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  • FOX AND NBC SLUG IT OUT OVER PEACOCK'S FCC CHALLENGE

         NBC filed petition with the FCC to declare the Fox TV
    network "foreign owned and in violation of federal rules."  In
    turn, Fox vowed to fight what it called "improper" regulatory
    challenges.  NBC's complaint is that while News Corp. Chair
    Rupert Murdoch -- a naturalized U.S. citizen -- has the majority
    of Fox's voting shares, the company is really controlled by
    Murdoch's Australian-based News Corp. (BOSTON HERALD, 12/1).  NBC
    General Counsel Richard Cotton: "We've decided to file this
    petition to say to the FCC that it is time Fox competed under the
    same rules and that the same restrictions apply to all
    competitors.  We think that's fair, we think that's the way that
    all competitiors and all broadcasters ought to be treated."  USA
    TODAY's David Lieberman on NBC's legal resources: "They can push
    this case farther than anyone else has so far" ("Market Wrap,"
    CNBC, 11/30).  CNN's Kelly Arena reported, "Analysts don't expect
    any changes in the [FCC's] 60-year-old ownership rule, and say
    that what's really got the other networks going is that Murdoch
    has maneuvered FCC law to his advantage"  ("Moneyline," 11/30).
    In Boston, Frederic Biddle calls NBC's move "the most dramatic
    acknowledgement yet by one of the big three broadcast networks of
    the threat posed" by Murdoch and Fox (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/1).
         OTHER MOTIVES:  "If the FCC does nothing, NBC could contend
    that it may want to open itself to foreign investors."  GE has
    been discussing a deal for the network with Sony Corp. (Kevin
    Goldman, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/1).  "The foreign ownership law
    stands as one of the few remaining restrictions on communications
    ownership in an increasingly global communications age."  FCC
    Commissioner James Quello:  "One of our overriding principles has
    been that having a fourth [TV] network is in the public interest.
    We are trying to promote a multichannel, multifaceted world.  In
    order to punish Fox, I think you bear a heavy burden of proof"
    (Jube Shriver, L.A. TIMES, 12/1).  One Fox exec also noted:  "It
    screws up our station buying" (VARIETY, 12/1).
    

    Print | Tags: NBC, News Corp./Fox, Media, Time Warner
  • MEDIA NOTES: CHANGES COMING IN BOSTON SPORTS SCENE?

         As expected, Viacom announced its purchase of Boston
    independent station WSBK-TV from New World Communications for
    $100M.  The station will serve as the Boston home to Viacom's
    planned fifth network, United Paramount.  Noting that United
    Paramount's initial plans are only to carry shows on two nights -
    - Viacom officials don't foresee any schedule conflicts with
    WSBK's sports programming.  The station is the broadcast home to
    the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics.  In fact, officials said that at
    the outset games would have "precedence" over the new net's own
    programming.  However, a key decision looming for Viacom is
    whether to renew WSBK's pact with the Red Sox, who are scheduled
    to receive $15M for '95.  The team is in the final year of its 5-
    year, $70M contract with the station (Biddle & Craig, BOSTON
    GLOBE, 12/1)....The Grey Cup drew a record TV audience of 3.8M on
    CBC, but it did not fair well in the U.S. where it was carried
    live on ESPN2 and repeated the next night on ESPN.  Live on
    ESPN2, the game drew a .9 rating and a .6 on ESPN tape-delay.  In
    both cases, the Grey Cup was competing against the NFL (Toronto
    GLOBE & MAIL, 12/1)....DirecTV President Eddy Hartenstein, whose
    company kicks off its $150 package for 400 regular season NBA
    games tonight:  "We fully expect to do deals with the NHL and
    Major League Baseball.  If the hockey lockout ended tomorrow, we
    have the channel capacity and technical capability ready to go"
    (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 12/1).  The NBA will also allow
    Liberty Satellite Sports to expand distribution of all its
    regional sports network NBA games in the large-dish market for
    both Satellite Sports Network and SportsChannel packages. ... Due
    to the limited availability of transponder space on C-band
    satellites, Liberty's KBL Sports Network will move to a KU-band
    satellite (Liberty Satellite Sports)....Disney Chair Michael
    Eisner:  "The likelihood of us buying a network is way behind
    that of Ted Turner. ...  The networks that are talked about often
    as being for sale are rather expensive.  You'd have to be having
    a good day to make that kind of investment.  So, I don't think
    they are going to sell quite as quickly as many analysts think"
    ("Moneyline," CNN, 11/30).
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Cablevision, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., DirecTV, ESPN, NBA, New York Liberty, NFL, NHL, Media, Time Warner, Viacom, Walt Disney
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