01/06/2009 09:35 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Auto Sales Worse In 15 Years, Bad News for Commercial TV: MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer January 6, 2009

Auto sales in December were the worst in 15 years, with sales falling 36%. While US manufacturers are hurting, Toyota actually had the worst sales report, with a 37% decline in sales. With Automotive accounting for as much as a third of local television advertising dollars, this scenario could not be worse for the commercial television business.

The New York Times began selling front page ads, the first of which appeared in yesterday's edition. Sources say that a front page ad will cost the advertiser roughly $75,000 on weekdays and $100,000 on Sunday. Selling front page ads, which run at the bottom of the page, is the latest attempt by the Times to increase revenue in order to pay off mounting debt.

Roku, makers of the Netflix set-top box, have announced that they will integrate Amazon's Video On Demand into its streaming box. Roku users will be given access to Amazon VOD's library and will "enjoy instant playback, no downloading, no waiting, and no subscription fees." The service is expected to launch in the coming months.

Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey spoke candidly on her talk show about her weight problem. The famous talk show host, who reportedly weighs over 200 pounds now, said she'd all but "given up" on herself during 2008. Oprah is quoted as saying ""When my engine runs down, my drug of choice is food. This year, it was organic multigrain blue chips . . . but a bag of them."

Twitter was hacked this weekend as part of a successful phishing scheme. The accounts that were hacked were mostly celebrities, and other prominent figures like President-elect Barack Obama, Britney Spears and CNN's Rick Sanchez. However, the most high profile hack was made to Bill O'Rielly's Twitter account, which simply stated "Bill O'Rielly is gay."

Plus, today's consulting question, "I thought the TV Guide properties were sold to Allen Shapiro and One Equity Partners, what happened?" Shelly has the answer on today's MediaBytes.

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