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GE and Time Warner resume talks this week as Time Warner tries to secure NBC as a programming outlet and GE considers selling all or part of its share in the network. This morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL reports other suitors are considering bids for NBC, including Harcourt General and Turner Broadcasting. Harcourt is completing a sale of its insurance unit to GE for $400M; TBS is considered "unlikely" to purchase NBC because Time Warner is one of its major shareholders (Roberts & Jensen, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/12).
While Fox received a lot of publicity for its high NFL ratings in large markets, the returns from smaller markets, which make up 45% of the nation, "were a leveler." Fox's overall rating fell 25% and trailed last year on CBS. "This proves that Fox has holes in its reach, with small UHF stations as affiliates" (Jack Craig, BOSTON GLOBE, 9/11). ...TNT has sold nearly 65% of the ad time for the upcoming NBA season, but virtually all of its ad time for the NFL. TNT is not alone with its "rapid NFL sales pace. It's a sellers' market, and commercial inventory is moving faster than it has in years." All 1st Half Super Bowl 30-second spots have been sold, with the going price at $1.025M (INSIDE MEDIA, 9/7-20 issue).