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that’s be­ing spent in­creases.” Wheel’s de­sir­abil­ity helps it com­mand a con­sid­er­able pre­mium. In Oc­to­ber 2014, amid the hotly con­tested U.S. Se­nate race in Arkansas be­tween Repub­li­can Tom Cot­ton and in­cum­bent Demo­crat Mark Pryor, KATV-TV in Lit­tle Rock pushed prices for 30-se­cond ads dur­ing Wheel to $50,000, from $1,250 in July, ac­cord­ing to records filed with the Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion. Na­tional ads were go­ing for about $95,000 at the time, says Will Fel­tus, whose com­pany, Na­tional Me­dia, man­aged ad strate­gies for Ge­orge W. Bush’s 2004 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. “What planet are we on?” Fel­tus says he re­mem­bers think­ing that year. “But the rea­son they’re charg­ing $50,000 is be­cause peo­ple are pay­ing.”

In 2012, Pres­i­dent Obama’s re­elec­tion cam­paign pi­o­neered the use of data to re­di­rect ad spend­ing away from ex­pen­sive slots on shows like Wheel to cheaper air­time that reached spe­cific sub­groups of vot­ers. (Of­ten, the an­swer was late-night and ca­ble-ac­cess TV.) Since then, an­a­lyt­ics-driven ad buys have be­come a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign sta­ple, but Wheel re­mains pop­u­lar. Plac­ing ads there can pro­duce vari­able re­sults, says David Seawright, di­rec­tor of an­a­lyt­ics and prod­uct in­no­va­tion for Repub­li­can con­sult­ing firm Deep Root An­a­lyt­ics. He says Wheel does es­pe­cially well with older swing vot­ers, per­suad­able fe­male vot­ers, and young swing vot­ers in north­east Ten­nessee, but in Spring­field, Mo., it tends to at­tract blue-col­lar male vot­ers. “You can­not just make a blan­ket state­ment

and say vice pres­i­dent. “Any­thing that con­tin­ues to get the re­li­able au­di­ences just be­comes more and more ex­pen­sive, be­cause there are more and more non­can­di­date ad­ver­tis­ers out there will­ing to bid up the prices for that kind of pro­gram­ming.” �Tim Hig­gins

① Wheel of


② News ③ Good Morn­ing

Amer­ica ④ To­day ⑤ Jeop­ardy! ◼Prime-time pro­gram­ming ● Syn­di­cated pro­gram­ming

More than 5% of U.S. adults re­ported watch­ing th­ese shows The bot­tom line Wheel of For­tune is likely to cap­ture more of the es­ti­mated $4.4 bil­lion spent on political ads this elec­tion than any other show.

ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing, which took place in June. Since then the dis­pute has es­ca­lated into a war over pa­tent claims that’s landed be­fore the U. S. In­ter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion, a fed­eral agency that has the power to block both com­pa­nies’ prod­ucts from be­ing im­ported into the U.S. from man­u­fac­tur­ing sites in China. “Any lit­i­ga­tion from the In­ter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion is high stakes be­cause the only rem­edy the ITC of­fers is ban­ning prod­ucts from the U.S. mar­ket, which can be dev­as­tat­ing,” says Bloomberg In­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst Matt Lar­son. “It’s a pretty ag­gres­sively lit­i­gated case.”

As the Cal­i­for­nia case pro­ceeded, Jaw­bone went to the trade com­mis­sion in July, claim­ing Fit­bit had in­fringed six pa­tents, in­clud­ing ones in­volv­ing power man­age­ment, pro­tec­tive coat­ings, and track­ing users’ sleep or ac­tiv­ity lev­els. In an­tic­i­pa­tion of man­dated March 25 set­tle­ment talks in the pa­tent case and hear­ings be­fore the trade com­mis­sion in May, both sides are heat­ing up their rhetoric.

Pri­vately held Jaw­bone al­leged in a March 14 Cal­i­for­nia court fil­ing that Fit­bit is “sys­tem­at­i­cally plun­der­ing Jaw­bone em­ploy­ees and their com­peti­tor’s crit­i­cal trade se­crets and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty.” Jaw­bone claimed Fit­bit re­cruiters con­tacted about 30 per­cent of its em­ploy­ees to try to “dec­i­mate” the com­pany. Sev­eral work­ers who left down­loaded in­for­ma­tion onto thumb drives in their last days of em­ploy­ment, Jaw­bone al­leges.

Fit­bit, in re­sponse, de­scribed Jaw­bone’s al­le­ga­tions as “des­per­a­tion” brought on by its de­clin­ing mar­ket share. Fit­bit has also filed its own trade case against Jaw­bone, claim­ing in­fringe­ment of three pa­tents it says re­late to the mon­i­tor­ing devices. That case is sched­uled to be heard by the com­mis­sion in Au­gust.

Fit­bit says Jaw­bone’s pa­tents sim­ply cover the con­cept of things like mon­i­tor­ing sleep or en­ergy us­age, not in­ven­tions wor­thy of le­gal pro­tec­tion. “Through­out this lit­i­ga­tion, Jaw­bone has en­gaged in a pat­tern of mak­ing sen­sa­tional and base­less claims and ac­tively gen­er­at­ing pub­lic­ity in an ef­fort to de­flect at­ten­tion away from its in­abil­ity to suc­ceed in the mar­ket,” Fit­bit said in an e-mail. “We pre­fer to

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