree not to use references to fires in the future.
Seattle's Bon Marche
department store gives new
meaning to subliminal advertsing with a spot for Frango chocolates. The commercial
consists of four frames (each costing $945) and lasts less than a second. Running during
"Evening Magazine," it cost the retailer $3,780 for airtime.
Fox snares broadcast rights to
National Football League's
NFC Conference from CBS for $1.58 billion over four years.
The Winter Olympics sets ratings
records, becoming the
most-watched event in TV history with 204 million U.S. viewers, or 83% of the country,
watching at least some of CBS's coverage. Ratings are boosted by the controversy
surrounding the women's figure skating competition; prior to the Olympics, U.S. figure
skater Tonya Harding was involved in an attack on teammate Nancy Kerrigan.
||Speaking before the
American Association of Advertising Agencies in May. P&G CEO Ed Artzt warns agency executives they risk losing control over clients and media
unless they step up their participation in shaping the future of the new-media landscape.
The world TV premiere of
TNT in June lives up to its epic billing by attracting the largest viewership ever for a
movie on basic cable: 23 million people watch all or portions of the two-part special.
The World Cup audience from
52 televised games
reaches up to 33 billion people. Univision, the Spanish-language network, anticipates $24
million in ad revenue. ABC gets a 4.7 rating and 15 share for the 10 games prior to the
and actor O.J. Simpson
is arrested as the primary suspect in the brutal murders of his former wife Nicole
Brown-Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. The incident throws the media into overdrive,
as 95 million viewers watch at least some part of Mr. Simpson's freeway
chase in June.
In September, Blockbuster
Entertainment and Viacom complete a $7.6 billion merger only five months after Viacom buys
Paramount Communications for $9.5 billion.
National Hockey League players delay start of season with strike
announcement. Fox Network purchases NHL TV rights in September for $155 million.
More than 43 million people
tune in to at least some part
of the highly touted "Baseball" documentary miniseries on PBS in September,
giving it the largest cumulative audience in the network's 25-year history.
||A Major League
Baseball strike derails
the Baseball Network, a fledgling joint venture between NBC, ABC and the league. The
venture loses $95 million in advertising and nearly $500 million in national and local
- Digital satellite dishes that are
only 18 inches in diameter hit
the market. They become the biggest selling electronic item in history next to the VCR.
- Mini DV is introduced as a new, higher definition, digital
recording format. Perfect copies can be made from them without loosing any quality.
- Sony releases Digital 8 video
format and the world prepares for Y2K.
- The year of the Digital Disc, aka DVD.
- After years of speculation, the DVD finally
takes hold and DVD movies are as common as those on VHS tape.
- Sony introduces CDCam video format. You can now record directly on a CD
from a camcorder.
- AOL and Time Warner merge and become the largest company of it's kind in the
becomes a major player in the home entertainment field.
Most movie studios now release their movies on DVD, which is
starting to catch up with VHS tape sales.
introduces the MicroMV Digital MPEG-2
tape based digital recorders. This system offers high resolution
recorders small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It
records digitally onto a tiny tape with files small enough to be
transferred to a PC within minutes. It also has the ability to
record video that can be played directly over the
- First DVD
camcorder is released, allowing
total digital recording directly to disk in the MPEG2 format.
DVD's gain in popularity and pre-recorded DVD's over take video
tape rentals in stores. DVD's take up less room, are much higher
quality, and contain many features not found on video tapes.
They also can hold a lot more information and a single disc can
have up to 6 hours of high quality video with multiple sound
- DVD's Out
Sells VHS tapes., Disc
sales go through the roof as DVD's surpass VHS as the most
common format for home entertainment. The price of DVD's has
also fallen as it's popularity increases. Blank DVD's can now be
purchased for as little as 25 cents for a 4X disc. Just a year
ago, prices were as high as $15.00 for a single 1X disc. Home
DVD recorders are now as inexpensive as a good quality
VCR. For more than 25 years,
VHS dominated the world home entertainment market after winning
a challenge from Sony's Betamax in the early 1980s. By next
year, some retailers are actually going to stop selling VHS
VCR's as the DVD format now dominates the home video market.
DVD's also have the advantage of containing "Extra's"
that movie studios add to encourage sales of their disc's.
Another major advance this year is the use of large
capacity hard drives to record video. Digital video recorders (VDR's)
are available for under $1000.00. Some models combine a hard
drive with a DVD burner so you can record 100's of hours of
video on the hard drive and then burn what you really want to
keep on the internal DVD burner. This is far superior to VHS
screen TV's & HDTV are the "In" thing of the
all televisions sold are now flat LCD and Plasma screens. Some
are only a few inches thick. Large screen Plasma and LCD TV's
are also well within the reach of the average consumer. A
42" Plasma screen retails for as low as $1400.00 with
prices getting lower as the year progresses. Hi Definition TV's,
(known as HDTV) are also the big seller for 2005. A 42"
Plasma HDTV usually retails for $4500.00 - $7000.00. Some new
42" TV's even sell for as low as $999.00. By 2006 all television stations
will switch to a HiDef broadcast.
Here for more information on HDTV
screen TV's are larger and less expensive.
They are finding their way into more & more homes as
prices continue to drop and screen size gets larger. LCD
TV's are now outselling plasma screens and projected to
be the most popular kind of TVs in the world by 2009.
DVD's are released in the middle of the year.
A single-layer Blu-ray disc, which is the
same size as a DVD, can hold up to 27 GB of data
more than two
|hours of high-definition video or
about 13 hours of standard video.
A double-layer Blu-ray disc can store up to
54 GB, enough to
hold about 4.5 hours of high-definition video or more
than 20 hours of standard video. And there are even
plans in the works to develop a disc with twice that
amount of storage.
introduces HD Disks as competition to the Sony
Blu-ray. A format war starts with some companies backing
Blu-ray and others backing HD.
LCD TV's (OLCD) are Introduced and promises
to revolutionize flat panel displays with their thin
Running Out on Analog TV's as the FCC
deadline approaches. By 2009 all broadcasts are to be in
Hi-def digital format.
Seems to Win over HD Disks as Wal-Mart,
& Best Buy Stores commit to the Blue-ray
format. Most Blu-ray players now also
"Upconvert" which means that a regular DVD
played on a Blu-ray system will almost have the
definition of a hi-def disc.
Gives Out Set-top Converter Coupons to people
that don't have cable or satellite TV. Once the change
over to all digital, anyone receiving TV from an antenna
will need a converter in order to watch the new digital
signals on older (non-digital) TV's.
is everywhere as all manufacturers release
high definition TV's and monitors. Almost all sets now
have the capability of displaying high resolution
images. 1080 is considered the standard in the industry
as the must have number of lines of resolution.
digital output connects it all. It is the one
cable that can now connect a TV or monitor to a hi-def
cable box, satellite receiver and/or Blu-ray player. It
delivers true 1080 picture quality as well as stereo
audio all through one multi-pin connector. Now you don't
have to have multiple wires running to your TV as it is
all done through one HDMI cable..
Widgets on Televisions
as a way of integrating the web with TV. All you need is
an internet enabled set or set-top box and you can watch
certain Internet sites directly on your screen without
having a computer hooked up. "NetFlix",
"YouTube" and other providers stream the info
to the set and allow you to watch Internet programming
at the touch of your televisions remote control. Sony,
Panasonic, Samsung and others make sets with Internet
Widgets built in.
movies and 3D television sets arrive. It
started with James Cameron's blockbuster
"Avatar". 3D has been around for decades, but
this time it seems as though it is here to stay.
Numerous movies have come out and all TV manufactures
have released high definition 3D sets.
of those funky red/green cardboard glasses you
now wear a modern hi-tech LCD pair that let's
you watch the new sets with incredible clarity.
Never before has 3D been so vivid. The images
truly appear to jump off of the screen.
New 3D Blu-ray
players have also been introduced so you can watch your
favorite movie (as soon as it's released on disc) in 3D
at home. Several cable stations and networks are
starting to deliver programs in 3D.
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