Some Words That Define Us

Access (or Prime Time Access)
The period between evening network newscasts and nighttime network programming, such as 7-8:00 p.m. EST, 6:30-7 p.m. CST, 7-8 p.m. PST.

Commercial availability for local sales before or after a network show.

Alternate Delivery System (ADS) refers to reception of TV programming via Satellite (DBS or Large Dish), or from satellite master antenna systems (SMATV), or from multipoint distribution systems (MDS). A household may have both wired cable and ADS, so total ADS cannot be added to Wired Cable to derive cable plus ADS. For more on ADS, see the website of the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) at

Advertising category
A type of advertiser, by industry categorization. The largest advertising category on broadcast television is automotive advertising. Other large categories include retail, furniture/housewares, corporate (a/k/a consumer) packaged-goods, fast foods, financial services, telecommunications, movies, beverages and pharmaceuticals.

A station carrying a network's programming which is not owned by the network. (Network-owned stations are called "owned-and-operated," or "O&O's").

Aggregator (also: feed aggregator, feed reader, or news reader)
Software or Web application that gathers syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, and podcasts in a single location for easy viewing. (See also: "RSS")

Analog spectrum
(See Spectrum)

Analog television
Analog data is transmitted in continuously variable waves, which can be susceptible to noise interference and are not easily compressible. Broadcast television transmissions in the United States have historically been analog, or NTSC, format.

App (Application)
Web applications -- commonly called "apps" -- come in many forms, including desktop and mobile apps (which require the user to download and install them on a computer or device), and web-based apps (which are accessed via a website without having to download entire programs).

Aspect ratio
Of a flat surface or image is its width divided by its height. The term is increasingly used to describe high-definition television (HDTV) sets.

Listings of spots available for sales, presented to an advertiser.

An online alter-ego often created visually for web interaction. Often translated into English as incarnation, literally means descent (avatarati) and usually implies a deliberate descent from higher spiritual realms to lower realms of existence for special purposes.

The Internet backbone consists of different networks, typically large and interconnected, often with individual ISPs as clients. A local ISP may provide service to individual homes or business using bandwidth that it purchases from another company with a backbone network, usually commercial, educational, or government owned.

In the context of digital content transmission, bandwidth refers to data speed, usually measured in bits per second (bps). "Bandwidth" is often informally used to convey a transmission system's overall capacity.

Derived from the words "Web Log," a blog is customarily a series of reverse-chronological entries in an online journal that follow a particular topic or theme, and can include text, video (vlog), images (photoblog), audio (podcast), artwork, and interactive tools such as rating and commenting. By the end of 2007, Technorati reported tracking at least 70 million blogs worldwide.

On the internet refers to software applications that run typically simple, repetitive automated tasks over the internet. Short for "web robot." Sometimes referred to as "crawlers.".

In telecommunications refers to a signaling method that includes or handles a relatively wide range of frequencies, which may be divided into channels or frequency bins. Increasingly a term used to describe high-capacity usage of the web, including video. The wider the bandwidth, the greater the information-carrying capacity.

Browser (also Web Browser or Internet Browser)
Software application (free and downloadable) which enables a user to display and interact with information and applications located at a website. The most popular web browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome, and AOL Explorer.

BtoB or B2B
Business-to-business - in web terms, a site directed toward a business/commercial rather than a consumer/social audience.

BtoC or B2C

Buffer, buffering
In computing, a region of memory used to temporarily hold data while it is being moved from one place to another. Buffers are typically used when there is a difference between the rate at which data is received and the rate at which it can be processed.

In web usage, an icon, piece of text or image a user "clicks" to access content. A typical button is rectangular, with a descriptive caption in its center. The most common method of pressing a button is clicking it with a pointer controlled by a mouse; keystrokes also can be used to execute the command.

Cable Act of 1992
Established the system of "retransmission consent," or "retrans," under which cable system owners (also known as multiple-system owners, or "MSOs") became obligated to negotiate at various intervals with television broadcasters for the right to retransmit the broadcasters' local TV signals. If no financial or other compensatory terms could be agreed upon by both parties, the TV station owner, under the Act, has the right to invoke "must carry," requiring the MSO to carry the TV signal so the TV station owner does not lose access to the audience served by that MSO.

In computing, a temporary storage area for rapid access to frequently used data, to avoid the trouble of re-fetching or recomputing the original data.

(See Advertising category)

Chat, Chat room
Informal one-to-one text-based electronic conversation in the form of text messaging between personal devices or online, sometimes within so-called "chat rooms."

Comment Thread
A series of Comments on a particular topic, article, or piece of media. Also often called a "discussion" or "conversation," as many of the comments may be in response to one another.

The use of digital technology to squeeze, or compress, greater amounts of information into a method of transmission. For example, digital compression technology allows TV broadcasters to provide multiple program content and data using the 6 MHz of spectrum they had been using for a single analog channel transmission.

Content-Management System ("CMS")
A piece of software that allows an authorized user to update or modify the content and design of a website.

Cost per thousand (as in viewers or readers) -- a common measurement on advertising sales. Another measurement used in television advertising is CPP, or cost per point (as in ratings "point.").

A term typically applied to situations wherein an owner of one media property also owns another, differentiated media property within the same town or market. Cross-ownership situations are regulated by the FCC but have been challenged in the courts due to the proliferation of media outlets and its attendant expansion in competition. For example, the FCC restricts a company from owning a newspaper and TV station within the same market unless that company was "grandfathered," i.e., already had such a combination prior to the FCC's 1975 rule imposing the restriction. Companies in recent years have sought relaxation of the ban given that the original rule was imposed at a time when there were only three major commercial broadcast networks, cable TV had yet to be widely distributed, there was a fraction of the number of television stations that exist today and the Internet had yet to be made available to consumers.

Variation on "out-sourcing"; describes any self-sustaining program or campaign by a website that is largely fueled by user-generated content, and requires little or no operational work from the site staff.

The business cycles of an industry whose revenue fluctuates based on seasonality or other recurring events. In broadcast television, leading stations receive two major forms of cyclical advertising on a virtually exclusive basis -- political advertising and advertising related to the winter and summer Olympics. Political advertising largely occurs only in even-numbered years, to coincide with major elections; Olympics advertising (in recent years on NBC owned and affiliated stations) occurs exclusively in even-numbered years.

Terminology, used in discussions of programming, for portions of a TV station's broadcast day. Dayparts include "early morning," "daytime," "early fringe" (typically 3-5p.m.), "early news" (typically 5-6:30p.m. for a large-market East-coast or West-Coast station), "access," "primetime," "late news" (typically 11p.m. eastern), "late fringe" and "late night."

Direct broadcast satellite. Home satellite TV service, as provided in the United States primarily by DirecTV and Echostar (through its DISH Network). DBS and cable-system carriage, by MSOs such as Comcast and Time Warner, comprise the major alternate means of receiving television to the original method of over-the-air reception using a broadcast antenna. More than 70% of all TV viewers primarily receive their TV via cable or DBS.

The age and gender make-up of a TV audience, of key importance to advertisers. (also known as Demos)

The storage and processing of data in positive and non-positive forms. The positive form is represented by the number 1 and non-positive by the number 0. Each of the digits is referred to as a "bit"; a string of bits that can be addressed as a group is a "byte."

Digital spectrum
(See Spectrum)

Digital television
The new broadcast technology, approved by the FCC, which is scheduled to replace the analog NTSC (United States) television signal transmitted and received today. Digital television (DTV) provides high-definition digital television (HDTV) with more than twice the picture resolution of existing analog television, as well as a 16:9 aspect ratio (wide screen) and theater-quality 5.1 channel surround sound. The transition to DTV has required TV broadcasters to install new digital production and broadcast facilities, and requires the upgrade of television sets and/or other consumer electronics equipment to accommodate digital transmissions.

Designated Market Area, or the region of broadcast coverage of a particular station as defined by Nielsen.

There are currently 210 Nielsen television DMAs. Nielsen combines some contiguous communities into a single television DMA. Usually these are communities within the same state, such as, among Hearst stations, Lancaster and Harrisburg, PA, and Fort Smith and Fayetteville, AR. However, Burlington, VT and Plattsburgh, NY are grouped by Nielsen as a single DMA, which serves as the TV market for Hearst's WPTZ-TV and WNNE-TV.

Domain, domain name
A name (rather than a numerical designation) given an internet address. The flexibility of the domain name system allows multiple internet protocol (IP) addresses to be assigned to a single domain name, or multiple domain names to be services from a single IP address.

An abbreviation for "digital television" for the context of a digital television station's "call letters." The analog station that Hearst owns in Boston, for example, is WCVB-TV, found on channel 5 on the broadcast dial, while the new digital station is WCVB-DT, found on channel 20.

(See Digital television)

A TV broadcaster has a "duopoly" if it owns two television stations within the same market. A situation in which one broadcaster owns three TV stations in the same market would be called a "triopoly." The FCC regulates broadcasters' ability to have duopolies: The TV market, or DMA, must have eight remaining independent TV-station owners once any duopoly is completed (a provision known as "the eight-voice test"); and no single company may own two of the market's top-four stations as ranked by Nielsen audience ratings (in most larger markets, typically stations owned by or affiliated with ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX), unless one of those stations is deemed to be a failing business. As with Cross-Ownership, broadcasters have sought a relaxation of Duopoly restrictions.

Digital video recorders, also known as PVRs or personal video recorders. The digital recording devices, such as the TiVo brand, allow the recording of up to dozens of hours of TV programs on a hard drive, negating the need for video tape. DVR penetration into households has grown with the "bundling" of such devices with newer digital cable set-top boxes.

Dynamic Lead ("DL")
Sometimes called "media window" -- the "above-the-fold" focal point of the homepage and index pages, typically containing at least two items of primary interest.

Federal Communications Commission.

Fiber Optics
The term for the transmission of information in the form of light impulses along a glass or plastic wire or fiber, typically capable of carrying more information than conventional copper wire with less electromagnetic interference.

A multimedia software created by Macromedia (now owned by Adobe); commonly used to create animation, advertisements, and to integrate video into web pages. Requires download.

A small "window" appearing when mouse-scrolling over a selected current view, containing a blurb from the selected article, as well as additional links and advertising. AKA Overlay, or Quickview.

The area of coverage of a station's broadcast signal. "Footprint" often is also used to describe the overall coverage of U.S. TV households of a broadcast group's entire station portfolio.

"Grade A," "Grade B":
(See Signal).

High Definition Digital Television, providing dramatically more lines of image resolution than current, standard-definition TV. Standard Digital TV (DTV) offers slightly less resolution than HDTV, but is still dramatically sharper than standard definition. Stations have upgraded their equipment to be able to offer DTV, and eventually HDTV.

Homes using television. A typical measurement in assessing ratings.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
Predominant computer code or language used in writing Web pages. Files and URLs containing HTML often have a .html or .htm filename extension. Other popular codes/languages/programs used in building and rendering websites include JavaScript (often used to integrate elements from another source, vendor, or site), XML (which powers most feeds, such as RSS), and Flash (see "Flash").

Hub (also: u local Hub)
In TV industry parlance, refers to centrally located groups of employees who support station efforts on specific initiatives.

i-Frame and Embed
i-Framing uses HTML code essentially to cut a hole in a website to show elements or content from another website. Embedding content is a more seamless though more complex, often using JavaScript or XML.

The predetermined amount of air time a station can make available for sale to advertisers.

Internet protocol -- the computer networking protocol used on the Internet.

Internet Protocol Television, the fiber-based technology over which telecommunications companies are working to provide television to homes using the Internet.

Internet service provider.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
Financial and non-financial metrics to define and measure progress toward organizational goals. Frequently used in relation to digital media, i.e. increases in total site pageviews, video views.

Local marketing agreement, or local management agreement, an arrangement under which a station owner in one market may manage certain aspects of the business of another station in the same market which is owned by another party.

Also known as a Time Brokerage Agreement.

(See People meters).

Mashup, Mash-up
A digital media file containing any or all of text, graphics, audio, video, and animation, which recombines and modifies existing digital works to create a derivative work. In web usage, a page or site that includes video, text, music, images or other elements derived from other sites to create a new product, i.e. a music video.

Megabits-per-second, a measurement of the speed by which information is transmitted over certain electronic media. A "bit" is a single binary pulse of information; a megabit is approximately 1 million bits. For example, the FCC has licensed to digital television (DTV) station owners a unit of digital spectrum totaling 6 MegaHertz (MHz) in bandwidth. This 6 Mhz is sufficient for DTV broadcasters to transmit sound, images and data at speeds of up to 19.4 Mbps. By comparison, a cable modem typically transmits at speeds of less than 10 Mbps. High-definition digital television (HDTV) typically can be provided using no more than 15 Mbps, while standard-definition digital television (SDTV) requires less bandwidth, allowing DTV broadcasters to provide a "multicast" combination of HDTV, SDTV and/or data transmission at any one time. For example, Weather Plus, a series of local digital weather channels provided by NBC and its affiliates, typically consumes no more than 3 Mbps of digital transmission capacity.

MegaHertz - A frequency equal to one million Hertz, or cycles per second. Units of digital broadcast spectrum licensed by the FCC to digital TV (DTV) broadcasters contain 6 Mhz.

Commonly describes monitoring of user-submitted video or photo asset to approve or reject based on pre-determined, objective criteria (usually covered in the site's Terms of Use).

Growing in popularity along with use of social media. Limited in the number of characters that can be used, microblogs are often merely users' stream-of-consciousness snippets. The most prevalent example is Twitter.

Multiple system operator (or owner). Typically used in reference to cable system owner/operators.

A simultaneous broadcast of multiple transmissions, or "streams" of digital program or data content.

(See Cable Act of 1992).

Ratings results from Nielsen Media Research, the leading tracker of TV ratings. Ratings provided on an overnight basis are known as "overnights." More recently, Nielsen has become a leading source for measurement of website usage, through its Nielsen NetRatings unit.

National Television Standards Committee -- formed in TV's early days to determine the guidelines and technical standards for monochrome and color television. "NTSC" is also used to describe the 525-line, 59.95Hz analog color television signal used in North America and several other parts of the world. The 1080i (interlaced) format of digital high-definition television (HDTV) will more than double the lines of image resolution currently offered by by NTSC, providing a dramatically sharper picture.

Open Source
Software development methodology offering practical access to a product's source, typically to enable independent developers add website extensions and applications. One notable example is Mozilla's popular web browser, FireFox. Web 2.0 culture is becoming increasingly "open source."

A network-affiliated station "overindexes" its network by achieving higher shares of audience than the national average for that network's programs.

As in ad sales pacing, an indication of a station's current sales environment; i.e., "ad sales are pacing up 3% over last year."

The number of "pages" within a website viewed by a unique user of, or visitor to, that site. A key measurement of the attractiveness and "stickiness," or holding power, of that site. Common abbreviation is "PVs."

An advertising pricing model in which advertisers pay agencies and/or media companies based on how many users clicked on an online ad or e-mail message.

People Meters
Supplied to households by Nielsen, these electronic devices measure television program viewership and are replacing the traditional set top meter and hand-written diary methodologies. Newer versions of the people-meter are the local people meter (LPM), a device viewers must connect to their TV sets as they would a cable box or VCR. Arbitron and Nielsen are testing Portable (or "Personal") People Meters (PPM's) in Houston that passively measure viewing through an embedded code in the television signal. The code is then read by the PPM, a small beeper-like device users carry on their person so it will also capture of out-of-home TV and radio usage.

Performance Index
Revenue-share to audience-share performance of a station. (also known as Power Ratio)

AKA add-on -- a program that interacts with a host application, namely a web browser (like FireFox) or an email client (like Outlook) -- in order to provide a specific function on demand.

Ad that "pops up" over existing content when a web page is accessed.

(See People meters).

In broadcast TV, the term applies to when a TV station carries programming, whether locally produced at the station or provided by an outside syndicated programming provider, in place of a program supplied by the network by which that station is owned or with which it is affiliated. Network affiliate owners like Hearst Television typically receive rights to preempt a certain amount of hours of network-supplied programming each year as part of their agreements with the networks.

Video ad that runs prior to a video selected by a user. Less common format is post-roll.

Between 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. EST, Monday-Saturday and 7:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. Sunday, during which time networks televise their most high-profile programming.

Communications rules that the end points in a telecommunications or data transmission connection use when they exchange signals. Both end-points must recognize and observe the protocol, which is often described in an industry or national standard.

Public service announcement.

Public File
A file required to be maintained at broadcast stations displaying, among other things, all requests for political broadcast advertising time made by or on behalf of candidates for public office. Information on rates charged and times at which spots aired must be included. So named because it must be made available upon request for public inspection.

Rate Card
Provides rates for purchasing advertising. A common term in television and virtually all other ad-supported businesses.

Rating vs. Share
A "rating" reflects the percentage of TV households viewing a program; "share" reflects the portion of all households viewing TV at that time.

Regional Bell operating company. A term often used in reference to regional telecommunications providers (also sometimes called "telcos") such as SBC and Verizon, firms originally formed with the 1980s dissolution of AT&T's local-phone business and for a time referred to as "Baby Bells."

Rep firm
A firm which represents a station's time sales to advertisers on a national basis or in cities other than that in which the station is located.

Retransmission consent. (See Cable Act of 1992).

Rich Media
Content, including advertisements, with which users can interact.

RSS and Feeds
Web feeds allow publishers to syndicate content quickly and automatically, readers to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS ("Really Simple Syndication") is a family of Web feed formats typically used for blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video using software called an "RSS reader", "feed reader", or "aggregator", which can be web-based or desktop-based.

Satellite stations
Typically in smaller markets, stations which carry the same programming as a larger, nearby station thereby extending geographical coverage.

Scatter Market
Also know as scatter buying. Advertisers purchasing commercial time when desired from available unsold network inventory at rates differing from those negotiated during the upfront season.

Scalable, scalability
A system, process, network or, as is most commonly used, a web presence that is easily expandable to accommodate new content and functionality.

Technology enabling the searching of specific web content; also the process of searching; also the fees advertisers pay Internet companies to list and/or link their company site or domain name to a specific search word or phrase (includes paid search revenues). Local search entails search results within a specific market or locale.

Computer program that provides services to other computer programs (and their users), in the same or other computer. The physical computer that runs a server program is also often referred to as server.

Search-Engine Optimization (SEO)
Process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Usually, the earlier a site, image or video is presented in the search results, or the higher it "ranks," the more searchers will visit that site. Optimizing a website primarily involves editing its content and HTML coding to increase its relevance to specific "keywords" and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.

Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act. Established that DBS providers must offer the broadcast network programming, or "feed," only of a local station owned by or affiliated with that network, and may not "import" the signal from a distant market.

The images and sounds broadcast from a station. Current analog broadcast TV stations are divided, according to signal strength, between VHF (very high frequency) stations, with a channel position of 2 to 13, and UHF (ultra high frequency) stations, 14 and above.

The reach and extent of over-the-air broadcast signals traditionally have been grouped by broadcasters and the FCC under the headings of "Grade A" and "Grade B": "Grade A" is that most highly concentrated area of a station's signal, closest to its broadcast tower; "Grade B" is its extended and progressively weaker area of coverage.

The airwaves, licensed to broadcasters by the federal government and administered by the FCC, over which broadcasters transmit their signal to television sets and other devices. Since broadcasting's infancy, TV stations have used analog spectrum. In recent years, TV broadcasters have invested in new equipment allowing them to transmit over digital spectrum, which allows them to provide HDTV programming to viewers. Analog spectrum is expected to be returned eventually to the government for auction to wireless telecommunications providers and other potential users of the spectrum.

Spot Television
The industry term typically applied to the market for advertising on local broadcast television stations, as opposed to advertising placed at the broadcast network level. The term is divided into "local spot," or that advertising received directly from local advertisers within a station's market, and "national spot," or that advertising received by a station through its national rep firm.

Ads or commercials; i.e., "30-second spot"; "60-second spot."

Process of providing audio and/or video over a telecommunications network. Also "Streaming."

The periods in February, May, July and November, highly important to stations and advertisers, during which TV ratings firms track viewership -- by households and demographics -- most closely. Advertising rates are set by audience delivered.

Syndicated programming
Non-network or off-network programming which is sold to stations.

A "tag" is a keyword or term assigned to a piece of content or media (an article, photo, or video) to help describe an item, and allow it to be browsed or searched on a website or through a search engine. Can be assigned by the creator or in some cases by the viewer of the content. Tags are considered "Metadata," or "data about data." Metadata about a digital photograph or video could include the name of the author, the title of the media, the zip code in which the media was captured, the date it was uploaded. Types of tagging include Geotagging which could reflect zip code or hometown in a news story; and Social Tagging (aka "social bookmarking," or "folksonomy"), the collaborative, community-driven categorization of content.

"On-air" talent, such as news anchors and reporters.

Telecommunications Act of 1996
The Telecommunications Act, as related to TV, permitted owners of TV stations to own more stations, covering up to 35% of the country. In 2004, legislation was passed rasing this ownership "cap" tp 39%.

Television households
A typical Nielsen measurement. There are approximately 109 million television households in America today, served by some 1,700 TV stations, with stations in New York City, the largest Nielsen DMA, reaching approximately 7.4 million TV homes, or 6.7% of total U.S. TV households, while stations in Glendive, Montana, the smallest DMA, reach 5,150 TV households or 0.005% of all U.S. TV households.

Time Brokerage Agreement
(See LMA).

The structure on which the antenna of a station emits its broadcast signal.

3G stands for third generation of telecommunications standards and technology for mobile networking; supplanted 2.5G. Based on International Telecommunications Union (ITU) family of standards.

Unique User
A/K/A Unique Visitor. A single individual website visitor. Visitors (or users) can visit multiple pages within a site. An important indicator of the success of a website in drawing "traffic." The Internet Broadcasting "network" of local websites, in which Hearst is a partner, regularly attracts more than 10 million monthly unique users, placing it among the top national news-and-information web providers as measured by Nielsen. The other common measurement of website traffic is pageviews. Common abbreviation is "UVs."

A practice related to the national broadcast network, national cable and TV syndication markets, though not spot TV. The buying of national television advertising time for a full broadcast year, (generally September through August) via one negotiation. Upfront buying typically has allowed cancellation options in the last six months of a buy and generally provides audience guarantees to advertisers. The broadcast-network upfront presentations (commonly called "upfronts") to advertisers and other audiences typically occur in New York in May and provide the networks a showcase for their stars and new programs debuting that fall

Uniform Resource Locator; informally and popularly used to refer to a web address.

User-Generated Content (UGC)
Any media -- text, video, photo, design, and/or audio content -- submitted by a user via content-management tools provided by a website. UGC Wires are content modules that allow the display of user-generated content (including Comments, Photos, and Video) based on the category of content and/or the time they were submitted.

Video stream
See Stream.

Walled Garden
An information source that has few authors and scant links and references to and from other sources.

UWAP - wireless application protocol - essentially a "light" version of websites designed to work on mobile devices.

Web 2.0
Describes changing trends in internet technology and design that aim to enhance collaboration, creativity, communications, and functionality, evolving the web from a mere collection of pages to a full-fledged computing platform. Social-networking sites (Facebook), video sharing sites (Youtube), wikis (Wikipedia), blogs (, and social tagging sites ( and are examples. The term derives from the first O'Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to updated technical specifications, rather to changes in software developers' and surfers' usage.

A small container of web content -- headlines, text, video, photo, or other interactive tools like maps -- allowing users to "grab" and copy it to other websites or platforms (such as blogs and social networks); serves as both a marketing device and a tool to generate traffic back to the widget's originating site.

A webpage or collection of web pages designed to enable visitors to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is the best-known wiki. Derived from the Hawaiian word for "fast"; also sometimes considered an acronym for "What I Know Is."

Short for "What You See Is What You Get," WYSIWYG (pronounces: WIZ'-e-wig) describes software or applications simplifying editing for non-technical users. Helped give rise to popularity of blogs and do-it-yourself websites. WYSIWYG apps are sometimes called "GUI" (or "Gooey"), for Graphical User Interface.