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This morning's FINANCIAL TIMES carries an extensive survey of new communications media that covers cable, business television, pay television, UK cable, radio, satellites, and the Internet. Raymond Snoddy, survey editor: "When it makes little difference whether business news is obtained from a computer screen or a TV screen, it is clear that the importance of the new media goes far beyond extra channels of entertainment. There are frequent signs that the long-predicated covergance between entertainment, computing and telecommunications is at last happening, even though the electronic superhighway probably excites politicians more than consumers at the moment. Cable, satellite, and video cassettes will have a growing number of rivals to communicate words, pictures and ideas" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/4).
In this morning's WASHINGTON TIMES, John Hawkins reports on plans for The Golf Channel, scheduled to launch in January 1995. (1) Tour Programming -- "the handful of PGA Tour events that currently aren't televised ... most likely will become the Golf Channel's. Otherwise, live coverage probably be limited to Nike Tour events, with a sprinkling of LPGA, Senior Tour and various foreign tours carrying the balance." (2) "Golf Center" -- this "evening centerpiece" will provide pre- and post-tournament programming, "although there's some question as to whether the Golf Channel will limit those wraparounds to the tournaments it televises live." (3) Other Programming will include "visual lessons, the celebrity-golfer gamut, lots of resort travel features, and as much news as the game can generate." (4) Viewer Cost -- "the Golf Channel is treating itself as a 'premium' channel, although there's a lingering suspicion it may have to settle for 'tiered' status." Mark Watts, premium product manager for Comcast: "From a cable marketing standpoint, their success seems predicated on what makes them any different from CBS or ESPN. The key is to give people a reason why they should spend an extra $5 on it" (John Hawkins, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/4).
CBS' 8.1 preliminary rating from Sunday night's movie is half of last year's average rating. CBS exec VP of Research David Poltrack: "We can't promote a movie to male viewers without football." Poltrack believes CBS' Harlequin romance movies might fare better in prime time by drawing a female audience. CBS will finish third among the nets for the second week in a row (N.Y. TIMES, 10/4)....Cap Cities/ ABC is buying stations in Flint, MI and Toledo, OH from SJL Broadcast Management Corp. for $155M. NBC and Fox were also interested in purchasing the affils. ABC programming in Toledo will switch from WNWO to WTVG, which is currently an NBC affil. WJRT in Flint is already an ABC affil. The purchase brings ABC's station ownership to 10 stations with 24% national viewing audience, while the federal limit is 25% (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/4)....CBS and Fox are switching affils in Austin, TX. CBS will be associated with KBVO, which is being acquired by Granite Broadcasting Co. (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/4)....Former Disney exec Jeffrey Katzenberg "flatly denied" he will go to work for GE at a new NBC movie production studio (N.Y. POST, 10/4)....SF Broadcasting, which is funded by News Corp., filed a complaint with the FCC in response to NBC's complaint that Fox is side- stepping federal requirements on affiliate acquisition (WALL STREET JOURNAL/N.Y. TIMES, 10/4).
In this week's ADVERTISING AGE, Diane Mermigas reports on Wayne Huizenga's plans following last Friday's merger between Blockbuster Entertainment and Viacom. Huizenga: "People think I have something else up my sleeve, but I don't ... I can't work for someone else. I am not an employee, I'm an entrepreneur. ... I like the entertainment industry. It's a lot of fun. While there aren't too many voids left to fill in the entertainment industry, there are still opportunities." Huizenga will remain in south Florida, continue to oversee his assets -- including the Dolphins, Panthers, and Marlins -- but "doesn't expect to expand his sports interests" (AD AGE, 10/3 issue).