SBD/31/Sports Media

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  • DON'T LOOK FOR SUPER BOWL XXIX ON THE ALL-TIME RATINGS LIST

         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):
    TIME PERIOD
    RATING
    TIME PERIOD
    RATING
    4-5 (pregame)
    10.6
    7:30-8
    43.2
    5-5:30 (pregame)
    14.4
    Halftime
    39.5
    5:30-5:50 (pregame)
    20.1
    8:30-9
    41
    5:50-6:21 (pregame)
    32.6
    9-9:30
    40.6
    6:30-7
    42
    9:30-10
    40.1
    7-7:30
    42.8
    Postgame
    25.7
    WAIT 'TIL NEXT YEAR: One media buyer said the ratings "held up well enough" that NBC will probably ask for between $1.2-1.3M per 30-second next year, and probably get between $1.1M and $1.2M (Harry Berkowitz, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 1/31). BLOWOUT FACTOR: There are several calls this morning for a change in the NFL's playoff system, which would allow for the league's top two teams to meet in the Super Bowl. USA TODAY's Larry Weisman writes, "Our national religious holiday, Super Bowl Sunday, is rotten at the core. ... And the best way to bring the focus back to football is to find a way of getting the two best teams on the field." But Mike Hiestand writes that a No. 1 vs. No. 2 Super Bowl could "render the AFC, ultimately, irrelevant," as well as "hurt earlier playoff attractions" (USA TODAY, 1/31). In New York, Thomas George expects "serious discussion" on changing the playoff system. "The NFL does not like criticism and ridicule from the outside. Now more of that than ever is beginning to swell from the inside. It starts with [NFL Commissioner] Tagliabue" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/31). An editorial in today's WASHINGTON POST calls for a Balanced Football Amendment, requiring the winning team to score three-fifths of the points (WASHINGTON POST, 1/31).

    Print | Tags: ABC, NBC, NFL, Media, Walt Disney
  • PRIMESTAR LOOKS TO GAIN IN DBS MARKET

         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).
    

    Print | Tags: Media, Time Warner
  • SPORTSCHANNEL TO SWITCH TO STANDARD BASIC CABLE IN NEW YORK

         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).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, NBC, New Jersey Devils, Brooklyn Nets, New York Mets, Media, Time Warner, YankeeNets
  • THE DEUCE TO LAUNCH "NHL 2NIGHT"

         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).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, NHL, Media, Walt Disney
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