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Obama's Visit Draws Leno's Fourth Largest Audience Ever: MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer March 23, 2009

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President Obama's historical visit to the Tonight Show garnered the highest ratings for Jay Leno since 2005. Nielsen reports that the Obama interview drew an 11.2 rating, compared to Leno's average of 3.9. The show proved to be the fourth most watched episode of the Tonight Show during Leno's tenure.

eBay owned Skype will unveil new software that will work with corporate phone systems. Skype will charge 2.1 cents per minute for employees who use the service from a telephone, rather than a computer connected headset. The move comes as Skype tries to pitch itself as a cost effective alternative to landlines for small and medium sized businesses.

Sources say that AT&T will sell a contract-free version of the iPhone for $599. While the iPhone will be available without a contract, it will still be tied to the AT&T network. The move comes amidst rumors of Walmart selling a version of the popular phone for $99.

CBS's March Madness streaming video player attracted over 2.7 million viewers on Friday, the first day of the Tournament. The March Madness On Demand service, whose quality is remarkable, showed 56% growth in traffic year over year, with users watching 65% more video. CBS's TV ratings for the first day of March Madness were also notable, up 9% from last year.

Chris Matthews signed a 4 year contract extension with MSNBC. The host of Hardball, who many thought would seek a seat in the Senate, will continue to host the popular show for an unreported amount of money. Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC, noted that the deal would ensure Matthew's would be able to cover the next Presidential election.

Shelly Palmer is a consultant and the host of MediaBytes a daily show featuring news you can use about technology, media & entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group LLC and the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV (2008, York House Press). Shelly is also President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, NY (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards). You can join the MediaBytes mailing list here. Shelly can be reached at shelly@palmer.net.