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This morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL reports that direct- broadcast satellite, "has shaken awake the sleeping giant cable industry, who has launched some of the most aggressive advertisements" the TV industry has seen. The ads, some of which are produced by TCI, emphasize the "downside" of disconnecting cable. The piece contrast those ads with ones from the major DBS program distributors (Kevin Goldman, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/6). In a profile in the WASHINGTON TIMES, Doug Abrahms writes that DBS is "fast becoming the darlings of telecommunications regulators and Republican members of Congress" who like the competition it bring to "cable monopolies." Stanley Hubbard, Chair of U.S. Satellite Broadcasting: "This is the lowest-cost introduction of a major home appliance in history, and the hottest introduction in consumer electronics history. Cable's got a big problem" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/4). NHL COVERAGE BEGINS TOMORROW: DirectTV customers will be able to preview "NHL Center Ice" beginning tomorrow, with the program officially beginning next week. The cost for the regular season package is $69 for residential subscriptions (DirectTV). NHL VP Steve Solomon said the money coming into the league from DBS "will be supplemental income," with the league getting revenue "only from a portion of the user fee" (Jack Craig, BOSTON GLOBE, 2/5).
NBC: In the current issue of BUSINESS WEEK, Ronald Grover examines NBC's pursuit to improve on last year's third place finish. The strength of NBC's Thursday night schedule has "propelled it to three straight ratings victories in the 18 to 54 age group for the first time since 1992." ABC's ratings are down 3% from last year and it sets up a "real horse race between ABC and NBC" in '95, according to media buyer Paul Schulman. ABC is "still the team to beat. But NBC has momentum and it gets to air the Super Bowl next year" (Ronald Grover, BUSINESS WEEK, 2/13 issue). CBS: Reports of CBS Broadcast Group President Harold Stringer's possible departure "could not have come at a worse time" for the net. Stringer is a "top candidate" to head the new interactive video company being started by three Baby Bells. Some at CBS "doubt" that CEO Laurence Tisch will release Stringer from his contract, "in part over concern about Wall Street reaction." Stringer's departure could "exacerbate the morale problem at CBS, already hurt by the fall from first place" in the ratings, then by losing the NFL to Fox (John Lippman, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/6).
"Shell's Wonderful World of Golf" is returning in '95 with four one-on-one matches over 18 holes of golf. The series, produced by Jack Nicklaus Productions, Inc, are scheduled to air on ABC later this year and include head-to-head competition between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus at Pebble Beach (December 3), Greg Norman vs. Nick Price at Medalist (July 22), Lee Trevino vs. Chi Chi Rodriguez at Palmas del Mar (December 10), and Ernie Els vs. Phil Mickelson at Bandama Golf Club (December 17). Terry Jastrow will direct the series for ABC, with Dave Marr the announcer and Jack Whitaker as host (Shell).