Event has stronger turnout than expected

Hard times for the TV biz and hard times for journalism must add up to a really down year for the summer Television Critics Assn. press tour, right? Not entirely.

Despite the drumbeat of layoffs and cost-cutting at major newspapers, TCA has seen a stronger turnout than expected.

The sked for this summer’s tour, which runs July 8-22 at the BevHilton, was pared down by four days in a nod to budget-conscious times. But attendance among journos at the annual tubthumping event is off just 5% from last summer’s powwow, or 162 scribes registered through the TCA org (many more parachute in and out at the discretion of the various presenting nets), compared to last year’s tally of 170, according to TCA prexy Dave Walker.

Credit the influx of online journos, who have buoyed numbers significantly during the past few years.

Because there is so much insta-online coverage generated out of TCA (even by old-guard newspaper scribes with new-media marching orders), the org and nets are giving serious consideration to the idea of moving next year’s tour to August. That would allow the flurry of coverage to hit closer to September’s season launch, and thus have more value in terms of buzz-generation with viewers.

“Pound for pound, the critics who are here are of more value to the networks because they’re all doing more these days,” Walker says.


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