Ratings

Can 'Gotham' Rescue Fox?

Fox could really use the help that a superhero -- or several -- could provide to bolster TV ratings that have plummeted since the heyday of "American Idol."

Why Viacom Will Never Be Great Again

If you've been noticing a little bit less of SpongeBob on Nickelodeon, Snooki on MTV, or Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central, it's by design: Viacom is squeezing more commercials into every hour of programming. That's the bad news. The worse news is that it's not working.

How Many Stars Would You Rate Yelp's IPO?

With all the sturm und drang surrounding Facebook's upcoming May IPO, few media outlets are giving much oxygen to the IPO of online review hub Yelp, due March 2. It will give Yelp a market cap of around $800 million -- and the company isn't even profitable.

Yelp IPO's Profit Enigma: Is the Site Making Money?

After reading the breathless media coverage about the rumored $2 billion Yelp IPO, I have one question: Does the online-review site make money? None of the articles made any mention, but profitability is the issue that should be first on investors' minds.

BBB Admits Mistakes On Pay-For-Ratings Issue

The Better Business Bureau's slogan is "Start with Trust" -- but not so fast. It seems the go-to source for consumers looking for unbiased reviews has some inherent conflicts of interest: It has been taking money to give businesses higher ratings.

MTV's Racy Skins Is Just a Symptom of Teen Troubles

MTV's controversial new teen drama Skins won't set any of its young viewers on the road to ruin, and it isn't pornographic. It is in bad taste, and MTV must have known would offend some audiences. Still, with 3.26 million viewers for its debut, Viacom is getting exactly what it wanted from the show -- publicity and viewers.

Oprah's OWN Delivers a Strong Debut for Advertisers

Oprah Winfrey's new cable network is commanding some of the highest ad prices on cable, and it justified the rates with its heavily-watched debut. But can OWN continue delivering the viewership to support those premium rates?

Bullish Analysts Give General Motors Shares a Boost

GM's stock price rose as much as 2.5% in trading Tuesday after several brokerage houses began coverage of the stock, with several issuing upbeat initial ratings and hefty price targets. GM still faces a hard road forward, but Wall Street generally sees success ahead.

Fitch Downgrades Ireland

A day after Moody's Investors Service announced it was putting Ireland under review for a possible downgrade, Fitch Ratings lowered the country's credit grade to A from AA-. Fitch's downgrade was prompted by the government's announcement last week it is pledging more money -- as much as %u20AC50 billion -- to save Ireland's banks, in addition to uncertainty over the country's economic recovery.

Viacom's MTV Has Record Ratings Jump for Younger Audience

MTV's third-quarter ratings had its largest-ever year-over-year jump for its target 12-to-34-year-old audience, reflecting strong ratings from the Viacom Inc. unit for shows such as "Jersey Shore" and "The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards."

Flawed Incentives Were the Rot Behind the Mortgage Crisis

The mortgage-backed securities meltdown whose effects still haunt our economy sprang from a simple cause: The rules of the game gave big incentives to every player involved to ignore the problems and keep collecting their fees. And despite financial reform, those rules haven't changed much.

CNN Hopes to Spin Its Own Story with Change at the Top

CNN is sick of being the punching bag of the cable news world. Explaining why the network replaced the head of CNN U.S., CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton cited what he described as unfair press coverage focusing on CNN's declining ratings, while ignoring its growing profitability.

CNN Replaces Jon Klein as Makeover Looms

CNN president Jonathan Klein has been hard at work this year remaking the network's primetime lineup, its most important programming block. But whether or not his effort proves successful, he won't be around to find out. CNN just announced that Klein is leaving his post, and the network, after six years, to be replaced by Ken Jautz, head of sister channel HLN.

BofA Analysts Cut Rating for Amazon Stock on Growth Prospects

Bank of America Merrill Lynch equity analysts cut their rating for Amazon%u2019s stock to "neutral" from "buy", saying that growth for the online retailer is slipping. Analysts expect growth to weaken starting the in the third quarter, Reuters reported. Growth could be down as much as 28% in the fourth quarter, after adjusting for foreign exchange rates.

Legal Briefing: Will Big Banks Pay Over Misleading Ratings?

MBIA has sued Merrill Lynch because the CDOs on which Merrill bought insurance from MBIA were AAA-rated junk. MBIA says Merrill knew the CDOs didn't deserve the top rating at the time it insured them. If this case succeeds, big banks may find dud ratings very expensive.

Europe Needs to Think Big About Its Bailout

Ratings downgrades for Spain, Portugal and Greece have alarmed already-rattled credit markets, sending borrowing costs sky-high. As contagion spreads, Europe's politicians need to stop dithering over the bailout and take dramatic steps to reassure markets.

How the Ratings Agencies Lost the Will to Say 'No'

During Friday's hearings in Washington, ex-employees of Standard & Poors and Moody's, told a dark, detailed tale of how the ratings agencies produced inflated ratings. The biggest factor: "The threat of losing business to competitor rating agencies."

Portugal Rate Cut Weighs On Global Markets

Shares in Europe were broadly lower Wednesday after the move, and the ratings agency warns of a possible further downgrade if the country doesn't drastically curtail its mounting budget deficits.

Live From the Operating Room, It's NBC's Today!

NBC Medical Correspondent Nancy Snyderman's "Inside the O.R." series depicting real-life surgeries is being aired this week on Today. It's hard not to think of the televised surgeries as a publicity stunt -- and the timing couldn't have been more apropos given that the February sweeps period starts tomorrow and runs to March 3.