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Cablevision Industries Inc., is in separate talks with three suitors, including Time Warner, interested in acquiring all or part of the "closely held" cable TV company. Based on the current valuation of cable properties, an acquisition of all of Cablevision Industries would be valued at $2.5-3B. Some familiar with the situation said Time Warner, which has debt totalling $15B, would pay with securities for any transaction. Cablevision CEO Alan Gerry said that Time Warner is one of 3 companies they are talking with seriously. An acquisition of Cablevision by Time Warner would continue Time-Warner's "aggressive expansion" into cable. Adding Cablevision's 1.3M subscribers could boost Time Warner's total subscribers to about 10M, making it a closer second to TCI, the largest cable operator with 10.3M subscribers (Robichaux & Roberts, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/4).
Tulsa-based Vyvx will transmit a high-definition TV signal over its fiber optics network to present tonight's Lakers-Pistons game at United Artists theaters in Farmington Hills, MI, and Woodland Hills, CA. The project was designed to demonstrate Pacific Bell's "Cinema of the Future," a program where movies and other events are transmitted via fiber optics cable using digital HDTV signals that show a picture "as sharp as a typical movie picture." Vyvx was chosen to participate in the demo because of its history sending major sporting events and news signals digitally to networks. Vyvx has carried the Super Bowl for the past five years and has also carried the signal of "nearly every other major sporting event" in the U.S. To send the game to theaters, special HD-TV cameras will be placed in the game arena (Mitch Maurer, TULSA WORLD, 11/4). United Artists is working with Pacific Bell in the development of "Cinema of the Future" (Alcatel).
The tribute to Michael Jordan on TNT had a 3.3 Nielsen cable rating, about double what TNT gets for a regular-season NBA game (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/4)....The Miami-Temple game on 11/19 can only be viewed live via the Sunshine Network's PPV program (Sunshine)....Prostar Entertainment Network, the nation's first advertising and subscription-based closed-circuit network geared to the out-of-home market, reached an agreement with Cedric Kushner Productions, Ltd. to televise Kushner's two monthly boxing series live to more than 800 commercial establishments and sports bars nationwide (Prostar)....CBS Sports said it will not bid for Wimbledon (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 11/4).
Turner Broadcasting System Inc. "sharply lowered" its losses during the 3rd quarter. While TBS continued to show a net loss, the company's operating profit rose to $88M, up 46% from the same period a year ago. The company attributed its "overall improved finances to three factors": 1) The costs of The Goodwill Games were behind them; 2) TBS took a $306M charge for accounting reasons last year; 3) Higher ad rates and subscriber fees. Most of TBS' segments improved during the quarter. TBS's news operating profits were 20%; the Cartoon Network "registered the best performance in terms of growth in ad revenue and subscribers." Overall, TBS' entertainment group saw its operating profit jump 78%. Most of the improvement was attributed to a "decline in the company's cost" of airing NFL games on TNT. One weak spot was the Braves. TBS "suffered" a $15M operating loss because of the baseball strike (Charles Haddad, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/4). Last night on "NBR," the quarterly report was characterized differently: TBS "took a hit," reporting a $5M loss which the company attributed to the baseball strike. TBS stock gained 5/8 (PBS, 11/3).