SBD/28/Sports Media

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  • MEDIA NOTES

         In this week's VARIETY, John Dempsey reports that some
    affiliate reaction to the Fox-NHL deal was "decidedly mixed"
    (9/19-26 issue)....Time Warner is "scrambling to keep disgruntled
    advertisers from abandoning its much-maligned interactive" TV
    test in Orlando (AD AGE, 9/26 issue)....NBC spokesperson Ed
    Markey has suggested that Boston has "abruptly transformed from
    the weakest" AFC outpost to one of its strongest.  Only Cleveland
    had a higher Nielsen number last Sunday (BOSTON GLOBE,
    9/27)....Beginning November 20 and continuing for eight Sunday
    afternoons, The Nashville Network will air live coverage of
    "NASCAR Winter Heat" from the Tucson, AZ Raceway Park (NASCAR
    NEWS, 9/94 issue)....The Royals have agreed to a 3-year contract
    with Stauffer Communications for the club's radio rights (AP,
    9/27)....Rudy Martzke reports that both ABC and CBS are vying for
    the Citrus Bowl with a price tag topping ABC's current $1.6M
    annually (USA TODAY, 9/28).... Prime will air live coverage,
    November 4-6, of the first-ever Gene Sarazen World Open
    Championship from Braselton, GA (THE DAILY).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, Kansas City Royals, Miami Heat, NASCAR, NBC, News Corp./Fox, NHL, Nielsen, Media, Time Warner, TNN, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • OTHER NEWS ON THE NETWORK FEEDING FRENZY

          In an interview on the "Nightly Business Report," GE Chair
    Jack Welch said he is talking to "every single player" interested
    in NBC, but in the end he may end up keeping the network.  Asked
    if he is satisfied with NBC's performance, Welch said its
    "cumulative cash flow" has been "somewhere in the neighborhood of
    $3B."  Welch then clarified that he is looking for a "changing
    relationship" for NBC.  Welch: "It has to be an option to sell.
    Do I regard it to be a highly probable option?  No.  We're more
    likely to get bigger and broader in this industry" (PBS, 9/27).
         WHAT ABOUT THE FIFTH NET?  In New York, Johnnie Roberts
    reports that Time Warner's bid for NBC "is sparking vigorous
    internal opposition from some of Time Warner's top executives."
    The NBC talks have been headed by Time Warner Chair Gerald Levin
    and outside adviser, Oded Aboodi.  But some close to the company
    say Warner Bros. Co-CEO Robert Daly and Michael Fuchs, chair of
    Time Warner's HBO unit, "believe that buying a piece of NBC is
    foolhardy and potentially harmful to Time Warner's other
    interest," including efforts to launch a 5th network in
    conjunction with Tribune Co.  Tribune execs "also are said to be
    puzzled by the NBC talks and are concerned about Time Warner's
    commitment to their venture" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/28).
         RATINGS WATCH:  The first week of the new TV season produced
    "encouraging results" for three nets, "but dismal news for CBS."
    CBS was "soundly beaten" by ABC and NBC and even lost to Fox
    among the younger viewers "who are most valued by advertisers."
    It was the first time any network had been beaten by Fox in the
    "premiere week among viewers" aged 18-49.  The disappointing
    ratings "only added to the pressure on the network's executives,
    who are already unsettled about persistent rumors that CBS might
    be sold" (Bill Carter, N.Y. TIMES, 9/28).
         CABLE WATCH:  TCI could wrap up the $2.4B purchase of
    Viacom's cable-TV systems as early as next week.  Talks are set
    to resume after tomorrow's vote by Viacom shareholders on a
    merger with Blockbuster Entertainment.  TCI is not "technically
    the buyer, however.  A partnership connected with TCI, Intermedia
    Partners, will buy the systems both to help TCI avoid going over
    the FCC's cable ownership limits and reportedly for tax reasons"
    (N.Y. POST, 9/28).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, HBO, NBC, News Corp./Fox, Media, Time Warner, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • TED TURNER VENTS ABOUT TIME WARNER BLOCKING HIS NETWORK BID

         TBS President Ted Turner used an address before the National
    Press Club as an opportunity to lash out at Time Warner, claiming
    that they are using their position as a TBS stockholder to block
    Turner from purchasing a network.  Time Warner owns about 20% of
    TBS stock.
         ON TIME WARNER:  "I had a basic deal worked out to acquire
    NBC, a little over a year ago, for about $5B. ... And I went to
    Time Warner with that, and they said no. ... When they told me
    not to buy the Home Shopping Network, I said O.K.  When they
    wouldn't let me buy FNN years ago, before NBC ended up buying it,
    I said O.K. ... They said the network business is a lousy
    business.  You don't want to be in the network business.  But
    now, they're trying to get a network."  Later, Turner said:  "I
    haven't made any charges; I haven't filed any lawsuits;  I
    haven't filed any complaints with the FCC or the Justice
    Department ... yet.  And I hope I don't have to" (THE DAILY).
         GE RESPONDS:  In an interview with "Nightly Business
    Report," GE Chair Jack Welch denied Turner's claim that he had a
    deal to buy NBC:  "I can't believe Ted Turner said that.  Ted
    Turner never had a deal to buy NBC" (PBS, 9/27).
         ON TV RIGHTS:  Turner used the World Cup TV rights as an
    example of why he needs a network: "We carried the World Cup four
    years ago [and] paid them a fair price.  This time, when the
    World Cup came up, we were the incumbents, but ABC and ESPN came
    in, and ESPN said we'll put a number of the games on our network
    that reaches everybody.  And the soccer people said, 'look Ted,
    it's not even a question of dollars; we need that exposure'" (THE
    DAILY).
         ON THE '96 GAMES:  Turner: "I helped get the Olympics in
    1996 because CNN is from there [Atlanta].  I couldn't even bid
    for the Olympics, not allowed to be a bidder.  NBC, ABC, CBS,
    yes. ... And the local people in Atlanta want to know why I'm not
    enthusiastic about the Olympics.  I don't even have a smidgen.
    I'm able to buy tickets in the 50th row back.  I'm tired of it"
    (THE DAILY).
         ON BASEBALL: Turner on baseball's anti-trust exemption: "It
    doesn't make any difference to me.  We have more trouble than any
    other sport, and we've got the exemption. ... I never thought it
    meant diddly-squat."  Turner added that the strike "could" break
    the MLBPA: "It seriously can weaken it, let's say, but I mean,
    the players union gambled that the owners would cave in rather
    than lose the World Series, and they've used up most of their
    leverage" (THE DAILY).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, ESPN, NBC, Media, TBS/TNT, Time Warner, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • WOMEN'S SPORTS NETWORK LOOKS FOR GENDER EQUAL AUDIENCE

         CNBC's "Market Wrap" featured an interview with Women's
    Sports Network President and Co-CEO Terri Kassel about the net's
    Fall '95 launch.  Kassel said the net's target audience is
    primarily young men and women.  Kassel, who noted that "more men
    watch women's sports than women," said programming will include
    collegiate sports, pro soccer and fast-pitch softball.  According
    to Kassel, the advertising response has thus far been
    "overwhelmingly positive."  Kassel:  "Advertisers see it as a way
    to reach men in a very advertiser-friendly environment."   Kassel
    said she doesn't have "unrealistic ratings aspirations":  "This
    is not a ratings-driven project and probably won't be for several
    years."  Kassel plans to "build an audience by educating the
    audience and letting the viewer get to know the athletes better."
    She said the net would "like to launch with 15 million homes,"
    and that "lots of millions" of dollars are involved in the
    project ("Market Wrap," CNBC, 9/27).
    

    Print | Tags: Media
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