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Latest Casualty of World's Upheaval: Media Budgets

From Libya to Japan, the money's running out
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2011 5:04 PM CDT
Latest Casualty of World's Upheaval: Media Budgets
A foreign television cameraman films inside the Zawiya Oil Refinery, in Zawiya, west of Tripoli, in Libya Thursday, March 3, 2011.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

(Newser) – There’s been a lot of news around the world in 2011—too much, in fact, for some news organizations to handle. Japan, Libya, and Egypt have stretched already tight cable and broadcast news budgets to the breaking point, The Wrap reports. “We've already had a year's worth of breaking news coverage, and it's not even the end of March,” says one NBC News VP. “If Saudi Arabia goes up in flames, all bets are off.”

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NBC, for example, spent $1.5 million in its first day covering Japan’s tsunami and each Middle East uprising costs networks around $2 million. Ratings have certainly spiked, too—the day Japan’s quake hit was CNN’s biggest since President Obama’s inauguration—but that might not be enough to recoup the costs. “Every network news president knows they've just got to do it,” one cable executive said. “In the first few hours it's, 'Let's go,' then after a few days, it becomes, 'Let's figure out how to pay for it.’” (Read more cable news stories.)

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