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ABC Sports Dir of Media Relations Mark Mandel responded to the 41.2 overnight rating for Super Bowl XXIX: "It's still the Super Bowl. People will watch no matter what, no matter who's playing." USA TODAY's Mike Hiestand notes that the rating might decrease when the rest of the country is figured in. The overnight rating is based on the top 32 media markets (54% of the U.S.), which include San Francisco and San Diego. Still, Grey Advertising Senior VP Jon Mandel insists the rating won't matter to advertisers: "The issue is simple. Where else can you buy a 40 rating?" Mandel adds that even with a different set-up, such as matching the NFL's top two teams, he's not sure "how much more (TV ad) money they could extract from the market" (USA TODAY, 1/31). THE BREAKDOWN: The overnights, by segment -- all times are p.m. EST (USA TODAY, 1/31):
RATINGTIME PERIOD RATING4-5 (pregame)10.67:30-843.25-5:30 (pregame)14.4Halftime39.55:30-5:50 (pregame)20.18:30-9415:50-6:21 (pregame)32.69-9:3040.66:30-7429:30-1040.17-7:3042.8Postgame25.7
In the latest issue of ELECTRONIC MEDIA, Lindsey Kelly examines Primestar's attempt to "move from the shadows of its DBS competitors." James Gray, Chairman of Primestar Partners and former Vice-Chairman of Time Warner, promises that Primestar will be heard from a lot more this year. Gray: "We're going to ramp up our visibility through marketing and advertising and expansion of channels. We are also going to have a big expansion of our distribution network." Primestar currently has an estimated 300,000 customers, with a monthly increase "averaging 20 percent." Last July, the company launched a $55M advertising and marketing campaign, and "is planning to increase its advertising budget for 1995." The campaign began Sunday with a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 1/30 issue). AD AGE's Bob Garfield gives Primestar 3 stars for its Super Bowl spot (AD AGE, 1/30 issue).
When SportsChannel New York switches from a pay service to a standard basic service on March 1, it will be "a victory for the Mets, Nets, Devils and Islander viewers," according to Richard Sandomir in this morning's N.Y. TIMES. SportsChannel's $12-14 fee will be gone in favor of a $1.24 monthly fee for adding SportsChannel and the Sci-Fi Channel. Time Warner NYC Cable General Counsel Robert Jacobs said the move is to "meet demand," adding that the price "has been more than" many viewers could afford. Rainbow Programming, an affiliate of Cablevision, which splits ownership of SportsChannel with NBC, had "pressed Time Warner to make the shift." Rainbow President Josh Sapan: "We're happy that the number of people who will see SportsChannel will go from just 100,000 to 1 million" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/31). OTHER TIME WARNER NEWS: Time Warner and its CEO, Gerald Levin, are profiled in this week's NEWSWEEK and this morning's N.Y. POST. As Levin begins his third year at Time Warner, "the picture isn't as cheery as it seems." Although Levin has been trying to focus attention on a new network and interactive TV, "Wall Street is more interested -- and concerned about -- his continuing appetite for cable systems." Time Warner's stock is "about $10 lower than its peak over the past year" (Jonathan Roberts, NEWSWEEK, 2/6 issue). John Durie reports Wall Street is "giving the thumbs down to Levin's long-term telephony plans," but writes, "The market is wrong to do so" (N.Y. POST, 1/31).
ESPN2 will launch "NHL 2Night", a 30-minute hockey broadcast that will run five nights a week at 11:30pm. The show will appear every night except Sunday and Monday, or when ESPN2 is showing a live event. ESPN Managing Editor Bob Eaton said the show will be modeled off "Baseball Tonight": "I think we will be heavier on the highlights but we'll certainly do issue stories. ... We've made a network that has tried to cater to the hockey audience. This is the next logical step" (Joe Lapointe, N.Y. TIMES, 1/31).